Thursday, June 15, 2017

"Mama"

I find myself once again with me heart so broken. It literally aches with sorrow, grief and pain. It’s all too familiar. A feeling I fight against. Loosing yet another mom, my third mom. This time it’s my “tica mama.”

She was amazing. She loved me and cared for me with a love that was so selfless. She would have done anything for me at the drop of a hat. She made the best tortillas and the best ride. I could eat the rice just by itself, it was so good. She worried more about DeLynn and I than herself. She would have preferred others to eat than herself.

My little dog Snickers would go straight to the kitchen to see what kind of goodies she would give her for that day. 





The biggest thing we had in common was love for our sweet Dyan. She worried about him until the end. She told me to take care of Dylan and Don Samuel in his od age. She loved and protected Dylan as a mom and a grandma should. She called our family her family.

She loved to sing while cooking in the kitchen, especially her hymns and corritos. She was an amazing cook. She “invented” foods like no other mixing leftovers together.

She loved going to church. If the church wasn’t happy enough she didn’t like it.

She had three children but adopted a multitude of others who call her “mama” including Dylan. She was “mama” to many of our students and staff.  

She was a very strong woman. She delivered babies in the country where there was no doctor. She hid her children in the mountains feeding her children cherries during the war for months.

She was a woman of faith. She was healed from cancer. She loved her heavenly Father and obeyed him as much as she could.

She served our ministry for 10+ years. She did it with all the energy, love and passion she had within her.

But now, like I told Dylan, she is with Jesus flying with the angels.


Hasta luego, Dona Margoth, mi mama linda. 



Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Circle of Life and Death

Death is never easy.  Death often causes us to pound our fist in anguish and weep bitterly … at times we say, “It was a blessing, the suffering has ended.” … Perhaps we know death is imminent, even so, our human nature wants to hold onto hope … A sudden death asks more questions than it finds answers … In reality, One could feel like a helpless child being tossed around through the waters of death, holding onto hope one moment and drowning in despair the next … Death is never easy. 

Heredia Cemetery 


This week we found ourselves walking through the Circle of Life and Death with one of our El Nido Mamas.  Belky learned early on in her pregnancy that there were problems with the way her baby was forming and growing. Ultrasounds revealed her baby’s abdomen had a hole and its abdominal contents were forming outside.  Dare she hold onto hope that surgery could be performed immediately after birth to put these back inside? She then learned one of her baby’s legs wasn’t growing.  Belky came to El Nido with her soul in anguish.  She wanted to hold onto hope however the reality of life raising a disabled child was overwhelming. We prayed for hope and believed God for healing.  As she poured out her heart to God through a journal entry she cried desperately for healing on the wee one in her womb.  “She deserves a chance to run and jump, to experience a normal life with her siblings, please God, she doesn’t deserve this, give her that chance! Regardless how this baby looks, I love her from the depths of my heart and only want the best for her.”

Today … Heaven has received this sweet, precious 4 pound Angel … Amy Danisha is running and jumping, laughing in the arms of Jesus, free from a life of suffering on this earth. Today, as we mourned the loss of her life here on this earth, my soul cries for Belky who longs to hold her sweet babe in her arms. We find comfort and healing as we cry in each other’s arms, I know healing comes through these tears. We share this deep seeded peace that one day we will celebrate with her in Eternity … Please pray for Belky and Julio as they walk through the pain of this circle of life … Pray they feel the sweet presence of Jesus in the sleepless nights … Pray for her empty arms to cling tightly to her Savior … Pray for her soul to find peace and healing through the tears.

Amy Danishia 


Together we find comfort in the precious words from Psalm 139:13-16 …



For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.





Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Window Into Heaven

Today I had the privilege of looking through a window into Heaven ... Imagine with me if you dare, let your spirits soar to the heights of Heavenly Hosts ... Do you feel your feet dancing the dance of celebration with the Angels? ... Tip your chin up, face the Son, let His eyes of love, the sweetest most caring eyes imaginable, envelope you ... 

"Katia" came to El Nido for the first time today at the recommendation of a friend.  She had a sweet smile, an adorable 5 year old daughter by her side and a 7 week old babe in her womb.  She is 31 years old and described herself as friendly and popular with her friends.  She had a quiet confidence in the way she thought and spoke, however this confidence could not mask the heavy burden she was carrying.  We welcomed her into El Nido, the Nest, where she will hopefully find safety, life, the love of Jesus and freedom to speak from the depths of her heart.  

