Saturday, December 30, 2006
THE GREATEST NEED
When I Shannon and I got to Costa Rica, our first second week there, Lance Grush , a missionary and sponsor from Marketplace Missions, came to visit us and help “Move In.” Going through some ideas in my own head, I asked Lance, “What is the one resource you need to increase the impact in your ministry?” You know what he said?
Next we invited the Director of Alternative Missions, Puerto Viejo over to his house. Barrett Cruce and his wife and two kids over for dinner and during this informal interview process, I asked Barrett the same question, “What is the one resource you need to increase the impact in your ministry?”
You know what he said? We need PEOPLE. Here I am expecting to hear a certain pre conceived money amount (which we do need) or the resources to build a building for an all purpose facility for the youth (which we do need) or funding for the entire year so that he can focus on ministry (yes, he needs that too). But what both Lance Grush and Barrett Cruce, two missionaries in two different countries doing two different kind of missions operations both say the need is PEOPLE, Staff, interns, people that will be there for a little while.
As Shannon and I processed this together we were a little shocked and in a way thought, He needs help or Alternative Missions needs help. After working with them for two and a half months, we are very invested into the ministry and a part of the ministry that is taking place. WE need help. WE need staff to help sustain the ministry and grow the ministry down there. WE are fully carrying the burden of that need now.
WHAT I HAVE LEARNED FROM EXPERIENCE: The Harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
Better expressed in the verses of John 4:34-38
Sharing The Experience,
Monday, December 25, 2006
Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ. We can not forget that. We are saved from our past and mistakes by the free gift of Jesus’ life taking the place of ours. As a free gift to yourself, take a moment and read the account of Jesus’ birth in the bible, in the first few chapters of Luke. If you have more time, check out how many prophecies are fulfilled just in his birth alone. It’s some pretty cool stuff.
For me Christmas is also about relationships. It’s about Friends and Family getting together. This morning Shannon and I got to go around to our friends houses and play Santa as we gave them gifts and sat in their house for a while talking about Christmas. We had a great time. More than once I have thought of all my friends and Family at home. I miss you more today than I ever have the 4 months that we have been gone. Shannon and I are blessed with so many people that are close to us. We wish you a blessed Christmas day and Gods provision and blessing in the New Year.
“I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” – Luke, Chapter 2
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Yesterday - what a day. We had a staff meeting all morning to catch us up. It was great to hear all the exciting things that happened since we’ve been gone. The Office is finished; the deck of the music café is up with the extended roof. Youth Night has been going well and there is a buzz happening about our New Years party and Skate competition. Last night we served at youth night where Barrett gave a great message about life with Christ and Life with out. He used two back packs, one filled with heavy rocks and the other filled refreshing food and juice to show that Christ wants to remove our heavy burdens and give us his yoke that is not heavy but helpful. At the end, Davis closed in prayer.
Davis is becoming one of my favorite kids. I want to start hanging out with him more. At the end of the night, he and his neighbor Raul, who he brought, stayed and skated a little more. Davis wants to win the skate competition. He has practiced so much since we’ve been gone that I can see a very large improvement. We talked a little and joked around a bit. He was determined. He said he didn’t want to give up. I love that! He has the heart of a true athlete. At the end of the night, he stayed and helped to put our equipment away – servant leadership is what I saw.
Our first day back was packed but I feel that it was rewarding too. God is breaking my heart more and more for the youth. I missed them and the ministry here when I was gone. I’m glad.
Sharing the Experience,
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
It has taught me a lot about how I view money and relationships and the support that both Phil and I have in Fresno and Sacramento. We are blessed with people that genuinely care about Phil and I following the Lord and being able to go where we feel He is calling us. It is a difficult position to get used to, to always be sharing with people what you are doing and in the end leading up to the question of whether or not they could see themselves being apart of what God is doing with us and this team in Costa Rica. I learned that some meetings end with simply making sure that the person or couple sitting across from you know without a doubt that you genuinely care about them and do not see them soley as a means for support. I learned that some meetings end up with no ask, and faith comes in to making sure I know that Puerto Viejo and this team is exactly where Phil and I need to be and that God will provide for us to continue to stay there. I have also learned that you can ask and trust that the person sitting across from you knows and loves you enough to be able to say either Yes or No depending on how they feel led by the Lord. God is humbling me to know that some of our closest friends are our biggest supporters and very few of them are any older than we are. God has blessed us with friends and families who have amazing hearts to give and when you are on the recieving end it leaves you not wanting to forget this feeling so that in the future you will be one of those people who gives to others and enables them to go where God is leading them. God is faithful, I trust Him to support us and lead us through this and I have never been more sure that Costa Rica is the one place that we are supposed to be. In that I can rest.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Last night I finalized our travel plans. We will be in Fresno from the night of the 1st through the morning of the 11th. Then we will fly to San Diego to see the Doigs then return to Sacramento area for the 13th through the 18th. We will fly back to Costa Rica on the 19th at 12:35 am.
I can’t wait to see everyone and hear what is happening at home. If there is anyone that would like to meet with us that we have not reached yet. Please let us know asap. We have plenty of time still. I want to see as many of our supporters as possible.
