Preparing to go

“So many times I’ve wanted to give up,”says New Zealander Darnelle Richardson, about her journey towards serving overseas. It all started when she told God (and herself) that she was willing to take this step by quitting her job and making a career change. She had no idea where God might take her, but she was available.  

darnellCostaRica2Then one day at her church some people from HCJB spoke about their work in South America; afterwards Darnelle was telling one of the visitors that she worked with special needs kids. That’s when she was introduced to Casa de Fe, an orphanage in Ecuador.

“Where was Ecuador?! I had no idea,” she says, “so I found it on the internet. As soon as I saw on the orphanage website that it was Christ-centred, and listened to the needs they had — I thought to myself, ‘I can do this!’.” For about a year while she tried to put the idea to the back of her mind, it wouldn’t go away. Then circumstances changed and suddenly the opportunity came for her to go and serve at the orphanage for six months. She says,“God provided everything!” and she went, intending to find out if Ecuador was the place for her to serve long term. “I asked the Lord to not only show me, but to make it real. And he did, in two ways, just so I could be sure. First, I was given my own personal tribal name, Ongimei, as acceptance by Christians of the Waorani tribe (incorrectly known as Auca Indians in the 1950s). Secondly, a local family invited me to be the Godmother of their child.”

Darnelle came home to prepare to go back, including doing ESOL training, taking Bible in Schools classes, and doing various seminars. Now she’ s spending this year in Costa Rica, learning Spanish and immersing in Latin culture before going back to Ecuador. “The school is amazing,” Darnelle reports. “Everybody has a like-minded focus. Staff and students are very helpful and friendly, and the school has a strong spiritual foundation and focus.” Last week, being asked twice if she was a Tica (Costa Rican), makes her happy that she’s fitting into her new surroundings. She is also helping with an ESL class for the locals. However, for now learning Spanish is her focus and she wants to learn to say no to too many activities outside school.

Her host family have also been helpful, though communication was hard at first. The more language she gets,  the better it is. “It is nice knowing that as soon as I get home, no matter what time, there’s a meal waiting!”

The call to serve God asks for perseverence and faith. Raising funds can be a long business. Family ties at home can be a hurdle. Darnelle adds, “The last words of advice I got before leaving Ecuador last time were, be ready for spiritual warfare. Yes, it does take courage and sacrifice. So many times I have wanted to give up.” But Darnelle is preparing for the long haul.


  • For the continued reminder to say no to extra things and to concentrate on the language first.
  • For a good memory, energy and endurance
  • That Darnelle will remain firm in God’s power


Darnelle still needs to meet some one-off costs for language school, etc. Please consider partnering her in this big step of faith. Click here to help.