Comment

A Thanksgiving Update

Tuesday night our family sat down to Thanksgiving dinner.  Thursday we would not all be together, as that is the day that Raul would hike up to the remote village where Esperanza ministers.  

 

Though Thanksgiving is not a Costa Rican holiday, and the foods that we eat on this day in the US are largely, sometimes completely, unknown to Costa Ricans (especially in the indigenous regions), it has become a very special day in our home.  Everyone pitches in for a traditional Thanksgiving meal, complete with the turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, rolls, and the list goes on.  

 

Also a part of our meal on this special day is a time where each one gives thanks to God.  We ask them to put a little extra thought on what they will say beforehand.  It is always a day of immense gratitude for me, and when I hear the words spoken by each of the [no longer] “children” that are our family, I am overwhelmed.  There are seven young people that have been a part of our family for the last many years, and they are to us like children of our own.  It is often hard for them to give voice to the deepest truths in their lives, especially coming from a place where self-expression is a challenge for most people. The common thread between each of them was gratitude for this family unified not by blood or by law, but by choice, by love.  

 

It has been a strange year for us, and my piece of gratitude is that God has sustained us so faithfully during this time.  As you may know, I was not as much a part of the ministry of Esperanza during 2018 because of some personal health reasons related to my pregnancy.  I was absent for nearly the whole year.  As I have returned home, I have been completely overwhelmed at how much bigger God’s plans are than our own.  He is good, and His faithfulness endures forever.  I was warmly welcomed, receiving visitors from near and far on these first days.  The children that I love so much rushing to our house for a big hug, something I will treasure.  

 

I am so much more aware now than ever, that Esperanza is the Lord’s ministry; not Raul’s or mine.  He has grown it this year in ways that we could not even dream, and being back home has certainly opened my eyes to this fact. That is my gratitude.  My thanksgiving is that I can even be a small part of the work of God in this world, through the ministry of Esperanza. 

 

I am amazed to return home to Shrioles and see my absence filled in many ways.  Many people have stepped up to fill in those gaps.  I look at the ministry of the Children of the Promise and see how first Dina and now Reiny have stepped in to love these children and invest in their lives.  I am encouraged to see Maria, a leader in the sewing ministry, also to have taken up a Bible study three nights each week.  The teens that are a part of it refer to themselves lovingly as Maria’s disciples. 

 

I see even the absence of our four missionaries to Thailand being filled in many ways.  I am amazed that we have been able to send them, though I must admit that I was concerned about their being gone, as they have played huge roles in the leadership of the ministry.  But even so, God is good, and when we give Him our best, He returns it a hundred fold.  No one can out-give God.  He is pleased to give good gifts to His children, and in Him, no sacrifice is ever lost.   

 

I am encouraged to see Melina, who has grown our women’s craft ministry, and with another one of our leaders, Tita, is reaching out to women and families in need even beyond the community of Shiroles.  I am proud to see our “son” Luis, 15, emerge as a leader among his friends and organizing single-handedly a soccer tournament for his age group.  He boldly is reaching out to his friends and sharing Christ with them.  I am encouraged to see so much growth in our relationship in Alto Coen, and since I was home we have hosted dozens of friends from this area.  They made a day-long journey to our dental clinic, and to welcome me back, and I am eager for the opportunity to continue to build those relationships as they come to us.  We can return the hospitality that they have shown us.  I see how much trust has been built between the “Alto Coen family”, as they refer to themselves, and Esperanza.  That is absolutely the work of the Holy Spirit.  

 

Thank you to so many who are a part of the work God is doing here in Costa Rica.  

 

With love,    Kimi

fullsizeoutput_dc2.jpeg

Comment

Comment

A Testimony

 

Read below the testimony of what God is doing in Sarah Heyde’s heart as she serves with Esperanza in these summer months. She is a part of the Applied Leadership team from Colombia Bible College.  

 

What an amazing experience it has been so far to live in Shiroles and work alongside the Esperanza ministry. God has been working in so many ways, but I want to focus in on one major lesson He has been teaching me through the people and ministry here.


