Friday, December 21, 2012

Open Doors!

Hey Everyone!

Cookies and Friends!!!
First of all, Merry Christmas!!!! I hope that all of you are enjoying the holidays with your family and friends and that you have felt blessed by this year and are looking forward to next year! As per usual months go by, and I suddenly realize that I haven't written on my blog in WAY too long! Do some of you ever feel that time just goes by so quickly....I don't even feel that it has been that long! So for those of you who have been wondering for a while what has been going on in Costa Rica.....I'm sorry. I have to admit that blogging is a struggle for me, I find it hard to find the words sometimes.

Things have been getting better on this end in many ways. I thank God for some new support that has been coming in and I thank God for those of you who have really prayed for me and for the ministry here in Costa Rica. So many transitions have been happening on this end, and it seems that God has some new plans for me in the coming year. This month has been low key in the ministry department so I have been teaching some Costa Rican ladies how to make cookies over the Christmas season and I have been learning how to make tamales ( a typical Costa Rican Christmas food ) So that has been really fun!

The Kids at VBS!!!
Earlier this month, me and a friend also had the chance to run a 3 day VBS for missionary kids in a town 4 hours from where we live. It was a marriage retreat for missionary couples so they needed someone to have activities for the kids during the sessions and parent date time. We had 12 kids and had a blast going over the Christmas story and doing crafts and games. I had the chance to see some old friends from my Bible College days in Peru! It was awesome!

Bible Institute Group Shot!
The end of November I was privelaged to translate for a Bible Institute intensive course for 3 days! I really enjoyed translating and really was impressed with this Institute. What this institute does is travel around Central America equipping pastors and church leaders through different 3 day courses. There are many pastors that haven't had any formal theological training and cannot afford to/ don't have time to go to seminary. So every 3 months they give a different theological course in different locations. They form the program in a way that is transferable for these church leaders to pass on in their own churches both for educated and uneducated alike. It was very well done, interesting, and left me quite impressed. I may have another opportunity in February to translate for a course they will be doing on the book of Revelations in Nicaragua. Translating for this really opened my eyes to the possiblity of using my translation to contribute to equipping national leaders.

Another door that God has been opening for me is the chance to do one-on-one discipleship with a church plant in San Jose. In January I will be meeting with the pastor and 4 ladies to start a individual plan for discipleship for each one. Also, it looks like maybe another church plant is interested in me doing one-on-one discipleship with some new believers in their church. I guess January will reveal exactly what opportunities there are.

This is exciting for me as this is exactly what I have been praying for for so long! These last almost 4 years in Costa Rica, I have been open to a variety of ministries and outreaches and have been challenged a lot out of my comfort zone. Most of what I have done has been teaching groups in some capacity. Those that know me, know very well that I am more of a introverted type and usually struggle to lead/ interact in large groups. I feel that God has taught me to trust in Him through my weaknesses but I also feel that God desires to bring me into a area of ministry where I am truly gifted. That's why one-on-one discipleship is something that makes me excited. I feel that I come so much more alive when working with individuals. I love to encourage, pray for, and teach to meet personal spiritual needs as opposed to figuring out how to teach a range of people in one group. That way I can pray more specifically for the individual and pray for the Holy Spirit's leading for discipling/encouraging different individuals.

The interesting thing about coming to these conclusions is that I find I am so nervous teaching in groups but yet I have noticed that when I translate; I come alive and do fine delivering someone else's message in groups. It's like I become the person giving the message and mimic their personality. That's the interesting thing about translating is that your job is to accurately give precisely the message that person is giving and its important to convey that person's personality as well. So I feel God is revealing ways to me how I can serve in accordance to the giftings He has given me. It has just taken a while to figure that out. I will be doing translating for mission's teams about 1 week out of every month and am looking into maybe doing some freelance translating for other organization's doing discipleship in between one-on-one discipleship sessions and misson's teams.

Last day in Guarari...Luckily I will be visiting with teams!!
You may ask; Why all this change? For the last year, Me and Anita were hoping to do discipleship in a slum community here. What we both realized over time, was that there were very limited opportunities to do this in the ministry atmosphere we were in. We were teaching a youth group, and working with the kids there but we just realized that what the ministry's vision was, really wasn't a match for what we felt God wanted us to do. But of course sometimes feelings lie so I really prayed and asked the Lord what to do. I didn't want to give up and God knows my heart is to do what His will is no matter what that is. All I wanted to do was serve God and contribute to some sort of discipleship even if it wasn't me doing the discipleship specifically. However, I just realized that I wouldn't be able to do that there nor did I feel that I could grow there. I really tried to teach in groups but really felt ineffective and inadaquate. None-the-less, I was willing to do my best and just prayed to God for strength. Eventually both me and Anita came to the conclusion that we needed to be open to other possibilities. As soon as we left that ministry, it seems that God has been opening doors for both me and Anita in different ministries. I'm sure Anita will be sharing on her blog about where God is taking her in ministry and I will do my best to keep you all updated about the discipleship opportunities.

