Updated: Apr 19
The name of the man that Spencer talked to in this post has been changed for his safety.
Meet Spencer. This man has a heart of Gold and is the back bone of This Mission in Costa Rica. He serves as the president of This Mission in Costa Rica and runs most of the day to day operations in Central America. Spencer has worked for us for about 3 years now, however, he has been a missionary for 16 years in San Jose, Costa Rica.
If you meet Spencer, you will know what I mean when I say that,"everyone loves him." It doesn't matter what ministry we are at, or what church is serving with us, by the end of the day, everyone is flocked around Spencer. I love that Spencer will go to "the one." I mean that he has the compassion and the heart to leave comfort, to seek out the lost and broken. This is where the story begins. It begins with compassion, boldness, and a love for "the one."
We work in a barrio of Costa Rica Called SA---- (name changed). This area is interesting for many reasons. However, you will notice that there is only one road in and one road out. This has created an opportunity for a drug cartel to take over the barrio and manage it with ease, due to the lack of accessibility. Spencer and his wife have been working in this barrio for many years doing humanitarian work and working with many women that have been trafficked over the border of Nicaragua. On average, 8/10 people in the barrio are immigrants from Nicaragua.
When you enter the one road to get into Barrio SA, you will notice 3-5 young men at the entrance. They will write down your license plate number, and call on their walkie talky. They work for the gang... most of the time we do not say anything to these men and will even ask our team to not make eye contact while we drive by, to remain as under the radar as possible.
While Spencer and our team were bringing clothes and shoes to some families that we support, Spencer felt from the Lord that he should go talk to these young men. Spencer walked over, brought them shoes and asked how they were doing. Most of the time these young men will not talk, and remain "on duty" (not interested) while we are there. However today was different. Spencer gave a pair of shoes to a man and asked how his family was. "Jasón" replied that his home life was not going well. He and his wife were constantly fighting and it was affecting his children. Spencer asked to pray for him and he felt so encouraged that he invited Spencer to follow him to his house to pray for his wife.
When we have moments like this, we have to use extreme caution as a member of a drug cartel is asking us to come to his house. However, some moments, you know are from the Lord, and you just have to follow the peace and ask God to protect you.
Spencer Said he would follow him to his house to speak and pray for his wife. When we entered the house, we knew that we were there for a reason. Jasóns wife quickly trusted us and began sharing with us how she did not trust men and how she had been abused for many years. She shared how she worked for many years, in the largest brothel in San Jose, Costa Rica. How men would travel from the USA and Europe just to go to this brothel. How men would not only sexually but physically abuse her. Spencer was translating to our team and had to stop translating because the stories she was telling were so gruesome and horrifying. These same stories are being left out of this post due to the nature of them.
After sharing her heart she asked our team to pray for her and their family. Many in the household were so touched that they gave their life to the Lord. This Mission has learned so much from Spencer and his wife Vanessa. Vanessa talks about 3 things people are searching for as we visit houses and people like Jasóns wife. "The three I's"
I see you.
I hear you.
I value you.
When we are in houses like this, we want people to feel seen. A women with the background of Jasóns wife, she rarely feels seen. As we just show up to their house, we are showing that we are there for her and her alone. We want to SEE them and then HEAR them. As people tell stories, and are pouring out their hearts, they want to feel heard. I love moments when our team can make someone that feels they don't have a voice, feel like everyone in the room hears them. Then we make sure they know that we VALUE them, and we are for them. Working in very oppressed and broken Barrios, many people feel like the "world is against them." We are there to say that we value you. We support many families in a barrio called PV, where we meet with the same families 10+ times a year. We go to their house, we bring them food, we pray with them, and we say,"we VALUE you!"
Looking back at this story, I remember all the people it impacted. Not only did it impact Jasón and his wife, it impacted our whole team. This is why we do what we do at This Mission. If one person can feel seen, heard, and valued... its all worth it!
Spencer is definitely a "Radical One." We love and honor him so much! We could not do what we do without him! Thanks Spencer!