A common term in the communications world is "disconnected." There are numerous examples of times when you may have found yourself disconnected. Maybe it was that crucial phone conversation (remember, that's what we used to do before texting!) that you were desperately trying to communicate urgent and/or important information. Then suddenly, without warning, you were DISCONNECTED! Or your child's favorite device or cellphone that you were planning on using during a crucial road trip or time in the waiting room. You reach for said device only to find that instead of charging, it had been DISCONNECTED! There are numerous other examples of this desperate feeling of being DISCONNECTED that we face in today's tech world, but there is no feeling quite so desperate as being DISCONNECTED at church!
This reality or feeling is something that we all deal with from time to time. I describe it as a reality or feeling because there are so many factors involved that may or may not be reality. While we feel disconnected for one reason or another, there may not be any change of relational barometric pressure causing this storm. It very well could be your own personal upheavals that you are facing. I cannot in this article make a broad generalization by saying that all such feelings are simply one's personal insecurities or fears, but I do believe that the key in facing such issues must begin with that which we have control of...ourselves.
The simple truth of life that people will think what they will and draw conclusions based upon limited evidence are all facts of life. Regardless of what someone may think, we can stay the course and be consistent with who we know ourselves to be and that which God has called us to do. We must never fall victim to the snare of becoming a politician or hypocrite who seeks to alter their personality based upon the relational metrics of a given situation or relationship. At the end of the day, we are who we are and some people will love it while others despise it. That's just life. Even Jesus, the Son of God, was not liked and appreciated all day, every day. Why should his servants be any different?
So how do we begin with ourselves in these situations of feeling DISCONNECTED?
Pray- Far too many times we fire off a text or an email to figure out what only God can help us either understand or have peace about in our lives. Have you talked to the God who not only created your muscles, skin, organs, and sinews, but also your very emotions? I am confident that he understands much more than you give him credit for.
Ground yourself in the Word- God's Word is a powerful force when we daily submit ourselves to it. Paul didn't refer to it as "washing with water from the word" in Ephesians just for the fun of it! God's word has so many healing properties that we once again underestimate on a regular basis.
Seek counsel- If we are facing a season of disconnect, maybe there are areas that we are drifting in that we need to pay more attention to. When there are people who are doing life with us on a regular basis, they may not have a crystal ball, but they can speak truth into our lives that only a precious few are able to do effectively.
Be intentional- When relationships are strained are we dedicating time to them in social engagement as well as intentional, planned times of connection? Relationships are organic to a great extent which also implies that they require nurture, pruning, and growth.
Are you not only seeking strong relationships but being relational in how you live your life. In your search for good friends are you being a good friend?
These are just a few truths for the reality of our human condition. We are all susceptible to these feelings at times of disconnect, but we don't have to dwell there. Much like the baptist church that we attended in Costa Rica that was named Iglesia Bautista de Desamparados our name may even be "forsaken" but that does not mean that we are in reality as forsaken as our situation or location may appear. We must resolve to keep running the race which means that we persevere through the dry seasons of life and seek to thrive where God has planted us until he makes changes.
One of the necessities of life that I don't particularly enjoy is that of having my vision screened. My glasses are probably several years old and my contacts are worn until I begin to worry that they are no longer safe to do so. If I want to replace either one, it requires a special screening and prescription. If I need both, I have to have two appointments or get charged for two visits. Something about all of this seems so unnecessary when I have participated in eye clinics in foreign countries with donated glasses from the Lion's Club and a focometer. Yet, this is required if you live in the USA.
Sometimes a vision screening for the church can seem just as problematic. I mean, aren't we essentially to know who and what the church is in the New Testament and seek to be as much like that as possible? I believe that most would answer a resounding "yes!" Yet there is still a corporate side of the modern church that wants a definite sense of who we are and where are we going. Can you hear the disciples asking Jesus, "What's our vision?" What would Jesus' reply be? Follow me. He also often included things like "I will make you fishers of men." Jesus' vision was intricately woven into his message, but the disciples often missed it even when he seemed to spell it out plainly.
