International Ministries

Hegarty - International Ministries The latest from Sue Hegarty https://internationalministries.org/teams/68-hegarty.rss God's Hope Changes Women <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--></p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:HyphenationZone>21</w:HyphenationZone> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>ES-CR</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:SplitPgBreakAndParaMark/> <w:EnableOpenTypeKerning/> 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style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">As we celebrate Christ bringing hope and salvation into the world at Christmas, I’d like to share a modern-day story of hope and transformation.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">During the first session of “Being a Woman is Wonderful” course, the students are introduced to Soledad, a real person who wrote a poem about her life in 1986. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>Many women at the Pastoral Care for Women graduation referred to Soledad in their presentations and testimonies, because they can relate to her life and struggles and her deepest desires.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">In her poem, Soledad explains that she lives with her alcoholic husband and five children in one room in her parents´ home.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She expresses how her life is hanging by a thread.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>One of the last stanzas paraphrased says:</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top:0cm;margin-right:0cm;margin-bottom:0cm; margin-left:35.4pt;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family: &quot;Cambria&quot;,serif;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; “I want to run forward in search of Life</span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family: &quot;Cambria&quot;,serif;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">, I want to fill myself with hope.</span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family: &quot;Cambria&quot;,serif;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp; </span><br><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family: &quot;Cambria&quot;,serif;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US"></span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family: &quot;Cambria&quot;,serif;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I want to feel like a person in the midst of my troubles,</span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family: &quot;Cambria&quot;,serif;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US"></span><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US"> A person in the midst of the crowd.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top:0cm;margin-right:0cm;margin-bottom:0cm; margin-left:35.4pt;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I want to dream of a future, with a better future for my children and my children´s children.”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">At the November graduation, around 50 women received their certificates, a number of whom were enabled to study by receiving scholarships through the IM project “Women Forging New Paths in Costa Rica”.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Florencia was one of them, a 46-year-old wife and mother, who never finished high school.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She is a woman of faith, but learned much in the course.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span> </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">For her final class project, Florencia wrote a poem that contrasted with Soledad´s tragic one.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Here are a few excerpts:</span> </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">“For many years I lived in darkness among the shadows, trying to hide myself from others´ eyes, feeling chained by my fears, not wanting to fight for my dreams, out of fear of facing new and unknown&nbsp; things.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Simply thinking of failure terrified me and I preferred to not make the attempt.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>And that is how I began leaving behind all my dreams, feeling frustrated and without worth.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span> </p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; “Today I want to be free of all my fears and fight.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Today I know that I am important, I am a princess because I am the daughter of a King…I know that I am not alone, that God is with me.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; “From today on I want to be optimistic, to believe in myself and in the capacity and potential that God has given me.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This is how I will build a better future as a mother, wife and especially as a woman, a person, because my dreams also matter.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; "I want to open my wings, I want to begin to fly, I will also be in solidarity with others and with those who need a helping hand in their difficult moments,…May they feel the support and backing of an Almighty God…</span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span> </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; “I am Florencia and I am willing to change, I am a woman and I am Capable.”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">Florencia is just one of the changed women through your support of Pastoral Care for Women and the IM Project “Women Forging New Paths in Costa Rica”.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>(The project fund is very low, if you would like to make a gift to help women in 2017.)<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Thank you for spreading Christ´s love and hope.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">Blessed Christmas!</span></p> <p></p><p></p> Tue, 20 Dec 2016 16:02:15 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/64040-god-s-hope-changes-women https://internationalministries.org/read/64040-god-s-hope-changes-women Challenging Church Leaders to Grow in Ministry <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--></p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> 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UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="envelope return"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="footnote reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="annotation reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="line number"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="page number"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="endnote reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="endnote text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="table of authorities"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="macro"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="toa heading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="10" QFormat="true" Name="Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Closing"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Signature"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="1" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Default Paragraph Font"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text Indent"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Message Header"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="11" QFormat="true" Name="Subtitle"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Salutation"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Date"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text First Indent"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text First Indent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Heading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text Indent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text Indent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Block Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Hyperlink"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="FollowedHyperlink"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="22" QFormat="true" Name="Strong"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="20" QFormat="true" Name="Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Document Map"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Plain Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="E-mail Signature"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Top of Form"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Bottom of Form"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Normal (Web)"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Acronym"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Address"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Cite"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Code"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Definition"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Keyboard"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Preformatted"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Sample"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Typewriter"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Variable"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Normal Table"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="annotation subject"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="No List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 7"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 8"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 7"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 8"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table 3D effects 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table 3D effects 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Name="Table Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Theme"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" Name="Placeholder Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="1" QFormat="true" Name="No Spacing"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" Name="Revision"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="34" QFormat="true" Name="List Paragraph"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="29" QFormat="true" Name="Quote"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="30" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Quote"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading 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5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="40" Name="Grid Table Light"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 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mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0cm; mso-para-margin-right:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:8.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0cm; line-height:107%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Recently I finished teaching a Christian Education course at the Costa Rican Baptist Theological Seminary.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Since enrollment goes up and down (a current trend in Latin American theological education), I was pleasantly surprised to have 11 students finish the course.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">The really unique thing is that ten of those students (between 14 and 70 years old) were from <u>one</u> church, the “God of Peace Baptist Church” in Ipis (San Jose area), including Pastor Rolando.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Upon entering the class that first day, one of the students told me up front, “Sister, we’ve been wanting to make some changes at church and we feel that this course came along at the exact moment that we needed it.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This is of God!”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>(No pressure, right?)<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Needless to say, I began praying even more for God to guide both me and my students.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">The students enthusiastically and fully participated in the classes.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Their final project is practical, writing up a Christian Education plan for their church.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This involved analyzing both their community and church needs, choosing their educational ministry priorities and then making a plan to meet those priorities.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I agreed that the Ipis students could do their analysis individually, then work together to come up with a group plan for the church.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>They’ve already met twice to turn in the first part of the project.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The young people then asked if they could formulate a plan for their youth group as their final project.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">As I checked in with all the groups as they worked, I was in a unique position to help guide their analysis and stimulate thinking in new directions.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Their ideas have been good and they are also putting into practice what we studied.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; For example, the youth have already polled their members about study topics (something we'd studied) </span>and learned that they are interested in seeing what the Bible has to say regarding making wise life decisions about career, school, relationships, etc. (as opposed to their current study of Revelation).&nbsp; I also ran into Pastor Rolando as he purchased new study materials for Sunday School, a decision that the group made, to strengthen their Christian education ministry.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The lone student representing another church was upset about not having anyone else with whom to work.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Yet the final project became a way of getting her pastor involved in the Christian education plan.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Since she has caught the vision of what her church’s educational ministry <u>could</u> be, I have hopes that her sharing this vision (in other words, “the plan”) with other leaders in a practical way will inspire them to actually do it.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">Thank you for your prayers and financial support which make it possible for me to encourage these Costa Rican churches as they reach out to their communities in Jesus' name.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; Please give to the World Mission Offering as it makes possible these kinds of ministries around the world. &nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;</span></p> <p></p> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 03:33:25 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/63447-challenging-church-leaders-to-grow-in-ministry https://internationalministries.org/read/63447-challenging-church-leaders-to-grow-in-ministry Renewed spirits and God´s guidance in Costa Rica <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--></p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:HyphenationZone>21</w:HyphenationZone> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>ES-CR</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:SplitPgBreakAndParaMark/> <w:EnableOpenTypeKerning/> <w:DontFlipMirrorIndents/> <w:OverrideTableStyleHps/> </w:Compatibility> <m:mathPr> <m:mathFont 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6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="List Table 7 Colorful Accent 6"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0cm; mso-para-margin-right:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:8.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0cm; line-height:107%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">This past weekend, twelve Costa Rican women´s ministries team members gave up their weekend for a working retreat (after working our “day jobs” all week).<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We did it to talk about our dreams for serving God, for bettering our ministry focus and for continuing our own preparation for service.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">Saturday we did a lot of brainstorming and made progress with planning.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>By evening, my brain was tired!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">Sunday started with a devotional and the study of Luke 5:17-20, the passage of the paralyzed man and his faith-filled friends who brought him to see Jesus for healing.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It is a wonderfully rich passage; just one of the images we pulled out was seeing our ministry as a parallel to those friends, bringing hurting women to Jesus and healing despite all the obstacles in the way.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We then sang an adapted chorus of a well-known song (in Spanish) as a prayer for our ministry:<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>“Take me where the women need Your words and my desire to (fully) live, Where hope is missing, where happiness is missing, simply because they don´t know of You.”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">Then one of the women added, “We need to recognize that sometimes the paralytic is us and we need friends to help us to get healing”.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Holy Spirit-inspired we formed a circle, putting different people in the middle to be prayed over.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>There were lots of tears, hugs, and letting go of burdens as God ministered in our midst.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">Less stressed and with renewed spirits, we went back to our planning work.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The time schedule lost importance. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>By the end of our retreat, we had good focus and a few strategically placed meetings and ministry activities planned.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Despite working all weekend, it was an energizing experience because God was present.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">Thank you for your financial support and prayers which make such an experience possible for our women´s ministries.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Our team needs continual spiritual growth, God´s guidance in our lives and our ministries.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The women we minister to also need your prayers, including God´s healing and direction in their lives.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; <br></span></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes"></span>My prayer for you as Holy Week approaches is that God will minister to you as God ministered to us this past weekend, lightening your burdens and renewing your spirit.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p></p> Tue, 15 Mar 2016 06:36:30 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/61526-renewed-spirits-and-god-s-guidance-in-costa-rica https://internationalministries.org/read/61526-renewed-spirits-and-god-s-guidance-in-costa-rica An "Attitude of Gratitude" for Open Doors <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--></p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:HyphenationZone>21</w:HyphenationZone> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> 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style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Candara&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">At the beginning of this month I accompanied a Mission Discovery Team from the American Baptist Churches of Great Rivers Region.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I was grateful for Pastor Adolfo and his openness to the Spirit when he shared his church´s story.