Friday, June 30, 2006

Costa Rica, The Story - Quick Version

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

Comment from "Untitled" June 11th

This is the response that I gave my brother after a great comment that he posted on the June 11th Blog. It was a little long for a comment and I think it has some good insight into what I think so I thought I would post it. Let me know what you think.

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


One of my biggest struggles, if you can call it that, with my faith and God is the feeling that maybe He has let go of His plans for me. Maybe somewhere along the lines those plans changed, or too much happened, or He simply decided to use someone else for that journey. It is a feeling that at its strongest has unnerved me. In my head I know that God brings to completion all that He has started. There are verses to confirm that nothing can rip me from his grip, and that before I was created I was intimately known. I also know that there is an aching in my soul that tells me that I have yet to find "home". I am waiting for God to bring me there; to show me what this life inside of me was meant for, how he designed to use it, and why my heart comes to life at certain moments in ways that I can not ignore. I believe my search is not in vain and that in his timing (which is always the phrase that has challenged me the most) He will reveal that to me. I do not claim that Costa Rica is the "answer" to so many of my missions questions, or that it is even a piece. What God does with and through Costa Rica will be significant on its own. But I do recognize through His timing and this trip, that God does not forget the desires of your heart- no matter how much time has passed.

Sharing The Experience,

Being Prepared

One of the great principles that my father taught me growing up is to think ahead. Plan out your future, see the details and act accordingly. I have seen this as a great leadership principle as well. I grew up with the motto, "Be Prepared" (Yes I was a Boy Scout and am a proud Eagle). By the time I was 13 I had almost planned out the next 80 years of my life. It seemed natural for me to have all the details made until I learned of a variable that is uncontrollable. A variable that supersedes all planning, preparing and "thinking ahead". That variable is, "God is in control."

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

El Camino

... 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.

It All Begins

So you want to start a Blog ha? Quit talking about it and do it!!! That is what my mind has been telling me for so long now. So here's the deal. I am not going to make promises. I am not going to guarantee that I will write in this blog every week but if you want the update on Phil and Shan - this is where you want to start.

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,