For the first time in several years we spent Christmas alone as family. We enjoyed a short, but good Christmas vacation at home resting after a busy fall. The children spent their time biking, caring for our new horse and playing with a Wii given to the whole family as a Christmas gift.
Here is a few things worth mentioning from fall 2011:
– Diego’s mom suffered three heart attacks and spent about one month in the hospital. It was difficult for the whole extended family, since it looked like there was no hope of her recovery. Diego drove between Guanacaste and the hospital in San Jose every few days, was a support for all his siblings and also had to be the one to turn down the initiatives to start digging a grave in his mom’s home village. He didn’t feel that it was time for her to leave yet, and it turned out to be so. We had visited an unconscious grandma in the hospital, who couldn’t speak, swallow nor open her eyes, and then suddenly, the next day we got the news of her sitting up and asking the nurses for embroidery supplies to keep her busy! As we had hoped for, she returned home for Christmas and on New Year’s eve the whole family had a celebration in her honor. We know her condition is not good, we might be talking about weeks, months – or maybe even years. This time God made a miracle in healing her, which both united the family and strengthened everybody’s faith.
– The end of November our whole family drove to the YWAM base in Honduras to teach in their DTS for a week on missions and evangelism. It is great to travel and work together with the kids, even though on the way back half of us got sick.
– The DTS from our base started their outreach in the beginning of December by Bible distribution in a fishing community in the north of the province. After that we did many fund raising activities and efforts and in the end did see a miracle in how God met their financial needs and right around Christmas they left for outreach in Argentina. The school will graduate 4th of February. We are thankful to the Lord for this first DTS at our location, for the leaders, students and teachers; for the growth we have testified in the students!
– In December we hosted, for the second time, a national Costa Rican YWAM retreat. Over 100 people from the three different bases in the country came to Guanacaste to spend a weekend together. We shared food, went to the beach together, went to a local rodeo and hiked.
– Right before Christmas we finished another course for teen mothers. The strength in the training of this fall was the micro business section, after having found a good trainer and training material. It is beautiful to see the girls “come alive”, get excited and start dreaming as they understand that life (=God) does have things to offer them, they can have good lives, they can dream and that it is possible for those dreams to come to pass.
In our last update we told about the new property. Now it has been purchased, under a non-profit called Changing Lives in Costa Rica. We have been working with an architect in planning. In the pictures you can see the property from the village road and from the hill. Here is also a copy of a plan for property use. We hope to start building dormitories for team and student housing as soon as possible! We need and are raising funds for construction, for water pump and filter and industrial kitchen equipment. We are asking the Lord to send many volunteer builders and helpers!
This is what we think this year will look like:
– Spring: building, few teams, in May YWAM Central America and Mexico staff and leadership conference, a maternity course, Bible Distribution
– Summer: teams and volunteers
– Fall/winter: The next DTS starts August 30th.
The Bible Distribution project continues well. At the end of 2011 we had distributed 15 000 Bibles. We are still missing 79 000 from our goal. We expect the next shipment of 20 000 Bibles in February. Yojhanna, who is on staff with us, coordinates the distribution with staff, teams and local churches.
As our base grows and develops, we see that our own focus in the coming years will be in staff training, equipping young leaders, organizing the base structure and functions, relationship building, networking and working with our board, base leadership team and the national leadership forum for Costa Rica.
Salla also serves in the legal board for YWAM Heredia and we are both members of the board of Changing Lives in Costa Rica. We have already worked with representatives of this organization for several years in Guanacaste.
Now, the last part of January, we are in the States. Changing Lives flew us to Arizona for a board meeting and we are also meeting teams that either already have been in Guanacaste or are preparing an outreach to go there this year. We also spent part of our trip in Colorado Springs visiting friends, teams and had the opportunity to meet with the president of David C Cook. There are good possibilities of us getting literature from them to distribute to homes with Bibles and also a New Testament commentary in Spanish to give to local pastors. During the trip we have also been given books for the base library that we are taking back with us.
We are traveling with the children, they are on their summer brake from school. They already got to enjoy snow and real winter fun, which were some of their highest hopes for the trip. We will return to Costa Rica January 30th.
Thank you for being part of our team during 2011! We appreciate you being with us in your thoughts, prayers, reading these updates, supporting us financially or in any other way!