Wednesday, December 15, 2010
This week I finally got to see the teen girl drug rehab centre and just observe the program. This is something I have been praying about for a while now. I have felt for some time now that God is calling me to focus on discipleship and teaching the Bible and heard that this ministry was specifically looking for someone to do that. I have so far been quite impressed with this ministry and will be continueing to observe and pray for the meantime. Their program for this area is to run a group Bible study and then do individual sessions with the girls where they can discuss their thoughts/questions about God and the Bible. This is a passion of mine and will see if this is where God would like me to serve.
1. Pray for me as I have been feeling really discouraged and overwhelmed. It is really hard to work with youth at risk and have been feeling so weak and just attacked by Satan. I'm dealing with so many teen issues that I never anticipated. I'm feeling a bit naive/innocent to work with teens who have been through so much. Pray for strength, wisdom, and guidance.
2. Pray for Marilyn as she will be starting school next month and just pray for her relationship with God. Also pray for the money to pay for her GED/English program for the year ($800.00) This will cut her completion of high school from 3 years to 1.5 years and get her on the road to independence.
Thanks for all your prayers and support, I simply couldn't do it without you guys. I truly pray Gods blessing over this Christmas season. Let me know if I can lift you up in prayer.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Anyways, on Saturday they had a spiritual warfare conference and I decided to attend. At the end of the conference, is when things became uncomfortable for me. The guest speaker began to pray against demonic attacks and people began to fall to the floor and shriek. I was praying the whole time as I was really battling with my feelings on the whole thing. Is this right? Is what is going on here from God? One thing I could tell is that there were some very real things going on and very obvious demonic things going on.
I prayed that it would stop if it wasn't from God......it didn't stop....I continue feeling uncomfortable with the whole idea but decided that I needed to block the activities around me and pray....after all this is about my communion with God and not the others there....that is between them and God.
God told me one thing while I was praying. I told God that I just don't understand and he simply said......that's okay, you don't have to understand. hmmmm interesting. I don't need to over contemplate it.....yes my opinion over the whole thing is fairly conservative but there is one thing that is sure. God is there and he is working in the people of this church. These people DO have a relationship with God so I need to step back and let God do the judging.
Can I worship God amidst this going on? The answer is yes. Will I have alot of questions when I get to heaven? Absolutely. So as I struggle with all of this.....pray for me. There are some things that I won't understand and there will be things that I downright disagree with but what this is really about is my act of worship to God. God sees my heart and he see's their hearts and in his grace he still speaks and works with us flawed humans even if we don't get it quite right.
Another thing I have been going through is just accepting the expectations of the church culture here in Costa Rica. I struggle with the fact that in order to be a part of a church here there are certain liberties that I must give up that I wouldn't have to give up in Canada. It's hard to surrender to that when you have a stubborn, independant personality like me. I was shocked to learn to what extent the pastor's here have power and how much they are respected.
This is not a bad thing but something rubbed me the wrong way when I was told I would have to ask the pastor for permission for a bunch of things.........permission for what? Hmmm permission to visit another church, permission to be involved in any kind of ministry outside of the church, and if it ever comes up... permission to date someone. Oh yeah.....have I mentioned that when you choose to date someone, that it must be announced in front of the church? Hmmm I think I will just stay single for a long long time......works for me!!!
I was also shocked to find out that I am expected to be at church for every service and that if I don't go that I have to answer to the pastor and give a good enough reason why I wasn't there. Doesn't sound like a big deal right? Well.......I find it tough. So please pray for a more submissive spirit on my part....and that these cultural differences won't make me dwell on the freedoms I had in Canada. I guess its not a big deal to be committed to being at church a minimum of 3 times per week:) I do enjoy it, so I won't let the idea that I have to, change my attitude.
On the bright side, the pastor is a good pastor and trust me......if I am not paying attention in the service......he WILL notice! His eyes pierce your soul...no hiding from him!! I keep reminding myself, there is nothing wrong with being held accountable.
******** I know that this blog entry might make some uncomfortable, I did not write it to give an opinion or to discuss theology but just to show a glimpse of my personal experiences and to be honest of my own personal struggles living in another culture and attending a church that is different than what I am used to**********
Monday, October 11, 2010
I just thought that I would update with you all that last night I made it through the day without saying anything to Marilyn and that we ended up talking and afterwards she seemed to be in a better mood.
