Magazine

Hearing God’s voice in Costa Rica

Melanie Ortiz, a second–year cadet at the College for Officer Training (CFOT), has always felt called to overseas work, but she wanted God to confirm her calling.

Melanie Ortiz chats with a young man in Costa Rica.

Melanie Ortiz chats with a young man in Costa Rica.

When she was sent to Costa Rica for her CFOT summer assignment, from June 15 to Aug. 10, God spoke loud and clear.

“Many of the corps were not the best,” Ortiz says.

“That’s when God really spoke to me. It was very hot, there was no cement on the streets—it was just dirt. There was much walking and long, hot days.

“We would start at 6 a.m. and would finish around 9 or
10 p.m. One night, God spoke to me and said, ‘This is what it’s about—going out of your comfort zone as well as working with the nice corps and the corps that are stable.’”

Ortiz, along with Messengers of Light sessionmates Lilybeth Ciriaco and Jonathan Quatela, spent eight weeks in Costa Rica.

The trio spent time at Costa Rica’s training school and at several corps. They also participated in a two–week evangelistic campaign in a remote area of the country.

“There was a lot of evangelizing,” Ortiz says. “I really was able to get out of my comfort zone, just giving my testimony out in the street and talking to people.”

Oritz, who hails from the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Guayama, Puerto Rico, said when she first arrived in Costa Rica, she saw that there was no trade store and many soldiers made their own uniforms. “I realized how much we have in our territory.”

Ortiz said that, for her, the experience was a summer of spiritual growth.

“At times, it was very challenging,” she says. “It was only by the grace of God that I was able to do what He had asked of me, especially when it came to evangelizing one–on–one. That was a different experience for me.

“It was hard, but I understood that with Him by my side, I was able to accomplish everything.”

by Robert Mitchell

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