Houseless, but not Homeless

 

If you received our latest newsletter, it sent you this way to “read more details about how we’re doing and where we are these days.” It’s a constant tension for those of us who live on support to write updates which are short enough that people will actually open & read them, but also say something worth reading, tell more than one layer of the story!

Alright, I will stick to shorter & sweeter for the email that hits your inbox, praying that everyone  doesn’t walk away simply because they had to scroll more than once (heaven-forbid that scrolling ought  to happen, although it is something we do in our sleep) and reserve my wordiness for this place of ours on the web. I don’t want to compete with other corners of online writers out there. I just want to be myself, expressing some of what is on my heart without the judgment of the holy email length police, aka, H.E.L.P! Freedom of speech-length, people. Filibusterers for Jesus, unite! #ifjesuswantedmetowriteshortemailsthenwhydidhecreateeternity

Ah, I feel better. Sometimes, semi-sarcastic is a good thing!

Ok, so … how are we really doing?

This past year in the U.S. has not been easy, although each month was  certainly touched by many points of “Ah, God continues to love on us” hard, but good moments.

It has been hard because we were expecting to stay only 6 months, then return to Costa Rica for several years. By month four, Jordan and I both realized that we were in no shape to go back yet because we were miserable physically and overwhelmed emotionally. Apparently, we are not the only cross-cultural workers to wind up in this place of needing extra time to recover from a season of service.

It has been good because we are working with a mission organization which believes that getting to the field quickly is great, but getting there healthy and staying longer is better. They blessed us with requirements and space to take care of the medical issues, get the needed rest, etc. Two back procedures and a hernia surgery later, I am in MUCH less pain, am able to cook meals again without regretting it, and I even began hiking and swimming again this summer! Jordan’s diagnosis of sleep apnea after five horrible, sleepless months and resulting treatment has helped him so much. We both still feel that we’re not where we ought to be physically, but we are working on it. We have certainly reached a place where we can return to Costa Rica and not flatline when the next string of stressful moments hit us. We can breathe. Breathing is not overrated.

It has been good because we have had time and space to surrender our hearts to God’s healing touch, especially as we’ve had to do a fair amount of releasing and forgiving. It’s unreal how tempting it is to just deny that we are hurting, even for people whose history has taught us the value of leaning into the truth of the situation. We don’t see ourselves as victims, but we are working on sifting through experiences and emotions: filtering, evaluating and resolving as much as we can in front of God.

It has been hard because we have experienced a normal amount of attrition of financial supporters, but we have also received the message “Let us know when you’re back on the field and we’ll support you again, but while you’re stateside, we won’t be supporting you.” Deeeeeeep breath. While we do not hold it against anyone who has told us that, the reality is that it can communicate that when we are off the field, we are no longer doing God’s work, or that we no longer have financial needs. Ouch. Jordan didn’t go back to Comcast, earning his corporate salary the moment we set foot in Denver last year. Our kids and we still had/have the need for groceries, gas, health insurance, medical appointment copays, school supplies, debt from surgeries, ministry travel and oh yes, bigger shoes and clothes for growing kids. We have heard this story from other missionaries in the past, but this was our first home assignment so our newbie hearts had to process all that this past year.

It has been good because we have seen, over and over again, how God still provides through His  people. Subject: God! HE is our Provider and He has provided through many who have continued to give faithfully, month after month. Moreover, He provided through Jordan’s family, with whom we lived for almost a year, through our mission and generous friends who loaned us cars and their homes when they were out of town. So, even though we sold our primary house in Denver, CO and are in a state of transition in CO right now, we are house sitting for some friends who are traveling. We don’t know where we will be living for the last few weeks of our support raising time here and in CA.  At moments, it takes our breath away … the unknown.

Yet, on our toughest day this summer, regarding this feeling of not having a place of our own, the Lord led me to Psalm 61, because I had seen a meme earlier that day with verses 1 & 2:

“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; 

from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint.”

Then, I kept reading … and I couldn’t believe the imagery describing all the ways in which GOD, Himself, is our house! He is our refuge, our strong tower, our tent, our shelter. “Really, God?! On the day on which I actually got around to shedding tears about NOT having a house of our own? Truly, you know what my heart needs.”

“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refugea strong tower against the enemy.

Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!” Selah

In that moment, I was comforted tremendously by the reality that we, the Footes, are houseless, but not we are not homeless. Even though we do not currently own a house here, nor in Costa Rica, we have enjoyed telling each other that “We are houseless, but we’re not homeless!” We have never lacked a safe place to lay our head at night. Furthermore, even in the latest transitions, we have felt at home being together as a family, no matter where we are, following God in the next step He has for us. It is nerve-wracking, at times, not knowing where a particular item is … is it in storage in Costa Rica? Or in storage in Jordan’s parents’ basement? Or is it in the back of the loaner van from our mission? Or did we leave it at someone’s house along the way? But to feel “at home” wherever we are, when we are not yet settled in every earthly sense of the word … that is a gift only God can give and we are grateful to Him for it!

We don’t know right now where we will be staying in between our next trip and our CA trip to connect with supporters. We have a confidence that God has it, though. If you desire to pray with us about anything, please pray that we would work diligently, persistently and in faith, as God opens doors of provision. Remember, it’s been both hard and good!