Here is who we are at Peace Haven:
Our purpose is to glorify God through worshiping Him, becoming mature in Christ, and reaching the world with the Gospel!
Our vision is to be a community of maturing believers in Christ who are making disciple makers!
The word vision is a loaded word that means many things to different people. I will simply embrace the basic idea of direction. Who are we seeking to be?
Worship- We are seeking to help people grow (mature) in the faith by an authentic worship experience with God. This means that we strive to celebrate ways that God is at work in our church family and spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24) As we worship God in the singing and preaching of His word, we will be mobilized to be on mission. Worship is the fuel and goal of missions. -John Piper, Let the Nations be Glad
Discipleship- This is another loaded word that carries many connotations, but biblically we see people who spent time with Jesus and then put their faith in action by how they lived. So discipleship is much more than a book study. We are seeking to give everyone willing to engage in the Disciples' Path study as well as our children's and youth studies a foundation of faith, but we also challenge people to apply that faith by serving inside and outside of the church. This requires mentoring relationships that are often lacking in our culture. We challenge our people to regularly "do life" together.
Mission- While we have many efforts to be missional that are organized events and activities, our goal is to transcend such to the extent that people live missionally without the need for a formal event to serve others. Events are simply the training ground for real life.
There is much more that can probably be said, but that gives a brief overview of who we are seeking to be as a church family. This vision is expressed in various ways as there is growth and change which is natural with any living organism. With organic growth, God opens different doors of ministry and enables our borders to expand by his grace and for His glory.
What questions do you have from these observations? Do any of them surprise you? If I can clarify any of them, please let me know. Our hope is that through all that is written, taught, and preached at Peace Haven that there is an abundance of clarity when it comes to this subject. It is our hope that you will join us on this journey!
Great googly moogly! (A popular phrase at North Wilkes football games) It has been many moons since the blogosphere has heard from me, but I haven't forgotten you. I've just been trying to keep up with all that God has been doing in our lives and church.
One such blessing was the culmination of a gift that we received a few months ago when someone offered to send our family on vacation to Disney World! While we had traveled for brief visits as portions of our circus, we had not been together for several days ever. So this was indeed a wonderful gift!
Upon returning, I've been thinking about some life and church applications from this amazing experience and how I might apply the things that we witnessed.
1. Disney is what you make of it. While many have labeled it the happiest place on earth, there were many who realized that happiness still eluded them. Why is that? Are some people just malcontents who can't find happiness even if it slapped them in the face? Or is there another explanation? I believe that so much of life is what we make of it. I have traveled with friends on missions journeys numerous times and they have often remarked about how some of the poorest people were the happiest. I believe this lends to this principle that our happiness should not depend on whether I got a giant turkey leg, rode on the Flight of Passage ride more than once, or saw the Lion King show. All of these things are hopes that one would have, but in the grand scheme of things, they are just part of a greater panorama of blessings. Are you allowing a disappointment or challenge to steal your zeal for life and your enjoyment thereof? Strive to maintain perspective, count blessings, and cherish the little things.
2. Disney is full of magic and wonder. While there are aspects that I thoroughly enjoy, I confess that there are other vacations that I would be just as content to consider. Disney is not my favorite place, if I had to decide upon one. What makes Disney special for me is to experience it with my family and have that vicarious magic of my kids pour over into my life across the bridge of my love for them.
While we may not experience some places and events like we used to there is almost always a sense of magic as we learn to appreciate and celebrate the wonder of others and how their lives are impacted by some experiences. When we limit our appreciation of life and experiences to our own perspective, we become what Bruce Ashford once called "narcissistic me-monkeys." Can you look around at your church and see lives that are being impacted by the gospel and the "magic" of God that is even greater than a mechanical ride at a park? We should be excited about such and do whatever it takes to see lives changed for God's glory.
