Saturday, December 30, 2006

What I've Learned - Part 1: The Greatest Need

When I was at home in Clarksburg I was blessed to preach at Clarksburg Community Church, the Church that I grew up in. I Shared about three things that I have learned so far while I have been in Costa Rica. I thought I would share a "semi-transcript" from that message.


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

Back to Work

Shannon and I got back to our house late Thursday night after a long drive from San Jose. It is so nice to be back. The house was in great shape except the phone line was out and I had to repair that yesterday.

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 cafĂ© 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

On the other side of things

It is Tuesday at 7:30pm and I am posting now because we are back in Costa Rica, sitting in our favorite hostel and I am going over all the activities of the last two weeks. This was my first experience fundraising officially ( we were always fundraising for Fellowship of Christian Athletes when Phil was on staff) but it is a different feeling to know that we are fundraising together this time and it falls just as much on my shoulders as it does on Phil's. I am convicted to think that this is probably more how the latter should have been as well.
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.