Below is a letter that we sent to our support team today:
To our wonderful support team,
We are pleased to let you know that, after much prayer and discussion, and more prayer and more discussion, we have made the decision to move to Nicaragua after we complete our language training here in Costa Rica. We are happy that God has led us thus far, and we trust that He will continue to lead us for His glory.
This is a big leap of faith for us all. After all, when we started out in our cross cultural mission journey, our target was Haiti and we really did not know what was beyond that. We only knew that the Lord had given us both a desire to serve Him in a Spanish speaking country. So, how we arrived to our decision to move to Nicaragua is simply by faith, trusting that the Lord has led us there as we have sought Him completely with an open hand and with a desire of only wanting to bring Him glory wherever it is that we go. The funny thing is that, after having served in the poorest country in the Western world for 2 years (Haiti), we did not give Nicaragua any real consideration when we first thought about where we would go after Haiti because we knew that it is the second poorest country in the Western world and perhaps we thought we would not want to be in the thick of such poverty anymore.
But, after praying for some time and asking Him to lead us, we both just started getting a desire to learn more about Nicaragua and about the need for the Gospel there. Then, after visiting there a few weeks ago just for a few days, and then after a lot of praying and discussion, we are confident that He is leading us according to His perfect plan. And we are excited to go.
Our desire for ministry is very simple: Preach and teach the Gospel in whatever way God opens to us, whether that be through one one one mentoring, small groups, evangelistic outreach, raising up leadership, caring for orphans, ministering to the poor, etc. God has simply been increasing our desire to develop ministries that are completely centered on the teaching and preaching of His Word. This is where the power to change a life really occurs. Of course, we have a great desire to minister to the orphans and the poor, but again, in the teaching of God’s Word is what we believe will be first and foremost foundational to seeing their lives change. As long as we are doing that at the center of everything, then we are confident that He will enable us to develop ministries that will truly help the people.
As I said, Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with Haiti being the first. Half the population survives on less than $1 per day. The average annual income is $430. Just about half the population (about 6 million) are under the age of 15. Malnutrition in children is at about 40%. Most families are only able to get one meal per day. This definitely presents much need. However, the greatest need is for these people to know the God who loves them, paid the price for their sins, and has prepared a place in Heaven for them. And it is with that burden in which we go.
We will be traveling there again soon to explore the country some more in order to seek the Lord and ask Him to lead us to the right area to live. Please keep this in your prayers.
I am about a week or so away from the end of my first trimester of language school here in Costa Rica. So far, it has been going well, but I still feel that I have a long ways to go. By God’s grace, we are all doing well. As much as it has been a time of learning the language, it has also been a time of really growing in the Lord and learning from His Word. It has been the same for Maria. Surprisingly though, she still does not get tired out even after having 3 hour long daily conversations about the Lord, doctrine, theology, mission, etc. Haha! But praise the Lord that He is giving us both a hunger and passion to know Him more.
Speaking of my better half, here is a quick word from her:
I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for your continued love and support for our family. It truly blesses me to know you are there, praying, encouraging, and loving our family. God is using this time in Costa Rica to minister to me in many ways. He is showing me His great care for me and for my family. He is bringing joy in my heart again and He is doing so through His word and through my family. He is also giving me a greater burden for the people around me, especially the lost. Because I have the advantage of already knowing the language, God has allowed me to hear things in Central America that I was not able to fully get in Haiti. He is allowing me to hear the hearts of people, their loneliness, their disappointments, their fears, their pain, etc.
In Nicaragua I met a lady who had also lost her little girl from cancer. It was in talking to her that the Lord showed me that the same pain that I carry inside me is also carried by many other moms in the world. The country is different. The living arrangement is different. The pain still the same. As I get involved with women in my community I am learning so much about the blindness of tradition, and God is giving me a greater burden to share His Word. The truth is that the circumstances of the past two years have made me realize that time is of the essence, and what matters the most is the eternal destiny of people. I am humbled that God can use our family to bring hope to these people in Central America, or even anywhere in His world.
Please continue to keep our family in prayer. We are thankful for you. You are the backbone that supports the work of the Lord. The fruit God graciously allows us to collect is equally yours.–Maria
Couldn’t have said it better myself. So, thank you all for being part of our support team. You are not just there to merely support us financially, but you truly are sending us for the purpose of God’s glory being made manifest to the nations. You truly are partners with us for the Gospel. What a privilege, an honor, and a great responsibility. May we all be found faithful in that which He has appointed unto us. Que Dios te bendiga!