Monday, June 30, 2008

Bienvenidos a Costa Rica

At 3:30pm Costa Rica time (slow time) two vans and a truck pulled into the driveway of great little house in the small little town of Esterillos. Everybody is well, happy and anxious to settle in. An ice cream and a dip in the ocean roaring outside our windows may be the ticket.

The flight was smooth and the rental vans are fine. We are tired, pray for a good nights rest as we adjust to new surroundings and patterns.

More tomorrow and hopefully a few pictures. Thanks for your prayers and love.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


In just 24 hours 5 adults, 2 college students, 11 high school students and a child will be meeting in the church parking lot to begin our mission to Costa Rica. From this time forward we will say, "This time tomorrow . . . " In 24 hours all the planning will be done, the bags will be packed and the goodbyes will have been said. We are going away for 10 days. I wonder what this feels like for a career missionary who will be moving to a foreign country for many years? What is going inside their head for the last 24 hours?

I may be thinking about last minute details or one more thing to pack or how it will really be with these people for this many days but God keeps calling me back to Him. He says, "Show up in the parking lot, be available, be faithful, be teachable, be responsive and be flexible." This is in His hands, on His timetable and at the core of all we do: God's love for us and His people. Bring on the 24 and away we go . . .

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sixty Hours

In just two and a half days our Costa Rica team will finally come together in the church parking lot, sort out our luggage, wait for the shuttle bus, pray and the adventure will begin.

Every once in awhile someone will make a comment in jest, "Wow, must be rough. Youth pastors have the life: camps, conferences, trips to Water parks, Six Flags, mission trips to other countries, etc." I always find that to be an interesting statement. It is sometimes said to fill in "dead air" and sometimes said out of the assumption that the Youth pastor is on one long vacation, one great experience after another. It sure could appear that way.

The reality? Not one of these events is a vacation for me. They can be fun, they provide great opportunities to have extended time with youth, they are rewarding as we love others in Christ and I do enjoy leading and participating in these trips but I would not define them as a vacation. I am ultimately responsible for all the details and more importantly the people who go.

Am I being defensive on a Friday morning? Naaahhh! I am just trying to give you a better picture of how you can pray for me as I care for eighteen other people far from home. I am incredibly excited to go but also very aware of the huge responsibility I will have for almost eleven days. Pray I will have God's wisdom, patience, love, strength, vision and peace. Also, pray for my flexibility. For six months I have been challenging our team to be flexible . . . now I have to live it too!

God goes before us! I rest in Him.

P.S. If you want to know how to specifically pray for us check out my earlier blog with the prayer guide.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Four Days and Counting

Check the passports, start laying out the clothes, this shirt or that shirt, what do I really need? Six months of planning is now narrowed down to 96 hours. Sunday night we leave to serve God in Costa Rica. So many our praying, so many are asking about us. We humbly go to represent Christ, we will faithfully do what He has called us to do.

I pray for good rest, health, clear memory and total dependence upon God. Without Him we can do nothing.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Three Weeks From Today

On June 30 we will be landing in San Jose, Costa Rica with 13 youth, 5 adults and 1 child to begin a 10 day mission trip in the Pacific Coast town of Esterillos. We will be there to help Dennis and Kyle Leon continue to build a foundation for beginning Free Methodist churches (Pura Vida Church) in Esterillos, Jaco and beyond. Below is a prayer guide you can use to support our team:

June 29 – July 9, 2008

Sunday, June 29
At 8pm tonight we depart the church parking lot for LAX. Our flight leaves the airport at 2:20am on June 30! Would you like to come and wave goodbye?! Pray for safe travel and smooth check-in with paperwork and luggage.

Monday, June 30
We arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica around 9am. We will pass through immigration and load into two rental vans for the two hour trip to Esterillos. We praise God for the help of Dennis’ friend to haul our luggage in his truck. Pray for a safe and “car-sick free” ride down the mountain to the coast.

We will arrive mid-afternoon and get settled. Pray for our team’s rest and adjustment to their new surroundings.

Tuesday, July 1
Today we will make new friends, meet together as a team and get an overview of our ministry strategy for the next few days. We will spend time inviting children to Vacation Bible School and make final preparations. Pray for our acclimation to new foods, sleeping facilities and cultural expectations.

Wednesday, July 2
We will begin our day, as we have every day, with a team meeting. These meetings will include a time of worship, prayer and debriefing. In the afternoon we begin Vacation Bible School and in the evening we will meet with the Jaco Christian surfers

Thursday, July 3
Today we will continue our Vacation Bible School Ministry. Pray for our energy, enthusiasm and love for the children and families we meet.

Friday, July 4
While you celebrate Independence Day in the U.S. remember to pray for us on our final day of Vacation Bible School. Pray for us as we share the good news of Christ with the children. Pray for our times in the evening when many children and youth come to hang out at our house. Pray for us as we break through the language barrier.

Saturday, July 5
Today we will be hosting a Beach Festival from 10am-4pm for all the families of VBS and anybody else who may come. We will also spend time cleaning up the beach as a service to the community and an act of love in the name of Christ. Pray for more opportunities to build relationships, share the good news of Christ and spread the word about Pura Vida church beginning on 2009.

Sunday, July 6
We will worship with our brothers and sisters in Esterillos followed by doing what we are supposed to be doing on the Sabbath: rest!! Pray for our rest and continued health.

Monday, July 7
Today we will continue building relationships with the people of the Esterillos area and take a little time to visit one of Dennis’ favorite waterfalls. Later in the afternoon we will do another beach clean-up. Pray for our readiness to be used by God in whatever ways He may call us.

Tuesday, July 8
This is our last full day in the Esterillos area. We will be packing and preparing to leave. Part of the day will find us at Manuel Antonio beach park for a hike and exploring God’s beautiful creation. In the evening we will do more packing and spend final moments with the people we come to love. Pray for God’s continued witness of love after we leave.

Wednesday, July 9
At 9:30am we will depart Esterillos for San Jose. We will connect with the Alejuela Free Methodist Church and help serve lunch in their program to feed hungry children (our own church has helped to support this). Pray that we will be an encouragement and help to the people there in our short visit.

By mid-afternoon we will head to the airport. Pray again for a smooth check-in and safe flight home. We will arrive in Los Angeles around midnight.

Thursday, July 10
Today nineteen people will wake up in a weary state. Pray for us as we re-adjust to Santa Barbara life. It is not uncommon for people who travel on missions trip to feel sadness or physically sick after arriving home. Pray that we will let God minister to all the feelings we will experience and for effective life-application of the principles we learned in our everyday world.

A New Beginning

We are finally entering the blogging world. There are so many ways to communicate with youth and parents it seems overwhelming to add one more. Yet . . . this is a place where many could check for ideas, find information, offer an opinion, discover a new vision about God where we live. Welcome! Let the fun begin.