Category Archives: New Testament

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

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/

How has our ministry expanded?

Gary has a new role, helping prepare a generation of Bible professors in a certain nation (you have to come hear us to get the details). He is now mentoring masters degree students through their final projects, a 75-page thesis in which they apply the Bible to their local needs. He also is in charge of making sure they get library material they need to do scholarly research.

Karen will be working more closely with our denomination, the Bible Fellowship Church. The BFC has a special department for caring for its missionaries and their families. Karen will help to prepare their missionary kids (MKs) for life overseas.

Still needed for us to return to the field: 78 people to commit to give $50/month

In the car Sundays, between ministry presentations, the talk naturally turns to ministry and fundraising. Presenting our ministry is a joy we wouldn’t want to miss:
1. We get to meet new and interesting people (this week at two new churches for us, Redeemer BFC in the morning and Franconia Reformed Baptist at night).
2. We “happen” to run into and catch up with old friends with whom we’d lost touch.
3. We get to encourage young people that serving God is always worth the sacrifice.
4. We stay focused. There are so many things we COULD be doing, that we have to work through, what  we SHOULD be doing. As we put into words why we do what we do, it puts the spotlight on our priorities.
5. We enjoy traveling, since we can spend some time together as a couple. Since we were newlyweds, we’ve analyzed everything from “How was my sermon/bible study/presentation?” to future ministry strategies. It helps us stay united in direction.

Please pray: Do you have Christian friends who might be interested to hear about our ministries and our financial needs? We’re still free  weekdays in April.

Who we are, what we do

Karen and Gary

Karen and Gary

As missionaries in Costa Rica for the last 15 years, Gary and Karen Shogren have been following the Great Commission in strategic ways. In San José they train energetic Latin American leaders who will lead the church and spread the Gospel into nations where Americans cannot easily go. Second, they provide ongoing theological education online for those far-flung Spanish-speaking missionaries. Third, in many places they strengthen the next generation of missionaries (missionary kids) emotionally and spiritually. As a couple they are strategically placed & uniquely qualified to equip tomorrow’s leaders.

Gary’s PhD in New Testament Exegesis plus 25 years of experience as New Testament professor on 3 continents prepare him to continue teaching at the Evangelical Seminary for Pastoral Studies (ESEPA) in San José, Costa Rica. Now there is another exciting new opportunity for him on the horizon [we cannot post the details publically]. Gary’s training, experience, skills and location allow him to meet this need in a way others cannot.

Now that Karen also teaches at ESEPA, the Shogrens are even more of a bargain: 2 professors for the price of one! Her specialty is teaching correct Bible study methods to women without much formal education. In that context 2 Timothy 2:2b provides the greatest challenge: “Teach these great truths to trustworthy people who are able to pass them on to others.” Karen’s other ministry track has involved serving in member care and orientation for missionary families since 2000. Many missionary kids’ (MKs) go to the field with little cross-cultural training; they are at risk spiritually and their families might have to return to the US. We have found that an ounce of prevention in this area can prevent the waste of lives, time, and money. Karen’s background in biblical counseling uniquely qualifies her to provide Scriptural solutions to this new challenge in the missions community.

We are in Media PA for some months and would love to present our work to your church, small group or in your home. We can present it in English or in Spanish. LEAVE A COMMENT in the space below and we’ll be in touch.

February 2013 update!

We need to stay in the US for a while to do more fundraising. Starting in January we had to take a large pay cut due to the economic slowdown, skyrocketing health insurance costs, and new ministry expenses. 

Contact us to visit your home, your small group Bible study or your church! garyshog@gmail.com

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2012 for Gary

  • Zondervan published his Thessalonians commentary in November; it’s available from Amazon and will be offered by Logos Bible Software. Logos also offers his 1 Corinthians commentary.
  • He wrote and taught an online course of first-year Greek for Spanish-speaking people, the only course of this type of which he is aware.
  • He taught in [a certain unnamed country] in September and is negotiating to teach there more in 2013.
  • Gary is regularly speaking at conferences on some hot topics in Latin America: Messianic Judaism; Christian leadership; the Second Coming; “Can I Trust My Bible?”

The Parable of the Little Toe

Once upon a time there was a church, a body of Christ.

On the platform stood various members. One man led the worship and read a Psalm aloud. A woman was the main singer; she too held a microphone. Two other women and a man were backup singers. There was a guitarist who played the chords; a drummer who provided the rhythm; a man with a trumpet, another with a bass guitar. Each member of one body, each one with his or her special contribution.

But what is this? What’s the hold-up? The worship leader asks that the church sing louder, with more joy and enthusiasm, but the people don’t follow his lead. Are they, as he suggests none too subtly, unspiritual? Well, it’s not their fault: they’d like to sing with more energy, but something is holding them back. They don’t know the words of this song, and the screen is blank!

Because up in a little control-room in back of the church, there’s a member of the body who handles the technology: the projector and the PowerPoint in order to show the lyrics. But he seems to be dreaming and his attention is wandering. He answers his phone, he chats with his girlfriend, he sends a text, he updates his Facebook.

The people want to sing with all their might, but without this one member, the hymn doesn’t fly.

“Just look,” he complains, instead of doing his job. “I can’t sing like her, I can’t play an instrument like they do. No wonder I skip rehearsal, since my part in the ‘show’ hardly matters. I’m not important, my part in this is tiny. In the body of the Lord, I’m just a little toe!”

Now you see the point of my little story: Everybody has their gift, whether they’re an elbow, a hand or an ear. And if one member doesn’t work, the body doesn’t function; when one little toe is missing in action, the whole body ceases to worship.

All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be…On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable. 1 Cor 12:11-12, 15-19, 22

“The Parable of the Little Toe” was  originally written in Spanish for a Latin American context and is here presented in English. By Gary Shogren, Seminario ESEPA, San José, Costa Rica. For more essays, visit Gary’s blog at justinofnablus.com