Nicole and I arrived back to Costa Rica safe and sound on the 7th of January. After 4 1/2 weeks of visiting family in Seattle and the San Francisco bay area, we were full of gratitude and joy, ready to set out on a new year here in Costa Rica. When we got back we really wanted to spend some time alone, praying in the new year and listening to what God has for us. We were blessed enough to have someone donate for us to be able to have some time alone, so we went out to a local town and stayed two nights at a small rental house. Even though visiting home was great, it was still quite tiring visiting with people everyday and traveling around. Going and being alone for 3 days before starting the crazy-ness in San Jose was just what we needed.
Unreached People Groups Seminar
As Nicole and I shared with many of you while we were home, we feel the Lord is moving us to go and work with unreached people groups. What is an unreached people group you ask? It is a people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group, any group with under 5% of its population professing to be Christian. We know that we have the inheritance for “all of the nations to be blessed through you.”
We have seen God do miraculous things here in Central America, and we feel He is moving us on to something new, but that is also connected to what He has had us doing for the past 4 1/2 years. We love Latinos and have always believed they can change the world, to go out and “make disciples of all nations.” Our hope is, over the next couple of years, to go and visit some of these countries with the hope of taking a team of Latin missionaries to plant a new work. It’s a daunting and risky task, but we know Who we serve, and we know that there is no greater place to be than in His will. For now our home is still here in Costa Rica, and until that changes we want to do everything we can to prepare for the day that we will eventually leave. The cool thing is that since all of this stuff has been coming up in our hearts, there just so happened to be a 6-week seminar being hosted at our YWAM base. It’s focus is on how to serve in an unreached community, and also about the different religions on the other side of the world. We are currently in the third week of this school, and it has been MIND BOGGLING.
I have never felt such a love for people in the unreached world. Over the past few weeks we have had the privilege to have teachers with missionary experience in unreached parts of the world. Learning about the struggles, victories, failures, as well as their successes, has been a privilege. We are so excited for what is to come, please keep us in your prayers as we learn and grow in understanding about other cultures and religions during this school (sorry to be so vague with the locations or specific people groups, but it is to keep us and others safe).
Last weekend we had a pretty cool experience. We had the opportunity to be a part of the annual youth camp at our local church. In Costa Rica “youth” means anywhere from 13 to 30 or so. So although it was called a “youth camp,” in reality around half of the campers were over the age of 20. During the 3 nights and 2 days we spent up the mountains, we saw people coming to the Lord for the first time, others coming back to God for an umpteenth time, many becoming healed and receiving freedom, and all of it was beautiful. We saw healings, both physical and emotional, and were overwhelmed by the awesome love of God. Not only that, but we had a TON of fun. We played games all day long, from homemade slip-n-slides to creating comedic skits. We can’t wait for next year!
One of the new departments we are helping pioneer here on the YWAM base is called Staff Development. The goal of this ministry is to make sure that our long term missionaries are being cared for. In the mission field it is VERY easy to get burnt out and give up. In reality missionaries have one of the highest turnover rates out of any occupation. To help prevent this we are trying to be intentional about helping them grow, and making sure they are both mentally and spiritually healthy. In the past month we have already begun to implement some new things. One of which is helping teach about fundraising. One of the primary reasons that Latinos leave the mission field is because of a lack of funds. Our goal is to help people learn how to create a network of supporters, through teaching them how to create newsletters, blogs, videos, etc. Not only this but to teach the principles behind fundraising and the purposes of living off of relationship-based support. Along with that we have had the privilege of having a secondary YWAM counseling school on outreach at our base with the focus to help our staff grow in several different ways. One of which being that every Tuesday and Thursday night they are doing workshops for the staff. Some topics they are covering are, How to do 1 on 1’s, how to lead a small group, Renewing the mind, Conflict resolution, and some other topics. It is a great time for the staff to get poured into, and for them to take some time to invest in their own spiritual growth.
About a week ago our documentary team released a trailer for a new documentary/promotional video. It is based off of the stories of 3 different people who have gotten off the streets out of prostitution. Their stories are powerfull, and we had the privilege to record them. The coolest part about it is that they are people that have come off the streets through the ministry at our base called “Freedom Street.” Nicole and I in the past had spent about 1 year working with this ministry and we know first hand how difficult and heartbreaking a lot of these stories are. The cool thing is that they are finding restoration and God is brining healing to all the abuse and violence they have experienced in their life. So check out the trailer below to see more!