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>“Our church is building as we can save the money for materials.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We weren´t looking to start any missions apart from our local church ministry, but God presented us with these opportunities so we decided to accept the challenge and see where God leads.”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Candara&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">First, within the last two years the Oikos Baptist Church received a donation of a property from a departing Baptist agency in the town of Guápiles, a good 90 minute drive from San José.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The facility was once a gym, although now half is being used as a sanctuary.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The pastor spends one day a week doing visitation in the neighborhood and then teams from the Oikos church and another Baptist Federation church visit every Sunday to lead worship and Sunday School.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The church neighbors are low-income so the Oikos church is helping them learn to make things to sell and bring in income. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Candara&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">The latest opportunity that God has given them is in Sarapiquí, near Guápiles.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In September Oikos (in San José) held a special program with traditional Costa Rican music and folk dancing to which many participants invited family members.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>A couple came to watch their aunt and heard Pastor Adolfo preach at the end.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>They said, “We wish you could come visit us, but we know it´s too far away for you to come.”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Pastor Adolfo promised to visit and then kept his word.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>They really had not expected to see him.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In the ensuing conversation, he was able to lead the wife to the Lord.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She then invited him to visit her mother, who runs a childcare service for at-risk children (often there is alcoholism or drug abuse among the adults of the family).<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Candara&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">Pastor Adolfo followed God´s leading, and discovered that this woman is struggling to license her service so that she can be eligible to receive donations, since she is paying for everything herself.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>He offered her free legal help from members of the church.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Now the church visits this mission every other Saturday to meet with a large group of both adults and at-risk children.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>What an opportunity to share God’s love!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Candara&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">Please keep Pastor Adolfo and the Oikos Baptist Church in your prayers and give thanks to God for these openings for evangelism and pastoral care.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Let us be thankful to God for opportunities to reach out in His name no matter where we live <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>– and also be thankful for those who faithfully follow God’s leading to serve.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p></p> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 05:22:02 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/60372-an-attitude-of-gratitude-for-open-doors https://internationalministries.org/read/60372-an-attitude-of-gratitude-for-open-doors Stretching Forward leads to Small and Big Changes <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> 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10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0cm; mso-para-margin-right:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:8.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0cm; line-height:107%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The other day I came to a realization while sharing with someone about one of my students.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Small “stretches forward” can snowball into bigger growth.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>My student, “Silvia” (after 30+ years of marriage) recently realized through our course that she doesn’t have to ask her husband’s permission to visit her mother anymore, that she can decide for herself and then let him know that she is going.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It’s a small stretch forward from her upbringing.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span> </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">A few weeks ago her husband dropped her off for class, but she didn’t know that we’d changed the date so that everyone could attend, so no one was there.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Instead of calling her husband to pick her up, she decided to walk home.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Silvia wanted the exercise and she also wanted to use the time to think some things through – alone with God.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She thoroughly enjoyed it!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This seems like such a small “stretching forward” for this woman, yet it’s not.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>God takes our small steps and helps us grow.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I think that she is going to be making lots of positive changes in the near future.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">Of course, we see big changes, too.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The women we work with in Pastoral Care for Women face all kinds of situations – abandoned by husbands, murder of an adult son, domestic violence, strained family relations and so much more.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">“Darla” rushed into class late, despite having a high blood pressure episode earlier in the morning, so she wouldn’t miss our study.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She is dealing with an abusive spouse who has backed off because thier 18-year-old son threatened his father if he touched her again.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Darla began attending a Bible study about a year ago and then found out about our courses.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She has placed her marriage in God’s hands and is concentrating on being the person God would have her be.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>A number of times she has stayed after class to speak with us.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She is grateful for the very practical topics we talk about, such as healthy communication, because they help her as she tries to work out her marriage relationship.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She feels that she has grown stronger as a person and is better able to face her life challenges with God's help.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">It doesn’t matter whether it is fast or slow, but stretching forward toward God’s life-giving salvation is growth in these women’s lives.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Thank you for your support of this ministry – through World Mission Offering, regular support and prayer – as we encourage women of all walks of life in Costa Rica to seek wholeness in Christ.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p></p> Tue, 27 Oct 2015 17:42:56 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/60207-stretching-forward-leads-to-small-and-big-changes https://internationalministries.org/read/60207-stretching-forward-leads-to-small-and-big-changes God´s Resurrection Power at Work <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--></p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:HyphenationZone>21</w:HyphenationZone> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> 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font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">This past Sunday I took a volunteer to visit the León XIII church for worship.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Since I had given two Pastoral Care for Women classes there, I now know a number of the church members so the visit was a good time to catch up with them.</span></p><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; What a blessing to see how God is at work in this church which so many work groups (especially from ABC of Great Rivers Region) helped build.</span><span style="font-size:12.0pt; line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif;mso-ansi-language: EN-US" lang="EN-US"><br></span><ul><li><span style="font-size:12.0pt; line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif;mso-ansi-language: EN-US" lang="EN-US">The sanctuary was full and the worship service was joyous.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>There was Sunday School upstairs for the children.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I also saw a lot more men present.</span> </li></ul><ul><li><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family:Symbol;mso-bidi-font-family:Symbol;mso-ansi-language: EN-US" lang="EN-US"><span style="mso-list:Ignore"><span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;</span></span></span><span style="font-size:12.0pt; line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif;mso-ansi-language: EN-US" lang="EN-US">Maureen, one of my former students was very shy and had low self-esteem – and now she is on the <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>worship team, singing in the front of the congregation.</span></li></ul> <ul><li><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family:Symbol;mso-bidi-font-family:Symbol;mso-ansi-language: EN-US" lang="EN-US"><span style="mso-list:Ignore"><span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;"></span></span></span><span style="font-size:12.0pt; line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif;mso-ansi-language: EN-US" lang="EN-US">Melissa, also a former student had reconciled with her husband after our “Healthy Relationships” course.&nbsp; She now has a two-month old baby boy as well as a teenager.&nbsp; <br></span></li></ul><ul><li> <span style="font-size:12.0pt; line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif;mso-ansi-language: EN-US" lang="EN-US">An older woman who dropped out of a course due to family problems used to come alone but now has her husband sitting next to her in church, praising the Lord with enthusiasm.</span></li></ul><ul><li> <span style="font-size:12.0pt; line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif;mso-ansi-language: EN-US" lang="EN-US">"Paula", daughter of a former student is a teen mother and the church continues to encourage her.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></li></ul><ul><li> <span style="font-size:12.0pt; line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif;mso-ansi-language: EN-US" lang="EN-US">During a baby dedication, Pastor Sonia told the young mother that even though the baby's grandmother and great grandmother are Christians, that she, too, needs to follow Jesus in order to guide her child to Christ.&nbsp; <br></span></li></ul> <ul><li><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family:Symbol;mso-bidi-font-family:Symbol;mso-ansi-language: EN-US" lang="EN-US"><span style="mso-list:Ignore"><span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;</span></span></span><span style="font-size:12.0pt; line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif;mso-ansi-language: EN-US" lang="EN-US">The church was still glowing from their previous day’s activity:<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>an evangelistic event they sponsored that featured a Christian motorcycle gang riding through their rough neighborhood (where some people openly offered to sell them drugs).<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Everyone had pitched in either by going out on the streets or preparing food for the program.</span></li></ul> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; God's Resurrection Power is at work in this world.&nbsp; Let us rejoice as well as allow ourselves to be channels for God's grace.&nbsp; You have already served as God's channels in León XIII through your partnership in prayer and financial support.&nbsp; Thank you!&nbsp; <br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">P.S.&nbsp; There is a golden opportunity to double the effect of your partnership donations through June 15th.&nbsp; Please check out www.internationalministries.org for details.&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p></p> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 10:54:35 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/57942-god-s-resurrection-power-at-work https://internationalministries.org/read/57942-god-s-resurrection-power-at-work A Testimony to God´s Transforming Power 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that I collaborate in.&nbsp; The day dedicated to Pastoral Care for Women was intense.</span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The director of the Costa Rican program gave a presentation on the realities of life in Central America and how they specifically affect women.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This was the backdrop for explaining why we do what we do in our ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; <br></span></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes"></span>In fact, one of the factors was natural disasters which interrupt “normal” life and create hardships.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Just a few hours later, the Turrialba volcano blew off lots of ash, some of which landed 50 miles away in San José.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It was on all the parked cars and made the tiled floors slippery.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But it also closed the international airport for about 20 hours as they cleared off planes and runways! <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Talk about a confirmation of facts with special timing.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span> </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">The most powerful part of the day was hearing testimonies of women who had been impacted by Pastoral Care for Women.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The reason we minister is to show how our loving and just God is the only one who can transform lives on many different levels, including those affected by abuse.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; <br></span></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes"></span>Marilyn, the child of an alcoholic father and a mother who had to work to support the family, shared how a cousin abused her as a child.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She never told her mother because she didn´t want to burden her with more problems.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Since it was oral sexual abuse, she could not stand it years later when her young son, who looked like her abuser, would take her face in his hands in a loving gesture.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She cried as she explained how she had hit her son and thrown him away from her.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She also prayed that night, asking God to help her never hit her son again.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">But Marilyn felt she needed help, and soon a slip of paper appeared under her apartment door promoting classes by Pastoral Care for Women.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She took all the classes over several years, which helped her to work through a healing process.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She was even able to face her abuser years later when her mother innocently brought him to her home to do a repair job, managing to offer him some coffee while he could not even look at her.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Most important to her was being able to sit with her son after he was older, to explain what had happened to her and ask for forgiveness for abusing him in return.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>They have a very close relationship to this day.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">Marilyn serves a member of our support team, teaching classes in Pastoral Care for Women, reaching out to other women who have passed through similar situations.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But God has also worked in another way in Marilyn´s life – with music.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>During her years of abuse, she always found solace in music.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Today, as a woman loved, healed and transformed by God, Marilyn now uses her voice in a nationally recognized Christian singing group.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She counts it a joy to share God´s love and salvation with an even wider group of people.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">Praise God for his grace and salvation.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Thank you for your partnership as Pastoral Care for Women shares this reality in Costa Rica.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;</span></p> <p></p> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 09:43:42 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/57661-a-testimony-to-god-s-transforming-power- https://internationalministries.org/read/57661-a-testimony-to-god-s-transforming-power- Thanks be to God <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--></p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:HyphenationZone>21</w:HyphenationZone> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> 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<w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 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mso-para-margin-left:0cm; line-height:107%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">At our first class at “God’s House” mission, “Daniela” announced that she was excited to take weekends off from caring for her elderly parents to study.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Apparently as a widow, the family expected that she would serve as caregiver with no time off, but after she put her foot down, they did take turns accompanying their parents on weekends.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She’d already had a victory before starting the course!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">“Daniela” shared readily as we spoke about issues of healthy relationships.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She consistently expressed her gratitude for what she was learning.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>On a personal level, she said it helped her deal with her parents (ex. her father gave everyone the silent treatment when angry) as well as with her children and grandchildren.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>“I feel better and have a more positive outlook on life.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>People even tell me that I’m looking younger – and I feel that way!” Daniela concluded.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I was thanking God for her growth.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">However, it wasn’t until the last class that MORE of the story came out.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Daniela had been a founding member of the little mission where our class met.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>When her son moved out of his apartment (in a housing project), the church rented it and continues to use it as the mission’s meeting place.