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Trying on that “settled” feeling

Yesterday morning at sunrise we drove our little team down the bumpy road to catch their ride back to San Jose, and home to the States. We both of us, Karina and I, felt the depression of saying goodbye and coming down from the lively adventure and spirit-led talks from the last 3 days with them. We turned and headed back up the road, feeling the bumps and potholes in a new sort of way. Like “ good grief “! we’re there always this many, and why so painful on the poor SUV? We made our coffee then went back to bed.

After a little while, we cleaned up the place and fell into that household chore kind of trance. I think we were both feeling it without saying it, but a sense of “oh yeah this is sort of the life we’ve signed on to”. The bumpy roads, the muddy feet, the heat, and rain. Also the amazing views and being surrounded by the jungle and it’s native Indians. The whole package, some of it rough and some of it sweet. And the mix in between.

Now I know we’ve only been here less than 3 weeks, so it’s silly to think we got it all figured out. Far from it, but with just a little imagination and effort we’re beginning to get at least an idea of what life will be like.

Around noon we did something neither one of us have done together, which is drive to the rocky rivers edge, catch a boat ride across the river and hiked up into the Nest land on our own. On the way there we phoned Maria and asked permission, and got a big OK. But it was exciting walking just the two of us on a muddy little footpath back onto a place we’ve started becoming quite familiar with. It’s a weird feeling when you know a place pretty well, but still in a very foreign way. I chopped down a little tree with my new machete to make Karina a walking stick It was a true Tarzan and Jane thing. Haha. Then I chopped off a big broad leaf to make umbrella/ ponchos for us when it started raining, and then we REALLY looked the part.

Karina snagging a fresh cocoa pod and cracking it opened as we wandered down the trail. What’s next? Talking in monkey tones to each other and picking the nits off each other’s hair? Man oh man, what are we gonna look like in a decade. It ain’t gonna be no Prana or North Face commercial of a hippy couple wearing the latest travel clothes, that’s for sure. Anyways, I’m getting sidetracked on the image-conscious humor of it all. No, we are most aware of the necessity and usefulness of walking in humility. Not only in our dependence on God’s timing and His purpose but also in humility with our surroundings. We’re not here to own, judge, or take from anyone. We are guests here and as much as we want to love others and develop true friendship, we want to do so in low profile kind of way.

Talk softly, be kind and respectful. The BriBri people have a cultural scar from their interactions with outsiders. Mistreated and enslaved to labor, forgotten and marginalized, for them to trust others won’t come easy. Yes, those we’ve met have been incredibly open, kind and all-out loving towards us, whether Christian or not. But I know it will also take a lot on my part to unAmericanize myself. Not to put down Americans, being loud and proud of America is great, except I’m not in America am I? I’m in a new country and in that country's indigenous land. So I gotta be mindful of where I am and why I’m here. I look around at the setting of the Bambu base and imagine how I’ll be in a few years God willing. Teams of fresh faces arriving to serve Jesus on a mission trip. The Nest up and running, with Karina pouring her heart into seeing young ones growing in their love for God. Me hosting the teams, managing the base and feeding the chickens. It all seems so magical and far off.

And I’m old enough to know from experience that nothing comes easy, and things don’t look the same as you come upon them. It’ll have to be one baby step at a time and some missteps as we move along.

My heart is willing and my hands are open to whatever God sends. Either way, whether in blessing or trial, one thing is sure and true. Jesus walks before, behind, and with me every step of the way. And in the end, that’s more than good enough for me.


Author: James Beach, Co-founder


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