Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year from Costa Rica!

We are enjoying our Christmas and New Years celebrations with Cristina's family in Costa Rica (Dec 21- Jan 10).  We're so glad that Erica was able to join us this year during her semester break from Liberty University. ¡Feliz Año Nuevo  2017!

Stu has been working with Chalo (4th from the right) to coordinate a monthly pastors breakfast since May to build relationships and encourage collaboration.  At this breakfast, the men presented an electric wheel chair to Pastor Moises (left, in the middle).

Stu participated in the Camino Global conference in Puebla of 27 team leaders from around the world for a week of training (Oct 24-31).

Leaders of our mission Camino Global met with pastors in Puebla at the end of the week at the Puebla Bible Seminary (Oct 31).

Stu shared a message about "Love and Respect" at a couples dinner at our previous mother church Villa de las Flores in Mexico City (Nov 12).

The Joyas Church that we planted in Mexico City invited Stu to be the speaker for their 6th anniversary celebration.  He shared a challenge to reach out to new families from John 4 (Nov 13)

After the anniversary worship service, we enjoyed a great time of fellowship with the Joyas Church in their freshly painted and decorated expansion of the church building.

Stu continues to maintain contact with the church leaders in Mexico City.  He participated in a weekend men's retreat by the Teotihuacan pyramids near Mexico City (Nov 20-21).

Esteban and Ivana were married last month in Puebla.  They met serving together in the Summer Missionary Project in recent years, and they plan to serve as missionaries with an ethnic group in Oaxaca, south of Puebla (Nov 19).

We have been worshiping with the Eternal Rock church since August exploring possibilities for missions involvement.  We hosted the families of the church leaders in our home, from the right are Pastor Juan Manuel, Delfina and Bernie, Axel and Carol (Nov 20).

We are enjoying getting to know Pastor Juan Manuel and his wife Rocio, who went to Argentina for training with Word of Life (2002-2005), and started the Eternal Rock church in 2008.  Their son Yohanan is finishing his residency as a medical student, and Keila just graduated from her college studies in communications.

We hosted an Appreciation Dinner for the staff and mentors of the Puebla Bible Seminary.  The Seminary director Kevin Bult and his wife (far left) are fellow missionaries with Camino Global (Dec 9)

We invited the Director of the Summer Missionary Project Fernando and his wife Maru and two daughters to attend the Coro Unido Christmas concert of 300 singers from various churches in Puebla (Dec 17 & 18).  Fernando drove 5 hours to Puebla, and invited two of his sisters to attend as well (next to Erica on the left, Dec 16).

The Coro Unido began rehearsals for these Christmas concerts in February to present quality Christian music with an evangelistic message, orchestra, handbells, children's choir and ballerinas.  The concerts were presented in a 3000-seat auditorium on two evenings, as well in the Puebla city square.  Cristina and Daniel participated in the choir practices every other week during this past year (Dec 17)

Where's Waldo?  Can you see Cristina in the alto section of the choir?

Danny sang with the bass section of the Coro Unido (United Chorus).

This is the view from the house of Cristina's parents overlooking the coffee and sugar cane plantation in Juan Viñas, Costa Rica.  We try to visit them every other Christmas for three weeks, and this year we are glad that Erica was able to coordinate her plans to join us during her Christmas vacation from Liberty University (Dec 21-Jan 10).

Cristina is glad to see her dad Santos recuperating well from surgery two years ago to remove his right foot.  He gets around well with his wheel chair and prosthetic foot, and keeps active gardening.  He loves to cut the grass with a machete.

Cristina is enjoying time with her siblings:  from left, her youngest brother Edgar, Cristina, Julio, and her only sister Xinia.  Julio was visiting from the capital San Jose; Edgar and Xinia live in Juan Viñas near their parents.  Not pictured here are three other brothers who live an hour away:  Jorge, Rafael, and Freddy (see below).

Erica and Daniel with their uncle Freddy who came to visit.  They are enjoying time with 6 of their nearby cousins (all boys), grandparents and aunts and uncles.  Since Erica was not able to visit Costa Rica with us in 2015, she hasn't see them for four years.

