Saturday, April 28, 2007


What – Part one? Yep, that means there is a part two, but we’re not ready to let that one out yet. There is still a little more prayer before we know what part two is.

Part one is long overdue though. I want to expand a little about what was written on a CR Update last week. Shannon and I announced to those on the update list (join here) that we will be moving back to the States at the end of December. That is really all we know for sure right now. We feel led that direction but I don’t want to make the same mistake I have made before by adding to that. All you need to know right now is that we are moving back to the states in December.

I want to address any suspicions as to why we are moving back.

1) We are not getting “let go.” If that was the case, we would be coming home sooner than December.

2) We are not leaving because we disagree with the Alternative Missions vision or goals. Again, if that was the case, we would be coming home sooner than December. Our supporter’s resources are much too valuable to spend them on something we do not absolutely believe in and agree with. We know we are supposed to be here in Costa Rica, that is not in question at all and we are here 100% while we are here. We completely agree with the direction of Alternative Missions and love being a part of what they are doing. We are exactly where we are supposed to be right now, Shannon and I know that to the core of ourselves.

3) By leaving, we are not “Hurting” the ministry. When we are following Gods direction and leading, we do not have to worry about ministry “being dropped” or suffering. We know that God will provide. Sharing the plan that we feel God is leading us on now verses giving a “2-4 week notice” only helps us, being alternative Missions, prepare for that transition. We are already taking strong steps to involve more local’s in the ministry which has been one of the goals from the start.

This leads me to share about the process we went through in finding the direction we feel led to go. I would like to say that God beamed a light down through the Costa Rican Clouds or parted the Caribbean ocean and said to us, “Leaveth this placeth in Decemberith!” But that is not how God usually directs us. The process started by reading a book that I wrote about several months ago called Chazown. In it we were challenged to look at who God made us to be and the abilities and gifts He gave us. We also clearly confronted our desires and passions God placed in us and the history and experiences He gave us. After summing up all of these areas as well as taking a good hard look at who we are, who we really are not who we think we want to be or what others want us to be, we came to some conclusions.

1) We came to realize that our mission to Costa Rica would only be for a season, not for a longer or open-ended amount of time.

2) We realized that we are not called to Long term Missions. Whew! What a relief! (Just kidding. :)) This is a serious question that we have been asking ourselves and in coming to Costa Rica, we planned on that question being answered.

3) We realized that further education was something important to us. Whether it is Seminary part time while we work in ministry or going to seminary full time for 3 or 4 years, getting a Masters Degree to further prepare and equip me for future impact and effectiveness is important.

4) We realized that College ministry is very important to me. I love College ministry and feel that I want to minister in that field again.

With these conclusions and other smaller ones we began a process of emailing and chatting with advisors. We believe that God speaks through older and wiser people in our lives. Finally and most importantly we turned to God through prayer and reading the Bible in this entire process. At every stage we were praying and reading His Word to see if the Holy Spirit would offer more direction in the process.

We are going through what many young married couples in our position go through. We are learning the direction that we are going to be taking. We are learning more about ourselves, our marriage, what we want our marriage to be and the direction we are to go. This is not a quick process but a journey that we have been taking since we said “I Do.” As hard as it is to figure out what we are called to do vocationally and the direction God is leading us, we are learning that we love the process. It draws us closer to each other and closer to God as we submit and depend on him. The highlight of last week was getting on my knees with Shannon and praying hard for the will of God, for His will to be done.

I ask for your prayers. We are not done in Costa Rica; we are just getting a clearer picture of where God wants us to go next. We still have financial needs to be met for us to complete the tasks that God has given us to do here in this season. (If you want to help us there, here’s how) Please pray for effective ministry and that God will continue to give us eyes to see the direction he is taking us.

Running His Race,
Shannon & Phil

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