Today’s blog post is from Kirstin Miller, one of our Global Ambassador’s in Costa Rica:
A few weeks ago, I returned from my two month return trip to Costa Rica. I stayed with the same host family as last year and worked in the same area called La Carpio (the largest and poorest slum in all of Central America). This time, I worked in CFCI’s medical clinic, assisting wherever I was needed. I took vitals, assisted with organization, pill counting, glucose tests, and translating. I also got to watch a number of operations including removing a bullet from somebody’s side, and burn tissue removal. This clinic has been in existence for over 20 years (thanks to Susi and Sarita, two women in their 70s who have both been missionaries in Costa Rica for about 50 years). God has always provided so faithfully for the clinic, whether with doctors, volunteers, or medications.
One amazing story of God’s provision is about medicine called Metformin that is used very frequently in the clinic. It is used to treat diabetes, and each patient needs about 200 pills per month. They have many diabetic patients (around 150 I believe) who use this medicine, which equates to around 30,000 pills per month! Susi, the long-term missionary who runs the clinic told me that they have never completely run out of it in their roughly 20 years of existence. This pill is always needed and God has faithfully kept their stock full. I was told this story one day after a random donor came in with a large bag of it, and I helped sort through it for expiration dates and packaging. God provides!
The entire middle month I was there, I translated for a married missionary couple of physical therapists, Matt and Trish. I loved working with them and we really turned the time with our patients into a great ministry! While Matt and Trish worked on them, I would read scripture, talk to the patients one on one about their lives, listen, counsel, encourage, and then we would always pray individually with each patient before they left. God provided amazing opportunities to counsel and pray with some people in deep emotional pain, as well as spontaneous house visits that resulted in miraculous healing.
One house visit was to a lady in Las Gradas, one of the deeper and poorest parts of the whole slum. She was extremely overweight and we went to treat her ankle because she could barely walk. Her body was in awful condition because of diabetes, nerve damage, wounds, and many other things. She was so thankful for the treatment, saying that no one had ever come to see her in her house before. Additionally, her baby grandson was very sick. We walked in to see the baby barely breathing with a very dazed look on his face. He had high fevers and a severe cough. While Matt worked on the overweight lady, Trish, who specializes in children’s physical therapy, was helping the baby do a few exercises to improve and deepen his breathing patterns, get rid of the junk in his respiratory system, and help exercise and strengthen a few muscles. We finished up their treatment, prayed for them each one on one, and left the house after hugs and thank yous. About two weeks later, Mariellos (the lady who leads our ministries in Las Gradas) told us that the baby was completely healed after we left. The baby had no more fevers or cough at all. That was a miracle of God because Trish’s treatment could only have helped a bit, but through prayer and God’s amazing faithfulness, we were told that the baby was completely healed after our house visit. Praise God!
God’s faithfulness was so evident throughout my entire trip! The clinic hours were every weekday morning from about 8-12, and then I’d work all afternoon in different ministries such as Bible clubs in different areas, or tutoring. I knew a majority of the kids from my trip last year and worked with some new ones this year as well. I love these kids, the people, and the culture with all of my heart! My work weeks were very full and so the time flew by. I was always doing something. This year there was more of a set schedule for me as an individual (last year I helped a lot of the groups of missionaries who came for a week at a time) so it felt like I did a lot more this year. It was awesome to build on the relationships that I started in 2015. I worked with and served a lot of the same people. Right before I left, I helped with a huge Bible club of 218 kids. I led my own group of 17 kids by myself. It was a little crazy at first but the obvious difference in their respect and love for me and other authority by the end of the week was awesome to experience. I loved those kids like they were my own. A few of them thought Spanish was my first language (which I took as a huge compliment!).
The weather for the week of this outside Bible club was also a huge miracle of God. These current months are rainy season in Costa Rica where it consistently rains every single day, usually for at least few hours every early afternoon. Most stations for the Bible club were outside because there were too many kids to host indoors. Therefore, the missionary group, their church at home, and others were all praying hard for no rain so that the club could go ahead. God answered our prayers and the four days that the Bible club was happening, it did not rain ONE time. That is plainly unheard of at this time of the year. This can only be explained by God. He held back the daily downpours for these four specific days, faithfully answering the many, many prayers for sunshine. There were days where the skies over the mountains would be very dark grey and we thought it would definitely rain, but it never came down. Also, if I remember correctly, the daily rain continued the day after club ended. God is so faithful!!
Goodbyes are so hard for me! The goodbyes to the kids, the volunteers, and the very long term missionaries that I had the privilege of working with were so heart wrenching. I’m not sure when I’ll be back this time because at the moment, I’m pretty decided on finishing up school and working in the summers to pay it off so that I’ll have more freedom to possibly be a longer term missionary after I graduate with my nursing degree, but we’ll see. I’m willing to go wherever God leads me, and I’m excited to find out where that will be.