Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"I give" and other news...

Alright, after three days and around 9 hours of trying to upload the video interview with Anastasia, I give up. I'll try again but I just couldn't go on after two power cuts and slower than expected connection speeds. I'll just have to stick with photos for now and I'll see what I can do about the video.

We ended up baptizing Downer last Sunday evening and it was great (Anastasia is waiting a couple of weeks more). He was excited and afterwards was grinning from ear to ear. After the baptism, we had a big meal then went out on the beach and sat around a bonfire. We listened to music and spent quite a bit of time praying. It was really refreshing to hear some of the genuine and right from the heart. Ryan, a young guy from Nantucket Island in the northeast US joined us for his first time. He has been down here for a couple of months and was recently invited by Jordan to join us at church. He was really excited to find some other believers and is looking forward to growing with us.

In other news, Makena (our baby) started school this week at the local public pre-school. She has been really excited about it and didn't even cry. She just walked right in and started playing with the other kids. It's really cool to have two pretty independent girls that aren't afraid of experiencing new situations. Here are a couple of photos of her first day.

The first picture is of Makena with her uniform, getting ready to leave the house. This photo is in front of her new school room (the same place we dropped Maili off almost three years ago). Hard to believe how quickly time goes by.

Lastly, I'm going to the Pacific with another father next weekend to take about 11 of the local teenagers to a surf contest in the town of Nosara. The Concrete Jungle (our skatepark) is going to sponsor a few of them by paying their entry fee, helping with a place to stay and maybe some food. This is one of the few opportunities that local kids have to do something positive in life. The current national champion is from Puerto Viejo and most of the local kids dream of accomplishing the same thing one day to have a better life. It is also a great opportunity to spend some focused time with the youth. It is amazing to me how many deep conversations and how much spiritual growth have come from the times that I am able to spend with them just "hanging out". We will be leaving Puerto Viejo on the 21st of this month and will return on the 25th. The contest is about $20.00 per person to enter and our hotel will cost about $40-$45 per night (with kids stacked on each other). Please pray for us as we travel and if you would like to sponsor one of the youth or assist us with expenses, email me at and I'll let you know how to make sure the funds reach us. Thanks for the prayers.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Anastasia, in her own words

Anastasia shares a little bit about her experiences at housechurch and the skatepark and her recent decision to follow Christ.

(experiencing technical difficulties with the video. I'll have it fixed soon.)Posted by Picasa


Things are still going better than I expected down here in the Old Harbor (Puerto Viejo) considering what I thought it would be like without so many of our former team-mates. Tomorrow afternoon we are baptizing two of the youth and I’m really excited about that. Downer (who was going to get baptized last year but got talked out of it by others that misunderstand the purpose and meaning of it) is looking forward to it and is ready to make his commitment to Jesus public. His words to me the other day…”Barrett, I gonna get baptize and no one goin’ stop me this time.” Good to hear. Go Downer! The other person getting baptized is a girl we had been praying for for a long time. While we were in the States, Phil asked Sebas to share the gospel and give an invitation to pray. After a lot of exposure and time, Anastasia was finally ready and gave her heart to the Lord. Anyhow, she is excited about her decision and about getting baptized.

I have also been excited to see Jetsi and Sebas take the lead on Friday night youth nights. Last night, we had ten kids that stayed for the bible study which covered one of most asked questions on people’s minds…"If God is so good, how come there is pain and suffering in the world." They did a great job of preparing with me on Wednesday night and were awesome in leading the study and discussion. It is really cool to see them getting excited about serving God and reaching their peers with the truth. After the bible study, about 20 more kids showed up and we stayed open until 9:00pm with lots of fun and music. I continue to hope that more and more of these youth will come early and stay late...taking full advantage of everything the skatepark has to offer...especially spiritually.

Adding to our house church…Pablo, from Spain (who had never even had his own bible until a couple of months ago when we gave him one), Alisa (a 14 year old Italian girl that was invited by Anastasia a little over a month ago) and Ryan (a 17 year old guy from Nantucket who was invited by Jordan and will be staying here in Puerto for a couple more months). Ryan is a new Christian and was so excited to find a group of believers that he was just grinning from ear to ear when Jordan invited him. Way to go Jordan. It definitely isn’t easy and there are too many ups and downs to count but it is awesome to see our little group of Christians growing in size and depth one day at a time.

Act 2:46,47

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Roller Coaster

"Ministry", whatever that means, certainly has its ups and downs. One day everything seems to be going great and people seem to be catching fire and then the next day you discover something about someone that brings you back to reality...or no one shows up for one of the youth nights that normally draws the largest crowds. What a reminder of how dependent we are on God. While I always want to do my best, in the end it doesn't matter how hip the program is, how good the movies are, how well I speak, or anything else that I can do. The most important thing (which is driven home over and over again) is how dependent we are on the Holy Spirit and the moving of God in peoples' hearts. I have also come to realize (has it really taken this long?) that Satan will immediately follow "success" with "failure". Yet another reason why it is so important not to depend on feelings but on the promises and reality of God.

In other news, we had a miracle today... a real honest to goodness miracle. We were able to obtain both a land line and a cell line for the skate park. To put this in perspective, only residents, citizens or members of a legal association can obtain telephone lines. To top it off, there are usually only about 40,000 new lines available each year. We have tried for almost three years to get a line and today it happened in the space of about three hours. I have spent days trying to accomplish this in the past only to be turned away after spending money on powers of attorney, copies, etc... Today, God answered our prayers and did the equivalent of parting the Caribbean... He got ICE (the government monopoly telecommunications company) to actually accept our documents and to approve everything and give us both a land line and a cell line. We are ecstatic. One good thing happened today. Thank God.