Looking Back with Thankfulness and Forward with Hope
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
Humans have definitions of hope that are different from God’s definition. We might hope our team wins a sporting event, or we might hope we don’t lose our job or our home. But the biblical definition of hope is not a hope-so, but a know-so. Our hope in God is certain and sure. Here in Psalm 42:11, the psalmist examines his own heart in asking, “Why am I so downcast? Why am I so disturbed?” The psalmist finds no reason to be discouraged because his hope is in God—just as we have reason to praise our Savior and our God in spite of our circumstances. If a person does not know Christ, then yes, there is every reason to be downcast, depressed, and disturbed. The world is a most uncertain place to live in, and the times we live in are so troubled—but not so for those whose hope is in God. Read these verses of hope and put yourself or your own name in the place of “I” or “we.”
Dear friend, I’m sure you would say the same about your life this year, but 2020 has definitely been a very different year for ministry work in Costa Rica. Due to the Covid19 virus and the resulting sanitary restrictions, reaching out to others personally in local evangelism or discipleship has been difficult and even severely cut-off. Trips planned for module training in other countries was cut short and/or postponed. And although this may at first and for quite a while seemed inconvenient and restrictive, we quickly saw God’s provision and redirection of planning.
Before March 2020, if you had used the term “Zoom,” people in Latin America (and probably in the US, too) would just stare with a puzzled look. But as soon as restrictions kept us home from church, school, and any other public gathering, Zoom became the number one tool for survival and ministry. And soon it became God’s tool for reaching into places and countries that we had not planned to minister in for another year or even two. Yes, we surely cannot wait to have full access to individuals and groups in person, but we so rejoice in the opportunities that technology has provided.
Via Zoom (and a few other applications) since March we have been 100% involved in
chaplaincy training—the training that was started three years ago continues and was even ramped up due to the availability of the chaplain students during the restrictions.
evangelism training for churches through EvanTell—Kevin, Esteban, Edwin, and Jeronimo worked with churches in Costa Rica, Mexico, Bolivia, and Argentina to provide month-long courses for church congregations on how to reach out with the gospel to neighbors, friends, and family.
church history course—Kevin taught this course through a local Bible seminary (in Spanish)
English for ministers/pastors
With 6 pastors and ministers in Costa Rica, Argentina and Bolivia, Tia has been offering an evening English course. Pastors in Latin America have more and more contact with other ministers and ministries around the world, and English is the common language among those from different countries. Furthermore, this makes accessible the wealth of resources available in English.
Through Word of Life Nicaragua, we have also had the opportunity to work with missionary friends in Nicaragua to help their Latin America missionaries learn English during the year when their own ministries were brought to a sudden halt.
It has been a year of opportunity! Which makes us all the more excited for next year as we pray for effectiveness in ministering towards eternal impact. As we look forward to 2021, please pray with us about these opportunities and ministries:
Church plant in Cartago.With a team comprised of a Costa Rican pastor, a Bolivian pastor’s family, and us, a Bible study—in person—is planned to start up in January. Cartago has few evangelical churches and is a much-needed area for evangelical outreach.
Extended module Bible teaching to church leaders in South America—plans are in the works to take Bible training back to Bolivia and also into Argentina this coming March. This was last year’s plan postponed until borders reopen. During this trip, both Kevin and Tia will be involved in Bible training.
Already we have begun attending a seeker Bible study online. The attendees are contacts made through a local medical clinic. This will continue into 2021.
English teaching with Word of Life missionaries—Tia’s ministry with English language training for ministry workers is expanding in 2021 as she works with Palabra de Vida (Word of Life) leaders to help equip ministry workers; the need has become more and more necessary as the evangelical world comes closer and closer in ministry opportunities and in needs for fundraising.
Other Prayer Requests and Chances to Help:
Safety and health as we currently visit family in Ohio.
The ability to get vaccinated against COVID19 so that we can accomplish more in person and travel without complications.
Financial help for national pastors. This last year with help from friends, we have started up a program where profits from coffee sales help out pastors in Latin America. We strongly believe that a healthy pastor is necessary for a healthy church, and this year has been especially financially tough on these ministers. If you would like to help with selling prime Costa Rican coffee in the US, please visit our website at https://www.beaningfulbrew.com/ We need your help, and so do the pastors and their families.
In ministry for the Lord, here is real hope. When we read the Word of God we learn for certain that we have a secure future and that God will never allow us to suffer beyond our capability to handle it. There is nothing on this earth more certain than hope in God. He will never leave us nor will He ever forsake us. He is our anchor in the present and for the future.