Recently I have been focusing my time on the ministries much more. We have been making a lot of changes to the church ministries lately, so I have stayed busy with that. I have continued working with the music ministry. I have continued training different groups of singers and I have started playing keyboard for Sunday worship. Worship currently consists of a guitar, piano, and voices so it’s a bit simpler than having all instruments but we have been encouraged by each participant’s commitment to the ministry.
On July 25 we carried out our first women’s retreat. We had over 25 women attend and the women had such a great attitude while they were there. We have been seeing a lot of growth within this group so that has been extremely encouraging. We are starting to see more leadership within the women’s group and we have seen many attending services with their boyfriends/husbands. In June we organized couple’s meetings for our couples within the church. We are in the process of planning a joint wedding for 4 couples from the church who have decided they want to get married. We are so encouraged by the growth we have witnessed and the fact that these couples want to make a decision to have a union in which God is in the center.
This weekend we had our first meeting for our new young adult ministry. We have been working on many ideas for this ministry so it will appeal to a group that has not fit into the other ministry categories or does not attend ministry activities at all. The group is for 18-25 year olds and we were so encouraged by how the group responded to the group. We have it planned for once a month but the group is already asking if we can have the group more frequently!
We are also planning baptisms for the church, which will likely take place next month. We have also started planning a church conference with an invited pastor which will take place in September.
Other highlights from the ministries is that during July we organized our first soccer tournament for the community. We rented a field for a day and organized several teams of different age groups. Brian shared the gospel with a group of around 120 people and after the games were over we invited the winning teams to the mission to eat pizza and play games together. It was a great day and it was great to have so many people from the community hear the message of the gospel then come to the church. This was especially important because a large amount of those who came attended are those who generally do not participate in ministry events. We are hoping to see future participation in church activities from some of these people.
Recently I have felt especially called to focus on discipleship, mainly with the tween girls. I have been meeting weekly with tween girls, taking small groups of girls each week out to ice cream or going on small trips such as to the movies. I have really been trying to build strong relationships with the girls so they feel like they can have someone they can open up to. We have witnessed a definite need to work intentionally with this group and I have been encouraged by the girls’ response. Last week, I organized our first tween girl’s discipleship group. The 5 girls I had been working with frequently were in attendance. We discussed our expectations for the group and I was encouraged to see the girls are extremely interested. They responded well to each of the questions I asked and were not nervous to open up when I asked questions. They even offered to read the verses from the Bible that we were discussing! When talking about salvation, I discovered that 3 of the 5 have already accepted Christ as their Lord and savior, and the other 2 are very interested. Please be praying for this group, as I feel as though this is going to be a very important group for our ministries and for Bajo Tejares.
We have seen many changes in the dynamics within Bajo recently. It seems there has been a lot more drug activity and many people have been coming into Bajo that no one has ever seen before. So we wanted to unite and pray for our community. We worked with our leaders from the community and stopped at various locations around Bajo to pray. We were even able to pray over a woman who is into drugs and alcohol and is hoping to get clean. It was special for the leaders in the church to see that they can be a light within their community. It was also important that we could stand up as a church and say that we are going to pray for our community without fear.
The Ponte Vedra Pres team was here in early June. The team was able to help with a construction project for a local business down in Bajo and we are so encouraged by the help they provided for a local family that is trying to build up a business that glorifies God.
Last week we had a women’s team which came to work with pregnant mothers and mothers of children who are under 3 years old. We focused on education and had a girls group each night in which we divided into small groups and had the girls discuss various questions. We also carried out education for the girls about a variety of topics. We were so encouraged by the response from the community! Not only did we work with 53 different women during the day, we also consistently worked with around 33 girls, and on Friday evening we invited the girls and their moms to a special dinner and ceremony to celebrate the closing of a great week. We are already making plans for our next women’s team, which should take place in October.
And now I have a big announcement!!!
As I mentioned in my last blog, I decided to extend my time here in Costa Rica. I was originally scheduled to stay until the end of May then evaluate if I would extend my time. I have been so encouraged by the way God has been moving in this community and by the way the ministries have been going! So I will be extending my time until November. In November, I will be going to the States to spend some time with family and formally raise support. From there, I hope to raise enough support to make a 1-year commitment for the year 2017, beginning in January. This has not been a quick decision, as it is difficult to project the needs that will be present in the future of FSM Costa Rica. But I am confident God has been guiding me in the correct direction through the relationships and discipline of the tween girls, as I know these relationships take time and nurturing.
If you would like to support my time in Costa Rica, you can make a donation directly to Faithful Servant Missions – P.O. Box 50316, Jacksonville Beach FL 32240 or to donate online, click HERE.
Thanks so much for your interest and support of my time in Costa Rica!