The process of El Nido was explained, she seemed content and willing to participate and her intake was complete.  Even though she did not have a relationship with God she allowed us to pray for her to close our time together.  "How can we pray for you?"  Through tear stained eyes she poured out the burdens of her heart and the toxic situation she is living in ... The father of her baby is entrapped in the endless cycle of drug addiction ... Thus opened the floodgates of Heaven!  Our spiritual eyes were opened to see the heavy burden she was baring ... "Katia, Father God beckons us, 'Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest ... my yoke is easy and my burden is light.' ... Katia, do you want Him to help you carry this burden and help you find rest in this situation?" ... 

Matthew 11:28-30  “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves because my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=come+to+me+all+who+are+weary&qs_version=GW:

In the mere seconds that passed, my spirit was soaring to the heights of Heaven while my physical heart felt so heavy for her.  Then, overwhelmed by His perfect peace, I saw Father looking at her with the most tender eyes of love and holding her close. Through healing tears she shook her head and said, "Si" ... And thus the privilege to view this window into Heaven, to share the celebration and dance as all of Heaven whooped for joy!  Not only was she carrying new life, but today, Katia was becoming a new life!  

God is so faithful ... spurring us on when the process seems routine ... a new life waiting to birth ... 


Written by Jen Hoover (volunteer at El Nido) 

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Child I Never Held

Infertility. I don’t even like reading the word, much less saying it. Maybe it’s because it’s brought me so much pain. Pain I can’t even describe. Pain that no one understands unless you’ve been through it.

I never imagined I would experience second infertility as I held my baby girl in my arms. I fell in love with her immediately. She was all I dreamed of and much more.  I had no problems getting pregnant the first time.



As our baby girl grew, my husband and I sensed it was time to start trying for a second child. After a few months of trying I remember telling myself to be patient since sometimes it takes awhile. I didn’t get too anxious and thought maybe the stress of moving to another country was the cause. We continued to pray and trust God.

People started asking us why we didn’t have another child. At first it didn’t bother me them asking those kind of personal questions. I would smile and say, “Only God knows!”
But as time went on and on and on, month after month, year after year, I began to loose hope. I started wrestling with God. Asking questions like, “Why am I not getting pregnant?” “Am I doing something wrong?” “Do I not deserve another child?” “Doesn’t our daughter have a right to have a sibling?”


I started becoming more concerned about my cycle. But each month it kept getting harder and harder to be motivated enough to take my temperature and write details about my cycle in my notebook.

I prayed and prayed and prayed. Other's prayed. Our daughter prayed. I was anointed. I told God, "if you're not going to answer my prayers, maybe you could answer my mother's prayers, PLEASE!" 

I remember a particular month sitting on the toilet having realized that my period came, AGAIN! I cried and cried and cried and cried. I yelled, “God, I’m not sure I believe in you anymore! I know you could easily make me pregnant, why don’t you!!!” I felt completely abounded by God. I felt like He didn’t care. I didn’t feel His closeness anymore. I blamed him for the pain I was experiencing. I wanted a baby so bad! My experience of being pregnant with our first child was amazing, I wanted to experience it again. But there was nothing I could do, except yell and cry!

The country we moved to had countless young girls getting pregnant all the time. I couldn’t understand why they were able to get pregnant so fast and I couldn’t. I would tell God, “Here I am, a Christian woman, with a Christian family, unable to get pregnant and those girls that have nothing get pregnant!” I couldn’t see what part of this picture was fair.


Questions continued to come to us. People would look at our daughter and say, “Only one?” And then we’d answer with "yes, only one!" . Then they would say, “Well, be glad you have one!” Somehow this didn’t make me feel better. I was grateful for one but I wanted more than one! I wanted a house full of children and grandchildren, not just one! Others would say, “Why don’t you just adopt!” As if it was an easy solution.

I absolutely believe in adoption. But I didn’t want to look at it as the "easy" solution. The children’s services told us that adopting a baby was very difficult. Most babies were left in the orphanage until two years old. They told us the best way would be do it privately. Again, we waited, hoping that might happen. We got a couple of phone calls. Our hopes went up, but nothing ever became of them.

