The Monthly Cost

*NOTE:  one of the most humbling things about being a missionary so far is fundraising.  Here it goes again.

 

Everything has a cost.  Everything.

Helping your neighbor may cost you money, energy, or time.  There is a cost to building a friendship.  There are emotional costs, financial costs, spiritual costs, and the list goes on and on!

There also is a cost sending a missionary family.  It takes a lot to move a family of seven to another country to start a new life ministering the Gospel.  We are so thankful for those who have already given one-time gifts to help get us there!

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 6.18.16 PMThe hardest part of sending a missionary family is gaining and maintaining monthly support.  We cannot enter the mission field until we know that we have the monthly support needed.  If we can guarantee that our monthly expenses are covered, we will be freed up to minister freely.  The worst thing that could happen would be for us to move to Costa Rica, but not be able to financially survive.

Our goal is to raise $3,000 a month.  We are working hard at securing monthly partners.  So far we are 19% funded towards our monthly goal.   We have heard from many people saying that they will be giving, would you consider starting today?

There are 3 ways that you can help us starting today:

1.  Pray!  Nothing happens without prayer!

2.  Become a monthly supporter!  You can do that by clicking on http://www.normanmissionaryadventures.org/donate.  Monthly gifts can be made electronically or by check.  Click the link above to learn how to do either.  A gift of any size helps tremendously!

3.  You can become an Advocate for us!  Would you consider going to your church’s Missions Board or leadership team (or maybe even to a local business) to see if they would like to support a new missionary family?  This would be huge for us.  Feel free to email us or call if your church would be interested in a presentation about what we will be doing.  We would love to partner together with you and your church!

For the sake of the Gospel,

Nathan, Laura & Family

P.S.  Check out this video of one of our partnering pastors in Costa Rica!

 

The Fear Factor

DSC_0208_2Last week I led my final trip with the youth from Immanuel Church.  We landed in our soon-to-be hometown of Liberia.  I can’t say that it felt like home, it actually began to terrify me!

Here I am trying to lead my youth group on a life-changing missions experience, and I cannot even get past my own fears.  One word spoken by a single person and I knew my whole countenance was changing.  It is amazing how the enemy knows how to twist things in our own minds to make them sound bad.

Fear paralyzes.  We enjoy scaring each other around our house (yes it is a little strange).  The look on someone’s face when they are really scared shows the paralyzing effect.

What was the fear?  I was paralyzed in fear at the thought of bringing my family to this new land.  By the next morning I had already made a phone call home which instilled some fear in Laura as well.

Here I am supposedly being the strong leader during morning devotions.  I could hardly get through it, trying to cheer on the team to our first full day of ministry.  As soon as we were done, I dismissed the students and asked the other four adults to stay.

Then “the ugly cry” burst through my face.  I did not know what to do but to ask for prayer from my trusted friends.  What relief I felt in that moment as God flooded me with His love.  It is good to have friends who love and support you!

DSC_0308As Pastor Warner told me later that morning, I was carrying too many concrete blocks (of which he made me hold as he was speaking to me).  The load was too big.  I needed my Father to come and take my burdens and fears…and He did just that!   Later that night I preached about “Overcoming Fear.”  It was a message that I had now preached to MYSELF twice in Costa Rica.

So many things happened last week that proved that God is for our move to Costa Rica.  We found great favor from the International Christian School, picked up another monthly supporter and were blessed with a large one-time gift as well.  I also saw a triple rainbow on the final night…a TRIPLE rainbow!

We had a great week partnering with the same local church as last year, Centro Evangelico Zuriel with Pastor Adolfo.  It was amazing to see our youth step out in ways they never imagined.  What a privilege and honor it was to serve alongside Pastor Adolfo and his church as we did work projects, elderly visits, home visits, feeding programs, and evangelism among so many children!

I’m so thankful for His Word!   1 John 4:18  “…perfect love that casts out all fear.”  2 Timothy 1:7  “For God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 9.10.34 PMFINANCIAL UPDATE:  Every month we need to add $250 worth of monthly supporters to stay on target for our June 15th launch date.  As of the end of July, we are on target!   As monthly gifts come in, they are being saved up to help towards our initial move in June.  We greatly appreciate all gifts and are praying for more monthly supporters to join the team.  If you would like to become on of our Monthly Supporters or to make a one-time gift, go to www.normanmissionaryadventures.org/donate.

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What About Darrell?

DSC_0011After telling many people about our move to Costa Rica, the #1 question that is asked is “What about Darrell?”

Darrell is going to be a senior this year.  As he finishes his final year of high school, we will be packing up our home and moving to Costa Rica…and so will he!

Darrell will definitely be spending the summer with us in Costa Rica.  He will make the move with us as we establish Liberia, Costa Rica as our new home.

