Kathleen's Latest Update Is HERE!

Where has the time gone?

So my monthly updates really haven’t been going as planned! I find it so difficult to sit and write! There’s so much I want to say that I often don’t know where to begin! So then, I just put it off and don’t write anything, haha!  I need someone to keep me accountable, so if you are good at keeping up with deadlines, send me an email to remind me I need to get writing!!

Things have been going great so far this year.  We have been growing as a staff here at the mission and we have seen the kids growing a ton as well.  I have been focusing much more on the different ministry groups this year, especially the teen girls and women.  We have seen our girls improve immensely with the choir and our teen girls ministry is going strong.  This is especially important for us since we had a difficult year last year, with especially high teenage pregnancy rates.  We had a slumber party last weekend with the teen girls which was really fun!  I didn’t sleep at all, but it was worth it!

One thing that I love about being at the mission is the opportunity we have to get to know the community well and develop programming based on the needs we see.  Social media has been a particularly difficult topic for us, as often things we see on many of our youth’s (and adult’s) social media sites is not always posted with the best judgement.  As a result, we did an entire series on social media with the teen girls and we will be duplicating the study with our women’s group.  We have been encourage that we are getting the opportunity to talk about topics that are relevant, and to always return to the message of the gospel because we know that is the most important message we could ever give.

We have had a few teams here since the last time I wrote, from Beach Church, Isaiah Harvest Time, and Oak Grove UMC.  We have also enjoyed the visits of different friends of the mission.  Each of the teams have been great!  It is so fun to get to work with the teams and see how many friendships have been developed through the mission, both with the community and with those of us who work here at the mission.  Last month, I celebrated with the Oak Grove team my 3 year anniversary since I first came to the mission! Time flies!

We have been changed our structure for home visits when teams are here, which has really allowed the people from the community and the people from the groups open up with one another.  We are looking forward to June and July, which will be our busiest team season.  We will be working on a ton of new projects, which is always exciting.

Speaking of June, I am excited to announce that Egberth and I are getting married on June 25th! It has been such a fun process planning the wedding and everyone has shown us so much love! We are so thankful with the Lord for all of the blessings and wonderful friendships He has given us!  Thanks to everyone for all your encouragement and support!

When I look back at the last few months, I feel like the time has really flown by! Some of the new projects that have been keeping us busy are the new office buildings, butterfly garden, new ministries, and our staff development.  We are so thankful for all the great opportunities we have had, and I look forward to keeping you updated again soon.  Don’t forget to reach out to me to remind me to update!!

God bless! Kathleen

<<Head to the blog to see all of the pictures she has posted>>

FSM has officially launched Manos De Fe!

Faithful Servant Missions is excited to launch Manos De Fe in Panama!

Faithful Servant Missions (FSM) is excited to announce the launch of Manos de Fe, a newly created mission organization. Manos de Fe will serve our ongoing and future ministries in Panama.  

For over 10 years, Faithful Servant Missions has been operating as one organization administering two unique mission sites in Costa Rica and in Panama. Over the years, the focus, programs and direction of each mission site has developed a unique culture and approach, while growing far beyond our hopes and dreams. With the continued growth and unique direction of each mission site, we believe that the two missions will function more effectively with each having independent organizational oversight, creating a better opportunity for concentrated vision and planning.

The current organization and structure of Faithful Servant Missions will continue to administer our mission and ministries in Costa Rica.  The original vision of serving those whom society has forgotten through improving physical, educational and spiritual health remains the same.

Manos de Fe will be expanding its Panama ministries to include three Christ-centered pillars of operations: humanitarian, educational, and sustainability efforts. Detailed information will be provided by Manos de Fe in the near future.

Faithful Servant Missions has long valued the ongoing support and prayers of each of our donors and all who have invested their time through missions at our sites. We truly see these relationships as instrumental to the success of our mission and the ministries in Costa Rica and Panama. 

We appreciate your ongoing partnership and now more than ever, we hope that you will continue your support of our ministries, in Costa Rica and in Panama. FSM and Manos de Fe will continue to host mission teams, and desire to continue to partner with you in reaching the unreached for Christ. 

If you'd like more information about what is happening in Panama, please contact Julie Proctor at jproct@aol.com

If you have any questions on what is happening in Costa Rica, please email FSM at info@fsm4u.org 

Thank you for your support, prayers, and heart for missions.

Manos De Fe | P.O. Box 316 | Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32004 | www.ManosDeFe.org

Faithful Servant Missions | P.O. Box 50316 | Jacksonville Beach, FL 32246  info@fsm4u.org | www.FaithfulServantMissions.org
 

Panama Program Update

FSM would like to introduce you to our first young lady in the new Panama Transitions – Orphan Prevention program. It is our utmost pleasure to introduce you to Mabel, and her newborn son, Josue (no pictures will be posted on social media of women and children in the program)

Mabel is a 20 year old Ngobe woman who was referred to Manos de Fe from women’s social services in David, Panama after she delivered her baby in the hospital and had no place to go. Mabel had been living with her father who is blind and already had 12 people living in his small house. He was angry that Mabel became pregnant, and he told her that she could no longer stay in his house once the baby was born. The father of the baby has abandoned her and wants nothing to do with her or the baby. Mabel was left in the hospital in a homeless state. Social services became involved, and because both she and the baby were at-risk, they contacted us. During our initial interview, Mabel stated that she wanted to keep her baby but she feared that she would not be able to feed or care for him. She also stated that she would like to continue her education, but worried she wouldn’t be able to. Mabel was very shy and depressed about her situation. 

