About four-and-a-half years ago some dear friends of mine inventoried their lives, asked the Lord some tough questions and moved to Costa Rica with hearts full of faith and a simple desire to please King Jesus with their lives.
Les and Diana Morris realized that Jesus wanted more from them. It’s funny how being faithful in the little things results in Jesus asking more from us. It’s funny how from those to whom much is given, much will be required. The Morrises began to hear the call to explore what it would mean to give Jesus more. They settled in their own hearts to put everything on the table, to give Jesus a blank check, and invite Him to fill it out and cash it.
“Is what you’re living for worth Christ dying for?”
The Morrises had never lived their Christian existence as “do-nothings”, you know, people who do nothing in the Kingdom of God. In fact, Les and Diana had, in many ways, dedicated most of their married life to faithful service. Service of Jesus, service of others, service in the local church, service of family, friends and strangers alike. They have discipled countless people, mentored and counseled newly married couples, planted and lead churches, sung their hearts out as worship leaders, toured the U.S. as musicians, taught the Bible, prayed for the sick, evangelized the lost and obeyed the Lord Jesus Christ in a whole host of ways too numerous to mention. The placed Jesus and His mission and call on their lives at the center of it all. But now, in their early sixties, they would, in many ways, finally begin the journey Jesus had been uniquely preparing them for during the past forty years. Driven by the desire to live in such a way as to honor Jesus’ sacrifice for them, they began to rekindle old dreams, and ask all of the questions of themselves and of God, as if they had never asked them before.
“I had always wanted to pursue missions, but Jesus told me to put that desire on the back burner, and simply serve my wife, my family and my community.”
For some, the missionary call comes and immediately the sending on mission happens. There are stories where a young woman or man attends a talk given by a some famous or unknown missionary, and upon leaving the talk, they respond to the call to “go” to the field. But for others, the call can take longer to be realized. For the Morrises, this call took nearly forty years to become clear, but once it did, the Lord moved them very quickly into what He had planned for them all along.
Costa Rica is an interesting country and the “Ticos”, as they call themselves, are interesting people. After an exploratory visit to the Anonos and Los Anonos areas of San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city, and after witnessing the great cultural, societal, economic and spiritual needs of the Rio Tiribi valley, Les and Diana came back home to the U.S. convinced that the Lord had work for them to do in His name among these people that He loves. They began to formulate a plan to engage the young people of Los Anonos and beyond. If things were going to change, it would require a pioneering vision dedicated to building from the ground up, one changed heart at a time.
“We’re just ordinary people with an extraordinary God.”
Faith is spelled R-I-S-K. So goes the saying that John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard Movement, coined nearly forty years ago. It’s a saying that means different things to different people. Risk, after all, is relative. What one person sees as monumental risk, another might see as just a normal day at the office. Les and Diana were risking much. But fortunately there is no one who has left behind their entire lives for the sake of Jesus and for the sake of the gospel who has anything to worry about. No, leaving all, risking all, for the sake of the King is just a way of showing the world how much more Jesus is worth. He is worth it all and more.
VAYA (pronounced vah-jah), a ministry of Missio Dei Costa Rica, is the result of over four years of dedicated prayer, study, observation, and patient endurance. It is a vision borne out of a desire to pass on the gospel of the Kingdom of God to a generation of young people who desperately need to see and experience not only a different way of living, but also need to experience the life of the Spirit of God in their daily lives, so that they too will be empowered to take this reality and vision to others. VAYA is a missional training experience like no other.
Please watch the video below to learn more about their vision and to partner with the Morrises in seeing VAYA become all that God intends it to be.