3. Disney loves children. Everywhere you went and everything that you see is oriented to families and especially children. The rides, shows, events, etc. are extremely simple so that anyone and everyone can understand. That's not to say that there were not some other complicated aspects that were hinted at from time to time, but for the most part the experience was accessible to everyone. There's no sense of having to impress people with lofty ideas or explanations when the basic experience is essentially the genius of Disney. Trying to complicate that will eventually deteriorate the magic that has lead to its success.
4. Disney is a service oriented atmosphere. The song "Be My Guest" is not only from their hit story "Beauty and the Beast," but it also is a core value for them throughout everything that they do. They don't want to be just another theme park, but they strive to be the best possible experience in every detail because they believe in what they are doing. While money is always a motivation in a business like Disney, they know that people respond to services that are done well because the people love what they do and want to be there. The moment that someone views their role as another tedious checklist rather than part of the magic, the wonder diminishes. Time, effort, thoughts, and dreams have made Disney what it is today. Shouldn't a church be much more so? Shouldn't we dream about seeing life change through ministries that are out of control in many regards for God's greater glory?
There is probably much, much more that I could share about this experience, but I will bring this to an end for now. (Could there be a sequel? Disney part Deux?) Keep finding the teachable lessons from the things that we experience each day and learn from them whether you blog about them or not. Glean truth from the stuff of life and see what God might have for you. And let me know what you think about what I have shared. Did it resonate or am I just ranting again? What would you add?
One of my favorite movies is Braveheart, the story of a Scottish Knight named William Wallace. In the course of the movie we see horrible injustices perpetrated against the people of Scotland and Wallace's subsequent pursuit of freedom. While I would love to post a clip of Wallace's famous speech from Youtube, some minor language issues will prevent me from doing so. One of the key lines from that speech is "They may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!"
The sentiment of Wallace expresses well my emotional overload after an intense three days of our Jr. Camp ministry. Each day our Peace family rose early and stayed late to make sure that over 120 children had the best experience possible in this ministry. The goal each year is to provide a camp experience for children who may not be able to afford camp, and ultimately that they will get to know and learn about Jesus. I am fully convinced that we have once again achieved our goal through this ministry. God blessed exceedingly more than we could've dreamed or imagined with 35 young people making decisions of faith and two baptisms!!!
Doing whatever it takes these days to share the good news with children who need to hear is crucial in a world in which they are bombarded with many messages via social interaction and the internet. This information overload can be good at times, but so many times they are receiving the wrong information. This week we had an opportunity to love these children through all of the activities that were provided and our supreme goal remained sharing the good news in all that we said and did. Similar to Wallace, the threat of seeing our people enslaved to this world is worth the expense, inconvenience, and exhaustion that such work often entails.
As with any battle, there are casualties. I feel like Wallace today after the battle seeing all of the sacrifice that was made and challenges that we experienced. We often do not publish the challenges for fear that they will detract from God's greater glory, but in this case I believe that it contributes even more.
-It started on the Thursday before camp when my laptop crashed. It was restored on Tuesday night (big thanks to my wife and some free hours of support from Apple), but by then much of the camp had "sailed" making several plans and preparation out of reach for 2/3 of the camp.
-We also suffered a pretty powerful lightning strike one day that fried some electronics/networking of the church. We are still sorting out what was affected by such a strike.
-Our older students were meeting in the lower part of the church when we realized that the A/C unit completely and utterly died during camp.
-Among these challenges, we faced thunderstorms every day of camp. For many ministries this would be a minor setback, but we do major outdoor activities that were very difficult as it not only rained but hailed at times!
This gives you just a glimpse of some of the things that transpired over the past three days. There was much more, but suffice it to say the spiritual warfare was more intense than I have ever faced with such an event confirming how much was at stake this year.
Unlike the story of Wallace who was eventually captured, drawn, and quartered, we experienced some amazing victories!