Once she heard that we wanted to help her and her son, she became hopeful, and her sad, shy face slowly began to smile. Mabel moved into one of the cottages on Monday, October 31st. Mabel came with very few possessions, mainly a small amount of clothing. It will be a significant transition for her, but now both she and baby Josue now have a chance at a better future. She will begin her classes and vocational training once she settles into her new home and her role as a mother. We will also ensure that she hears the Gospel and understands that she is loved by Christ. 

We thank you all for your prayers and support. Please continue to pray as God continues to bless the mission in Panama. We are expecting 3 more girls in the next 2 months. These young ladies are all aging out of orphanages, and one has a baby. God is good!

CR Update - Kathleen

The month of August began with our Women’s team from Tallahassee, FL.  The team carried out education and counseling for new moms and teen girls.  We were extremely encouraged to see a very large group of teen girls who attended each night and we were able to provide great education on a variety of topics including health education, something which we have discovered is not covered well in the schools, if it is even mentioned at all.  We gave the girls a chance to write down questions and it was so apparent that there are a lot of gaps in their understanding of what is taking place in their bodies and what God’s plan is for sex.  So we were happy we could address these topics with the girls.

Another positive outcome of this group was conversations with several of the women from the community who gave us recommendations for upcoming teams.  One plan we have is to improve education about communication between teens and their parents, and a move away from giving away items when teams are here.  Although we have felt very blessed by the amounts of donations we have received from the women’s teams, our fear is that we are not sending the correct message to the community by giving away so many items when groups are here, so we will try to improve in this area.  We are already making preparations for our October women’s team and I know the lessons we learned with that team will be communicated to the October team leaders.   As far as scheduling is concerned, I feel as though we have improved immensely in the flow during the week and the quality of the interactions between the teams and the women from the community.  I look forward to working more with these groups.

Our weekly Women’s group is going very well.  We have been maintaining a constant attendance each week and we are seeing so many improvements in the community within the women’s group.  Nathaly and I organized a Mother’s Day dinner for the women of the community.  We organized different games with prizes and the women had a great time.  We also organized some special music so the women could worship together.  It has been so special to see this group really growing as a community of believers.  We have seen a lot of improvements in the attitudes of many of the women and we are encouraged by leaders who have developed within this group.

Attendance for the tweens group has steadily increased.  Last week we had almost 45 tweens! We made the decision to open the group to 11-year old’s as well because we felt that due to the grade in school the 11-year old’s should be in the same ministry group as their classmates.  These children had been showing a decreased interest in our “children’s” activities so we feel as though we made the correct decision by adding them to the tweens group.

I have continued working with my discipleship group.  It is a constant struggle due to the different elective schedules at the school, but we are starting to get into more of a rhythm.  We had a really nice group where we talked about prayer and I was encouraged to see the girls treat the topic with a lot of respect and take time to pray silently without distractions.

The last weekend in August we were extremely excited to celebrate the weddings of 4 couples from the church.  These couples had been living together for many years so it was amazing to see them make the long -term commitment to one another and to make a commitment with God to put Him first in their relationships.  We are extremely encouraged because we feel as though these couples have so much potential to serve as the future leaders in the church.   Nathaly and I spent a lot of time decorating and preparing music for the wedding and the couples were so happy we could have a special day for them.

We had some new volunteers during the month of August, so I helped with giving them an orientation to the mission and connecting them to the education and administration departments.   I plan to continue to coordinate with the various volunteer organizations to ensure that the volunteers we receive are a good fit for the mission, and to ensure that we are utilizing them well while they are on campus.

Brian, Nathaly and I were able to attend a conference about missions a few weeks ago in San Jose.  The pastor gave a wonderful message and we left the conference feeling rejuvenated and excited to continue to carry out God’s work in Bajo.

Pastor Brian's Ministry Update

CHURCH

We continue to grow our worship service and with the word of God. The church is getting a deeper education that motivates them to continue learning, and that learning will lead them to develop stronger convictions and those convictions will lead them to live in a different way. Additionally, church members are being challenged to share the message of salvation with others in Bajo. Our current attendance is around 46 adults and 30-40 children. 

 

GEN 7

GEN 7 is a ministry aimed at young people 18 to 25 years old. It is a new and different type of program for us where we discuss issues that are important to the group. Participants choose the topics they want to discuss during meetings. It is a ministry we hope to see grow and grow.

MEN'S GROUP

Definitely a ministry that needs a lot of prayer is the men’s group. Thank God we have maintained the attendance of the same men, but we need to grow. After the retreat in March, five new men joined the group. We are challenging the new men to be leaders. 

WOMEN'S GROUP

Nathaly (my wife) continues with this excellent ministry dedicated to women, where each Monday she handles the teaching of what the Bible says about women and their role as wife, mother and servant of God. On August 15th, they held a beautiful Mother’s Day celebration in the church.

CHILDREN & YOUTH

Kids club continues to grow, and thanks be to God, we have been provided with the necessary development of this ministry team in the church members who have a willing heart to take charge of program development every Saturday.

As for teenagers, we opened the tweens program up to include 11 year olds, which has increased our attendance to 40-45 teens and attendance continues growing. 

We continue every Saturday with the new and renovated program called Conecta2 for youth between 15-18 years old where we share with the youth, always teaching the word of God. 


PRAYER REQUESTS

  • MISSIONARY CONFERENCE
  • SAFE TRAVELS FOR BRIAN & NATHALY AS THEY ATTEND A MISSIONS CONFERENCE IN THE U.S.
  • CHURCH BAPTISMS
  • CHURCH MINISTRIES
  • LEADERSHIP AND FUTURE CHURCH LEADERS

What's Happening in CR - With Kathleen

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!