Update on my Costa Rica / Panama Trip [December 23rd ]

I am so grateful for the support of so many as I have prepared for the upcoming Missions Trip to Costa Rica and Panama. This will be my last update before I leave on December 27th. I am not sure if I will be able to write an update while I am in country, but if not, I will write one when I get back. I am excited to help lead a team of 31, as we partner with our sister-church in Paso Canoas, Costa Rica. Pastor Marvin Cabrera is faithfully serving the Lord as he pastors a church in Paso Canoas and also helps to mentor other pastors in the surrounding area. If you want to read more about my trip, please go back and read some of my previous updates. Otherwise, I do want to share a few last prayer requests and celebrations.

Support Raising

I have been humbled by the support of so many. The last time I wrote an update, I still needed to raise $1000, but at this point I am fully supported! The response from so many was very encouraging. I have not seen the final numbers for our team, but we have gotten very close to our total goal (maybe even met it by now). God has provided! Praise God with me for His financial provision for this trip.

Team Devotionals

Thank you for praying for me as I completed the team devotional booklets. They turned out well. Please pray for our team as we use them throughout our trip. Beyond the work we will do to help Marvin, our desire is that our team would grow in their love for Jesus and closer to one another throughout our time. Pray for our teams growth throughout our trip.

Health

I have caught a cold. I am hoping it will be mostly gone by the time I leave next week. Pray for my health, and for the overall health of the team.

JESUS Film

We are working out the final details to show the JESUS Film to the Ngabere while we are in Panama. We still have some logistical details to work out in order to make it happen. Pray that we can find a way to show the film, and pray that the message of Jesus would capture the hearts of the people who watch.

Team Dynamics

With a team of 31, we are bound to have some conflict at times. There will be people who are annoyed with one another and irritable outbursts are sure to follow. Pray for our team. Pray that we would be patient with one another, treating one another with respect, seeking unity and having one another's best interests in mind. I am personally excited to get to know our team members more and develop deeper relationships with them. Pray that I can have some deep and personal connection with some of our team members.

The Work We Will Do

There are a variety of aspects to our work, but the two primary touch points will be the construction of a new building and the VBS that happens twice each day for the kids of the village. The new building will serve as a meeting place for a church in the area which currently meets under trees. The VBS is a great way to gather kids and teach them about the love of Jesus. We will be participating in a few other aspects (ie. JESUS Film), but the construction and the VBS are the primary tasks. Pray for the work we will be doing.

Partnership with Marvin

Our primary goal in going to Costa Rica and Panama is to help Marvin in the work God has called him to do. We will go for a week and then leave, but Marvin will stay. Therefore, our interest is mostly to serve him as he serves the Lord. We will be serving the Lord by serving Marvin. Pray that we would continue to grow the fruitful partnership we have had with Marvin.

My Family

I have mentioned this before, but the hardest aspect of this trip for me is leaving my family. I don't mind the long travel, the physical work, or any other aspect, but it will be hard to be away from my wife and kids. Megan and I have done our best to prepare them to have a good week - we have made some frozen meals ahead of time and arranged for some family and friends to spend time at the house, but it will still be hard. Pray for my family while I am away.

Thank you for your prayers and your partnership. I am grateful for each of you.

In order to keep you informed on what is happening with the Costa Rica trip, I wanted to provide an update. Our team is still preparing to leave on December 27th in order to spend time working with our Sister Church in Paso Canoas, Costa Rica. Marvin Cabrera is the pastor of the church in Paso Canoas and is involved in helping to train pastors and plant churches in the surrounding region. During our upcoming trip, we will be supporting some of his work on the Costa Rica side to connect with his local community, and also crossing the border into Panama to help build a multi-purpose structure for a church that currently has no building for its meetings. As a result, that church meets wherever they can find some shelter, even if it means meeting under some trees. You can read my initial post regarding my trip below.

Exciting New Developments

I have been able to help facilitate the potential of some exciting new opportunities. One of First Baptist's longtime missionaries works with Wycliffe in Panama City. He was in Minnesota earlier this fall and it prompted some discussion about possible ways we can partner with him while working with Marvin in Costa Rica and Panama. Nothing has been finalized yet, but we have discussed various possibilities. These include the possibility of translators familiar with the Guaymi/Ngabere people (minority indigenous people group) we will work with, the opportunity to show the Jesus Film and the potential to access resources in the Ngabere language. Again, none of this is finalized, but it has been exciting for everyone involved to think about the possibilities. Please pray for me and those involved as we pull these details together.

Support Raising

The team and I continue to raise the finances necessary for the trip. The team has seen steady progress in financial support, which is encouraging, but we still have much to raise. Of the $1800 that I need to raise personally, I still have about $1000 left. I have had conversations with many who have expressed an interest in partnering financially, but still need more money to come in. In addition to the financial needs, I continue to grow in my own appreciation for the necessity of prayer. So, please pray for our team. And pray that the finances would be raised. If you want to partner financially, you can read more about partnering below.