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>At some point,&nbsp;<span style="text-indent: 47.2000007629395px;">Daniela&nbsp;</span>had felt offended by something and left the church.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Unfortunately, her daughter also left the mission with her, something she deeply regrets.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">Yet, someone at that mission church had invited her to attend the course.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>While studying, Daniela was with members of the mission leadership team and she experienced their supportive concern and genuineness.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Daniela has returned to the mission church!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She is now actively participating and feels that she is growing spiritually.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Her prayer now is that she can bring her daughter (and grandchildren) back into the church, since they live at the housing project.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">This unexpected result gave me goosebumps.&nbsp;&nbsp;<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"></span>I am so thankful that we serve an <u><i>awesome</i></u> God who can multiply our efforts and transform people’s lives.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I am thankful for those faithful Christians at the mission who impressed Daniela.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I am also very thankful for your prayers and financial support which makes it possible for God to touch lives like Daniela's.&nbsp; Thanks be to God! &nbsp;<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,sans-serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">P.S.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Please check out “Giving Tuesday” (December 2) as an opportunity to show gratefulness to God by supporting missions. </span></p> <p></p> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/56589-thanks-be-to-god https://internationalministries.org/read/56589-thanks-be-to-god "Come over to Boca Arenal and help us!", Rising to the Challenge <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--></p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:HyphenationZone>21</w:HyphenationZone> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>ES-CR</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> 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style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">I was privileged to be introduced to the mission church in Boca Arenal, Costa Rica, last year and to see what wonderful ministry was being carried out.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This Baptist Federation church is a three-and-a-half hour drive north of the capital, San José.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The twisty windy roads which are sometimes foggy even during the day are my least favorite part of the trip.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But the people who we meet upon arrival make it all worthwhile.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">Pastor Rigoberto Aguilar already has a Recovery Ministry which draws many people who have suffered from addictions or abuse.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Of particular concern in this pineapple and sugarcane-producing area (where workers are frequently hired short-term and/or receive low pay) is helping women be financially independent.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>So the church has also taught women how to earn money by baking bread or making clothing.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>God laid this church on my heart for months, and when special funding appeared, I approached the pastor and church leaders about offering a course for women to help them be emotionally healthy as they face many life challenges.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I felt God had called me to “come over and help”.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The church accepted the class and invited women in the community to attend.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">I spent four weekends teaching this course.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Several women were so excited that they invited neighbors to come with them.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Many are Nicaraguan immigrants who suffer discrimination and now feel better prepared to stand up for themselves.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Most women felt they were communicating better with their families, especially being better role models for their children.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Most importantly they recognized that they are made in God’s image, and as such, have great value.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This is a liberating thing for women who have been put down and badly treated most of their lives.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> &nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">After class, Pastor Rigoberto shared how the course was helping the women as well as the church (which had gained three new families).<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Obviously he knows the women’s backgrounds and told how some had been abused as girls, others had been abandoned by husbands and had to learn how to bring in money to support their children, as well as one woman who had tried to commit suicide three times.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Despite their difficulties, the students persevered and fourteen finished the course.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">While American Baptist Churches were celebrating Worldwide Communion Sunday, Boca Arenal was celebrating a graduation!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The graduation affirmed these women’s accomplishment of finishing a course, but it also served another purpose.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It was held at the end of morning worship because the church wanted to publicly support these women as well as holding them up as role models.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>What a joy to see husbands, children and church members congratulating the women with big hugs.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">As financial supporters of missions, you, too, were present in Boca Arenal because you made it possible to “go over there”.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In the same way, your gifts to the World Mission Offering are vital!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This Offering provides recruitment and training for new mission initiatives as well as support for on-going workers and projects<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal">.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>Let’s all “Rise to the Challenge” to participate in God’s mission in the world.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></b></span></p> <p></p> Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:40:11 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55869-come-over-to-boca-arenal-and-help-us-rising-to-the-challenge https://internationalministries.org/read/55869-come-over-to-boca-arenal-and-help-us-rising-to-the-challenge Easter Reflections <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--></p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:HyphenationZone>21</w:HyphenationZone> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>ES-CR</w:LidThemeOther> 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style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">“Doris” feels at rock bottom, powerless to defend herself in the moment of the verbal attack.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She is glad that she has joined this class and a support group at her church which help her keep going.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Around our regular class content, her classmates kept reassuring her that the insults hurled at her were untrue and that God would help her overcome this painful period.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We all tried to encourage her using biblical truths.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">The diploma level class of Pastoral Care for Women is given at the same time as the Healthy Relationships course so I was able sit in on the final half-hour of the diploma class based on three resurrection stories.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>There is the widow of Zarephath in 1 Kings 17, the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4 and the widow of Nain in Luke 7.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">As we neared Easter, this was an interesting lesson.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>All three of these women lost their only sons, a terrible tragedy.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Yet the Old Testament women threw themselves at the feet of God’s prophet (Elijah and Elisha) – they had nothing else to lose.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In each case, the prophet also threw himself on top of the child and God’s mercy, praying that life would be restored.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>God worked a miracle in both cases.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In the New Testament story, the widow was on her way to her son’s burial, crying, and Jesus himself had compassion on her and brought her son back to life.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">Death and new life: these are cycles in our lives as well.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Crises (times of loss and conflict) often find us in a downward spiral and then we hit bottom.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It is a kind of death.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>When we have nothing else to lose, we, like the women in the story throw ourselves at God’s feet.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We finally take the risk of asking for help, and God is ready to help us recover, to work a miracle, to bring us back from death. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">That class was encouraging and challenging:<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>There is life after death, recovery after hitting rock bottom.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The truth is that we have a powerful and life-giving God and sometimes we are called to act as mediators (as the prophets did) in the devastating time of death and the hard process of "resurrection", accompanying the anguished around us as God works in their lives.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">As I remembered “Doris” in her crisis and how the class rallied around her with encouragement, I feel privileged to be part of this ministry of accompaniment and hope.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>You, too, are partners in this ministry through your gifts and prayers, part of the life-giving process.&nbsp; <br></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">At this Easter, I wish for you the assurance of Jesus Christ’s life-giving resurrection power operating in your life as you put yourself in His hands.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>May you also be willing to be God’s hope-bearing agents as we accompany one another through life’s ups and downs.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p></p> Sun, 20 Apr 2014 13:23:27 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53651-easter-reflections https://internationalministries.org/read/53651-easter-reflections Helping break the Cycle of Violence: Being "merciful listeners" <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--></p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:HyphenationZone>21</w:HyphenationZone> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> 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<w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 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mso-para-margin-left:0cm; line-height:107%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;This year I have been spending a lot of time getting to know the diploma level classes in Pastoral Care for Women.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>At one location we have been dealing with the topic “The Cycle of Violence” for over three classes.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This cycle always escalates (as it is repeated) and briefly described is:&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language: EN-US" lang="EN-US">1. Accumulation</span></b><span style="font-size:12.0pt; line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language: EN-US" lang="EN-US"> (of hurts and incidents)<span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></p><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language: EN-US" lang="EN-US">2.</span></b><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal">Explosion</b> (the actual violent episode which can be physical, sexual,</span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span>psychological or patrimonial (material/financial) <br></span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US"></span><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language: EN-US" lang="EN-US">3.</span></b><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal">Distancing</b> (pulling back, putting space between)</span><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language: EN-US" lang="EN-US"><br>4.</span></b><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal">Reconciliation </b></span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US"></span> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">The women have begun opening up as they realize where their life experiences fall in this circle.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It was horrifying listening to “Nancy” tell of her violent first marriage with many trips to the hospital, of how her mother told her that this was just the way it was – and how finally she got out of it because she thought he was going to kill her.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Many of the women’s fathers were heavy drinkers which often resulted in a violent home life as well.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>For all these women, this class is a safe place to finally talk about the violence and to understand more about it. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">A few women have said nothing.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We have to keep in mind that it could be because they have not experienced this cycle, or they don’t want to share something so personal or because they are still in the cycle but haven’t built up the strength to break out of it YET.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>One student said she didn’t understand why women put up with beatings (obviously and blessedly having never experienced it), yet now she recognizes the pain expressed by others.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><u>Everyone</u> is finally realizing that it is not easy to break the cycle because there are emotional traps and other factors involved.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">Sharing this class with the women has also been a learning experience for me as well as a holy one.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Listening is allowing them to break the silence and thus break the cycle.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>These are the moments when we connect with them and share God’s hope and healing, since many are still in healing process.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We encourage the church to also be a refuge and a hope-giver for the victims, especially to be “merciful listeners” (literally "ears with hearts").</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">At the last class, “Nancy” spoke of how she asked her three daughters and oldest grandson to write down how the “Cycle of Violence” had affected them, to help her complete her homework assignment.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>When her grandson asked why they had to remember the past, his own mother said, “This is part of the healing process for all of us.”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The homework assignment turned into a blessing for that family!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:35.4pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">Thank you so much for your partnership in this healing ministry of merciful listening and divine hope! <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>Please remember these women in your prayers.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Segoe Script&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Segoe Script&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;</span></p> <p></p> Sun, 30 Mar 2014 16:19:06 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53289-helping-break-the-cycle-of-violence-being-merciful-listeners- https://internationalministries.org/read/53289-helping-break-the-cycle-of-violence-being-merciful-listeners- Working together: political and spiritual coalitions <p> <br></p><p> <span style="line-height: 107%; font-family: &quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US">On Sunday, February 2, Costa Rica celebrated presidential elections. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>It was a very colorful day since each political party has it´s own distinctive flag.&nbsp; Their&nbsp;followers waved them all day -- some were&nbsp;on foot, on bikes, motorcycles and cars.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; There was a lot of horn honking and chanting.&nbsp; What a&nbsp;</span>noisy and interesting day!</span></p><p> <span style="line-height: 107%; font-family: &quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US">However, we don´t have a president yet!<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Rather, there will be a second round of elections on Sunday, April 6<sup>th&nbsp;&nbsp;</sup><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;between&nbsp;the </span>top two candidates from the first round, since no candidate received the mandated 40% of the vote.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Johnny Araya's&nbsp;PLN party(green and white flags) and Luis Guillermo Solís PAC party (red and yellow flags) will be the&nbsp;presidential candidates, each&nbsp;receiving about 30% of the votes.&nbsp;&nbsp;In the meantime, they&nbsp;are trying to put together coalitions (parties that will work together) in order to get a majority.&nbsp; It will help them win the vote, but also get legislation through Congress.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 107%; font-family: &quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US">What does the Costa Rican presidential election have to do with ministry?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Nothing directly!<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>(Aren´t you relieved?)</span></p><p> <span style="line-height: 107%; font-family: &quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US">But political coalitions are a metaphor for how ministry can work as well.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>In the fall, the Pastoral Care for Women ministry received the news that they would no longer receive funds to rent their own office (a house used for hosting groups, classrooms, counseling and work) due to low donations.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It felt like this 15-year old ministry was moving backwards.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p><p> <span style="line-height: 107%; font-family: &quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US">However, we have a great God.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The leadership of Pastoral Care for Women presented their need to the Baptist Federation, in the hopes that they would at least allow them to use classroom space at their building.