Speaking of doors: we are amazed at how word is spreading of what God is doing through our BAM work and our coffee business, Café Feliz, in partnership with Santamaría Gourmet Coffee. Many businesses and ministries would cease to function if it’s main workers had their work time reduced as much as we have. However, the fact that God is laying partnership with us on the hearts of His people (some whom we’ve never heard of before – they are the ones who are calling us!) is so encouraging and affirming. 

Our time in Costa Rica, to renew our residency (in July – that story is still going to be an upcoming blog post of its very own), showed us that our partnerships with Costa Rican missions leaders, church leaders and our coffee business team are truly sweet and that we are working together, towards the same vision of growing this coffee business so that Latino missionaries can enter and remain in areas of the world where the Gospel can be brought through a legitimate business visa. Every time we connect with our missional brothers & sisters in Costa Rica, we marvel at how well-suited we are to work side by side. This is what brings us the most joy and keeps us laboring to get there by October!

Our family is growing up together and we are, even in the chaos of transition during a season of recovery, having fun with each other. How we wish you could hear the conversations we are having with our kids during homeschool, in the car, over everyday tasks and on planes which take us to places where they have never been before. We traveled quite a bit this summer, connecting with friends, family and churches in other states, and it warms our hearts to see Megan and Micah becoming such seasoned travelers. They are true Third-Culture Kids, wrestling with how to respond to homeless people begging for food on the side of the road, not just in Costa Rica, but here in our affluent, middle-class community in Colorado. They are processing what it means to have Trump and Clinton running for President, as much as their 12 and 9 year old minds can. They made such sweet connections with their cousins in Illinois and Wisconsin this summer – most of whom they had never met before. They are learning what it means to have a family all around the world, even while not having a permanent house to call “home” anymore.

Sure, we have our moments of chaos, sibling bicker-paloozas and intense discipleship (aka discipline) … but as we look at these two souls whom God gave us to parent, we stand amazed at how kind God has been to us. They know how to ask for forgiveness. They say “I love you” every day. They get excited about pizza and Friday night family movie night. They make their cozy nest in the space provided for them and they sleep in peace every night. They ask questions that are insightful and silly. Thank you, God, for the gifts of Megan & Micah.

The final thought I want to leave with you for this more detailed, less edited update, is that Jordan is an incredible man of God. No matter whether it’s a hard, but good, or just plain hard day, I cannot believe that I get to work my dream job with my best friend and that he tells me the same thing. Even with all the difficulties we could list (and shockingly, we’ve racked up a few in the past 3 years), we are still so grateful to God for how He has guided us every step of the way. Never once has He ever left us to walk alone.

If you’ve read this entire blog post, then you deserve a prize! Rumor has it that we have some delicious Costa Rican coffee that might find its way into your house sometime. Perhaps we can have a coffee date with you on your end of the email, Facebook or Skype line … and us on our laptop wherever we happen to be houseless today. God is good! Thanks for journeying with us.

Marie

 

To a Weary Friend, at Christmas

My dear, weary friend,

I know it. You are worn from this year’s happenings, doings, and all that you have felt pressure to “be” in the midst of all the happening and doing.

I can’t avoid it, as your existence intersects my own, as our eyes take in one another,  as our stories, together, craft a composite reality to which we both can relate, on so many levels.

We’ve met in writing and on weekly Google Hangouts. You’ve texted me. I’ve emailed you. We’ve played phone tag and FaceTimed. We have gathered around coffee mugs, on Messenger threads and in prayer circles.

You are my weary mama friend who has messaged more than once, “If I have to tell my children this {name your current parenting issue} ONE.MORE.TIME. I’ll go mad! I’m already there!”

You are my cancer-fighter friend, with dear ones in remission to your left and funerals to attend to your right. You’re afraid to look anywhere but straight ahead, lest your story veer to the unbearable right.

You are my discouraged missionary friend, who has confided to me, with tears on a keyboard, “I never imagined that my heart could hurt this much …” as you reflect on the rejection you have endured in your host country this year.

You are my new brother in Christ, dejected that your year-old faith hasn’t overcome your tendency towards depression.

You are my incredulous, how-do-I-stay-hopeful-for-him girlfriend, “Why does he just not care about me?”

You are my newly-nested-in-a-good-place-of-peace friend, who found out hours later that the affair had been going on for a long, long time.

You are my closer-than-a-sister-friend, wondering, hopefully and helplessly, how long your son with Muscular Dystrophy will be able to walk today.

You are my scar-hearted servant-friend, still grappling with the torment of PTSD from a sexual assault years and years ago.

You are my deeply saddened, generous young friend living with Multiple Sclerosis, “After all that I’ve been through, why this now?”

You are the one in my Facebook newsfeed who has yet another update on a condition for which there is no change. Again.

You are full-time ministry friend, left holding the consequence-bomb of hurt feelings organization-wide, when none of the drastic decisions were made by you.

You are my fellow homeschooling mama, ready to ignite the paper which fails to recount accurately the two-hour tantrum inspired by the required, meager 5 lines of handwriting.

You are my husband, faithfully expending energy that drains more quickly than the day before, as you hop-scotch from husband, to dad, to missionary, to business owner, to friend, to language helper, to boss, to landlord, back to whatever else God requires of you in the moment.

You are me, as I look upon my crackled reflection in a too-honest mirror, “I can’t keep doing this today. I’m so tired. I feel lost.”

