Our time here in Costa Rica is rapidly coming to a close. In about 24 hours, we will have all returned to our safe and comfortable homes back in Canada. Seven days ago, nineteen individuals left Pearson International Airport for the first leg of our journey. By the time we had arrived on the mission field, those individuals had become one; a unified team with the singular purpose of service to Jesus Christ. There is great blessing when an entire team is pulling in unity and in the same direction. There is no better place to be than when you are in the center of God’s will.
Our Canadian team has been blessed and privileged to serve alongside the Operation Christmas Child National Leadership Team (NLT). While we have spent seven days in Costa Rica, they have given (and continue to give) their whole lives to serve the poor and powerless in the dark, lonely, and hidden places of this country. As mentioned in an earlier blog post, the NLT work and volunteer for Moviendo Esperanzas, a para-church organization that distributes shoebox gifts on behalf of Operation Christmas Child and Samaritan’s Purse. They are running with endurance the race that has been set before them.
Adelita is the face (and voice) of Moviendo Esperanzas and has made the mission quite clear; sharing the gospel is an emergency and we need to treat it as such. Adelita works alongside Don Carlos, the Pastor of the first church we visited. Don Carlos and his wife Marianella, are the hands and feet of the local church. They both attended every shoebox distribution this week and Marianella delivered the gospel to the children using Operation Christmas Child’s “Greatest Gift” presentation. Her face absolutely shines while she speaks to the children, and from what we have witnessed, every child she engages adores her and feels, through her, the genuine love of Christ. Don Carlos pours himself into the local teams, providing training and support so that they in turn, provide the “Greatest Journey” program to the children as an on-going discipleship training. The NLT surrounds themselves with young volunteers like Ana Christina and Aaron, who have stayed by our side day and night to provide very able translation and guidance, and most importantly, prayer.
Our team is leaving tomorrow having seen the impact of a simple shoebox upon a child in need. What He has provided, through His grace, is the opportunity for us to witnessing a single smile, from a single child, having received a single box. We have witnessed the expression of the gospel. Both here in Costa Rica and in Canada we must constantly look for ways to respond the the emergency around us by bringing the gospel to those in need of the saving power of Christ Jesus. The greatest gift we have ever received was presented to mankind in the form of a small baby who was wrapped in rags and laid in a manger. These small gifts, wrapped in cardboard and paper are laid in front of these children in an effort to point to that Greatest Gift.
Thank you for packing shoe boxes. Thank you to all who supported this team in prayer and financially. Thank you Lord Jesus.