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Instead, the Baptist Federation graciously extended a generous offer: use of the classrooms AND a small office for a minimal contribution.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; We can continue to offer counseling, classes and coordinate the ministry from an office!</span></span></p><p><span style="line-height: 107%; font-family: &quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US">As God´s followers we are privileged to work together on God´s team, a spiritual coalition as it were.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; Unfortunately&nbsp;this doesn't always happen, but we are truly grateful that it did in this case.&nbsp; </span>(This&nbsp;also helps me since I work with both the Baptist Federation and Pastoral Care for Women!)</span></p><p style="margin: 0cm 0cm 8pt;"><span style="line-height: 107%; font-family: &quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US">Pastoral Care for Women has just finished moving into their new space.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It meant clearing out furniture and old files, getting rid of non-essential items, which sometimes can be painful&nbsp;(and certainly tiring).&nbsp; Yet it can&nbsp;also be a freeing experience.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>It allows us to get a new start, open our eyes for a new vision for ministry, to work with new partners.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We are trusting God to use this experience for good&nbsp;and for&nbsp;His&nbsp;glory.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span></span></p><p> <br></p><p style="margin: 0cm 0cm 8pt;"><span style="line-height: 107%; font-family: &quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span></span></p><p> <br></p> Sun, 02 Mar 2014 19:09:08 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/52858-working-together-political-and-spiritual-coalitions https://internationalministries.org/read/52858-working-together-political-and-spiritual-coalitions That´s Dedication! <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> 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Unicode&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">On November 10<sup>th</sup> the Door of the Holy Spirit Baptist Church dedicated their new building.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The celebrants included congregation members, representatives of other Baptist churches and a delegation of eighteen people from the American Baptist Churches of Great Rivers Region (many of whom had worked on the building).<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>These partners (mentioned in a previous journal) joined together to praise God for what had been accomplished and to set aside this church as a place of peace in the midst of a troubled neighborhood.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Lucida Sans Unicode&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">The service included an enthusiastic time of praise led by the young people of the church, a prayer of dedication spoken by the ministers present over Pastor Sonia and a reading of the church history.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>What wasn´t told during the “official” history reading was Pastor Sonia´s experience when the church consisted of a few women and many children, with very little income.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Lucida Sans Unicode&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">On the bus ride to the Baptist Federation office to inform them that the León XIII group had decided to close down the church, Pastor Sonia felt God speaking to her.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>“What will you say when I ask you on Judgment Day about why you closed the church?”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Pastor Sonia turned back in mid-journey and told the church leaders that they weren´t going to give up, money or no money.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>What a celebration the dedication was to that faithfulness during tough times!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Lucida Sans Unicode&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Rev. John Grisham of ABC-GRR was the guest preacher and spoke on “Gathering Stones” from Joshua 4:19-24, when the Israelites bring 12 stones to build an altar as a testimony to God´s provision.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The message spoke to those present about celebrating their church as a testimony to what God had done (although the people had worked sacrificially as their service to God), as well as marking this place as a place of God´s peace and love in this marginal community.&nbsp;&nbsp;<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Lucida Sans Unicode&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">León XIII is not an easy place to live.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Recently, there were a series of drug-related murders, including the killing of a brother of the church´s youth group leader.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Another member was held up at gunpoint while he delivered building supplies to the church.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Yet, we thank God for this church´s dedication in reaching out to their community.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Lucida Sans Unicode&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">In your prayers, please remember Pastor Sonia, the church leaders and members, their ministry in their community and my deepening relationship with them, that God will direct us and protect us.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Thank you for your dedicated support which makes this possible!</span></p> <p></p> Sat, 07 Dec 2013 18:23:34 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/51712-that-s-dedication- https://internationalministries.org/read/51712-that-s-dedication- Celebrating Endings and Beginnings in Costa Rica <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> 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font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt; font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Saturday, November 2, the Pastoral Care for Women program held a graduation ceremony for the second semester courses, as well as for six women who had completed three years of study for a Diploma in Theology.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>What a joyous event!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt; font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Cecilia, featured in one of this year´s World Mission Offering bulletin inserts, was one of those six graduates.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She cried tears of joy all the way down the aisle to receive her diploma as did those of us who watched.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Since that insert was written, she has also finished her high school diploma and rebuilt her marriage into a relationship based on respect, with zero tolerance for violence.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In a sense, she was celebrating the ending of her studies, but also the beginning of new opportunities for her life.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Her husband and sons were there to celebrate with her.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt; font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">The class from the León XIII Baptist church was there -- along with seven other groups -- to receive their certificates, celebrating the completion of their coursework.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Pastor Sonia (who has a sixth grade education) is now feeling very inspired to seek new beginnings, perhaps entering the diploma program.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>However, she is also looking to the future for the church, pushing for Pastoral Care for Women to give the “Healthy Relationships” course as well, perhaps to both men and women in separate classes.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt; font-family:&quot;Century Gothic&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Celebrate these endings and beginnings with us!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Because of your prayers and financial partnership, you have participated in God´s work in Costa Rica, stimulating these women to grow personally and spiritually.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Thank you for your partnership!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p></p> Thu, 14 Nov 2013 12:07:37 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/51322-celebrating-endings-and-beginnings-in-costa-rica https://internationalministries.org/read/51322-celebrating-endings-and-beginnings-in-costa-rica Learning Empathy in Costa Rica <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> 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gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Sans Unicode&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US"><b>Alternatives to Violence</b> <b>class</b><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Sans Unicode&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Every day we read the headlines full of violence:<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>murders, armed robbery, rape, even neighborhood disputes.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It is no different in Costa Rica.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Sans Unicode&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; This past semester at Pastoral Care for Women, we introduced a new class, Alternatives to Violence, which I co-taught with the program director.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The class was a learning experience both for the teachers and the students.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Most people consider themselves non-violent, but in fact, through the use of exercises, we discovered that we have been taught to compete, instead of cooperate.&nbsp; It was an automatic response in the activities.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We need to re-program our thinking in terms of working for unity and cooperation instead of one person winning and the other losing.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>(We do clarify that non-violence is not being a doormat, either, because it involves respect for both oneself and for others.)</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Sans Unicode&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US"><b>Walk a Mile in My Shoes</b><br></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Sans Unicode&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; One of our exercises was “walking a mile in someone else´s shoes” or living out empathy.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>After literally exchanging shoes in an activity, we then began exchanging difficulties in our lives, allowing someone else to walk in our shoes and give us a new perspective on ways to deal with the problem.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Sans Unicode&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; One class member shared how a family member was terminally ill, yet other family members were in strife.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>A classmate (a doctor) made some good suggestions about patient care and keeping things calm at this time.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Two weeks later the student reported that her relative had died, but that the class had helped her to deal with the family´s reactions.&nbsp; They managed to begin a healthy mourning process without the major conflicts that were brewing.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Sans Unicode&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US"><b>Thank you</b><br></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Sans Unicode&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Each week the students shared how the things we learned were helping them live out their daily lives in healthier, faith-filled ways. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>This growth has been made possible by your generous support to targeted giving and to the World Mission Offering.&nbsp; Thank you so much!</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Sans Unicode&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US"><b>Upcoming Graduation</b><br></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Sans Unicode&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Saturday, November 2, is the graduation ceremony for this semester – during which I have been directly involved in three classes.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Please keep the graduating women as well as the final preparations by the Pastoral Care for Women team in your prayers.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Thank you for your prayers and gifts!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-ansi-language:EN-US"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p></p> Thu, 31 Oct 2013 05:58:55 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/51143-learning-empathy-in-costa-rica https://internationalministries.org/read/51143-learning-empathy-in-costa-rica Godly Partnerships at work in Costa Rica <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> 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QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Corbel&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">“For we are partners working together for God…”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I Corinthians 3:9a (GNT)</span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Corbel&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">The American Baptist Churches of the Great Rivers Region (GRR) has a long-running partnership with the Baptist Federation in Costa Rica.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In 2012, they began work on a construction project at the Baptist Church in the marginal neighborhood of León XIII.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Since that time, several groups have labored side-by-side with the local church members.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The ABC-GRR, work group members and León XIII church fundraisers have contributed money, enabling the congregation to move ahead on the project.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In November we look forward to the dedication of the church building, but that´s a future story.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Corbel&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">I am thankful for this partnership between ABC-GRR and Costa Rica as well as the work groups that have come since my arrival in mid-2012.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>They opened the door for me to continue visiting the León XIII church and establish relationships there.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>What a privilege when I was invited to dedicate a newborn during a service!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It has been an eye-opening experience learning about how difficult life is in León XIII. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>The area is economically depressed with many immigrant residents, drug trafficking is rampant, and the women often work as maids (usually meaning unfair labor conditions).<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>What a need for the Pastoral Care for Women courses! <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Corbel&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">The Women´s Group decided to use these classes as part of their program, so since July we have been teaching “Being a Woman is Marvelous”, the first basic course.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The first night we read a poem by a woman who had a hard life due to her alcoholic husband.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The group´s “easy answer” was to kick the man out and many laughed.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Then an older woman said, “Laugh about it, but it´s not funny when it happens to you.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I remember when I was newly married and my husband came home drunk on payday.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>He´d hand me a bag, saying “There isn´t any money left, but here´s what you have, some oranges.”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Corbel&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Every week we build more trust.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>One student is a recent widow who whispers about her pain after class.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Another is a recovering drug addict who recently came to Christ and shares her struggles of whether God hears her prayers when she doesn´t have any food for her son.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We try to encourage her and have given her an occasional care package.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>We have both young and older women in the class, a good mix.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It´s a privilege to be able to come alongside this church in partnership, to encourage the pastor and members as they grow and minister to their community.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Corbel&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Even though this class ends, the partnership will continue.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We see a great interest in the second class on “Healthy Relationships”, based on the questions asked about family life.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Pastor Sonia has also requested me to give training workshops to church leaders after the dedication service.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Corbel&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">Partnership Does Make a Difference</span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Corbel&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">None of this ministry would have been possible without partnership.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>On one hand, the opportunity to enter this community came about through the regional partnership between the American Baptist Churches of the Great Rivers Region (including the support of many churches, individuals and work groups) and the Baptist Federation of Costa Rica.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This partnership has allowed many people (donors and workers both) to bless this León XIII church as well as numerous others.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>(The Americans have also been blessed in return, I might add!)<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Corbel&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">On the other hand, people who give toward my regular ministry support, Matching Gift opportunities and those who give to World Mission Offering are partners with me.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>You are with me in the León XIII church as we help them grow their leadership and their ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Corbel&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Yes, there are all kinds of partnerships:<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>regions, churches, individuals, missionaries, work groups.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But “we are partners working together for God” and it´s making a difference in a needy community in Costa Rica.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Thank you!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Corbel&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">P.S.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Please remember to give to the <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal">World Mission Offering</b>, it´s an important part of the partnership equation since it includes support for missionaries and for our international partners!