The way in which I have seen God at work in my life here in Shiroles, is that He has been teaching me the value of living day-by-day. I have seen this come up a lot here, either in the way I have seen people live or the things the say. Raul has mentioned it a few times, and it always gives me a lot to think about because it is not usually how I look at things. I am very much future-oriented, and not always in a good way - I can often worry too much about what lies ahead, and not pay attention to what is right in front of me. One specific thing that Raul mentioned that had really stuck with me is that we only have today - yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not even here, all we have is right now. So, how are you going to use this day to be a blessing? Thinking about this, I have realized how much my worries and concerns can get in the way of me being a blessing today. If my mind is focused on the future, that means it is not focused on the present. Maybe that seems obvious, but I can so often unintentionally do this. I can be focused on something up ahead - whether it be a task, deadline, an event, or any other concern - and I completely miss out on ways I can be a blessing right now. It is not as if I should never think about and plan for things to come, but when my head is always in a worried state, I become blind to what is right in front of me. After all, I do not even know if tomorrow will ever get here! It's really all about trusting God to provide for my needs, for both today and the days to come. Jesus teaches us to pray "give us today our daily bread," not, "give us all we need for the next few weeks (or months) right now." No, it's about trusting in God on a daily basis that He will provide you with what you need and give you the tools and strength you need to be a blessing to others. I see this lived out so faithfully in the people here at Esperanza. Whether it be the children's ministry, or visiting with the elderly, or helping out people in the village with different work projects - they are faithful to their task and always find a way to be a blessing to those who come across their paths. I am so inspired by how they keep on giving of their time, energy, and resources, and then give beyond that. There is always room for someone at the table, always space for one more person to join in an activity, and always enough strength to bless one more individual. They give and give, and I can only see this coming out of the immense love they have for God and his children, and the trust they put in Him to provide for their daily needs. That is something I want to take with me back home: to know that God has given me what I need for today, and because of that I can be a blessing to others. I do not need to concern myself with how He will provide in the future, for today is the day He has given me to be a blessing to others. I really do only have this day - will I use it to focus on things that have not happened, or to focus on what is right in front of my eyes? If I have learned one thing in my life, it is that you never know how profoundly your actions could impact others. So, I want to use this day to be a blessing to others, to the fullest capacity I can, in the way God has made me to do so. The ministry and people here have already taught me so much about this, and I am excited to learn more over the next few weeks!

IMG_6641.JPG
IMG_6642.JPG

Comment

Comment

3rd Annual Children of the Promise Trip

We truly had an amazing weekend with the children who were able to make the trip to San José this past weekend. Of the 20 we invited, not one missed out on this experience. Though there are more than 20 involved in our Children of the Promise ministry, we are only able to bring those who have been participating the most in the course of the last year. 

IMAGE.JPG

we were thrilled to have this cutie along, who had not travelled in years past because of her age, but her perfect attendance for years made us feel like she had definitely earned her spot. 

 

Our days were packed with fun - first we headed to the Costa Rican Children’s Museum - a first time for us all!   

IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG

SO MUCH to explore there, we only got to see about a forth of it!  But the kids loved learning about Ancient Egypt, electricity, architecture, and “shopping” in the supermarket!  

 

From there we headed to the house of a friend of Esperanza who invited us all over for the afternoon - the kids had a blast playing soccer, eating hot dogs, chocolate cake, s’mores over the campfire, and especially the piñata!  We were so grateful for the generous invitation!   

IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG

Day 2 we headed to the pools and had a great morning playing in the water and were so grateful to finally feel the heat of the sun!!

 

IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG

That evening we tried something new - we headed over to the new trampoline park!  The kids absolutely LOVED jumping and playing to their hearts content 💗

 

IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG

Day 3 we spent at the Amusement Park and after that, it’s safe to say these kids were tuckered out!  

 

IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG

THANK YOU to our friends at Lil Lambs who made this possible a third year!  We have no words to express our gratitude!  But these smiles should speak volumes!   

Comment

Comment

Centenary Team Fall 2017

Post Contributed by Richard Grier 

Arriving in the beautiful rain forest of Shiroles, Costa Rica is always refreshing…especially when you bring 3 ten and eleven year old girls that are full of life, wonder and love with you! Our team of 9 arrived in early October to serve alongside the leaders of Esperanza for the week. While we had some things planned, we were prepared for anything God brought our way. Our crew came prepared to teach the women and children how to weave on a loom. We saw many beautiful creations (along with some half-finished-due-to-frustration looms). In addition to weaving, the women and young girls from KY got to share about their personal journeys with God and encourage the women and children from the area in different ways.

 

 

Three of our leaders spent 4 nights training 16 Tico leaders to hopefully begin an IAM3RD soccer league in the area. (IAM3RD is a sports ministry based out of Centenary UM Church that is now in 4 countries and has over 4500 participants in Central KY.) Each afternoon following the training, we invited local children to come and participate in a two hour clinic, which included a devotion, physical training, soccer skills training and games. The number of children grew each day until we finished the last day with 48. By the 3rd day of clinics, the local leaders were running the show (in spite of the lightning storm nearby). It was so powerful to watch the leaders plan the next day with their group of coaches and then execute the plan to perfection. They shared responsibilities throughout the two hour clinic and all the children were very engaged. We can’t wait to see what God does with this league in the near future.

 

Our crew also got to hike up to Kimi and Raul’s new “retreat lodge and farm” (fancy name for a 150 sq. ft. room with all kinds of planted vegetation and fruit overlooking the rain forest and mountains. While the hike was fairly straight up, the destination and its view made it all worth it.

 

For some of us, we have been to Shiroles multiple times so it is great to deepen old relationships, encourage othersand just spend time sharing God’s love. The time spent there is always renewing for us as well. For everyone, we witnessed one of the closest models of the Acts 2 church that a person can find - disciples making disciples that serve one another and their community while digging into God’s Word together. They serve the orphans, the widows, the elderly, the least, the last and the lost. They send people out to minister to those around Costa Rica and the world. Most of what they have is shared in common and there seems to be a deep trust in the Esperanza community. We jumped in with some manual labor, home visits with food and prayer, and great times of worship as a community of believers and friends.

 

Until next time…

IMG_0325.JPG
IMG_0357.JPG
IMG_0238.JPG

Comment