My family away from family
It’s time I properly introduce the Barrett's—my family here in Costa Rica. Daniel and Sarah not only impact my day-to-day life here, but had a hand in so much as I grew from a kid into an adult.
I met them both in 2006 as a 6th grader. I was a sassy little eleven year old but that never stopped them from loving me. Daniel loved me by encouraging me to lead middle school worship and Sarah, by teaching me how to be a godly woman.
In 2009, The Barrett's moved to Costa Rica to begin learning the language and serving in San José.
They planted Horizon Church in 2012, an international English-speaking church in Jacó. That’s where they are today. They serve both the English and Spanish-speaking community through kids club, youth groups, and women’s ministries.
In my short time here, I’ve seen how the Barrett’s live like Jesus. How they love their neighbors, reach out to the boys’ friends at school and their parents. Everyday, planned or not, is spent loving the people around them.
My youth pastor from 6th-8th grade. He took me on my first missions trip to New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. I specifically remember when we arrived, we were staying in a pretty dingy place. Instead of letting us complain, he reminded us of the tragedy all around. He told us this was going to be a week where we learned flexibility; to focus on serving where we were needed rather than creating a plan.
Daniel’s love is so dynamic; he's caring and respectful but never misses the chance to add some humor to a situation. Just a few weeks ago, he told me he remembered the first song I ever played for him (he proceeded to tell the story of how I played “shining” as he mimicked the eleven year old me rolling my eyes).
He jokes about everyone–yes, he loves to poke fun at anyone (in love, of course). On the other hand, he is an incredible pastor, he leads with prayer and intercession. His desire is for the Holy Spirit to constantly be active and living in the church. His life has been an amazing example to me.
Teacher, mentor. The first word that comes to mind: gentle.
To me, Sarah embodies the love of Jesus. Last week, as we sat together on the couch, I poured out my heart to her. Her hand held mine, her brown eyes focused on me as she listened. After, she just smiled and said “I am so glad you are here, this is going to be a time of healing and growth.” She is like a mother to me here, always available, making sure I am resting, and of course loving me.
She radiates joy in all that she does and I’ve loved watching her as she ministers to children, youth, and the women of Jacó. No matter how busy she is or exhausted, she will always go the extra mile to spread the love of Jesus whether it is through quality time, words of encouragement, gifts, serving, or just a gentle hug.
It wasn't just in those “teaching” moments where I felt their love but in the times that may have meant nothing to them, meant the world to me.
The oldest; Thomas is twelve years old. He is incredibly smart—his glasses may give that away. He loves to read. He plays the guitar (acoustic and electric). Thomas is the first to say thank you and acknowledge any help given or special treat.
The middle; ten years old. Is sweet and sensitive. He's the first to say hello with a hug. He asks about my art and is eager to draw with me. Jacob is amazing at the drums and plays with Thomas in worship on Sundays.
The youngest; just turned six last month—a firecracker. He always wants me to race him down the street or practice punting a football. But he also loves a cuddle on the couch during movie time. And he’s learning the piano.
Obviously I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for all of them. But since arriving, they welcomed me as family with open arms. The love I have for them and feel from them is completely overwhelming. It’s extra special too since they are huge Clemson fans (Go Tigers!).
I’ve been here about a month a half and this past Saturday we took ten students from our youth group to the water park and we all had a blast! As youth leaders, Kyle and I brainstorm weekly games, dinners, and special events. I am using my creativity weekly but also I’m also always being challenged—Last night, my first time ever, I taught the youth. I went well and I’m incredibly thankful for these moments that stretch and grow me.