Pictures: Nic Markus started finnish first grade by homeschooling – Part of YWAM Costa Rica staff at our National Staff Training – A friend on the village road. It’s a boa and not poisonous.
It is a joy to be able to report to you some of the things that God has been doing in Guanacaste and in our ministry this year. We are very thankful for your partnership, for the many prayers said for us around the world and for the financial gifts given to make all this possible.
Summer with teams: We had another very busy summer hosting short-term outreaches. Even though most of our long-term staff members were on furlough, vacation or sick leave, God sent volunteers to be a huge help and share the workload. We had teams during the whole summer until the first week of August, we hosted a total of 100 short-term team members that worked in about 15 different communities taking the Bible to homes, in evangelism, sports, children’s ministry, youth work, building a church, women’s ministry etc. We heard many testimonies of the team members themselves of how God had spoken to them during their outreach, or challenged them, or how they had learned things that would change their lives. Praise God! That is what we are here for. And the local impact was of course obvious; there were people who heard and accepted the Gospel for the first time, who were healed or set free, who received teaching and instruction they needed, others just love and compassion they needed.
Learning to slow down: We face the continual challenge to re-align our work schedule so that we can slow down a little, have more time to rest and to spend as a family. In the middle of the busiest season in July Diego had another heart related heart arrhythmia crisis. He was in observation in the local hospital and then we had to pay a private doctor and run some better tests in San Jose. Thank God he is better now, but he really needs to lower stress, rest more, exercise more and eat better. Especially in the summers with teams we get really busy, but at the same time it is a season we all love, even our children, so we find it difficult and challenging to learn how to slow down. However, since September with things slowing down for the fall, it has been more possible for us to maintain a regular schedule. We need to somehow get better at this. Please continue to pray for this as well as for finances for medical needs and recreation as a family.
Bible Distribution: In September we received a shipment of 2500 Bibles in Spanish and 500 in English (for the bilingual beach areas). Part of them still have to be paid for, so we need to continue raising funds, but now we have enough Bibles to work freely for the next months! We go out weekly to distribute Bibles and take the Word of God to people who have never had it before. We would love to see more local church participation in this, so that we could see even thousands of Bibles being distributed each month. Right now we are not there yet, but even little by little, the Word is going out! More countries are joining the project, including Brazil in December (their goal is 50 million Bibles!) and Dominican Republic starting next year! Here in Costa Rica we have distributed 85 000 Bibles. And to finish the province of Guanacaste we still need 90 000 more Bibles! A fun challenge; you are very welcome to be part of this J!
Base construction: The plans that EMI (Engineering Ministries International) team made for our new base are ready! This weekend our board of directors will review local engineer proposals to process the plans with local authorities and to get the building permits. This process will take some months and we are now starting the fund raising campaign for construction. We need a lot of wisdom, creativity, skill and contacts for that; we really don’t know how to raise that much money or how to build a building like that, but we definitely know that the ministry needs the new building soon! We are totally out of space in our current building, we are limited our ability to function and host ministry activities. We don’t even have enough room to host our Monday night meetings (impatiently waiting for the dry season to start so we can meet outside). Please pray for this challenge!
New people: At the base we have the joy of having three new full-time and long-term staff members that have recently joined us. Two are locals and one is from the States. Ana helps in the kitchen and is currently running our two kids’ clubs. Josue is staffing the DTS and starting to work with local youth. Jamie is a health educator and is working with the Seeds of Life program with young mothers. It is a huge blessing and encouragement that God calls and sends other people to join us in ministry!
To the nations: In September we started another DTS at our base with five students from Costa Rica, the States and Switzerland. Their lecture phase is about half way done now and in January we will send them on outreach to Guatemala, Belize and Mexico. What a privilege to be able to say that, that we are sending people from here to the nations! There is another girl from Nicoya that left last month to serve with YWAM Argentina and we were able to pray for her in our family night. And Diego took a group from our family night to an outreach in Nicaragua for a weekend! Many of the participants are new Christians and they are already learning to take part in the Great Commission; what a great process to be part of!
