Time flies and before you know it, 2 months have past since you’ve last wrote a blog! Amanda and I are doing great! We have officially started our busy season now that summer break is in the States. There are several teams coming down from various churches on a weekly basis now with no down-time separating them. It will be like this until August.
It really is amazing to watch how God orchestrates things. It seems that He works in seasons. Some months it seems that every group that comes down is focused on social outreaches that minister to the community with arts, crafts, games, and playing with the kids. Other months we see an abundance of medical teams come down to provide clinics of all sorts to the community. I really feel that this particular season we’re in is focused around rebuilding people’s homes.
Since our last update, we have had five separate teams all build or rebuild 5 new homes for 5 different families. We are now planning for 8 more teams to come down and build 8 more homes throughout this summer!! I think it is safe to say that we are in the season of “life remodeling!”
This will, no doubt, be a very busy summer for us! But we are so pumped to be working alongside so many teams to reach out to our hurting and broken community and we pray that God uses these times to edify and draw more people closer to Him!
God has closed and opened some doors with Amanda and I within the past few months. As some of you know, the men center that Amanda and I were running had to shut down. We finished out the program with the last of the men and saw much fruit from them, but we feel that God brought it to an end. We were losing our on-site director and, despite our best efforts, we could not seem to find a replacement or the necessary funding to keep the center going. After praying about this, we all felt that God was closing this door. It is encouraging to us to look back and see how God used that time to impact some of the men that lived at The Refuge. If nothing else, the center was solely for those few guys who genuinely got a hold of God.
I also made mention of God opening doors. As most of you know, Amanda and I are…. lets say, “different.” As a result, God uses the way we are to reach those who are all weird like us! One of the things that God has been showing us is how He can use our giftings, talents, and passions for His glory. One of the passions that God has given us is art and tattoos. God has systematically opened doors for us to open a small tattoo studio here in Alajuelita as a side ministry to leading short-term mission teams. The studio’s name is “Waking Dead Tattoo.” We believe that through the doors of this tattoo ministry, we will be able to minister to many people that would never step foot in a church.
I would venture to say that this tattoo ministry will no doubt be controversial. But I would also say that many times God will use radical means to reach some of the lost! When we look at Jesus’ ministry, most of what He did was considered very radical and controversial! Jesus only seemed interested in one thing; their heart.
We have had the shop open for only a couple of weeks now and we are already seeing the tattoo community turn their heads at the idea of God-loving, bible-believing christians doing clean and inexpensive tattoos! In this culture, tattoos automatically tag someone as “dangerous,” or a “criminal.” Unfortunately, most churches and religious people will condemn those with tats, thus pushing them even further from God. Of course, that doesn’t stop people from getting a tattoo because they like the artwork. We firmly believe that as people see Godly role-models who share the same passion for God as they do for tattoos, they will realize that they won’t have to conform to the mold of everyone else’s assumptions and go down that path. You really can love God with your whole being and have tats!
“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”(1 Samuel 16:7)
Amanda and I want to thank each of you who continually pray for us and support us financially! God is doing some amazing things down here and thanks to you, we are able to continue where He wants us to be!
Please continue to pray for our safety, our finances, the teams coming down to serve alongside us, as well as the new, radical tattoo ministry!