Training and Team Development

We have met multiple times as a team and have another team training on December 4th. It has been fun to see the team come together. We had a Chili Cookoff fundraiser a couple weeks ago, and it was great to see the team collaborate in order to put on a successful event. One of the greatest challenges of short-term missions trips is always the team dynamic. As we continue to prepare as a team, both personally and relationally, pray that God would prepare our hearts.

Team Devotionals

One of my responsibilities on the team will be to lead and facilitate daily devotionals. I still have most of the pre-work to complete. My plan is to begin that in December, so it is ready for our trip. Please pray for me as I pull together materials so our team is engaging with Jesus throughout the trip. We are not just going to have a vacation. We are not just going to get our hands dirty. We are going to serve God's mission in the world to advance the gospel of His Kingdom. Pray that our devotional time will help us keep that vision throughout our time there.

Thank you for your interest in my missions trip to Costa Rica and Panama!

I am excited for our church's partnership with Marvin Cabrera, a local pastor in Costa Rica, and his wife Vielka. Marvin pastors a church in the town of Paso Canoas, which is a border town between Costa Rica and Panama (see map). In addition to pastoring his own church, he also works among a minority-indigenous people group known as the Guaymi (also Ngabe). Here are a few things he does among the Guaymi:

  • Plants Churches
  • Mentors Pastors
  • Creates access to education for youth
  • Hosts a Pastors Training school
  • Supports the needs of local church

We are so grateful for our partnership with Marvin. He helps to mentor seven small church plants among the Guaymi, and last year we helped to build a multi-purpose building, designed to be used as a meeting place for a church and also a dorm for students who want to go to school. Here are just a few of the ways previous teams have helped Marvin:

  • Built a pastors training dorm
  • Renovated his home so he could host more ministry events
  • Ran a VBS for local kids
  • Built a multi-purpose building (church + dorm)
  • Improved the electrical in the Paso Canoas church building
 

This year's trip

We are going to head to Costa Rica again, but this time, we are also crossing the border into Panama to help construct a building for a Guaymi church that currently meets under trees. We also continue to explore opportunities to support Marvin's ministry through VBS or other potential avenues. I will be leading our team's devotions, helping with construction and making connections with in-country resources to support Marvin's ministry.

We will be leaving on December 27th and returning January 5th. This will include travel time, more than five full days of construction, supporting Marvin's ministry in and around Paso Canoas, and more. In total, the team needs to raise $57,600, with each team member being responsible to raise a total of $1800.

What about you?

Each year, I become more and more convinced of the need for partners in ministry. Whether it be through prayer, encouragement, ministry involvement or financial support, God's mission is never completed alone. It is always done when His people come together in partnership with one another. And I am not just saying that - I really believe that God wants us to partner together in his mission, for His glory and for the good of all those involved. So, I am asking you if you would like to partner with me on this trip? Here are just a few ways you can partner:

Pray

Give

spread the word.png

Spread the word

Encourage.png

Encourage

 

Steps to partner:

If you would like to partner with me, please fill out this form. Let me know if/how you plan to partner and I will plan to send updates, so you know what is happening and how you can pray.

Name *
Name
Here is how I plan to partner:
What communication do you want to receive:
($25, $50, $100, $200, ???)

Steps to give financially:

If you would like to give financially, you can do it through our First Baptist Church's online giving page. There are a two important details you need to know.

  1. When you give, there is a section to give directly toward the "Paso Canoas 2016 Missions Trip." Enter the amount you want to give into this section.

  2. If you want it to go toward my trip cost, then you will also need to include my name in the "include a message" section.

Ways to pray:

If you are excited to partner with me, and want to begin praying right away, here are a few ways you can be praying.

  1. Pray for the unity and preparation of our team. We will have a large team (31 people), and this will require a lot of planning, preparation and patience in order to help everyone fully engage on the trip.
  2. Pray for details to get planned. We are working on pulling together a number of details. These include travel plans, construction plans, potential ministry opportunities, and much more.
  3. Pray for our teams financial needs. We need to raise a large amount of money. Pray that God would use His people to provide the necessary funds for this trip.
  4. Pray for Marvin and Vielka. It requires a lot of work for in-country partners to prepare for a short-term team. Pray for Marvin and Vielka as they prepare to host our team.
  5. Pray for God's glory to shine. The goal is ultimately about God. Not about our team, our church or our vision. It isn't even about our missionary partners. It is about God. Pray that he would be glorified by our work.
  6. Pray for the new potential opportunities. We are working out details for some additional ways to partner and serve in Costa Rica and Panama. Pray that the details come together.
  7. Pray for me as I create devotional materials. One of my responsibilities is to lead the devotional times while we are in country. Pray for me as I develop the materials for these devotional times.

Thank you!!!

I am grateful for your partnership!

- Jeremy