Our last update was written in the States. The trip was a busy and fruitful ministry trip, but also full of surprises! We were invited to many different places to share meals, were taken to fancy places and spoiled in many ways. The biggest surprise was at one family’s house where we had been invited to have dinner. After dinner we were asked to step in the garage for something. In the garage there was a huge, fancy truck with a bow in the door and the host asked: “How would you feel about driving this down to Costa Rica, Diego?” We were speechless… that car is way bigger and nicer we could have even thought about, but yes, it is a good, safe and strong truck that will be great for example for carrying materials or Bibles. AND it is like the every guy’s dream truck… including Diego’s. We had no idea that this was going to happen, this family simply had felt that God had asked them to donate this car for kingdom purposes. Wow… what an obedience! And what a blessing!
So our plans ended up changing so, that Diego and Troy had a father-and-son trip driving the new truck through Mexico and Central America all the way to Costa Rica. The rest of us flew home as planned. The boy’s trip took 12 days, it wasn’t completely painless, but besides all the risks and thanks to many prayers and God’s great protection, they made it home safely. The truck is here now, but for us to be able to register it in the country, we have to pay a very expensive tax on it. We don’t have the money for it, so for now it is waiting until God provides for this need. What we do have is our old car and a trailer that we are trying to sell to help us pay the taxes. At some point, when we will be able to pay the taxes, the value of the truck in the country will be high, so altogether it is worth it. We would like to ask you to pray for this, that we could pay the taxes as soon as possible, that the van and the trailer would sell or that God would provide some other way.
Even Troy made it home on time; the new school year started the day after they got home. Now also Nic Markus is going to kindergarten every day, being exited about the opportunity and not minding at all the early mornings and long car rides.
We have started getting organized and ready for the new ministry year. The first activity was the graduation of our first DTS in February. From the DTS, two young local ladies applied to stay on staff, both with a 2 year commitment. This is exciting for us, since our vision is to train and release locals to missions! We also received two volunteers in February, so now for the first time ever, we have a team of 10 people working here full-time! It is amazing, especially remembering the years that we have practically been here alone, not being able to delegate responsibilities to anyone. Now our challenge is to lead and train young staff (I have actually really enjoyed it). Different ministry responsibilities have been divided, some focus on children’s ministry, others on Bible distribution, training, teams etc. even though we all still work closely together.
After Diego’s drive down from the States, his mother’s condition went down. She got an infection in one of her amputated legs, with unbearable pains for several weeks and finally the leg was amputated again. The operation itself went well, but few days after her general condition and heart didn’t resist anymore. Few days later she died in the hospital in San Jose, with all her 11 children being present.
Diego had to take lot of responsibility in organizing the funeral. Her body was brought to Guanacaste the following morning, and the whole day probably hundreds of people from the home village and surrounding villages came to the house, where food was cooked for everyone. In the evening we had the memorial service, which was more like celebration of her life. The atmosphere was sad, but warm. She had lived a great life, and given a great testimony to many. Even the funeral was able to touch and challenge many to have a personal relationship with Christ.
The coffin was carried early next morning to a cementery that is about 5 km away. Family members, friends, neighbors all took turns carrying her and then saying good bye at the grave by throwing flowers to the grave.
We are so thankful for so many messages we got during that time, friends that were standing with us, for all the help we got! In times like this you really see that you are not alone. Thank you!
For Diego the whole process of his mothers illness had been a tiring and challenging process since last year. There are many siblings, but he ends up having or taking most of the weight, making the decisions, covering expenses, guiding the others. Now that all this is over, he has been exhausted and trying to take little bit time away from ministry. In the Catholic culture you usually get together in the house of the dead person for several days after the death to pray for the salvation of their souls. We are happy we didn’t have to worry about Diego’s mother’s eternal destiny, but the neighbors were wanting to do that. Diego took the opportunity and instead invited the neighbors to the mother’s house every afternoon for Bible Study for 9 days. So it turned out to be a great opportunity to witness!
A month ago my parents from Finland came here. They have mostly been part of our regular every day lives, even though during the Easter week we did have the opportunity to go to the beach for few days. My dad helped to fix our kitchen sink and cabinet, has hung out with our horse Bolero, helped to drive the kids to school and helped with many different projects. My mom thought crafts to the local women, prepared donations for teen moms, washed endless piles of dishes, baked, organized, did gardening etc. It has been such a blessing for us to have them with us for a full month!
The spring is soon turning into summer and we are getting outreach teams regularly, usually for a week or two at a time. In May the whole base is going to Nicaragua for YWAM Central America and Mexico staff conference. August 30th we start our new DTS.
The construction has not started yet, planning and processing ideas continues. And we have a huge challenge for funds both for construction and Bibles!
One new ministry that we started this year is tutoring for the elementary students of our village. 20% of the students failed their school year last year. They are struggling without the support of their families and the teacher is not too interested in helping them do any better. We believe there is something that can be done and we believe in the potential of these children! So even though we don’t (yet) have any official teacher in our staff team, we started tutoring using our own skills and knowledge. So now before every school testing period we offer few weeks of afternoon tutoring, which has been new, different and challenging, but also a great and practical way to influence and bless them. The teacher is saying that already now their grades are getting better!
Last year we received a donation for the same school, so we were able to buy and donate school books and supplies to all the students. This is the first time they have books. We were also able to make a ceiling for the school, which makes their classroom little fresher under the sun and not so noisy during the rain.
Thank you for your prayers and financial support! They are important to us and through both you take part in everything we do! May God bless you and your family!