Important Resource

May 29, 2011

Just finished reading When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves.  I would recommend this book to all pastors, churches and missions organizations.  Anyone thinking about working in missions at any point in time short or long term, or any type of work with the poor, even in your own backyard.  The principles in this book are so important to think through and critical for churches and missionaries who want to impact their communities.  Have you ever wondered how you can help the poor? Or questioned if what you’re doing is really helping?  Well this book gives a solid foundation to think through the issues and practical ideas to apply immediately to your context.  I can’t recommend this book enough.



May 29, 2011

Just read this and had to re-post it.

4 enemies of pioneering-

  1. Discouragement
  2. Comparison
  3. Isolation
  4. Criticism.

If you feel these things emerging in your heart. Make war!

A thought for the day

May 25, 2011

“Every creative person, and I think every other person, faces resistance when trying to create something good. Resistance, a kind of feeling that comes against you when you point toward a distant horizon, is a sure sign that you are supposed to do the thing in the first place.  The harder the resistance, the more important the task must be.”

-Donald Miller

King of Wonders, We Stand Amazed

May 24, 2011

There’s no other, other than you

King of Wonders, you know the way to our hearts

and the more we see, the more we love you.

Take a minute and listen to this beautiful song.  There’s no greater joy than living for Him, worshiping and thanking Him each day.  We truly stand amazed.

It’s Time for Us to Get Serious

May 21, 2011

… about learning Spanish!  This has been running through my brain for awhile now, since our return home from the states.  For quite some time, I’ve been so concerned about our family becoming bilingual and our children learning the language.   I have been feeling like it’s the big problem that I need to fix and come up with the solution, but no matter what I try it doesn’t work – my children resist, we don’t have the budget, or other obstacles.  Well, I started really giving this to the Lord the end of March – seriously praying about it, surrendering it and trusting God to work out the details for our family.  It felt good to finally place it in His hands and realize it’s beyond my control.  So I’ve been waiting on Him to see what He will do.

Now as I see what’s happening, I am in quiet expectation, “Lord is this you?  Are you doing this?”  I feel like it is.  It feels like the tangible hand of the Lord on our lives.  Let me share the story.

It started out with me searching for an internship site for three children at risk school students for the mornings.   After a few deadends, I got in the car and started singing and praying to God – it was so weird!   But I just started driving around kind of aimlessly praying for the Lord to direct me, knowing that He has the perfect plan.  Well, it entered into my mind that all the way back in 2009 I went on a scouting trip to Jaco just to check it out.  A few friends were with me and we spent the weekend praying and driving around.  During that trip I remembered driving down this dirt road and seeing a little run-down school – then we ran into a river and couldn’t cross, we were screaming and trying to turn the van around.  Anyways, it was funny, but this vision passed through my mind while praying, and I said, “Lord, where is that school?”  I don’t remember where it is, but You do, and if You want our students to work there, direct me.  Well, I kept driving and praying and sure enough, ended up finding that little dirt road and pulling up next to the school.  It looks very poor and small.  The gate was open and I just walked right in.  I found the director pretty easily and she greeted me with a big smile – very friendly and welcoming.  We talked for just a little bit and I showed her the letter we made.  She said that in the mornings they have a preschool and she made a copy of my letter to leave for the preschool teacher and asked me to come back the next morning.  So, I came the next day and met with the preschool teacher – she seems so friendly and was happy to have the girls volunteer.  It’s a small preschool – but the environment really feels right and the school seemed very happy to have them.  It’s from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. each morning.  I felt like it is a good connection for us to have as well as a good internship experience for the girls!

So, since that time, the girls have been interning there for about two weeks and it’s been going great – they love it!  During these two weeks, out of the blue Jude starts saying, “I want to go to school!”  Not just once, but several times during the day – begging to go to school!  Jude is only 3 and I have no idea where this idea came from, but I thought, well – maybe I should capitalize on that?  Maybe I should find him a school where he can go for a few hours and absorb Spanish while he is at such a critical age for language development.  “Lord, is this you?” I was praying.  So I began searching for a preschool.  I haven’t been able to find anything.  But in the midst of my search, my mind went back to the school where the girls are working.  I went by to talk to the director about my children attending there.  Jude unfortunately is too young, but Ezzy and Kai could go.  It’s a public school and so it’s completely free.  It’s small, welcoming and the teachers seem so kind.  Well, I road home on my bike from there just praying again.  Lord, what an opportunity this is – for our children to attend school for free, to have a chance to learn Spanish.  What a difference it would make in their lives if they could feel comfortable speaking Spanish, if they could have friends that speak Spanish.  It would be so good for them.  They would be happier.  They would be more confident.  They would feel more secure and at home living in Costa Rica.  So, I just prayed on the ride home, Lord, if this is You, You have to make this happen.  You know Ezzy and Kai have no desire to go to school, You have to change their hearts.  I’m going to be honest, too, I absolutely love homeschooling my boys.  I feel like it is a great education for them.  But the downside is they are not getting Spanish and they are not cementing into the culture.  I want to continue homeschooling, but I want my boys to become bilingual.  If I have to give up a year or two of homeschooling for that to happen, it’s worth it.

