It has been a while since a good newsletter! Please take a moment to read about what we have been doing the past months and what this year looks like to us.
LAST YEAR: 2013
As a conclusion of last year we have to say that it was a year well finished. In the fall we got three new long-term workers to our team, our youth ministry was reactivated and we got to host and organize several camps.
Right after Christmas our fall DTS traveled to their Central American outreach, they worked mostly in Guatemala and Mexico. One of the students returned to work with us on staff this month. She is a worship leader and will be staffing the DTS. She will be on staff and training at our base with the goal to later be sent out to our adopted unreached people group.
And right before Christmas we got our tickets that we had been praying for and flew to Finland for Christmas! It had been 2,5 years since last family visit, so it was a much needed and enjoyed time in our second home country reconnecting with family, friends, supporters and churches, as well as trying to get some rest.
CHALLENGES OF 2014
The big move…
During our trip to Finland we were seeking for the last final confirmation and full peace about our move there this coming December – and received it. As a family we feel that God is leading us to move to Finland for a period of about 5 years, with our future plan still being to return and continue to serve in Costa Rica. The biggest motivator for our move is our children; during the next 5 years Troy and Julia are going to be in high school/college age, where they will have to start making major decisions about their future. We feel that they need to discover the Finnish side of their identity, culture and future opportunities, so that the doors will be open for them wherever God calls them in the future. It would be very hard to later move to Finland to study or to live if they had never lived there before. God confirmed many things to us during our visit, for example that we are to continue in YWAM and He also directed us to a specific place to live, just as he did 9 years ago when we moved to Guanacaste.
This move is scary, we are doing it by faith, trusting that God will continue providing for us there as He has here in Costa Rica and open the right doors. It is also exciting, as a family to begin a new adventure with God and to be closer to the other half of our family and relatives. But we are also realizing that it will be a very sad move. We will miss Guanacaste, our village, our missionary community, our friends and Costarican family members very, very much! It is making us sad already to know that in one year we will be far from here…
In the ministry and at the base our move will be a challenge for everyone, since we have always been there to run many things, so now it is time to restructure the base operations, to release new leaders, also to make some changes as well. Our prayer is for God to bring the right people to lead and to serve, so that the ministry can continue growing and multiplying and making God’s dreams a reality in Guanacaste and the nations. And we are seeing it happen!
As an answer to many years’ prayers, we now have a pastor in training for the local church that our family nights have begun. They are a local family with three children that have already joined us at the base and will do the fall DTS. We are also starting to train a group of about 7 families for church leadership and base support. And yes… we do have a couple that has accepted the challenge to become the next base leaders! They are Kimmo and Laura Sarajarvi, who have served with us in base leadership for three years already. We are thankful to see how God is moving the pieces and gently helping us as a family and a base to go through the transition.
As you might guess, our main goals for this year are to train workers and leaders and to strengthen the existing ministries and base structures. We are also working on getting our house ready to rent it out, and figuring out what to do with our possessions. It is a busy year!
We rejoice in the staff team of 11 people! Nine years ago this was a dream. We have skilled people with great hearts for God, committed to the general base vision and also each one serving God in their own individual areas of call and vision. We now have an active youth ministry, Drummers for Jesus – ministry, ministry with local women, three courses for young mothers about to start, English teaching, tutoring the local elementary school students, an expanding childrens’ ministry and together we continue distributing Bibles house to house (almost 30 000 Bibles distributed in Guanacaste!), receiving short-term teams and ministering with them in communities and schools, hosting the growing Monday night meetings at the base. In September we have our next 5-month Discipleship Training School starting. Praise God for everything that is going on!
Pictures: Bible Distribution!
One of the things that we are establishing are short-term mission trips for locals, especially the members of our own church plant. Last fall we did our first missions trip to Nicaragua. Last weekend was the second one and in September will be the third. For late fall we have a trip planned with a smaller group of people to a country that cannot be mentioned by name for security reasons. We (Diego and Salla) are going to do a preparation trip there in June to build relationships and to confirm what type of ministry can be done and to find out more about opportunities. We need to raise $1500 for this trip, would you like to help us with a donation?
Nicaragua outreach, missions!
Last weekend Diego, Julia and Nic Markus went on the missions trip to Nicaragua with 28 local people from our home communities. We are so thankful to God for our new bus, that makes these trips possible for so many people! The bus even has a lift for wheel chairs, so we were able to take a girl in a wheel chair to whom serving God in a foreign nation was only a distant dream before.
The team rebuilt a roof for the YWAM base in Nicaragua and a kitchen for a poor family that prepares food to sell as their only source of income. They also worked with about 200 children and visited three different churches. The trip was short, but life-changing for many of the participants. They had to trust in God and raise $130 each, which is a lot of money or even an impossible amount for some. They made what was possible for them and saw God work miracles to provide for all of them to go. Seeing and meeting needs and feeling God’s heart for the nations changes the way you see God, yourself and live out your Christianity. So we have an excited group of people who want to serve more and get more involved. This is the beginning of the vision we have to see hundreds of people from Guanacaste going out to the nations as missionaries.
Another piece of exciting news is that Vivian, one of our long-term local staff members has been accepted to a School of Strategic Missions. She has a call to be a missionary in one of the largest unreached nations in the world and this specific school is run in this same country. So she is taking a step of obedience to follow God’s call, but she is also getting further training to fulfill her call. She is leaving in September and needs to raise a lot of money for this. If you know Vivi, or even if you don’t, and would like to be part of her sending team, please get in touch with her or with us.
Pictures: A visiting team having their debrief time at the base and a local girl receiving tutoring in math
As a family we made a big change this year by taking the children out of the local school where they have been for the past six years. We decided to start them already in the Finnish school curriculum and the Lord provided a wonderful Finnish girl, Anna, as a tutor for them. So Anna is living with us until the end of the year and the children study at home. So far it has worked out well, even though they are starting to miss spending more time with their friends from school. Fortunately we still live here, so they can still see friends and continue in the same sports and hobbies as before.
– The process of leadership transition at the base. Base needs: donations for Bibles, the bus and supporters for our local staff members. More staff members to fill all the needs and to make growing and expanding vision and ministries possible.
– The family nights that are turning into a formalized local church during this year. All the new believers that are coming.
– Wisdom, time, skill and money to be able to do all the work our house needs before we move. And the right people to live in it while we are gone.
– The finances for the pre-mission trip in June
– Diego is traveling to Honduras to Central American base leaders’ meetings during the first week of June
– Julia’s 13th birthday gift is a trip to the States to participate in a junior high missions trip with our good friends and their church. She will be gone June 7-18 and she is really excited! Pray that God would use her in Dayton Beach, Florida!
June 5-15 we have an open outreach. Anyone is welcome to come and join us to do ministry in the villages for 10 days, which also includes training and a free day trip. Please contact jucumguanacasteatgmaildotcom if you are interested!
Thank you for your continuous prayers and financial support to our family! You are a part of a transformation that is taking place in Guanacaste!