Costa Rica is – undeniably – a beautiful country!
When we share with individuals and churches in the US about our calling to serve here, we often encounter what I call the “Groupon Getaway Effect.” When people think of Costa Rica they think of beaches, volcanoes, and rainforests. They don’t think about the scourge of human trafficking or the challenges of deep poverty. They don’t know about the many bivocational pastors working hard to plant and grow healthy churches. They don’t see the strategic ministry opportunities to impact the entire Latin world from this small, stable nation.
The problem with the “Groupon Getaway Effect” is that it misses the whole picture. Yes, Costa Rica is very beautiful! Those Groupon Getaways are worth it. You should come visit!
But there is also much more to this country. When we welcome visitors, we delight in meals with pastor friends as much as we enjoy the photos with toucans. We want them to visit kids programs in the slums just as much as we want them to see beautiful beaches and volcanos.
I’ve also discovered that the effect works in reverse. You can focus only on the obstructions and the challenges, without seeing the beauty.
For many years, I’ve enjoyed photography and one of the most frustrating things about trying to take photos here is the ubiquitous wires. As I write this, I look out my window and can see nine separate utility wires
Each morning, I drink my coffee looking out at the mountains of Tres Rios, east of San José. Beautiful birds perch on those wires.
And yet, more than once, I’ve found myself frustrated by the wires without seeing the beauty. Ironically, the more beautiful the scene – bright clear day, beautiful crimson sunset – the easier it is to be frustrated.
And therein lies the lesson for believers. No matter where we live, every day we have a choice. We encounter beauty and blessings. Even in the darkest seasons, when the difficult things are in the foreground, God is at work.
And the question for each of us, every day, is – what will you focus on? The wires, or the wonder?