Our 5 year ministry launch to Costa Rica started calmly enough. A radio station mishap played a favorite song twice on the short drive to the airport. We sang to the sunrise,”Let the future begin.”
Wow. A small miracle just for us. How kind of you, Lord.
We laughed through tears, saying farewell to family and friends at the security gate. Two low-key flights sandwiched a leisurely layover and some McDonalds fries. We touched down in the land of “Pura Vida” and were given a shortcut through immigration: mercy granted for either squirrelly kids or the right soccer jerseys. Stepping out into the tropical evening, we hugged the children’s home founders, cheered over storage totes sent ahead months before, and met our language school big sisters.
In the melee mix of passersby and friends, I kept track of our 1-2-3 children. When Matt started throwing suitcases to the roof of the van, I mother-henned them inside it to settle booster seats and hunt for working seatbelts.
Everyone climbed in and we headed towards a new home.
The city lights zipped past. I followed the Spanglish conversation through the hum of highway and fatigue. Then Matt turned, his voice urgent:
Do you have our backpacks?
I didn’t. We didn’t. The other truck didn’t.
Five bags double-stuffed with our most important things sat abandoned on a bench, now 20 minutes away, outside of the San Jose airport. By all odds, they were already gone. Local culture isn’t just finder’s keepers, it’s often takers keepers, as well.
I prayed like thunder and tried not to throw up.
Our passports, laptops, immigration paperwork, phones, $2,000 cash for rent, and my wallet topped the missing persons list. A gringo buffet zipped up into nylon takeout: everything we needed to start life here.
Dear Lord, please help.
Matt’s Spanish coordinated our return to the scene, my English cried out to God, and the street lights began passing by in reverse.
Father, you called us here to serve you. We know you are strong. Protect our backpacks. Put angels around them so no one even sees them. We know you will take care of us if everything is gone, but please don’t let that happen. Provide for us the way you promised. Thank you for how you are going to show your power in this.
I kept praying the whole way back as warfare against panic.
We pulled up, and unbelievably, saw them still on the bench: a line of multicolored glory. Like lost children found, we gathered them in with a record for the 50-yard dash.
Hesitant to celebrate, our guide suggested we take inventory.
We opened every zipper, counted every envelope: it was all there, not a single thing missing. Just one added to the bunch—a huge miracle. God’s kindness was speaking, declaring he is in this calling with us, his hands are not tied, he is mighty to save.
Relief washed over us, with a cream rinse of exhaustion.
What do you do in the wake of a miracle like that, where God has shown himself so big, where disaster was averted only by his grace? Is there a thank you note grand enough? All we have to give him is ourselves. So we open our hearts on a deeper level and lean more fully into walking out his love here in Costa Rica.
On Sunday, we celebrated the 5 year anniversary of our dramatic arrival. The Lord stunned us that night, but he moves each day in this place. Children’s lives are planted with new hope and teams experience his goodness in fresh ways at Hogar de Vida.
Our first ministry term is complete, but the view keeps getting more beautiful. We see long-held dreams just now beginning to blossom: Matt’s discipleship teaching and Kris’s writing. We are settled in this work with gratitude for what God is doing and the faithful support that makes it possible.
Let the future begin.
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Isaiah 58:8
Do you have a blunder experience that the Lord redeemed? Or didn’t? How did it encourage your path forward?
Slatted Bench Photo by DIMITRIS GEREBAKANIS & Backpack Bridge Photo by Christian Joudrey on Unsplash