I was still waiting knowing that she still might leave but had a sigh of relief when she asked if I could give her a back massage last night.....(meaning she was planning to be home :) So she is still here. We had a good talk and prayed together last night.
But please, please continue to pray......the battle is not over. My life with my little sister is very much like a rollercoaster at times and the spiritual attacks go on. Today is a good day......but tomorrow could be different. I'm just taking it a day at a time and continuing to pray against these spiritual attacks. Also pray that God will give me the strength to continue on fighting against these attacks and that he would give me the discernment I need day to day as I interact with her. Thanks so much for the encouraging notes.....it really helps me to have strength knowing that I am not alone and that people are lifting me up in prayer. I feel loved and blessed by you all.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
This ache that I feel for her is also a gift from God. God is the one that called me to love her without holding back.... knowing that at any time......my heart could be broken by the outcome. You see Marilyn doesn't see herself how God see's her and how I see her. She doesn't think much of herself and just doesn't believe that she can live her life differently than her past and differently than her family have lived. There is so much pressure pulling her to do everything that will leave her hurt and empty.
I know that God has connected me to her. When she is going through something, I can feel it in my gut....even when I'm not in her presence.....I just know when something is wrong. I can be enjoying time with friends when all of a sudden I feel something off and my stomach starts to turn. When it happens it is intense. This has been my life the last couple months about 4 times each week. Each time, this is followed by me talking with her for hours, encouraging her and praying. It has been hard but God has just opened up my world to the spiritual battle within her. The worst part is that I feel that Satan is winning despite my prayers and talks with her.
Anyways, I wanted to share this so that you can continue to pray for me.....I need it. This morning is one of those mornings when my stomach is turning. She doesn't know that I know what is going on. You see......she told one of my friends that she is planning to move out today without telling me. I am going to a Thanksgiving dinner tonight...and while I'm there she is planning to leave.Where? with a classmate that is not a Christian and a hardcore partier......which is one of her constant temptations.
I can imagine how you parents feel. After investing so much time in the last year and pouring my heart into her.....its hard to sit back and watch her go downhill. She is like a little sister to me. The hardest part is that I feel God telling me not to say anything or intervene. My hands are tied. There is always a chance that she will change her mind, that this is a cry for help, manipulation, or that she will just move out, but until tonight......I am sitting here.....absolutely crushed and I can't even show it. I am seeking God and just praying. His will be done and not mine. If she does leave.....I will need God to help me through it.....I know that Satan tries to bring me down with feelings that if she falls that its my fault.....but I do the best I can.....I love with the love that God gives.....and I accept the pain that comes with that sometimes. It's amazing to me how God loves all of us in this way (and even more). I remind myself of God's unconditional love and how he loved his disciples even when he knew they would deny him and betray him. God calls us to love in this way, in a way that is radical and unconditional. Thanks for being prayer warriors for my situation/ministry.
Friday, September 3, 2010
But......at the same time and just as intensely, Satan has been attacking me. I felt it so strong this week that I actually have felt short of breath at times. So please keep me in your prayers. I went to my get away in the mountains the last few days to really pray, read my Bible, and have some fellowship with a missionary friend. I know that God is doing some cool things and Satan doesn't like it. I am also feeling that some of these spiritual attacks are coming through Marilyn or that Satan is attacking her too. Please pray. Something is off and I really feel it.
Also, I will be dedicating this month to fasting and prayer specifically, and seeking God's continued guidance in ministry....I feel God pulling me in a specifec direction but need his confirmation above all. I know that God is calling me specifically to disciple but am seeking how he exactly wants me to go about it. I believe in the power of prayer and would appreciate your prayers!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Today, I was on the way to the soup kitchen as usual when I saw a murdered man lying on the side of the road surrounded by a cop car and bystanders.....and I wonder....who was this young man? Did he know Jesus? Did he know today would be his last day? My heart breaks for his family.
The unspeakable stories I have heard this week haunt me and for just a moment I feel hopeless. A baby sold in the slums, the horrible things that missionaries have done, split families, lack of family peace. Youth going through so much, youth straying from the church,.....all things that interrupt my life for a moment and make me hurt for the pain they feel.
I hate these interruptions of my happy- go- lucky personality. Why is there so much injustice? Why do some people have to go through so much.....while others live such a blessed life..... But......through all these heart wrenching things.....God speaks to me.