Every single one of these is a true story of a someone I know & love dearly.

We have declared that we are simply “DONE” with whatever it is we are struggling, only to face another moment, day, season because there is simply no other option, but to keep moving forward. Yet, as we move forward, we still feel as though we haven’t moved any direction, but backward.

My weary friend … allow me to tell you this today.

I hear you. Your burden hasn’t escaped my awareness. I see only a glimpse of where your heart truly resides and yet, you are telling my story. I am telling yours.

God’s gaze, however, sees it all. Sometimes that brings me comfort, sometimes it makes me ragingly sad.

Because He is the God who sees all, I sent out this semi-APB to some praying friends this week:

I am in a really strange spot. I don’t think it’s all that confounding, but it just is what it is. On the one hand, I’m so content and happy with the life God has granted us … on the other hand, I’m weary and feel like I’m wasting my life. Saturday, at church, the Holy Spirit started to shed light on some spots of my heart which made me want to shy away and I’m slowly opening up those areas to Him. The preacher asked us one of Jesus’s favorite questions: What do you want from me? My initial, blink reaction … from the core of my being … was “To not have any responsibilities in life right now.”

Wow. I guess that tells you a lot about where I am. I am digging into it, moment by moment. A huge part of me wants to live in denial that this is my heart’s human response. At the same time, I know that God loves me in all of that and that I matter to Him, so I will be ok. I think it speaks to the long road we’ve been on and these days, I just want to escape anything that remotely resembles work or effort. And yet, I have done work and given my effort to some of the things which I know God has required of me. Everything else has gone out the window for now. So … it means that I have a long list of things which I could be doing, but I’m not. I’m licking some wounds, but I’m also letting Him heal them Himself. I’m tired, in every way.

I do believe that the prayers of these friends, along with the conversations born out of my confession, led me to a quiet space with Jesus this morning. My loving husband invited our kids to a Christmas party at our missions headquarters and I found myself truly alone for a few hours (during waking hours) for the first time in a very long time. That time was the gift of solitude which he knew I had chosen; instead of a gift he could wrap and put under the tree, he knew I needed, instead, to be wrapped in a long embrace by the One who made all trees.

While my heart still fought it on some level, I willed myself to open my journal and my Bible and I said only, “Teach me, God.”

It turned out, as He taught me (and as several friends reminded me) that I have much, still, to grieve. I did not get a free pass this year because we’ve “been there, done that,” in so many ways. If we don’t count the years leading up to this one, I still would have many losses to work through.

I am not alone in that place. When we’re honest with each other, many of us view this past year through the lens of unresolved grief over:

  • loss
  • failures
  • disappointments
  • let-downs
  • deaths
  • shortcomings
  • betrayals
  • hurts
  • rejections
  • wounds
  • sins
  • poor choices
  • regrets
  • unmet expectations
  • bad habits
  • changes
  • imperfections
  • blemishes
  • conflicts
  • wear & tear
  • misunderstandings
  • disapproval
  • insert your word for the tarnished stain of this earthly life

It turned out that my passage for today would land in Romans 15. Not a very Christmasy place to land in the Bible, right?

So, apparently, Paul wrote (verse 13), “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

I compared it with Peterson’s translation: “Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!”

Excuse me … how many times have my eyes grazed this passage?! Perhaps I ought to breathe “Teach me” prayers more often.

My friend, my weary friend who understands how I feel after all that we’ve been through:

OUR ONLY POSSIBLE ROLE is to believe, to live a life of belief (belief leads to obedience). GOD, the God of HOPE fills us with what? JOY & PEACE

Not HOPE? NOPE!!! Not hope. Read on.

How does He fill us? With the power of the Holy Spirit. In what manner does He fill us? Abundantly, brimming over (not scarcely, not with a little drizzle)

So, where does the HOPE that we long for & seek come from? AHA!! As the JOY and the PEACE (which HE gives) OVERFLOWS in the Spirit’s power … the resulting by-product is HOPE.

I can’t create hope, I can’t seek it or desire it enough to bring it to me.

If I ask Him for it … He won’t fill me with it (not according to this, anyway).

Instead, He will overfill me with joy and peace and then … the waterfall of residual spillage is what takes the shape of hope.

I am Marie Foote and I am 40 years old. I have known Jesus personally for 36 of those years and I never understood this clearly until now.

I’ve known/believed/declared that my hope, the hope of ALL the world, is found in Jesus, but I never had this clear picture in my mind of how that all truly works, until now.

Wait, there’s more.

As the words fell together in my journal before God’s eyes, He nudged me to lift my eyes toward another picture of this truth. It’s one you and I know very well, especially at this time of year.

Mary believed.

She believed what God told the angel to tell her.

She lived a life of belief, against the grain of her community’s critical circles.

Because she believed, it wasn’t long before she was filled with Joy and Peace … so much so, that she was clearly, obviously, unmistakably FILLED. Filled with the Holy Spirit, filled with joy, filled with peace.

Her growing belly embodied her belief.

Her growing faith reflected her filling.

Then, in the power – the LIFE-GIVING POWER – of the Holy Spirit of God, she brimmed over, overflowed with the flesh & blood reality, the birth of true HOPE.

Hope’s arrival simply couldn’t be stopped, it couldn’t be helped. How do you keep a container from overflowing when Someone is pouring into it continually?

