The fall that we thought would be calm and not so busy turned out to be one of the busiest seasons this year… The 7.6 earthquake on September 5th changed the lives of many here in Guanacaste – including ours. God protected our home and belongings, but suddenly our schedule was full helping and coordinating help for many other people with their broken homes.
The earthquake surprised the whole country on a Wednesday morning at 9 am. The epicenter was here in Guanacaste close to us and honestly it was a pretty scary experience. Many concrete houses were cracked and broken, but overall the damage was much smaller than it could have been with that magnitude. So God was good even in the midst of an emergency and panic! A big Nicoya earthquake has been predicted for a long time and the scientists actually think that this was not it!! But we know we are where God wants us and trust in Him with or without another earthquake. With this one, many poor families still lost their homes and have no place to go. The government makes promises, but most of them never become reality. God started sending prayers, resources and help this way almost immediately after the earthquake. So far we have been able to help five families to fix or rebuild their homes. There is much more to do and we would like to help five more families, but need money and builders for that. Please contact us if you would like to be part of making a difference in these families´ lives. (In the pictures a damaged house, a family with a broken wall and a fixed wall.)
DISCIPLESHIP TRAINING SCHOOL
One of the joys of this fall has been the second Discipleship Training School of our base. At first we were a little disappointed at not having more than three students, but it ended up being perfect and we have enjoyed it so much! The challenge is that local pastors and churches don´t want people to get involved in missions, so there are many walls a local student has to break to attend a DTS. Our base cook, Dona Ana, however decided to break them all. She took up the challenge and has had a life transforming experience receiving teachings from visiting speakers all around the world the past three months. Now she is ready to leave to Kenya, Africa, for outreach with the other two American students and Vivi, our staff member. God has been so faithful and we even saw $5000 come in to cover the outreach expense for Vivi and Ana in three weeks! During the lecture phase we were involved mostly in helping to translate teachings and taught few weeks ourselves. Please keep the team in your prayers; they will graduate on the first week of February. (In the picture the three students, Vivi and the DTS leaders).
BITS AND PIECES
– The Bible Distribution program continues and we are excited about how more local churches are getting involved with it. We have distributed 22 000 out of 114 000 Bibles. Local churches, our staff and volunteers, visiting teams and donors make this possible and we believe one day we will reach the goal and we will be able to say that every home in our province has a Bible!
– We have two ongoing children´s programs every week. We have the privilege to disciple 20-30 children on a regular basis. It is a challenge, because they don´t get support for their spiritual growth in their homes, many of them are abused and mistreated. We are praying for a full time long-term staff member to come and work with the kids. There are endless ministry opportunities and we hope to be able to tutor them the coming year!
– Monday night Family Nights at the base are open evenings to everyone at the base and people from the community with worship, teaching, prayer and fellowship. Even though we have had them for the past seven years, the last months we have seen an amazing growth in these nights. We have had 50 to 60 people come every Monday night (that is a lot in this tiny village!), people are more open to God than ever before and God is showing to them how personal and real He is. We hope this to be a huge step closer to our dream to establish a local church here, because there is none. Please be praying for this!
– Among this year´s challenges have been different health issues starting from Diego´s heart and eye and now recently with my (Salla´s) head. I have suffered from inexplicable headaches for about a month. Right now we are waiting for the CT scan result, hoping that it would just confirm that this won´t be anything serious or long-lasting. Please pray for good health and complete healing. But we do get the message: we need to learn to slow down, take it easy and even to say no to some things sometimes… (not easy!).
– The huge blessing of this year was the truck donated to us, but we still owe the import taxes for that. Would you please pray with us that we could sell a van and a trailer that we have for sale to cover this debt.
– Our kids finished last week a busy school year with early mornings, long drives, projects, basketball, dance, friends etc. So we are happy to have them 24-7 around the house and the base now!
– This weekend we are receiving around 100 people at our base for the annual YWAM Costa Rica retreat, where all the three bases get together for fun, fellowship and good food! Lot of organization for us, but it is a great way to end the year. Otherwise we get together for staff trainings and leadership meetings, so this is a non-business weekend!
– Next week we receive a DTS outreach team from California for one month to minister in different parts of Guanacaste.
– In January the base receives a team of college students from Biola University, California and a School of Worship team from Montana.
– We have been approved as a project for Engineering Ministries International that will be working with us with a group of architects and engineers to make the master plan for our new property and the building plans for phase one. This is a huge blessing, because they are Christians and they are donating their time and professional skills! We hope to start building by the end of next summer.
– As a base we were able to adopt an unreached people group from one of the neediest places in the world. This group of 250 000 people have no Christians at all. We are excited to start praying for them, spreading information, recruiting other people to join in and hopefully one day be able to send teams and long-term workers to this place!
TMDS IN COLORADO SPRINGS, JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2013
About 4 months ago we sat on our living room floor and held hands as a family, putting our plans and desire under God’s will. Now we have officially been accepted and are trying to purchase tickets to attend the Teaching and Ministry Development Seminar at the YWAM University of the Nations campus in Colorado Springs in January and February. This is something we are really looking forward to, because it will equip us more for what we do and it will be very refreshing for us to spend 6 weeks receiving teachings, sharing with many other missionaries from around the world and be in a place where we don´t have leadership responsibility. We would appreciate your prayers that everything would work out, and especially for financial provision. For this to happen, we need $7000 total to cover our air fares and the stay at the campus for the whole family. If God puts it on your heart to help support us for this seminar, please send your support through these links: http://pampa.fi/support-us/. God already provided a vehicle for us to use during our time there, which is encouraging!
This year has had its challenges with the death of Diego´s mom, health issues, financial pressure and a busy ministry schedule, but once again we can look back and say that the Lord has been good with us. We are happy to walk this path and look forward to everything He has for us in the future!
Thank you so much for being such a big part of our ministry by faithfully praying for us, sending encouraging messages and supporting us financially. You really are part of our team! We pray that your heart could be full of peace and joy as you finish this year and trust in the Lord for the new year!
Merry Christmas! (In the picture us dressed for a base fun night!)