I see hope in the children's faces at the Soup kitchen. They smile and carry on playing as if nothing horrible is going on in the world. I see their innocence even as they grow up in some of the worst environments. I hear the passion that God gives some youth to follow him, lives truly reborn. I love hearing the stories of recovery and how God works through even the worst circumstances. I love how all of this drives me to pray that much more.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Before each meeting, Me and Anita would pray for God's words and not our own. We didn't plan or strategize how we were going to share, but left all of that open to the Spirit's leading. Really giving each meeting to God, helped me to conquer my fears and really open my heart to people. It has been a growing experience for me. I now feel better equipped and secure knowing that more people are lifting up me in prayer as well as the people that I work with...Marilyn,her family and the youth and children who live in poverty. I feel more prepared to return and pursue relational missions and discipleship.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Sadly, this is the reality of life for many living in the slums. Despite the presence of many organizations, the need is never covered completely. Even so, many come with medical aid, food , clothing, and churches but the problems remain and the youth/children are left in despair. They have food for the day but they are getting eaten up spiritually.
Think about the people in your life who made in a difference……who was it? Hmm I’m guessing that it was someone who simply took the time to know you and love you. That’s exactly what I want to do; build relationships in the community, share God with everyone and disciple those who want to have a deeper relationship with him. The idea is simple but the mission is difficult….but the good news is that YOU can help!
Ways that you can help!!!
1) Become a Prayer partner for my ministry! I am working in a community that lives in poverty and I work with children/youth at risk. Many of them come from really hard situations. This is very challenging for me and I need prayer. I need people committed to praying for God’s work here in Costa Rica.
2) Be an Advocate! One thing that I would like to do is share about the ministry going on in Costa Rica. I need Bible Studies/ small groups to share with. I plan to bring some snacks from Costa Rica and possibly cook a typical Costa Rican dish for some or all of the small groups. Could you open your home and invite some friends over? Do you know friends who have Bible Study groups that would be open to hearing about Costa Rica? Please…..let me know!!!
3) Partner with me Financially! In order to carry on in the ministry here and reach out to children and youth at risk, I need the finances to cover not only basic living costs but also funds to help the ministries I work with.
Friday, April 16, 2010
I met with the landlords last night, and they are the sweetest people ever. Their not looking to make money renting the house they just want good tenants. I even chatted with their daughter for a bit and we might hang out sometime! They even lowered a already cheap rent for me! Also with a new room mate, my cost of living will go down a lot! Amen!!! So I'm looking forward to it........really it came just in time.......I found a baby tarantula in my house yesterday and was thinking......what else is in this house that I don't know about??!!
All in all though I know that I have been blessed even where I am at. There are many who would love the house I am living at. I almost felt guilty about finding another house.....but when I realized that in the end it would be cheaper and a even better location for ministry.....I knew that God was blessing it and opening this door. I have been having alot of problems in this house due to mold and it has been affecting my health so I look forward to having more energy........and not dealing with infestations!!!
Thursday, April 8, 2010
I had so many fears stepping on that plane a year ago and now looking back, I can see God's hand in every step. I felt that life was so perfect in Calgary that I was afraid of exchanging that for the unknown. It has been a journey through doing things that I never thought I could do. When I told God I would do anything for him, I had no clue that he would have me do everything that I was afraid of!! What were/are those fears? Public speaking, leading and socializing in groups. Well, that is all I've done and I'm telling you, nothing feels better than having the chains loosened of these insecurities and coming to the realization of the truth that I can really do everything with Christ who gives me strength!
Anyways, today was just one of those days where I felt God telling me that he loves me through every little thing. Being ministered to by the christian radio station here, taking in the beauty of this country, spending time with wonderful people who love the lord and seeing God transform lives. I can truly say God has given me more than I ever could have asked for.
Soooooo, if there is something that God is calling you towards......GO FOR IT! Don't worry about the risk of diving into the unknown. God knows your heart and your desires and he will only call you to the best. The growing pains may hurt but I can promise the same contentment that I have experienced. Through every circumstance, good or bad......if you keep your eyes on Jesus.....I have no doubt that you will feel the blessing of having someone perfect by your side. Who could be a better guide/teacher but God himself who knit you together in your mothers womb.....who has seen you grow and who knows your future? Rest in him.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
The situation with Marilyn is somewhat resolved. In the end I got two competely different stories from either sides and after putting two and two together, came to the conclusion that my "little sister" who I care so much for has been lying about a whole lot of things. I've confronted her a bit but am finding a balance between enabling her behavior and confronting too harshly. She's going through so much in her life, and I don't want to push her too far. There is so much drama going on with this situation and so much dysfunction with her family. So I'm putting this behind me and moving on. But for the future I now know what to watch for.
