International Ministries

Sarah Nash in Costa Rica: We Hold Our Plans Lightly

June 20, 2011 Journal
I have been here now for two months. As my Tica Mom says "¡Qué rápido!" Which I agree, it seems like its only been a couple weeks at the most!
Over the last two months I have been learning a lot and I know I have a lot more to learn. I am learning more and more Spanish which is making conversations able to happen. Even though I still struggle a lot I'm able to get my point across. I'm learning more and more about this culture and my surroundings. Learning more about my surrounding probably the hard way but that's how you learn I guess, I'll explain later.

I am learning to "hold my plans lightly" one of Mylinda Baits famous quotes. Being a missionary you pretty much have to hold your plans lightly to be flexible with sudden change of plans. The sudden change of plans or the go with the flow happens a lot. For me it happens when I have to constantly rely on public transportation or friends for rides. God is teaching me to be patient, flexible and to trust in him always!

Although there are many stories about having to "hold my plans lightly" over the last 2 months three really stick out in my mind and they just so happen to be in the same week/weekend.
This last Thursday, I made plans with Pastor Alberto (the Pastor from the church in Aserri) to go visit an elderly couple from the church that haven't been able to come to any of the services due to them both being sick. I had visited with them the last two times I had been here and wanted to see them again. Pastor Alberto picked me up at my house and on the way to the couples house he asked me what time I would like to be picked up from their house. Which my impression of the visiting time was that we were going to visit together with them. I started to get nervous. I asked the Pastor if they even remember me. Because if he was going to drop me off I didn't want them to wonder why this Gringa wanted to come visit them. He reassured me that they remember me and wanted to see me. So my nerves started to calm down. We got to the house and the neighbor told us that they weren't home and they were in a different city for the day and wouldn't be back until the evening. We got back in the church van and Pastor Alberto and I laughed saying well I guess they aren't sick if they're out for the day. We then went to pick up his wife at her work and went back to their house for cafécito. We ended up visiting for 2 hours, it was actually the longest I had ever talk with the Pastor and his wife and in Spanish. We discussed plans on him and some leaders of the church coming to Washington to visit with me in 2012. That way they can come visit all you guys back home at First Baptist and Emmaus Community. This will be his first visit to the States. I told him it was best to go in July or August because the weather will be better. He told me that he was kind of nervous because he doesn't know any English. I said its okay I can help with that. I said I didn't know any Spanish when I first came here. We laughed in agreement. I feel very blessed to be able to be here and learn more Spanish so these conversations and relationship building can happen. Please pray that we can continue to build the bridge between our churches in Olympia to Aserri. Pray that this idea can become a reality some day. Even though the plans change quickly that afternoon it gave us an opportunity for community and relationship building.

On Friday, I went to the Stain glass workshop to help Mylinda with the stain glass window project and then went to a worship service at church in Aserri. Mylinda is making two stain glass windows for a church sanctuary in Santa Tomas. This will be the first Baptist Church here to have stain glass windows. I have been spending most of my Friday afternoons at the workshop with her. We are both looking forward to starting the yellow pieces of the windows because we have been working with the purple and green for weeks now.

My job is foiling the glass and Mylinda's job is designing, measuring, and cutting the glass. As you can see my part in this project is very small but I feel honored to be able to help.  I have yet to learn to cut the glass but I think I'm content with foiling. I'm afraid I'd break too many pieces. After working I took a bus home, I got on the bus and it was so packed with people I had to stand in the door way on the stairs. I couldn't even pass my coins to the driver a lady next to me had to. After the crazy adventure of being packed in a bus like a sardine I arrived to my house. Jorge was their waiting for me to take me to church. We are driving to the church and get informed that this particular service goes until midnight. Well, I hold my plans lightly, and this is Costa Rica so their will defiantly have coffee to help keep me awake.  It was a great worship service and a celebration for Father's Day. I am so glad to be apart of this congregation, I feel like its my big family here. I'm really excited that some of you will meet them this August and God willing next summer also.

Early Saturday morning the Baits picked me to go with them, Chris and Jenn Savage to the Baptist Church in Alajuelita to help with construction. This church has been in progress for a while now but is almost finished. We didn't really know exactly what jobs we were going to be doing but we hold our plans lightly. We ended up doing a few different jobs. The main job was shoveling sand, and sifting sand. Although there is no picture of me to prove that I did any of the hard manual labor, but my arms sure testify. My arms were sore that night and the next day. It was great to help out with this construction project and get a break from studying Spanish.

Sunday I went to church and then to the mission church in San Marcos with some church members. I think I will try to go more often to continue to build relationships with the people from Aserri and in San Marcos. It takes two hours each way from Aserri to San Marcos so that is great time for community, and of course for me to practice my Spanish. I will try to bring my camera next time I go so I can take pictures of the church. The church meets in the house of the widow of the late Pastor. Shortly after the Pastor passed away the church in Aserri started to help continue church services there and see this as one of their ministries and missions. Please pray for Pastor Erick as he is now the Pastor of his mission church and pray for the church members in San Marcos.

And finally the long story of learning my way around the hard way. Today I ventured out by myself to Aserri to go to a friends house from church to help her with her English. My host Mom told me where to take my first bus and then ask someone at the bus stop where the Aserri bus was. I found the bus right away and got on. I kept looking out the window thinking okay I'm going the right way. Long story short the bus didn't pass by the park it turned and continued going into Aserri in a different direction from the church. I soon was in a part of Aserri that I had never been before. The bus stopped and people got off so I though well might as well get off now and try to walk and find the church. I got off the bus and just prayed for God to guide my footsteps. After crossing a river and started to get a little nervous so I turned around and a woman was walking towards me. I asked her where the church was so she walked with me to the main boulevard and told me to catch the bus there. She was so nice and helpful and I'm glad God place her there during my time of confusion. After getting on my third bus to Aserri I met up with my friend at the church. We went to her house and I tutored her in English but in return I learned more Spanish. The plan was after tutoring I would meet Mylinda at the Pizza Hut and go to her house and spend the night. I got on the bus to take me to the Pizza Hut. But plans changed because the bus didn't go where I thought so I ended up getting off at the next stop and catching a taxi. I went back to Pizza Hut, but Mylinda wasn't there. This was the icing on the cake, the day had already been long and frustrating so I started to cry. I took a taxi home. I'm sure he was probably wondering why I was crying but oh well. I got home and called Mylinda and we changed our plans to tomorrow. You live and learn and you hold your plans lightly. Now, I know exactly what bus to take to Aserri and what bus that will get me home. And hopefully next time it wont take me 4 buses and 2 taxis! God is good, all the time. I am safe and had an adventure. Although at times during the "adventure" I felt as if I was alone. I wasn't God was with me. Matthew 28-20: And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you wherever he may send you; may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you through the storm; may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you; may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.

Read about all of Sarah's Costa Rican life at her blog