Thursday, August 31, 2006


What a day it has been. It is almost 8pm in Costa Rica (7pm in California) and it feels like it is 11pm. I am exhausted. Thanks to a two year old screaming on our plane and parents that haven't learned the art of discipline, Shannon and I got very little sleep last night. We made it to San Jose, CR. - right on time, thank you TACA Airlines. What a blessing to meet Jose Maria and his step daughter Stephanie. These are friends of a contact I had through FCA.

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" is Time

"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

The days are counting down and the closer it gets the more I realize how many relationships I have that I will miss like crazy during our stay in Costa Rica. Phil and I have been blessed by families and friends both through The Bridge Evangelical Free Church of Fresno, and First Presbyterian Church in Fresno, as well as our congregation in Clarksburg, that have lately more than ever shown us how much they love and support us; in life and in marriage. There are certain relationships that you are blessed to have and they are hard to come by or create on your own. When God builds friendships there is a remarkable difference in the closeness and the love that you feel, and Phil and I are thankful to have felt it in Fresno as well as in Sacramento. My prayer for us is that God would bring other couples and families along side us in Costa Rica that can minister to us, and us to them, in a similar way. God is faithful and I look forward to the relationships that will be made over this next year. All of this is said with the realization that we have been extremely blessed through everyone reading this blog up until this point. God had brought along side some amazing families and friends. You have taught us wisdom and have encouraged us in so many ways. We are thankful for our friends.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Join the Prayer Team

"My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one." - John 17:15

We need Prayer!

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 ( and write, "Add me to your prayer list." Thank you for this important area of support.

Sharing the Experience,

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Alternative Missions

I want to introduce all of you to a connection that we have made. We are excited to partner with Alternative Missions once we get to Costa Rica. Alternative Missions is doing some amazing ministry just down the street from where we will be living. From the beginning of this commitment that we made to go, Shannon and I knew that God was doing something great in Costa Rica and we wanted to find out what He was doing. I think we found it. Please take some time to view this PDF file about Alternative Missions in Costa Rica to learn more about what we are wanting to do. Let me clarify, this is a great opportunity. We are in communication and hoping to partner with Alternative Missions but in no way has there been a commitment made yet.

Sharing the Experience,

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Supporting With Your Eyes Closed

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,

How to Donate

We have done a few funding events and have sent out several letters now, and I want to make sure that people know the donation process.

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:
Marketplace Missions
PO Box 31504
Omaha, NE 68131-0504
Our Accountant will pick up the check, deposit it into the Marketplace Missions account and then transfer funds to us monthly. All donations are tax deductible and you will receive one receipt at the end of the year for all donations given.
Thank you for supporting our trip to Costa Rica. We are excited to see what God does as we partner with people all over America to impact Costa Rica.
Sharing the experience.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Greatest Donation - A Home

Last night I had a great time talking with Craig and Nancy Kirckoff. As I was speaking with them it really did hit me that they are giving us one of the greatest gifts a missionary could receive - A home.

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,

Fundraising Update

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,