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Even So, God is at Work!
These past months have not turned out as we had imagined they would. Many of our visitors were unable to come due to borders closing, mission trips were cancelled, ministries were prohibited to continue. Even so, God is at work in our lives and the lives of those around us. We want to share with you a little bit of what these past months have looked like, and introduce you to some of the people we have met.
Obed is a young man with a great smile and a bad reputation. He has a heart of gold with an addiction that has captured it. Obed would stop by our house every so often to ask for something to eat, and share his stories. He would tell us of other people in town who, as he would say, were more in need than he. Thanks to Obed, we now have relationships with Mercedes and Maria.
Mercedes and her partner fled from Nicaragua 6 months ago looking for a better life. They now live in a two room shack and are grateful to have their daily food. Mercedes just gave birth to her second child, Avid. Mercedes’ sister lives with them, she is able to help care for the family while Mercedes is recovering from a difficult delivery. Mercedes desires to grow in her faith and shares her joy in reading the Bible. Next week we plan to begin a Bible Study together.
Obed brought Maria over to meet us one day a few months ago. Maria shared with us that she can’t read any more, because her eyesight is too bad. She also shared how much she appreciates when Obed comes to read the Bible to her. Maria has been helping us clean to earn a little money. She hopes to be able to start raising chickens in order to have some regular income.
There is a beautiful custom in Costa Rica, they call it “Novenario”. Family, friends, and neighbors gather together to pray the rosary for nine days after a loved one has died. They pray for the soul of the deceased as well as for the family left behind. Fernanda, our next door neighbor, had her mother die in the midst of the pandemic due to other health issues. Because of the pandemic the usual large gathering was not possible, so we along with two other neighbor’s were the only few to be support to Fernanda. It was a blessed opportunity for us to be a part of this custom and grow in relationship with our neighbor.
We have been regularly packaging up bags of food, “diarios” as they are referred to here, to help those in need. According to the seasoned missionaries, there are usually people in need asking for help. The amount of need fluctuates according to when there is more or less work being offered in the area. The first time a family comes to our door, we make a point of visiting their home and learning their story.
We joined the Geerling family in repainting the benches outside of church, while waiting for the doors to be opened and Mass to return to Coopevaga once again. It is such a joy to be able to work together and learn from another missionary family!
Doraceli and family lived in a small house with a dirt floor and no bathroom. They would run over to her sister’s house when in need. Sometimes the little ones don’t make it all that way. Thanks to our missionary team here in Coopevaga and sponsors, they now have a place of their own to go!
We are blessed to have our own well that gives fresh, clean water directly into our house. We hear that the system others rely on in town is not always reliable. We are so happy to be able to share our water with others, when they don’t have any!
Finally, some of us are able to return to Mass! Along with much of the world, our churches closed the middle of March. It was a very quiet stretch of 3 1/2 months without gathering together. There are still many restrictions, but we are thankful the return of the Sacraments has begun.
The language continues to challenge us and stretch us. We know that learning the language is one of our top priorities at this time. If we want to really make friends, preach the Gospel, teach, play, eat…pretty much do anything, we need to know the language well. Some days are better than others, some days we want to give up, but we DON’T! Please keep us in your prayers!