Sharing the Experience,
Sunday, November 26, 2006
I read 1 Pet. 5 this morning. Versus 6-10 say:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
Put all these verses together and this is how it hit me. I want to be strong, firm and steadfast. But do those are not the qualities that I think of when I think of humility. More often I think these qualities sound like someone ready to go to battle for his beliefs like Maximus from Gladiator or William Wallace. But as I read the text I saw something that I have not trusted God for. True Strength comes from the Lord and that must start with Humility. What is humility? Through this verse I see it as “Realizing that we don’t have it all together, which causes anxiety, and then submitting it to God.” When I don’t submit myself – any piece of myself – to God, it inevitably causes me to worry as I try, in my pride, to handle it all. I essentially say, “I can do it God; I don’t need your help.”
If we are self controlled and alert we will be able to see the Devil use this simple battle between Humility and Pride to trap us, paralyze us and cause us to stumble. I many times have I been devoured by my pride - torn apart by the teeth of “needed appreciation” and claws of “recognition”!
After struggling, God will restore us and make us strong firm and steadfast. It’s not about my efforts to look like I have it all together and have all the answers.
I think as Christians we need to work on this – I definitely do. I know very few people that seem to be closer to having this down. I think of Josh Hawley, Rob Maxey, Jim Franz, Nick Torstensen. If you talk to any of these men, they will tell you otherwise – I think that is a prerequisite.
OK, Can I really get honest with you? This passage specifically hit me pertaining to fundraising. I worry about it because I have little control over it. God is going to fund HIS ministry. This is not MY ministry and I am not asking people to give to ME. I asking people to give to what God is doing in Costa Rica. So, following the above model, I hold on to this “job” of fundraising, not submitting it to God because “I can do it!” This eventually gives me anxiety like I’ve never experienced before causing me to be paralyzed and even take it out on those closest to me. I fear that Friends will think I don’t value their friendship – only their wallet. I fear that people won’t understand what I am doing here – that this is just one big vacation. I fear that I am not working enough and people will think that I am wasting their money. Can anyone relate to this at all or something similar?
So, I submit. I submit all of this fundraising, all of me and all of my relationships. God brings people to himself, funds his ministry, and puts it on people’s heart to give – this is not my Job.
A little venting maybe but I feel a 50lbs weight off my shoulders.
Sharing the Experience,
Monday, November 13, 2006
What does a successful missions operation look like?
If we could somehow measure the success of ministry or impact on the mission field at home and abroad what are some factors to look at that measures success? If I wanted to find the Missions operations that were making the most impact, how would I measure it one from another. What makes one missions operation more successful than another? Is it wrong that I ask this question?
Sharing the experience,
Saturday, November 11, 2006
It was a typical morning, I went downstairs to make coffee and then looked out our kitchen door that leads to our patio and our front yard. I see Jose our dog bouncing in the grass; Jose does not bounce…ever. Then I see this iguana on two feet running for dear life as Jose manages to tackle it to the ground, once, then twice, then chasing it he tackles it for the third time. Now the iguana is ticked and I see it stand up, face the kitchen door, and bolt as fast as it can straight towards me with Jose playing “pin the lizard” close behind. I realize in that moment that the iguana is still heading towards the kitchen and is actually faster than anything I have seen ( he is outrunning my dog), and that is when it hits me that it doesn’t know to stay out side. It has now crossed into the patio area of our house and is still heading towards the kitchen. I scream, slam the door shut and then realize I am trapped because you have to walk through the patio to get upstairs or anywhere else besides the kitchen. I can hear the iguana running on the tile in the patio knocking over buckets and my pots and some papers. I opened the door and see Jose who is too big to fit through the half opened gate leading into the patio, and the iguana running on hind legs is circles taunting him. I slam the door again because it is bigger than I am comfortable with and Phil is not home and I am stuck in my kitchen. Then I hear silence and I decide I cannot stay in the kitchen all day so I boldly enter the patio area, check the upstairs door, it is shut, good. I check the downstairs bathroom door, also closed, great. Then I see our closet door wide open and I know from the fact that Jose’s nose is so far smashed up into our gate that the iguana did not go out there, but he is in our closet. Jose is going nuts, and I am going upstairs. I will tell Phil about the iguana when he gets home.
The next morning, I have told Phil my story but it is early and I am not awake yet and I really need some coffee so I go downstairs, pat Jose on the head, notice his food bowl is empty and head to the closet to fill it up. At this point I am thinking dark roast, not iguana. I opened the closet door, scoop up the dog food and lift my head to see my friend on two legs about two inches from my face. Needless to say, Jose can go with out food a little longer, I scream, run to the kitchen, slam the door and I am back in my official hiding spot from big scary lizards.
Phil comes downstairs and we formulate a plan… Plan “Extract the scary closet beast”.
