Monday, July 19, 2010

Slow Moving and Challenging

Hello Friends and Family,
We hope that this update finds you seeking diligently after the Lord. We really miss all of you and hope that someday the Lord makes it possible to see you again.
Well the last 3 ½ months have been long and challenging for us here in Costa Rica. We started off on a high note in May with a marriage retreat in the northern part of the country.
We had a great 3 days with our missionary friends from around the country. Pastor Rob Salvato, from Calvary Chapel Vista, was able to come down and bless us with his teaching. It was a great time of fellowship for our whole family. The rest of May was pretty slow going. We were able to talk to a few new people in town, but we are still waiting to see fruit. Sometimes it takes a while before the people make a choice to come back and talk with us. Near the end of May we did have our old house cleaner, Jennifer, come back to talk with us after not seeing her for a few months. She had come back to tell us that she was sick of living the way she was, and that she wanted to make some big changes. She had a new guy in her life that also wanted to see her change. So we shared with her that she needed to stop walking on the fence, and get down (die to self) so she could walk in Christ full time. It was a great time getting to share with her and later her new boyfriend. It seemed like everything was going to be much better in her life. However, 3 weeks later we got a call from her boyfriend that she was in the hospital from an overdose. A few days later we found out she was doing better, and then when we tried to call a few days after that her phone was disconnected. We have been to her old apartment and work, but no one knows where she is. Please be praying that we can find her again and that she is ok.
In June we had quite a few people come down to spend time with us. At the end of May and beginning of June Chelly’s family came down for 10 days to have some fun with the grandkids.
We had a great time with them and can’t wait to see them again. Also Alex, the boyfriend of Yendri, came down from the States to see his future wife and hang out with us for a little bit. Alex brought a friend named Shawn down with him. While Shawn was here we were able to share Christ with him; please be praying that he will make the decision soon. We also were able to see our Pastor and his wife for a couple of days. It was great to see Pastor Dave and get to talk to him about the things going on here. It was also nice to have him be a part of the study we have on Tuesday night.
The studies on Tuesdays have been great! We look forward to what the Lord is going to do each Tuesday. We are still going though Acts with the people the Lord has brought here. This next Tuesday we will be going through Acts 15. Please be praying for this next study because once again we will be talking about the law vs. grace. This has been a hard topic for some of those that have been coming. Some of the people in the study believe that we can be saved by/through the law, and that in our own power we can fulfill it. It is so sad to see people still trying to be saved by their works when it clearly says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” Eph. 2:8, 9 (also Titus 3:4-7; Rom. 3:21-26). Also I will be bringing up a touchy topic here in Costa Rica. Last week the main Catholic Bishop set up a “Holy Door” in the city of Cartago, which can forgive your sins. All the people have to do is go to Cartago, walk through this “Holy Door,” and then pray before a holy rock that looks like Mary and all their sins are forgiven. Please pray that the people will not think that I am attacking them, but that their eyes would be opened to the lies.
We plan on trying to get the Sunday serves going again soon. We are going to see if having the serves in the evening will bring people in. Please be praying that we are doing what the Lord would have us do. We believe that soon we are going to have a big increase in the church. We have been tilling the ground and planting seeds for a year and a half now. Please be praying that this is the time when many will turn their lives to Jesus. We have new help now and more coming in September to help with this increase. Chelly’s sister Annie is here with us now and later in September her husband, Darwin, will be joining us. Annie has been working in Peru for the last 5 years, and her husband is has grown up in Peru and has been working with Calvary for 6 or more years. So we will have a worship leader and an evangelist fluent in Spanish joining the work here! We are so excited to have this kind of help and family. Darwin and Annie plan on having their first child here in CR. Please be praying that Darwin will be able to make it to his child’s birth in September and that he will be able to stay here. It is hard for Peruvians to enter CR and then stay here as residents. The new baby will make it possible for him and Annie to stay here just like we did, but the whole in-between time is what we need prayer for.
I, Curtis, had the chance to go join my parents on a short term mission trip to Managua, Nicaragua during the first part of this month. We went with some brothers and sisters from the Methodist church to hold a 2 day teaching seminar for the Methodist pastors of Nicaragua. I have been on many short term mission trips in my life, but this one topped the list. We first went up to the northern part of the country, EstelĂ­, to see a pastor and a project called Febretto. Febretto is an after school teaching program trying to teach kids so that they have a better living.
Nicaragua is a hard place to live, it is very poor. Everybody was telling me that it is the second poorest country in the Americas next to Haiti. The second part of the trip we went back to the capital, Managua, to teach the pastors. The first day my parents and others on the team taught how to study the Bible inductively. The pastors sucked it up and were very excited to use the tools they had been given. The next day my parents and others from the team taught the pastors through some lessons in the book “Self-Confrontation.” A great book used to disciple people through the Scriptures with no outside doctrine or denomination. When we were ready to leave we encouraged them to continue in the faith. One of the pastors asked what we were going to do with this new baby we had just adopted. They wanted to know if we would be back to feed them more from the Scriptures. This made it really hard to leave them. Please pray that the Lord would protect them from men’s traditions and keep them focused on His word.
One last thing before I end this update; we ask that you all please pray for our children. As some of you remember in December and January Chelly and I were being attacked in our marriage, well now the enemy is after our children. The last few months have been very challenging for us in dealing with our kids. Our two older children have become very strong liars. By strong I mean that they are unwilling to change. The lies have been horrible causing the teacher of our oldest to think that we abuse our children. We had to have a meeting with her to clear all the lies up. Everything is fine right now with the teacher, but I just caught our oldest in another lie this morning which she was planning on telling the teacher. So please pray that we would know how to deal with this problem, and pray that our witness would not be destroyed by these lies.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this update, sorry it is long. Also thank you so much for keeping our family and this ministry in your prayers. We love you guys and pray for you often.

In our Savior,
Curtis, Chelly, and girls