When I was asked to write this blog, about experiencing God’s love on this outreach, I just laughed. I would consider myself the least suitable to write about that topic. God’s love has been a challenge for me for as long as I can remember. I’ve been waiting, praying and crying, frustrated for an experience. You know, The One Experience that forever will convince you that you know, that you know, that you know in your heart that God loves you. (If you’ve never heard about this love, you probably have not done a DTS. You should! Apply today!)
What if God’s love was never meant to be a “Once In A Lifetime Experience”? What if it is an everlasting fact, a gift you can choose to receive? The idea of choosing was the most profound thing I learned in the lecture phase of my DTS. Faith, love, hope, worship… All the sweet Jesus things – it’s a choice! You choose to believe. You choose to love and be loved. You choose to see the future as bright. You choose to live a worshiping lifestyle. It’s a choice.
But this was not supposed to be a summary of lecture phase. How have I experienced God’s love on our outreach to Costa Rica? If it’s only about feelings, I’ll say barely at all. If it’s about facts, I can tell you stories for a week or two.
# The fact that we eventually could write the “WE’RE IN COSTA RICA!” post on facebook – is just because of God’s love. Our outreach leaders did an amazing job bringing us safely here, we just hit some road bumps (or muertos (=corpses) as they call it in Costa Rica) on our way. And a motorcycle.
# The fact that God loves me so much that He gave me the best outreach team (or, outreach FAMILY as it really is..!) and outreach leaders I could ever ask for. Being surrounded by their personalities, good (and bad) senses of humor, chirpin’ and encouraging, prayers, and all our good Jesus-talks… I’m so blessed! I know that they have my back. I know that, if necessary, they’ll pray for me until their legs cramp so bad they can’t stand for a few minutes after….
# All the small things: Realizing that it’s French toast for breakfast tomorrow. A good friend sending an awesome Queen-video to me on facebook, because she knows that I appreciate good music. Having six puppies here (I’m no dog fan, but they’re stinkin’ cute. And I might stop caring that I’m allergic). Seeing the dog lovers at the team cry because they love the puppies so much. Writing this blog, and learning a lot from it. And all of this happened within the last fifteen minutes. If I just shift my focus, I’ll see so much love! It says in the Bible that all good comes from God. (James 1,17) So – to be logical here… – french toast, puppies, good music… It’s all from God!
# All the love <3 The love the team has for me and the love we have for each other and the love we have for the people we meet…. It’s all God! We can only love because God loved us first.
# When we got to pick coffee beans as ministry! Ok, when I got over the shock and excitement it got a little boring. And we also didn’t realize that we’d be doing that for many, many days. Or that poisonous snakes were chilling in the coffee trees. But it felt like such a huge blessing! I love coffee! And I got to pick coffee beans! Wow! When the coffee beans were gone, I got to chop down trees with machetes. If you know me, you might see me have a lot of fun with that. You might also – without problems – pictures the dangers that come with giving me a machete… I never hit the same spot twice, and I nearly chopped off a leg, my left hand, and countless fingers. BUT because of God’s love I didn’t. And because God loves me and knows me, he let me have fun with that machete for days!
Love is a choice. You choose to love. You choose to receive love. You choose to see the love around you. And yes, sometimes that sweet feeling is a part of it. The convincing feeling. But most days it’s all about the convincing fact. I read in a book today, that the Swiss theologian Karl Barth was asked to sum up the essence of theology in one sentence. Let me quote his answer; “Jesus loves me, this I know! For the Bible tells me so!”
What if it is actually that simple…?
Ingeborg Dyrøy Lotsberg