Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Latest In The Jungle: An Update and a Thank You

Hey all,
I haven't written an update in a while and thought that now would be a great time since Phil and I are on the brink of a lot of changes as we come closer to a close to our time here in Puerto Viejo. For those of you who have not heard, Phil has been accepted into Dallas Theological Seminary and we are both extremely excited for this next chapter in our lives as well as very aware how monumental this one in Costa Rica has been for both of us. A good friend of mine in town asked me what I was feeling when I was thinking of moving from here to Dallas and all I could tell her was that I know that processing this place, and what God has been doing with it in both Phil and myself will come very slowly; months after we are settled in a new apartment in Dallas. This place, the complexities of it, and the time that we have spent away from the things we know and were comfortable in, has taught me things I am very grateful for. I have seen different sides of God and the ways in which He works that have both tested and strengthened my faith. I have realized that relationships are vital to sharing your life with Christ and that in every situation a great deal of respect needs to be given to both sides of the conversation. I have recognized how "in control" God is and how little control I have. I am learning to be at peace with that.

I wanted to share some of the upcoming thoughts and prayers that Phil and I are facing at this moment. Two major prayer requests and things that need to happen sooner rather than later are 1) selling our car and 2) finding the right family to take over responsibility of the Kirkoff's house. With the second, we are in a unique position of creating a great situation for the Kirkoffs when we leave by knowing and trusting the family that will take incredible care of a house that has been vital in our ability to do ministry here. We want to bless the Kirkoffs and part of that is having God reveal who is meant to be in that house when we return home in December. Please be praying that God will speak openly about this and that we will have wisdom in the matter.

Third, we have 3+ months to go and funding is tight. I have started working in a local boutique when I am not at the skate park or Kid's Church, but we are really praying that God brings more funding in to tide us over until December. We have savings to ensure that we finish our commitment, but we are also looking to start strong in Dallas for the next 3 years. We are confident that God will provide, but with the breakdown of our car last month things are tight.

Forth, ministry here is going awesome! Praise God for what He has allowed us to see change over the last year or so. More youth are coming both to the skate park on Friday nights for Youth Night, as well as to House Church, and Phil and I have been here while a handful of them have been baptized. Kid's Church remains my favorite ministry, and each Sunday I am delighted to go see the youngins. THEY ARE SO COOL! Tammy and Ronnie continue to be amazing teachers to both Phil and I about loving this community, and Phil is also learning a lot about leadership and directing a ministry through his time spent with Barrett Cruce, our director. God is continuing to teach us with this time here in Puerto Viejo, and for that we continue to give Him praise.

I want to thank all of you for the love and support that you have shown Phil and myself over this last year. We could not have been here without your help, your prayers, and your encouragement. It has not gone unnoticed, and I want to make sure that you hear from me how thankful I am that we have supporters like you behind us. You have given us an incredible gift with our time here in Costa Rica. Thank you for allowing us to minister here.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Getting the Word Out

Hey Guys!
I wanted to share with you that I recently got published on Associated Content. The article is titled A Different Kind of Faith. To read the article visit this site:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Cold Costa Rican Retreat

Can you remember the first time you went on a Christ Centered Retreat? If you are like me, you probably remember some vague concept of a retreat from your childhood, but really, the FIRST one is like trying to remember the first time you ever shot an air-ball during a basketball game – there are just so many to choose from.

We just returned from a four day retreat with our youth group from Puerto Viejo. We took them to a goat farm in the cold mountains of Costa Rica a complete opposite lifestyle to what they all grew up in. When we pulled up, the most excitement centered on the fog that would come out of their mouths when the exhaled. Can you imagine someone seeing that for the first time!

We had 4 teaching sessions led by a leader of a short term team that assisted us in the retreat. He spoke about prayer, changing our lives to live like Christ, and having the courage to be different than the people around us. We gave all the kids a journal that they could write their thoughts on the verses we were reading and what they were going through. I was amazed to see all of the kids writing in them, not just during the lessons but at every hour of the day, kids were writing in their journals. I got to read some of them and what they wrote was amazing. A desire to do what is right and asking God to help them have a good heart were just some of the types of thoughts that I read.

We ended the trip river rafting down the Paquare River. It is located about half way between San Jose and Puerto Viejo. Again, a new experience they have never had. It was amazing to see these kids who surf some of the most dangerous waves in Costa Rica, be scared of the white water of the river and then be emboldened as they raft though unknown rapids.

As we finished the retreat, I have seen friendships built in our youth group, leaders stand up and a unity of the group that was not there before. I feel more connected with them then I ever have and my heart has broken more and more for the youth that seem to have the hardest life. I am grateful for the blessing this first retreat experience was for this youth group and I was blessed to be a part of it.