Thursday, December 27, 2007

Two Weeks Till Costa Rica

by Donna L. Watkins

© Donna L. Watkins - Mockingbird On Palm

My husband and I visited a Costa Rica jungle lodge in November 1999 and I knew what Heaven looked like. Any time since then that I was asked my favorite place on earth, it was in the hammock on the porch of our little cabin in that southwestern Costa Rica jungle lodge.

It was surely a visual representation of the Garden of Eden. Lying on the hammock watching the toucans eat the fruit from the trees that I could touch, the squirrel monkeys at play, and in the black of the night (there was no electric or lighting), feeling the whir of wings as the bats flew by to pollinate the rich floral density all around us.

In my heart I've known that I'm supposed to go for more reasons than I can imagine. God has a greater purpose in it. I can see it in the way He's orchestrated getting it booked. I've loved the Spanish language since I first came in contact with it in Mexico in 1976. Since that trip we've sponsored children in various countries south of our borders.

It was the initial passion that turned our hearts towards frugal living - choosing to give up eating out, renting videos, and going to movies so we could make a difference in the lives of the poor. If you consider what the Bible says, we were only being opportunistic:

"He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done." Proverbs 19:17

Since our trip to Costa Rica I've also had a passion for rainforests. We found an organization, Target Earth, that served the poor by serving the earth and began protecting rainforest one acre at a time. It is the poor that is most affected with environmental issues. When rainforests are clear-cut and rivers polluted, children die and indigenous people can no longer support and feed themselves off the land they knew around them.

We stepped into our first rainforest experience at Carara National Park. We passed from a cleared parking area into a wall of vibrant, alive vegetation. The air was thick with the sound of wildlife and smelled almost sweet from the immense diversity of plants that not only grew from the ground up from also from the canopy down. The trees were so heavy blossoms, fruits, ferns and bromelaids that you couldn't tell what was tree trunk. Giant vines climbed the trees and wildlife climbed the vines.

The dazzling colors of birds and butterflies were astounding, making the memories of our birds and butterflies back home seem black and white. The procession of even the insects gave a profound impression that each tiny segment of this amazing ecosystem was part of God's original design. As Jeff Corwin says about his first visit to a rainforest:

"I have always been utterly thrilled by the display and the complexity of life in a tropical rainforest, and no matter how many times I visit this remarkable ecosystem, my sense of wonder and amazement for the weird and wonderful creatures living there remains strongly intact. [Rainforests] contain densely packed, thriving communities, where life has reached its zenith.

Tropical rainforests are precious jewels of biodiversity; they exist as reservoirs for much of our planet's wildlife. Globally, [they] take up less than 5% of the surface of the planet, yet contain more than 50% of all life on Earth. Just a few acres of tropical rainforest can have more species of plants and animals than the continents of Europe and North America combined."

Two weeks to go and where am I going? The first half will be in San Jose, the capital, for the language school, but I still have no idea what I'll be doing after that. There's an empty four weeks hanging out there till my flight home. I've had lots of options as I've read every book in the library on the country, but I've told God I'm going to let Him arrange the details of this trip.

God is giving me "trust classes." Do I trust Him to provide what's truly best for me? Of course, my heart says, and then my mind jumps in with all the but's. Each week that passes has been harder than the one before, after all, it is high season down there so things get booked early.

But I'm wanting to pass this class. So ... I wait and trust and allow myself to grow rather than to feel comfortable. Do I dare to be adventuresome enough to let God plan for me. Here's a chance to practice and a chance to bury my fears and choose the faith walk.

What do you want scheduled in your life that's not happening? What are you scheduling now that you know in your heart you shouldn't be scheduling? What are you not trusting God for? The plans we make may be comfortable, but they are not always the best and we don't get as much out of life by controlling it. Maybe you can let go of something today also. Life is an adventure if we allow God to shape it for us.

Join me in the trust class. Take the first step and leave a comment telling God what you're going to trust Him to do. What are you going to take your hands off of and allow Him to show Himself mighty in your life? You can post anonymously. Each post will be an encouragement to all of us!

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