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Corbel&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Corbel&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">&nbsp;</span></p> <p></p> Wed, 25 Sep 2013 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/50466-godly-partnerships-at-work-in-costa-rica 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5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Today is May 1.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In Costa Rica, it is the traditional “Labor Day” as in other parts of the world, so it was a holiday.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Today also marks another special day -- the beginning of the 2013 Matching Gift Opportunity through International Ministries.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Starting today and through June 30<sup>th</sup>, contributions from new individual donors and individuals who give a special gift “over and above” their regular contributions to International Ministries can have their gifts doubled.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">American Baptist missionaries depend on the generous support of churches and individuals in order to do ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I´d like to share a brief testimony from the Pastoral Care for Women ministry in Costa Rica which your support makes possible.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">This past Monday, at the next-to-the-last class for the Diploma program in Pastoral Care for Women, the students were sharing their gratitude for how God has used this ministry to bring about change in their lives and families during several years of classes.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Nidia (not her real name) is a woman who believed that she was married for over 30 years until she discovered that her husband was previously married, never divorced and had faked their marriage license with the help of a lawyer friend.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She says, “The courses in Pastoral Care for Women taught me a lot.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I was passive-aggressive, but I learned to be assertive without hurting others.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>God has molded my character through this whole process.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>And the support of my classmates and professor was invaluable as I dealt with my personal situation.”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">I believe that God opened the doors for me to move to Costa Rica and work with women like Nidia.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I also believe that God is calling many others to help meet their needs by a commitment to pray and provide financial support for this ministry -- these are partnership opportunities.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">The Matching Gift Opportunity is one way to meet the increased financial costs related to my work with Pastoral Care for Women.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>And it is a way to double the effect of your gift!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Please prayerfully consider if God is leading you to provide a special gift to International Ministries to support my ministry or that of another missionary.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Gifts may be made online at </span><span lang="ES"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/10"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language: EN-US" lang="EN-US">http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/10</span></a></span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">, or by mailing a check to:<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>International Ministries, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>19482.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>“Matching Gift” must be written on the memo line of checks for the gift to be doubled.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Together, we can share God´s love and hope with women like Nidia and their families in Costa Rica!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p></p> Wed, 01 May 2013 19:22:25 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/48119-a-partnership-opportunity-in-costa-rica https://internationalministries.org/read/48119-a-partnership-opportunity-in-costa-rica Experiencing Easter in Costa Rica <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> 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mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">This will be our first Holy Week in Costa Rica.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Many folks here use it as vacation time, going to the beach for a few days.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>For Christians, it´s also a time for remembering Jesus passion, both his suffering and his victory.</span> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><u><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Suffering</span></u></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Jesus knew terrible things were to come.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed, “Take this cup from me…”,<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>after which he was arrested, beaten, tortured, humiliated and killed in an extremely painful way.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>When we listen to the details of Jesus´ last hours before his death, especially the crucifixion, it is hard to hear about his intense suffering.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">This past month it´s been hard listening to women in the advanced level class of Pastoral Care for Women share their stories.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It´s part of their training; they must learn to share their pain but also recognize where God is at work in their lives, in order to offer hope and help to other women.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">I share the main points of Lili´s (not her real name) testimony. Her father and mother weren´t married so her father pressured her mother to abort her.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Her maternal grandfather molested her at a young age.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>When her mother married, Lili&nbsp; witnessed her stepfather beat her.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>By the time she was 9, a teacher had obliged her to perform oral sex and her female babysitter had also sexually abused her.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>As I listened, I asked myself, “How much suffering can a child take?”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">At age 14 Lili went to live with a Christian couple as their maid.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>They were a light in the darkness for her, offering security, a different family model and a new set of values.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She married at age 21, had three sons but ended up alone again after her husband´s repeated infidelities.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She then fell into a destructive lifestyle, hanging out with a wild crowd, drinking in excess, <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>and even the occult.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Again, God placed a woman in her path who prayed for her and to whom she finally confided all her deep dark secrets, all those painful details.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><u><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Victory </span></u></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Jesus´ suffering and death had a purpose: to atone for the sins of all humanity.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The resurrection was a victory over sin, death and evil. <br></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Lili believes that she has been resurrected, been restored because her return to God has changed her life.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>“I´ve been alive for 5 years now,” she says.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>God placed the Christian woman in her life, and the classes at Pastoral Care for Women that showed her the way toward healthy self esteem and healthy relationships.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She found artistic painting which has served as a healing process as well as a way to bring in money for her family.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>“For me the butterfly is a beautiful symbol, it has come out of its cocoon after its struggles.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I, too, feel like I´ve gone through a metamorphosis.” Lili ended.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She will soon graduate and wants to help other women find this same hope.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">As Jesus brought us life and healing, we Christians try to do the same.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>That is why I find working with “Pastoral Care for Women” so inspiring and worthwhile, not for the horrifying details of suffering, but for the hope we can offer for healing because of what Jesus did for ALL of us in his death and resurrection.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>As you celebrate Easter week, pray for those who are suffering around you and around the world.&nbsp; Share God´s victorious hope and salvation with others. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Thank you for making it possible for me to accompany this ministry in Costa Rica.</span></p> <p></p> Fri, 29 Mar 2013 18:23:02 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/47549-experiencing-easter-in-costa-rica https://internationalministries.org/read/47549-experiencing-easter-in-costa-rica Healing and Help offered in Costa Rica <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> 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style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">Thanksgiving weekend (not a holiday here in Costa Rica) was the date we celebrated the “Retreat against Domestic Violence”.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I knew that it was going to be a heavy experience, but it was also a time of healing and ministry.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">Not all those who attended had been victims of domestic violence.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>However, the retreat created a space to look at ourselves and see how negative experiences in our past had shaped us today.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It was also a chance to learn about domestic violence and all the factors that contribute to it.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">In one of the exercises each pair followed the story of a woman trapped in domestic violence.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>We had to choose what to do and follow through on that choice.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Unfortunately, in my case, Rosa´s story took me to the “Abuse Happens” station four times, and I ended up being killed by my partner while trying to protect a baby son.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Afterwards, several women shared their own stories and how different people had hindered them or helped them leave their abusive situations.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">That evening we celebrated a Prayer Labyrinth (maze) experience in the camp gym.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We were to enter the canvas pathway asking God to remove the dark things within us that we needed out such as bad memories and experiences, fear, insensitivity or sins.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>When we reached the center, many chose to have the leaders pray for them individually, then returned to walk out of the labyrinth thanking God for all the good gifts and the new things in their future.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It was a very moving, healing experience (as well as very draining).</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">Sunday we learned about filling ourselves with good things provided by God and did various exercises to help each one realize her strengths and weaknesses (integral personal development makes us less likely to be victimized as well as being something God calls us to do).<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We also heard about alternatives for escaping and fighting domestic violence.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We ended with a worship service in which the women committed to pray for and support an individual woman that they knew was suffering aggression of some type.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">There were many tears shed that weekend, but 38 women left with new hope in their eyes, having experienced God’s love “in the flesh”.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This weekend really showed me the nitty-gritty of the Pastoral Care for Women ministry.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">During this Christmas season we celebrate that God sent Jesus to love us “in the flesh”.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Thank you for praying and financially supporting this ministry, to pass Jesus´ love on to others.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p></p> Mon, 17 Dec 2012 11:16:10 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/46001-healing-and-help-offered-in-costa-rica https://internationalministries.org/read/46001-healing-and-help-offered-in-costa-rica Women Celebrate Graduation and Growth in Costa Rica <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> 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<w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">I had the privilege recently of attending a graduation ceremony for 112 women who had completed one of the basic Pastoral Care for Women courses:<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Being a Woman is Marvelous or Healthy Relationships.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">As part of the ceremony, each class was asked to do a creative presentation about a teaching that had impacted their lives.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Some dramatized about learning to break down their prejudices, including racial prejudice as well as prejudice against foreigners (especially Nicaraguans).<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Others sang songs that spoke of the changes God was working in their lives.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Others demonstrated different ways to improve relationships within their families: couples spending time alone, better communication and so on.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>What variety!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">I had visited a Healthy Relationships class in Cartago.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Several women spoke about what this course had done for them.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Shirley said, “This course has served as a guiding light for the changes I need to make in my life.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I tend to yell a lot and I´m learning that this doesn´t help in my family relations.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Also, I´m learning to trust my own opinions.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Before, my self esteem was always affected by what other people said.”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Gabriela shared, “Learning to be firm has been helpful in my relationships with my children and I feel more peaceful.” <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>This group´s graduation presentation was a rap song about making healthy choices in their lives and was wonderfully creative. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">One of the side benefits of these classes is the supportive relationships the students develop.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>In fact, this group wanted to continue to meet so badly that they begged the professor to give a short three-session course on “Growing with Our Adolescents”.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>They´ve even added a few more members to the class!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>They now want to grow as persons as well as in their relationships as a way to glorify God.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Thank you for your prayers and financial support which make it possible for me to be part of this ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Please pray for the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend retreat against Domestic Violence.</span></p> <p></p> Fri, 09 Nov 2012 19:21:14 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/45452-women-celebrate-graduation-and-growth-in-costa-rica https://internationalministries.org/read/45452-women-celebrate-graduation-and-growth-in-costa-rica Hearing the call in Costa Rica: A tale of two Ruths and you <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> 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mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Just this past week I met with Costa Rican Baptist Federation leaders and was reminded of how important it is to hear the call. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">I have recently arrived in Costa Rica and was meeting with Ruth Vindas, president of the Baptist Seminary.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The program has been going through a major overhaul, mostly because churches were not finding that the training responded to the needs in their congregations.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>As we spoke about the hoped-for launch of a Christian Education certificate program in which I would be teaching, the president shared about her call to ministry.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">“Ruth Mooney (IM missionary in Costa Rica) was instrumental in my call to ministry,” Ruth Vindas stated.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She had been an active member of a new church start and then heard Ruth Mooney share about the Bible study materials that a writers group was preparing for the churches.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Ruth V. spoke to Ruth M. about participating in this group, even though she had no writing experience; Ruth Mooney encouraged her to join so she did!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">“Those were eight years of enrichment and learning in my life as we studied the Bible together and then wrote materials for different age groups.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I wrote for the children´s level,” Ruth V. added.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It was during this time that Ruth Mooney challenged Ruth V. about God´s call on her life, sharing that she (Ruth M) saw her (Ruth V) as a person with pastoral gifts.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Now, some years later, Ruth Vindas has graduated from the Baptist Seminary, pastored a church and then gone on to get her bachelor´s degree from the Latinamerican Biblical University (UBL).<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Ruth Mooney currently teaches at the UBL and serves as Ruth V´s faculty adviser as she writes her thesis, the final step to earning her licentiate degree.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">About a year ago, Ruth Vindas was named the new president of the Baptist Seminary and has completely revamped the curriculum, based on needs the churches have expressed.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It was exciting to see how practical all the courses are.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Ruth V told me that she planned the courses based on two viewpoints:<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>“As a leader taking the courses, what kind of training would I like to have; as a pastor, what skills would I like to see in a graduate so they could be part of a church ministry team.”