The Columns – May 2016


I am sitting in the Houston airport. I am dirty and tired. Ashley Goad has fearlessly led another team into the jungles of Costa Rica. My husband, James, and I decided we couldn’t wait anymore. It was time to jump into the unknown world of mission trips with our daughter Leslie, a 4th grader at South Highlands. We have two younger children so we both could not go with her. We decided a mother-daughter trip would be our maiden voyage. The preparations were simple enough – we packed our carry-ons and headed out. Little did we know that packing a bag was not the only preparation that we needed. We needed to prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally.

We needed to prepare our hearts for the outpouring of love and devotion we received from the three different churches we visited. We needed to brace ourselves for the waves of emotion that threatened tears, brought on by the simplest but most sincere acts of kindness bestowed upon us by the residents of Tamarindo and La Campiña. These tiny remote farm communities embraced us as family, as family of Christ’s holy church. They prayed with us and prayed over us. They joked with us and worked beside us. We were brothers and sisters in Christ working together to complete the parsonage for the Iglesia Methodista in La Campiña. But most importantly we needed to prepare ourselves for the inevitable shift within that silent place deep, deep inside each of us that has yearned for something more. It is too early now for me to fully express or even understand what happened to me over the last seven days.

What I can say is that I left Shreveport with my daughter and five relative strangers and am returning with family and many new friends still in Costa Rica. It has been an intense week of laughter, tears, some blood and a lot of hard work and sweat, but as I look down the table at my new loved ones, I see a gentle loving father and compassionate doctor; a spiritual traveling leader filled with grace and patience; a quick witted, kind and brilliant comedian; a young lady so wise beyond her years she takes my breath away; a boy on the verge of becoming a great man with a head set squarely on his shoulders and eyes set on serving the Lord. Lastly I see Leslie and I pray that God gives her the strength and wisdom to truly understand the ways He worked within all of us this week. I guess what I am trying to say is that there was no way to prepare for what God had planned for us, and ultimately being unprepared was a blessing. Dios esta contigo.

Written by Catherine Hunter, a lifetime member of the “Thirty-Third Annual” founded and established by Jack Hiers, Sadie McGuire, Preston Willis, Spence Willis, Leslie Hunter and Ashley Goad in Costa Rica, March, 2016.

ASHLEY GOAD • Director of Global Missions • • @GlobalFUMCInstagram –

Russian Mission Trip • February 13 – 23, 2016
Costa Rica Family Mission Trip • March 26 – April 2, 2016
Local & Global Missions Extravaganza • April 22, 2016
Haiti Mission Trip • May 27 – June 3, 2016 (REGISTER NOW!)
Russian Mission Trip • June 2016
Costa Rica Youth Mission Trip • July 9-16, 2016
Romania Partnership Development Trip • September 2016
Haiti Mission Trip • October 2016
Missions Launch Lunch • November 13, 2016
Ecuador Medical Mission Trip • November 19 – 26, 2016
Uganda Mission Trip • December 27, 2016 – January 6, 2017

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