Unpacking Costa Rica: Days 6 & 7


Well friends, although it is bittersweet to type up my recaps about our last two days in Costa, it is also hopefully just the beginning of something beautiful. Our missions team met for our debriefing meeting last week, and it was so strange to think we’ve only been home for two months. It feels like years and years ago I was waking up to my rooster friend, dousing myself in bug spray, and heading out the door for breakfast with the family we had formed that week. I am forever changed because of Costa Rica, the people I met there and the way they opened my heart and my eyes to a whole new realm of what this life is. I am so thankful…so thankful. I miss Costa Rica every single day and I pray I will return again soon, until then my friends. Pura vida!! 


August 3, 2018- Day 6 – Evening


I don’t want to leave here tomorrow, I love it here SO much!! And thanks be to God who has softened my heart through His goodness and mercy tonight once again. God is so good, and I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that I can trust it into God’s good hands, which are able to provide exceedingly abundantly more than I could ever dream of. Help me to trust You with an unconditional love Father, for Your ways are above my ways, and Your thoughts are above my thoughts. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS TRIP!!! For the people, you have placed in my life, and the change you have made in my heart. Help me to give into Your hands all of my doubts and my fear. Let me always seek Your first and keep You first, above all else! For You make my heart full and joyful Lord. Thank you for an amazingggg, incredible ZIP-LINING adventure through the rain forest today!! Ahh!! Lord, let me never forget this trip, not a single moment. God, let my heart just be totally transformed by Your love, lead me by Your Holy Spirit, and Lord, let me to live for You; to do Your work, and to make You known. I am in awe, and SO abundantly thankful for all that You have done, and continue to do in my life and in my heart Lord. Lead me, let me be Your hands and feet, to serve You and serve others, and do all things to the glory and honor of God. Amen!


Thankful for:

Zip-lining!!

Feeling better

Our team!

God’s unfailing love

A transformed heart

Costa Rica

LIFE!!!


Thoughts & Reflections on Day 6


This day was so much fun, but also so bittersweet. It was our last full day in Costa Rica and we left Los Chiles early to drive to La Fortuna, which is a bigger tourist area, where we were staying for our last night. The drive was long, but it was beautiful, I never minded any of the drives in Costa Rica, because I was just so in awe of the beautiful scenery all around me. When we got to La Fortuna we drove through the city until we got to a BEAUTIFUL resort where we were staying that night. It was a very strange feeling to be staying somewhere like that after the week we had, and it just totally shifted my whole perspective of life, and culture, and travel. If we had stayed there the first night, I would have thought it was just a nice resort, cool. But after meeting the students in the English class, many of which come to La Fortuna to work in the tourism industry, I wondered how many people there may have been from Los Chiles; I wondered about their stories, their roots, and about who they were as people. As I looked around at all the other tourist and visitors in the lobby, I felt so blessed and honored to have seen Costa Rica the way I got to experience it, and not just for vacation. I felt so honored to have met the people, to have had meals made with love cooked for me by their families, to have played soccer with them, laugh with them, work beside them, talk with them, and worship with them. I felt so incredibly blessed to have seen Costa Rica in a way that many people perhaps will not ever have the chance too. God is so good! Once we got into our rooms, we all broke off for adventures excursions! Some went to a coffee and chocolate tour, where they learned the process of making coffee and chocolate from start to finish, and even got to make some themselves (which was pretty good haha), others went on an ATV tour through the mountains and countryside, and I went zip-lining with my friend Wally, down a giant mountain next to a volcano over the rain forest 800 billion feet below me….IT’S FINE. Totally normal, casual things. Jk I was freaking out the whole time, but IT WAS AMAZINGGG!!! And I can’t believe that I did it. It was the most unreal experience ever, the views were surreal, and the experience itself was probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life. Afterwards, we all came back and freshened up for our last big, family dinner together. I did a little exploring, picture taking, and shopping around the resort beforehand. There was a live singer at dinner who was like a one-man-band, he was playing like 8 different instruments, and singing, and killin’ it lol As we all sat around our giant mass of tables pushed together, everyone talking about their adventures from the day, and favorite memories from the trip, it was like a scene out of a movie. I paused for a second to look around at the table, at all the smiling faces of the people who had come to mean so much to me, I wondered how their lives would be different after this, where they would go, what they would do. My heart smiled so big that night, I’ll never forget that moment. Afterwards we all headed off to bed, and I fell asleep with a full and grateful heart, for the amazing experience I had been given. Thank you Lord <3