-Seeing 35 children make decisions of faith was absolutely incredible and totally worth it!
-Experiencing the glory of the body of Christ as we spent many hours together in fellowship, under stress, and often exhausted.
-Reaching new families who are looking for a church. Once again, I spoke with families seeking a fellowship.
-And, yes, we had a lot of fun! It is ok to be silly, wear watermelon socks, jump around on stage, and love these kids with the love of Christ!
I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that we remain laser focused on the goal of the gospel. May we continue to "...cast aside all that entangles us..." and celebrate lives changed by the Good News.
The merry, merry month of May is knocking on our door and its going to be a great one! Not just because of Star Wars day (May the 4th be with you!) and Cinco de Mayo (which few Hispanic friends of mine celebrate, but I just found a new taco truck...so hey! Why not?) So what's the big deal about May? I'm glad that you asked!
This May we are going to try an experiment of faith. I want to challenge all of our Peace family to pray daily along the following lines:
MAY you provide divine intersections for me with someone who needs to know you today.
MAY I have intentional conversations with them so that they will hear about you.
MAY those conversations lead them to hear the Good News and come to know you.
So, that's it. This will be our prayer (or something like it) for the month of MAY. We will have opportunities to share in our Wednesday evening gatherings and there may even be other opportunities to celebrate how God uses these prayers.
Take the challenge, buckle up, and let's see what God has in store!
So in case you are not familiar with FAQ culture, it means "Frequently Asked Questions." Now in church life, this does not always mean that these questions are asked of the pastor. It could be through any number of ways that people are asking these questions. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions, if you ask the wrong person...you may get the wrong answer! Which defeats the purpose of asking the question. So I would like to field a few of those questions that may be floating around about what is going on at Peace Haven:
1. Why do you use the NLT (New Living Translation) of the Bible?
This is a question that could occupy several pages, but I will simply answer that we believe that it represents a great balance of biblical scholarship using the most current resources, manuscripts, scrolls, etc. and the modern vernacular of people today. God's Word is intended to communicate, so why not use a translation that is easily understood. For more information, visit this great link.
2. Why don't you wear your "Sunday best" when you preach and require others to do the same? We have searched scripture and do not see where that is biblical. We also want to remove as many unnecessary stumbling blocks as possible when it comes to reaching unchurched people. If that means wearing jeans...so be it!
3. Why don't you have an invitation at every service?
We do...but many times it is a reverse invitation in which we encourage people to get some coffee and talk about what God is doing in their lives. Once again, there is little biblical basis for a public aisle walking experience. Baptism is a public profession of their faith and we also invite the church to "hug their necks" when we share about their decision on the following Sunday. So we are pretty laid back when it comes to how people respond to God...we are just thrilled that they are!!!
4. Why don't you have a Sunday evening service?
While we value the tradition of many churches to hold such services, the culture has changed and we are seeking more effective ways to minister at various times and in different ways toward God's greater glory.
5. If you are striving to be a church for the unchurched, does that mean that you compromise the gospel? On the contrary, we seek to preserve the essential truths of the gospel and communicate them in a way that inspires and encourages living, vibrant life change and faith. So while our methods may be different, the good news remains the good news.
6. Why do you use so much video and media?
If you spend any time with people who are unchurched (as well as churched these days), that is a significant part of their lives and identities. We have been a culture fascinated by movies for years, so why not follow Paul's example in Acts 17 where he quoted poets that the people were familiar with? It is the same principle only with a modern technological slant, but there really is little to no difference. We have had numerous people say that they understood better as a result of this multimedia approach.
7. Why don't you talk about the biblical languages more?
In some contexts we do, but in worship on Sundays we try to avoid it. If we are serious about making our faith accessible to the unchurched, then we communicate differently. Some may accuse us of watering it down, but really it is embracing the challenge of communicating the truths gleaned from hours of study and preparation in a way that a child, an uneducated person, or someone new to the faith can understand. When you study the teachings of Christ, he made things very simple most of the time (and people still didn't understand!). Our other small groups and Wednesday evening studies tend to consider some of those finer points.