There He was. Hope lain upon hay. His name was Jesus. His name still is.

As soon as I wrote those words … something welled up inside of me.

What is this joy? From where comes this peace? Hope spills. Hope spills.

My dear, weary friend. We are in this together. We were in this together, long before we met.

Our Emmanuel, Man of Sorrows, has walked this road of weary grief, as well.

Neither of our circumstances have changed in the last few minutes.

Perhaps, however, we can muster up a tear-filled phrase or two, offered up with a genuine cry of grief, to the God of All Hope.

“Please, teach me.”

“Please, fill me.”

Insert your phrase for the longing of your human heart for a heavenly touch.

Then let’s believe, together, that He will.

Most likely, it won’t look the way we imagine. Who, after all, could have envisioned a King lying in a manger? (Not even Mary!)

I had no idea how much this King would change my life.

As I sign this letter, I want you to see the smile through my tears. Today, I have hope. Hope for you. Hope for me. I don’t know what tomorrow will be like, feel like, brim with. As for me and my heart, today, I have hope.

Will you take me as I am? Broken and grieving, yet still overflowing with hope?

Will you keep sharing your stories with me?

I know I can’t help it … Hope spills. Every time.

Merry Christmas to us, dear friend, wherever we are.

With Joy, with Peace, with Hope,

Marie

Adjusting … to Him

We are almost 3 weeks into our first 6 month home assignment. In some ways, everything is the same and we have come back to an unchanged Denver, Colorado that we left over two years ago for Costa Rica.

And yet, everything is different.

Lay’s Potato Chips now has a limited edition Southern Biscuits and Gravy flavor. No, thank you, but you sure get points for trying.

The “I’d rather be surfing” dude, who used to spin signs for H&R Block and Quizno’s subs on Arapahoe Road, is now brandishing a board for Vapes at the same street corner – a modern day jaust with oncoming drivers. Oh yea, “they” legalized marijuana sales here right after we left and “they” are oh-so-proud-of-it.

Gay marriage and Planned Parenthood videos are some of the main topics of discussion on TV & radio, and even though I have followed some of it online from Costa Rica, it’s easier for my heart to walk past what’s online when it still feels 5,000 miles away. It’s more challenging to ignore it when it’s actually talking to you. Then again, ISIS is still killing Christians in the Middle East. That weighs upon my heart and THAT is considerably many more miles away. Selective hearing wasn’t just my childhood practice when I  didn’t want to put down my Trixie Belden book to help set the table.

I’m adjusting. Adjusting to a church that has changed so much since it sent us off to Costa Rica. Adjusting to a husband and children who have never experienced the “story of my life” re-entry after extended time away from the U.S. Adjusting to the pure gorgeousness that is driving in wide lanes, on wide roads, with clear lines and traffic lights that work more than they don’t.

The Velvet Ashes cross-cultural community I’ve been a part of for the last year discussed “adjustment” last week, so I’ve been mulling it over, having conversations with God and with my keyboard.

At the end of the day, for me, it’s not a question of to WHAT I am adjusting, but to WHOM. The world is constantly changing. So are my emotions. So are my circumstances. There is only one steady, True North in this compass called my life. That’s Jesus. My adjusting to the requirements of a cross-cultural worker is more of a repeated recalibration … to Him.

From my will to His.

From my plan ABCDEFG to His plan A.

From my angst about whatever petty thing I’m fixating upon, to His peace that passes understanding because yes, Marie, God’s got this.

From my desires to His best, even when I don’t feel like it’s what’s best, at first.

I take great comfort in knowing that Jesus had to do it too, when He crossed cultures from Heaven to Earth. “If it’s at all possible, let this cup pass from me. BUT NOT MY WILL, BUT YOURS BE DONE.” He understands my human need for recalibration when I get off course, when my gears are just off enough that it’s just.not.working.

I’m so thankful for the ability He grants me to adjust to Him. I know that He knows that it’s what I really want, in the end.

Now, if only they’d make a Lay’s Potato Chip that tastes like my favorite Filipino dish … with none of the calories. I’ll adjust to that any day!

Tell me about how you are adjusting to Him these days. How do you feel about it? I would love to pray for you!

If you are a woman in cross-cultural ministry, I invite you to join our community at Velvet Ashes. It has been a very safe place for my heart in the past year.

Last, our sending agency wrote up another article on what God is doing with the vision that He gave us years ago to do Business as Missions in Costa Rica. Please read and share what Emily wrote and rejoice with us in how awesome God is! Coffee That’s Truly Worth the Cost

Carlos’s Story

A Nicaraguan Artist Chooses God over Government

About a year ago, as we were leaving the house to run an errand, we met a gentleman selling his paintings on our street. We didn’t have time to stop for a long chat, but we connected briefly and he agreed to come by again sometime so that we could take a look at his work.

Carlos Jordan

Since that time, we have met with him two other times and have pieced together some of his life story. Carlos is from a town 130 kms north of Granada, Nicaragua. He is an artist and is a strong follower of Jesus Christ. Because he refused to align himself with the Sandinista government’s beliefs, he was ostracized from finding decent work in his area and had to leave home to look for work elsewhere. His search brought him here to Costa Rica last year, where we met him for the first time.

