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! 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!
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!
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
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.
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
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!
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
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
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
Posted in Bible, Costa Rica, ESEPA, Gary Shogren, Karen Shogren, Missions, New Testament, seminario, WorldVenture
Tagged Bible, evangelical, seminary
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