Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Tico Tuesday, June 12th

Happy Tuesday!
Another family fun weekend at church has come and gone. We baptized over 30 people over the course of the three services, and the activities we had Sunday afternoon were such a hit, people stuck around until the sports ministry was ready to pack and clean everything up! We had bingo, foursquare, dominoes, Jenga, Cranium, Uno, ping pong, pool, and more! Since it's rainy season, we couldn't count as much on outdoor activities; though some still happened before the rain came. It was a really fun time, and as always, a great time for people to hang out, get to know each other, and make memories together.
A couple ladies in my small group and I hung out and joined in a couple different games together. I think one of the things that's exciting me so much about my small group right now is that I'm seeing the people in the group build relationships with each other: people making plans to go to a class at church together, sit together, etc. That really encourages me! And I think this was the family weekend in which I've felt the most comfortable. I often end up kind of wandering around trying to figure out what to do and who to hang out with. So, it was nice to have the chicas from my small group there. It was also nice that there were more game options than ever before too.
May we remember to make time to play and invest in relationships!
Blessings on the rest of your week!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tico Tuesday, May 22nd

Tuesday greetings to you!
At a station of the concert of prayer
Thanks be to God, I am feeling much better after being sick last week and the small group facilitator retreat went really well! At this time last week, we had 8 people signed up and there was a chance we might have to cancel the retreat. But, thankfully, we were able to get more people to sign up and ended up with about 35 participants. It was still a smaller crowd than I hoped for, but I believe there was also some spiritual resistance. We planned a really good retreat that touched a lot of things the enemy would much rather us let alone. I am grateful for those who came though, and they are really glad they came too!
The retreat's theme passage was Jeremiah 17:5-8 and was called "Your Roots." We had individual time to meditate on the Word, two times of worship through music, a concert of prayer with one station for each of the five purposes (which we managed to draw out of the passage), a special speaker from our big sister church, and some brief time to share testimonies. I introduced a new tool of resources for our leaders, and told them about some other new resources we have in the pipeline as well. It was a wonderful day and I could sense God's presence and hand in motion.
Please continue to pray for the Small Groups at my church, as well as my team and me. We have several things we need to start doing and many others we need to improve upon. Thankfully, the next couple weeks aren't supposed to be quite as busy as the last couple, so I look forward to having some time for extra praying and strategizing.
Thank you so much for your prayers and for just reading and caring, and of course, for your financial partnership with UWM!
God bless you and grow your roots as you trust in him!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tico Tuesday, May 15th

Greetings one and all from rainy Costa Rica!
This past Friday we had another prayer vigil at church. It was really nice to be at a prayer vigil again, as I missed the vigil in March due to my trip to the States. Prayer vigils are some of the fastest 4 hours that go by at church every other month. Friday was no exception. It was a powerful time to intercede and worship. Our theme was "I am your Healer" and we prayed for emotional, spiritual, physical, and holistic health. My faith was challenged and grown, as was that of many others present. We had some of the best attendance ever at a vigil and it is always exciting to see what God does in us. It was particularly encouraging to see a couple small groups sitting together. That's what we're going for! Not just meeting once a week for a study, but to do life together and develop bonds that reach deeply into each other's hearts and lives.
Please continue to pray for the small groups at my church, and particularly for the retreat we're having for facilitators on Saturday. Right now, we don't have many people signed up, but I pray and trust that God will bring the people who should be there. My team and I have been working really hard preparing this event and I'm really excited for it.
Please also pray for me as I've come down with a cold and need the strength (and for my voice to hold out) to teach two hours tonight and again on Thursday night.
Thank you!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Tico Tuesday, May 8th

Salutations to you all!
This past week was UWM's regional conference for Central America and the Caribbean. Wow, what a wonderful, special time it was! Though I was on the planning committee, I really hadn't had much time to actually get excited about the conference. This week and next week are really intense, so I was working really hard in the time leading up to the conference to make sure I'd be able to really let go, disconnect, and enjoy the conference (and not have to work during free time). When I got on the ferry, I started seeing more and more of my fellow missionaries and seeing people who had come down from the office in Charlotte. It was like a family reunion. There were people I hadn't seen in years it was great to see again, and there were new people whose names I'd seen before, but had never met. What a joy it was to share and grow with these people for a few days! There were about 90 of us, and hundreds and hundreds of years of combined missionary service. It was such a treat to get to be together, listen to one another, pray for each other, enjoy free time together, worship together, learn about what's going on in the mission on a broader level, etc.
And it was also really nice to be right on the beach. My room faced the water, so every morning I'd go on the little back patio of my room and listen to the waves as I had my devotions. I wish I could hear the waves every morning while I do my devotions, but I came home very grateful that I live in the Central Valley and that I don't live sweating profusely every time I go outside here.
May God bless and refresh you as well according to your needs!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Tico Tuesday, April 24th

