Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Costa Rica

 The summer before my freshman year of high school I realized I had to make a change in my life. I had friends and went to church but something was missing, my faith was not my own-I had been going through the motions but my heart was not into it. Something finally clicked for me that summer and I thought to myself "people don't feel sorry for you when you are feeling sorry for yourself". It may sound dumb but it woke me up somehow. As a result I signed up for a mission trip to Kosova. I had never been out of the country before and I only kind of knew a couple of people that were signed up to go. This was beyond out of my comfort zone. Looking back I can't even remember what we were originally going to do there because a couple of meetings in my missions minister said the Kosova trip was off. They apparently had overbooked and no longer needed us where we would have been serving. Our team was disappointed but eager to learn of another opportunity that mysteriously presented itself. This would be a trip to Costa Rica to work alongside missionaries our church was supporting at the time, doing odd jobs they were not able to do themselves.
Our team was too big to stay with Rick and Debra, the missionaries, so we had to split up into smaller groups to stay with families from the church. I was excited to learn that I would be staying at their home. They were such genuine, selfless people and I looked forward to spending more time with them. The first night Rick and Debra gave us the rundown about what to expect, what we'd be doing that week, and gave us a tour of their house with the exception of their room which was off limits to us. As missionaries allowing multiple groups to stay with them throughout the year they needed a place that was just theirs.
I am sorry to say a lot of what we did that week is now a blur. I vaguely remember painting the church, spending time with the locals, seeing a volcano, walking through the rainforest, and learning how to salsa dance. These are not the things that stick out to me when I look back on that trip.
Like I said before, I was lucky enough to stay with Rick and Debra along with my missions minister Chris, another trip leader named Brad, and a couple of girls my age. The day we were scheduled to leave we were woken up by Rick screaming, "No Debra! Why God, why?" Still somewhat asleep and not realizing what was going on we stayed in our room until Brad ran in to pray with us. Still unsure about what had happened all I could think was, "Rick is hurt and needs help. Why are we not helping him?" Debra had died in her sleep and all we could do was pray for Rick. It was unreal. How could this amazing week we just spent with them end in such a tragic way? The rest of our team met us at the house and we waited around on the porch in disbelief about what we were experiencing. Our flight was later in the day so we tried to stay out of the way as Rick and Chris made arrangements. A couple of hours later Chris came to get us escorting us to Rick's room. There was something so personal about it. This was a room that none of us had been in and now we were invited to come in and stand around their bed as Rick held Debra one last time. Rick wanted us there, surrounding them to thank us for being there for him, for being his family.
I believe Debra was going to die that week whether we were there or not, but God worked it out so that Rick would not be alone. This trip, this amazing, life-altering experience opened my eyes to a God that cares about the details. A God that cares about his people. I just don't know how a person can experience something like that and think it was all just a coincidence. I fully believe we were meant to be there that week for something greater than what we did the days leading up to Debra's death.         

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