Carrie Smith is delighted to be serving Jesus in Costa Rica with the Roblealto Child Care Association. Roblealto is a Christian organization that provides comprehensive care to 700 at risk children and adolescents. At the Bible Home, Roblealto's temporary shelter, Carrie prepares materials for house mothers to use in daily devotions with the children, serves as an AWANA leader, participates in house calls, leads a Bible study for parents and guardians who have children at the Bible Home, coordinates special activities, and provides spiritual support to the children and personnel at the Bible Home. Carrie is also studying online to get her Master's Degree in Religion with a concentration in Christian Care and Counseling through Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She thanks God for the opportunity to study and serve him and share his love with those who need it most!
May 14, 2013
Happy Tuesday to you!
I feel like I could write you another Chronicle again already. This weekend, I was finally able to get back to Isla Venado again. It was a great trip, but I came back with a heavy heart. There are some really difficult family situations people I know and love there are facing. On a more positive note, I learned how to make the delicious frozen coconut treats (apretados) and my little freezer is full of them! And as Jessica and I were saying good bye to Pastor Eladio and doña Epi, an idea came to me: what if we had a "Family Conference" for the people on the island and have different sessions on marital relationships, parenting, and how children can honor their parents? I'm talking with someone here about leading this, and ask you to join me in praying for it to come together!
But back to the heavy heart. Apart from the prayer requests I mention for the Bible Home, I feel like I often paint the Bible Home in pretty rosy tones. I genuinely believe it is a wonderful place and everyone who comes can feel God's presence. But, some really sad, tough stuff happens too. House parents get tired, sick, and burnt out. Some children talk and laugh through devotions and prayer. Today I was in one of the houses, and when I got up for a moment a kid wrote a bad word in my textbook I'd been reading. Sometimes my coworkers and I have miscommunications. The kids steal, lie, are violent, defiant, disrespectful, and disobedient. They can be so sweet and loving though, that sometimes it's all too easy for me to forget the extremely difficult realities these kids are coming from. It is good for me to remember the kids' backgrounds, and that they are in desperate need of love, acceptance, and comprehensive help. So, my heart is heavy for all these things too.
Life is hard, and with a lot of really tough stuff. I'm so grateful for the hope we have in Jesus and for God's amazing love and grace!
God's peace and joy be with you whatever you're currently facing. There is hope and you are loved!
April has come and gone... We are a third of the way through 2013! Wow!
The theme of this month has been, God answers prayer!
For months, actually years now, I've been longing for a close female friend my age and in, or at least very close to, my stage of life. Having married friends is good, but having single friends is important too. A number of times I've gotten excited about girls and potential friendship with them, but not much has ever really developed. Well, on Good Friday I went to the beach with a bunch of old friends from CCI (the church I used to serve at). It was great to catch up with some people I hadn't seen in a long time. But there I also met Jessica. At first, I wasn't going to tell her I was a gringa, just to see if she would figure it out for herself (mean and silly of me, I know). But, someone told her I'm a gringa, and I'm so glad! We talked and talked and were able to share from our hearts (not something you could ever do on the first day you meet a tica). What a huge blessing! I mentioned this meeting very briefly in my last Chronicle, but Jessica and I have since gotten together a few times, and the ladies group I also briefly mentioned is starting up too! There are going to be 5 of us (4 gringas and a tica married to a gringo), and we are going to read through Nancy Leigh DeMoss' Lies Women Believe. I'm so excited for our meeting on Monday! So, God has answered prayer not only for a friend, but also for better community! Praise his name! Thank you so much for praying for me!
Another answer to prayer: when I wrote on Tuesday, I requested prayer for productivity in finishing my paper. God answered your prayers there too! I was able to bang out 11 pages on Thursday and then get it to the required 12+ point after one of my awesome brothers gave me wonderful feedback. I've decided to let the paper rest just a little longer before submitting, but will definitely send it in on Monday morning!
God is also answering our prayers for him to work in the children and families we serve at the Bible Home. One of my favorites from this past year was able to go back to living with her family a couple weeks ago! I miss her, but it is better for her to be with her family, and she learned and grew so much! Also, in Bible study with the parents and guardians from the Heredia area, one boy's stepmom was opening up some with my co-leaders and me, showing her interest in wanting to read the Bible and going to church! Glory be to God! I look forward to seeing her again this Friday and seeing if she got a Bible already and encouraging her more to go to church.
God is so good. As I was thinking about what to say in this Chronicle, God reminded me of this: Yes, I depend on your financial support to be here. No money = no Carrie in Costa Rica. It's a serious thought. BUT, that's just on the material side. How much MORE must I depend on your spiritual support in order to be God's servant and instrument here? Prayer works. It makes me effective. It changes me, and it works in those around me. No prayers= vain, wasted time and life, which I think is even worse than me not being here. I need you to pray for me. And prayer is talking with God, listening to him, developing intimacy with him. He LOVES it when we seek him in prayer! So really, it does us all good to pray! Please make sure to write to me and let me know how I can be praying for you!
And so, I'll leave you with a few requests to present to our loving Father over the course of this month:
-In about 3.5 weeks I can go back to Migration to see how things have progressed with my residency renewal. Please pray for a concrete, positive answer so I can get my new residency card and be able to renew my driver's license here! I'm so ready for this process to be OVER!
-The house mom I covered for in March is currently on medical leave once more. I don't have to cover for her this time, but she and her husband and children (one in utero & one 3 year old) really need our prayers!
-There's an unpleasant stomach virus going around right now and a lot of people I know have been affected, including me. Please pray for God to heal us all and for our digestive systems to settle down immediately! And for no one else to get this bug!
-My summer semester starts on Monday. I'm taking Biblical Interpretation and Church History II. It's going to be a very intense 14 weeks. Please pray for focus, productivity, wise stewardship of time, and for me to absorb well everything I learn!
Thank you again for supporting me through prayer (and those of you who support me financially too)!
May God bless you all and continue to draw you into His presence each day!
Please prayerfully consider partnering with me by regularly supporting me and/or making a special gift on my behalf to:
Latin America Mission, P.O.B. 52-7900, Miami, FL 33152-7900 (with a note that it's for Carrie Smith).
Or by internet: http://www.lam.org/missionaries/carrie-smith
Read more on my blog! http://smithcj1.blogspot.com/