Living for three months in Costa Rica during my college years was a significant experience, to say the least. It was there that I fell in love with another culture and was imprinted with a passion for the developing (or “Third”) world. It was there I knew for certain that I was destined for a cross-cultural lifestyle.
I will never forget the flight back home from San Jose in December 1980. My classmates were thrilled to be going home, but I was heart-broken. It seemed more like a nightmare. Re-entry was distressing-plus. I became convinced that I would never again be able to settle in the United States.
Back in college, I met Ibrahim in our student fellowship. When he spoke about missions, I went forward for prayers. “The rest is history” as they say. Two years later we got married, then moved to Kenya in 1984.
Yes, I was a fluent Spanish speaker. “Don’t you belong in a Spanish-speaking country?” many people questioned. But my sense of call had not been to a particular nation, and Kenya soon become our new home. Swahili gradually replaced Spanish in the “second language compartment” of my brain, and I wondered if I would ever use Spanish again. “One day,” I often prayed. “One day, Lord, I want to go back to Latin America.”
God heard. And answered… 36 years later. This week we have been in Colombia with DOVE Latin America leaders and in the homes of Colombian pastors. !Que preciosa! How precious! It has been an amazingly blessed time.
So many things are similar to Kenya: a ‘warm climate’ culture, an abundance of fruit, crazy driving, perfect weather, coffee and banana fields—and the ministry challenges of poverty, authoritarian leadership models in the culture, dependence > > on and on. Yes, it does “feel like” home.
Oh, how God so beautifully weaves the story of each of our lives! I have seen it again and am encouraged again to trust in His sovereignty and Master Plan. Gloria a Dios!