I remember crying out to God telling him that if I wasn’t supposed to have more children than please take my desire to nurture more children away! Over the years of trying to conceive, my faith diminished. Hope faded. My dream of having a more children grew more and more distant.



The lingering question was why was I able to get pregnant so fast the first time and not the second? After, 10 years of trying, my husband and I decided to look into it. We went to a fertility doctor. I had a friend who was also having a difficult time conceiving and it was because of her I gathered enough courage to go myself. I was looking for answers as to “why.”

One of the procedures was to check my Fallopian tubes. I remember lying on the examination table, feeling uneasy, not sure what was going to happen. As they shot the blue liquid through my tubes I remember asking God to please help me. The doctor asked me if I had ever gotten my Fallopian tubes checked and if I had a previous surgery. I said no. He said, we’re going to have to shoot the blue liquid through your body again since something isn’t right. My mind went a million directions. I wasn’t sure what he meant. After the procedure was done the second time, the doctor informed me that one of my Fallopian tubes was damaged. As he continued to explain, I could feel my life caving in. I felt dizzy. I wanted to run. I wanted to cry. I left as quickly as I could.

As soon as I got into my car I called my husband to tell him. All I could do was cry and cry and cry. I felt like I had just received the death sentence. My dream of becoming pregnant again was completely gone. Gone forever. There was nothing I could do.

There were also other issues that contributed to not being able to conceive a second time.
Were there options, yes there were. But we didn’t have the resources to pursue them. Emotionally, I was done. I was done fighting. I was done wrestling. I still don’t know when my Fallopian tube got damaged. Only God knows.

Even after I got some answers to my infertility, it still took awhile to come to the point of accepting and trusting God’s will. But over time God has given me more peace.
It’s incredible the pain one feels for someone that one hasn’t even met! A child that one holds in one’s heart and mind. Only those who have gone through it will completely understand this kind of pain. 



But God is gracious and loving. He has used my pain to make me stronger. To build my faith. He has used it to encourage others who also experience infertility.



God has also used my experience to fulfill a dream. The dream of starting El Nido. The dream of working with women and children encouraging, praying and walking along side of them. I believe this has been the calling all along. I just didn’t know it as I was going through it. My pain was not a waste. What the enemy wanted to use for death, God used it for life! I give God ALL the glory

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Story of Michelle

As I listened to Michelle tell me her story, once again I found myself frozen. Michelle has been coming to El Nido for almost a year. As history is showing, it is taking about a year until the counselors hear a clients’ whole story. They feel a sense of relief once they’ve been able to get it all out. I’m so glad they feel safe enough to share their story.

Michelle was sexually abused at age 3. The memory she has of it was her mother giving her candy and chocolate so she wouldn’t tell children’s services. She continued to suffer sexual abuse as she grew up. Once she became a teenager she slept with so many men she doesn’t even know how many.  She thought maybe upwards to 100 men over several years. One man in his 50’s  would even pay her to have sex. She needed the money so she agreed. He did the same with her mother. Michelle  also looked to alcohol and drugs to dumb the pain she had.

Michelle got pregnant and had a little boy. Three years later she got pregnant again and had another little boy.



This is when El Nido came into her life. The first time I met her she was a shy, sad, and was so young.  I wondered how I could get her to talk, but quickly found out all I had to do is ask questions and she talked! She has come faithfully to El Nido, always does her homework and learns her memory verse.

I have seen Michelle become more confident, with a smile on her face, wanting to do what God wants her to do. In our last meeting she told me she wants to go to church and turn her life around. I was so happy!


This is God’s success story I am privileged to be a part of! And the best part is that God isn’t finished yet! Irene has so much to learn about God and needs a lot of healing in her life. I thank God for placing El Nido in the right place at the right time. His timing is perfect! 



-Written by permission of client. Name changed for confidentially purposes. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

New Moves


About a year and a half ago, I had no idea what God had in store for the ministry of El Nido, the prenatal center. I just knew I wanted to start one. I had a passion for it. And I went for it. A year and half later, El Nido has grown and continues to grow. Word has gotten out that El Nido is a good place to go among the community of La Cuenca. The ladies have grown spiritually. They have found friends that are willing to listen and love them no matter what. Some of them are close to graduating from the program. It’s exciting to experience growth.
 