After that, we are not sure what will happen.  Darrell has many options and a lot to think about in the next year.  Here are a couple of options:

-Take a year off.  Currently Darrell does not know what he wants to do with his life (like many high school seniors).  We have offered to Darrell to come with us to Costa Rica and seek the Lord before making a life-altering move.

-Gap Year.  You may not of heard about a Gap Year, but there are many programs designed to help high school graduates get their feet wet in ministry, be discipled, and spend time in a dorm-like setting pursuing what God would have for their lives.  There is a program in San Jose, Costa Rica (about 3 hours from where we will be living) which is very similar called Global Year.

-College/Bible School.  There are so many possibilities out there.  Darrell did get a chance last year to visit Elim Bible Institute.  If it was in Florida it would be an easy decision!

Would you commit to pray for Darrell as he makes this big decision?  Making huge decisions can be stressful, especially when your family is moving out of the country.  We love Darrell and want God’s best for him!

 

Financial UpdateFINANCIAL UPDATE:  We now have 7 Monthly Supporters and have had some One-Time Gifts come in as well.  As monthly gifts come in, they are being saved up to help towards our initial move in June.  If you would like to become on of our Monthly Supporters or to make a one-time gift, go to http://www.normanmissionaryadventures.org/donate .

SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG by simply clicking the Follow button below!

NEXT TRIP TO COSTA RICA:   Immanuel Church Youth Group Trip to Liberia, Costa Rica July 26-August 2 (Nathan & Darrell).

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Our recent trip to Costa Rica

IMG_1077We wanted to give you an update regarding our recent scouting and trip-leading week in Costa Rica.

 

First the scouting trip:

We were blessed to have our Costa Rica born friend Cecilia with us to assist with translating, house hunting, and so much more!  As far as driving went, I think I did pretty well, just do not ask Laura.   We visited our children’s prospective school and fell in love with it.  It seems like a great fit.  Now we are praying for a significant discount!IMG_0890

Everyone has been asking if we found a house.  Unfortunately, we did not, although it was not our intent.   But what we did find is where we DO NOT want to live.  We were initially thinking in the center of the city, but the prices are outrageous for a family of seven and the streets are busy – not a good fit with small children.  We are now hoping to find something about 10 minutes away from the school where we can live in a community of people instead of being surrounded IMG_0937by shops and restaurants.
We were blessed to have lunch with two pastors, Pastor Jose and Pastor Adolpho.  I met them both last summer with our youth group trip.  These men are so humble and so helpful!  After running through some logistics of the summer trips they will be hosting, they took the time to show us some housing options.  After returning to the church we prayed together and they promised “to never leave us alone,” meaning that they would be there for us and help in whatever way they could.  They are happy that PPM is going to have a long-term presence in their country.

 

Leading a missions experience:

DSC_0825Laura and I both served as ATLs (Assistant Trip Leaders), meaning that we helped out wherever was necessary.  This was Laura’s first-ever PPM trip, and my first time on the PPM side of a trip.   Our Team Leader, Tracy, did a great job leading the large team that came to serve from Michigan.  We loved getting to know the team, Pastor Milton, his family, and his church.  Iglesia Betel is alive and active!  It was amazing feeling the presence of God in Costa Rica.  Jesus is alive!

 

What is next?

I will be going to Liberia, Costa Rica July 26th- August 2nd as the Group Leader for my youth group.  Darrell will also be on this trip.  We will be serving at the same church we were at last year, Centro Evangelistico Zuriel.  We will be doing work projects, door-t0-door evangelism, block parties, elderly home visit, church/youth services, and participating in two feeding programs (one of which our youth have been raising money for all year).  Darrell and I will also sneak away for a few hours to look at some housing options outside of the city.

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Fundraising:

Our fundraising has begun, and we are now under one year until our departure.  We estimate our monthly expenses to be about $3,000 and are 7% towards that monthly goal.  We also are 20% funded toward our initial moving costs through one-time gifts.  If you feel the Lord putting it on your heart to become a monthly or one-time partner, you can donate at www.normanmissionaryadventures.org/donate.

 

We will continue to keep you updated on our progress!.

 

Wondering what Darrell will be doing while we are in Costa Rica?  Stay tuned for our next blog!  You can subscribe to follow this blog and get it delivered to your e-mail inbox.  Click the “FOLLOW” button at the bottom of the page.

Scouting & Leading a Trip this week in Costa Rica!

mapThis Wednesday (June 11th) Laura and I will be flying to Liberia, Costa Rica!  This is a two part trip, both of which we are very excited about.

 Wednesday-Thursday we will be scouting out Liberia.  We have a couple of things scheduled that we definitely want/need to look into:

-We will be touring an international Christian school that we hope to send our children to.  We have been looking at their webpage, and have an appointment to meet with a representative of the school as well as get a personal tour.

-We will be meeting with a realtor.  No, we are not picking a home now, but we are both very interested to see the different types of houses in different communities. We will also be considering cost, security, proximity to the kid’s school, etc.

