Friday, April 5, 2013

Solo travels and changed perspectives

Welcome to the Christian Surfers property in Jacó, Puntarenas, Costa Rica where my perspective on life totally took a 180. Before I left for Costa Rica I knew that God would change my heart in the biggest way. I think it can be easy sometimes for people to go to places like Nicaragua or even Costa Rica and miss the fact that behind the mask of tourism, fancy restaurants and street vendors that there are families hurting, struggling day to day. In Jacó I met Hannah Fletcher, her family and a myriad of different extranjeros (foreigners from the U.S.) who have given up the comfort of life in the U.S. to serve others  and share the gospel. 

Hannah has now lived in Jacó for 10 years, she went down there when she was my age and hasn't left since. It was amazing to see what her working alongside ministries in Jacó to build up the youth of Jacó in the name of Christ. Currently they are working on a project to help young girls in prostitution by identifying their spiritual gifts and encourage them to use these gifts in alternative options for work and life. To denounce their lives in prostitution and live a life where they have self-worth and respect for their bodies. 

I have noticed prostitution in Nicaragua but not to extent that there is in Costa Rica. On the bus ride down to Jacó I sat next girl who was 21 and had a 3 yr. old girl. She was so nice and we had good conversation all the way down...she made me laugh because she told her daughter that I couldn't speak Spanish but really I just couldn't understand the Costa Rican accent! They sound Italian. She sensed my preoccupations of where I was going, I had no phone to call Hannah and no real direction of where I was staying. She offered to let me use the phone of her daughter's babysitter once we got into town. I accepted but thought it was odd that she was dropping her daughter off at a sitter because she had things to do at 8pm at night. We got to the house, called Hannah and walked to the place where I was being picked up. The girl waited with me and I ask her if she had a job there in Jacó her reply was "más o menos" It was at that moment that I realized that the sweet girl that helped me navigate was a victim of the prostitution industry. 

This experience alone made me decide that in whatever I end up doing in the future needs to be done for the glory of God, to serve and love people who believe they have no existence, that have no self-worth. Can you imagine how different your life would be if your family sold you into prostitution? Or if you were "just another mouth to feed?" The experiences that I have while being in Central America is that my life is not about the amount of money I make or the career that I have, for me it's about glorifying God who created me, to use the gifts and passions He's given me to help others. 

One thing that I love most about working for Soccer Without Borders is that I get to work with the youngest group of girls who are less likely to have been exposed to these sorts of discriminations. I try my best to not be naive, there are definitely cases of unimaginable things happening to very young girls here but my focus is always to encourage my girls and to love on them, so that they know they always have a place of refuge at Soccer Without Borders and it's fun! 

The changed perspective that I have is that my mind is set on how everything can be turned outwards to help others instead of inwards to help ourselves. I want to thank everyone who has helped me love and encourage others! Two and 1/2 more months of Nica life, although I believe God has many more years down here planned for me!