Friday, April 26, 2013

Blessed to be a Blessing

I have been so blessed over the past 9 months at the spiritual growth of many of the women who attend the INVU Women's Bible Study on Tuesday nights.  These women are there faithfully every week and are learning and growing together in God's Word in such an amazing way!  Two weeks ago, while I was in Nicaragua, one of the ladies, Rosa, led the study.  The topic was "The Christian and His/Her Money".  It was all about the importance of being wise stewards of our money, blessing others as the Lord leads and giving our tithes and offerings to the Lord.  This was amazing timing as the Lord handpicked this study to be led by Rosa, a Tica, who understands exactly where the other ladies are financially because she is there too.  If there was one study I was apprehensive about teaching, it was this one and the Lord knew who the best person was to lead it.  The ladies had never learned about this idea of giving to the Lord and blessing others from the heart through finances.  What is more, the women decided that the money that they have been earning through the yard sales they are doing they want to tithe to the church.  Then, the remaining money they want to meet needs for others as they arise in the group or in the community.  This is AMAZING!!!  What FRUIT straight from God's Word being sown into their hearts!!!!  I was blown away and they were so excited about it!

The Beginning of the Yard Sale Ministry

We had some clothing donated from a couple in The States and instead of just giving to everyone, we decided to sell it super inexpensive so that the women learn how to bless others in their community, budget their own money, run a mini business, work together as a team, and work hard.  We have done 3 of these sales and they have been phenomenal!  The ladies LOVE it and the community is super blessed as well.  The prices are extremely low and the quality of the clothing is really good.  The ladies have raised almost $400 which they tithed tonight to the church for the first time.  They also donated their first $100 made to a lady in the community who is extremely ill and needs her rent paid.

We are seeing so much fruit from this core group of women and the Lord is doing an amazing work in their lives and in the lives of their families.  Men who have never come to church EVER are now coming.  These women are bringing their children and their moms to church.  They are learning to depend on one another in prayer--to do life together--and to have a support system.

My cup runneth over as I am allowed to witness God's grace and love and blessing being poured out over this group!  Please continue to pray for each one...the daily battles they face are great, but our God is greater!!

Here are some of my girls at Christmas time showing off their ornaments they made

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Trip to Nicaragua

Last week 4 friends and I went to Managua, Nicaragua for the week to serve at a ministry that ministers to prostitutes and sexually exploited women and children.  We went to learn, to serve, to minister to the women, and to glean as much as we could in the 5 days we were there.  It was overwhelming--truly exhausting emotionally, physically, spiritually--as we listened to story after story of what these women and children had been through. They had been violated, raped, sold--over and over and over--and now each of them in these past 3 months has found true freedom in Christ!  It was amazing!!!  We were there during their final week in the program and were able to help them discover what their spiritual gifts were.  Then we helped them dream as we talked about how they could use their gifts to glorify God and serve others!  We enjoyed craft times and sharing stories and fellowshipping and eating with these precious women.  On Thursday, we were able to see them graduate and prepare to begin a new life in Christ--for with Him ALL things are possible.

While we were there, we were able to celebrate with one family as a man (who lives in Managua) from The States who bought and violated the 13 year old daughter multiple times was brought to justice by the Nica Feds/Police Force.  He had been investigated for over 2 months and had raped over 200 children before finally being arrested and put away for life.  They have hundreds of videos of him with these children and will now begin the process of identifying children to get them help.  PLEASE PRAY with us that the children will be identified and will receive the help that they need.  It was a huge victory for this family and for this little girl as she broke down and sobbed tears of relief yet pain as the memories continued to flood through her mind.  I pray that each child has the same opportunity that this little one has had---to learn about her Savior and His unconditional love for her in the midst of such difficulties.

I could go on and on though I am still processing the entire trip and what the Lord has revealed to me.  I look forward to what the Lord will continue to do in my heart and through us as a church/ministry here in Jaco as we continue to follow the Holy Spirit's leading in all things.  The Psalm the Lord gave me while we were there was Psalm 82.  Verses 3-4 say:

"Defend the weak and the fatherless;  uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.  Rescue the weak and the needy;  deliver them from the hand of the wicked."

Please join me in praying for this worldwide problem...

Below are a few pictures from our trip:

 Ready to go!!
Doing crafts with the girls...

Birthday Girl!!

Helping one lady take notes

Family being shown the video footage of the violator being caught.

Getting pretty for graduation!!

Worship time--such an amazing time of worship with these precious women!!

Us with most of the girls--love them!!!!

Our group plus our friend, Maddie

We pray that Costa Rica will begin enforcing these laws here!!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Kids Club and Youth Group Fun!

Because the all the kids in town were out of school for Semana Santa (Holy Week), we decided to celebrate with Easter fun at both Kids Club and Youth Group.  Here in Costa Rica, there are no plastic eggs to hide or special Easter Candy to eat.  So we decided to tell the Easter Story using plastic eggs--talking about the candy treasure inside a plastic egg as a symbol of Jesus as the treasure in our hearts.  The kids had a blast!  The Hueys, our friends from our home church, are here visiting and they brought a special craft for the kids to do relating to this theme.  We even had a plastic egg with a treat inside for each child to take home.  They were super excited!  We just LOVE these precious children and look forward to ministering to them every Saturday and throughout the week in their homes as well.

We also did a big Youth Group pool party at our house to celebrate Easter.  It was more than crazy but lots of fun!  Pool, pizza, cookies, friends and fun....great times investing in these precious youth.  We really feel like these times are so important as we are fighting to prevent them getting sucked in by the world and it's dark side here in Jaco.  For them to be able to escape from everything for a few hours and enjoy a dip in the pool--so refreshing physically and spiritually.  We covet your prayers for these precious teenagers and are so thankful for all of you as part of our team from afar.  We love you all!

Happy Easter from Jaco!