Thought it might be fun to see some of the kitchens and bathrooms we have while traveling for our Expeditions- giving free medical and dental care, along with eye glasses and nutrition classes. During the medical fair, we have classes for children, youth and Bible Classes specifically for adults (this is an 8 hour class). The weekend is finished with a praise and worship concert, a movie with a sermon relating to the movie. It's a full weekend. Our services are free, however, the community makes us meals for payments. Below are just a few of the facilities.
Okay, I know this is a weird title for an article, but it is the truth.
This year has been a very difficult financial year for us. With prices rising and the dollar losing ground, it has been tough trying to stay on top of bills.
This year we have seen both our car insurance and our children's school tuition increase over 50% while our largest supporting church reduced support substantially.
We have many families that have been faithful in their prayer support and financial support. We appreciate each and every person that commits to pray for us, the ministry and the people God places in our paths. We also greatly appreciate finances in order to keep us in Costa Rica and serve.
We have a family, who asked to remain anonymous that agreed to pay for not only the increase for our children's schooling, but they covered the costs for their entire Senior year.
That might not sound like a big thing- but it is HUGE. In order for our children to receive an education similar to one in the states, we placed them in a private school, and it is considered on the less expensive end for private schools. The boys will graduate in December 2013. Kirsten decided that online schooling was a better fit for her, so she has to take extra English classes. She will graduate in June 2014.
After the boys finish this year, they will probably take some online classes to improve their English. They are taking English as a second language, so in reality, they stopped learning English at age 13. All of them should be ready for college in Fall 2014. That is a scary thought for Bryan and myself, but just another adventure where God will show that He is in control!
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to the anonymous family that is helping our children graduate High School and making the financial burden one less thing to worry about.
We pray for all of our partners that their lives will be abundantly blessed by their faithfulness!!!
This is just a short article, however, we have been so pleased to work with a couple teams from Colorado this past month. Below is an excerpt from a review we recently received as feedback.
When asked about their In-country support and co-operation, this was their reply,
"The Tatums, Jherson, Jhonny, and the many Ticos that helped out the team could not have been more supportive. The leadership is grounded in Christ, but understands that actions of love speak more clearly to youth than devotionals and long talks. I appreciate that you ALL were involved in the service projects, and being present is so important. Thank you for investing in our participants so well. You were willing to listen to our suggestions and change the plan to meet needs, yet the schedule was programmed to meet the needs of a North American team."
Their reply to strengths of the ministry here was,
"Your main strength is your love for Christ. Continue to let him lead you all. Your staff is humble and listening to the voice of God - you all are listening to those in need and then acting, and you all listened to our kids and then supported us.
Bryan & Beth's knowledge of North American culture also helps facilitate the process. I believe your team gives a good balance of cultural immersion and understanding youth can't eat rice & beans every day :).
You all demonstrate flexibility. Not only do you model it well, you are willing to change the schedule to help us process an experience or see a site. You don't have every minute of every day planned, and it allowed us to speak into some activities."
We are so thankful for the teams that we have had a chance to work with already this year and are looking forward to others that will be here soon.
Plan a short term trip and come help us serve.
God bless y'all!
This month's issue of The Mission Society's magazine, Unfinished is online and it is a great glimpse into "what missionaries don't tell you." There are also some pictures of the triplets on pages 26-29.
You can read this month's issue by clicking: http://www.themissionsociety.org/issue-templ/unfinished-55
We would really encourage you to take the time to read this issue. Being on the field really is such a blessing and is truly rewarding but...it is also, at times really difficult. This month's Unfinished gives a glimpse into some of the things that don't typically end up in missionary's newsletters.
I (Beth) have been working inside the women's prison, Buen Pastor, as a teacher for the past 18months.
Along with a couple other women, we teach Spanish classes and lead Celebrate Recovery, a Christian based 12 Step program. Our students represent many countries- USA, Africa, Romania, Canada, Italy, England, Guana Island and Costa Rica. Although our students come from different countries, they have a few things in common- they all speak English (but not all speak Spanish), they are in the same prison and all of them are facing hurts, habits and hang-ups.
There is a long waiting list and everyone if protective of their times. Us teachers, feel extremely blessed to have a classroom and a time to enter the prison each week. Because of this, we take the advise of the warden. This past year, he granted us more time, so we were able to extend our class and have one on one time with girl. This has given us the opportunity to truly sponsor and coach the girls and help them to allow the Holy Spirit to work in their lives.
We never know what we will walk into and speak to as we enter the prison and our classroom. On our drive there, we always say a prayer for our ladies, the guards, the warden and for easy admittance. Our first encounter at the prison is with the guards, who depending on the day, decide how easy or difficult it will be to enter. Most of the guards know us and send u son our way. Occasionally, they re will be anew rule and we will not be allowed to take something in that was permitted with week before, and the following week. Sometime the personal search is more lengthily and sometimes there is no search. We arrive before our students, so before they come into the room we have to do a quick cleaning. This includes wiping down the tables and chairs and most importantly, disguising the pee smell the critters leave behind. Before Sometimes the girls are struggling with the lack of basic needs- toilet paper, soap, ect. Some surprises this year have been helping the girls not only deal with issues and pains, but often we see depression, witchcraft, an attempted escape, drugs, our girls coming to class beaten up and self-induced physical abuse. However, we also see joy and benefit in their lives when they work getting out of denial and give up trying to run their lives and allow God's will to come alive. We have been able to share the excitement of the release from prison. But the most joy comes from seeing teh radical change in their lives as they have accepted the love of hte Christ and have repenteed from their pasts.
There are so many times we see God actively working and present in prison. Below are just a couple examples from this month.
A few weeks ago, one of the girls that will be extradited back to her home country told me that she was very nervous about going back. She really wants to go, so she can be closer to family and have her daughter visit her. However, her concern is what her mother will do when she sees her. She is afraid that her mother will not recognize her. She almost brought tears to my eyes, when she said that the reason her mother might not recognize her is because in her pre-prison, pre-Christ living in her life, she looked much harder. She never smiled with happiness, she swore and was always ready to beat someone up. And now, to look at her you would see a softer face, always smiling and ready to help others. She wants to be baptized, but wants to wait until she back in her home country.
Yesterday was another huge God moment. It started off with us being two leaders down- that is a lot when there are only four of us. We start class with a devotion from one of the girls that has volunteered to lead. Yesterday, the girl that was suppose to lead in devotion wasn't there. As I was making announcements, Nancy, one of our leaders opened her Bible and pulled out some half sheets that a devotion written on them. As she shared the devotion, my mouth dropped open. I was shocked to hear that the devotion was a perfect lead into the lesson that I had prepared for the day.
When Nancy and I discussed this after class, she admitted that she had no idea that a devotion was in her Bible. She had just opened it and saw those papers. Ironically, she had the exact amount of papers as there were girls in class that day. I guess it was exactly what the girls needed that day. They never knew that we hadn't discussed our lesson plan ahead of time.