of my favorite Bible verses is Proverbs 16:9 "In his heart a
man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps". This
is so true! When I decided to be a missionary I had no idea what would
happen to me.
A whole series of events, surely led by God, allowed me to choose
Costa Rica as my destination for the year 2001. When I applied for
this position I had some expectations, but none of them came true.
Everything turned out to be so different. I experienced a new environment,
a new church, a new culture. Everything was new to me. I felt lonely
and missed my home and my friends. But as time passed by I found a
home in UNADECA. I found new friends and most of all I found Jesus.
My family and friends did not approve my decision to leave everything
and everybody behind, but the words of Matthew 19:29 were always
on my mind. The Lord said that "Everyone who has left houses
or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields
for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit
eternal life." These words were my strength and my comfort
because I knew that I would receive many blessings during this year.
One of these
blessings was the full understanding of the power of prayer and
its importance for my life. I learned how to depend on God every
day and every hour. I learned to go to a place with Him and come
back with Him. I learned in every single step I must ask for His
guidance and protection. Every decision must be made on my knees
and God will provide an answer that will be perfect for my life
because He knows what is best for me.
I am happy I stayed a whole year, because I got closer to God. I
started prioritizing and studying the bible and the spirit of prophecy
daily. I prayed more. I can see the difference in my life.
What made me change my lifestyle? People in Costa Rica have a distinct
way to express their love of God. They are not afraid of talking
about their Savior, they are not embarrassed about their God. Part
of the daily routine in UNADECA is to get up at 4 or 5 a.m. to pray.
Students and teachers meet in groups and pray. In the beginning
I thought they were crazy but soon I realized the importance of
prayer, and no matter what time it is or when you do it, you just
have to do it. I stopped calling them crazy and started admiring
them and wished to be like them. The next step was very obvious
to me, I just had to start praying, too.
Going to church there is a blessing. Most of the churches are rented
places and the facilities are not very comfortable. Some of them
don't have a piano or any instrument at all. They lack so many things.
Some of the buildings are falling apart. But you know what? People
are not sad, people don't complain, people don't feel frustrated
or embarrassed. People are very happy with big smiles on their faces
welcoming you every Sabbath in church. They are happy when they
sing, even if they do it out of tune. They are happy because they
are praising their Lord. I really admire people in Costa Rica. Many
students have financial problems. Others have other kinds of problems,
but they are always happy and they greet you with a big warming
smile on their faces. They trust in God!
I have learned, just like Paul said "to be content whatever
the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what
it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content
in any and every situation. I can do everything through him who
gives me strength." (Phi. 4:11-12)
I wish to thank God for the opportunity of being a missionary in
Costa Rica. It was a great experience. I have a strong wish to continue
the work I started there, so maybe I'll go back!
Better to Give Than to Receive
recently returned from a year-long mission trip to Libertador San
Martin, Argentina, where I taught nursing, English and music at the
Universidad Adventista del Plata. This was my second mission trip;
the first was a short weekend trip to Mexico in 1999.
At a young age, I promised God Id work for Him, and I dreamed
of doing mission work overseas. I felt that mission work was something
you did somewhere elsein a different place than where you lived.
When I first thought of going back to Argentina, where I was born
and where my family still lives, I wondered if it was too easy or
"comfortable." I wanted to go somewhere more exotic...but
God wanted me in Argentina.
My job was teachinga variety of subjects, in a variety of places.
When I first arrived, my teaching schedule was light, so I was sent
out into the community to teach first aid and CPR to different groups,
such as fire fighters, police officers, teachers, Pathfinders and
high school students. I also went to an Adventist hospital, where
I was able to teach nurses about neonatal (newborn) assessment, which
is my specialty. But my favorite job was acting as nurse and chaperone
on high school and college camping trips! At the University, I divided
my teaching time between the nursing program and the English department,
and occasionally taught piano and music theory.
Besides my teaching responsibilities, I was given the opportunity
to minister to non-Adventist students, through a special Sabbath School
program. I helped coordinate events, such as a camping trip and a
singing group to the local hospital and got the young people involved.
We would fellowship and sing together on Sabbath afternoons. There
were about 30 students who attended the Sabbath School, and we became
a very close-knit group. As a result of this ministry, two people
I was also involved in presenting a monthly praise church for high
school students, with 300 to 500 in attendance. It was so amazing
to see the results of our ministry. Shortly after I arrived, the University
started a small group ministry, and I was the leader for one of the
groups. During the short time I was there, the ministry grew to include
While in Argentina, I experienced a change in attitude toward life.
The experience helped me to refocus and simplify my life. I realized
that I work not only for money, but more importantly, for a higher
purposeto preach the love of Christ through my actions. It was
a win-win situation. Not only was I able to help others, I was also
blessed through the giving of my time and energy.
A year ago, I was curious to see if I could really do ministry on
a full-time basis. Now, I know that I can, and that I want to continue.
The location doesnt matter. Its up to God to send me where
He wishes, and if its not overseas, I will minister right here.
It is truly better to give than to receive. In giving, you rise above
your own needs, and in return, you are blessed! In Argentina, I received
much more than I gave...and was humbled.
continues to be involved in music ministry at Vallejo Drive Church.
She is currently playing piano in the Childrens Sabbath School
Division. She encourages everyone to find a way to share Gods
lovewhether it be close to home or overseas. "It will change
your life...if you let it."