by Jason Wilde
On more than one occasion, I have been asked how we heard God calling us to be missionaries, or to adopt Chi Yu. To be honest, I really didn’t have any good answers. I have never really been blessed enough to hear God whisper to me or have an angel stand in front of me in blinding light. Many times it is a series of events or feelings that come together over a period of time that point us in the right direction. That said, we also have to discern whether it really is the Holy Spirit working in us, or whether it is our own imagination taking over.
So without further ado, here are a few of the discernment ‘litmus tests’ that I think have guided us over the past years and are continuing to guide us today.
After we found out that Jessica needed to see an oncologist back in the States, we were frantically packing up everything we could for our move back from Costa Rica. It was a really difficult time emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I was really upset that we were leaving our home of five months, all of our friends and fellow missionaries, and our dreams of foreign missionary life, at least in the foreseeable future. I spent a lot of time in the Coopevega chapel, just trying to calm my emotions and regain a sense of peace. I remember distinctly an afternoon in the chapel in which I was really tired and found my mind wandering and daydreaming. And then, a crazy idea formed in my mind.
I knew Jessica would need to be somewhat tethered to our mission base in Louisiana for the next 1-2 years due to doctors appointments, but I also wondered about how we could still serve as foreign missionaries. Our FMC posts in Mexico came to mind, and I dreamed about serving back in General Cepeda, where we spent three weeks of our training last year. But the 16+ hour journey that we’d have to make so many times troubled me. I thought maybe we could use some sort of RV with beds and facilities for us to rest during the trip. It felt so crazy, that it just might work.
The next day was again hard for me. I found myself angry with my kids and anxious about packing. But this thought lingered and somewhat developed in my mind. It kind of made me hopeful and eased my negative thoughts. That evening, I decided to pass it by Jessica, just to humor myself and have a positive conversation. Surprisingly, she was completely at peace with the idea of serving in Mexico and traveling frequently back and forth, and we shared a little bit of consolation together at peace with a future hope.
This has always been a good starting point for really big changes for us. We find ourselves talking about something really crazy, and yet we have peace at the thought of living with such a radical change. Jesus was radical; He constantly broke social norms, eating grain on the Sabbath, forgiving the sins of untouchable gentiles, and then curing illnesses just to prove a point. His family was poor and insignificant. He saved the life of a condemned prostitute who became a faithful disciple. He journeyed to Jerusalem at a time when everyone knew he was on the wanted list, raised a man from the dead to convert a few hundred more, and then entered the city in plain sight riding a donkey. He was friends and dined with with sinners, oppressive government officials, and non-believers, all the while chastising the religious leaders that sought to challenge Him.
And this is how it should be when God really wants to get your attention. You should feel uncomfortable, radical, and all alone in your decision. God’s ways are not of this world and are usually unconventional and illogical by any human social norms.
And yet, you are at peace with your crazy thoughts.
Peace in the storm
Every time the Spirit places our minds in the right place at the right time and put a solution right into our laps, we felt a ‘click’, a sense of peace and understanding that usually cleared away the clouds of frustration and despair. I distinctly remember these moments when we decided to adopt and when we decided to become foreign missionaries. Similarly, when things got hectic on the trip back to the States, Jessica and I would occasionally look at each other and smile at our dream and hope for our future.
But it also required that we endure the storm. Jesus calmed the waves when the boat began to rock, but He required absolute faith and trust in Him, and a bit of legwork - Peter had to leave all caution behind him and get out of the boat, all the while keeping his eyes ahead of him, fixed on Jesus. In a similar way, we can’t expect to live in a bubble, protected from any kind of turmoil and have the Spirit move us in a way that we can experience God's peace. The world’s peace can feel so much more enticing than God’s peace, and it makes it so much harder to discern which one we are feeling. Like Peter, we have to sometimes get out of our safety boat.
Directed by the Spirit, Who opens and closes doors
Soon, we were researching options for a home on wheels, and it didn’t take long for our plans to change. Traditional RVs are either notoriously expensive or unreliable, and this wouldn’t do for months of usage by a family with four kids. The spaces just didn’t work either with our family. We began looking at other options and kept coming back to (once again) one of the craziest options - a custom RV built in a used school bus.
