February 2015 – Long-Term Planning at the Shogren Household!

Two months ago our landlord asked us to leave our house so that he can renovate and sell it. We took that as our cue to think about long term plans.

First, we intend to keep teaching at ESEPA here in San José, as well as online. Gary is full-time, and while Karen is part-time, she has been urged to teach as much as possible in ESEPA’s certificate program. Gary also plans to continue teaching intensive courses in Cuba, plus keep up with his writing. As Karen would say, “Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise”, there’s no reason to leave CR until retirement age.

That was the easy part! ESEPA wants us, we want to stay, there’s every reason to stay and none to leave.

Karen: And more than ever we have a great sense of urgency. When we first came to Costa Rica in 1998, our aim was to work our way out of a job. That meant training new professors for ESEPA and preparing leaders for the Church. We’ve worked hard towards that goal, and seen a lot of beautiful fruit along those lines! But there’s still SO MUCH to do! So Gary is now serving as Academic Dean and focusing more and more on preparing our Master’s degree students to be our present and future professors.

Gary says: “A picture is worth a thousand words”: here is our roster of professors from last term. The 15 people circled in red, we have helped to train during our time here at ESEPA. Ten others are Latin Americans from other institutions.

Picture1

But Karen asks: Yes, that’s all fine, but where are we going to live? Well, God has stepped in and we have been offered a wonderful house 2 blocks away, for just a little over $200/month more than we pay now! This dear couple is giving us a BARGAIN the likes of which we never would have even dreamed of. Plus it’s completely and beautifully furnished. We are due to move Valentine’s Day weekend. Pictures to follow!
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Prayer requests for 2015

  • That Sammy will be ready to return to school next week
  • That our move will go well – around Feb 15
  • That God will bring us up to 100% support level

Financial needs for 2015
As we noted last month, the rent on our new house will be a few hundred dollars higher than what we are paying now. In addition our health premiums did in December what they always do, rise.

You can give us a one-time gift or become a partner through our mission’s website at www.worldventure.com and search for “Shogrens”.

Many blessings to you! Gary and Karen Shogren, Missionary Professors to Costa Rica and Beyond

Visit us on http://shogrens.com

Graduation 2014 from Seminario ESEPA

Karen and Gary both marched, since both are now professors at ESEPA. Gary had the addition blessing as academic dean to give out degrees to students.

Gary and Karen grad 2014 a Gary giving diploma 2014

Year-End Update 2014!

Gary. I just finished writing a short commentary on Romans for a Latin American audience; it should be published in Spanish within a few months. Another highlight of 2014 was again serving as Academic Dean of ESEPA: beyond teaching I also mentor and direct the other professors, some of whom are teaching for the first time. The most amazing event of the year was participating in the graduation of our first class of seminary students in [a certain Caribbean island nation] – 20 men and women who in addition to their other ministries are already teaching in local Bible colleges across the island. We praise God for our first harvest of homegrown professors!

Graduation Day!

Graduation Day! Gary is front and center

Karen. Remember how nervous I was nearly 4 years ago when God led me to start teaching at ESEPA? What a joy to look back and see that while I truly have been inadequate to the job of working in people’s hearts, God has kept His promise to use me as His tool. I LOVE teaching God’s Word to women who are hungry to learn! My first lesson to them is always this: “You’re no longer just a student, now you are also a teacher, entrusted to teach this to others.” Over the years I’ve been able to watch them blossom and do just that. Another highlight of my year was when my mom came to visit and became a missionary at 92, helping us run a retreat for missionary kids!

"Profesora" Karen

“Profesora” Karen

Sammy. After 2½ years with us, Sammy has gone from being a child seriously damaged by the effects of abuse, to a boy who can just enjoy being a kid and playing with his friends in Boy Scouts. He is beyond the single-emotion state (anger), and now demonstrates a warm love for us. The best news of all: he clearly has a relationship with Jesus Christ that guides his actions!