Phil grabs a broom, and a big stick. That is what we have, two big sticks. This thing is huge and is not happy with us or Jose who tried to kill him the day before and I am sure that two sticks is what we will need to kill it or defend ourselves properly. I am sure. Phil tells me to grab the camera, because this would make an awesome blog entry; see we are always thinking of our families and friends back home. So I have the camera and a big stick, Phil has the flash light and the broom and I am petrified. Phil hasn’t seen it yet, he doesn’t know. Phil sees it, drops the broom, and is now a believer in my “there is a scary thing in our closet” story. The iguana has now gone to the very back of our closet, which is all the way under our stairs and even Jose can not get there. I am banging on our stairs to frighten in out, Phil is throwing pieces of chicken back in the end of the closet so Jose will go back there are get it out, and we are laughing so hard because neither one of us really knows what it will do once it sees Jose. Phil the whole time is screaming "Get the camera ready!"
At that moment we hear Jose screech so loud and Phil sees the iguana running around our closet. Phil and I jet to the kitchen door and then everything goes silent. Jose comes out and I am feeling like a jerk because he almost died or something and then Phil sees the iguana with a flash light, sees that it is hurt or dying and decides to put it in a box and dump it outside. The iguana goes in the box, barely moving, we dump it on the grass and then Jose starts sniffing and poking at it. Jose is ticked because the iguana got his foot and the iguana is lying there dead. Or was he? As Phil and I are taking pictures, the iguana grabs on to Jose’s nose with its jaws and Jose is flinging it back and forth trying to get it off. Phil and I were watching this thing whipping through the air, with Jose freaking out and then landing on the grass by our car. Jose comes inside, he is done, and his nose is bleeding, and again I am a jerk for not protecting my dog. The iguana sat there for probably a good hour staring at the house, not moving, knowing he didn’t have too. He had beaten us, beaten our dog, and he would sit there as long as he wanted to. I finally saw him run up the mountain. He was not dead. He was proud.
On that note Phil and I headed to Cahuita because we haven’t been there in about three weeks and just as we begin to relax on our blanket we stair up at the tree and see 7 to 8 white faced monkeys hanging directly above us. It was the day for the beasts I am telling you. Phil and I felt better that at least these ones were in trees, but we left I think 20 minutes after that. The iguana had left us a little animal shy. That is the end of our day, enjoy the pictures, I could have died taking them.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
In the old testament an idol was usually something that was hand made to represent an inferior God. I think in most cases, the Jews would build these idols not in opposition to God but to serve a felt need that they would not allow God to meet. They felt God was less personal and worshiping a lesser god as well as the True God would meet the need of comfort that the more distant and omniscient God seemed to be unable to provide. Before we start bashing the Israelites for their week interpretation of God, I can totally relate! Think about the head coach of your sports team, or the top boss at the top of the organization, or even the President. How approachable are they? Wouldn't we rather approach someone a little closer to our stature?
Okay, I am getting off topic. What I am getting at here is that Idols in the old testament distracted the Israelites from their true God that created them, set them apart and protected them. Can you imagine being a father and watching your son go play catch with his friends Dad every week instead of you? You buy him the mitt, the ball, you make a baseball diamond in your back yard, but your son would rather go to the ally and play catch with some other "dad" every week.
Idols are distractions from God. One person's idol may be TV and another persons may be Cheesecake. OK, you think that is too week, how about this one. You had a tough day at work, the kids are yelling and the spouse is on your case - where do you turn? That may be your idol. Is it Alcohol? Pornography? Another Relationship? Food? Work? ....
Living here in Costa Rica, I can see my "Idols" so much more clearly than when I lived with them in the states. It is a little embarrassing. I think of all the good things that God gave us that Satan likes to turn to idols. Time with the guys, Sports, Working out, and work are all things that have distracted me from God when I allow them too. I have to take the time, submit them to God and keep my focus on Him.
Final statement: This is my view and how I apply old testament scripture to today. I would love to hear about your views on the subject.
Sharing the experience,
Friday, October 13, 2006
This quote comes from a book I am reading called Church Planting Movements, and it is one of five books that Alternative Missions has deemed important for staff and interns joining to read in order to better understand some of the underlying principals that form the heart Alternative Missions has for mission in general.
Let me begin this blog by saying that God does not cease to amaze me.
The concepts I am reading in this book, that stories of house churches throughout Asia and India and the rest of the world that are doubling in size, the intention to keep growth and progress in the hands of the local people, and the heart to come and equip and then step back to be more an aid than a leader, are all concepts that I have spent the last five years of my journal ironing out and perfecting in my heart. God is showing me how this is actually working and how important it is to respect culture and the power of the local people, along with the respect that God will move where He wills. I cannot start anything in Costa Rica. God can.
We have been here for a little over a month now, in Hone Creek for a little less than that, and God has used so many moments to open my eyes to the fact that He has a plan for every place I will ever go. I can see how He was moving in Fresno, now that I am here, and how He has been moving here before I arrived. It is an incredible feeling to know that God is walking among us and it is only our job to follow the steps.
