Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Prayer: The Key to the Master's Orders

While reading through Oswald Chamber’s, My Utmost for His Highest, during family/staff devotional we came across a great serious of meditations regarding missionaries. Please read Oswald’s thoughts on prayer and the missionary:

Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest
Matthew 9:38

The key to the missionary’s difficult task is in the hand of God, and that key is prayer, not work— that is, not work as the word is commonly used today, which often results in the shifting of our focus away from God. The key to the missionary’s difficult task is also not the key of common sense, nor is it the key of medicine, civilization, education, or even evangelization. The key is in following the Master’s orders— the key is prayer. “Pray the Lord of the harvest . . . .” In the natural realm, prayer is not practical but absurd. We have to realize that prayer is foolish from the commonsense point of view.

From Jesus Christ’s perspective, there are no nations, but only the world. How many of us pray without regard to the persons, but with regard to only one Person— Jesus Christ? He owns the harvest that is produced through distress and through conviction of sin. This is the harvest for which we have to pray that laborers be sent out to reap. We stay busy at work, while people all around us are ripe and ready to be harvested; we do not reap even one of them, but simply waste our Lord’s time in over-energized activities and programs. Suppose a crisis were to come into your father’s or your brother’s life— are you there as a laborer to reap the harvest for Jesus Christ? Is your response, “Oh, but I have a special work to do!” No Christian has a special work to do. A Christian is called to be Jesus Christ’s own, “a servant [who] is not greater than his master” (John 13:16), and someone who does not dictate to Jesus Christ what he intends to do. Our Lord calls us to no special work— He calls us to Himself. “Pray the Lord of the harvest,” and He will engineer your circumstances to send you out as His laborer.


1. Marillyn’s got less then two months before the baby is born! She is doing well, but the third trimester brings extra aches and pains. Pray for her health and strength as well as the baby’s. (We are waiting to know the gender – we like the surprise; sorry grandparents).

2. We’ve been following some “simple”, immediate changes that the group of engineers from EMI has given us for the Ranch. We changed wells, got the water tested, ran the line of black water farther down the property, and are going to make some improvements on our current well.

Please pray for the team as they finish details on the master plan for RO4Y, for God’s financial provision to make the necessary changes on the property and for wisdom in moving forward with construction and various projects.

3. “For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (AMP)

Huge Praise!!! After 7 weeks of studying the life of Jesus inductively, verse by verse with the adults and youth, the light bulbs are starting to go on. For the first time I was asking questions and not having to answer them and people were sharing personal examples and struggles related to the text. It was beautiful!!!

Pray that God would continue to open the hearts and minds of the adults and teens to God’s Word and that He would place a desire to grow and learn in their hearts.

Pray that the adult and teen volunteers for the two younger classes would continue to prepare and be inspired to communicate God’s truth to the kids.

4. Praise: the midweek Bible study with the “pre-adolescent” group has been going great. We’ve been studying Christian basics and our first three studies include the topics: sin, repentance and salvation.

Please pray for this group of young people, for their salvation and spiritual growth. They are the future of Rancho Oasis for Youth.
(Leandro, Nexer, Cesar, Gersen, Crisna, Sulema, Alba, Eada, Yalbana, and Julissa).

5. The teens and I have restarted our studies through the books of Acts. We’ve met recently at one of the girl’s homes to accommodate different situations and it has been fun.

Please pray for these young adults; that God would capture their hearts before they enter adulthood and give them a passion for God’s word. (Kevin, Arturo, Fernando, JosĂ©, Lesli, Vilma – mother of a 10 month old, Tania and Ena). Photo: one of our hens and a few chicks.

6. Guitar class is going strong. I’ve recently been loaning out the guitars to regular students. I’ve also given the students a goal to play in front of the church November 7th.

Pray that these young people develop a passion for worshiping God!

7. Praise God for providing a new contact and accommodations for our short-term missions teams. While we are making long term plans to host short-term teams on the Ranch property, we’ve sought out other accommodations. Don JosuĂ©, with a PhD in business administration, has been building a retreat / conference center in Ojojona for non-profit organizations for the last 18 years. The facility is beautiful and it will work wonderfully for our teams.

8. I’ve got another meeting with Father Francis at the local private hospital on November 2nd.

Please pray that God would continue to work out the logistics between the hospital and the team of short-term missionaries/physicians that are coming in February.

9. Continue to pray for the application for non-profit status in the US. Praise God He provided the finances!

10. The Honduran Immigration Office is still working on our application for a year extension on our VISA. UPDATE: I updated our VISA's today and found out we are missing three details to complete the application. Pray that we can resolve these three documents quickly.

Pray that it will be accepted!

11. Continue to pray for the importation of the Ranch’s bus.

12. I found out last weekend that I was lied to about the internet installation. I was lead to believe that the package was satellite cable, internet and telephone. However, only the cable was satellite and the internet service won’t work.

So, pray that God will provide the finances to get “real” satellite internet and that we will find a provider!