Our mission also changed slightly as we began hearing more about the plight and oppression of migrant families in our country. General Cepeda gradually faded from our discussions, and we began to talk more about serving around Allende, Mexico, the FMC post nearest the Texas border, as well as the border communities on the U.S. side. Our custom RV began to become a focal point of our ministry, as we could use it as a mobile ministry, food pantry, and social gathering, similar to how we used the brick and mortar Casa de Jesus in Coopevega. We always imagined how it would work to take the ministries of Casa de Jesus on the road in Costa Rica, but it seems so relevant now in our new plans. Before we knew it, we had named our ministry - ‘Busita de Jesus’ (Little Bus of Jesus). The name became an instant hit within our family, and we could always just say ‘Busita’ and immediately regain our peace again.
God does an amazing job of opening and closing doors for us when we are actively seeking his plans. Our human selves want to constantly fight the impossible, repeatedly throwing our weight against the solid locked door, but God wants us to find the narrow gate - a path less traveled and yet so much better for His glory. But just like in the boat, it means we must keep working and searching. We can’t just sit still and wait for Gabriel to descend and give us a manual for our life with numbered directions. It just won’t happen. We have to go - even if it’s in the wrong direction. Just go. God will redirect you and give you the appropriate gifts if needed as long as you keep your eyes on Him and away from your own pride and selfishness.
For HIS glory
A month ago, if you told me that I would need to drive around Texas in a school bus to do God’s work, I’d say you were insane. I really don’t like to drive, and I never thought I’d be living back in Texas because...well...you have to drive so much. And I literally spent over a tenth of my time in elementary school on a yellow school bus - please don’t make me get in one of those!
All of this just tells me that it clearly isn’t MY plan - it is so crazy and so anti-me that it had to come from God. But more importantly, it is a path that glorifies Him. It is a path that allows me to suffer and decrease so that He may triumph and increase.
This should be the penultimate litmus test for discerning whether God is directing your life: Who is it lifting up? If it lifts up the other person, the neglected, the suffering, and gives glory to God for all of the work involved; if it lets me suffer and become more humbled as a servant to those around me, then there’s a good chance that I am on the right path.
Continuing on our journey
And so, a month later, I find myself driving a 12-year old yellow school bus that I acquired from Florida to Big Woods, Louisiana. Our ministry is still changing, though less now that we have our bearings. We have floor plans and ideas for how this will all work, but I’m sure He will continue to nudge us along in His path for us. Jessica’s treatments will hopefully begin in the coming weeks, and it will be difficult for her and for our family. But this dream that we have still keeps us calm and gives a divine hope and peace amidst the storm.
by Grace Wilde
Thanksgiving in General Cepeda is fun. We invited everyone we met in General Cepeda to a gigantic feast that we serve. The feast was delicious. But, afterwards I was very tired.
To prepare for the feast, they put 5 turkeys in the pila to defrost. (The pila is an empty fountain where we brush our teeth.) On Thanksgiving, we worked all morning on cooking and setting up. We worked on the decorations. We set up little bobble head turkeys at each of the tables. We also wrapped up silverware in napkins. We made a poster that said all the things we are thankful for in Spanish. We also helped peel potatoes - enough to fill a bag that was bigger than Chi Yu!
When the people arrived there were two shifts, so once you were done eating you took over someone else’s job. There was a greeter who greeted people and counted how many people came. By the end, around 250 people had been fed. Then they were seaters. That was our job. We were supposed to lead people to empty seats in the mission house. Then there were people who served drink, food, and dessert.
When it was time for us to eat, the food was delicious. But, my favorite food was the desserts. There were chocolate cake and brownies. There were also pumpkin muffins!!! I had a pumpkin muffin and it was delicious. It had chocolate chips and raisins in it!!
Thanksgiving was really fun and General Cepeda was awesome. I was very sad when we had to leave, but, I look forward to Costa Rica.
On a Mission
Two passionate parents and their four children are excited to bring His Word to everyone in need while living a life of Gospel poverty as missionaries. They invite you to join them on a journey to encounter our global neighbors that Jesus commands us to love through works of charity and service.