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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thank You

What is it like being in Costa Rica? It's not too much different then being in the States. Sure, there are a myriad of differences in lifestyle-traffic is always rush hour, people are more laid back and friendly, legal stuff takes about a hundred times as long, and the weather tends to go on less of a bi-polar mood swing throughout the year.

But the sun comes up in the morning, we drink our coffee, serve the Lord where and how He has us, and encounter Joy in worshiping and serving Him. The hows and whens are all different, but the Who and whats remain the same. At the end of the day we are all obedient to the direction of God in our lives. Maggie and I have been summoned to work with middle and high school students in Costa Rica. And he's summoned some of you to the same thing through the partnership we now have. We are so greatly thankful and encouraged by you! And God is crediting what will happen this weekend at camp with these students to your account (Phil 4:17). We hope you're as excited as we are to see lives impacted and changed by the Holy Spirit. Together we can rejoice in the fruit of our combined labor through God's merciful, gracious, and overwhelming love.

Thank You.

Our view while drinking our morning coffee

Monday, March 26, 2012

Honey We're Home...almost

 We safely arrived in San Jose this afternoon with warm welcomes from the Gault family. We had a wonderful dinner with them and Andres (the interim youth director) and discussed the youth group and camp out. I can't begin to tell you how energized and excited I became when talking about these students and discussing how we can best pour into them. We wanted to share some of our pictures from the journey thus far and hope to keep you updated throughout our 10 day trip. 

Patrick enjoying his first milk shake when shopping with Jonathan for the trip
We left for the airport around 4am. Here's our tired boy.
Patrick loved looking at the planes

Friday, March 23, 2012

Booking a Return Ticket

On Monday we get to go to Costa Rica. Jonathan, Patrick, and I can barely contain our excitement about seeing the youth and their families whom we've grown to love over these months of preparation. Jonathan has been diligently working on his messages, and they've been coated in prayer. I'm so excited about for him to share what the Lord has been pressing on his heart in front of over 70 students (pray he won't be overwhelmed)!

I'm so excited that I'll be leading a small group of middle schoolers during camp out. The cool part is that these relationships will have all the more time to grow when we're finally able to be there long term. Please pray for all the students that they would be pliable during the retreat.

In the midst of all the excitement, we're also a little sad. This trip is only 10 days. Only 10 days! When we purchased our ticket and had to select the return date, my heart shed a tear. Oh how I wish we could be there for good. We hope that this trip will be more of a motivator in our efforts of building our partnerships. We pray that we'll return with stories to share that will enable others to fall in love with these students and see their ministry need. We'll also be taking footage for a new ministry video, meeting with families, and having a better idea of what our lives will look like when we're there long term.

We'll be updating every now and then while we're there...soon.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Different Standard

This past weekend, I worked a camping trip for a fraternity. We took them down to the Red River George and had them do a search and rescue activity.

My group really struggled with the activity, and at one point, one of the students had the audacity to say, "I have no respect for you." I was in shock, but should I have been...

It's easy to fall into the worldly mentality that man is innately good, but the Bible says that "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). Romans 3:10-11 says it as well: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God."

Though Thankfully God brought redemption:"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:23-24)

This student obviously didn't have Christ in his life, so how could I expect anything better? Without Christ, there is no reason to bridle the tongue. Without Christ, he'd have no reason to love me. Without Christ, even I could have done the same to another.

It posed a really good lesson in the difference Christ makes in our lives. We don't live for our benefit... always doing what we want and ignoring the consequences, saying the first thing that comes to our mind, living for our own enjoyment; We live to glorify God. Thankfully, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Morning Off

With all the traveling, moving, and other chaos, we decided to take a morning off...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


We spent most of February packing, sending email, and calling people to set up appointments for our big trips in March. And it all paid off!