13. Brooke, the Ranch’s administrative staffer, the girl’s grandma, and my mother-in-law, arrived safely back at RO4Y.

Continue to pray for our family’s safety, health and spiritual growth!

14. Continue to pray for our helper, Oscar, and his work on the property. He connected us with his uncle, who builds wells.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Designing a World of Hope

It was not coincidence when Wayne and Brooke met two members of Engineering Ministries International this last January. Wayne was preaching at a Sunday morning service in church only 30 minutes from our former home in Costa Rica.

After a brief conversation, we realized that God was providing a great opportunity for us to plan and prepare the utilities infrastructure and architectural design for Ranch Oasis for Youth. Shortly after discovering EMI, we filled out a ministry application and were on our way to hosting a team of volunteer engineers.

The vision for RO4Y has been forming in our minds for over 4 years. We sought to establish the ministry for almost 2 years in Costa Rica and have been living the dream for the last 8 months. We moved onto a 6 acre property with a few existing buildings, 4 wells, and electricity. Unlike our service as missionaries in Mexico, we have not joined a ministry well established for nearly 40 years. We are the pioneers for Ranch Oasis and the possibilities are open and exciting (and a little overwhelming).

God knew our need and provided a great group of engineers through EMI: Jim the electrical engineer and his wife Mary Ann, his multifunctional assistant (aka kitchen help); Dean the landscape architect; Beth a structural engineer; Travis, a civil engineer/potable water guy and his wife Laura, an architect specializing in camps & conference centers; Jessica, a civil engineer/waste water gal; Bethany, a civil engineer intern with EMI and Micah, a civil engineer, team leader and EMI full time staff.

We began the week by hashing through our vision for RO4Y and discussing the logistics of making the vision a reality. God had assembled a diverse group of engineers from university professors to recent college grads. These 8 engineers prayerfully took the vision and goals that we shared and created a master plan “map” of what the Ranch could be, as well as step-by-step phasing to accomplish the plan. What a blessing!!!

We look forward to sharing with you, our support team, details of the vision and phasing that the engineers shared with us. Though they accomplished a lot in less than a week, there are still a number of details that they are finishing up. Please pray for the team members as they return to the States and complete the details remaining for the Ranch. (These images are prelimanery renderings, subject to change)

As a long term missionary, it is hard to explain the impact of short term teams. The week is full of activity and exhaustion seems to be the end result of each day, but there is so much joy, fellowship and zeal with these newly acquainted brothers and sisters. Perhaps this is a small glimpse of heaven as we seek to enlarge God’s kingdom here on earth.

1. Praise the Lord for the week with the EMI team! Praise the Lord for his provision to take care of the team’s food, accommodations and one plane ticket! Thank you, support team, for your prayers and financial gifts; the week would not have been possible without you!!! Continue to pray for the team as they wrap up their individual responsibilities and transition back into life in the States, Costa Rica and one couple’s 2 month service project in Nicaragua.

Happy Birthday Bethany!!!

2. Praise God. It has not rained in over a week!!! (It rained for 7 days straight before the EMI team arrived). It is as if God simply turned off the valve to the heavens; not a single drop!!! (From hurricane Matthew to drought – crazy). Now the roads are dry, dusty and more importantly, drivable. However, the ground is still saturated and the weight of the heavier buses and trucks are creating some huge dents. (We’re not through repairing the road, yet).

3. After almost two weeks of not driving the bus to pick up people for weekly classes or Sunday service, I was back to being bus driver. Class and Sunday service attendance has been lower because of the poor weather, but the times of fellowship have been more intimate. Continue to pray for Sunday mornings as the adults and youth study the Word inductively, and then volunteer to teach the two younger children’s classes.

4. Continue to pray for me, Jon, as I work out details to host a medical brigade short-term missions team this February with the local private hospital just outside Ojojona.

5. Praise the Lord for His financial provision to apply and secure non-profit status in the US (501C3). A total of $1,300!!! We are looking to work with several organizations that help missionaries complete building projects, but they require non-profit status. God knows, He provides!!!

6. Our application for a one year VISA is still in the works; please pray that it would go through smoothly.

7. Continue to pray for the importation of the bus and the installation of the internet.

8. Pray for Brooke, our administrative guru. She completes her time in the States this week and returns to the Ranch this Thursday, October 14th.

9. Continue to pray for our worker Oscar. He recently had a job related injury, but praise the Lord it all worked out and his health is good. (He chipped a rock with his machete and caught some in the eye).

10. Please pray for our safety. Honduras is a dangerous place; from driving on the roads, being in the wrong place at the wrong time in the city and being isolated in the country. Gringos are easily targeted here and Satan could manipulate us into a state of paranoia. God is our refuge and protector, pray that we would trust Him and walk in wisdom.

11. Pray for our missionary friends, Jason and Patty Mula, pastor and wife of the church in Tegucigalpa. They are traveling in the States this month to take care of some family issues and contact supporters.

12. Last, but not the least… please keep Marillyn in your daily prayers as we get ready for our new baby to arrive. Her due date is the middle of December.