Some of you know that part of what we do is have interns, young people who have completed a Children at Risk School, come and work with us for 3 – 6 months at a time. In the last two years we have hosted 10 interns.
These special people have a way of getting inside our hearts and becoming like family to us. The hard part about it is we miss them when they are gone!
Right now we have a special girl with us, Aimee Griffin, who has come to help not only with the ministry, but also with a heart to help our family. She is one busy girl!
Aimee works at La Ola each day, is very active in our church, Iglesia Radical, cooks us dinner, helps keep our house straightened up, makes sure we get a date night and helps keep our family life and ministry running more smoothly.
Can you say BLESSING??? Yes, we are truly blessed. God knew what we needed more than we even did.
Aimee wrote a very touching Christmas reflection on her blog that I want to share with you. It gives you insight into what it means to be an intern here, what life looks like on a daily basis, some of the things our interns are learning and how their lives are forever changed through this experience.
She reflects on her year – coming to Costa Rica, taking the Children at Risk School and starting her internship here in Jaco.
Merry Christmas. I’ll let Aimee say the rest.
Reflection and a Merry Christmas from Jaco
I Just thought I would share another blog and give you all a reflection of my life!
It’s been almost 6 months since I left home. At times it all feels like a dream, sometimes a bad one, but for the most part a really awesome one.
There is so much to be thankful for and so much change in me. I have so much joy in my heart for what the Lord has done in me and where I am. I can’t believe Christmas is right around the corner… 4 days to be exact!
So much has happened it’s hard to explain in words just how I feel and just what is going on in my head. As I sit here tonight I just want to cry because I am not the same person I was 6 months ago.
6 months ago I lived in my own little world and everything was perfect – or if not I pretended it was. I didn’t want to face reality. I didn’t want help.
I was too proud to realize that I was going through the motions and slowing dying. I pretended I was ok and everything else around me was fine too. Honestly I was falling apart.
I was going no where – living my life without a purpose – until 6 months ago when I moved to Costa Rica and my world was shaken and turned upside down. All my comforts were pulled out from under my feet and everyone I knew was no longer with me.
I was stripped of all comforts and I had to fully rely on God and only Him for my strength to get me through.
When I applied for the Children At Risk school, had I fully known what it was going to be like I may not have done it. But because I went in blind-folded, knowing only that I wanted to work with children, I went and stepped out in faith.
As I would sit in class week after week and watch the videos and do the research I honestly felt like I was putting myself through torture.
Every week I would reflect on the week gone by and wonder, “Why I am here? Why am I putting myself through so much pain? Is it worth it? Is there a purpose behind all this?”
I knew God had called me to take the school so I never gave up. I started out strong and wanted to finish strong.
Through many talks and prayers with friends and leaders God gave me the strength to finsh stronger then I started. When I got done I finally knew why I had done the school.
I wanted to work with children and the harder the case the better. I moved to Jaco 2 days after graduation and, well, ministry started right away!
It took some time to adapt to a different life style. Living at a YWAM base for 3 months I had my schedule planned out for me, which was nice, but moving to Jaco I started real life where I needed to set my own schedule, or so I thought at least. I am not a schedule person, anyways. I go with the flow- that’s how I work and that is how it is here.
My life is all about relationships: building, loving, and just being a friend.
So now it has been almost 3 months of full time ministry. I have loved every minute of it. I never know what will happen! I never know how my day will start or end and that’s ok with me.
I am all about adventure and flexibility. It’s amazing me how even though I am not at all a leader, well, I have kinda had to step up and be one here in this ministry.
Questions are asked and many times no one but me is around to answer them. Living on the ministry property has been a blessing and I won’t trade it for anything.
I never know at what hour someone will call my name at the gate and want something. It’s not like, “Ok ministry is over at 6 pm sharp and starts at 2 pm.” No, ministry here is on-going.
Yes, ramp hours are 2-6, but that doesn’t mean anything when kids are at the gate at 1:15 or before. You can’t just turn them away and say, “It’s not 2 yet.” They have walked across a highway to get here or farther in some cases.
When I asked God to break my heart for what breaks His I didn’t know at first what I was asking or how it would feel. Let me tell you it’s painful, but so worth it.
When I asked God for more love for these children and youth He answered.
I never knew I could have so much love for all of them.
