Archive | April, 2009

Temor de cerdo…Fear of pigs

28 Apr

Our Latin America area of the mission has the dubius distinction of being ground zero for this little flu virus problem.  We have missionaries in Mexico and have put contingency plans in place.  Please be in prayer for our missionaries both in Mexico City as well as northern Mexico.  Fortuneately, Mexico has reacted quickly to this threat and has closed almost all public gatherings where the virus could spread.  That basically means our missionaries are in temporary lock-down, giving them lots of time to think, pray and do other holy activities, as evidenced by this photo doctored by one of our missionaries with too much time on her hands.

Bethany…

27 Apr

Bethany is our newest missionary on the field here in Latin America, and the first we were privileged to welcome to Costa Rica for a trimester of language school. Today she leaves to visit with family for a few days, repack her suitcases, and to drink a Starbucks in our honor. Next week she will join her teammates in Tarma, Peru, and adapt to both a new culture, Spanish with a different cadence and vocabulary, and start the adventure many American twenty-somethings never envision– The bittersweet tears I shed with goodbye, were worth loving this precious one well . Fortunately, Skype and Communicator keep her as close as a cell phone or land line. Missing you, but praying for you now and in the days and months ahead.

Bethany graduates

24 Apr

The first language school graduate since we came to this leadership role, Bethany Kerr, graduated today and will be headed to Peru to join our Church Planter Coaching team. Pray that God will bless her week in Dallas before moving to Peru and beginning her two year work in Tarma.

God’s intervention or my ability…what’s the difference?

21 Apr
God has equipped every believer with spiritual gifts, many of which we find listed in the Bible.  But we tend to separate those gifts from natural abilities which each of us posses.  A charismatic person might be described as having the gift of gab.  A person who is able to see down the road and anticipate opportunities could be called a visionary.  Are these spiritual gifts or are they natural talents?  For the Christ-follower, is there a difference?  A visionary might make a particularly outstanding call that results in great success.  Is it because she was at the top of her game, or was it God providing specific insight?  A naturally empathetic person may identify and rescue a person who is hiding a deep hurt.  Was it because he had developed his skill so much that he saw what others didn’t?  Or was it the Holy Spirit whispering in his ear? 
As I’m growing in my personal walk with Jesus, I am realizing that the reason I make those distinctions is because of who I think should get the credit.  If it’s of God, I want to acknowledge that, but if it’s because of my natural abilities and skills, I tend to take credit for it.  But from whom did I get those skills?  And for whose work should they be committed?  In reality, my own skills and abilities come from the same person who gives me the classic “spiritual” gifts.  So is there a distinction in God’s point of view?  Probably not.  He takes as much joy in me using my spiritual gifts as he does my other gifts. Perhaps in God’s world, there is no difference because they are all for his glory, not mine.

Dominoes anyone?

18 Apr

One of the pleasures of living here is playing a variety of games. We brought a number with us, but we’re always looking for new and challenging games. Our friend Eduardo brought over a game called “Mexican Train Dominoes” and it was fun for the entire family. A nice way to spend a weekend afternoon in the shade.

This is also a good way for us to reconnect as a family and enjoy our friends who come over to visit with us. Relationships are key in Latin America. We have to be ready at a moment’s notice to serve coffee and snacks. Of course, we also have to be willing to drop what we’re doing at the time and focus on the people who have come to visit. This is where real relationship occurs, and it is a privilege we have taken to with great joy.

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Easter sunrise service

12 Apr

Easter in Costa Rica hits during the dry season, but gets close to rainy season, which means the sky has beautiful clouds against a Carolina blue background. We celebrated Easter with Americans, Canadians, Costa Ricans and Guatemalans. Benjamin, who just received an electric guitar as a gift, played with me leading music this morning. We have seven songs in our repetoire, so they sang what we could play. Our message was brought by Bob Hanna with TEAM and was followed by a rich outlay of Costa Rican and American foods for breakfast. Although a sunrise service is part of my culture, it is strange by Costa Rican standards. We invited neighbors who thought we were nuts. But like it or not, they heard the worship music.

Happy Easter!

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Similar stories, different countries….God’s tapestry woven together….

11 Apr

Last month we were invited to cafecito ( share coffee) with a Costa Rican couple who are leaders in ministry here in Tres Rios. We ended up listening and talking for hours. Sharing our stories, in Spanish. Although our married lives began a continent apart, in the same year (we are both celebrating our 25th anniversary) there were similarities, common stories and the unusual ways the Lord showed us he carried us through different routes, careers and life circumstances but in His wisdom brought us alongside one another here in Costa Rica in 2009. How encouraging and how humbling to know that the exact thing I needed to hear was impressed upon my heart by fellow believers who spoke in Spanish, not English. My next few posts will be word “snapshots” like this of the people we encounter in Costa Rica. I’ll try and post a photo of this dear couple sometime soon!