Category Archives: Costa Rica

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

Fundraising Update, Feb 11

Four months ago, we still needed to raise $1400 per month before we could return to Costa Rica.

As of today we only need to raise $473 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 HERE. Click MAKE A COMMITMENT for a regular donation, or GIVE NOW for a one-time donation to our Ministry Account.

Thank you to Jim and Diana, Donald and Donna, Susan and Paul, John and Gail, Dave and Amy, Jimmy and Kristal, Reformed Baptist, and several anonymous donors for special gifts!

And Bart and Carole, Joan and George, Roger and LuAnne, Barry and Patti, for new or increased support!

Thanks!

February 2014 update!

Gary is serving a year’s term as Academic Dean of ESEPA, planning the courses and working with the professors so that we give the best training possible. To start the new academic year, he spoke how we serve as models or patterns for our students (see a similar article of his here).

Karen’s mother broke her kneecap, and so Karen went to Philly and brought Thelma here to live with us during her recuperation.

Young Sammy has started school at Sojourn Academy, where our four kids attended; it’s just a few blocks from the house.

** Special Prayer Requests **

One: Gary was asked to write a short commentary on Romans and because of circumstances, to turn it in within a few months. He has preached and taught much of Romans and published a few articles on the letter, but this means that he will have to write at top speed.

Two: we now have two new families from our mission working in Costa Rica, and we need God’s grace now more than ever as they go through their first year. Pray for our new team!

Three: Karen was recently asked to prepare a missionary kid retreat in Costa Rica at the end of the month, for 15 children, ages 1-17. God has been good and provided workers, so pray for Karen as she writes and plans the program. Please pray for Karen’s mom Thelma, that she will enjoy her time here with us in CR, and that her body will quickly heal and gain strength

October 7 Update!

Gary: I spent most of September crossing back and forth the length of a certain Caribbean island. [click Leave a Comment, above, if you want us to send you more details] Imagine traveling to from New York to Chicago and returning, and mainly on bad country roads. I got in touch with 20 of the our seminary students.

These students are the island’s future Bible College professors. One leader tells me: They need to finish up, because I am counting on them to teach our Bible college courses in September 2014. I assure him that it’s doable, if they apply themselves to it. Their final projects are an investigation of how the Bible speaks to their local problems: Continue reading

September update!

When Jesus wanted His disciples to remember something, He often tied the lesson to something familiar that they would encounter often. The most obvious example is the Lord’s Supper, where He used the most common food elements of the day to remind them of His sacrifice on the cross. Surely that was no accident. From then on, at every meal, the bread would remind them of that time of horrible pain and grief, followed by unimaginable joy at the resurrection. They’d never be able to eat a meal again without those events being uppermost in their minds!

Let’s follow the Master Teacher’s example. In many people’s minds, Costa Rica is synonymous with coffee. It certainly is for Costa Rican nationals: coffee has been their #1 cash crop export for decades, making it an integral part of the economy and everyday life. And the rest of the world? Those who know excellent coffee look for Tarrazú, a special one grown only in Costa Rica: “in November 2012, [Costa Rican] Tarrazú Geisha coffee became the most expensive coffee sold by Starbucks…online customers were able to buy 0.5 lb packs at a price of US$40 each and it was sold out in less than 24 hours.”

What does this have to do with Gary and Karen Shogren, missionaries to Costa Rica? Plenty! For almost all of you, coffee plays an important part in your day. I’m praying that God will use your daily coffee to remind you of us, our need for prayer and our need for financial partners. Continue reading

August Update!

Since January our support level has risen from 59% to around 82%, and unofficially we might be in the upper 80s%. This is very good progress, and God has been very kind, blessing us with a generous team.

Our goal is to be in San José for Thanksgiving Dinner. Why? Because two new missionary families are just now moving to Costa Rica for the first time; look up the Mihalkos and the Footes on http://www.worldventure.com. We have been walking step by step with them as they decided that God was calling them to be missionaries. We want the Shogrens, Mihalkos and Footes to meet around the turkey in November.

To accomplish our goal, we still need to raise hundreds of dollars a month.
We would be happy to visit your church, or even your family or your small group; just leave a COMMENT below; we are very low pressure and won’t twist your arm!

Karen says: I’m having my other hip replaced on Aug 12 at Physicians Care Surgical Hospital in Royersford. In 6 weeks it just may be the first time in many years that I can walk normally! We have reactivated our CaringBridge page HERE.

Gary says: I’m probably on my way to a certain island nation for some weeks; if anyone wants more details, they can email me. Please pray that I get a visa and that I will be up to a demanding schedule while there.

And young Sammy says by Skype, Grandpa, ¿cuándo regresará? When will you be back? By God´s grace, we hope within a few months.

July Update

Everyone wants to know when we are due to return to Costa Rica. The answer is simple: as soon as we raise all of our money! God knows the specific date, and we are aiming for a time frame. However we both hope to be able to return by the middle of September.

So far we still need to raise about 2400/month. Will you pray and ask if the Lord wants you to back our work?

COME HEAR US SPEAK: Southward Baptist Church, West Deptford, NJ, 10:30am, August 4

http://www.southwoodministries.org/

Will you buy banana bread to send a boy to school?

bread_banana_500They came to our gate in the rain, a mother and her son of about 14. She was selling home-made banana bread. We see them every couple of weeks and buy large pieces from her for 50 cents each.

She also asked if we had any used men’s shoes for her son, Continue reading

June 2013 Update!

It was great to see our friends at Tasker Street, Covenant in Bath, PA, Whitehall BFC, Calvary Protestant, Friendship Baptist, Oreland EPC, Mount Hope, Lehigh Baptist, Chestnut Hill Baptist, Living Hope, Sovereign Grace, Oasis Church, Bible Fellowship Church in Quinehaug, Connecticut, Christ Evangelical Free in Lehighton, the Bible Fellowship Annual Meeting and the Bible Fellowship Missionary Conference, 14 churches and 2 conferences within the space of 8 weeks!

Thanks for your new commitment to finance our work: Blaine, Nate, John and Debby, Kimberlee, Karen K, Phil and Marty, Robyn, Andy and Cel, Lloyd, Ruth and Ron, Ted and Audrey, Arlene, Sister Johnson, Deb C., Jenn Florin, Perryville, Steve and Phyllis, Redeemer BFC. And thanks for your continued support, Deb S.

COME HEAR THE SHOGRENS! There are things we can share in person which we cannot post on our website.

We are currently in New Mexico, visiting Tim and Ariel. We will be traveling across the country, so if you or your group want to hear us speak over the next 2 weeks, respond to this message right away!

Everyone wants to know when we are due to return to Costa Rica. The answer is simple: as soon as we raise all of our money! God knows the specific date, and we are aiming for a time frame. Gary will be teaching the next ESEPA semester online, and Karen has already said she’s unavailable for her two summer courses, which gives us flexibility until this fall. However we both hope to be able to return by the middle of September.

So far we still need to raise about 2400/month.

** For those of you who are keeping track of our financial progress: our finances are complicated, we’ve lost another church, it’s taken us all these months to compile all of our budget needs. We’re seriously praying that this is the FINAL gross figure, and there will be no more losses to recoup!

Gary and Karen share at Tasker Street Baptist, S. Philly

Gary and Karen share at Tasker Street Baptist, S. Philly