January will go down in history as one of the busiest months at the Nest so far to date. Packed with volunteers, chickens, mission teams, and children I will try my best to give you an after-action report.
Our missionary intern Charlotte Gribble from Australia has been wonderfully amazing, adapting well to the Nest jungle and so very helpful in every task she puts her hand to. She is paired with a young Bribri girl Ale, and together whether doing chores, bible classes, or projects, they are both a joy to have around. January has seen three different mission teams arrive and each one has brought a unique element with them.
Allow me to digress for a moment. Way back six years ago Karina and I came down here to Talamanca for our very first mission trip. Karina was the interpreter for the speaker, while I was struggling with the language barrier and trying to “ fit in” to this role of missionary. Me and the other gringos in my situation had minimal interaction with the Bribris other than handing out plates of food to them and I left feeling strangely out of touch with the experience. So fast forward to more recent times and our development of what a Nest short-term missions team would look like, and I was eager to create a more interactive environment for those visiting the Nest and meeting the Bribris for the first time. The following three stories illustrate perfectly an answer to that prayer.
Our first volunteer to visit this month was Maureen Kyle. Back home in Florida she runs a small laboratory and consultants clients on her blood analysis So she brought with her a microscope and other equipment and ran free blood tests for our staff and other folks from the community. Using a language app on her phone she was able to give real-time results and also brought supplements with her which she graciously handed out to our friends. The amazement in the eyes of the Bribri’s to see their blood cells on a microscopic level displayed on a large monitor was priceless. As she analyzed her findings she shared the wonder of God's creation and His unique handiwork in each person's life.
Mid-month found us hosting a youth camp at the Nest. Over 70 youth showed up for two days of activities and Bible lessons and 3 kids asked to receive the Lord. For this camp, we hosted a team of missionaries from our old church in Oakland California. Most of them have some martial arts skills and are Spartan Warriors, a community of cross-fit enthusiasts. So what they did was set up an obstacle course and self-defense classes for the youth. The kids loved and took to the learning with serious ambition, and had a lot of fun in the process. The team infused the stories from the life of David in the lessons, how he developed skills to defend the weak, and how God equips us with spiritual armor to withstand the evil in the world.
Lastly, we had Barb the baker. A long-time friend of the Nest from California came down here with many suitcases filled to the brim with baking supplies. She hosted a three-day baking class for the women of the community and our Nest staff and together they baked many delicious treats such as banana bread, cinnamon rolls, and sourdough loaves. I’m uncertain what the specific Bible lesson was but eh! Who can argue with freshly baked bread? Plus this skill can be added to our repertoire of enterprises as we seek to be more self-supporting.
These stories are about soldiers of Love coming to serve the Bribri with the talents and skills that God has gifted them with. They simply brought themselves and the joy of imparting it to others. At the end of the day, all we want is a genuine and authentic relationship with others, and having accomplished that at the Nest is a big win for everyone.
So as I conclude this longer-than-usual post I want to encourage and challenge those of you reading to consider coming down here to Costa Rica, and to experience a new kind of short-term mission experience. Talk to your church and others about us, and spread the word that God is blessing the ministry, reaching the lost, and doing great things for these wonderful Bribri indigenous people.
Together with God we have and will continue to do great things.
With love and gratitude