We built a larger porch on the house of Cristina's parents this week.  This allows space for the whole family to enjoy holiday celebrations--everyone loves to be together!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Summer Full of God's Blessings
Danny helped with worship at the graduation ceremony for Puebla Christian School in May.  He will graduate next year.

Erica enjoyed two months with us in Mexico after her first semester at Liberty University.  Danny served in Minneapolis as a youth intern from June to August.

Stu's mother visited us in May and returned in August to do seven dental implants.

We enjoyed a barbecue in our home with our Wednesday night small group.

Our missionary team meets monthly for fellowship, prayer and accountability--and sometimes to swim.

We are excited to welcome Megan (right) to our T2 team of missionaries.  She arrived in August to teach at the Puebla Christian School in the areas of ESL, college prep, career and academic adviser, and school nurse.  Welcome, Megan!

Karen graduated from the Seminary on June 11, and is now serving short term in an orphanage in Peru.  She will return to Puebla to serve full-time in the missions ministry of her church as she defines future plans to serve as a missionary.

Karen began serving as a summer missionary when she was 15, and decided to study at the Seminary as preparation for missionary service.

Carlos and Alejandra shared at a pastors' breakfast at the Seminary about their preparations to serve in China in 1 or 2 years. After serving several years with us as a summer missionary, Alejandra decided to study at the Seminary where she met her husband Carlos.

Josue and Naye met through their service with Summer Missionary Project.  Josue asked for prayer and counsel three years ago in our home concerning his interest in beginning a relationship with Naye.
At Josue and Naye's wedding on June 19, we were able to see Alex and Liz who serve in Turkey.

The wedding was a great Summer Missionary reunion--all of these young people met through this ministry.

Andrea is a missionary-nurse serving with the Tarahumara ethnic group in Chihuahua.  She met Luis in the hospital where they serve and are making plans for a December wedding.

Cristina reviews the visuals and materials for the Summer Missionary training camp in July.

Jafet from the Sembrador Church learns how to present a song for a kids club during the training week.

Karen presents her Bible lesson with her group during the training week.

Stu helped train this group to prepare their Bible lessons.

We trained 25 Mexican young people from the city to do 5-day kids clubs.

Our Summer Missionary leadership team includes three couples and five singles (2 not shown)

We trained Lolita  as a Summer Missionary in 2008 in Tlapa, and our training this year coincided with her wedding with Adam.
Tlacoapa is a rural village hidden in an isolated mountain valley.

The city hall in Tlacoapa displays the MePha language, which is very different from Spanish.

Tlacoapa is known for its pineapples.

Pastor Galo and his wife Flor invited us to train the youth and coordinated plans with the 12 receiving churches.  We met them in 2008 during our first training camp.  Galo is Pastor Jose's younger brother.

Stu shared the Sunday message in Tlacoapa at the beginning of the training week in Tlapa.  He used the visuals of the five children's Bible lessons to trace the prophecies of the Messiah from Genesis to Revelation.

Pastor Jose lost his wife to kidney failure days before the Summer missionary training that was hosted in his church.  Despite grieving his loss, he decided to proceed with training the 25 youth that were sent out to the 12 churches in the rural mountain villages in August.

Miguel (center) was trained last year, and this year became a trainer for the new youth.  He is a 19-year old farmer who never imagined how much he loves to share the gospel with children.

Cristina enjoyed training this group of youth in the mountain village of Tlacoapa.

Our training team in the orange t-shirts with the 25 youth in front of the Tlacoapa Church.

Victor is leading the games and races which are an important part of the kids clubs.

Our fellow trainer Alejandra helps prepare tortillas with the ladies in Tlacoapa.

Our training team included Alejandra, Omar, and Victor (left to right).  Omar first came to serve as a summer missionary when he was 15 in 2011, and now he is studying in a seminary in Cuernavaca in preparation to serve as a missionary.

We enjoyed working with our summer missionaries sent from Tlacoapa last year.  We could not have done the training this summer without their help as fellow trainers. (Claudio, Miguel, us, Loyda, Eufemia, left to right)

Isaias was one of the youth we trained in Tlacoapa.  He was sent to one of the most remote churches in the area.  He posted this photo of a kids club in a mountain village.

These are students at the Seminary that we are mentoring this semester (Aug-Dec).  Cristina mentors the women in this photo, and Stu mentors the men.