We just finished our 10 day “tour” of Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. It was a great trip, and we’ve felt extremely encouraged as our support team continues to grow. Here’s the highlights from the different states:

We were able to have 11 meetings during our 3 day trip. I went to Samford University from 2005-07, so we were mostly meeting up with people I knew from my time there. From our last trip, we were able to connect with a church and speak at their Missions and Mercy meeting this time around. One of the members was a MK in Spain, so she understood the need for MK ministry. One of the blessings of the trip was reconnecting with someone I only remotely knew from Samford. They attend the same church. We couldn’t remember each other’s name, but I remembered she was a MK from Chile. We met with her and her husband for dinner, and we immediately clicked as couples. It was so sweet that our families related so well, yet it was sad that I missed the opportunity to get to know her in college. Our trip to Birmingham was great confirmation that God is the one leading us in ministry partnership development (basically support raising). There were so many instances of how He put specific people in our path that we would have never met with otherwise.

We were able to spend time with my family between meeting with people in Georgia. It was very refreshing to be at home in the middle of all of our travels, and I feel it fueled me for the rest of the trip. We met with a couple of families who understand that their money is really God’s money to distribute as directed by Him. As a result of these surrendered families, our support grew to just under 18%. I was also able to reconnect with teachers from my former high school. It’s been 7 years since I graduated, so I failed to realize at that they would be excited about our endeavor into missions. We were greeted with great enthusiasm and prayer as we told them about our ministry to youth. Yet another door God opened that I had forgotten!

We finished up our trip by visiting friends in Chattanooga and Nashville. While in Chattanooga, we were able to have dinner with 2 families that probably played the biggest role in supporting and encouraging my faith when I was in high school. One of them was my Sunday School teacher for over 5 years, and the other was my small group leader throughout high school. It was a blessing for them to see how their investment into my life contributed to us going into full time ministry.
In Nashville, we were able to connect with someone I knew growing up in church, someone I went to India with in 2007, and some friends from Oxford. We were in Nashville for less than 24 hours, but it was so nice to be able to see so many people and tell them about our ministry.

After 10 days of travel, I’m glad to be home. We’re working on our newsletter, setting up appointments for April, and preparing to go to Costa Rica on the 26th to speak to the youth group for their retreat. This trip confirmed that my  time spent on facebook messaging and emailing, which often seems so unproductive, was ultimately beneficial in us getting to Costa Rica. We’re getting there, little by little… we find 18% to be extremely encouraging because we’ve watched it grow from 1% to 2 all the way up to 18. Yes, we have 82% left, but God is able to make that happen.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Redefining Settled

Right before the sugar crash
 Well a lot has happened since we last posted (my attempt of an excuse for not posting). We've celebrated Patrick's first birthday, toasted over 2 years of marriage, packed up all of our belongings, sold our furniture, moved in with a family of 7, and are currently out of town for a week and a half. What a crazy fun adventure!

If you had told me a year ago that we would be moving 3 times in the next 12 months, that we would be spending half of our time traveling, and we would have no idea what we would be doing just 4 months down the road, I probably would have freaked out! But a lot has changed in the past 12 months... We've seen the result of James 1:3-4 and truly see how God has not only given us perseverance, but He's given us great joy through the process!

I use to view settling down as getting married, having kids, and moving into a house with a white picket fence that looks almost identical to the one from Father of the Bride. While our lives don't match this description, I would say that I feel Jonathan and I are very settled... just the definition has changed. We're settled in that we know we're being obedient to what the Lord is asking of us. We're settled in that we have faith and evidence that God is not leaving us to journey through this alone. We're settled in that we have the greatest of faith that what we hope for (God being most glorified) is happening. Really, we're settled in that we feel extremely secure in God's hand and under His sovereignty.

All of these changes speak as a testimony of God's goodness and His sanctifying work in our lives. Our response to it all also testifies the growth I've personally experienced and the constantly growing faith that I have in our good God. Thank you Lord for how you've grown me!

Patrick contributing to our "collect all bin"