It's Tuesday once more! For those of you who didn't receive last week's Tico Tuesday, I apologize. I had some technological difficulties. You can always head to my blog to catch up!
This week, I'm happy to share with you about the experience I had on Sunday. We have a church plant at our drug rehab center, and I was invited to give the message. It was a great honor and a great responsibility. I received some nice positive feedback and wow, what a blessing and privilege it is to be used by God! I had been a little nervous going into it, but I know a lot of people were praying for me, and a couple friends were able to come along and give me some moral support. One of my friends drove, which was nice, since it is a curvy mountain highway with frequent fog/rain. And thankfully, the heat was not as oppressive as it could have been.
Afterwards, the director of the center invited us to stay for lunch, and it was such a treat to share with her, a couple of the guys that are currently in the program there, as well as a couple alumni who were visiting. Praise the Lord for what he's doing through this ministry! He is transforming lives, and the center is now expanding to include a program for women. There are a lot of needs, but God is continuing to sustain his work there. It was a joy and encouragement to see this.
Please continue to keep me in your prayers. I am trying to do a lot this week as next week I'll be at the UWM regional conference and the two weeks afterward will be full of teaching at our Bible Institute and final preparations for our first Small Group Facilitator Retreat of the year (May 19th). Thank you!
May God fill you with joy and provide you with the encouragement you need this week!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

TIco Tuesday, April 17th

Happy Tuesday to you once more!
Last week was Juan Santamaría day (a national holiday, April 11th), so I went on a hike with a couple girlfriends to this beautiful waterfall! Unfortunately, it was raining while we were there, so it could have been a bit more pleasant, but still, the waterfall is a mesmerizing one! And, it's quite close! The hike is 9 miles round trip, but we set out just a few kilometers up the mountain from church. It's started raining some already (it's been a very short dry season this year), so the trail was quite muddy and that made for slower going, but it was lovely to be in fresh mountain air and enjoy being surrounded by God's beautiful creation. There were lots of people out: I ran into my landlord on the trail! I would have preferred there not be so many people around, especially right at the waterfall, but, having so many people around made us feel safe, so that was good.
It was nice to have a fun outdoors part of the day as later I had to go to San José for the wake of the dad of a lady on my team (who has also become a good friend). It was an exhausting day physically, mentally, and emotionally. Thankfully, I feel like I've been able to recover from it. And I definitely look forward to going back to this waterfall in the future!
A few brief prayer requests: for my friend and her family as they grieve this loss, for the UWM Central America and Caribbean conference May 2-6, and for the small group facilitators retreat May 19th. And this Sunday I preach at the church plant at our drug rehab center!
Thank you so much for your prayers and support. I am so grateful for you all!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Tico Tuesday, April 10th

It's Tuesday again!
And, I am excited! I live in a two bedroom apartment, and ever since I was given a desk in the office at work, my second bedroom has been a largely useless space. My drying rack is there, and I store stuff in there, but I've been wanting to give this room a more noble use. I just haven't known what to do with it though. Recently, I started thinking about making it a guest bedroom. We receive special guests at church fairly often, and I could help people/church save on paying the hotel. And, I like hosting people.
Well, it so happens I went to a friend's house a week ago Saturday, and noticed a mattress she had leaning against the wall. I mentioned I was thinking of turning my extra bedroom into a guest room and she offered to give me the mattress: a queen with a thick, soft pillowtop in excellent shape! Talk about divine confirmation! I'm talking with someone who can clean it, last night I bought bedding for it, and the other day I found someone who recycles wooden pallets to make beds. So, I'm going to have a Spare Oom, though not in the land of War Drobe. (If you don't get it, please read The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe as soon as possible. It will make your life better, I promise!) I already know who my first guests will be (unless somebody else beats them), and there might be another couple coming soon too! Maybe you can be next!
Thank you so much for your faithful support and for keeping me in your prayers. Two brief, but important requests right now are 1. For a friend and her family, as her dad is dying of cancer and will soon be gone. 2. For my small group team meeting this coming Saturday and just for me and small groups in general. There is so much to do!
Thanks so much!