March 2017 Parrita, Costa Rica
Dwelling Place sent a team of people to Costa Rica so we could work with Seeds of Hope and Roots of Hope, an organization who works with kids at 5 different clubhouses along the Pacific coast in after school and Saturday programs designed to teach the kids English, the bible, and various skills and fun activities to prevent the trafficking and drug addiction problems that plague this area. One of the Seeds of Hope staff named (the amazing) Amy Huerta asked us to come and meet some of the parents on our last visit. She felt since most of our group are parents and grandparents that we would be able to relate with the parents and sow some of God’s love into their lives. I was excited and scared to do this, as the neighborhood we were going to was said to be built by the government where very low income families, and some who had been in trouble with the law were placed to live. I was also not sure if we would be received any better than the Seeds staff.
One of the homes we visited was the home of an older, almost graduated student named Daniella. Amy came with me, Matt, and Curt and Janet Konecky to introduce us and translate for us and the family. It turned out that Daniella was not home but both her parents were and they decided to receive us. At first it was a little awkward but soon the Mom began talking up a storm telling us about their lives and their daughter, that she had been rebellious in the past but since going to Seeds she has changed a lot for the better. Their daughter got pregnant last year and now they have a baby granddaughter who was born in December. Leo, Daniella’s Dad was telling us they are really pulling for her to finish high school so she can graduate and do something more with her life, so she can have a better start. Leo said he used to be a fisherman, then he was a guard, but that now both he and his wife were out of a job. I was feeling more comfortable so I began looking around their living room and noticed a very large bright orange fishing lure. Then I noticed the end joints of Leo’s fingers looked arthritic and bent, all of them. Then I stopped listening to the talking going on in the room and I had his story run through my mind very quickly: he was a fisherman and really loved what he did but when the arthritis came into his body he had to stop doing what he loved doing for a living. When I began listening to the conversation again I heard Leo’s wife saying he had been to the hospital for arthritis or whatever is wrong with Leo’s hands and feet and he was told there was nothing they could do for him.
A bit more time went by and then Matt spoke up and said we would like to pray for their family for jobs, etc. I had stayed silent about what I was sensing until this point so I spoke up and told Matt I felt like Leo had arthritis and we needed to pray for healing. Matt said, “that’s all you, go for it”! We all stood up and I looked at Leo’s wife and asked if it was ok for me to hold his hands. She nodded and smiled, so I grabbed his hands and began to command the arthritis to leave and for his hands to straighten out and all the joints to go back to normal. I turned his hands over during the very short prayer and used my hands to gently pull his hands straight. After the prayer, I asked if they felt better, he said yes, but not all the way. I said let’s pray again because I want 100%, they laughed a little and I did the same thing, roughly the same prayer and same motions. I again asked if his hands felt better and he said yes while flexing, opening and closing his fingers. I wasn’t sure at that time whether he was being nice and saying that or just wanted this crazy lady to stop! More of us prayed over the family, jobs, Daniella, and I believe Matt prayed for joy to come in their household.
Before we left Leo and his wife invited us to come back the next day to meet their granddaughter, we had planned to do that, but were split up to visit other families in the same neighborhoods the next evening. Curt and Janet had it on their hearts to bring Leo’s family groceries with money their daughter had given them and asked to use on their mission trip. So, Curt and Janet went back to visit Leo again with the amazing Amy Huerta. Leo’s wife received them, and although they had a family gathering and couldn’t really visit she made sure to tell them how amazed she was that ever since the night before Leo had been so full of joy! Then Curt and Janet saw Leo, as soon as he saw them he stood up and with his hands in the air flexing his fingers and smiling said, all better! All better! God had healed Leo’s hands! When our teams met back up after visiting families Janet told me what happened and I felt so thankful God would use me it meant so very much!
As I have had a bit of time to reflect on our trip, I believe that while I was sitting in Leo’s living room looking around and listening to their story Holy Spirit filled Leo’s story in for me to give me compassion to pray with authority and love.