We crossed paths again this summer weeks ago I, Marie, shed tears over his situation more than once in the 5 days that he was working for us. Carlos has experienced much prejudice and racism here because he is a Nicaraguan (and is older) and he has struggled to find work, although he is an honest man and a hard worker. Carlos is different from all those who come by our house, asking for food or money (trust us, there are many)!  Instead, he asks for work and he is grateful for whatever we give him. He has always been faithful to every task excellently … even tasks which we were concerned might be seen as “beneath him.” No, he worked “as unto the Lord” in everything, even working for friends of ours and impressing them with his work ethic. 

Our kids kept talking to us about how kind he is and we can see the Lord opening their eyes to those in need in a special way. They were so excited to put together a bag of toiletries for him for the week. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to for them to see that when Jesus is in a person, they are different from everyone else!

Hand-drawn, textured and hand-painted by Carlos and his wife. The plants in front of the local mountain scene are "matas de café" ... coffee plants!

Hand-drawn, textured and hand-painted by Carlos and his wife. The plants in front of the local mountain scene are “matas de café” … coffee plants!

God provided a way for us to contract him to do some artwork for the coffee business in time for the Christmas season, when we’ll be stateside. We’re excited to see how God leads us to work with him in the future. Please pray for his family and for doors to be opened for him to encourage even more people in the name of Jesus, as we work together to share his artwork with the world!

Patty’s Story

 A Nicaraguan Teen, Working Her Way out of Poverty and Heartache

We have had the sweet opportunity to employ two part-time housemaids in our home. Rosy (below, left) is a strong Costa Rican  believer who has a heart for helping the downtrodden. She introduced us to Patty (below, right) and two of her sisters, Diana and Yiyi (pronouced Gigi).

Patty is a Nicaraguan immigrant, living in a difficult situation here in San José. She is 18 and is finishing 8th grade faithfully during night school. We agreed to hire Patty as a intern helper a few months ago so that she could gain experience working for a family and make a little money, if she was willing to continue her studies and she would agree to do a Spanish Bible study with Marie, in our home, once a week. She agreed to everything and has not missed a single day of work since then.

Patty Rosy

Our wonderful household helpers: Rosy (left) and Patty (right), with our dog, Babe

Marie had an opportunity to share the Gospel, in its entirety, with Patty a few weeks ago and Patty opened up to her, sharing about her fears, her hurts, and how she wants Jesus to be on the throne of her life, but she’s not sure yet if she’s ready to commit her life to Him.  She has encountered many people in the Church whom she found to be hypocrites, so they have had a couple of chances to discuss that, from a Biblical perspective. Please pray for her true salvation!

Rosy & Patty help us in the home 3 days a week. Patty attended an  English class at a local church on Wednesday mornings until the class ended and she has made progress in her English-speaking ability! She wants to be an English teacher here in Costa Rica someday. We believe that Patty will not be cleaning houses for her lifelong career – she is wanting and is made for something else, but we can see that her faithfulness in her current tasks are preparing her for what’s next! We cannot wait to see how else God works in her life.

Please pray with us for Patty and for the wonderful opportunity we have to be witnesses to her of the deep, life-changing love of God, as she works in the home which He has given us. Pray, also, for her family. She has a difficult home life, but we see evidence of how the Lord is providing encouragement for her in the midst of the struggle. We are praying that her entire family will come to know Jesus in an intimate, life-transforming way.

Latika’s Story

A Costa Rican, Serving in India

A Costa Rican gal, whom we are discipling and have employed in our home as an admin assistant and occasional babysitter, served the Lord for several weeks in India , in partnership with our sending church and with an amazing Business as Missions (BAM) ministry there. We are not able to share her face and real name  because of security issues, but here you may see a photo of her hennaed hand, during her first week in India!

Our Costa Rican friend's henna hand, as she serves in India

Our Costa Rican friend’s henna hand, as she served  in India

The reports which came in from her were very encouraging. Although it was difficult work, she had a wonderful time relying on the Lord for strength to minister to the unreached around her.  Towards the end of her time there, the security at her place of work was compromised in a traumatic way.  Latika and her teammate were brought home before they could finish their planned time of service. Since then, we’ve had the privilege of walking alongside her, along with a care team of Costa Ricans. We have been amazed and encouraged at the depth of care she has been able to receive from her fellow Costa Ricans. It has been such an honor to partner with them in caring for this precious missionary. As we have spent time together, we have seen God bring much healing into her life and her desire to continue to serve Him is strong, although the road before her is not going to be a simple one. She is leaning upon Jesus! This gives us much joy, in the midst of grief and sadness.

Please pray for her and for the staff of the ministry site where she was, as they are involved with orphans and with women who have been rescued from human trafficking. There are many obstacles to overcome and the opposition can be fierce, at times, but we rejoice in her story which God is writing and in the passion that He is giving her for the Muslim and Hindu people of India. Please pray, also, for clarity for all involved in her healing process, as her future steps will depend very much on how she progresses in the next few months & years. She has much experience in photography and graphic design and she has shown a great interest in using those skills, along with learning how to sell coffee to her circles. Her attitudes of learning and servanthood will take her far! We are looking forward to continuing our discipleship relationship with her and to hiring her in our BAM work once again, when the time is right!

Introducing Santamaría Gourmet Coffee

SMG bag cup coffee

Order our gourmet coffee at coffee@footetraffic.net. For more info, see footetraffic.net/coffee.

