Living on the Washington/Idaho border in God’s country (with a bit of snow) with my wife and two children in early 2004 I was trying to prepare for the future, whatever it held.  As part of our plan, we decided that it was a good idea to build our own home on 10 acres of land about 15 minutes outside of town in the country.  Included in our plan was a very deep private well, a 500 gallon propane tank, as well as a large wood stove for heating and cooking.  Our land had plenty of trees on it to supply us with firewood each winter, so we knew we had that covered.

The “Perfect” Plan

It was not uncommon to see deer on a daily basis as well as elk and moose from time to time on the property, so our mainstay of food was being naturally provided.  We did our best to store up canned and dried food just in case there was ever a break in the food or transportation delivery systems as we wanted to take care of our family the best that we could.

Being in the Pacific Northwest, we knew that our growing season wasn’t long, and with the harsh winters we were limited on what we could grow;  nevertheless, we did plant several fruit trees that could thrive in our growing zone and built a small garden area that, of course, had to be fenced off to keep the deer and other country critters away.

The Northwest is a place welcoming of firearms, therefore, I was accustomed to having guns not only to hunt for food with, but also for protection if need be.  I was confident that I had my bases covered there too.  With all of these things in place, I felt that we had taken action and used our resources well to prepare in the best way that we could with all that God had provided.

Little did we know the extent of the change to our ‘perfect’ plan that we would encounter, as God had a radically different plan for us! 

Our Plan Exchanged For God’s Calling

Just as we felt we had finally achieved the preparedness plan we had worked so hard for on our property in the Pacific Northwest, we found ourselves being called out of the United States and into a foreign country where we didn’t even speak the language.

Interestingly enough, all of our work at trying to be self-sufficient turned out to be mostly for an education and experience for us personally, but nothing we would physically benefit from.  It did, however, turn out to be more of a time for us to prepare and ultimately provide for others who were not in a position to do so for themselves.  As we cleared out of everything we owned in preparation for our move, to another country of all things, our preparations were able to be gifted, donated, and a little bit of it sold, to others in need of preparations for their families if need be.    Our past prepping didn’t help us as we couldn’t take any of it with us (that’s a whole other thing to talk about later with huge implications!).  Now we were facing a totally different ‘to do’ list in order to prepare for the immediate future that the Lord had set before us in a land far, far away.

The list of things that we had never considered grew each day pending our exit from the United States. We needed passports for each family member, which thankfully was something we had completed previously for a vacation, however nothing else we needed had been prepared ahead of time.  In actuality, for the whole of our life we never saw ourselves leaving the country except for a vacation; but as I said earlier, God had different plans – and when He calls you it’s really in your best interest to follow His lead!

Knowing that we were being called out was one thing, understanding exactly where it was that we were being called to and what would be required was a completely different thing.

Costa Rica

We knew that we were being ‘urged’ to leave, but the next step was deciding where it was that we were going and how we were going to live?   Costa Rica had been in the back of my mind for many, many years, but I never knew why.  In an effort to put my mind at rest and move on with whatever was next, I took my family on a vacation to Costa Rica.  In an instant upon arriving,  God opened doors for us there and started really kicking in with His new plan for us by closing doors at our U.S. location with our situations at that time.  Now we knew where we were going, we just needed to fill in all of the details!  My mind was reeling; we needed to find a new home, apply for residency, open a foreign bank account, buy a vehicle, and many other overseas preparations.  We began to prepare for the future all over again, but in a whole new way.  From ground zero.

Prayer, Plans and Questions

There was so much research to do and many, many questions that needed to be answered:  What grows there?  Could we own property?  Could we own guns there?  Did we qualify for residency?  Could we work in Costa Rica?  If we moved forward with this overseas transition, will we be able to be as prepared there as we were in the United States?

When we realized that we were not as prepared as we thought we were, it shocked us. 

Although we had been prepared before, we recognized that we had been focused on the day to day material preparations (food, firewood, etc.). Since all of our assets were dollar based –  our home, bank account, retirement, and all with no international diversification – we really had ourselves in a bind when we started thinking in a bigger picture.  There wasn’t a country that we could stay in for more than 90 days (sometimes less depending on the country), without residency in that country.  Realizing that with this new direction we would be creating options for ourselves and our family should things change from ‘normal’ in our home country, it also became clear that much more preparation was required.

One of the things that really made us pause was thinking about the fact that if it wasn’t possible to move assets out of our home country for foreign diversification in the future, we could use this new adventure as a window of opportunity to prepare in other ways as well.  We began looking into opening a foreign bank account and having assets in another currency and another country as additional new ways of preparation.

None of Us Knows What The Future Holds

My story is what has turned out to be a perfect blend of preparation and adventure for me and my family.  I guess what I am trying to communicate to you is that none of us knows what the future holds.  If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be living outside of the United States, speaking another language, and having my life simpler but more prepared for whatever the future holds than I did before, I would have laughed at you!  We had everything dialed in and were ready for anything, or so we thought!

In sharing all of this, I want to encourage you to think about some things.  It could be a great idea to take your preparing to a totally different level as well.

Maybe God isn’t calling you out of your home country at this time, but wouldn’t it be great to prepare internationally as well as locally for the sake of you and your family?

9 Years Later

We have now been in Costa Rica for almost 9 years.  We love the 70-80 year round climate, the people, the lessons that we have learned from a new culture, the long growing season (you can put a stick in the ground and it grows), the fact that there is no snow to shovel, and the slower pace of life.  We have changed a lot, but we did still used our previous ‘prepper’ mindset even upon arriving here.  Our purchase of a farm with several acres of land provides not only for ourselves, but for others around us who may be in need.  We enjoy fresh eggs and veggies from our property on a daily basis, support the local economy by purchasing our farm fresh milk and cheese from our neighbors, and are having a blast eating tropical fruit year round!  Life has changed in so many ways for us, but we wouldn’t trade a thing as God is directing our path and knows what is best for us.

The safest place to be is where God has called you to be and He is the one that will ultimately provide and keep you under His wing of protection.

I love my home country, but there’s no reason that I can’t love Costa Rica too (which I do)!  Everything in life is a trade off.  Being willing to hold my plans loosely has allowed me the fortune of opportunities that I didn’t realize were available to me before.  I have learned to appreciate both cultures, the good, the bad, and the ugly (it’s all everywhere!), and realize that the plan laid before me is a grand one.  I encourage you to consider your options as well.  If you’re going to live in a box, may it be a big one!

The Burke Family