Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Heroes of another sort

Some people are heroes, not for doing great and noble acts, but for doing with grace and perseverance the ones that reek of “unfair” and “why me." Tim and Dena Stromstad, founders of Homes of Life ministries in Guatemala and Costa Rica, are this kind of hero in my eyes.

Twice, in the past four years, burglars have broken into the seven-acre compound that houses the staff and children of Hogar de Vida, a home for abandoned and abused children in Costa Rica. In 2008, thieves cut through the living fence of dense trees and cane, killed the dogs and stole Tim’s ATV.

Plans for installing expensive security cameras, guard dogs, and a concrete wall were initiated, and as donations permitted, the north side of the property was secured. Still, thousands of dollars short left three sides vulnerable.

Last fall, the lowest of lows, the people who couldn’t care less that the Stromstads were providing for neglected children or that Tim was paralyzed and dependent on his ATV quad for his “legs,” broke in again while the family was away. They stole his ATV, computers, and daughter’s jug of savings, among other things, to the tune of $10,000 worth.

People get burglarized all the time and missionaries are no exception, in fact, they are often the target. If anyone has a “right” to complain to God about how unfair it is to have this happen when all they are trying to do is serve Him, they would.

But they don’t.  Entitlement isn’t a word in their life vocabulary. Although at times hurt, discouraged, and confounded, they don’t blame God, government, or parents for failing them. They are who Dr. Henry Cloud calls the mature people. “They meet the demands of life” as opposed to the immature who “ask that life meet their demands.”

Recently I received a Christmas letter from Tim and Dena. It was full of news of children and blessings—daughter Maria’s long-awaited citizenship, the boys’ well-being at college, family stuff. No mention of trials or difficulties or sacrifice.

That stopped me. Reminded me that these uncomplaining workers are the ones who really need others to come alongside.To help shoulder the task assigned.

Too easily I fall into the “when I’m not near the one I love, I love the one I’m near,” mentality, or I forget about the ones who are quietly working without complaint. 

 But today, I remember and salute these generous people and make mention of them to you for prayer, or support, or a visit….

In Tim’s words:

Sometimes I feel like Nehemiah who had an urgent need to build a wall. He had a good bunch of guys who worked with a trowel in one hand (cooperation) and a sword in the other (protection and unity.) Our wall is a major project for us, too. We need your prayers, for finalizing the plans and for the financial resources to complete it. If the Lord leads, we would welcome generous contributions designated to Costa Rica Security

My prayer today is for someone in another country, far from friends and family. I ask the Lord to encourage with a surprise visit from someone bearing good news, a gift of God's love and awareness. You are not forgotten. 

Photo credit: Kozzi,225,157#


  1. Thank you for sharing this, Marcia. It's both encouraging and convicting. I will be praying for this precious family. Keep us posted on their progress!

  2. Wow, Marcia - that makes me mad! What a remarkable attitude Tim & Dena have. I enjoyed hearing about them in your book. Praying for their ministry and that God will continue to bless them in CR.


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