These words hang on the exterior wall of the Jeremiah 29:11 Ministries building in Santa Elena and accurately describe our friends, the founders, Chuck and Joyce Harper.
We survived language school together and even served together at a small church in an impoverished area of Costa Rica. Chuck and Kelly learned the Spanish alphabet with the help of a Winnie the Pooh wall chart and a very patient teacher. They had a lot of fun in class and if there had been a vote, Chuck, Kelly and their classmates would likely have won the class clown award. Joyce and I were in class together; we likely would have been voted most studious. :-)
When we finished language school, we all had good intentions to get together, but we became immersed in our ministries and we never had time to visit until nearly one month ago.
Chuck and Joyce are originally from Georgia and have hearts of gold. I think Chuck and Joyce would literally give the clothes off of their backs and sleep on the floor if someone needed clothes and a place to sleep. They are some of the most down-to-earth and most generous people we have ever met.
Their ministry is J2911M (Jeremiah 29:11 Ministries). Joyce is definitely doing what God has called her to do; she founded and works in a small alternative-type school in Santa Elena. The students study at their own pace and she oversees their work. Missionary children in their community also attend her school. The Harpers are very involved in their community; they provide housing and diverse entrepreneurial opportunities for women, teenagers, and children. They have most recently helped a teenage boy who was paralyzed from a gunshot wound. They are also building a feeding center for the elderly.
We don't know who planted this cool tree nor do we know who watered it. What we do know is that God made it grow. Joyce and Chuck are planting seeds, sacrificing, and pouring themselves into the lives of many children and adults in their community. And it is God who is making the seeds grow.
"It's not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What's important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work." 1 Corinthians 3:7-8.
The guys that they minister and disciple to are hand-making the concrete blocks for this feeding center for the elderly. They only lack $350 to buy a special mold to make decorative blocks. Let me know if you are interested in helping and we'll connect you to them.