Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Staff and Sites!!

As we were wrapping up the summer outreaches, we hired Cindy and Luis Diego as the first Tico staff to join SI-CR! We are so excited to have their family join our team. They bring a wealth of training and experience that line up exactly with where we feel God is leading us. They both have hearts to serve and had sensed several nudges (and pushes, they would say!) from the Lord to get more involved in ministry and use their skills and talents for the Kingdom. (I should say, too, that they have both been involved in leadership roles in Los Guido, where they live, already making a BIG difference in their community.) So, they approached us and began the process of applying for full-time staff. Luis Diego took a leap of faith and left a well-paying job, and is now designing and launching a comprehensive sports program for youth in all three of the communities where SI serves. Soccer, of course, is the main sport, but plans include implementation of volleyball and a boy scout like program. Cindy, who was recently made 'presidenta' of a women's business cooperative in Los Guido, is working with Maria (intern applying for staff position, from Nicaragua) to design a micro-finance ministry site for women, that will also spread to all three of "our" communities. The idea is to form small groups of women that will apply for small business loans, to coach them in biblical principles of stewardship and business management, and to support them in practical ways so they can support their families and discover the gifts and callings God has given them.

We are really excited about the way that God brought Cindy and Luis Diego to us, and about the great things God is doing, and will do, through them here in Costa Rica. Please pray for them:

*Against spiritual attack--since beginning the process of joining us, they have experienced spiritual attack like never before, including a physical assault a few weeks ago (Cindy--p.s. she okay and the guys were caught!). They are taking it all as confirmation that they heard the Lord correctly--but please pray for their safety, for their daughter Hannuka (5), that God would guard their hearts, minds and bodies. The darkness does not like the light--and they have chosen to press against darkness, making themselves targets.

*For the launching of their ministry sites. God is opening doors and making connections like crazy--but there are always obstacles and frustrations, too. Pray for a smooth road and the removal of obstacles!

*Support. Right now, Cindy and Luis Diego will receive a salary from SI, but will be working to raise support over the next several months. Pray for this process, that the right people will be excited to join them in this adventure through financial support.

*English. Both Cindy and Luis Diego speak a bit of English, but will be starting classes through a local seminary next month. Please pray that it would come quickly to them--pronunciation is especially difficult for most non-native speakers.

Summer Teams Summary

How is it that time passes so quickly between blogposts?? Ah, well, anyway, just wanted to give a quick summary of what went on with our teams this summer. We hosted 5 outreaches from the end of May to the beginning of August. We had teams from PA, CA, WA, and VA, plus a few scattered individuals. We had 8 interns that also spanned the globe, including 2 from Nicaragua. Our teams worked hard this year doing several things. Some of the students worked at our new Photography Studio in La Capri, readying it for Dustin Woida to begin teaching classes. Some helped launch the Wood Shop in Los Guido with Jeremy Janzen and worked alongside youth from the community to do simple wood projects. Others supported Krysta Williams at the Tutoring Center with her ongoing tutoring and mentoring of kids from Los Guido. And still others worked with Cailah Pritchard in Las Fuentes doing a myriad of activities in the community including tutoring/games, sports, aerobics for women, and baking for and visiting elderly ladies in the area. It was a busy few months, and we were all thankful to have interns to help with some of the logistics of transportation, translating, and being a bridge for our sites between the community and students. Jeff spent a lot of time running around and making sure things ran smoothly, arranged for logistics, tried to maintain all the office and paperwork that didn't magically disappear like we were hoping :), and even led a construction project at the church where the tutoring center is (they remodeled 2 bathrooms--good thing he helped Uncle Ken do ours in CA a few years ago!). I held down the fort and played hostess to all of our teams during orientation, cultural activities, and when our staff brought their groups over to work on various projects here at the house/office.

Our kids, incidentally, LOVE having teams here, and try to be as involved as possible (read: they made LOTS of new friends. :)) They loved being able to go to the beach a couple of times with teams, to fly kites at Parque la Paz, and have the teams at our house to hang out. We keep telling them that the teams don't come just to play with them. . . I don't know if they believe us, but at least the students serve as good role models for Olivia and Sawyer! And this is important when you have a daughter who is 6 going on 14!

Anyway, our prayers for our teams (students, adults, leaders) are that God would continue the good work he has begun in them (whether before or during their time here). That they will see the world with bigger, more God-like eyes, and that they will allow God to transform them more into the image of Christ and discover more about the true calling he has placed on their lives--to love and follow him, and to serve others in whatever area of life or vocation they may be in (or end up in someday). We pray that they will not wrap their time in CR up in a little box and keep it separate from everything else they do. We pray that it permeates all their families, churches, high schools, universities and job sites--and that they realize they have the same calling in their everyday lives as they did while they were here with us.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Summer Newsletter

Click on this link to see our latest newsletter: Summer 2010