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I am thrilled to join in this ministry, of helping those who hear God´s call on their lives prepare themselves for service.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">I was so encouraged to see how God´s call on Ruth Mooney´s life translated into God´s call on Ruth Vindas´ life.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Both of these women heard God´s call and have impacted others´ lives, especially in the area of spiritual growth.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But neither of these women´s ministries would have been possible without <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal">your</b> support of missions, including the World Mission Offering.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">American Baptists give to the World Mission Offering, the bulk of which goes toward missionary support, including myself (Sue Hegarty) and Ruth Mooney.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Another part of this offering goes to assist our partner groups in different countries, one of which is the Costa Rican Baptist Federation, with whom Ruth Vindas serves.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Your gifts translate into real transformation in people´s lives as they respond faithfully to God.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">How about you?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Do you “hear the call” to serve God in a special way?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Do you “hear the call” to give to the World Mission Offering so that others may hear God´s call on their lives?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Now is a great opportunity for us all to hear God´s call on our lives.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">Please pray:</span></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">That the Costa Rican Baptist Federation will be able to kick off the Christian Education classes in October</span></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">That I will be ready for the classes which will train church teams for ministry&nbsp; <span style="mso-spacerun:yes"><br></span></span></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">That the World Mission Offering will bring in the support necessary to maintain and expand ministry around the world in Christ´s name</span></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">&nbsp;</span></p> <p></p> Wed, 12 Sep 2012 15:47:09 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/44619-hearing-the-call-in-costa-rica-a-tale-of-two-ruths-and-you https://internationalministries.org/read/44619-hearing-the-call-in-costa-rica-a-tale-of-two-ruths-and-you Sept. 5 Earthquake in Costa Rica: Missionary Update <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> 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class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;color:black"><b>A update from Sue Hegarty in Costa Rica: </b><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;color:black">At 8:45 am Costa Rica time today, a strong—7.9—earthquake struck Costa Rica. &nbsp;It was centered in Nicoya. &nbsp;I talked to Ruth (Mooney) and she is fine. &nbsp;She was in her office at the Latin American Biblical University (UBL) when it happened. &nbsp;Several things fell off shelves but there was no damage. &nbsp;She says the library is in disarray, as some 300 books fell off the shelves on the upper floor, while three entire bookshelves toppled over on the lower floor.</span><span style="color:black"></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;color:black">I was at home and ran outside (as did all my neighbors). &nbsp;We waited for the shaking to stop before going back inside. &nbsp;This is one of the longest and strongest earthquakes I've ever experienced. &nbsp;But in my home only one thing (plastic) fell off the shelves and so far it appears there was no damage.</span><span style="color:black"></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;color:black">My daughter, Katy, is at school, where I assume everything is fine, as they have not called. &nbsp;In any case, she should be home soon, as she had only a half day of school today.</span><span style="color:black"></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;color:black">So, we are all fine. &nbsp;What we do not yet know is whether there are Baptist Federation churches in Guanacaste that have suffered damage.</span><span style="color:black"></span></p> <p></p> Wed, 05 Sep 2012 12:28:20 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/44499-sept-5-earthquake-in-costa-rica-missionary-update 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mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="tab-stops:45.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">It is always exciting to see God´s leading in your life.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span>I was excited to see God leading me to service in Costa Rica, working with the Baptist Federation and Pastoral Care for Women ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="tab-stops:45.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">However, following that leading can be a bumpy ride since it involves moving from one country to another.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span>Nevertheless, God is always with us as Katy and I have seen over the past few weeks.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="tab-stops:45.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">We moved out of our U.S. apartment with a lot of help, especially from family who were visiting for a reunion.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span>I believe God sent them!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Many others helped us, including getting us to the airport by 4:30 a.m.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="tab-stops:45.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">We arrived in Costa Rica on Wednesday, July 25, to be met by my colleague Ruth Mooney and by Rebeca Cascante, who directs the Costa Rican Pastoral Care for Women ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span>Ruth graciously has housed and fed us and driven us all over to run errands of all kinds.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span>She also did a lot of legwork on housing options so that we actually found the apartment we wanted the day after we arrived, although we didn´t sign a lease until a week later.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span><span style="mso-spacerun:yes"></span>The Pastoral Care for Women ladies have also helped me get the apartment ready for moving in.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="tab-stops:45.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Katy started sixth grade on August 6 at the English-language Marian Baker School.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span>So far she is really enjoying the classes as well as learning basketball and her drama elective.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span>She is looking forward to an overnight class trip at the end of the month.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span>God provided two new American students in her class so she is not the only new kid!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="tab-stops:45.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">We are finding a lot of bureaucracy here, mostly set in place to prevent drug money laundering, but it does make the banking system cumbersome (I need a list of certain documents in order to set up a bank account).<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In addition, without having residency you cannot set up a phone line for your house.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>All of this makes what I have gotten in such short time miraculous:<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>a loan of a stove and refrigerator, loan of access to phone and internet, loan of table and chairs, plus used furniture bought at reasonable prices.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span>God´s hand is in all of this!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span>All this setting up house is necessary in order to begin work.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">We have been establishing relationships with our work partners in the meantime.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span>This is always an on-going process but crucial to ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Ruth has taken us to several of the Baptist churches, which I´ll share about in a future journal.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span>We´ve also attended the funeral of a woman dear to members of the Pastoral Care for Women leadership team, which has become a bonding experience.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span>In addition, they held a special activity where over 60 graduates from the Pastoral Care for Women classes met to talk about the past, present and future of this ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span>It was a beautiful program (combining worship, fun, fellowship, food and a challenging message), ending with a call to the women to commit themselves to serve in a number of ways. </span></p> <span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri;mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language: AR-SA">We thank our partners who have supported us financially and with prayer.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We continue to count on you as we settle in and get started on this new ministry direction.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We also praise God for being present at all times and for God´s wonderful provision. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; <br></span></span> Thu, 16 Aug 2012 10:12:46 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/44297-god-provides-for-new-beginnings-in-costa-rica https://internationalministries.org/read/44297-god-provides-for-new-beginnings-in-costa-rica God-given Opportunities in Costa Rica <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:SplitPgBreakAndParaMark/> <w:DontVertAlignCellWithSp/> 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table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";} </style> <![endif]--> </p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent: 0.5in;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">In April I had a golden opportunity to visit a ministry in Costa Rica called Pastoral Care for Women.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I was interested in this ministry because it uses the Bible to help women in a male-dominated culture realize their worth in Christ; not for what they <u>do</u> but for who they <u>are</u> in Christ.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">At the beginning of one of the classes the students were asked to share with us visitors what they had learned from the class so far. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">I´d like to share Cecilia´s testimony with you.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">I am so thankful for my friend Yahaira who brought me here and paid my way.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I have learned so much,especially that I have value in God´s eyes and to believe in my own worth.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">My partner of 25 years (and the father of my children) always taunted me, saying that he would never marry me because I was fat or because I was ugly.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Just last week his divorce papers came through.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">(Hidden meaning: Probably Cecilia is a woman he “kept on the side” while also having a wife.) </i><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>He came to see me and offered marriage, saying that he would provide everything that I needed.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But he put two conditions on the proposal:<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I can´t come to this class anymore and I must stay at home <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">(i.e. give up my job, not attend church)</i>.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Because of what I learned in this course, I won´t marry him and I don´t want him as a partner.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Cecilia´s testimony shows that she has learned her worth in God´s eyes, and also recognizes that she was living with a verbally abusive man.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>If she married him, the cycle of abuse would begin again because he was already trying to isolate her from her support circles.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She decided to stop this cycle in her life.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>That takes courage – and encouragement from classmates, friends and church family.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">At the end of the class, Cecilia handed out a paper flower to each person there.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The Bible verse attached to mine quotes Psalm 66:9 “God has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Materially she is poor, but now wants to share her God-given hope and creativity with others.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Cecilia is only one example of women changed as a result of this ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">I feel blessed to have been invited to participate in this ministry in Costa Rica.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I am blessed to see God bring healing and new life to these women and I am blessed to be one of God´s partners in this ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I see that my gifts in teaching, in working with biblical applications to daily life, in editing and writing fit very well into the future plans of this ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">But I also felt the confirmation of the Holy Spirit when the Board closed our meeting with two well-known choruses in Spanish.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>One is roughly translated:<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>“God has not brought us this far to go back” (referring to the Israelites going toward the Promised Land).<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It was the theme song for the Editorial Group in Cuba during their intensive training to produce Bible study materials; we were charting new territory then. My life experiences have also brought me to a new place and I don´t want to go backwards, but forward with God.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Then they sang: “God will make a way where there seems to be no way.” (Don Moen)<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It was a meaningful song in my past which represented my acceptance of the challenging ministry and life in Cuba.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Now it felt like God was telling me that he was making a new way for me -- in Costa Rica.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">It´s not easy making changes, but I trust that God is in this call.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>One of the difficulties in making this change is the added expense of doing ministry in Costa Rica.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I now need approximately $3,000 more commitments to reach my personal support goal necessary for my ministry with International Ministries.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This is mainly due to the high rents and an English-speaking school for my daughter Katy, expenses that I did not have in Cuba.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Just as God has provided partners up until this point who have given toward my ministry support, I continue to believe God will “make a way”, by leading others to partner with God and make a financial commitment.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <h3 style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-weight:normal;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold">I see the current International Ministries Matching Grant Opportunity as part of this new way which God is opening.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The </span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">Matching Gift Opportunity </span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-weight:normal;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold">runs from </span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">May 18 through July 31, 2012. </span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-weight:normal;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>Any gifts by new individual donors or increased gifts by existing individual donors can be doubled when given between those dates.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Please go to <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/6">www.internationalministries.org/drives/6</a> for more information.</span></h3> <h3><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-weight: normal;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold">The short version: Y<span style="color:#262626">ou may give<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;color:#262626"></span></h3> <h3 style="margin-left: 0.5in; text-indent: -0.25in;"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Symbol;mso-fareast-font-family:Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family:Symbol;font-weight:normal;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">·<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; color:#262626;font-weight:normal;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold">Online securely, using a credit card</span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-weight:normal;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold"></span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Symbol; font-weight: normal;"><span style=""></span></span></h3><h3 style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Symbol;mso-fareast-font-family:Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family:Symbol;font-weight:normal;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">·<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; color:#262626;font-weight:normal;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold">By personal check (you may download a form online by <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/6">clicking here and then scroll to the bottom on the page and look on the right side for the link)</a></span><span style="font-size:12.0pt; font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-weight:normal;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold"></span></h3> <h3 style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Symbol;mso-fareast-font-family:Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family:Symbol;font-weight:normal;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">·<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; color:#262626;font-weight:normal;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold">By phone at 1-800-222-3872, ext 2323</span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-weight:normal;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold"></span></h3> <h3 style="text-indent:.25in"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; color:#262626;font-weight:normal;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold">I give a special thanks to those who are partnering with me already in prayer and financial support.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Please rejoice with me for this new opportunity to serve in Costa Rica and prayerfully consider how you can support an ABC missionary at this time or share this partnership opportunity with someone else!