Amanda and I have made it back to our home in Costa Rica. Actually, we have been back for close to a month now… wow, how time flies! Our trip back to the States was very productive on so many levels. Our primary reason for returning to the States was to get our paperwork in order for our residency in Costa Rica. After a month and a half in Denver and a month and a half in Tulsa, we got them all together! Our secondary goal for returning was to fund-raise and to meet new friends/family. We were praying that God would open doors and that we would make connections in both Colorado and Oklahoma and God did just that!
A small update: We were finally able to raise enough funds for a new graphic computer for Amanda! We have been praying for one of these for the past year! Now that we have settled back in, Amanda is getting swamped with graphic work for the new ministries that 6:8 has started. She is currently occupied with products for: the english-speaking church plant, the “Hand me up Store” (a goodwill type clothing store), material for the local Costa Rican church “Celebration,” she is also doing T-shirts, flyers, business cards, and logos as well. Seriously, the graphic computer could not have come at a better time! Thank you to everyone who donated specifically for this computer!!
The Refuge has grown into something powerful and awesome while we were in the states. Now, it is a 24 hour center and we are driven to make disciples of the men inside. Another massive change is the new on-site director Anton. God brought him down at a perfect time and has used him to carry the vision of The Refuge. We currently have 3 men in the center and God is doing amazing things with them! Jairo was a professing atheist when we first met him. He was also planning on ripping off the center when he was first introduced into the program. God has touched him in a powerful way. Just yesterday at the feeding center he was sharing his testimony to the drug-addicted street people of Alajuelita how God has set him free from drugs and alcohol! Amanda and I can’t help but to smile at this! Out of all of the men who have come into the center, Jairo was one of the ones we expected to fall back and leave. That is just like God though, using the unexpected people as His vessels of Good news! All of the guys in the center are making such awesome progress! They are halfway through their program and have been drug free for 6-9 months!! God is so awesome!!
Amanda and I decided not to get a Christmas tree this year and instead bought one for the men at the center. We set it up while they were at the night church service as a surprise. When they came in they saw the tree and grinned from ear to ear! Both Jairo and Ariel told us that they had NEVER had a tree in their homes growing up! Shaggy said that it had been over 10 years since he had one! A recent team came down and brought each of the guys a present to put under the tree! The guys have been SO excited! That night after dinner, the guys prayed over Amanda and I… they also prayed over their new Christmas tree! After seeing their reactions to the tree, it became totally worth giving up having a tree ourselves for the sake of helping these guys know that they are in a HOME and not a center!
While in the states, we had the opportunity to speak with a fellow missionary about our financial position. He simply asked us how our fund raising was going. I can not begin to express how difficult it is for Amanda and I to talk of financial needs with our supporters, and for us, this casual conversation was no different. After a long discussion he said something very profound. He told us, “You know, there are a lot of people who want to help fund something bigger than themselves. If you never come out and ask for help, everyone just assumes you’re okay financially even if you are not.” I sat in silence for long moments contemplating this. You know, I think he was right. Too often would we beat around the bush in the most round-about way about our needs to our supporters. I know why we did too. Our biggest fear with asking for support is that our supporters would view us in the same way as the typical tv evangelist (for the record, we DESPISE the greedy tv evangelist). We never want to be viewed in that way.
The truth is, Amanda and I need support in order to stay on the mission field. We also need to come up with $1000.00 to finish up the residency paperwork to finalize everything. We currently have 188 people on our email list that receive updates from us. If every person on our list would pledge at least $10 a month, we would be able to pay our rent, bills, food, save for our residency, and be able to do extra ministry related activities (like the christmas tree for the men). Every amount donated, great or small, is appreciated and helps more than you’d know.
Amanda and I would like to ask you to prayerfully consider supporting the work out here in Alajuelita, Costa Rica. Just know that this is an amazing opportunity to sow good seed into good soil! All we ask is that you be obedient to whatever God lays on your heart. If you can’t give monetarily, please give prayerfully. Pray that our needs will be met and that even more opportunities will be given for us to overflow into the community surrounding us!
Thank you for helping us be the hands and feet of Jesus! We love you and appreciate your prayers and support!