-We will be looking into everything.  We want to get a good feel for “real life” in Liberia.  We also need to know what we can purchase there, or what we will need to ship from the U.S.

-We hope to meet with two pastors that I met last summer.  No better way to get a feel for the community we will be living in than having a meal with two pastors that serve locally.

We are blessed to have our new friend Cecilia with us to help us out (especially with translating!)  We met Cecelia at a Praying Pelican training conference we attended in May, and felt a special connection with her.  Cecilia is a Costa Rican that now lives in the U.S.  She is one of the major reasons that Praying Pelican Missions has partnerships in Costa Rica.

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The second part of our trip (June 14th-21st) we will be assisting another Praying Pelican leader as we serve with a team of over 30 teenagers from Mayflower Congregational Church from Grand Rapids, Michigan.  We will be working with a great church in Rio Cuarto called Iglesia Betel Metodista, serving the community by reaching out to the children, experiencing their church life, community service projects, ministry at a school and much more.  We met the pastor of this church, Pastor Milton (pictured to the right), last month and look forward to spending time encouraging him and his family as well!

 

Would you pray with us?  Here are some prayer points:

-on time flights with all of our luggage.

-safety (especially while I drive…honestly, I’m a little scared about this part)

-details to all fall into place for our two days in Liberia, that we will get everything accomplished we have planned.

-for an incredible week serving in Rio Cuarto.

-pray for the students coming, that we would serve with all of our hearts to see His Kingdom expanded.

-pray for receptive hearts in Rio Cuarto, that many would put their faith in Jesus Christ.

-pray also for our children that we are leaving at home.  We are missing their last days of school, but we know they are in very capable hands.  Laura will be staying until Wednesday, June 18th,  then flying home to rescue all of the babysitters we have lined up.

 

Let the adventure begin,

Nate & Laura

Nate & Laura

A Bittersweet Moment

Today starts a new chapter in our journey.  It is a unique chapter.  For those of you from Immanuel Church, you may be feeling any emotion imaginable.  That is completely understandable, and we are right there with you.

For those of you who were not at Immanuel Church today, we announced that in June of 2015 we will be moving to Costa Rica to serve with Praying Pelican Missions as full-time missionaries.  For many of you, this comes as no surprise, as we have never hid our desire to follow the call of God on our lives in foreign missions.

So how are we feeling right now?  A little bit of everything:

Sad.  We have been serving at Immanuel Church for over seven years now, and will complete eight years by the time we leave.  We have shared laughs, cried over struggles, celebrated victories, created memories, seen God work in amazing ways, and much more with the people we have journeyed with over the past several years.  It was here that our family grew from a young couple with two little girls, to a large multi-cultural family of seven.  So many memories were made at retreats, banquets, conferences, youth nights, mission trips, and times in our home with church family.  We will cherish each of these memories.

Relieved.  This announcement has been in the making for a long time.  Last August when Nathan and Darrell returned home from the Costa Rica youth mission trip, Nate relayed how “this could be it.”  From there we have been praying, asking tons of questions, and investigating the opportunity.  In January, Nathan and Reagan both went to Costa Rica (along with Nathan’s mom).  The move was confirmed, and soon Reagan was asking for a suitcase for her birthday.  A few days after returning from Costa Rica, Nathan was meeting with Pastor Bill to deliver the news of where we feel God was moving us.  He agreed and has been supportive ever since.  We have felt a little guilty holding in this news, so to have it finally out means that we can now talk freely.  Our children are VERY happy to be able to tell their friends!

Scared.  This is a huge undertaking, so we know that it has to be God.  Moving a family of seven to another country is no easy task. Raising a large amount of money seems daunting.  Relying on other’s to support a vision we feel called to almost doesn’t seem right, but we know it is the Lord’s doing.  So many fears can over-take and leave us paralyzed in fear…but God is good and faithful!

Happy.  We know that this move is ordained by God.  He has shown Himself faithful to us through a long process already.  With an opportunity to support local Churches and Pastors in Costa Rica, what’s not to be excited about?  We feel we were created “for such a time as this” to minister in a place that many feel is just a vacation destination.  Underneath the tropical facade, are people that truly need to encounter the living God.  Churches are even being shut down in Costa Rica…hope needs to be restored!

Determined.  Just because God is moving us does not mean that our hearts are not still connected at Immanuel where we will continue to serve until we leave.  We are looking forward to an amazing year of youth ministry.  Nathan has been the only Youth Pastor to this group of students.  God is going to do great things in this next year as we transition out.  “Lame Duck” has been removed from our vocabulary.  We are heading to the finish line like a “Racing Stallion.”

There is so much to say, but for now we will let it sink in.

To stay connected, please subscribe to this blog.  We will be using this to keep you updated on our progress towards the big move!

 

Thank you for being part of our lives!

Much love to all,

Nathan, Laura, Darrell, Reagan, Abigail, Malachi & Isaiah