Costa Rica

I just got back from Costa Rica yesterday and it really was an amazing trip.  I feel like after you get back from a missions trip everyone wants to know the specifics of how God moved in your life, what you did, and on a scale of 1 to 10 how much impact did it have on your life and the lives of those you met? But God is so big that sometimes specifics will never be enough to describe who He is.  But here are just a few amazing things:

1) God reminded me how much of a blessing it is to be a student athlete at a Christian college.  Student athletes often get a bad rep, especially at a Christian college.  At a small school disheartening news and speculations spread like wildfire.  So it was amazing to see this group of people who were all great athletes, but were putting God first in their lives.  I was completely awestruck at their stories of heartbreak, pain, and incredible joy.  I felt honored to be among them.

2) God stretched me…a lot.  It was like stretching out taffy, something that is done slowly and takes a little time.  I led worship on guitar twice for our group, which took much encouragement and a ton of prayer (which is funny because I really have a heart for worship and have prayed for God to give me the opportunity to lead people into His presence…easier said than done).  Hopefully people felt God pulling on their heart strings and were moved into a place of rest in Him.  Also like the 3rd day in, He placed an amazing woman on my heart to pray for and encourage the rest of the trip, which was definitely the coolest thing ever.  And it actually didn’t freak me out like usual, but was rather refreshing and exciting.

3) God is limitless.  I so often keep my focus on Africa and the Middle East, where I’m going, and how I plan to get there.  And on this trip God was like “slow down…we’ll get there when we get there.”  So I met some amazing kids.  I heard people’s stories as we gave them Bibles.  I gave deep thought to the fruits of the Spirit.  If God is truly giving me to the nations, I want to go…to them all.  I’m up for His surprises.  I’m excited to fully experience His plans.  I don’t want to fight the leadership positions He gives me anymore.  When I cling to Him and walk humbly, it will all be okay.

So yea…those are three major things.  There are a ton more.  Like fore example, I now love rain because it brings beauty.  Costa Rica is awfully beautiful…and so were the people I ventured with, many of which have endured downpours of hurt.  After everything that has occurred in the last 10 days, I just want to sit at the feet of Jesus and say “God, you are so good.”

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Psalm 36:5

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the skies.

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A Year of Seasons

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This is my team (minus the person standing next to me who is my friend and decided to photobomb us)…And we have had quite the year.  There’s only 12 of us.  This picture includes our wonderful seniors that were done after our fall season was over.  Anyways, we started our fall season with 26 girls.  By the time preseason was over, we had 24.  Then at the turn of the semester, we lost another 14 girls (this includes our 5 seniors).  It was kind of a “where do we go from here?” point.  Then it hit me that God has given us a very unique opportunity, to actually take part in rebuilding our team.  We got to define what we wanted our team to be…and I think we did.  It was a little rough around the edges, but I think we learned how to be real to each other, real in our frustrations, real in our accomplishments.  We put underlying dysfunction on the table and said we need to deal with this.  How cool is that? This isn’t meant to be a tell-all about my team or some kind rant about how awesome we are (though we do have shirts that say “be more awesome” which is almost impossible), but rather it is about change.  Sometimes life throws us a curve-ball and you can stand there or you can hit it.  But it really is a beautiful thing, at least I believe it was in my team.  Next semester we we be a completely different team with 16 new freshman and only 11 returners (4 of them are goalkeepers).  We are definitely the underdog, but I’ve read that God loves to use the underdog.  I hope for their sake that we have a foundation built on God that can’t be shaken, even in the most desperate times.  I hope for our sake that we will stand on what we’ve said we believe.  This semester was a time of talk and next semester is a time of action.  If I’ve learned anything from playing soccer this year, it’s that soccer is nowhere close to my everything.  That would be God, but He has given me a talent, desire, and drive.  And I will use this talent to look each teammate in the eye and see the person behind the skills.  I want to see their hopes and dreams and the reason why God has placed them in my life, if even for a short time.  With college athletics, teams are always changing and we often schedule our lives around whatever season we are in.  But it is my prayer that no matter what the season, God is always at the center.

 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. –Jeremiah 29:11-13

A short blurb

God has been completely amazing throughout this whole process of raising funds for my Costa Rica missions trip.  I still have $290 to go and I can’t wait to see God show Himself faithful once again.  If you are interested in giving a tax deductible donation email me at hlowe@students.ccu.edu.  Keep our team in your prayers as we leave in 7 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!