This quote that I placed at the start of my entry hit me for the reason that so much of my life and my faith have been far too personal and far too private for far too long. I took pride in the fact that I had intimacy with the Lord, that I enjoyed retreating into His presence and growing closer in the ways of knowing that He gives wisdom and direction to those who take shelter in His arms, yet I feel that there is a piece missing in that that could potentially explain certain parts of your soul to another human being. If I hold that my relationship with the Lord is what I hold the highest, that the work I do (any work) is for the purposes of sharing His love and showing His glory, than I must bring others alongside, and into my life to see that for themselves. That they could watch and know what I hold as values and vision, and that it would point in the direction I am aiming for everytime. That all things communicated would be understood as His guidance, direction, and impression on my life.
I struggled with this for awhile because I didn’t want to be one of those people who constantly through religion in the face of those who sought my company. I see now how God will give you ways to simply live, and in so doing, take others along.
I am beginning to teach Pilates to some of the women my age I have met since I arrived, and from the start have been seeking a balance between building relationship and being intentional in our conversation, until I realized that I was making it far too complicated and all I needed to do was genually, truly care about them. It is not building relationship for relationship sake, it is doing it because you recognize that they were created in the same amazing way you were and even if they haven’t realized it God has been working and moving in their lives and you want to discover those ways. It is living in front of them with love that has no agenda and simply asking about their day and sharing about the ways in which God has moved in your life when the conversation arrives. Sometimes it has shown itself as simple as dropping by their stores and shooting the breeze. All of us are trying to live and learning how things work and in the process by living the way in which you have chosen is the right way through what you have seen and know about Jesus’ life you explain the differences others see.
God has given us life to be lived in community and alongside others. We are all walking and how we use that journey, what we say, and how much we share along the way can make an incredible difference. My deepest desire is that the people I chose to share my life with would really know me, and I am convinced it begins with simply bringing them along.
Sharing the Experience,
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Shannon will aid the entire staff in administrative needs in order to free up time for staff members to focus on larger projects. This has been a position that they have actually been praying about and upon meeting with Shannon and I found out that this is exactly what Shannon wanted to do, before they even asked! Second she will help start a women’s bible study with community members in the area that she is already building relationships with. This she is very excited about. Last, Shannon will play an integral part in the Youth Ministry of Alternative missions focusing on younger children and the young women in the community.
I will be focusing on aiding the Youth Ministry as well. This will be building relationships, increasing attendance and discipleship of young men. I am excited to start investing into potential leaders in the program. Tomorrow Night I will be speaking at the youth Club night, sharing about my story getting to CR and living life attached to the Vine (John 15) Second, I will be aiding the team in Financial administration which is mostly keeping track of finances to give to the accountant monthly on an excel file. Finally, I will be aiding the ministry in short term team’s administration and communication. Basically, getting them here, aiding them while they are here, and getting them home, all in one peace. Right now this is entirely run by T.J Gause and we will move into a more 50/50 role so that she can get more involved with youth.
We are excited to get started and this week Shannon and I are highly involved with the youth this Friday night. Be praying for us and we look forward to sharing more of it with you soon.
Sharing the Experience,
Monday, October 02, 2006
Here's our new alarm system. It works great, there are no wires and it turns off by voice command.
We got Jose for free from the Director of Alternative missions down here whom we have now come to concider as friends, not just people that we will work for. Shannon has been running on the beach with Amy (the Directors Wife) and I have taken one trip to Limon with Barret (the Director) which allows for great conversation and "get to know you time." They are doing a great job and we believe in their vision for ministry here in Puerto Viejo.
One very cool part of living down here is church. As you may imagine, it is different than home. We attend a "House Church" that meets at Barret and Amy's Home. We pray, worship with guitars and voices, have a light meal together, and discuss the scriptures. There is not so much a "preacher" as a facilitator to help discussion move along. This experience has definitly expanded our mind as to what "Church" is. I would like to pose the same question to all readers of this Blog. What is Church? Is it an event? Is it a location? Is it a preacher and Choir? If there were no preacher can you still have Church? Are the purposes of Church still met and with that, what are the purposes?
I would love to hear people's comments as Shannon and I enter this discussion ourselves. We are looking forward to hearing what other people think.
Sharing the Experience,
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
I am reading this book called "The Source" and it begins with an archiologist viewing the land in which he is about to dig into for a year long project, and knowing that the area he choses to begin in must be significantly chosen and thought out. It must be the area that he feels will yeild the most return. It is an investment, this dig, and he knows that where it starts is almost as important as what he hopes will be found there. I feel a little like this archiologist, knowing that very soon I am going to begin digging and digging hard, but not feeling quite sure where I should first place my shovel. I was emailing a friend whom I have grown up with and knows my heart, and I told him that I recognize so many areas where we could get involved and probably have the time of our lives, and we would build incredible relationships with people and I know that God would be glorified; but what I want more than all of that is to know deep in my soul that we waited, and we heard, that this was the location God had brought us and this was the spot where our shovel should begin to move the soil. Phil and I have spent the last twenty days surveying the land. We have met some incredible people, first in Alejuela, and now in Hone Creek and Puerto Veijo a little closer to home. There are people our age who have come to Puerto Veijo thinking they would stay a year and have opened up some incredible businesses and stayed for 8. There are people we have met that I can see turning into awesome friends and people that we can let our hair down with at the same time that it is ministry if it makes any sense at all. I am laughing inside at God because the people that he is having me meet and really love are the people that surrounded me in the Tower District, in Fresno, and the students that I was drawn to in HighSchool. I have a heart for the alternative, hippie crowd, and that is what I am finding over and over again; and who I believe I need to be sharing God with in those moments when they are asking me about my views on astrology and religious freedom. God in some ways has brought me all the way to Costa Rica to continue to teach me that who I need to be a witness to are some of the same people I have been sorrounded by in the States. It is interesting to see how God will get you to see things eventually, no matter how long it takes or what avenue He needs to use. I am thankful for the continued teaching.
