Two months ago we got back from our furlough. It was almost too easy to get back into the ministry and school routine… We were happy to find out that the trip did not have any negative influence on Troy’s and Julia’s schoolwork, they were up to date and even their grades got better after the independent and distant studies.
Since our return we have been part of building bathrooms for the community building of our village together with the women’s group. We have also helped a neighbor village with a project to open a public pharmacy (the government will pay the pharmacist and the medicine, the village has to provide the place and equipment). In September we started a new 4-month program for young moms in Nicoya.
October was the worst month of rains for a while… you even might have heard of floods and rains all over Central America. Even in Costa Rica some people died and many roads and buildings collapsed, even though it wasn’t as bad as other countries. We didn’t see the sun for a few weeks, it would rain day and night. We were thankful for our good Nokia rubber boots from Finland and consider ourselves privileged to own a drier unlike most others.
September 1st we started the first official course, or school, of our 5-yr old missions base. It is a YWAM course called DTS, or Discipleship Training School. We have fife local students from Guanacaste and three from the States. We want these schools to be a channel for mobilizing locals to world missions, so God really saw that desire and responded by sending 5 locals to the very first school! The course consists of a 12-week lecture phase and a 10-week outreach. A Finnish couple, Kimmo and Laura, are the school leaders and our local staff member Yojhanna is helping to staff it. We have been helping mostly with translation and with everything else our help is needed. There is 3 full weeks of teachings left. So far we have had teachers from 5 different nationalities. Each week has a different topic and a different visiting teacher. We have thought on the topics of missions & evangelism and intercession.
Doing the DTS is a huge challenge to the local students. The churches here don’t usually do or support missions, so these young people are real pioneers. Through their experiences and testimonies the church members and pastors can get to know what missions is about and our desire is, that it would wake them up to participate in fulfilling the Great Commission. The difficulty is that the students don’t receive financial support from their churches or church members. By trusting God they are trying to raise the funds to cover the school and outreach expenses. Some of them are selling their belongings, ice-creams, food… others cut hair and wash cars. These are small efforts compared to the total need, so we are expecting a miracle! Would you, someone you know or your church be willing to sponsor some of these local young people who have a call to missions? Please contact us, if you would like to do that.
Before the school started we were praying about an outreach in Central America, something financially more accessible to the locals. But when the whole school started praying together, God’s direction was very clear: South America. So plans are being made for 2 weeks of Bible Distribution in a coast community of Guanacaste and then the rest of the outreach in Argentina. You can read more updates about the school from the base facebook page: YWAM Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The picture below is the whole DTS group and some staff members.
God had prepared a surprise for us while we were in Finland. As you might know, for a while we have tried to purchase property for the ministry to stop renting, and because we really need more room. We have looked into other options and also prepared a contract to buy the building we have been renting. However, everything has been moving slowly and we haven’t received peace from the Lord to move the ministry out of our village either. Then suddenly when we got back from Finland, our neighbor wants to sell to us a property we actually had offered to buy 6 yrs ago! This property is much bigger, better and cheaper than where we are now, and there is even a possibility to buy more around it later.
A non-profit Christian organization from the States, Changing Lives in Costa Rica, is willing to purchase the property and help us start building. They would donate the property to YWAM within 10 years. Our board talked about it, made a positive decision and the purchase will hopefully be signed any day now! The property is 2.5 acres of pasture and some trees on the side of the village road. This is a beautiful blessing from God and it is making possible the growth and continuity of the YWAM ministry in the area! It is also a huge challenge. Digging waterlines, installing electricity, fencing, making roads, building buildings…. it will be a long and a painful process. Construction here is slow, expensive and difficult, but we are doing this because of a vision of good facilities for lodging, kitchen, studying, offices, meetings and activities for staff, groups, schools, families and singles! So if, in the coming few years, you would like to use your giftings (construction, cleaning, gardening, painting…) in a practical way for the Kingdom, you are very welcome to come and volunteer!
Needs… and thanks!
Few weeks ago the whole clutch system of our truck needed to be changed and then the 4WD broke right after that. These fixings were expensive and out of our budget. Another unexpected cost we are facing is that Diego needs an eye surgery. He has a so called “surfer’s eye”, nothing too serious, but it is so big that it is affecting his sight and needs to be fixed. He also needs to buy good(=expensive) sunglasses. Besides these needs the time of the year is coming when we need to cover Christmas, house- and vehicle taxes and insurances, the children’s school yearly payments, books, materials and uniforms. In other words, financially the hardest time of the year for us. We are sharing this, because our regular monthly support is not enough for these. If you feel to help, please see the “donate” section of the website.
Besides needs like this, we also have many reasons to be thankful! Julia’s eyes were surprisingly declared perfect, she has no need to wear glasses any more! And Nic Markus’ skin problems in his back are better and according to the doctor nothing to worry about. The colds, asthmas, stomach pains and flus from last month are now behind us and we are pretty happy about that.
The biggest worry and miracle we have gone through the last weeks is with Diego’s mom. She is 86, diabetic, both legs amputated, but she has been otherwise very healthy and sharp. Few weeks ago she was taken to the hospital with liquids in her lungs. She suffered three heart attacks within a week. Her lungs, heart and kidneys are not doing ther job anymore and her blood sugar levels are out of control. She has been in Nicoya and San Jose hospitals for almost three weeks now. Diego has a BIG family, and in this culture the way to react and process something like this is for everyone to be at the hospital almost 24/7, even when only one person at the time is allowed inside with her. There have been days with over 100 people in the hospital lobby for her! Diego has 9 emotional sisters, so he has been the rationalist, provider and the care-taker for them for the past weeks. He has been constantly driving back and forth to San Jose, being tired and stressed. We appreciate all the prayers, support and gifts given to us during this time! The past 4 days her condition has been improving so much that today she even sat in a wheel-chair and showered by herself! It is a miracle and totally unexpected. Now we are hoping that she would get well enough to bring her back to Guanacaste, which is her biggest wish. If it happens, we know it will be just for a short time, but we would definitely enjoy that special time together before she goes home with the Lord!
Plans for the coming months
Few weeks ago we had a group of 16 distributing Bibles in a 400 household community called Nambi. For the next weeks we will continue translation with the DTS and living through whatever happens with Diego’s mom. The last week of November, when the kids summer vacation starts, we are all driving to Honduras. We will be teaching at a YWAM base there for a week. The drive takes two days each way. We would like to ask prayers for safety and that the truck would behave itself . Mid-December we are hosting another YWAM Costa Rica retreat, all the bases and ywamers from the whole country will come to our base for a weekend. After that the DTS will head to Argentina and our family will spend Christmas & most of January at home, taking care of the ministry while everybody else is gone and maybe even starting work on the new property!
Thank you for your prayers and support!
In the picture a DTS student with the “base kids”: Nic Markus, Robin and neighbor girl Genesis