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!