Happy July! Can you believe this year is half over?! We, at footetraffic, are kicking off this month by telling you our coffee story, so make yourself a cup (if you’re a non-coffee drinker, no worries, everyone is welcome at our table!) and settle in for a spell. When you’re finished reading this, please share it with your loved ones! We want your help in getting this word out!

Costa Rican Flag

Costa Rican Flag

Our coffee story begins in May 2010, when Jordan and I went on a vision trip to Costa Rica. God had closed the door to full-time ministry with a church-planting team in Buenos Aires, Argentina before we even arrived there, teaching us that His plan & timing are perfect and are never without a purpose.

Jordan, meeting with leaders of Costa Rican missions agencies who are interested in doing Business as Missions

May 2010: Jordan, meeting with leaders of Costa Rican missions agencies who are interested in doing Business as Missions

Women's team from Mission Hills Church, Littleton, CO. We ministered in a slum in San José and in the jungles of Talamanca, with an indigenous tribe called the Cabecar.

May 2010: Women’s team from Mission Hills Church, Littleton, CO. We ministered in a slum in San José and in the jungles of Talamanca, with an indigenous tribe called the Cabecar.

Through our time in Costa Rica, at the invitation of missions leaders in San José, and in conversation with our then missions pastor, Terry Jarvis, it dawned on us that starting a coffee business in Costa Rica could be a phenomenal way to partner with Latino missionaries who want to enter restricted access nations with a legitimate business. In fact, our church is very involved in the growing coffee scene in China and the need for shipping beans to China from coffee-producing countries is great. There was talk of starting a coffee business in Costa Rica and possibly exporting from that business to China, the U.S. and other countries. Little did we know back then all that God had planned for us and this “little” idea.

Our pastor, mentor, friend, Terry Jarvis and his dear wife, Monika

Our pastor, mentor, friend, Terry Jarvis and his dear wife, Monika

We were approved by our church, Mission Hills Church, and our mission agency, WorldVenture, to do Business as Missions in San José, Costa Rica. WorldVenture partners with local churches like ours to carry out the work of spreading the life-transforming gospel of Jesus Christ with whatever tools God equips us.

We love that our agency looks at the whole person when ministering to the unreached world!

We love that our agency looks at the whole person when ministering to the unreached world!

In April 2012, Jordan left his business analyst job at Comcast Corporation, so that we could raise support for the mission field. He also began working part-time as a barista at our church’s coffee shop, which FINALLY (thank GOD!) taught him how to love drinking coffee, how to make it and how to sell it!

Summer 2012: Our family, at Peakview Coffee inside of Mission Hills Church. Photo credit: Cristopher Lucarini

Summer 2012: Our family, at Peakview Coffee, inside of Mission Hills Church. Photo credit: Christopher Lucarini

In August 2013, we reached 100% of our one-time funding needs and had commitments for 110% of our monthly budget needs. God really wowed us with His timing and His abundant provision! Our family said “hasta luego” (until later) to our beloved city of Denver, CO and landed in San José, Costa Rica, two weeks before we began language school.

August 10, 2013: Our first day in Costa Rica as a family

August 10, 2013: Our first day in Costa Rica as a family

Fast-forward to June 2014, when Jordan’s parents came to visit us for the first time. One of the areas we took them to was at the base of Arenal Volcano, which has incredible geothermal pools. In one of those pools, we ran into a long-time missionary pastor, Lamar Salley, who was hosting a short-term team and had taken them swimming. When Jordan gave him the 30 second description of what God had called us to do in Costa Rica, he said, “You should meet my friend, Roberto and his friend, Isaac. I think they’re interested in doing ministry through coffee, as well.” Email addresses were exchanged and we went on with our busy lives.

Pastor Lamar Salley and his wife

Pastor Lamar Salley and his wife

In September 2014, a couple from Huntsville, Alabama came to Costa Rica to care for some friends’ kids for a week while their parents attended a conference. We wound up driving John and Peg to the store one morning and realized that we had similar passions regarding Business as Missions, discipleship and coffee. John, a space engineer and a successful businessman, is also a leader of his church’s discipleship program. He began asking us, every month, how we could ship Costa Rican coffee to him in Huntsville, so that our ministry could benefit from the sales. Before we could blink, John was gathering groups of coffee lovers, taste-testing Costa Rican coffee, giving us feedback, placing orders for any coffee we could get our hands on, and encouraging us to start our coffee business on every front! People like John and Peg are rare on this earth. We count it a tremendous privilege to know them and to have their support on this journey.

John & Peg Cranston, from Huntsville, Alabama

John & Peg Cranston, from Huntsville, Alabama

In January of this year, Jordan met Roberto and Isaac (the gentlemen Lamar Salley told us to contact) for the first time. When they began to unfold their dreams and desires for serving the Lord in missions, through doing a coffee business, Jordan thought Pastor Salley had told them about our plan, because it lined up so well with what we were looking to do. As Jordan shared our heart with them, their eyes grew as large as 20 oz. coffee mugs! They had NOT heard of our ministry plan, just that we were interested in coffee and that we should meet up.