So this week has been eventful to say the least. Tuesday night I spent my official 5th night waiting in emergency......I am WAY too familiar with the hospitals here! Marilyns Dad and brother got into a car accident and her brother was being checked for internal bleeding etc. So finally at 5:30am the next day I went to sleep. Thank God that her brother was 100% okay. It was quite a accident!
For the past 6 weeks I have been taking some classes at YWAM regarding Children at Risk. Those classes have been such a blessing and already I am finding ways to apply them to my life and ministry now. Last week the classes were on Human Trafficking. This week I found out naturally through Marilyn about possible human trafficking going on in Los Guido. She told me that a bunch of her friends are working in the States washing dishes and that this week her friend was leaving to do the same thing. I found that kind of suspicious and asked a few more questions.....only to find out that I believe that some youth in her community are being trafficked.....all of them.....under age 20.
So I find myself thinking about how I can raise awareness amongst the youth in this community. They are the perfect targets.....all live in poverty....all find a hard time finding hope for a better future...and then....a foreignor comes and tells them that they can go to the States to work in hotels.....that the apartment will be paid for......that they will make alot of money....and that their visa and flight will all be paid for.....and then they leave. What goes on from there only God knows. Anyways, just something on my mind now. Marilyn was wanting more information on these job opportunites and thats how I found out about it. When I warned her, she was surprised. She's never heard that woman are trafficked from foreign countries to the States to be sold into the sex trade. Hmmmm something to think about.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Of course, whenever I leave the country, a surprise situation is always waiting to be uncovered upon my return. This last week here has definitely been a challenge. When I came home, my room mate was very sad. As she explained what happened, she started to cry. Some people in leadership in her life accused her of doing some things that she hasn't been doing. She is so hurt by this. She has had a rough life but Christ started changing her life around two years ago. Some people think that she is still living like she did before. This has really made me sad because I know that she has been doing well. I know Satan is really using this situation as a huge discouragement in her faith. She is losing trust for the Christians who are in her life. Please pray for her during this time and pray for me as I continue to love and encourage her in her faith.
Also, pray for me as I will be speaking with her leadership regarding the situation. I don't want to enter this situation thinking over protectively of Marilyn but just as someone who is questioning the situation with love and understanding. This is a challenge after seeing her so upset all week and crying every day about the situation. But God holds this in his hands and I trust that he will give me the words I need.
The positive of everything that has happened in the last months is that God is filling me with his peace. I was so worried and stressed and it was running me down. But through my trip to Texas and just taking it easy this week and praying, I feel peace. God has my finances and he has Marilyn in his hands. I need not worry but just to continue walking and seeking after God's direction.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Since we are all a family in Christ, I have been realizing that I am bearing a load that is not meant for me to handle on my own. I need to be open with all of you because you are an important part of God's mission here in Costa Rica.
Something that is really hard for me to do but it so needs to be done, is to be completely honest about my financial situation here. I have really been praying for more support here as I have been running a deficit nearly every month for the last year. Because of this deficit I have gotten into debt. I have tried to ignore the problem but it has come to the point where it cannot be ignored any longer. It has hit me that if something doesn't change......I might just be another missionary forced to leave the field due to finances.
It has been a hard line for me to draw. I ask myself......Do I really need to share this with people or should I just be quiet and trust that God will provide in his own way. It then occurred to me that I have been rediculous not to share. I have come to the realization that my pride has held me back from truly asking for help. I have lately just felt God nudging me, reminding me that this is not my mission but his mission. Anything that is God's mission is the churches mission as well. We share in the ministry here in Costa Rica. I'm not quite sure sometimes how to voice my needs so I'm hoping that the following info will convey the extent of my need.
