August 2020 Newsletter!

Watch Karen Teach her International Course!

Three times a week, Karen boots up to teach over 100 people. CLICK HERE to catch a glimpse of her in her “studio” (if there are troubles with the “sound”, click the triangle on the upper right). She is saying, ‘So, we are not just saying that we must not abuse our power to abuse others; it is that we have to use our power to protect the vulnerable. As Jeremiah 23 says, Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the LORD.’

Karen shares!

Hello from San José, Costa Rica! I am so glad for the opportunity to update you on my ministry. Please forgive the length of this – I think a bit of background will help you comprehend the significance of all the new information!

You may remember that December 2015 was when I was first able to articulate (somewhat) the new ministry God had laid on my heart – to help church leaders understand what to do about sexual violence. It was two years later (December 2017) when I had learned enough to articulate that it should be some sort of formal training program and I participated in the first local workshop with two missionary friends. A year later (December 2018) I had received a little formal training, made some professional contacts, and realized that there was no written material for the kind of training program we needed. God made it clear that part of my job was to write that training program, and I began outlining what it would look like. A year later (December 2019), I had written a detailed outline and formed a general idea of what kind of course I would like to offer, but was very discouraged by the slow pace, and the extraordinarily high stress of the year’s events had taken a heavy toll on me emotionally and physically. The whole idea of the new ministry seemed unreachable and impossible.

But God.

I love that phrase! Whenever it appears in Scripture, there is a drastic change – God does miracles to accomplish his purposes, and the humans involved are overcome with amazement.

That’s how I feel now. God stepped into my schedule, cleared the deck, so to speak, and gave me the time, energy, and concentration to do what needed to be done. He sped up the pace dramatically, and now I can barely keep up. As you know, in February, I taught the first class, here in my home, to 13 people, in English. It was the very beginning of an 8-week course designed to raise awareness and provide tools to church leaders in the fight against sexual violence. I was planning lessons a week at a time and was just happy to have handouts and a PowerPoint ready before each class started.

Quarantine began halfway through, and suddenly, through the marvels of an online meeting platform, my classroom was the entire planet. Meanwhile, God was getting ready for the next phase: offering the course in Spanish. I’ve been teaching in Spanish for years, but I wanted written material to be of the highest quality, and that requires native speakers doing the translating and correcting. Faith Bible Fellowship Church in Harleysville, PA, surprised me with a generous donation earmarked for Spanish translation, which is enough to have the free workbook and a few other written resources professionally translated. God provided a skilled team of local translators, all of whom are friends of mine and one of whom was in the first cohort, so she understands what I am trying to say – a must for material as new and emotionally-charged as this.

By mid-July, I began the first Spanish-language cohort with 115 people signed up from around the world divided up into 3 sections! We now have a free workbook and other resources for the students – thank you, Faith BFC! You will be making a difference in the Spanish-speaking world for many years to come!

Now, at the end of July, we have been offered the opportunity to write and teach this material as an entire certificate level program at our seminary, ESEPA, starting in January 2021! I have a team of 5 Costa Rican professionals (a psychologist, a lawyer, a theologian, a social worker, and a child safety specialist) who are willing to help with planning, writing, and teaching the program. ESEPA realizes that this is a unique opportunity for many reasons and is planning to promote it heavily throughout Latin America.

Thank you, dear friend, for your prayers through all this time. Your prayers have kept me going through the very difficult and lonely times, and now your prayers have provided ample help and amazing opportunities to spread to the entire world God’s love and concern for the safety of the vulnerable. Please keep praying for wisdom, insight, faithful representation of God’s heart, the stamina to get the work done and the right Spanish words. The next 5 months will be spent writing down what is in my head, to have it ready to teach at ESEPA.

To God be the glory, great things he has done!

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Filed under Bible, Costa Rica, ESEPA, Gary Shogren, Karen Shogren, Missions, seminario, Sexual abuse, WorldVenture

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