Costa Rican Hillsides

Editorial Note: One of our previously featured writers/missionaries, Will Schmit, sent us an update about his recent excursion to Costa Rica. Through Answering The Call, a mission organization based in Roanoke, Va., Schmit, along with other volunteers, helped locals repair hillsides that were damaged from excessive rains. This is what he had to say about his experiences in the Costa Rican rainforest:

Rainforest is a combination of two words that evoke a lot more imagery and power than either single word would on its own. After spending the longest three days of my life here in Costa Rica, I’m not sure which has the greater impact: The rain or the forest. It’s a good thing we’re here during the dry season when it only rains two hours a day, otherwise it could get messy.

We didn’t get much jungle training before we arrived, so we’re a bit unclear as to which snakes to avoid—I’d vote for all. We hadn’t’ even considered that phosphorescent blue frogs the size of your thumb are actually sworn enemies. And the cacophony of howler monkeys reminds us that we’re strangers in a strange land.

It’s true that even among missionaries one can find those who doubt God’s wisdom—why does lush crawling foliage need poison ivy? Fortunately God makes up for this mystery with plentiful and delicious mangoes.

Sun-up is 5 a.m. and sun-down is 6 p.m. We are doing landslide repair work on the formerly gravel road by scooping the downed coconut, avocado and banana trees and replanting them against the mountain bank. We are also constructing trenches and pipelines to a future pastor’s shelter that will be used as the center for international fellowship and Bible training. At the end of the 12-hour day, we, weary and mud-burdened laborers, come to God, in search of rest. But we realize the toil is worth it.

Spectacular 250-foot gum trees with their clinging vines loom above and palms that boast 20-foot fronds stretch across the sky. Sometimes as we walk in the midst of clouds, we catch a breakthrough view of the azure cove 2000 ft below. We anticipate what kind of impact the same view will have on the Sudanese Pastors who will be coming here soon.

Imagine coming from a war-torn, drought-stricken country where the last group of trees you saw was a cluster of 10 foot thorns.

Imagine stepping off the plane and into a secluded, tropical paradise that, until the clearing crew got there, was hidden from all eyes except those of God.

And the reality is that with each trench line we dig or each pipeline we run, we in turn serve an ultimate purpose of helping others reach out to remote Sudanese villagers who will be taught to walk with Jesus while facing the Islamic regime’s persecution. In thinking of those people, we are reminded of their hope when we think of the Bible story of the woman who said, "If I can just touch the hem of His garment, I’ll be healed." La Pura Vida!

If you’d like to get involved with Answering the Call, here is what’s on tap for the future. Visit our website for more details.

See Also

Upcoming Projects:

-Central America (Construction) June and July 2006

-Asia (Teaching) July 2006

-Ukraine (Youth Camp) July 2006

-India (Prayer & Ministry) July 2006

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