Car Insurance: 15.00
Total Needed: 855.00 U.S minimum is needed to cover main expenses here not including ministry expenses
Average Monthly Support: 500.00 U.S
Deficit: 355.00 U.S
Medical insurance for the year: 900.00 due on March 4th
Required trip to Texas for Missions organization: 1000.00....leaving on March 14th
Something that I am working on is taking the time to truly communicate with all of you as to what is going on here. I have been so caught up in ministry that I have found that months sometimes go by without me writing an update. I want you all to know what is going on here in my ministries and the things that God has been doing in my life. God truly has opened doors here for me in ministry and I would like to continue serving God here. I know that God called me here and that I moved here in obediance to that call. When I came I was very afraid because I didn't have any clue what was going to happen. I feel that God has blessed me beyond measure here and I don't feel like my time here is anywhere close to done.
Having said that......I know that God is more than able to provide for all my needs and that whatever his will is, will come to pass. I am asking for you all to unite with me in prayer. Prayer for provision, prayer for my ministries, prayer for me and Marilyn. I need your partnership to continue the mission that God has given me here. I also ask that if God lays the work going on in Costa Rica on your hearts, that you will consider partnering with me financially to allow me to continue to serve here. God does provide. But God also uses people to provide. I apologize for keeping this problem from you for so long, God is helping me to face my pride and to be open about my needs.
If any of you have any questions about my work here in Costa Rica, I would be more than happy to explain in more detail. Feel free to check out my video on youtube under "Rachel Garber Missionary in Costa Rica".
As God lays it on your hearts, you can send all support to the following address.
1731 Lesperance Road
Windsor ON N8N 1Y2
The check should be made to Commission to Every Nation or CTEN. Make sure that if your sending a cheque, that you include a note with my name on it.
For all letters:
La y Griega
San Jose, Costa Rica
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Well, I can hardly believe that it is almost March. Every month seems to fly here and before I know it, I realize that I haven’t sent an update in quite some time. I can hardly believe that I have been living here in Costa Rica for almost a year. God has opened so many doors here and I feel so blessed to share in the blessings of the ministry here. Instead of trying to explain away the last few months which would be lengthly and quite impossible I will share about my last few weeks and hopefully will find a way to send more regular updates.
This month was different then a lot of months. First of all, we finished all the work for the sponsorship program which included a lot of shopping, organizing, handing out uniforms and school supplies. After several trips to the store and several other trips exchanging shoes and such, we had everything delivered and around 70 children ready for school! It was a lot of work but so priceless to see the smiles on the children’s faces.
After the sponsorship program was finished I thought that I would have a couple weeks off to relax……but…….as per usual in Costa Rica……something came up! I ended up rushing my room-mate Marilyn to the emergency room as she was in extreme pain and hemorraging. In short, they ended up operating on her uterus and sent her home less than 24 hours later to recover at home. So my job for a week and a half was to take care of Marilyn. The surgery also left its emotional impact on her as she found out that she will most likely not be able to have children. About a week and a half after this surgery, we had another scare and ended up in the emergency room again. Much to her relief and mine…..she didn’t need another surgery.
The above picture is a picture of Marilyn and her family. Marilyn is the girl in the blue shirt.
This last week I was translating for a medical team and had the privelage of working with doctor Kit who works in Cambodia. I was so amazed by the openness of all the people who came to see him. We were able to share the gospel with some of the patients and have some meaningful discussions and prayer times. This really opened my eyes to how much people really are searching. I honestly was expecting more rejection but instead all I saw were people who were hungry for God. What an encouragement that was!
It was also neat because one of the things that I have been praying about is doing more relational and discipleship ministries. It’s like God was telling me to feed them. They were coming with different health concerns but there was this intense spiritual hunger that I saw. God really used this time to encourage me and helped me to focus more on the reality of the spiritual struggles that people are going through. Perhaps the biggest lie is the assumption that people don’t want to hear.
That has pretty much been what is going on down here in this moment. Next week I am starting 3 weeks of classes at YWAM about working with children at risk. I’m very excited to learn more as everyday I am faced with different social situations. This is also an excellent time to get to know other people working in ministry here in Costa Rica and take a few weeks to think and pray about future ministry here. I will finish this newsletter with some prayer requests:
1) Please pray for Marilyn. Marilyn’s health is still not the greatest. She has high blood pressure and gastritis and is still recovering from her surgery emotionally. Also, there are a lot of things going on in her family that is keeping her stressed. Pray for the healing of relationships in her family.
2) Please pray for me. Pray for direction. I am finding that there are so many doors here and I’m praying about what steps to take. Also keep my financial situation in your prayers. I am really struggling financially.
3) Please pray for provision for my ministries. Specifically the children’s soup kitchen. Also pray for more workers for the soup kitchen.