Since early 2015, both Brandon and I have felt the nudge, Ok lots of nudges, about the mission field. We’ve talked about it, prayed about it, cried about it. There’s just no way around it. We felt called. But the BIG questions were: where and what? We kept going back to maybe it’s just here. We are supposed to stay here and be used by God. Stay here and help in our own community. Stay here and be close to our families. Stay here and be comfortable.
But alas, after talking to any missionary that would give us the time of day and repeatedly asking them how they knew where to go, none of them could give us the magical answer we were hoping for. We began to take small steps by trying to go on a mission trip together for our 10 year anniversary. We were supposed to go with our church to Haiti, but for some reason that trip got cancelled. Randomly we ended up choosing to go to Costa Rica for some relaxation and fun instead. Before our trip, we had the pleasure of meeting with Rye and Becky Bell (missionaries in Jaco, Costa Rica from our home church) while they were in the states visiting. Even though we had been supporting the work the Bell's were doing in Costa Rica for nearly a year, we really did not know them very well. While talking with them, we found out we were on the same flight to Costa Rica. Long story short, we ended up going to Jaco for the first night to check things out. At this point we weren't even sure what this all meant and even after the visit we didn't have the overwhelming feeling that we were longing for. It was nice, but didn't see a clear place for us.
After our trip, we came back and began actively searching out missions and short term trips to take our oldest kids on. We also looked into a role stateside and attended the CAFO conference which is a huge advocate for Foster Care and Adoption. We became a Safe Family (short term foster care) and were still wrestling with "Is this what we should be doing?" We looked into going on another short term mission trip through a few different mission organizations, but nothing was working out. So I told Brandon "why don't we try Jaco again?" Something just kept nudging us about that area. Low and behold, the timing couldn't have been more perfect for flights and housing with the Bells. Everything just kept working for us to go there.
May 2016, we headed to Costa Rica...again. Our goal for this trip was to see if God has a specific call for us there. We didn't feel right about moving our family of 6 without a strong, clear purpose. So we continued in prayer. We even had a small prayer team praying big prayers for us. We had barely walked through the door of the Bell's house in CR, when Rye mentioned that the missionaries that direct the Christ-centered pregnancy centers there, announced the previous night that they would be heading back to the states at the end of the year. Say WHAT? Another sign we couldn't ignore.
We ended up visiting several different outreach opportunities and talking with a few different missionaries that live there, including the directors of the crisis pregnancy centers. The last day we were there we visited Centro Prenatal in Jaco, the crisis pregnancy center. It was obvious that God was moving in this ministry from the time we walked in. After seeing the center and how the operation worked we had some down time so we went to the beach to think. It was in this time that the Spirit seemed to say "This is it, This is what I have called you to. Will you obey?" Tears streaming down both our faces, we chose to live out the words of the old hymn...."I have decided to follow Jesus"....no matter the cost.
Once back in the States, the ins and outs of the process to become missionaries for Beautiful Feet International to be directors over Centro Prenatal Costa Rica began. The following couple of months were filled with meetings, paperwork and waiting. In early August we had our final meeting with the BFI board and were approved. It has been such a blessing to look back and see the hand of God at work through the past year and we are so excited to be a part of the redemptive story that God is writing for the women and families of Costa Rica.