beginning again…

A Year since we moved from Costa Rica…
I never would have dreamed that God would have asked me to return again…

It’s terrifying in some ways… triggering my nerves… yet, so exciting and beautiful in other ways.  I’m so grateful for how the Lord orchestrated it.

After I returned to Knoxville from my recent trip to Costa Rica, all of my loved ones sweetly asked, “How was your trip?!?”

Well, overall, I would say that it was – “Great!”

However, it was a unique ambivalence.
It was strange to feel such conflicting emotions.  I’ll explain…

I was so thrilled to get to spend time with my dear friend, Erick.

I was so honored to preach at his church, but it definitely felt quite stretching to prep a sermon in Spanish again!

Other familiar faces felt like a gift as well..
This is Gigi and Gramps… as we affectionately refer to them.

They adopted us while we were in Costa Rica.  The continue to faithfully serve in the church we formally pastored.

This is my dear friend, Jorge.

He was my first friend when I moved to Costa Rica, and he’s still a good friend!  It has a been one of my deepest joys to walk beside him.  His friendship offered rich encouragement when I felt so alone.

Because of the number of years we were in Costa Rica…
God has allowed my eyes to see little boys turn into young men.

It only stirs deeper love and longing to continue to pour into the investments we have made.

From tico elders and pastors…
It felt right to reconnect with people I considered family as we lived in a foreign land.

All this to say… my cup felt like it was overflowing as I got to sit with these loved ones… my heart was so joyful.

This land…
So beautifully familiar and still yet so foreign at the same time.

Living here taught me so much.
It was also one of the loneliest seasons of my life.
One I find myself still healing from…

while there, I had good practice doing self-talk.  A counselor had helped me process much of the hard parts of CR upon my return to the states, but I had to press into those triggers again…

These triggers felt hard… I’m still processing.  I am so thankful for the 7 years we spent there and that we really pressed in and pressed on.

This trip had two main purposes.  One, to reconnect with some people that I love deeply.  That was a huge success!  Second, I wanted to make progress on the Bible Institute.  I am excited to have received overwhelming interest from Costa Rican pastors and churches about receiving training.

These faithful men and women are already preaching, teaching, leading worship, raising up… (while working bi-vocationally).

My friend above has three services a week while he works full-time making furniture.

These friends in Costa Rica understand worship.  They step into it freely.  I am constantly learning from them.

With the Bible Institute that we are developing, we have decided to do it somewhat “backwards” (imagine that!).  Meaning, rather than using the traditional metrics of success – bodies, budgets, and buildings – we want to have meaningful, profound impact.  Therefore, we are going to intentionally keep our numbers small.  Why?  We want to intentionally invest in these leaders… walk with them… encourage and support them… it’s both educational components and spiritual / emotional care.

I’ll do my best to keep you informed along the journey.  Lord-willing, I’ll be back to offer some workshops soon.  I’m honored to have this high privilege, and I’m delighted to get to see the faces of my loved ones in CR.

As I enter in, to the beginning again… please know, I am deeply grateful for your love, prayers and support.

My hope is that I will have funds to return in April to offer our first workshops.  As always, I appreciate your belief in me and your willingness to walk alongside.

Much love and blessings.