Children in La Cuenca

But along with this growth, I’ve realized several things. The biggest one is that in reality I have a “little church.” As they are being disciples by the counselors week to week they have established relationships that are meaningful to them. They beg to continue coming even after they graduate. They don’t want to leave! Praise the Lord!
One of our youngest clients


 

So what comes next? I’ve realized they need a community to be involved with. They need to meet more brothers and sisters that will nurture them and take them further in their journey of discipleship. So for that reason I’ve decided to move El Nido from Vida Net and give it to a church. Rey de Reyes Mennonite Church, in Heredia, has opened up it’s doors to welcome all 50 plus ladies! This is thrilling for me to pass on this ministry to national leaders. It was my goal in the first place!












Two weeks ago PVM received a couple of families that concentrated their outreach with El Nido. We packed, moved, painted, cleaned and sewed in order for El Nido to find its new home. After we were all done, it was beautiful!



 





Last week, the ladies came back! They love that it’s in a more central place. They like that it’s at a church. They feel at home. Now the prayer is that this will help them integrate with the local church. Just an interesting fact, some of them used to attend this particular church when they were children. It’s rewarding to know El Nido is bringing them back to God.

Me with Director for El Nido Guadalupe
So what am I going to do now? Don’t worry, I still have plenty to do! Vida Net is forming an association of El Nido’s. I am currently helping another El Nido get started at the Casa de Oracion Mennonite Church in Guadalupe. And I am also going to be helping El Carbon, Talamanca Mennonite Church get an El Nido started in their community! I am so excited to be planting more prenatal centers in Costa Rica. It is fulfilling to come alongside the church and give them tools on reaching out to their communities.

 I will also remain counseling the clients I have. I certainly don’t want to abandon them. This gives me a chance to gain more experience in counseling and to hold and love babies! I will begin as a facilitator for El Nido’s training and supporting them in ways I can. I am thrilled about this new roll.




Prayer Requests:

1.       New director of El Nido Heredia, Esmeralda

2.       Director of El Nido Guadalupe, Jessica

3.       Me, as I take on my new role.

4.       All the ladies involved in this ministry
 
5.    Finances would come in for the growth of this ministry 
 
 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Fiesta


As the day of our fiesta arrived I sensed my enthusiasm and joy became greater. I was amazed how God put all the details together. One of the Costa Rican schools, Issac Martin, located in Moravia offered to help by providing gifts for the children and babies, even the babies not even born yet. The students were assigned a child or baby. I felt such an overwhelming heart of gratitude as I picked up the gifts for our fiesta.

Another very special school Communidad Educativa Crecer offered to provide the fiesta. They provided the food, location and games. The director of the school has a special place in her heart for El Nido. There was a special play area for the babies. A beautiful place to eat under the trees. A cute play house equipped with play kitchen supplies. There were swings, slides and a trampoline.


There were 45 women invited along with their children. Almost all of them came. I was so happy to see everyone together along with our volunteers.


 


 
 
 
 

Soon after arriving at the party, the teachers of the school along with my staff, provided pancakes for a snack. The pancakes were eaten up in no time!

The children enjoyed and loved every minute! There was so much to do! I spent as much time as I could interacting with the children having tea parties and playing with the cute babies and sitting with my dear friends talking and listening. I was on a high! As I went through the morning my heart was full of joy experiencing God’s goodness. I didn’t want it to end.



 

 
 

Almost, a year ago, God allowed me to start El Nido and allowed it to grow much faster than I anticipated. He provided amazing volunteers to help me. My volunteers have put in countless hours listening to the women of El Nido and praying and believing in them. He provided women that truly want to learn how to be godly mothers. He has provided financially through special people that believe what God wants to do through El Nido. He provided materially for the mothers and children items they would need. Churches and individuals have given diapers, formula, clothing, shoes, games, toys, shampoo, baby powder, thermometers, and on and on. He provided my beautiful friend, Laura to walk along side of me give me a hand with organization and creativity. He gave me a husband that has believed and walked with me 100%. I couldn’t have done it without his love and support. Thank you honey!

Laura and I
 

And above all, I thank God for El Nido. I thank Him for entrusting me with this ministry. I LOVE what I do. I love that He put me in a ministry that I’m passionate about. I love seeing women draw themselves to Jesus. I love giving them wisdom on decisions in life. I have grown in my walk and trust in God. I have grown through the challenges along the way.









I look forward to what God has for El Nido in 2015.