So anyways, I walked in the door after my bike ride home and told the kids about my meeting at the school.  I said Jude is too young to go yet, and he began crying bitterly.  He was so upset.  I said, but Ezzy, you could go.  You could make friends there and learn Spanish.  Ezzy (5) was sitting at the table coloring.  He put his marker down and looked up at me.  It looked like something clicked inside of him.  “Yeah…” He said, thinking.  “I could make friends there.  I could learn all my Spanish back.”  And that was it.  He was decided.  Kai was not interested, until the next day.  We were doing our math and writing and Kai was getting kind of grumpy about it.  So I brought up the subject of school again.  “Yeah,” He said, “I want to go to school.” And then he burst into tears.  “No, no, I don’t.”  I just pulled him on my lap and hugged him.  “Kai, it sounds like you want to go to school but you’re nervous.”

“I won’t have any friends there!!!”  He cried and shared other fears.  He had a bad experience at school before.  We talked through all his concerns and at the end he decided he did want to go.  Since that moment he has been very enthusiastic about it.

So, that’s it… starting Monday Kai and Ezzy will go to school.  Ezzy goes from 7 – 10:30 a.m. and Kai goes from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.  Weird schedule, right?  That’s just how things are here.  I’m holding all of this with very open hands.  The Lord is the one who has done this.  He changed the hearts of my children.  He put this all together and so it is His.  I am trusting Him to take care of my boys and to continue the work in their hearts so that they will be open and receptive to the new language and new friends.  I’m not naïve here, I know this is going to be hard.  It will be very challenging for them.  I’m afraid they will go for a week and want to quit. And then what will I do?  But I’m not letting my mind dwell there.  I feel like God is the One who is doing this, and so I will trust Him.  I can’t do anything other than that.

If you think of it, pray for my boys. Pray for their hearts and for their time at school – that it would be positive, that they would be strong and courageous.  And also pray for me and Scott.  We need to become fully bilingual, we can’t limp along like this – it’s affecting our lives and our ministry.  It’s really time to get serious.


Living the Dream

May 18, 2011

“Most men are not satisfied with the permanent output of their lives.  Nothing can wholly satisfy the life of Christ within his followers except the adoption of Christ’s purpose toward the world he came to redeem.  Fame, pleasure and riches are but husks and ashes in contrast with the boundless and abiding joy of working with God for the fulfillment of his eternal plans.  The men who are putting everything into Christ’s undertaking are getting out of life its sweetest and most priceless rewards.”  – J.Campbell White

Why Isaiah 1:17?

May 2, 2011

So, if you’ve been following our blog for awhile, you’ve probably noticed the scripture on our header,

Learn to do good.  Seek justice.  Help the oppressed.  Defend the cause of orphans.  Fight for the rights of widows.” – Isaiah 1:17

This scripture was highlighted again to us the past week, so we thought we’d share a few insights. (Thank you Janna Moats for your fabulous teaching!)

Well, let’s look at the first sentence:  Learn to do good.

This implies that we don’t automatically know how to do good – there’s a learning process involved.  We have to ask questions, we can’t assume that we know how to do good.  Asking good questions is important.   How do we encourage the oppressed in Jaco?  How do we defend the cause of the fatherless in Jaco?  How do we plead the case of the widows?  We have to learn if we are to do good by asking the right questions and truly listening with an open heart to the answers.

Another insight about this verse is that it is a relationship verse.  Look at the commands in the verse, the actions – defend, help, seek, etc.  These are things that you would do for your friend aren’t they?  If your friend was in trouble you would automatically do these things for that person that you loved.   It would be the natural flow of relationship.  So if we want to help those in need, it would seem the first step is relationship.  The rest will flow out of that.

Jesus doesn’t call us to start ministries.  He calls us to relationship with people.

Often we don’t want to take the time to build relationships, we want to skip the process.  It’s way easier to start a program than to build a relationship.