Being asked to sum an experience like this up in one blog post is probably one of the most difficult assignments that’s been asked of me. I think this was an eye opening, mind blowing, life changing, extraordinary experience that I couldn’t have asked more from. I have read more of the bible in the past 37 days of being here than I have in the entire 18 years of my life before this experience. I think that is part of what has made this experience so great, because before I would say that I knew God and I had a relationship with him, but it wasn’t until I got here and the truth was really laid out for me.
I came to the realization, through the help of scripture, that God is 100% his scripture and if I didn’t know that I didn’t know him. That’s what rocked my mind more than anything, the fact that I didn’t actually know God. But just being here taught me so much and taught me how to develop a relationship with him that I wouldn’t have known how to establish before. Being here taught me how to pray and the power of our words and it taught me to check scripture and that it is the final say in the end and nothing can compete.
Costa Rica itself has taught me so much too. It opened my eyes to how privileged I am just to be an American citizen. It showed me that I had so much and I didn’t need everything that I had. From a new point of view, I now see that unknowingly the American culture has developed into one that is constantly trying to gain more, but in places like Costa Rica, and so many more they are just living day by day and they’re happy that way. I want so much more out of life than to fall into the cycle of constantly wanting more and more material goods. The only thing I want to be constantly craving more of is God and his word and Relentless Ministries has showed me that.
Relentless has also helped show me what my call in Christ is. I don’t know what would have happened if I wouldn’t have decided to embark on this adventure, but I do know that learning what God has planned for me and the purpose he has placed into my life would not have been a likely thing to happen without it. Through this experience God has changed everything I had previously planned for my life. He has taught me that it’s not always what I want that needs to happen, but what he has called me to do. And that’s a terrifying thought, it’s the thought of complete change. I went from knowing what I want and having a laid out plan to only knowing that God has put me in ministry for a reason and that I’m being called to be a missionary. Now I know that that’s what I have to do because it’s what God wants me to do, but the fact that God has a plan for my life and a specific calling for me makes me love the idea of giving up my own life and culture to reach out to other people’s.
I have learned to lean not on my own understanding and what I thought was my own strength because in the end I am so incredibly weak. But what I am learning is that in my weakness I will be made strong in him. (2 Cor. 12:10) If I can wholly give myself up to him than that’s when he can fully use me. And that is one of the biggest things that I have learned through this amazing journey. I can do nothing through my own will, but I can do so much through his will. Being here has allowed me the away time and the thinking time to shut out my desires and let God take the wheel and point me in the direction he wants me to go in.
I learned something that has struck me as one of the most important things I’ve learned here, and that is there is not enough room in a person’s heart to be fearful and completely faithful. I was taught that by a pastor at a small church here in our neighborhood. He was speaking Spanish, but Tyler was sitting behind me and the other two interns translating for us. I can still remember the conviction I felt when Tyler whispered those words behind me. I think it was something that affected me so much because I was so afraid to give full faith to God, even though that’s exactly what I’m called to do. But me being fearful is a ridiculous thing because back home I won’t lose my family because of my faith and I’ll still have a big group of Christian friends. Back in America I won’t be facing death because of my faith, yet I still find myself so scared to be completely committed to God and the life he has called me too. I now know that what I want is to put myself in a place I’m not comfortable with, a place that the only way I’ll make it through is to lean on God and God alone.
As I’m sitting here I have it in the back of my mind that I only have 2 days left before I get on a plane and fly back to Tallahassee. I only have two more days to soak up the country that I have grown to love more than my own and I only have two more days to say goodbye to all of the amazing people I have met and will miss with such a big part of my heart. What I’m comforted with is that this learning experience that I have had here doesn’t end here, but that I’ll be taking it back home with me because I will never stop learning about God and all of his glory. I’m consoled that by the blessings of Christ I now have a family in Costa Rica that will be here to support and love me. I have made friends with great people and developed a burning desire for Christ and I can’t find the words to describe how much I’m going to miss this place.
If you’re reading this to find out if Relentless is something you want to do, if it’s a leap you want to take, then I suggest it. I suggest coming here and finding a whole new meaning to knowing and loving Christ. The only thing I regret about this experience is that I didn’t stay longer, but I know I’ll be back and I’ll be even more ready to go out and be used by Christ to change lives. I’m ecstatic that I’ve had this experience, that I’ve found a new home that will always have a large piece of my heart, and that I have ignited a love affair with my Lord and savior that will always keep me satisfied.
“Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15)
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore, beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (Matt. 9:37-38)
“And thus I aspired to preach the Gospel, not where Christ was already named, that I might not build upon another man’s foundation; but as it is written, ‘They that had no news of Him shall see, and they who have not heard shall understand.’” (Rom. 15:20-21)
“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20)