by Joel Watters, PT, DPT
A little over a year and a half ago, I shared a story (click here to read it) about a five-week mission trip to China with my family and 20 college students. Little did I know then how that trip to China would have such an impact on my life.
So here I am again, this time writing about a new calling on my life. In the fall of 2017, my family and I intend to move to Costa Rica to become full-time missionaries.
After we returned from China last summer, my wife and I started dreaming about what it would be like to do missions overseas, not just for short periods but long term. We saw in those short weeks how well our family responded to living in a different country and were able to experience God’s blessing as we shared His gospel to college students. Soon this dream became more of a reality as we intentionally pursued God’s voice in discernment.
Through prayer, scripture, and conversations, we felt God moving us towards this decision. Early in the process I had a physical therapy client ask me, “Joel, what is your dream? Really, what is the desire of your heart?” I knew above all I wanted to serve God and point people to Christ. In the short time I have on earth, I want to make my life count for things bigger than me. It was a question my heart needed to hear and wrestle with.
Four weeks ago, I visited both Costa Rica and Nicaragua to meet with the local student ministry movements. I met the leaders of these organizations, walked on their campuses, and studied scripture with the students. This was a rich time in which I was able to gain an appreciation for what God is doing in these countries and see vision for partnership opportunities. I was able to see some of the realities of what life will be like living in Central America and clearly heard God’s voice speaking to my heart.
We are feeling led to see what opportunities there may be in partnering with the student movement in Costa Rica. We intend to go through an organization called InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. My wife, Rachel, has worked with this campus ministry for 12 years, so I will be joining her on staff.
InterVarsity works to see college student’s lives transformed, campuses renewed, and world changers developed through sharing God’s good news. In Costa Rica, we will connect with and support the local ministry, work with volunteers, lead bible studies, and support student leaders. We hope to spend at least four years there and are open to more.
We are excited about this, but it certainly does feel a bit crazy. Leaving the Kinetic Edge family and this community that I have come to love is so hard. For the past five years, I have loved working as a physical therapist. I have found so much satisfaction and joy in day to day walking alongside my clients as they pursue their health goals.
It’s funny though, I don’t think I have ever felt so confident and comfortable about such a big decision before. I feel my time with Kinetic Edge has prepared me well for this next season, and I am excited to fully step into it! So, we will trust God and move forward!
If you have questions or would like to hear more, email me. I’d be happy to connect with you and share more about this new chapter in my life.