So I guess, what I just wrote is a whole lot of information but I hope it illuminates more of the direction I am going in so that you don't have to wonder "What is Rachel doing in Costa Rica?" Please pray for me in these changes that God would guide me. Discipleship is a huge responsibility and is not to be taken lightly.

I truly hope each of you enjoys this Christmas! Thank you for your support, your prayers, and your patience. May God use you as you are with your families, friends, and co workers!

God bless!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Financial Struggles and Need for prayer

Hey Everyone!

While I was in Canada visiting, I was so blessed to share with a couple groups and to share at my sending church. I felt so blessed by so many people who came up to me to say hello, ask questions and just catch up. One thing that also blessed my heart was that a few people asked me about how my support has been. This opened the door for me to tell the truth and say that both me and Anita are really struggling out here. I was then encouraged to write a blog on this matter.

 Before going to Canada, I really prayed about whether or not to talk about financial support. When I shared in front of the groups this last trip, I just couldn't bring myself to talk about it unless specifecally asked. Why?  I feel so incredibly blessed that God has allowed me to serve Him here in ministry and when I am visiting, my heart is to just simply share. I have a fear of coming across that I am "marketing" for the missions field. I want people to give because God has placed it on their hearts. I want to share my heart, be genuine, transparent and hear about your lives. I never want to come accross as trying too hard to win support over.

 I know that many of you have been struggling financially in the last years as well and that there are numerous organizations, missionaries, and causes to donate to. So before saying anything else, I want you all to know that I care and realize your struggles too. I have been so blessed by so many people the last 3.5 years here in Costa Rica and God has truly worked miracles to enable me to stay. I trust in Him to provide for my every need ( though sometimes that is easier said than done! ) Anyways, I also really do realize that me and Anita being able to serve here, really does depend on the body of Christ. The truth is that we need a big team of believers in order to keep functioning on the field. We need more financial support, we need more prayer warriors, and we need encouragement. So I am throwing out an idea to invite those who God has led to support His work here to be involved in any of these ways;

We are praying for 60 people willing to commit to $10 a month
We are praying for 70 prayer warriors to pray daily and to send prayer requests that I cannot post so publicly.

I realize that the more people that become involved, the more possibilities open for both me and Anita to serve more effectively, creatively and pursue more of what God has placed on our hearts. Right now, I can honestly say that we have barely recieved enough support to pay the basic bills and have even fallen short the last few months for even that. The truth is that we need a bigger team of supporters and prayer warriors. The ministry here in Costa Rica is not mine, its not Anita's and it's not anybody's. This work belongs to God alone and by His grace alone. But since we have such a wonderful God, He longs to involve all of us in His work on a local, national, and international scale. God is moving everywhere through the hands and feet of His believers.

Please keep us in your prayers, we really need it. Pray that God would raise up more people to support the ministry here, and pray that we would continue to trust in God for all these things. He holds us in His hands and He controls every aspect of our lives here. For those of you who would like to commit to praying daily for me and Anita; email me at For those of you who feel led to become financial supporters, the info is at the bottom of this blog. I also would just like to thank all of you who have lifted me and Anita up in your prayers and to all of you who have supported me. I appreciate each and every one of you and pray that everything is going well with all of you.

To Donate Online;

 To Set up Monthly Donations;
By Credit Card Call: 1-888-863-4810
By Debit: Print form from above website and mail in. (click button that says recurring gifts)

If you would like to send a one time donation; Go to above website (click button that says one time gifts)

Also, if any of you have more questions; feel free to email me or set up a skype time/ call time with me :)


Monday, July 16, 2012

Workshop Update.

Hey Everyone!

First of all, I would like to thank all of you for praying for the workshops we have been doing and I would also like to thank you all for your patience for this update!!!! For the last month, me and Anita have been giving workshops in the slum we work in. Being that Anita is a Psychologist, we decided to start giving workshops with Anita giving the Psychological part of a topic and me doing the Biblical part of it. So far we have done workshops on Self-Esteem, Character, and Forgiveness.

Making cookies with some of the youth after the workshop.
We have been giving these workshops on Thursdays, once in the morning for whoever wants to come, and in the afternoon for the youth. So far, we have not had alot of response with the morning workshops but the workshops with the youth has grown. Right now, we have 12 youth coming to the workshops and we are slowly getting to know them. We continue to pray that more women will be interested in the morning workshops but we realize that we do need to promote the workshops more and get out into the community to reach out to those who don't currently participate in the ministry's programs. Please continue to pray for the morning workshops, as if there is no change in the next few weeks, that door will be closed for us to continue. I trust that if God closes that door, he will open another one.

