As I write this post today, it is the beginning of the 1st Global Impact Celebration (GIC) at our church, First Baptist Church of Troy, Alabama. It’s a big deal, a really big deal and I am so thankful it is happening! Over the past few years, Acts 1:8 has been the focus of our church – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” – and our pastor, Luke Lane, has been amazing as he has lead us with God’s direction to this point. Brother Luke’s heart is full of compassion for the lost and he has a huge desire to see his church family be a part of God’s army. My heart has certainly been impacted as a result of Acts 1:8 and as a result I have gone on 3 international mission trips in the past 3 years – Nicaragua, Mexico and most recently, my family and I went to Costa Rica.
It was such a blessing to serve alongside the people in the above picture – their hearts are amazing and I am encouraged by each and every one of them! It’s hard to put a mission trip into words… it’s one of those things, you just have to experience for yourself… to see the reality of poverty and the brokenness of this world, you just have to put yourself in the midst of it; and also to see missionaries serving sacrificially, is a humbling experience & I am so thankful to come alongside the amazing missionaries I have met thus far and serve with them!
There is always a way to serve, even if you don’t get on the plane and go!! You can begin by serving in your city, in your community, in your state, in your country and also to the ends of the earth! See those bracelets below? As a result of the Rainbow Loom and the overflow of bracelets at my house, I thought it would be great to take them to Costa Rica! Many kids (and parents) gave bracelets for us to hand out to the kids in Costa Rica! That opportunity, to just make Rainbow Loom bracelets, gave many families the chance to talk about missions, to pray for the poor, to pray for the hearts that would receive the bracelets and it allowed them to serve and to be a part of this mission trip! Thank you to everyone who sent bracelets – they were a big hit!!
The focus of this mission trip began with a vision God had given to Mrs. Leda (one of our Costa Rica Missionaries). Her desire was for us to blitz the community of Esparza in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, invite them to a “Christmas party,” and lay the groundwork for her local church to evangelize this community in the days, weeks, months & years to come. We sent boxes and boxes of gifts and supplies ahead of us, as well as packed in our luggage, to help make this Christmas party a hit! It is a blessing to see the joy and surprise of so many kids as they receive some of the simplest of gifts. However, our desire wasn’t for them to receive temporary contentment and joy over clothes, food, or toys…..our desire was to give them the greatest gift they could ever receive, the everlasting joy and contentment that only Christ Himself can give! Sure they had physical needs in the community of Esparza, and we used these physical needs to open the door to share with them about their overwhelming spiritual need. Esparza is a community where darkness reins, where drugs, alcohol, and prostitution are prevalent, where poverty beats you down from birth. Praise God He has defeated death, and this hope was what we went to share, to shine a light in a community that so desperately needed it. May God radically change the hearts and souls of the children and families of Esparza, may His light shine bright through the efforts of Jose and Leda and thier local church as they evangelize in this community!
In LOVE with the eyelashes on this little girl!!!
Below are 3 of 4 sisters who lived with the family where our party was hosted! They have had a difficult journey, but God has graciously placed them with a loving family who insisted on keeping them all together! This also brought Jose & Leda into their lives to love and care and pray for these girls! Our kids played with them for hours… forget the language barrier, just let a kid play!!! It was really cute hearing them try to say Drew’s name… we do not exactly roll the “R” the way they do, so it was a good laugh!
We served over 500 people ice cream (they got dessert first because it was melting!!), a warm meal and drink! They were so thankful and it is a humbling experience to see families and kids enjoy something as simple as a warm plate of chicken and rice!I had the best time photographing the beautiful faces of the kids that came to the party! Beautiful smiles and so much joy in each and every face!At the end of the party, each and every kid received a gift bag full of goodies along with some fruit and even some clothes and shoes! Such a simple act of love, brought so much joy to the hearts of these kids!Please pray with us as Jose and Leda and their local church continue to evangelize and minister to the community of Esparza.
In closing, I’d like to say again, it was a blessing to serve alongside those that were a part of the mission trip! Serving alongside church members and friends creates a bond like no other! It was also such a sweet time with my family! I pray that missions will continue to be in the heart of our kids and they will shine Jesus’ light wherever God may lead them!
As always, I love to end with a video…Click HERE to enjoy a recap of our mission trip! If God tugs at your heart to “go”, I encourage you to do it… be a part of His plan!! “Seize the opportunity and be a part of God’s dream….God’s plan is going to be carried out with or without us.” – Dr. Luke Lane
Blessings brothers, I am the son of the pastor of the Church of Esparza, for us was a pleasure and honor to have them with us and we hope you soon: D blessings!
Thankyou Candance this is a amazing blessing As they say a picture is worth a 1,000 words these pictures and video tell more then a that They share Leda & Jose’s love and mission in Costa Rica praising God for your message and for the people of your church who support with prayers love compassion and service