8. Why are you different?
When Paul wrote that he wanted to be all things to all men in 1 Corinthians 9:22, it was so that they might know his great God! That is our goal. There are plenty of churches in Wilkes county who are doing the same thing everyone else is doing, but that is not who God has called us to be. We get many guests who come to check us out and decide that our family is not for them. While that grieves us, we know that there are many more who have found a home at Peace Haven when they may not have been accepted anywhere else. We don't just tell people "come as you are" because it makes a catchy slogan. We really mean it and live it every day. And let me tell you...that is messy! We minister to broken families, people dealing with addiction issues, and many other challenges that are not for the faint of heart. Why? Because that is who God has called us to be at Peace Haven.
So that is probably enough for now. I'm sure that there are some residual FAQ's out there that I missed. Shoot me a message on this blog, by email, social media, etc. and let me know what needs to be addressed when we consider...THE SEQUEL!
Keep on truckin' for Jesus and keep it between the ditches!
Oh and Happy Easter! Here's a little old school Ray Boltz just for the fun of it!
We've all done it, right? There's that herd mentality of wanting to go where "the Spirit is moving" or "God is on the move" in the region where you live. The burden of not only finding a church, but having peace that you and your children will thrive in that context can be mind boggling.
It reminds me a lot of my dedication to Speedway gas stations. I'm addicted to Speedway. I've got the rewards card, the app on my phone, and just this morning I got $10 (not $1,2, or 3, but $10) in free gas due to a promotion that they were running!!! So while I am a big fan of these stations (don't even get me started on cheap drinks for the kids), not all stations are created equal. The one on hwy 421 almost always is the cheapest if I'm going that way and have time, but I won't EVER buy food there again if I need a quick fix. That food poisoning experience is not one that I care to repeat. I stopped at another this morning that did not have any gift cards for the $10 promo that I wanted to reap, so I had to go elsewhere (major fail on their part...how long have you known about that promotion?). So I finally found a station that has never steered me wrong, always has what I'm looking for (despite the fact that it is smaller than the other two), and the employees are much cooler (in a Hank Hill kind of way).
I know, you are wondering..."Will this dude ever get through his Speedway diatribe and make a point?" The church is not Speedway. It is not even Burger King. We may not always have the gift card that you want, you may not always get things your way right away (often it will not be your way AT ALL unless that fits with the vision of our church, the direction of the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God), and there may be times when you don't feel warm and fuzzy because the stuff of life is not always warm and fuzzy.
But, but, but...sorry. Read your Bible. That church doesn't exist in the Bible! They had issues. Life was messy. Yes, FEELINGS WERE HURT! (Heaven forbid right?) Somehow the blood of Christ served as the glue that held this rag tag, diverse group of people together. It is when we journey far outside of the faith, into the wonderful world of cultural Christianity that we conjure these images in our minds that there will be a perfect church that is true to all of the wonderful pictures on social media (you do know that social media only tells part of the story right?).
Bottom line, the church in all of its glory is still full of people who sin. Much like the analogy of the sheep in scripture, people stink, bite one another, attack the shepherd, and even get lost sometimes. The call to ministry, whether vocational or lay leadership, is lonely and often thankless. We don't do it for fame or glory, except for God's greater glory. The church is not a haven for consumers to get their bargain of the month or even free stuff (except for amazing grace) as much as it is a place to come and die as a disciple of Christ who is passionate about making disciples. A good friend of mine has reminded me recently that the people who join our church family are exactly the ones who need to be with us or who God has led to Peace Haven. That really is the essence of this post. Spiritual growth may not have the best website (although ours stands up to just about any) or the best music (even though we continue to grow in this area), but we are a band of brothers resolved to know Christ and make him known. We have worked and continue to work to be a church that loves God extravagantly, extends grace and salvation to everyone within our reach, and is tangibly faithful to the disciple making process (no pew potatoes allowed). If that is the kind of church that you are looking for...come and die. Its that simple.
