I hear this phrase a lot in Costa Rica when I speak with the local peoplegracias a Dios. It means “thanks to God”. I’ve heard similar phrases in English, but somehow, English phrases take a less respectful and less worshipful tone. I prefer the Spanish version.

This past week, we were helping some sister missionaries install a new washing machine in their apartment when two of the sisters asked me how I learned Spanish so well. The question surprised me. I am always mixing Indonesian words, and English words with Spanish words. Many times, I feel frustratingly speechless!

I often have this “deer in the headlights” — what did he just say? — question going through my head. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

It happens so frequently that Elder Hofhiens and I rarely go out without praying for the gift of tongues and the gift of interpretation of tongues. We’ve found that having these gifts really make a difference in our daily service. Studying the language helps, but we can only rely on that so much. We need the miraculous gifts of the Spirit.

Thanks to God that there is such a gift and He chooses to bless us with it as we seek it.

The stressful part of the mission for me is the 1311 call to the Costa Rican Immigration office to schedule appointments for Visas. No one speaks English at Immigration, so I have to be on my toes! The gift of the interpretation of tongues really helps me! So far, I’ve understood about 75% of what they say to me and I’ve had a positive appointment-making experience nearly every time!

It’s still stressful though… and I truly rely on prayer, the Spirit, and yes! Elder Hofhiens! Gracias a Dios that we serve together!!

For God has not given us the Spirit of Fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7

2 thoughts on “GRACIAS A DIOS!

  1. I don’t think they would ask me to pronounce their spanish words — DO YOU!!!! Heavenly Father blesses us in many ways – where, when and in everyway! Love you guys. MOM


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