In this last month, I also had the opportunity to teach the women's bible study while their teacher was away. I find it quite interesting how God has opened so many doors specifically for teaching and public speaking since I arrived in Costa Rica. I remember the first time I was pretty much forced to take over the children's class at the soup kitchen and around the same time was pushed into teaching English at a orphanage school. I used to tremble with fear to just teach kids. I never thought that I would be placed in that position. 
Teaching the ladies Bible Study.
Since then, teaching kids no longer challenges me like it used to but God is opening doors to teach youth and adults. I embrace these challenges and ask for your prayers as me and Anita continue to lead workshops. It has been such a blessing to look back and see God's work in me and to see and understand that I can do all things with Christ who gives me strength. God does not always choose our tasks by personality but by a willingness to serve Him. When we serve Him, he opens our eyes to a whole new world of service to Him and we soon realize we are more capable than we think and that their are always new giftings to develop and discover. God has really been teaching me this lately.
Anyways, I pray that everything is well with all of you on that end and I look forward to visiting some of you when I come to Canada in August!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Canada Visit August

Hey Everyone! I know that I have been really bad about updating on the workshops we started a month ago, but I will be writing an update on ministry this coming Monday! I just wanted to let you all know that I will be visiting Canada from August 3-23 and would love to spend time visiting, finding out what God has been doing in your lives, and sharing about what has been going on here in Costa Rica :)

I am looking forward to having a time to reconnect with all of those who have lifted me up in prayer and those who have supported me. It has been two years since I have shared and I am looking for small groups, churches, and who ever is interested to share about God's work here in Costa Rica. All of you have been so important to God's work here and I am truly grateful for all your support.

Please let me know if you would like to get together for a coffee or if you have any small groups or places that I could share at. Feel free to email me at Can't wait to see you all!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

***Prayer Needed***

I'm just sending out a quick blog post to ask you all for prayer for a door that God has opened for both me and Anita. Next Thursday, me and Anita will be leading a workshop on Self Esteem in the slum community where we work. This is very much a step of faith and we need your prayers as we pray and prepare to give this workshop.

 This last week, as Anita has been seeking God as to how she could use her giftings and education to reach this community. She struggled to see how she could use her secular education as a Psychologist and combine it with a Biblical base. It then dawned on her that I had that Biblical education and that together we could combine both the Psychological and Biblical aspects of a wide range of topics. So she asked me if I would be willing to do that and of course I said yes! It really encouraged me to see another way we could serve the community.

 So on Thursday we will be trying this for the first time. In the morning we will be doing the workshop for anyone who wants to come and in the afternoon, we will be doing a more youth focused version of the workshop. So please lift this up in your prayers, that God would use this to reach a community that is so broken and that it would open more doors for us to form relationships in the community. We also plan to start doing workshops regularly in the future as a team so please lift up all that planning in your prayers as well!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Blessed are you when.........

This month has been an action packed month, I don't really know where to start but I'll give it a try! A couple weeks ago me and Anita were blessed to go on a retreat with the woman of our church. I hadn't been to a retreat in so long, so it was such a blessing to take some time away from it all and just draw close to my Lord. It was a time of reflection and refreshment. It was so nice to just be ministered too as opposed to ministering to others. The timing of this retreat couldn't be more perfect, as I was feeling quite overwhelmed by some of the events of this month and just needed time to recharge.
Me and the ladies about to leave the retreat!

 Some of the things that God just spoke to me during this month is that God ALWAYS works for the good of those who love Him. He takes each one of our situations or circumstances that we may see as bad and uses it for His good and glory. What we see as horrible, or what Satan sees as a way to discourage us, God takes each of these moments and uses it for His glory. God tells us in His word that when we follow Him, that we will be persecuted.......yet when we feel persecuted or feel like we are passing through the valley, it is so hard to understand why God would allow us to pass through it because indeed it is painful....and only through God's strength can we move forward.

 But His word tells us that we are BLESSED when we suffer hardships, that we are BLESSED when people insult us and say false things about us. It is so hard to even comprehend this concept but God always points us to the eternal and not the present. (Matthew 5) It's these hardships that make us realize that this world is not our home and that one day we will be with our Lord in a place where there is no more pain and no more tears. I don't only say these things to you or to come across as preachy, but I draw hope from these promises from God amidst my own hardships, and indeed I am aware that each one of us is in a battlefield. I hope that by being open about my own hardships, that some of you will be encouraged and find hope in the fact that we are all living in the same world and striving to please our King in a broken world.