The clip that I've shared below is an old friend of our family who just released his new CD. Check it out!
The waiting is over! Some have been asking, "What is coming in November?" Well we finally answered that question that inquiring minds wanted to know...its the Disciple's Path! I know that some of you were hoping for a froyo machine or a missions trip to Mars (coming in 2017, jk), but I refuse to say that it is just another Bible study.
So many times churches see people come to Christ and proceed to celebrate through baptism and maybe even integration into the life of the church, but do they have the foundation needed to really follow, walk, journey with Jesus that they need to experience the life that God has designed for all of us? This next step for our church is not the answer to all of our problems, but it is a step in the right direction!
As Pastor, I have found that we are doing well with challenging people to a life on mission through our speakers, programs, and emphases, but sometimes we are lacking in the practical next steps. We love to champion the theme of being a church that seeks to disciple disciplemakers, but what does that really look like? Is it just a matter of engaging someone in Sunday School and hoping that they sort everything out eventually? I love the fact that our church is growing in the reality of discipleship through doing life together. The relationships that people have forged and are forging (for many new families) are crucial as we read scripture and see the examples of the early churches.
Yet the basic grounding in faith for those who may be unchurched and/or new to the faith must not be overlooked. They need to not only have the zeal of knowing God and serving Him, but they need a foundation in the word that exceeds our current structure. A study is needed that ensures that people are getting the basics of the faith in a cohesive manner that is intentional and understandable. We believe and pray that these studies will do so.
The other angle that no one wants to mention is that there could be "churched" students and adults in our midst who have missed these principles as well. It is a known fact that a large portion of converts to the largest cults (Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses) in America are from the Southern Baptist tradition. This simply saddens me as I consider those who have been led astray into all kinds of false teaching. So as we promote this new opportunity, it will be for EVERYONE. We all need a tune up, check up, or inspection of our armor to make sure that there are not chinks (in our armor) that we have overlooked when it comes to our doctrine and the living out of our faith.
So that gives you an overview of the "why" when it comes to this discipleship opportunity.
In this next series we will seek to unpack the practical side of discipleship that may be inherent in following Christ. We will seek to help people envision what it looks like to take next steps with Christ. Not seeking a magical formula for spiritual growth or the next self-help cure for life's ills, but equipping the saints for the battles that we all face in life. While this is designed as a one year pilgrimage, it may become something more for every individual. We do not want to reduce this to another program for which you can hang a certificate on the wall. (There will be NO certificates, but I might give you a high five and a hug!) The success of this course is not merely in the completion thereof, but in the actual life change that takes place when you live that which you have learned and then...disciple others!
Scary stuff right? Even in October with Halloween around the corner, but that's God's design. Remember 2 Timothy 2:2?
You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
If we have great programs, events, worship, missions opportunities, fellowships, etc. yet we are not actively making disciples as challenged to in scripture...we will have missed the boat. This needs to be at our core as a priority for our church not only in word, but in deed as well.
So once again, buckle up Peace Haven! November will be our soft launch in which our leaders will begin training and we will begin studies with core groups hoping to see even more people engage at our hard launch in January. Where and how is God calling you to connect with this adventure? Be sure to be with us over the next few weeks and listen online as we cast the vision for this next step of faith!
(Attached below: the graphic for our new "Follow" series and another video that describes this journey)
I don't know that I have ever been so excited to begin a new school year, Fall season, etc. as I am right now. We have made so much progress in not only being faithful to reach people over the Summer, but to do the due diligence of following up and building relationships as needed to cultivate growth!