</span></h3> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">&nbsp;</span></p> Fri, 25 May 2012 12:22:43 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/43039-god-given-opportunities-in-costa-rica 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mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> </p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt; font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">&nbsp;Cuban Christians are a people of prayer.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Since you have so little control over your life, (unlike here where you can always fix things with a phone call), they know their only hope many times is asking God to intervene in different situations on their behalf.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I personally have learned so much about prayer, trusting God, and seeing his power at work when we are helpless.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt; font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Right now we are in the midst of Holy Week, following events in Jesus´ life of powerlessness – betrayal, unjust condemnation, suffering and death.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>We see what a great price Jesus paid for our salvation.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Yet this helplessness is followed by a show of power, resurrection power as God raised Jesus from the dead.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I had a recent experience which reminded me of how much I have learned from Cuban Christians – as well as reminding me once again of God´s great power.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In Ephesians 1:18ff , Paul says:<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparable great power for us who believe.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead…”</i></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt; font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">A cousin called my parents a few weeks ago, sharing that her small main-line denominational church was going through a difficult time.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In brief, the pastor´s family was in turmoil and an adult son was in the news for criminal behavior related to addictions.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>A member of the church had a divinely inspired idea.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>“Let´s have a prayer vigil to support our pastor,” and in the same breath, asked my cousin to head it up.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She consulted my parents, since my father is a retired pastor but they didn´t have any experience with a vigil.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt; font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Enter my Cuban experiences, which include prayer vigils.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>They can be fairly short to all-night services.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I learned from them and actually put together a number of such services.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Again, I felt the Holy Spirit´s inspiration as I wrote down some ideas that could be used.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>When my cousin called back, she took notes while I walked her through some ideas for scriptures, music and prayer.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt; font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Included in the recommendations was a time of praise and adoration of God, and recognition of God´s great power to answer prayer and to change things. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>I also believe that we need to prepare our hearts – to confess our sins and shortcomings, humble ourselves before God so that He can work in our hearts.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Only then can we begin interceding for others.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The intercessory prayers also needed to include petitions for restoration (after all, God is for salvation of the whole person) in the church, the pastoral family and their son. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt; font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">I found the situation intriguing, after all, here I was using skills that I had learned in Cuba to help an American church seek God´s intervention.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I was also grateful for being able to help!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt; font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Two weeks later, my cousin called to report (for forty-five minutes) on what God had done.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She had been so nervous about putting together the program, but she got others involved.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She then spoke of how this prayer service had absolutely revolutionized their little church.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt; font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">First, the expected turnout was thirteen people but forty people came.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>During the time of confession (which I had envisioned as being personally between God and each one present), a key leader stood up to publicly confess an addiction and asked for the congregation´s forgiveness.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Others then spoke in support of this leader, also confessing that they, too, had their shortcomings.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>By the end of the service, there wasn´t a dry eye in the church.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The prayer vigil also spurred reconciliation among the members outside the service.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>My cousin couldn´t stop marveling at how God had moved so powerfully through the congregation.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The proposed purpose of the prayer service was to ask God to work in a “problem” person´s life and those he affected, but instead God´s grace and power were manifested as God changed them all! </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt; font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Cuban Christians would just smile and rejoice with us over this prayer vigil result.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>After all, they see it happening all the time as they constantly lay their needs before an all-powerful God.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Continue to pray for them as they live out their faith in the resurrected Jesus.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt; font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">So for this Easter, despite the things we cannot control, I pray that you will know the hope to which Christ has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his resurrection power in your life. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; 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*/ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">In a recent letter I spoke of my visit to a mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Silver Springs, Maryland, and finding that they often used similar words (with different understandings) and apologetics for their faith.&nbsp;&nbsp;<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"></span>The day of our visit, we didn´t get into much theological details (there are large gaps in my understanding of Islam) but we at least could observe the practice of their worship.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Obviously as a woman I had to go to the section of the mosque (the second floor) designated for women.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The men and the imam (minister) are on the first floor where people sit on a carpeted floor to worship.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The women´s section is the same carpeted area (there are lines to show where to sit) situated directly above the men´s area, with a Plexiglas circle which opens above the front area of the men´s room.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But it is also frosted at the bottom part so that no one looking up from below would be able to see anyone standing above, although women can just barely see over the Plexiglas frost barrier to observe what is going on below.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Both men and women cover their heads while in worship and most of the older women wear head coverings at all times.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>There are even two glass-enclosed nurseries where mothers worship with their children so as not to disturb the other women.&nbsp; Other mothers brought large bottles of milk and had their children lay on the rug beside them as they prayed.<br></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">The Muslim professor who hosted us believes that Islam does not restrict women, but that rather it is the wider culture which dictates additional rules.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Yet his wife, an educated woman living in America, wears her head covering at all times, although you can see her entire face.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She was a wonderful tour guide to the women´s section, explaining many things we saw.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I admire her piety, but I was glad that I am a Christian!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Jesus went (and continues to go) counter-culture, giving women a much greater worth than their own culture awarded them.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>To Jesus, women are just as worthy of redemption as men, as well as capable of serving God.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">This is at sad odds with the reality that many live in the countries where I have served as a missionary.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In Nicaragua, it is a firmly held belief that a woman is nothing without a man, even if she has to share him or put up with beatings.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>How tragic not to recognize each one´s worth because we are each uniquely created by God!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In Cuba, women serve tirelessly (men do also, but women in greater numbers) in the church, yet in many cases they are not given the recognition they deserve.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Yet in both these Latin American societies, it is often the women who give stability to families as men move around.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">I have seen how culture does affect both Muslim and Christians as they live out their lives – and it does not always lead to healthy or moral relations.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>That is why during my home assignment, in addition to getting to know different churches and people, I am studying what constitutes healthy relationships in families.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I feel led in the direction of working with churches, and especially women, to help them understand what the gospel means to them on a very personal level.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Because they have worth in God´s eyes, how will they act?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>How will their faith help them in their everyday relationships, especially with their families?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Will it make a difference in the choices that they make?</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Please pray with me as I ask God to lead me more specifically in my ministerial direction.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Pray for me as I try to prepare myself better.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>And pray that God will raise up commitments for the 23% that I yet need to reach my Personal Support Goal.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">I am so thankful to be a Christian, for both worth and salvation which comes through Jesus Christ.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I am also grateful for your prayer and financial support, which I count on to make my ministry possible.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>May God´s might and mercy empower us as we serve Him!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">&nbsp;</span></p> Thu, 13 Oct 2011 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/39775-culture-and-faith-exploring-new-territory- https://internationalministries.org/read/39775-culture-and-faith-exploring-new-territory- Faith Perspectives <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> 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Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">While on home assignment, I recently had a great opportunity!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I was invited to attend a prayer service during the month of Ramadan at a mosque.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">I am sure of who I am as a Christian, but thought it would be interesting to learn more about Islam.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The reason I was able to do so was that it was a branch of Islam – Ahmadiyya Muslim Community whose main purpose is to promote peacemaking.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>(These are the Muslims doing a blood drive for 9/11.)<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>They were indeed very gracious and respectful hosts.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">The person who invited us, a university professor and practicing Muslim, explained that their branch of Islam (persecuted in some places) believes that their messiah has already come.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>His name was Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>He was born in 1835 in India (into a Muslim family) and died in 1908.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">This title of “messiah” intrigued me, after all, what did it mean to a Muslim?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>As far as I could tell that day, messiah meant that this person predicted that Islam needed reformation – and his predictions came true.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Jesus, the Christian Messiah, was a reformer, too; reforming old religious practices and belief in legalism into transformation through grace.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But Jesus was much more, the one who brought salvation to humanity!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">(While reading up on this later, I discovered that Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani himself proclaimed “to be the metaphorical second coming of Jesus of Nazareth and the divine guide, whose advent was foretold by the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad.”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Christians are still waiting for the real second coming of Jesus…)</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">One visitor asked the professor, “Why, if your messiah´s message of peace is here, doesn´t a world of peace exist?”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>He gave an excellent answer (since Christians are often asked similar questions) by saying that the truth is like aspirin.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>If you have a headache, you can either put it in your pocket where it won´t do you any good, or you can take it and receive the benefit in your body.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>So, it comes down to what you do with the truth.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>If you put it into practice, you will receive “blessing” in your life.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>(He really did use that word!)</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Of course, we as Christians are in a similar situation.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We know the truth of salvation in Jesus Christ.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>If we believe it and practice our faith, we have salvation and blessing as God´s presence transforms our lives.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>If we don´t accept the truth, we forfeit salvation and blessing.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>What a challenge it is to show others that “taking their medicine” (accepting Jesus) really works.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>How do we do this?</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">LIVE THE WORD, PROCLAIM THE WORD, BE TRANSFORMED</span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">The World Mission Offering this year focuses on evangelism, by living out our faith and speaking about our faith in Jesus Christ.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This is something all missionaries (all faithful Christians!) do in a variety of ways.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">I have been fortunate to be able to live in several countries as an IM missionary.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Sometimes living the Word isn´t very easy: the lines are long at the ration store, someone needs a shoulder to cry on while you´re in the middle of a busy moment, people make fun of your faith and the list goes on.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But living the Word gives me the right to proclaim the Word.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I proclaim the Word by writing and leading Bible studies as well as teaching pastoral students how to minister more effectively.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>And I continue, while on home assignment, to explore new ways to both live and proclaim that Word.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">When Jesus, the living Word of John 1, takes hold of our lives and those we minister to, we are all transformed by God.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We have seen it in our own lives and in the lives of others.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Part of “living the Word” includes giving of ourselves and resources.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Thank you so much to those who are living the Word and giving of themselves so that I and other ABC missionaries can “live the Word” and “proclaim the Word” in another setting.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Please give generously to the World Mission Offering as it goes 100% to missionary support and partner groups in over 70 countries who seek to share God´s transforming love and power with others.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Again, thank you for your generosity!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I am deeply grateful for your partnership which makes my ministry possible.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></p> Wed, 28 Sep 2011 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/39500-faith-perspectives https://internationalministries.org/read/39500-faith-perspectives VBS inspires Cubans to trust God <p class="" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">As the world faces economic difficulties, </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">Cuba</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"> is no exception; in addition, the country is contending with poor harvests months after violent tropical storms. Life is becoming more of a daily scramble than before – for money, food, and transportation. In uncertain times, what brings hope?<span style="">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">Second</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"> </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">Baptist</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"> </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">Church</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"> of </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">Santiago</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"> set their ministry emphasis for 2010 on the theme:<span style="">&nbsp; </span>“God opens the door to a new decade, let’s enter with confidence!” based on Rev. 3:7-8.