As it turned out, Roberto & Isaac were already in the process of starting a gourmet coffee exportation company and were wondering what their next steps could be. In fact, they had a large shipment of beans in the works for a client in Dubai, but the deal fell through. They began to ask the Lord if they were heading in the right direction, or not and asked Him to show His will to them. They had the coffee farmers lined up, they had the coffee, they already had the shipping all figured out. They needed only clients to whom they could market and ship their products. Just a few weeks later, they met us. We had the clients, we just needed the coffee and the shipping company. A wonderful partnership was born, by God’s grace!

Isaac Santamaría and his girlfriend, Fabiana Solano

Isaac Santamaría and his sweet girlfriend, Fabiana Solano

Since January, the Lord has knitted our hearts with both of Roberto and Isaac’s families, as well as with their church & community. Isaac is one of the pastors at his church, Templo Bíblico in Barva, Heredia and he is passionate about the youth in his community and missions work. When given the opportunity, he preaches to the cafeteleros (coffee farmers) in the Santamaría de Dota mountains, from where our coffee comes. Isaac’s family was brought into that community by his father’s friend, who has been ministering to those same coffee farmers for over 20 years. This makes the fact that all our beans are single-origin (every batch comes from one farm, one harvest … they are not blends from multiple farms or harvests) even more special, as you can be sure that the farmers are being cared for economically and spiritually, by our Santamaría Gourmet Coffee team.

Roberto Matarrita and family: Nancy, Naomi & Josue

Roberto Matarrita and family: Nancy, Naomi & Josue

Roberto and his wife, Nancy, are both bilingual (Spanish and English) employees for Cisco and Baxter, respectively. Roberto is also one of the music leaders in the Barva church, which has become our home church here in Costa Rica. Roberto’s desire is to be able to do this business full-time and Jordan has already had a few chances to pass on some business expertise to him. It is an understatement to say that we are having fun! We have had a wonderful time learning from them, befriending them and doing business together. We could not have asked for more godly, reliable, hard-working, humble and dedicated business partners in this endeavor. We love worshipping, brainstorming, praying, eating and laughing with them. Every time we leave from being with them, Jordan and I  shake our heads at the goodness of God in bringing us, and this plan, together!

SMG Diamante Gourmet

In April, Roberto, Isaac and Isaac’s father, Marvin, incorporated their business officially as Santamaría Gourmet Coffee and we (including John Cranston) became their primary sales force. We are already receiving great reviews of the coffee from a varied cross-section of folks here in Costa Rica and in the U.S. and we cannot wait to share it with you!

Jordan, sharing our story at our first informal taste-testing

Jordan, sharing our story at our first informal taste-testing

Also in April, John Cranston contacted us about a project he is spearheading to create a reflective sunshield for the James Webb Space Telescope. Apparently, the perfect reflective material is found on the inside of COFFEE BAGS! John decided that he wants to have elementary-aged students (the same ages as several of his grandchildren) assemble recycled coffee bags. The entire sunshield will measure 45 feet x 70 feet.  The center of the shield, 14 feet x 14 feet, will be made entirely out of our Santamaría Gourmet Coffee bags and they will be assembled by homeschooled children in Costa Rica (because of our kids)! We know this story sounds out of this world (pun intended), but you have heard that truth is stranger than fiction! To give you an idea of the scope of this project, both Starbucks and NASA are involved. We just can’t make this stuff up!

John Cranston, with 4th graders at Whitesburg Christian Academy, assembling recycled coffee bags for the sunshield project

John Cranston, with 4th graders at Whitesburg Christian Academy, assembling recycled coffee bags for the sunshield project

If you would like more information on how you can be involved in this project, please contact us at coffee@footetraffic.net.

Small assemblies are then attached to make larger parts of the sunshield

Small assemblies are then attached to make larger parts of the sunshield

In early June, a Business as Missions group from our church set us free to focus on coffee distribution as our main business model for the foreseeable future. We are excited about this because it allows us to hone our skills and our experience in the global marketplace, with solid partners in coffee distribution. It also gives us a wide open door to send Latinos to unreached nations with a “business in a box,” which will permit them to apply for business visas and to have a viable, sustainable business to keep them in-country, for the sake of ministry relationships. We can’t wait to tell you the stories we are collecting about this concept of mobilizing and equipping missionaries worldwide, through the sale of coffee beans!

It has been quite a road since our May vision trip in 2010. We give God ALL the glory for this story … please share it with someone now! Please help our ministry dream of seeing this coffee distributed worldwide, through the efforts of missions-minded partners, so that the life-transforming gospel of Jesus Christ can do its powerful work among communities who have no visible witness, or church.

To read more about our coffee, available for sale in Costa Rica and for export to the United States, please visit Our Coffee. To ask questions about our ministry, to get pricing for coffee, or to place orders, please email us:

coffee@footetraffic.net

or call us: 720.446.0809

Your coffee missionaries in Costa Rica,

Jordan & Marie Foote

Lately, at the FooteRest

Why-should-you-update-your-Website-Regularly

Dear World,

Our life is quite the dull one. We’re such a quiet family. No one ever comes to visit us; our door stays shut most of the time. Homeschooling is bland and boring; we’re not learning anything worth knowing. Working in a coffee exportation start-up is a decaffeinated snore-fest. We don’t have enough friends, Costa Rican, or otherwise.  Living the missionary life outside of the United States could stand to be more slightly more exciting; a lot more slightly more. We’re wondering where God is these days. Why are we here and did we miss something?

