I only have two weeks left of my wonderful experience here in Costa Rica. I am very very sad to leave but God has indeed prepared me for this next step. I no longer think as I did two months ago that life would end may 14 when my plane lifted off from SJO.
I've said this a few times now in conversation and I wanted to put it here too: I can honestly say that every single day of my time here, I have thanked God for my life and my work. I've never been this happy or felt so fulfilled. When I walk to the project every day and look west to the mountains, I marvel at what an awesome and powerful God we have. If God can make those gorgeous mountains, and the green plants growing down the sides of them, and the blue sky above, how much more can He take care of the things in my life, both big and little.
This goes along with an anecdote that one of my math students shared in church a few months ago. It goes like this:
God told a certain man to push a large boulder. The man obeyed God and started to push on the boulder but it wouldn't budge. The man remained obedient and kept pushing, even though his arms and legs grew weary in the struggle and sweat ran down his brow. After a time, the devil came to confront the man and asked what he was doing. The devil asked why he would continue to push on the boulder when it was clear he was too weak to accomplish the task. The man continued to push on the boulder but began to doubt God's instruction. Finally after a long struggle the man cried out to God, "Why do you have me here pushing this boulder? Can't you see that I'm took weak to move it? Why are you asking me to do things I can't even do?" God replied to the man, "Look at your arms and legs. Haven't they become strong from the work of pushing on the boulder? Look at how your self-discipline and determination have developed from the task I set you to." The man replied "But Lord, I haven't accomplished anything at all! I still can't move the boulder!" And at last God told the man, "It has never been your job to move the boulder. I am the one who will move the boulder. I am the one who provides the victory in this task and the reward to your work. It never asked you to move the boulder - I asked you to dedicate yourself to pushing against it with all your might and trust in me. I asked for your obedience."
I have felt like that a lot this year. In teaching my math classes I have had to fight for my students' education against all odds, against a culture that doesn't always emphasize hard work, discipline, punctuality, and high achievement in school. Against my students' own fears of math and lack of self-confidence. Against some horrible teaching and test administration on the part of the education system here. And even against history and low expectations. If Victor had already tried for 6 years to pass his exam and had failed the exam 6 times, why should things be any different during the 7th year and his 7th attempt? But as we found out last week, God was faithful and rewarded our work, Victor's work, and our faith in Him. God rewarded Brian and I for our obedience in coming here for the year to dedicate ourselves to the impossible task of teaching math and making a difference. It was never my job or my efforts that were going to get Victor to pass the exam. It was our all-powerful God who ultimately moved that giant boulder aside in his life.
It is this same God who will be going with me back home for the summer, to Stanford in the fall, and wherever life takes me after that. If that isn't something to be thankful for, I don't know what is.