Two full days on the ground, and the Bambu base campsite. About a hundred feet off the river Tulire. The night sounds coming from across the river really put me in my place. Strange monkey birds and insect sounds. The thick jungle mist clinging to the deep greens of impenetrable vegetation
The acquisition of this property is getting a wee bit complicated, as it depends on good faith and no rights whatsoever on the land. Indian land cannot be sold to foreigners, and I will remain one here forever, even as I consider the permanence of the work here, and my own instinct to want to have, hold, and own something for security of the future. All that is on a free wing and it feels unsettling. It causes me to weigh my values, and question my pride my ego and my own mortality.
All be it apart from those big questions, it does have a lure of pioneering excitement. The vast difference between this and the life I have in California, it seems like the leap I’ve been needing and desperately wanting to take for a long time. I sense the risk and think about the gravestones of men who wished they’d risked more in life instead of selling out to the easy life. And so it’s all facing me now.
Add to that the obvious reason and purpose for being here as a missionary and on a venture for God, and the faith question just naturally answers itself.
Still however is the question of financially supporting my family. I work to secure financial freedom ( which ends up more like slavery when I calculate all the costs of that freedom). The work here will require us to ask for funds. Same as anywhere else, money is a necessity in order to make transactions, without it those actions are only ideas. I hold a fragile and tense entitled resentment in my relationship with Karina, that I as the sole breadwinner of our family, need to see her actually bring in her share of the finances.
My responsibility in this is that I need to transition my capabilities to fund our life ( as I have been doing through my career) into seeking God and asking others to support the mission of the Nest. And as she has shared with me, I too have no idea what we’re doing in those regards. We’re both infant children. We’re both scared and unpracticed at this. Even in this at least we are united. Those resentments do not serve me in any fashion in moving us forward into this calling.
So now what? We need a plan, we need faith. We need other people. And I need to gain some level of independence down here, starting with mastering the basics of a new language.
Concerning investing my Flagler retirement fund into the base camp. It seems like it’s a good way of establishing a foothold in the work, a level of commitment that will at least get things started, and a way of having somewhere to call a home base. The concept of renovating it into a missionary center with a men/women dorms and common space feels like a whole secondary mission on its own. A place to bring in workers and provide a jumping-off point before setting across the river and upward and onward into the deeper mountain jungles to reach more people. I’ve heard of these types of missionary endeavors in books and stories growing up but never thought I’d be here. Not in a million years. My personal experience as a missionary kid saw my parents in urban settings, with 1st world challenges. This is something altogether quite different.
Karina has definitely been working hard down here. Contributing her strengths and working her program on a whole new level. I’ve been an obstacle at times and in other ways a discouragement to her calling and passion. My own wants and needs have blinded me and prevented me from appreciating and acknowledging her relationship-building pursuits with the women down here. Like a man child, crying for attention and understanding of my sacrifices while not trying to understand hers. Up until now, it’s been “ her” thing down in Costa Rica and “ my” thing in California. If this is gonna happen it’s gonna take me to close that disconnect and join her down here.
How to do that remains a scary mystery to me at this point and I guess a lot more prayer is in order in the near future for me. In regards to my own spiritual faith journey with Jesus, boy do I feel completely unprepared for this. Me a missionary? Are you freaking kidding me? My concepts of God and missionary life will need to take a seismic shift if I’m to accept and see myself worthy of the missionary label. Humbled by self-acknowledged incompetence doesn’t feel like the right paradigm. A total dependence on God to do for me what I cannot do for myself seems more appropriate in this situation. Asking others for help instead of going it alone, flies in the face of how I’ve lived my entire adult life. That too will take a transformation of which I cannot simply “will” into existence.
Karina has done a lot of the groundwork. She’s been forming the vision, asking for funds and help, building the network of native people and endearing herself to the graces and good nature of all those concerned. She’s been transferring her vision onto others and sharing the flame that God lit in her a couple of years ago. I see her. I believe in her. And it’s obvious I’m not the only one, as I’ve witnessed first hand now the troops of folks down here that have given generously of their own possessions, be it car loans, land, time, food, and other things.
Karina’s been seeking God as well most of all. I watch her lean on and learn the Bible, seeking in prayer and deepening her own relationship with Jesus. I have to admit that I both admire that and it scares me into facing my own anemic relationship with the blood of Christ and what that means for me in empowering my thoughts, motives, and actions. I feel I’m doing what I can with what I got and have to trust that more will be revealed as I walk along.
Author: James Beach, Co-Founder