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Seeing what was happening around them, it seemed appropriate to use this same theme for their </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">Vacation</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"> </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">Bible</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"> </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">School</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"> as well.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">The Editorial Group I work with (and whose ministry you support) wrote </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">Vacation</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"> </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">Bible</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"> </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">School</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"> lessons for preschool through adult levels based on this door theme. God opens the door to: salvation, faithful commitment, growth, service and a confident future. After conducting a teacher orientation at the church, I then had the privilege of seeing the lessons put into action while visiting their July VBS.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>The children’s classes were overflowing and there was also a good adult turnout. What a contrast to the annual carnival that is held a few weeks later at the end of the month, promoting lots of conga parades, excessive drinking and partying in the streets when people go into debt to forget their troubles for awhile.</span></p> <p class="" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">Writing the youth and adult lessons was a blessing to me as well; particularly the last lesson on the book of Ruth which helped reaffirm a truth we should know so well but sometimes forget.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">In the first place, Ruth chose an uncertain future when she threw her lot in with her mother-in- law and her God. She left all she had known to go to a foreign country with strange customs and take on the responsibility of supporting Naomi.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Ruth had many needs, including work in order to feed the family, protection, health and friendship. God provided for her present-day needs mostly through the generosity of Boaz. But God went above and beyond, securing Ruth’s future by providing her a husband, property (the inheritance), and a son. Like Ruth, we who trust God can count on his continual presence in our lives, both now and into the future, even through times of uncertainty.<span style="">&nbsp; </span><span style="">&nbsp;</span><span style="">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">I thank the Lord that I have seen this to be true in my life, and I’m sure that you also have found it true. Praise God! I’ve also seen God’s provision for my ministerial needs through your financial and prayer support. Thank you, God is using you as he did Boaz to bring blessing to Ruth and Naomi! Your gifts have been used by God to touch the lives of many people, like those who attended VBS in </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">Santiago</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"> (many of whom were visitors).<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Pray that those both new and old in their faith will have this confidence in their future with Christ.</span></p> <p class="" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">There is still a need for additional funds to underwrite the financial support for my ministry in </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">Cuba</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">. If the Lord is leading you to participate in this way, International Ministries has a special promotion to provide an “Extra Lift” for missionaries still needing to reach 100% of their financial support goal. Through September 27, new recurring commitments ranging from $20 to $100 per month are eligible to be matched dollar for dollar for one year from Extra Lift Matching Funds.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>More information about this opportunity can be found at:<span style="">&nbsp; </span><span style="COLOR: blue;"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/extra_lift_matching">http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/extra_lift_matching</a>.<span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span>I believe that God wants to provide for future ministry in </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">Cuba</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"> as he provided for Ruth’s future.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Let us pray and work to that end together.</span></p> Sun, 15 Aug 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/24646-vbs-inspires-cubans-to-trust-god https://internationalministries.org/read/24646-vbs-inspires-cubans-to-trust-god A Ministry with No Limitations <span>I shared previously regarding my recent trip to participate in a church anniversary celebration. As often happens here, I was impressed by the commitment of many of the Christians in this congregation, especially of Pastor Demas and his wife Rosita, who have worked to form an outreach-minded church. They have two burdens: to begin construction of a larger church building and to reach the special needs persons in their community. </span> <p><span>They have already overcome one hurdle by obtaining a building permit, which is not always the easiest to get, but have few funds to start the foundation for a bigger building. The men work every Saturday cutting down marabou trees (lots of thorns) in order to earn money for construction materials. </span></p> <p><span>However, I found their ministry to special needs persons compelling. Partially attributable to the natural environment and partially to genetics (i.e. close family members who should never have married), there are a large number of special needs persons here, particularly a combination of deaf and blind (the same as Helen Keller) and also those who are mentally handicapped. </span></p> <p><span>A Baptist pastor and his wife lead a ministry for the deaf that teaches sign language so those in many churches can translate the sermon and other church activities. It is beautiful to watch their faces as they communicate, even “singing” with their hands. </span></p> <p><span>I was totally at a loss as to how the pastor was going to introduce me to his neighbors, a brother and sister who were both deaf and blind. He carefully took their hands in his, making movements over different parts of their bodies (not like sign language as I have seen before) to communicate that I was the guest speaker and a foreigner. I received a big hug from both. They understood the introduction better than I did; I had to ask for a translation later.<span>&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p><span>On Sunday morning, all the Sunday school classes joined together so I could give the lesson. I couldn´t believe that they had put the special needs class together with everyone else, but I gave their teacher a sheet with Bible study questions on it. As each group studied, I watched their class with special interest. The teacher managed to communicate the lesson to her five students. At the end, each student stood to give their answers to one of the last questions, which the teacher then translated to us! It was obvious they had understood the lesson!</span></p> <p><span>These folks are not only ministered to, they also participate in the ministry of the church. One young man, who is deaf and blind, works repairing bicycle inner tubes and is a tithing church member. During the special anniversary celebration, he participated confidently in the dramatic presentation about the church history. </span></p> <p><span>Your gifts and prayers support Christian outreach and your brothers and sisters in Christ like those mentioned above. Although I don´t specifically work in special needs education, I do work to support churches and persons as they grow in vision for their Christian service – and you play a very important part in that. </span></p> <span>Just a mini sermon from this experience—God uses us for his purposes if we are willing, no matter how great or small we think we are, no matter our supposed limitations. Let us all seek to let God use us for God´s glory!</span> Fri, 07 May 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/21102-a-ministry-with-no-limitations https://internationalministries.org/read/21102-a-ministry-with-no-limitations Fixing our Eyes on Jesus <span>Dear Friends in Christ,</span> <p><span>Recently I participated in a church´s anniversary celebration, which happened to take place for an entire weekend!<span>&nbsp; </span>The Babiney church, which celebrated 71 years of life in March, is located in a rural area outside of the city of Bayamo (famous in Cuban history because the citizens burned the city down so that when it was captured by the Spanish it would be a hollow victory). </span></p> <p><span>The church has an interesting history in that one Estelita Almaguer heard the gospel in a town outside of Santiago, but decided to return to her home town of Babiney in order to share the good news with others. The first believers were her parents who opened up their own home as a meeting place as they testified about God to family and neighbors. The founders were mostly women who made and sold items in order to raise money to build their simple church sanctuary, which is still in use. The only difference is now they have taken off the front wall so that during special events more people can participate in the services from the backyard. </span></p> <p><span>The celebration consisted of four activities, in which I played some major part. Saturday and Sunday nights are regular services, but I was the guest preacher that weekend. Having never visited there before, I was not certain if I was “on target” in the texts that I had chosen, but I felt gratified that a few people commented that they needed to hear what had been said. They did a dramatic representation on Sunday evening of the church history, speaking of the people who had a part in the formation and ministry of the church including the three churches founded and their seven current missions.</span></p> <p><span>A major part of the celebration for me, however, was an introductory teacher training workshop given Saturday for the teachers and lay leaders who are in charge of their seven missions. On Sunday I tried to give a good example of the teaching <span>&nbsp;</span>I´d been talking about on Saturday: they combined ALL of the Sunday school classes in the sanctuary for me to lead! The adults helped the children and we even heard from the “special needs” class (mostly deaf and blind). I divided the pews into study groups as we looked at different biblical examples from Hebrews 11. They took Moses, Abraham, David – even the founders of their church—as examples of people of faith who overcame challenges and difficulties. Of course we ended the lesson with the passage “surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let<span>&nbsp; </span>us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance…let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith …”<span>&nbsp; </span>(Hebrews 12:1-2).<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p><span>I was and am very conscious of those who have gone before me – and those who also stand with me today—as we serve Christ together. Thank you for standing with me in prayer and support. May we always keep our eyes on Jesus, the one who sends us in His name and sustains us.</span></p> Mon, 12 Apr 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/19860-fixing-our-eyes-on-jesus https://internationalministries.org/read/19860-fixing-our-eyes-on-jesus Signs of the Season <br><p><span>¡Feliz Año Nuevo!<span>&nbsp; </span>Happy New Year!<span>&nbsp; </span>These are the signs you might see around during this season in Cuba. </span></p> <p><span>In the U.S. there are weeks (or months) of decorations, and Christmas music wherever you go… although we can also point out the over-commercialization which misses the true meaning of Christmas. In Cuba there are few Christmas-related decorations to be found in public and definitely not music. You can buy some decorations (small trees usually and some ornaments) for your home, but usually these are not seen in public places. Christmas is a legal holiday here since 1998, after the Pope’s visit to Cuba, but its religious significance is little known. The music we hear is often popular dance music or the drums and singing in an all-night “bembé” (an Afro-Cuban spiritism ritual) since December has several dates that are special to spiritism.</span></p> <p><span>It is often hard to “get into the Christmas spirit” here without some of the things I was used to having around. But it is even harder for those folks who have never heard of Jesus Christ coming as a baby to be Savior to a needy world. </span></p> <p><span>Traditionally churches have celebrated their Christmas activities in their buildings. But Second Baptist Church in Santiago has a twist to their activities. On Christmas Day their music program will present the cantata “The Light Still Shines.” Afterwards they divide the congregation up into four separate groups, sending choir members with each group. These groups walk through different sections of the city singing (caroling, yes) in the streets. For us, this wouldn´t be so different, but in Cuba this is really innovative to take a Christian religious message to the public. The response last year was amazing: people came outside to listen to the singing and approached the church folks to thank them for the Christmas message. So the church has decided to make this a new tradition. Instead of <span>&nbsp;</span>“Go, telling it on the mountain,” they will be singing of God´s love on the streets. </span></p> <p><span>Please pray for all the churches in Cuba, that this season we may be able to reach more people with this “old” Christmas story, making it something new for them. Thank you for your prayers and gifts which make my presence and ministry here possible.</span></p> <span>Ramón, Katy and I wish you all a blessed Christmas and happy New Year!</span> Tue, 22 Dec 2009 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/16426-signs-of-the-season https://internationalministries.org/read/16426-signs-of-the-season Training Leaders to Serve in Cuba <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">Dear Friends,</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">Classes have begun at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in&nbsp;Eastern Cuba this past month.<span>&nbsp; </span>Shortly, on October 10th, the seminary will be celebrating its 60th anniversary. </p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">An extension of that celebration is the graduation of 28 students a few weeks later.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">For the last ten years I have served on the faculty of this institution which trains pastoral leadership for the convention.<span>&nbsp; </span>One of the benefits of being somewhere long enough is to see the fruits of your labor, seeing former students graduated and serving the Lord in wonderful ways.<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">One of those is Pastor Milton.<span>&nbsp; </span>He had studied mechanical engineering until he felt a call to the ministry and entered seminary.<span>&nbsp; </span>Milton has an occasional stuttering problem, but he didn’t let that get in the way of speaking to others about God.<span>&nbsp; </span>He showed good understanding in my Christian education classes, turning in assignments that proved he was putting those principles into practice.<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">After graduation he was sent to a difficult place near Guantanamo where he still pastors today.<span>&nbsp; </span>He has faced some problems this past year, such as the parsonage falling apart during his wife’s difficult second pregnancy, necessitating a temporary move into the church.<span>&nbsp; </span>But now the parsonage is almost repaired, their sons are healthy and the church is moving forward.<span>&nbsp; </span>Pastor Milton is also a newer faculty member at the seminary, teaching Paul’s “Pastoral Epistles”.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">I count it a privilege to have had some part in Milton’s training as a pastor, as well as continuing to encourage him in his ministry.<span>&nbsp; </span>God, of course, has given the increase.<span>&nbsp; </span>But I couldn’t have done my part without your financial and prayer support.<span>&nbsp; </span>Because of that, you also have had a part in Milton and other pastors’ education.<span>&nbsp; </span>Thank you!<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">The month of October is special in American Baptist churches as well.<span>&nbsp; </span>This is the time when we receive the World Mission Offering which goes 100% to support our mission work overseas.<span>&nbsp; </span>With economic hard times, this offering is more important that ever to keep our mission efforts up and running.<span>&nbsp; </span>Because you give, people are being reached for Christ, leaders are being trained and suffering is being alleviated around the world.<span>&nbsp; </span>Please prayerfully consider your WMO gift and know that God does give the increase.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">In Christ,</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">Sue Hegarty</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;">&nbsp;</p> Tue, 29 Sep 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/14328-training-leaders-to-serve-in-cuba https://internationalministries.org/read/14328-training-leaders-to-serve-in-cuba Women Growing in Their Faith Dear Friends,<br><br>On March 8, International Women’s Day was celebrated in Cuba. People on the street say "congratulations" to each woman they pass and some neighborhoods hold a party as a way to celebrate women’s contributions to the work force.<br>&nbsp;<br>The women’s group at our church held a special meeting that day. While we were receiving a special gift of having our nails polished by two of our members, we held a Bible study on what constitutes a good woman, according to society’s norms and according to God. Our discussion emphasized that rather than concentrating on the outward aspect, we need to shine in good works as women dedicated to God (1Timothy 2:8-9). We then listed a number of practical ways that this could be done. <br><br>&nbsp;In the church the women volunteer their time for evangelism, discipling, cooking, cleaning the building, serving as a Sunday school teacher or treasurer-- you name it!&nbsp; These women also struggle to instill Christian values in their marriages and in their relationships with their children and grandchildren. Please pray for them as this is never easy! But lives are changing because of their faithfulness to God and their perseverance in the struggle is encouraging.<br>&nbsp;<br>In my role as an adult Sunday school teacher and as the pastor’s wife, I seek to encourage the women and to give biblical guidance. Through our Sunday school lessons, which deal with decision-making, prayer and obedience, we seek God’s way of doing things. We also touch on subjects such as how to improve marital relationships (a recent study on Song of Solomon turned out to be quite popular!), how to discipline children, and forgiveness. It is always a joy to see people living out these lessons because it brings blessing to a much wider circle of needy people - their families and neighbors.<br><br>Your prayers and financial support are helping to sustain the women in the church as they are growing in their faith and their relationship with God.<br><br>In Christ,<br><br>Sue Hegarty<br> Wed, 13 May 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/11303-women-growing-in-their-faith https://internationalministries.org/read/11303-women-growing-in-their-faith