Greetings from the interior of Costa Rica! The rainy season has arrived with sunny mornings that transition mid-day into something quite a bit wetter. This month I (Paul) want to tell you about the farm at our mission center and next time I will explain about the facilities and the events we have hosted. It is exciting for me to see how our little farm is responding to the rain this year. Even though much of the land is very steep it produces banana, plantain, coffee, and yucca. There are also a variety of citrus trees – mandarin, orange, lemon, grapefruit and a sweet lemon tree. This last one I think is an acquired taste. I have one caimito (kie-mee-toe) tree with purple fruit that resembles a plum.
The flavor is excellent and our visitors like to pick the fruit and take a bag of them home to enjoy. The juice from the caimito is like glue so there’s a certain technique to eating one, but it is no problem for the locals. One of them showed me that the leaf of the caimito tree is more effective than soap and water to remove the stickiness from lips and fingers. I have a new farm worker and he’s from this region and an experienced farmer. I am blessed to have such a knowledgeable helper to teach me the finer points about what grows here. Years ago, I took a Master Gardner course from the OSU Extension and it’s interesting to now be farming in the tropics. God has got a sense of humor! It’s a lot of work, so I depend on the Lord for the increase.
Providence, for sure, is one of God’s specialties. I think I wanted to explain a little about the above because the produce from the farm is something we can share with our neighbors as needs arise. Bridget and I have been at the mission center 3 1/2 years now and we have seen how difficult it is to make a living for both the indigenous and non-indigenous families in this area. There isn’t a lot of financial margin in their lives and it doesn't take much of an unfavorable event (a small coffee harvest, an illness in the family, etc.) and, what might have been gained is suddenly depleted. A large extended family can pitch in and help at a time like this, and so can we.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention the tilapia fish that I raise on the farm. Honestly, I don’t eat much fish so our friends are surprised to see our fish ponds. The center is on river-front property and not long ago three little girls and a boy came down to the river to fish with some line and a hook. They were a little disheartened when they saw that the river was high and too dangerous to go fishing. So, not wanting them to go away empty handed I got out my new casting net and we went fishing. At first, they thought this gringo was a little loco when I waded into my tilapia pond. But it didn’t take long before we were working together. They were squealing, giggling and yelling, “PULL! PULL!” They were so excited to each have a big fish. A 4-pound fish is pretty exciting and will fill a plate!
Watching the children help each other pull in a net of wiggly fish reminded me of the fisherman Jesus made into his disciples. It started to rain and they began to organize their bounty. But before they trooped off I got a hug. My day was complete.
I’ll end by saying just how grateful I am for your support that allows us to be here to have an opportunity to point others to our Lord and Savior.
Jesus is the hero!
Paul and Bridget