Love,

Us

PS. Everything written above is the EXACT OPPOSITE of our real life, thank GOD!

Granted, the only thing “rosy” about our life on the mission field is that we have a dear friend & employee who goes by the name. However, there isn’t a single teardrop we shed which doesn’t eventually stream its way onto smiling lips. For every hardship, for every sacrifice, for every disappointment, for every potentially regrettable thing we encounter in the role of missionary, there is a God who is orchestrating the score of our life and He makes minor keys sound amazing, full … truly melodious.

Por ejemplo (Costa Ricans LOVE to say, this phrase = for example):

  • Saying goodbye to loved ones is a giant piece of the missionary pie. The salty crumbs of grief and loss are scattered profusely around each pie plate. The more of it we eat, the more crumbs there are. Yet, we would never say no to that slice. It is an important segment of the entire pie – without it, the pie would simply be incomplete. The filling of this piece is laced with the sweetness of new friendships. Some of them, we feel like we have known our entire lives, when it’s been less than two years. We could never choose between our old friends and new, our former community and our current one. It’s such a blessing that God is the one who has called and has led us here. It makes the crumbs worth every bite. It makes the pie delicious, although the tartness bites. (In just over two months, we will be saying goodbye to our friends here and saying hello to our US family & friends again for a short season of home assignment … we are lifers in this pie-eating-non-contest).
  • Doing without our familiar conveniences means an invitation to adventure. It’s amazing, truly, at the end of every day, to see how God provides for whatever “gaps” or “lack” we think we have. Sometimes, it’s being surprised to find a clever substitute for something we assumed we had to have to survive. Sometimes, it’s realizing that we don’t really need the original, nor the substitute – going with less, or going without is actually better! Sometimes, it’s having what we truly need from the U.S. show up on a store shelf here, or by the generous hand of a God through a friend, and feeling like we live in the best of both worlds. However it happens to come, provision for needs, large and small, is a daily gift. It strengthens our faith for the following steps. We are so grateful.
  • Changes in the missionary community are constant, inevitable. Every time we come face to face with a dear one who is being led by God through a season of major change, it forces us to take stock of where we are and how we feel about it. This year, the changes we’ve witnessed have led us to be even more content to dig in deeper here in Costa Rica. The changes around us rock us less intensely each time. We see this as the hand of God keeping us here, with all joy, even as we grieve the changes around us, for others.

In light of all this, we are really content to be rooted here in Costa Rica this summer. We are also really content in the plan to be stateside this fall through early 2016. Living in two countries requires much effort, but so far, the dividends have been a blessing.

The kids are equally homesick for Colorado and all that it means to them and are content to be living here right now. They understand, as well as an 11 and an 8 year old can, that following God means moving wherever He leads and that He never leads us down a “wrong path.” Whenever we’re tempted to think that we may be scarring them for life by raising them outside of what was “home” for so long, we realize that:

1) we didn’t make this decision lightly, impulsively, or without confirmation of God’s calling (over multiple years)

2) scars are a part of life and they come because wounding happens no matter where we live

3) we’ve never been closer as a family as we are now and we are growing in our ability to focus on what matters most to us (see: Our Year of Figuring Things Out)

4) God is their Healer, just as much as He is ours

5) God’s peace is a place in life, not a place on earth – we are residing, abiding in Him and His peace is here

We have partnered with two godly, Costa Rican families in a brand-new gourmet coffee exportation company and the business as mission cascade from this decision has surprised us with joy! Stay tuned for more posts about the coffee and what all it means for our family (and yours)!

We are employing more Costa Ricans and Nicaraguans this year and have had some thrilling opportunities to speak Christ into their lives. We can’t wait to share about a handful of these employees – stay tuned for that update, as well!

After my year of surgeries (2014), we find ourselves in great financial need for money to pay off medical bills, replenish our health savings account and purchase plane tickets for home assignment travel to, from and in the U.S. this fall. When you receive our YouCaring request for funding in the coming days, please pray and consider giving to our Ministries Account and medical needs, then please share the opportunity with your circles! You never know who is looking for a chance to help in this way.

July & August will see us continuing with our work in Business as Missions and hosting/meeting up with various people who will be visiting us here. We love connecting with those whom God brings into our home; we always learn so much through the opportunity of hospitality.

Last, but not least, I am healing well from my major surgery last October, praise God! I am now able to do some light excercise (walking, swimming, a little dancing with the kids!) and it feels good to be on this side of recovery. Part of my healing process is tackling the candida overgrowth in my system from all the antibiotics I had to take last year. Right now, I’m feeling rough from the literal detoxification of the candida yeast, but I know God is using the products which I’m taking and the way I’m eating to bring about a more permanent state of healing for my worn out body. I’ll keep you posted on all of this, as well.

Beginning tomorrow, we are taking a family trip into the city of Granada, Nicaragua, to visit the future home of a fellow missionary family who will be moving there in August. I will be documenting our trip on this site, mostly with pictures, so follow us here and on Facebook to see our journey!

Thank you for praying for our family as you read this update! Also, for those of you who pray for us and give financially so that God can transform His people here in Costa Rica and beyond, beginning with us, we say THANK YOU. Without your faithful love and support, the first paragraph of this update could easily be our reality.

NO REGRETS with Jesus,
Marie, for Jordan, Megan & Micah

Crazy Feete