Feliz año nuevo from Costa Rica,
God has just completely blessed us this first month of the year! Despite a wave of sickness and fevers passing through me and the Ailor family, we have had so many successes this month with NOW Costa Rica programs and in general in the community of Jaco and Herradura. This month quickly became very busy after a few weeks of having trouble getting people together. This time of the year is when most kids in school are on their break. So many families are traveling or just simply in vacation mode and don’t want to start new Bible studies or programs. But, as their break comes to an end soon, we have been able to gather more to make a difference for God in the lives of the young people in the area.
Some of the most exciting news, and an important aspect to us being able to hold events, is that we started moving dirt on the land this month! With the land all leveled out, we were able to hold our first NOW Costa Rica event on the land with Megan and Sean, a couple that was here for a quick visit/missions trip. Megan and Sean ran a runners’ clinic and shared a message with lots of fun games for the kids to engage in. They had a blast playing their new favorite game, capture the flag. The next weekend, we had our second event on the land led by Tracey and Kevin, grandparents of a family in our program. They came and led games, a tie dying shirt project, and shared about living a life of purpose and persistence. It was amazing seeing all of the different groups, the younger girls, older girls, and boys, come and fellowship together, as well as some new faces. These 2 events generated so much energy and interest in the NOW Costa Rica Bible study programs. It’s amazing how God uses so many different people from all over the world and all different walks of life to spread His Word through this community. We’re excited to keep holding events like this with the youth to make them feel at home in our programs.
Another new project that we have started here, partnering with Horizon Church, is the homeschool co-op. This co-op is made up of 12 families and 23 kids, about half of whom are here on missions. These families got together to create a homeschool co-op that would meet the need they had of finding good Christian education in this country. With my skill set and education, I prayed over it and found it to be an awesome opportunity to use my degree and become a volunteer elementary teacher for this project. I had been struggling to find something to do with my time in the mornings since most of my work or studies happened in the evenings or on weekends. I was finding it hard to have a completely different work schedule than everyone else here, so this felt like an answered prayer! I’m so excited to be in a more routine classroom setting again and to be able to freely teach the 8 amazing kids in my class all the elementary subjects, but also about Jesus. This has also given me the opportunity to realize how grateful I am for my time as a student teacher with my mentor teachers. Please pray for all of these kids in my class as many, if not all of them, are third culture kids. Being a third culture kid can come with unique problems and sometimes issues with identity. So please pray over them as they learn, grow, and hopefully someday take up the role of spreading the Gospel alongside me and their parents!
As school begins to ramp up again, so has the youth group at Horizon Church. I have enjoyed spending some time this month preparing for an even deeper leadership role in the youth group. We’ve had meetings discussing how we can better engage our youth in worship, The Word, and service opportunities. Additionally, we spent the weekend at the Ocean’s Edge Missions compound with several of the student leaders in the youth group. The purpose of this overnight was to cast vision on how the student leaders could be an even further example of Jesus during youth group and everyday at their schools. We also focused a lot on bonding and creating stronger relationships with the adult leaders and student leaders. As a part of this, we went out into the community and completed service projects in the name of Jesus. My group, the girls, went to a local school called Cen-Cinai that specifically educates the children of single moms. There we worked hard to scrape off the old paint and mold off the walls of one of their classrooms and repainted it. It was an awesome time to get to know the girls better and work hard alongside them. After that weekend, I’m super hopeful for this next season as a leader at youth group. I’m excited for the opportunity to be one of the leaders to the Spanish speaking girls that attend this bilingual youth group. My hope and prayer in this season is to see many more youth of Jaco and Herradura come to Jesus, whether they come to youth group or NOW CR events. And even if I don’t get to see that, it’s a blessing to be able to work with them and encourage them in their faith in so many different ways. Praying for a revival in our next generation!
January was such a success in starting new things, but it was also a time of planning for new things to come. New groups, new schools, and new programs are being organized everyday! In addition to the co-op, youth group, and NOW Costa Rica, I am also being trained in how I can help with a new organization to Jaco called Face of Justice. Face of Justice is an organization started in San Jose, Costa Rica that focuses on the rescuing and restoration of women and families affected by prostitution and human trafficking. They are planning on opening a House of Hope in Jaco in the near future that will feed, teach, and connect with these women and families. I’m already involved in the prevention side of the prostitution problem here in Costa Rica with NOW CR, so I’m very interested in serving people on the other side of the problem as well, through Face of Justice. We had our first training this month on how to connect with people with this kind of trauma and introduce them to Jesus. God is working on all fronts to reach the hearts of the people in this area. I’m looking forward to what’s to come in every aspect in my last few months here! If you’d like to learn more about Face of Justice, you can read more on their website here: https://faceofjustice.org/index.php/en/
The Horizon homeschool co-op has been going very well so far!
We had 2 successful land events with the most generous people visiting from the states.
There is so much continuing to be built here with the purpose of spreading the love of Jesus!
Please pray for the families and kids of Jaco and Herradura that NOW Costa Rica, Horizon Church, and Face of Justice are working with.
Please pray that the rest of the financial needs to build the educational center on the land are met.
Please pray for the travel mercies of the mission team of 3 different couples that will be here in less than 2 weeks!
Please pray for the efforts of the mission team, as we are embarking on NOW Costa Rica’s first house build!
I’m so grateful for all of you who faithfully read these newsletters, pray for me and the people of Costa Rica, and support my mission. I miss you all and am so thankful you have helped me take advantage of this opportunity to learn, teach, and love others in the way God has called me to. Peace and blessings be with you.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalms 139:13-14