Teaching: This fall we are teaching in two different Discipleship Training Schools on the topics of The Father Heart of God (Diego), Intercessory Prayer (Salla) and Evangelism (Salla). We want to work together with God to give impactful and life changing teachings to young people who long to be trained and discipled.
Family: Our children are successfully finishing up another year of school, basketball and ballet (you can guess who is doing what J). We are very proud of them! It is beautiful to see them grow up, to see the individual ways God is reflected in them and how they are starting to understand God’s purposes for their lives. We have been going to King’s Kids camps in Heredia one weekend every month, which has helped them to grow in their relationship with God and to build strong Christian friendships. This year is the last one they are going to school in Nicoya. Next year they will be studying here at home with a teacher from Finland and the year after that our plan is still to move to Finland, so they will be going to school in there.
Picures: A team sharing with boys while distributing Bibles in a local neighborhood – A team building a church – In a meeting with an EMI engineer Daniel and a local architect
How do we see God at work?
1. People coming to the Lord: One of the recent testimonies is a young man in our own village who was abandoned by his family when he was about 12 years old. Since then he has been working for different farmers who give him a room to sleep in. Now he is about 22 and his girlfriend is pregnant, but left him because he drinks and is aggressive. Salla counseled the girl and together with her prayed for a miracle in him, even though she said that he would never change. About a month later Diego had the privilege of leading him in prayer to accept Christ. Please pray for the follow-up and discipling process.
2. Provision: God shows in practical ways that He backs us up. When we don’t have money, in some miraculous way it comes in. When we don’t have food, he sends us food. When we need workers during a busy time, he sends them to us. When we don’t have strength or excitement for ministry, He fills us up again and it feels like the first day ever. When we don’t have answers, he gives them to us. When we feel discouraged, he sends someone to visit or encourage in other ways. We see this in small ways and big ways day by day. God is so amazing and his provision is evident in our every day ministry and personal lives. We praise Him for that!
3. Testimonies: In our weekly family nights we pray for needs and share prayer requests and prayer reports. We hear things like: “Our lives have changed so much. We continue having the same challenges as before, but now we have so much peace and joy, we pray together as a family, we know God will take care of us. And he answers our prayers; we prayed for a job and now we have one, or we needed medical help and now we have some.” Or we hear about one local family that is being discipled responding to a need of another one! Or a healing taking place with one of the groups going out from the base to distribute Bibles to homes! We see and hear constant testimonies of God being at work in the lives of the people we are reaching. The group of people that meets every Monday night at the base to hear the word continues growing in size and in faith; that is just amazing!!
Other prayer requests and needs:
Finland: Our family is half Finnish and we haven’t been there for two-and-half years. We are planning on taking a vacation/furlough there from December to February. God provided for the tickets and we are really excited about going to see family, friends, supporters, winter, and snow and to get to spend Christmas in Finland! Please pray for our time there, we need extra provision to cover costs both in Costa Rica and in Finland during the trip and we hope that even though it will be mixed with lot of ministry activities, that it could also be a time of rest and disconnection.
House: Due to the earthquake last year as well as poor architectural and engineer design of our house, a part of the house is sinking. We need to have it checked and fixed as soon as possible. So we need a good engineer to tell us how to fix it and then get the skilled workers and the resources to be able to fix it well. Right now we haven’t even been able to find an engineer to come and look at it. Soon the rainy season will change into dry season so there is even more ground movement expected that will probably not help the situation much, so we would love to be able to fix this soon!
THANK YOU for your prayers and financial support! We need both and encourage you to continue doing both! If you would like to donate for our special or regular needs/expenses, see the details on the website under “donate”. Pictures: Us with Evelyn, who is now serving with YWAM in Argentina – At the vegetable market