"Pure Life!" That's kind of like saying "hi" in Costa Rica - it also serves for a handful of other things that have a positive connotation. Most often it's shared between friends.
Well friends, Â¡Pura Vida! Though you might have thought we dropped off the face of the earth due to our lack of communication over the past few months. We're sorry about that and we want to seize this moment to bring you up to speed on our family and the ministry.
Wedding Bells for Nicco & Leah
This July we had the joy of attending the wedding of our oldest son, Nicco, to his lovely fiancÃ©, Leah Hartensveld. We are so blessed to have her as a daughter-in-law and we rejoice with them as they begin their new life together. They are both completing their last year at Valley Forge Christian College.
I awoke one morning in April at 2:38am to these words in my mind: I send the locust and I send the rain. The days and months that have followed have proven those words to be true as we have been confronted by the greatest challenge we have ever faced as a family, and yet God has been faithful.
After much prayer and counsel, we made the decision to make a temporary transition to Springfield, Missouri to seek the right kind of care for some very sensitive family medical issues. During this time the encouraging words, heartfelt prayers, helping hands, and sustained giving from you all have meant the world to us. Thank you! Please forgive us if you have felt "in the dark" about our goings on during this time - many times we have as well.
We are grateful for the open door that was set before us, and we're blessed see the Lord's hand at work in our lives. Despite these challenges, we remain truly encouraged in the Lord. Our God is faithful. I continue to be very much engaged in the work on the field to spread the gospel throughout Latin America.
Ministry Update: XA-LAC Initiative
I am really excited to share with you about a new initiative that I have recently been asked to lead for the Latin American Caribbean region.
First of all, a couple of helpful definitions. "XA" is Chi Alpha, the university ministry of the Assemblies of God. "LAC" stands for Latin America Caribbean - that's the region we serve in which is comprised of 19 countries and half a billion people.
This new initiative seeks to connect American Chi Alpha students with two strategic missionary efforts in Latin America Caribbean.
First, they will help missionaries establish new student ministries just like theirs on university campuses around the Latin America. This is an untapped potential representing millions of young lives that will soon be in positions to decide the future of nations.
Second, they will join with church planting teams that are focused on the over 400 unreached people's groups in Latin America. In addition to hundreds of indigenous groups that practice various forms of paganism, Latin America is home to over one million Arab and Eurasian Muslims, over three million Chinese and Japanese practicing Hinduism and Buddhism, and a quarter of a million Jews.
We'll have much more to say about this in a follow up newsletter. For now, we wanted you to have a sense of the Lord's direction in our lives so that you may continue to pray and stand with us in the work of bringing the gospel to the least, the last, and the lost.
Shortly, I will have the opportunity to be in Costa Rica to continue the work alongside Pastor Danny Romero on the Los Cuadros School and church where we have been investing over the past year and a half. 1 Thes. 5:11 says, "Encourage one another and build one another up..." Friends, this is an exciting opportunity to leverage our strength alongside our brothers' to build up both the infrastructure and the morale of those who serve in and are served by this Latin American Child Care school!
Pray with us for safe travels, wholeness and health, abundant provision, perfect peace, divine favor and supernatural power so that the gospel may be known to the ends of the earth!
Thank you for standing with us as we give ourselves to serve the Lord and the least, the last, and the lost of Latin America Caribbean!
In Christ's love,
John, Dina, Nina & Sophia