While this season of ministry is very exciting and the adrenaline is intoxicating, I don't want us to ever lose sight of our priorities. The picture above is one of the most awkward pictures that I have ever taken in my life. In case you couldn't tell, that smile was under duress and on the inside my prayer life was in overdrive! Why? You may ask. Is our fearless pastor that afraid of horses? Well, despite a freak accident when I was a young boy on a horse that saw a snake, I really have not feared horses...I just have not had many opportunities to ride. And then there was the story of my uncle who had an accident on a similar tour in, of all places, Costa Rica!
So I had overcome my fears and joined my other two musketeers for our journey (a ride that wasn't much more than an hour in length). While I had my concerns due to the wet cobblestone rocks and uneven ground that we traversed, I figured that these horses knew what they were doing. I also paid a lot of attention when we were instructed exactly how to ride them, what protective gear was needed, and the fact that they were highly trained, so it was a virtually "auto-pilot" experience. (Even though I was confident that I was in control!)
So why would I relive this hair-raising experience to such an extent? Because I believe that we are on an amazing journey! A journey in which I believe we will see God work in ways that we may have never anticipated. As exciting and adrenaline pumping as that may be, it will not be without its trials and pitfalls. Yet, much more so than any steed, God is guiding us and helping us to navigate each and every step despite our trepidation. As I take this journey, I am mindful of others who are traveling with me and I want to give some basic reminders just like the guides who prepared us for the tour.
Buckle up- This has become our mantra in many respects, but the essence of preparation cannot be underestimated. No matter what role we may have in the life of the church, it is essential that we at least have a basic relationship with Jesus. If we are serving in a leadership role, there are even more requirements in how we live our lives as outlined in books like 1 & 2 Timothy and others. If we neglect the basic spiritual principles, we will not experience God's blessing for long. We need him every step of the way and our personal character is of the utmost importance.
Our goal is sending capacity and not seating capacity- While it is nice to have the excitement of numerical growth, if we are not diligently working to foster spiritual growth/discipleship...we are disobedient.
Love- If we are serious about being followers of Christ, His love and grace need to be primary in our lives, conversations, and actions. Engaging in political wrangling, gossip, and other similar activities will not advance the Kingdom of God.
I know that as many of you read this, you may be thinking..."thank you Captain Obvious!" If so, I am so very glad that you feel this way. Despite what we know and may have emphasized before, it is the bare necessities that will make all of the difference as we seek to fulfill the great commandment (Luke 10:27) and the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20). If anyone has questions about what it means to passionately pursue God, please let us know and we will be happy to help you. There are also plans on the horizon to help our church advance and grow in our steps of faith...so hang in there!
Well, our last full day in Costa Rica is in the books and we are in full packing mode for the journey home! To say that our time here has been blessed would be an understatement. We are so thankful for our support in the states, our old/new friends in Costa Rica, and God's hand that made it all possible.
The pics above are actually from previous days, but I had to throw them in for good measure. Day Six pics will be shown below. On our last day we had some more time helping in the feeding area with over 100 children coming through for gallo pinto and other Costa Rican delicacies. We also had play time outside with futbol(soccer), sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, and bubbles. The kids had a blast and we enjoyed helping them along the way. After lunch, we had some good time with some young people and adults who wanted to learn English. In the course of our time together it became a joint effort of teaching English and learning Spanish as the need arose. The conversations were sweet and the Costa Rican people were thankful for the opportunity to speak with a native English speaker.
This post will be brief, but we are so thankful for all that we have been able to experience here. These opportunities will be etched in our minds for years to come. Our prayer is that this partnership opportunity will grow to yield much fruit in the days ahead. That God will call others from our church to serve next year as we are already in the early stages of planning for 2017 and dates fill up quickly. We cannot announce dates yet, but possibilities exist even before the Summer of next year for those who would consider serving. Anyone who is interested may simply speak with one of our team members and we will answer any questions that you may have. Thank you also for praying for our team as we return today (Thursday) and will be driving home rather late at night. Once the dust settles, we will share a bit more about our experience and the impressions made by the people of Costa Rica in our lives.