By Jan Rahn
Desiring to glorify God and simply wishing to be a part of what God is doing in the world is the reason given by the Waitley family of Grant in being involved in serving His people through mission.
The Matt Waitley family traveled to Costa Rica mid March, which was the first time the entire family went, although Matt and wife Sandy have each been on individual trips with their children, Carlie and Caden.
The trip as a foursome March 22-28 was a golden opportunity for the Waitleys.
“We saw this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as Carlie will be graduating in May, she is 18; Caden is 13 and in seventh grade,” said Matt Waitley.
“We want our children to see that there is more to this world than where we live and the minor things that we tend to concern ourselves with.”
In 2011 Matt and daughter Carlie went to India. Sandy and son Caden went to Peru in 2012.
“We do not do it to gain any merits or brownie points with God or anyone else,” said Waitley. “God is only pleased in his son Jesus, and because we have Jesus, he is pleased in us, quoting scripture in Matthew 28:19, ‘Go therefore into all the world and make disciples of all nations.’”
Their days were very busy in Costa Rica. Accompanied by two doctors, 15 medical students from the University of Alabama, five missionaries and several translators, they traveled to rural areas and set up medical clinics in churches. The people they ministered to were poor, some malnourished, and some hurting physically.
“We want our kids to see people the way God sees them, with compassion,” said Waitley.
He said there were some Christians there, however, many of the people worshiped nature.
The people in Costa Rica had been given a two-week notice that the mission was coming to their community.
At every site there were several people already lined up outside when they arrived in the morning, said Waitley. The people would see either the medical doctor or the eye doctor. Each person received a blood pressure check and other basic medical tests performed. They would get prescribed medicine or eyeglasses which were provided by the mission.
Then the people were brought to spiritual counseling where the gospel was shared with them.
“Some prople we met were already Christians and just needed to be reminded that God loved them and we would pray with them,” said Waitley. “Many came with broken hearts and needed prayer.”
“We go on these missions to share the message of the cross, which is that we are all separated from God due to our sin nature and we are reconciled only through a personal commitment to Jesus Christ because of His finished work on the cross,” Waitley explained.
He said one of the highlights for him and wife Sandy was watching their children share the gospel and lead people to Christ.
“We met so many amazing people and are thankful that God brought them into our lives,” he said. “All in all it was an amazing seven days.”
The response to those who have asked how Matt and Sandy could take their kids out of school for five days and how the parents could miss that much work is, “Though it is not easy, it is worth it.”
Waitley said the small sacrifice they made was nothing compared to the difficulties those people face everyday.
“Jesus calls his followers to, ‘deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow me,’” said Waitley.
The only regret for the family was not having time to go to the beach or other attractions while they were in Costa Rica. The weather was in the 80s and 90s, and the food was great, said Waitley.
“Honestly, we would not trade one minute of our trip, no matter what the cost,” he said. “Our desire is simply to be a part of what God is doing in the world and make much of Jesus.”