And funny as it may sound, the harder the case of the child or youth, those are the ones I am the closest with! When you ask God for something don’t be surprised when He answers your prayer and how He does.
Before coming here I never know I was interested in working with youth, but the more I do it the more I love it. It’s a challenge, but also a joy.
I live my life for the Lord and to serve others. Through just being a friend and helping people out, that brings me more joy then I could have ever imagined.
I feel like a mom to all of them. I can’t count the times I have fed all of the youth when they all come over for a Sunday afternoon or whenever and they tell me they are hungry. How can I refuse? And as grateful as they are for it, I won’t stop.
Today I sat in ramp ministry watching as the little boys played with each other with the nerf guns and the older ones were just chatting. 2 of the boys are youth that come regularly and are a part of my church and youth group here. They are my friends and we hang out a lot. Another one just comes around sometimes – not as often.
The 2 boys were telling the boy who doesn’t come around as often about me. They were saying how all they have to say is that they are hungry and I feed them.
One of the boys was over on Sunday eating lunch with a little group of kids. We made mini pizzas. It was fun to watch the creativity come out in each one! So, he was telling the other boys about it and just praising me to them!
It was just such a joy to me to know that they truly do appreciate all I do, so much so that they are willing to sit and talk about it to someone else.
Trust me doing this is a gift that can only come from God and I have often wondered why God chose me to do it? Somehow I can see a need and help them out when others might see the same thing and not do anything about it.
Everyday my heart continues to be broken for the needs that Jaco faces and the thought makes me never want to leave. I am thankful for the challenges God has placed in my life and for bringing me to this place.
I am thankful that He allowed me to go through all the pain and torture and brought me to my lowest so I can see the needs others face. Now I can no longer shut my eyes and pretend the world is perfect.
We live in a messed up place. The needs are never ending, but through Christ we can make a difference.
I am willing and thankful to be the hands and feet for Jesus, to leave my own selfish desires behind and focus on what really matters, which is people. All the things in life will pass and only what we do for Christ will count in the end.
Let’s be soul winners. Let’s stop standing around pretending that everything is great. People need help! Yea, we might have our own issues, but when we help others it seems our issues aren’t so bad.
We may not have the fancy things in life like the newest car or the iphone 4, but if you have a bed and a roof over your head you are blessed. Some people don’t have that.
If you have a drawer full of clothes, you are blessed. If you have parents that care for you, are there for you and will do anything for you – you are truly blessed.
Some kids have none of this.
They wander the streets at night hoping to find some little shelter out of the rain and as they sleep on the streets they find a pizza box cover out of the trash to put over their faces to stop some of the rain from hitting them.
They never know what they will eat or how they will survive or where they will sleep the next night, if they do at all.
They are scared, but because being scared is a form of weakness they don’t show it. Instead they harden themselves to the point where they have no feelings.
They want help but don’t want to ask because that is a sign of weakness. They have to be strong because they have no one else. They beg for their food and money.
It’s truly a sad issue we are faced with and then we sit and complain because we didn’t get the newest outfit or whatever it might be. It’s Christmas time and the normal thing to do is to make out our wishlist.
These kids’ only wish is for a home, a loving place where they don’t have to worry about what will happen next.
I know these are some deep topics but this is my life and what I face daily – children not getting to be children.
So as 2011 comes to a close, please during this Chirstmas season remember to pray for the children all over the world who won’t be getting a Christmas. Remember to especially pray for the children here in Jaco, the ones we work with daily.
They are some tough cases but nothing is impossible with God.
Please remember before you eat your Christmas meal to give thanks for it because there will be children who will not have the privilege of eating that day.
As you sit around with all your family remember to pray for the ones who won’t be doing that, the ones who have no family at all.
As you open your present, make sure to thank the giver and God for it because there will be children who will not be getting that opportunity.
I hope this gives you just an idea of what I have been thinking about and faced with day after day and what I am doing.
This ministry that I am helping with is like none other before. It’s unique and God has blessed me with the opportunity to help out and be of service for His kingdom.
He has given me so many friends to help out with and to just spill love on them everyday, even though I know they can’t give me anything in return.
I pray you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Interested in following along on Aimee’s adventure and helping her stay in Jaco longer? (Yes, please!) Join her facebook group.