Sammy at Scouts

New Partners. For the first time we have WorldVenture missionary partners in Costa Rica! The Foote family and the Mihalkos just finished their year at language school. They are planning to work with Costa Ricans who will go out as missionaries, giving them the training they need to start businesses wherever they land around the globe. What a blessing to build a team with dear friends with whom we can laugh, cry, and above all, stand firm.

Prayer requests for 2015:

  • That Sammy will be ready to return to school for the new year beginning in Feb
  • That Karen’s arthritis will stabilize
  • That we will minister effectively to our WorldVenture team members
  • That God will guide our ministry projects for the coming year
  • That God will supply our financial needs quickly, so that we can dedicate ourselves more fully to our teaching ministries

Financial needs for 2015. We cannot thank you enough for your faithful support! Your ministry to us has freed us up to teach dozens of students and missionary kids this year. We also send a special thank you to those of you who gave towards our recent trips to Cuba and Honduras. We just learned that we will have to move out of the (rent-controlled) house that we have had since 1998, so our expenses will probably rise. That and due to WorldVenture restructuring its accounting system, we have two more requests: we need several hundred dollars more of monthly support, plus we need $3000 to cover this year’s salary shortfall.

¡Feliz Navidad! Gary and Karen

October Update

Gary and Karen have just finished two important trips at the end of September – Karen to teach Missionary Kids in Honduras, and Gary to attend a graduation at the seminary where he occasionally teaches on a “closed” Caribbean island. If you would like to hear the details of Gary’s trip, give us your email address in the Comments section.

We have lost several regular donors and would like to make up for that loss of income before the end of 2014. If you are interested in supporting us for $50 or $100 a month, let us know in the comments section.

In all cases, we will not publish your name and email on this website.

Blessings! Gary

Member Care!

In any venture the people are its most valuable resource. Wise business leaders know that taking care of their employees will retain those resources and increase productivity. This should come as no surprise, since God tells us that we were designed to live in a mutually supportive community. The “one anothers” of the New Testament tell us help other toward both godliness and kingdom productivity.

For missionaries that gets a bit complicated. We have moved away from our state-side Christian communities, where we had pastors, counselors, Amazon online for Christian resources delivered to our door and friends in our Sunday School class who could help out with meals in a crisis or just an empathetic listening ear. In our host country we may or may not have access to those types of resources. Add to that our unique set of challenges as we must live and work between two worlds, and you have a recipe for missionary melt-down. It happens all too often. Continue reading

June 2014 Newsletter

What are you waiting for?

Scenario A, the nightly news: the anchor asks a question of the on-location reporter. We wait. The reporter stares blankly for a second. Finally he nods and begins to respond.

Scenario B, the Mission Field: a Costa Rican asks a question of professor Gary or Karen. There is a “hang-time” of ½ to 2 seconds, a blank look. They then react and give a response.

The speed of light isn't fast enough!

The speed of light isn’t fast enough!

What causes A? The anchor’s words go up to a satellite, maybe bounce over to another satellite or two, and then down to the reporter. The question travels only (only!) at the speed of light. Then his answer travels back the same route. Very quick, but not instantaneous – at the very least it’s 1/3 of a second either direction and it’s noticeable.

And what causes B? Well, that’s a bit more complicated! Here are two options:

Missing Spanish Word: “Gary, this pastor told me that ____ is ___ the church. What do you think?” Amazing how a sentence falls apart when the subject and the verb are Missing in Action. Continue reading

April 2014 Update

We still need to raise $973 per month, which will bring us to 100% in all areas: living expenses, work expenses, and remaining debt to the mission. We still have a special gift from Cuba that will go to the person who puts us over the top!
Interested donors can contact WorldVenture by clicking www.worldventure.com and looking up our name. Click MAKE A COMMITMENT for a regular donation or GIVE NOW for a one-time donation to our Ministry Account.

Prayer Needs:
1. For Sammy, especially his education
2. For Gary as he balances teaching, writing a Spanish-language commentary on Romans, and serving as academic dean.
3. For Karen as she balances teaching Sammy, ESEPA work, and moving her
mom.

Blessings! Gary and Karen