Whitney Harr: Living in the Present
Whitney Harr is an AG missionary associate to Nicaragua. Whitney spent the last two years serving under missionaries Ken & Kendra Doutt and is returning to serve with them for another two year term. In preparation for her second term she is currently attending CINCEL language school in Costa Rica.
Does the daily grind ever get to you? Maybe you feel like there is no variation in your routine and life, so when you see other people’s seemingly exciting and adventurous lives, you wish you could be them. And you start comparing yourself with others. Contentment is a word rarely found in our vocabulary. Many times we wish for the newest grandest thing that will bring ‘happiness’, and we have a hard time enjoying our day to day ‘boring uneventful’ lives.
My name is Whitney Harr and I have the privilege to be heading to Nicaragua this December as a Missionary Associate to serve with some amazing missionaries, Ken and Kendra Doutt. Right now, I am currently in San Jose, Costa Rica taking refresher language courses at CINCEL (LAC’s language school) and preparing for my time in Nicaragua.
Coming to the language school means I recently finished itinerating. During that hectic season I found myself without much consistency in my life. You can ask any missionary who has itinerated how inconsistent their schedule can be. So you might ask why I am speaking about the daily grind? 2016 probably has been one of the busiest years of my life; I can’t believe how fast time flew before arriving this past May in Costa Rica. I felt like my life was inconsistent and everything seemed busy and hectic. My schedule was never the same. I remember looking forward to getting to Costa Rica just so I could have a ‘normal’ schedule again. When I arrived here and classes finally started, I really enjoyed the structure and regular routine that had been lacking in my life during my itineration season. I craved structure and a schedule that rarely changed. But after a few weeks of the same-old I started thinking Thank Goodness It’s Friday and started getting sick of doing the same thing every day with little variation. The daily grind started setting in for me...
This time of waiting to get to Nicaragua is hard because I have made it to the field, but I’m not quite to my ‘destination’. But this is where God has me now and I am going to intentionally enjoy the daily grind. To find the beauty in it and and get to know the people who are in this journey with me.
Too often we are so concerned about the ‘destination’ we forget to be in the place God has us right now. God calls us to live present lives. How easy it is for us to just become doers and work hard for God? When we think of ministry we often consider preaching, leading worship, having Bible study or serving at church events to be what ministry is. Many times what we consider ministry is all about doing actions for God rather than being ministry. What do I mean by being ministry? I mean being present in the moment, ready to respond, and sensitive to God’s leading.
Remember when God called Moses up to the mountaintop? His instructions to Moses were to go up to the mountaintop and when Moses arrived to be present. I always thought that sounded redundant and funny. Of course if Moses climbed the mountain to meet God he would be present. He was there! But no, God was not just speaking about being physically somewhere but being mentally alert and responsive to His leading.
Personally, I am choosing to live in the present and embrace this ‘waiting’ season God has me in before I head to Nicaragua. I don't want to look back at the end of these 8 months and see that I just made it through and finally made it to the country I feel called to. I want to live presently and make an impact on the people around me wherever I go. I have been in Costa Rica for almost 2 months now and I am loving my time here because I have been able to get involved in the community. I joined a gym a couple weeks after arriving and have been forming some great friendships with the people there and they have come over many times to hang out. It is awesome because everyday I have the opportunity to live my faith out in front of them. Another friend I’ve made while being here is one of the clerks at the convenient store across from my house. I see her every day on my way home from the gym. I was so excited when last week she asked me if I wanted to hang out sometime! I am looking forward to getting to know her better. This friendship all started from just being friendly, asking her what her name was, and then talking to her a little everyday! Another friend I’ve made is the owner of a restaurant near my home. She is super sweet and kind. Every time I see her we have the chance to talk. The last time I was there I had the opportunity to chat with her for 30 minutes.
I am excited to see how God uses me in the lives of these people. I am praying for more random encounters with people during my time here. I know God has me here in Costa Rica to improve my Spanish, but He also has plans to use me in the present right here to make an impact on the people he has placed around me!
I don’t know what season you are in right now, maybe it is a waiting season or maybe just the opposite, but I want to encourage you to be present in whatever season God has you in. Take advantage of the precious gift of time God has given you. Are you too focused on what you want to do in the future for God or where you want to go that you forget or inadvertently neglect the present? Are you present where God has you right now?
If not I would encourage you to be intentional about being present wherever God has you! Many Blessings!
Learn more about Whitney’s story here.