Archive | June, 2009

Report from the field

30 Jun

I just received this note from the pastor of the Costa Rican church where the Church at Charlotte youth team spent last week:

I received a call from the director of the school thanking us for the work done by the youth team. She said the doors of the school are open for whatever activity or work we wish to do. She said that she saw something different in this team that she has never seen in any others who have helped before.

The director of the orphanage expressed her happiness with the work done by the youth and the testimony presented by them. The doors will stay open for the church (Jaime’s church) and whatever activity they would like to do.

The Selva Verde (Green Jungle) community, where the youth painted the playground, is very happy. They have been talking about how great a time it was and how the youth demonstrated what they can achieve when they work together. They said that the youth have to have something different to come from so far away and help people that they don’t know. This has given the church the opportunity to carry the Gospel to this community.

Now the youth of our church talk about their ability to do other things, different from what they have been doing. Please give the youth and Church at Charlotte my thanks for the work you did and my apologies for our errors and mistakes in our preparation. May God continue to bless you abundantly.

What a wonderful report! This trip resulted in new opportunities for our Costa Rican sister church to reach its community with the Gospel. It inspired the church to try new and creative ways to show Christ’s love to their community. And I know it challenged the thoughts and hearts of these North American youth and leaders.

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Keri is back?

28 Jun

Keri just returned from Costa Rica to Charlotte and then left the next day for New Orleans. It’s a little confusing to say she came home because she was home but then went to her other home which really isn’t home anymore since she’s now in a home in New Orleans until she goes to her new home at Wheaton College. At this point the six Duggans are in two different countries and three different states. Even we get confused about who is where sometimes. But what a blessing technology provides to stay in touch, and how wonderful it is when we do actually all get together!

Keri had a wonderful time being with her Charlotte friends for a week in Costa Rica. And while I was in Minneapolis she and my wonderful wife dealt with a little team crisis like the caring professionals they are.

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Thought for Today

25 Jun

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27



Sometimes I get all caught up in not doing quite enough for Christ and His Kingdom. “What?”, you say, “you are a missionary and serve in another country.”  Sure, I do, but like many living, breathing Christians, we listen to the subtle whispers of the enemy, and accept some of these whispers as truth.


This morning, I began my day in James, a familiar passage, as I had memorized some of it as a new believer. I guess back then(about 30 years ago) I wasn’t mature enough to take care of myself(in the throes of adolescence) to worry about caring for widows, orphans, or the helpless and hopeless.  Yesterday was Anna’s 9th birthday. A little over nine years ago today, God whispered to us and led us to adopt one of his children-our Anna. Every waking moment we love her, encourage her, nurture her and raise her according to the way she is to go  we are fulfilling such counsel.


This Tuesday I spent several hours getting a test done that would take less than 20 minutes in the States. Our single,  sixty-something, house-helper(but she is more than that-our kids’ Tica abuelita (grandma)) needed a test that could be performed at the same clinic as she was unable to get an appointment with the free clinic for many months.   Not only did she accompany me to this private clinic, but the time spent with her was sweet Christian fellowship. And no, she doesn’t speak English, at least not in my presence.  Her gratitude in our obedience to providing for the test was evident, but being present in the hours with her did much more for my soul that I could ever imagine.


Listen for those whispers, act, and reap more than you’ve sown.  Peterson says it even more beautifully in The Message-


Act on what you hear….but whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God – even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it is no scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action…reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight , and guard against corruption from the godless world. James 1:22-27 (The Message)


Nearly a month?…it’s been busy!

24 Jun

Time flies when you are trying to tie up more than one loose end! Sorry to have been incommunicado for so long, but celebrating our 25th anniversary, getting college forms filled in(still more of those to do), minors permissions to leave Costa Rica(we were traveling separately and have residency visas approved), and figuring out how to navigate the health care system to get the required tests for Keri, Ben and myself, necessary for college and camp and performing ministry duties have kept me busy these last three weeks!


We’ve had opportunities to use donated craft supplies in Rio Azul, and look forward to sharing a piñata and treats with the children there-in celebration of Anna’s ninth birthday (it’s tomorrow as Ben and I will attest to -the countdown is now down to less than 8 hours)!  Happy Birthday, Anna girl!

25th Anniversary!

17 Jun

Cathi and I were able to get away for a couple of days to the Pacific beach and just returned today. It was a very relaxing time and we both appreciated the opportunity to be together alone for a short time. That doesn’t happen very often in the normal course of life. We are amazed it has actually been 25 years and laugh at all that we have done together since that time. We were just 22 years old then (actually, Cathi turned 22 two weeks after our wedding) and we realize that in many ways we grew into adulthood together. Since then we have traveled around the world (on a budget), lived in a number of strange places, enjoyed our four children in all their stages of life, provided a temporary home for thirty foster kids, lived on very low income and pretty healthy income (and now back again) and know that God has blessed us far beyond what we deserve.

So now we can finally acknowlege we’re middle aged. The extra pounds better come off soon or they never will. The fire of youth remains, but hopefully the wisdom gained over the years directs it a little more effectively. We can’t imagine what God will show us over the next twenty-five years, but now we know that our plans and imagination won’t come close to what He has in store. Pura Vida!

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Ben an Anna enjoy a park

14 Jun

Celebrating two 25ths

12 Jun

Our friends Tony and Anna Grace joined us this week for a nice dinner overlooking the Central Valley of San Jose’. Both couples are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversaries this year. Theirs was a month ago, and ours is coming up Wednesday, June 17. We went to one of the few restaurants that has good beef, thus the full tummys!

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Back home in Costa Rica

10 Jun

Flying is great. Flying overnight is not. With all the travel I have done in my careers I have slept in many a strange place with no problem. Even sleeping on a thin foam pad on a concrete floor in a non-air conditioned house in Cartagena Colombia didn’t keep me from a good sleep. Changing time zones isn’t even a problem. But airplanes are different for me. I cannot, no matter what I try, sleep on a plane. For trips of five hours or less, that’s hardly a problem. I get lots of work done and even enjoy a good book. But on longer trips while everyone else on the plane sleeps, I cannot. This most recent trip to Brazil involved overnight flights between Rio de Janeiro and Miami and sure enough, I had to fly in a day early just so I could rest up before meetings began. And today, although I got home around noon, the whole day was a write-off.

But then I put it in perspective. While in Rio I attended a high-school graduation that took place in the hotel where many families of the victims in the recent Air France accident were staying. TV reports and trucks were everywhere and I watched as families tried to comfort each other and understand what the impact would be on the rest of their lives. Although air travel is extremely safe, when a plane goes down, the loss of life is tremendous and impacts many people. And after a crash there are many who begin to fear air travel. I always felt for my coworkers in consulting who ranged from nervous to downright terrified when flying. I’m not particularly brave, but air travel has never been a concern for me. In the grand scheme of things, not being able to sleep on a flight is a minor problem. For those families in that Rio hotel waiting to hear about their loved ones, my heart goes out to you.

Our missionaries in Brazil

7 Jun

Greetings from Rio de Janeiro

5 Jun