August 4, 2018- Day 7


Today we head home. There is not a single piece of me that wants to leave this place, I have never felt so at home and at peace as I have this past week. There are no words to describe how the people here welcomed me into their lives, how quickly I made friendships that I pray will last forever. I am just so incredibly thankful for this entire experience and every heart I met along the way. I am especially thankful that I got to know all of them so well. I pray that You would just help me seek You SO hard, and I thank you for softening my heart to Your presence and allowing me to spend serious time worshipping and praising you last night Father. I am just so grateful for this trip Lord, and everything that you have done in my heart. I do not know what the future holds for me Lord, but You do, and You are good. You are for me, the Author and Perfector of faith Lord Jesus. Lord I praise You, and I thank You for all that You do in my life, and in the lives of all your children Lord. Thank you for keeping us healthy and safe in Costa Rica, and please let us continue to be healthy, and grant us safe travels back home. Lord, please don’t let this experience be forgotten, but let it affect our hearts and live on in our lives, as we move forward towards the ultimate goal of eternal life in You Christ Jesus. In Your name I pray, Amen.


Thoughts & Reflections on Day7

I was so sad to leave, I’m still sad some days. I have a deep longing in my heart to be there again, and I mourn the end of that experience a lot. There is something about Costa Rica, about the people, about the culture that is so magical, so unexplainable, so unique. I will always treasure and cherish that while week, and everyone in it, in my heart. There is a special little piece of me that will forever belong to Costa Rica now, and I will never see the world with the same set of eyes, or the same heart because of it. How grateful I am for that. How blessed to have been given this opportunity, how unexplainably thankful I am to God for what He did in my heart there, and what He continues to do. Friends, if I can tell you one thing I really took away from this experience, it’s love. I know that sounds so cheesy and cliché, but it’s true. I don’t mean sappy movie love, no, I mean the love that Jesus Christ showed us; the love we are meant to give to one another. This type of love involves caring deeply for others, it involves slowing down, taking time out of our busy lives, to sit and listen to another’s story, struggles, and joys. This type of love is what I picture when I think of how God sees us; imperfect, and yet, radiant in His eyes. Knowing someone’s story, sitting in their dining room, washing dishes in their sink, drinking coffee from the mug that has seen many early mornings, and many long days, this is love. Seeing a dad who works all day long in the hot sun, and still comes home with a smile and laughter for his family at night; this is love. Joking and laughing with each other, and breaking through the barriers of language, culture, and race; this is love. Letting others go before you even though you are tired and hungry, this is love. Going out of your way for a friend, this is love. Calling your grandma just to say hi, sitting on the porch for hours, just watching the rain, and just being…this is love. In the busyness of my life, how quickly I can forget these precious moments, and how much they truly mean. How fast I can be to speed out of my dad’s house, instead of taking 10 minutes to play soccer in the front yard with my sister. How frustrated I can get in traffic, instead of remembering what a blessing and a privilege it is to have my own car. I am always in a rush it seems, but for what? On an invisible timeline that society created. I must remind myself to breathe. This is life. Right now. Today. It’s happening all around me. It’s not happening in six-months, or when I move, or when I get married, or when I find my dream job; no, it’s happening right now. And while all those things are exciting, and valid, and important; perhaps sometimes we all miss the point. What an amazing privilege it is just to be alive, to be human, to see the sun rise through the trees in the morning, to be in awe of the fog that hovers over the lake, to delight in fresh fruit, to cherish the sound of little one’s laugh, to simply be. Sometimes I forget that I am not here to accomplish the world, I couldn’t even if I tried lol God was God before I got here, and He’ll still be God when I’m gone. But what He gave me in-between is this, and it is beautiful, and I do not say thank you enough. So, let’s start, right now, today. To say thank you, to slow down, to care for each other, to build each other up, to listen more, to breathe in more, to remember God’s blessings each and every day, to love Him, and to love each other, like He loves us. Costa Rica, I owe you so many thank yous, I don’t know if my words will every quite be enough, but luckily you gave me two words that mean just about everything, and they seem to sum it up pretty well lol so, until we meet again…Pura Vida my friends < 3


Always,

Nicole


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