Still under tourist classification, we have to leave Costa Rica every 90 days. Usually this falls during a scheduled trip to the states but this time we had to load up and go to either Panama or Nicaragua. We went to a christian camp on Lake Managua in Nicaragua, just about 45 mns north of the border. Border crossing was smooth, as it can sometimes take hours, is shady and a little risky, and traveling with a toddler makes for a few unknowns. We left at 1:30am so that John Lucas would sleep while we drove, and ended up at the border about 7:30am. Once at the camp, we got to relax for a couple days, a needed getaway, as John had just completed a week of teaching about 20 hours! He had taught in the mornings at the Torchbearers bible school, and in the afternoon at GAP. We are now beginning our residency process here to make this every 90 days fiasco a lighter burden. This will cost a couple thousand dollars and take several months. We are due to leave again in December, when I will be 9 months pregnant. Pray that we can get our residency quickly or be deemed ‘In process’ so that we don’t have to leave again before I deliver that new bouncing baby boy in early January. Thank you! God is faithful.
Above: Orientation week included a festive night of “GAP Olympics.”
Our 30 bible school students have arrived: 20 girls and 10 guys from all across the U.S. They’ll be here for 9 months, until May, learning spanish, the bible, doing missions, and helping out at GGP! We’re excited to begin our 4th GAP year here. Pray for life change, for their unity as a group, their humility, purity, and genuine salvation. John will serve as their main bible teacher, tuesday-friday 2 hours a day, and I’ll be leading a girls’ small group weekly.
Our house is home to two small groups for GGP, and in a few weeks, we will be hosting a third group! (Above: Young Marrieds Group) Tuesday night John & I lead a small group for young married couples, in which we have 3 newlywed couples, and 3 who’ve been married between 5-7 years. We’ve been blessed by this fellowship as we’ve enjoyed the time to study the Word and pray with other couples in the triumphs and challenges of our covenant relationship. We’re so encouraged at the growth we’ve already seen, and in our own marriage. Wednesday night John leads GGP’s open invitation small group that’s mostly comprised of young singles and newer believers with LOTS of Bible questions. Thursday night I’ll be hosting a small group for GAP girls (For the 4th year!) and am looking forward to spending time with them each week. Thanks for your prayers for our small groups! (Below: Weds. nite GGP group)
Meet Matt Sandusky, 19, of Indiana. Matt was a GAP student last year and expressed interest in returning this year to Costa Rica as our first ever GGP church intern. Matt is a workhorse, that loves to be busy and has been a huge help already just in the 2 weeks he’s been here. He raised support to be a missionary this year and is living with a Tico family nearby. His role includes everything from facilitating new church ministries (such as orphanages), attending and soon leading a small group, all things church setup and assistance on sundays, and assisting John in the week-to-week life of the church. Matt is passionate about ministry and last year was very involved with Techo, Costa Rica’s equivalent of Habitat for Humanity, and a Soccer ministry in the poor neighborhood of Tirasses. We are thrilled to have him alongside us this year. Please pray for him as he works with Guadalupe Gathering Place and our family this year, glorifying the Kingdom. Below, Matt being baptized at GGP earlier this year.
Matt being baptized by John at GGP Spring 2013
John pointing at a BLUE cupcake
We had a “Gender Reveal” party our friends threw for us, that revealed this baby is a BOY! We’re so excited to welcome a little brother for John Lucas sometime early January.
We found out with everyone else at the party, when we cut the cake the inside was going to be either blue or pink-we saw blue!
GGP is growing, as God brings people to work and grow with us! This week we’ve got our first GGP Church intern this year (official intro coming soon), and a new backdrop and lighting for our worship team! We’ve got committed childcare staff and lots of Costa Rican leaders have stepped up to help in setup, greeting, translation, worship, and more. It’s working because He’s supplying it! Praise God. In just 2.5 weeks, we’ll have an even bigger army of workers as our next GAP group arrives. Did i mention the homemade sugar cookies?
Thanks for your prayers for GGP!
A group went this past weekend to Santa teresa beach and the nearby waterfalls to be baptized. Four Costa Ricans were baptized. Two were baptized, not having had made this declaration of their faith since their salvation, and two baptized as newly saved Christians. Praise God!
This photo was taken at GAP graduation in May. John & Sebastian are quite the team, and are serving as the main teaching pastors for GGP. Sebastian will be preaching in Spanish now once a month, or every 5 weeks. We like to joke that the Gathering Place is “church in Spanglish.”
The group came for a week to serve the city of San Jose and our Church, Guadalupe Gathering Place. Here’s our team of translators (Mario, Steve, Milton, Patti, & Marco) we assembled for the group to go out and hand out our church flyers. They met people in all the ‘towns’ around our church-Moravia, San Pedro, Sabanilla, etc. and talked with them inviting them to church. We enjoyed having them for the week! Through SCORE, They also visited orphanages, fed the homeless, and did street evangelism, with John as one of their translators. At the end of the week, they spoiled us and took us to the beach with them! We’ll be visiting their church in March for John to speak at their youth conference again this year.
Seems easy for John! His days as an elementary school all star have paid off! He loves to play weekly with both Costa Ricans and other young missionaries. But the real scoring in soccer is the fellowship and community it brings. People come to church, hear there’s soccer afterward, and come back next week! Costa Ricans hear that there’s soccer after our monday night small group, and they attend just to play! It’s an open door to make new relationships that lead to sharing the gospel of Christ.