Returning to the process of scoping the land, Phil and I have turned in applications to Alternative Missions, and are waiting to meet the Vice President somewhere around the 23rd of this month. We want to invest in Hone Creek, where our home is and spent the morning talking to some teachers at the school down the road from our house. It was encouraging to hear the needs they expressed and saw, and the areas they thought, as teachers, we could be of some benefit. We had no idea what we were doing or what we were going to say when we went there, and left feeing blessed by the conversation, and excited to go back on Thursday to speak to the director. I am thankful that God allowed us first to meet the teachers rather than the principle, because I feel they can offer a different, helpful picture into the school. We are attending a biblestudy/ house church that meets every Sunday in the home of Barret Cruise the main guy here for Alternative Missions and have loved meeting his family and some of the people he has built relationships with. Our goal is to try out some of the other churches in the morning, see more of the community that way, but continue to go on Sunday nights to learn more about Barret and his heart, and the people there also. God is still our provider, Phil and I are finding the areas in which this trip is going to help us invest in ourselves, our marriage, and we are ever learning more and more about ourselves here in this country. It is funny how I came to Costa Rica to learn about this culture, and what I am discovering on a daily basis is more and more about myself. We send all of our love, and thank you for the prayers I know are being said on our behalf.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
The Spanish Bull is the shirt I'm wearing. My brother bought it for me when he was in Spain. At times it has been my lucky shirt (my guy's know what I'm talking about) and at times it's been a reminder to me to get out and see the world. So of course I had to bring it to Costa Rica. This is a picture of Shannon and I at the very top of the mountain our house sits on. This land is actually owned by our neighbors Martin and Madeline (who also own the Viewpoint Hotel). We took this picture the second day we were at Hone Creek.
Now, Lance Grush, the Missionary we are held accountable to, is here and we are showing him around. More importantly we are having those late night discussions that help form your understanding and world view. One question we have been discussing, I would like to ask all those who read this blog. "What IS missions?" I would love to hear your response via posting a comment at the bottom of this blog entry.
As we learn from our experiences we hope that any understanding gained can be shared. Thanks for reading and keeping us posted on what is happening at home.
Sharing the experience,
Saturday, September 09, 2006
That the Lord would coninue to guide, and shelter us,
Monday, September 04, 2006
Phil mentioned that we had purchased a car the first day we arrived in Costa Rica, and on the fourth day in this country, that car decided it no longer liked its American companions and refused to run. So now we begin again. (This is where those anonomous expenses come into play). "La gracia" (the grace) of God is a phrase that I have come to see everyday we have been here so far. We broke down in Manuel Antonio, a National Park that had an information booth with a tour guide who spoke great English and gave us his phone to use the majority of the day. Before Manuel Antonio we were driving through places that had nothing except coconut-oil farms and bridges made out of broken railroad tracks. God is good for taking us to Manuel Antonio.
Manuel Antonio, however, was possibly the farthest from Alejuella (our temporary home) that we could have been and we made the five hour journey back to Alejuella in the cab of a platform truck with our new found amigo Rabbes. He didn't speak English, and we don't speak Spanish like we should so the trip was very exciting to try to have conversation and relate with him. Phil is a lot better at Spanish than he will admit to you and at moments both of us had so much fun learning how to speak with Rabbes. Our truck ride was very enjoyable; another blessing from God.
I was reading in the scriptures from Acts chapter 2 and decided that the first verse Phil and I should memorize was the words David spoke regarding the hope and protection he has seen from the Lord. I thought that it fit. The verse begins at line 25 and reads:
"I saw the Lord always before me, because he is at my right hand I will not be shaken, therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices, my body will also live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay, you have made known to me the paths of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence".
I love you all, sorry this entry is enormous, and continue to keep us in your prayers; they have worked amazingly so far!
