The Power of Human Connection

Being honest with ourselves and vulnerable with others is at the root of all human connection, and building relationships with others in Christ drives finding our own godly purpose and also helps us grow in our faith. Being seen as you truly are is one of the most courageous and difficult acts that anyone can accomplish, but it is absolutely necessary for us to develop as Christians.

Over spring break, I had the privilege of going to the town of Quiriman de Nicoya in Costa Rica and serving the local church and community. What I saw there was a group of people who had almost nothing compared to us, yet they displayed a level of hospitality and overall joy that is rarely seen in the States. They opened their arms to us and loved on us in a way that is almost shunned in countries and areas of affluence. It’s almost as if their focus was solely on the people with them in that moment and not on any of the monumental issues surrounding them.

Contentment in Christ is something these people have mastered. They don’t wish for more things, a better life, a nicer house, or a newer car because these people understand that won’t bring happiness. The people of Nicoya, in all of their poverty and struggle, understand something that a large portion of us Americans may never.

Happiness will never come from more of anything except Christ and Christ-centered relationships. An example of this connection in Christ could be seen through the group who went to help one of the church members demolish a concrete floor and move nearly 10,000 pounds of dirt from inside of her house. The house was only partially covered by a tin roof, and it had a very uneven part-cement, part-dirt floor. It also had open sewage draining from the yard and only 4 relatively small rooms to house a large family. Despite this, she completely opened up her home to us with all of its flaws and imperfections, and we accepted the challenge to improve it as much as we could. Because of our work, we developed relationships with a few of the natives who came to work alongside us and the family who lived in the house, and through them, we were able to experience a people who are full of integrity, character, and immense resilience.

A final and fantastic example of building lasting relationships through vulnerability was when, after a long day of work at the church in Quiriman, the foreman in charge of coordinating all of our work at the church gave his testimony during the service later that night. He talked about his mother dying in childbirth and dealing with his anger towards God, and he shared his issues of growing up with 18 siblings without a mother. This testimony moved most of the crowd to tears and some to the verge of losing it, and it gave many of us a different perspective on the people living in this town. We were able to understand these faithful and strong people through their willingness to be vulnerable and seen despite the language barriers.

The work that we did, though it was important, was not the most important part of our mission trip. The relationships we built throughout our work in the community matter far more than any amount of issues we could have solved. We were able to experience a beautiful culture centered around simply being present, connecting with others, being content with the present situation, and centering life around faith instead of material things. I learned a large amount during this amazing week through deep-bellied laughter, heartfelt testimonials, back breaking work, and amazingly faith-centered people. #concretecrew out (mic drop).

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