This month, I found out that someone whom I had really poured my time into in the past, and someone who had already caused me alot of hardship in ministry, was spreading some pretty serious lies about me. Right when I thought, that the hardships with that person were in the past, something had to come back up, just at a time when I felt God restoring my heart and building me up in ministry once again. I found the strength to move past it in the moment and I really cried out to God to reveal the truth and that truly it only really mattered what He thought of me. I remained as strong as I could and really felt blessed as the truth seemed to come to light fairly quickly through some amazing people who stood by me that week.

Something good that came out through this situation, was just to see how many amazing people that God has placed in my life here in Costa Rica. For a moment, I was able to forget about the many hurts/deceptions that I have been through and was able to see the good in it all. I was amazed how much affirmation actually came through this situation. It was so encouraging for me this month to see that God has surrounded me with some wonderful God fearing people who were not only willing to back me up but who just really encouraged me.

One of the short term teams I translated for this month.

Satan may prowl around like a lion.....and indeed sometimes it seems like there are "wolves" everywhere but God's truth and promises stand firm......He is stronger than the enemy, He lights up and overcomes the darkness. This doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt....because it really does....but MY act of surrender and indeed MY act of worship by acknowledging the power of God over these things, helps me to reach up my arms to Him and reach out my hands to Him. He holds my ministry, He holds my heart, and he holds even my reputation in His hands. My purpose is to honor Him in all that I do. I seek to please my master and not men. I have hope and faith that God can take each one of these situations and use it for His glory and use it to shape me.

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5

"The LORD is my light and my salvation--so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? Psalm 27:1

Prayer Requests:

1. Pray that God would continue to fill me with His strength, hope, faith and passion in ministry. Pray that these hardships would not stop me from seeing the bigger picture and continuing to reach out with His love.

2. Please pray for my residency application! I just turned in all my papers to immigration and am just waiting to see if its approved :) This would really benefit me and lower some of my expenses.

3. Pray for God's provision for me and Anita's daily needs and ministry needs.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

How to Reach?

"O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light, and
Where there is sorrow, joy.
Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not
so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand; to be loved
as to love; for it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life."

I remember first reading this prayer when I was a little girl and memorizing it off of a poster on a wall. Today, when I was in ministry, somehow this prayer that I haven't thought of for so many years; came back to my heart. This prayer is the desire of my heart in my life and in ministry.

Houses in the slum.
Today, as I walked into Petrona's house, it struck me that her and her 5 kids shared a space the size of my bedroom. As we sat down on the few chairs she has, and she started to share her situation; I couldn't help but feel a deep sadness for this woman and her situation. She was telling us how her husband was no longer coming home or bringing money, diapers or food for her and her kids. She started to cry as she told us that rent was due 2 weeks ago and she had nothing to pay it. She doesn't know what to do or where to go. There is no food in the house and her kids are asking her for milk. It is clear that this woman is overwhelmed and as I contemplate what I would do in her situation.......I draw a complete hard to think of someone's situation and already feel the hopelessness that one must feel, especially a mom of five young kids! Her oldest son who is 11 says that he wants to leave school and work to bring money for the family......and....I'm baffled.....Lord, how can I reach and love on this people when they have so much need, but I can't and don't have the power to change their situation. It was hard for me when Hugo asked me to end with a prayer and all I could do was pray to God for the words and ask Him to provide for the needs of this family.

Me holding Petrona's baby.
This morning as I was preparing to teach the youth, I was really just praying to God and asking him to guide me to teach. I had a moment when I stepped back, looked at the context of my ministry and simply didn't know where to start. These youth don't necessarily believe in God, so in my heart I was asking God how to teach youth that may not even believe in the Bible. "Lord, how do I reach them with your word? Lord, give me the words to make this more to them than just me preaching at them, make this a special time, where they are challenged to contemplate you Lord, and see the value in entrusting their lives into your hands. I pray that bit by bit, I will earn their trust and get to know them on a deeper level. Today was a good start, as I prayed, God calmed my heart and filled me with His words. Only three youth arrived today but I took advantage of this and was able to ask them more questions and just get to know them.
Me and Eliezer

It is through these situations when I get overwhelmed that God draws me closer to His heart and His heart for the poor. It is when I step back and feel their pain, that God whispers and says that He is there. It is in these moments of feeling like anything I could do is just a drop in the bucket, that God reminds me of the supernatural, that He is the only one that brings these people through their daily struggles. All He asks of me is to walk with them, talk with them, remind them that God is there, and to pray and encourage. To bring a glimmer of hope in a bleak situation, and to do all I can to help these people, and when there's not much I can do, to remember that there is value in a shoulder to cry on, and in ears that listen, and in the arms that hold.