Saturday, April 26, 2014

Birthday Blessings from Beautiful Friends

So, last week, while I was out in the jungle far away from the internets, recovering from a birthday pity party, my friend Elizabeth was cooking up a little birthday surprise for me. I am grateful to know that this had to have been imagined far before my miserably lonely e-mails from the day before arrived. And I am grateful for the heart with which my sweet friend holds me. On the good days and the bad.

What I was doing while you all were rocking my world with your generous hearts! Crossing rivers to get to the villages we shared the Word in on Good Friday.

She sent out a not so secret plea to her friends and followers via her blog and social media:

Hey, come close! Let's hatch a secret plan;-). My sweet friend, Colleen Mitchell celebrated a birthday yesterday. It was kind of a lonely affair down on the mission field in Costa Rica. Today, she and her men are off to the jungle for three days, bringing gospel joy to the indigenous folks who are their neighbors. They will be far from internet access. While they are out, might we send some birthday love her way? An anonymous donor has promised to match donations made to The St. Bryce Foundation, up to $500. Wouldn't it be *grand* for Colleen to see $1K in the St. Bryce account in honor of her birthday when she returns to the mission house for Easter?

Sharing the Gospel in the home of our Cabecar friends on Good Friday

And you responded! Oh, how so many of you responded! I am humbled by your generosity and the kind greetings and wishes tucked away in each the donation e-mails I received and I thank each and every one of you.

Elizabeth DID NOT get her wish for my birthday. I did not return home to find that grand $1K in the account. I returned home to find TRIPLE GRAND $3,000 in birthday donations! 

My darling boy and his Cabecar brother carrying the crosses during our Way of the Cross service.
And there were tears. And my darling husband was giddy with joy and amazement. And relief, quite honestly, because for perspective, here's what $3,000 can do for the work of St. Bryce Missions:

  • pay our family's health insurance in Costa Rica for a year AND
  • pay the electricity bill on the mission house and St. Francis Emmaus Center for a year AND
  • have a bit left over to get two more beds in order to house and help more mamas and their babies
You know what is amazing about this? The large majority of the the donations were under $15. A tribe of friends spreading birthday joy in small doses made a huge heaping difference with a cherry on top.

And that might just be the best present I have ever received. I am blessed and grateful and counting each and every one of you who participated among my #1000Gifts.

This is what my wise and wonderful friend had to say to me the day before she hatched her secret plan, when I zipped off a tearful e-mail about how sad and lonely I was and what a mess up I was feeling like on my birthday, and how it had zapped all my desire to strike off into the jungle the next day to serve God:

My inch is that God will shine forth in obvious ways in the jungle. He’ll show up and you’ll say, “Hey!” and y’all will kiss and make up.
He makes all things new, even when we feel old and defeated.
I’m praying for you!

Know what? She was totally right. And He showed up in the jungle and He showed up in my heart and He showed up in my inbox because you all said "yes"! So a million times in a million ways, thank you for being Jesus to me and with us at St. Bryce Missions! 

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