In testament to what our God has done, can do, and continues to work out in our favor,
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Jose Maria is the head of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Costa Rica, his daughter was actually born in Tennessee and speaks great English! She is 22 and studying to be in dentistry. The four of us traveled through out San Jose and Alajuela today looking at vehicles to purchase. What Shannon and I gave ourselves to do in a week, we pretty much did in a day. We are the new owners of a 1997 Suzuki Sidekick. When I get the chance to take a picture I will get it up so that you can see it. With out all of Jose Maria's amazing contacts and Stephanie's skills as a translator, it would have been 100 times harder. They are very gracious and would give anything to help us be more comfortable. We ended our evening at Taco Bell (a little slice of home) and then made it to a great hotel call Hotel Santamaria. This hostel like, comfortable, relaxing and safe living area is run by Aldo, an Argentinean that has a passion for art.tomorrow we will be picking up our car, getting it registered, and getting insurance. Another big day ahead but when we are done, we will probably use our extra time to head over to the pacific coast and see that side of Costa Rica. I look forward to many more blogs and I would love to hear from you.
Sharing the Experience,
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
"It" begins. After months of preparation, friends and family by our side in support, "it" begins. And what is "it" you ask? The trip that we have all been waiting for; the experience that will shape the way we live the rest of our lives; the thought process that will mold our minds and alter our view; the opportunity to invest in a new culture, ourselves and our future is it. This is not a plug for eBay, this is a micro-explanation of the craziness inside my mind. I can't believe it is actually here! We have planned, prepared and waited; planned some more, prepared some more and waited some more. And now that it is finally here, I feel more restless than ever. It seems the closer we are to arriving in Costa Rica, the more we are having to wait.
We left Fresno on Monday at 3:20pm by train heading to Sacramento. (I am wearing my FSU Track T Shirt as a memorial to my 8 years in the unique valley I will always call home.) It is now Tuesday night and I have visited almost all the family that I have planned on visiting. I have been blessed and surprised by many phone calls from friends (I call them brothers) wishing me their last goodbyes. It is just now beginning to hit me - we are detaching ourselves from family, friends, comfort... fill in the blanks associated with the American dream. Am I ready? Yes, but just enough to take a few steps. Beyond that I get a little anxious. Trusting the Lord to provide, I have found a new motto for this trip, "We'll figure it out." Not that we haven't planned as much as we can, but if I had a dollar for every time I said that to myself, my mother and my self again!
So, it begins. The figuring it out part is coming next. Please be praying for us. I will write my next entry in Costa Rica, most likely in San Jose.
Figuring it out and Sharing the Experience,
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Shannon and I are starting a prayer team and we need your help. We believe that there is power in prayer and we would like to ask you to pray for us. Choose a day of the week or a time of the day and just lift us up in prayer. Here is what we are going to do. Shannon and I will email you a prayer list at least one a month and maybe more. It wont be a five page email, I promise, short and to the point. It is important to us that we have people praying for us, so if you would like to join please send me an emial (firstname.lastname@example.org) and write, "Add me to your prayer list." Thank you for this important area of support.
Sharing the Experience,
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Sharing the Experience,
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
I had a great conversation with my brother today. We sent him a support letter, but because he lives in Atlanta he was unable to attend one of our informative desserts where he could have asked questions and heard our plans. (For you Fresno people, we have one more planned on August 25th at Carol and Jerry Rudolph's house. Please RSVP via email) My brother made a great point. He felt he missed out on information and wanted to talk to me before he chose to support us. He said, "I don't want to support you 'blind,' I want to know what you are doing." What a great way to put it. I don't want anyone to support us blind and this in one of the reasons we have set up this blog. We want to answer questions you post to us. Please feel free to be specific. Ask questions before you donate and keep your eyes open to watch what God is doing.
Sharing the Experience,
There are basically three types of donations:
- There is a monthly commitment, where, for example one will send a check every month for the next 12 months. This is usually a designated amount called a pledge. This is a great way to give a large amount, spread over time so that it doesn't impact your personal budget as much.
- Then there is the one time gift. This is a way to impact ministry that is happening "right now." You would send one check with no commitment another coming in the the future.
- Finally there is the sporadic gift. This is where a person will give as they feel led and as they have funds available. This is a little like Christmas, a missionary can't depend on it and plan ministry around it but it's an added bonus when it comes.
All giving is done through a check usually. ALL CHECKS MUST BE WRITTEN OUT TO MARKETPLACE MISSIONS, WRITE PHIL & SHANNON IN THE MEMO LINE. This check must be sent to:
PO Box 31504
Omaha, NE 68131-0504
Monday, August 07, 2006
This whole trip began with Craig and Nancy telling Shannon and I of their house in Costa Rica and them asking us if we would want to take the opportunity to move there and minister in that area. Without the Kirckoffs, we would not have a place to stay, we would not even have the opportunity. Often, the hardest part of missions is finding a place to stay that you can call home.
Thank you Craig and Nancy for you huge gift and your hearts to even offer it to us. You are ministering with the resources that you have been blessed with. May God continue to bless and provide.
Sharing the Experience,
Well it has been three weeks since my last post. The Blogger/website has not been uploading pictures at its best and so I can now finally share our latest Budget update with you. Because it has been three weeks I have a lot to share.
Let me start with a few thank yous. Shannon and I just conducted two fundraising events in Clarksburg. I have to say a huge thank you to Karlin Merwin for her help. She blessed us by setting up our first event at the church on Sunday. I did not have to worry about anything. Karlin, thank you for your service and support in such tangible ways.
