The literal meaning behind the two words Costa Rica (Rich Coast) conjours images of tropical lushness, extensive beaches, and luxurious foods that tantalize the palate. Lest I negate the truth, Costa Rica does offer those very facets. And while we have taken the occasional weekend (for R&R) that allows us to indulge in those facets, our daily life is not centered around them.
Being called to something beyond what I ever expected is, in and of itself, an incredible blessing. I can certainly relate to King David when he said in 1 Chronicles 29:14: "But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you?" Paradoxically, I find myself in the middle of what I'll call hard. Now, I know that hard does not equal wrong. I also know that hard does not equal bad. Hard does, however tempt me to throw in the towel and head "home". And I do know, as well, that hard is real; hard is not easy; and hard does bring stress.
In pre-field training we were given a stress inventory entitled "The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale". On that scale, there are a number of events listed that have been identified as stressors. For each stressor the test-taker can list the number of times each event has been experienced in the past 12 months and multiply that number by the stress value assigned to the stressor. Once totaled, the sum of those stressors provides a number that assesses your current stress level. In training we were told that the average missionary falls between 600-900 points. Having just completed the assessment, I have found my stress level to be at 937. Severe stress is identified as having a point value of 300 or more. Hard, indeed!
I am not asking you to feel sorry for me. I am not asking you to understand. I am simply sharing the current reality of the life to which we've been called. Being in the middle of hard, is...well...hard. This endeavor is no vacation BUT it is good!
Ants in the Sugar Bowl
by Elizabeth Givens
by Elizabeth Givens
"So send I you
To ants in the sugar bowl,
To things that fly, creep and crawl into the house,
To uncertain water, sporadic electricity.
To long hours, sweltering heat, exhausting days,
To uncomfortable vehicles, crowded jeeps, smelly buses.
To noisy, early mornings,
To rice, rice and more rice.
To poverty you didn't believe existed,
To masses of people like you have never seen,
To know and work with people who have never known comfort,
So send I you, and I expect you to adjust.
So send I you
To people who will give to you from their poverty,
To friends who will embarrass you with their generosity,
To pastors who will entertain you from their lack, with beauty,
To hungry, receptive, questioning people who want to know God,
To study, to teach, to learn from your study and teaching,
To prove your own motives, values and beliefs,
To learn about yourself and the culture that has reared you,
To know God and to understand more deeply dependence upon Him,
So send I you.
Are you going? I'll go with you all the way."
Yes, I find myself in the middle of hard. And hard is just where I'm supposed to be!