Morning Prayer: Father, speak life into any barren agendas I have, that they might bring forth pleasing fruit. I realize I can do the right thing for the wrong reasons. Purify my infected motives. Cleanse me of calculated kindness. Instruct me in integrity. Amen.
Morning Scripture: Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. – Romans 12:9-13
February 9, 2020
Welcome to today’s post. I was looking up today. This is what I saw. The shoe and a bright reflection.
So, this morning, as I was looking up, I see this bright light. I know it’s the suns reflection on the razor wire, but I immediately know that I have not seen this before. Is it a sign? Does God want me to recognize something He has put before me? What is the significance of me seeing this light, right here and right now?
The sun moved. The reflection disappeared. Nope, no idea what that meant.
This is how life is. Often, right as we think we have something figured out, something changes our perspective and what we thought we knew no longer makes since.
Being flawed humans, we tend to be shifting shadows. We have doubts. We give God control and then we take it back. We spend massive amounts of time reading the Bible. We study His Word. We meditate on it. We pray intently and when we are too weak to pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Praise God, that His Word does not change; and it is as true today as it was at the beginning and will be the same until the end. The end being when He says so.
So until God tells us to continue in another location, Jamie and I will strive to be useful to Him as He directs our path each day.
Welcome to today’s post. Today, I want to share with you one of the ‘other’ things Jamie is doing in Costa Rica.
As many of you know, Jamie has been working hard to become fluent in Spanish. Most missionaries spend the first year of their ministry in language school. Some missionaries have learned Spanish either as a child or young adult. Being an “older” adult, it’s harder to learn a new language.
A year of emergence into Spanish on a campus outside the United States runs into the thousands of dollars. Many include living with a local family. Many missionaries have a sending organization that cover this cost.
Jamie and I (The Journey Of2) are a 501(c)3 non-profit. We were not sent by were ordained but we do not belong to an organization. We were sent by God. We go where He sends us and we serve as He directs.
Jamie and I did not have the financial ability nor the time to emerge even one of us in such a course.
When we moved to Honduras, we began serving the community immediately. While not knowing Spanish was a hinderance, we were able to be effective. First and foremost because God was doing the work. Second, because many people on the island spoke English. Third, because Jamie was teaching English.
Every teacher of a second language knows that you need to use the language you are teaching. Therefore, during all the years in Honduras, speaking Spanish while it would be great, was not as much of a priority.
We did seek out Spanish teachers and Jamie took a variety of classes with various teachers on the island. However, we were not able to connect with any teachers actually trained in teaching Spanish as a second language.
Even if we both knew Spanish, we would have still used an interpreter, such as we did with Sabino and Hector as a way of helping them (locals) financially.
Plus, as in most ministries, our long-term goal was to eventually turn things over to the locals; leaving a sustainable ministry when God called us to continue our journey.
Once, while living in Roatan, we were able to send Jamie to language school for one month in Costa Rica at the cost of $1,100. It was an intense course that put Jamie under a lot of stress. However, it gave her a foundation to start with.
Now that we are in Costa Rica, English is not common. We immediately started looking for Spanish teachers. Here, most Costa Ricans (they call themselves Ticos) only speak Spanish, but they want to learn English.
Therefore, Jamie spent many very difficult hours earning her TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate.
A few months ago, Jamie stumbled across an on-line course where you have private lessons with in a live-chat format. It’s called Baselang. For $147 a month you can have unlimited classes each month. The classes are half hour each. Jamie strives to take an hour and a half to two hours a day.
We are active in the service of the Lord, so classes must be taken as time allows.
This is working. She has learned so much but stills has a lone way to go before being considered fluent.
Pray that at some point (hopefully sooner than later) it will all click together for Jamie and she will be fluent in Spanish.
We have no doubt that this will enhance her ability to build Christ-like relationships with the people we serve.
I will share the story of my efforts to learn Spanish in a future post. Know that I am trying.
Ronald L. McDonald
Welcome to today’s post. Today, I am continuing to share the events of last week in the Red Zone.
In the previous post I shared about the drug dealer. Today I want to share an event that involved some RZ ladies, Jamie, Michelle and the Red Cross.
At Casa Esperanza we have several regular, occasional and rare attenders. There are always a few first timers and a number of ladies that only visit once.
This past week we had a one-time visitor that only God knows if we’ll see again.
The event began about thirty minutes after we had opened. I had already been to the bakery and brought back the nine baguettes, which Jamie was slicing in preparation for serving.
I was at the door letting in women as they arrived. I looked out and saw a women standing in the street about five feet off the curb. She looked to be on the verge of crying, and I could tell she was debating whether to come in our not.
I deal with this all the time. Some are not sure they will be allowed in. Some are uncomfortable coming close to an old gringo. Some debating whether they want to come in, and some are obviously in a spiritual battle. Casa Esperanza is filled with angels; not to mention the very tall, very large one that always stands behind me.
I opened the door and stepped outside and to the right of the fully open door, giving her the full opening. She limped through the door as quickly as she could, bursting into tears as she sat done on one of the lounge chairs.
I immediately looked into the kitchen way in the back of the building, making eye contact with Jamie. She’s seen my look many times and hurried out. Michelle and one of the RZ ladies also saw my look and rushed over to the lady.
The lady is in the last stage of ovarian cancer. She had paperwork proving she was terminal. She was in terrible pain because she had no medicine.
Casa Esperanza is not able to provide this type of assistance. From time to time women (and occasionally men) will show up at our door in a desperate attempt for any kind of help.
One of the other RZ ladies was on the phone to the Red Cross. Here in Costa Rica, the Red Cross is the ambulance service. When they learned we were in the Red Zone, they absolutely refused to come and hung up.
A second call was made, the RZ lady pleaded with the Red Cross and told them that Casa Esperanza was a gringo organization. She gave the phone to Michelle in hopes that Michelle could convince them. They said okay but did not come.
A third call was made. Michelle called and was very insistent. I stepped over and told Michelle she should tell them that if the lady dies, we would lay her in the street and tell everyone the Red Cross left her there. I would not call myself a compassionate person, but a terminally ill person should be supplied with pain medication with little or no cost.
This time they promised to come. One of the other RZ ladies (who also has cancer) gave the lady a pill that she had. After laying hands on and praying for the lady, Jamie stood out in the street to prevent anyone from parking in front of CE, and to flag down the Red Cross when she saw them coming.
Michelle continue to hold the lady’s hand, praying with and for her; and giving her words of encouragement.
Praise God, the Red Cross came. The medic was very kind and gentle. After a quick exam (mainly of the paperwork) they loaded her in the ambulance and headed for the public hospital.
Here in Costa Rica the health care system may be painfully slow and limited for street people, but they do provide a fair level of emergency care.
We may never see this lady again. Our hope is that she, at the least, is provided something for her physical pain.
One thing I am sure of, all the ladies, and many people outside, witnessed Jesus in the love and compassion that Jamie and Michelle shared that day.
Ronald L. McDonald