Later that night we had another, very similar funding event at the Wilson Vineyards barn. It was such a beautiful and well organized event. Again, I did very little. My mom, Sandra, set up everything. Thank you mom. You did a great job and I could not have planned a better event.
With both of those funding events we are up to 33.7% of our budget! So many of you have come through in amazing ways as we join together to impact Hone Creek and the surrounding area. I was impressed with one supporters heart as he told me, "We are blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of this experience."
Let me talk about this budget at the top of this blog entry. If you noticed we have changed it considerably from the first one. Shannon and I have been discussing the importance of supporting ourselves in this trip to Costa Rica. I just read an amazing book by Randy Alcorn called the "The Treasure Principle" (I highly recommend reading it, buy it here) Shannon and I want to be blessed through giving as well and we have decided we will buy the Vehicle that we drive in Costa Rica. We budgeted $7000 for the purchase of the vehicle and at the end of this trip we will sell it for approximately $5000. With the purchase of the vehicle going through us and not through the funding there will be no issue of integrity when the vehicle is sold and we keep the money. If you have any questions about this, we would love to talk to you. You can send me an email or post a comment at the bottom of this blog entry.
I will be adding quite a few more blog entries soon so keep checking. The experience has started as funding is in full swing. Thank you to all who have already committed to share the experience. You can share the experience by supporting us financially and or signing up on our email list.
Sharing The Experience,
Thursday, July 13, 2006
that we can greatly cut cost - snail mail. We want to communicate with you via email and this blog predominantly. We will be sending out a regular email update with prayer requests, pictures and experiences that we would not be able to do via a letter in the mail. If you want to be on our email list please send your email address and $100 (just kidding) to us by sending us an email. If you email me at email@example.com I will put you on our email list and you can share the experience instantly. I WILL REPLY WITH A SPECIAL SUPRISE THAT CAN ONLY BE ATTAINED THROUGH SIGNING UP ON OUR EMAIL LIST! This will keep you informed and aid us as we buy and lick less stamps, (thank you thank you thank you) .
Sharing The Experience,
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Monday, July 10, 2006
I must take the time to say a big "thank you" to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for the amazing support they have given Shannon and I. Not only have they made the transition from FCA staff to Costa Rica smooth as can be, they have also blessed us by paying for our plane tickets to Costa Rica. That takes care of a major budget item! Joe, Faythe, Pam, Jamal, Niel and the rest of the Board, I want to thank you for sharing the experience with us as we venture to Costa Rica.
Sharing the Experience,
Sunday, July 09, 2006
After a lot of research and communication with people living in Hone Creek and other missionaries in Latin America, we have come to a finalized projected budget. (To View the Budget, click on the picture to the right, then scroll to the bottom right of the spreadsheet and click on the "expand" box that appears.)
After 3 years of working with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes I have seen the importance of fundraising. All ministry needs to be funded. Through a series of events, prayer, a lot of discussion and those "divine confirmations," we know that going to Costa Rica is the next step for us.
To take this next step, we need help. Just like being a domestic missionary for FCA, Shannon and I need to raise the money to fund this mission. We have projected that one year of expenses will cost $10,995.
Many people have already contacted us about supporting this trip to Costa Rica and I want to share the simplest way you can help us impact the Hone Creek area. Like we have said before, we are going through Marketplace Missions, Inc. Do you want to Share the Experience? If you want to support Shannon and I with a tax deductible donation (either a one time gift or a monthly donation) please send a check to:
PO Box 31504
Omaha, NE 68131-0504
On the "Memo" line of the check, please write "Ogilvie's, Costa Rica" or you can wrap the check in a piece of paper saying the same thing. To help me keep track of funding, please let me know if you have chosen to share the experience either by a phone call (559.307.8826) or an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Again, Thank you for sharing this experience and supporting us financially. Please fill free to share any questions or comments pertaining to our fundraising efforts.
Sharing the Experience,
Friday, June 30, 2006
This post is a response not only to Luke Mundy's Comment but to many others who have asked me in some fashion, "So, why Costa Rica?"
Foreign missions has been a part of my life in a small way as I have traveled to El Salvador three times for short term missions, the longest being 2 and a half months. Those trips taught me that I valued missions and see the purpose and need. Yet my wife has something greater than that. Where I have a limited knowledge and excitement for missions, she has a deep passion and an amazing heart for people in need. Before we were married we new that missions would be a part of our lives in our future and we look forward to seeing both our passions and experiences come together.
Some Friends of ours, Craig and Nancy Kirchhoff in Clarksburg (up near Sacramento), found out that we had a desire for missions and proposed an idea about a year and a half ago. "Why don't you move to Costa Rica, take care of our house and take the opportunity to test your heart for missions." We loved the idea and after some prayer and discussion told them so, but agreed that the timing wasn't right. In November of 2005 Craig and Nancy asked us again and after discussion and looking at some dates agreed that the timing was right.
The short list of details are that we will be living in Hone Creek, a small town on the Caribbean coast just above the Panama border. (We will be between Cahuita and Puerto Viejo. For more maps, click here) We will be ministering under the accountability and care of Marketplace Missions, the same organization that my friend Lance Grush in El Salvador is working under. I hope this answers a few questions and I would love to e-hear more from you. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you and hearing your thoughts of what we are doing, and answer any questions you may have.
Sharing the Experience,
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Sharing the Experience,
So sorry that It took me so long to respond David.
First to address - yes, I am dependent on God, and probably more that you know, I sincerely believe that I can't live this life to the fullest and with the fullest Joy that i have today with out a true and intimate relationship with God. (I tried it for 18 years, it wasn't as good, I promise) As far as this trip - with out God traveling is possible, you see that all the time, but i can not make the impact for Christ that I want to make with out full dependency on Him and His Holy Spirit that lives inside me. God has given me the power to make an impact for him wherever I choose to go.(Acts 1:8)
That brings me to the "bouncing around." Going to Costa Rica, on Staff with FCA, Going to El Salvador is all MY Choice. I choose to do all these things. There are other opportunities that I can pursue but I choose these ones - why? Because I feel, (through Prayer, time in His word, advising from close friends) that this is the direction that God has for me. Shannon and I have talked about this a lot and believe whole heartedly that our next step together in this life is to go to Costa Rica.
So, it's not bouncing around aimlessly but with purpose, choosing to follow a certain direction that we feel God is leading us. God’s direction will be the greatest direction for us. Now, I believe there are other direction, very good directions that we could go, and God will use us non the less, but I believe that there is always a "best way" unless otherwise directed. (I have examples of those as well.)
My Strength and eager ness comes from God, and it is natural - in us - because we are all made by God. So if I am strong in something it's because god made me that way - It all comes from God.
Finally, as far as mistakes Go, I believe all mistakes are choices that we have had and for some reason we chose incorrectly. It's our choice and we must reap the consequences. (I'll call it what it is - sin) Here's what is so cool - God loves me anyway, and chose to love me no matter what mistakes I make and he will use those mistakes for His Glory, which often means I receive some benefit from my mistakes in the future. (Again, many, many, SO many examples)
This is a great conversation that will have to be shared over a long evening, great meal, a bottle of wine that you choose - you know the drill.
Love you bro
Your dependent brother,
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Sharing The Experience,
I was reminded by a friend of a saying, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans" Now I don't believe that out right but we must remember that God knows our life better than anyone and any plans that He has for us will be more joyous and rewarding than anything that we can think of doing. So if God plans are better than my plans, and for me to be a part of God's plan I need to submit to His control, than my life is a continual/daily release of control to Him. I want to be doing what God has me doing.
With that, I want to answer a question that I have heard so many times about Costa Rica, "What are you going to do in Costa Rica?" The answer to that question is, "I'll tell you when I get there." Now I am not going into this trip blind, my faith isn't strong enough for that. I have done my research, I have taken a trip to Costa Rica already, I am reading books, have a list of contacts to go through, and am planning our trip as much as I know I can. But when it boils down to the truth. All I know is that for Shannon and I to be a Part of Gods Plan, we are being led to move to Costa Rica for one year. That's it. That's all I know. And I am not even going to get started on what God has for us after Costa Rica - That will happen 8 months from now.
A simple game plan is to get involved in a church and minister through that church so that we can build a ministry that is self sustaining - it doesn't crash once we leave. But we also are looking into ministering at a local school where my FCA experience has definitely helped prepare me. There is a Medical clinic that Shannon would love to help in (that is one of her passions). There is a social action group that helps the Bri Bri Indians that we may take part in as well. Then there is the ministry of laying on the beach and getting a tan so that this white boy can fit in a little better. Okay maybe that's not ministry but I do look forward to it.
The plan, boiled down to bare truth, is to make an impact for Christ wherever we go. We know that God has something for us in Costa Rica, we are excited to find that out, but God is only going to give us enough to take one step - if that much.
"... we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and LIVE!" - Hebrews 12:9
Sharing the Experience
Sunday, June 04, 2006
... The Road, The Way, ...maybe even The Walk. I want to share this picture with you, I planned on placing it on the last entry but forgot to. This is the road to the house that we will be staying at. It's a beautiful picture that I took when I went to Costa Rica in February. The Road seems to represent our experiences - its beautiful, it can be rocky, steep, uphill, uneven, unclear but clearly beautiful.
Shannon and I will both be writing on this blog to share our thoughts. This blog will help us process and share the amazing experiences that God throws at us and we do look forward to sharing them with you. Our next trip will be to Costa Rica so that will be the major line of thought for the next year I'm sure. This summer I will share the details of our trip with you as they come. This trip will take a lot of planning and I plan to share those plans with you. If you have a question about our trip to Costa Rica, please ask and one of us will try to respond as soon as possible.
Sharing the experience,
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Send it to:
Phil & Shannon Ogilvie
Codigo Postal 121-7304
Puerto Viejo - Talamanca
Costa Rica, Centro Amerieca
By the way, this is not where you send support checks, for that address, click here.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Thanks for your help in impacting the youth of Puerto Viejo.
Phil & Shan