Karen shares this month:
Gary’s commentary on Thessalonians was published in Spanish! And he is happy to be back teaching at ESEPA Seminary in San José, Costa Rica after the holiday break, and working on a new book.
He’s still working with Wycliffe Associates, helping to edit a new Greek-English dictionary for Bible translations. He loves what he does, so it is a double blessing to be able to serve the Lord doing what he enjoys most! (And from the perspective of a proud wife, I, Karen, think he is exceptionally gifted in this area!).
We have had a lot of family adjustments lately, the most recent one is that Sammy (our 12-year-old “foster son”) and his grandmother Rosi have moved out and are living with her sister and extended family about 3 hours away. They have been with us for 13 years, and we all love each other dearly, so it is a terribly difficult adjustment for everyone. But it was clearly God’s will, so we know it is what is best for all 4 of us. So that leaves the two of us alone, true empty-nesters for the first time since Steve was born 34 years ago. All of you who have been faced with an empty nest know what a huge adjustment THAT is on its own, so we are actually adjusting to 2 major changes at once. Not for the faint of heart! We are putting a lot of effort into how to re-arrange the household and divvy up the chores to keep us both free for the work God has given us to do. It has been a huge challenge but also we are finding unexpected fun in it.
I (Karen) am finally ready to start my new program training church leaders how to combat sexual abuse! It is very exciting and overwhelming! The first cohort will begin Feb 13, 1-4pm US Central time, every Thursday for 8 weeks. It will be a pilot program in English for missionaries here in San José, so that we can work out the kinks before translating everything into Spanish, and so that they can help recruit local churches to take the course beginning mid-year. We know that we are heading deep into enemy territory and he won’t take it lying down. The last 2 years working on this have been filled with obstacles, crises, and other types of spiritual warfare. It is obvious that God has been directing this project from the beginning, so we are trusting his timetable and his provision, and it seems as though God has finally cleared the deck to make way for the project to begin!
We are so deeply grateful for your faithful prayers, encouragement, and financial support! We cannot do this without you, and are very proud to serve God here on your behalf. We praise God for his generous provision through you: we received a number of generous year-end gifts in December and January, which pushed us into the black for the end of the year and allowed us to claim some past expenses. THAT gave us cause for much rejoicing, and means we will have the money for upcoming ministry expenses over the next few months. To God be the glory, GREAT things he has done!
PRAISE AND PRAYER
- Protection from spiritual warfare (health, time, distractions, protection)
- That God would send the right people to attend Karen’s pilot program, and use them to provide critical feedback for final adjustments
- That God would provide someone who is willing to translate a lot of material free of charge
- That Karen will have clarity of thought in these last days of writing the course
- If you think of it, please pray during each lesson, that God will give Karen clear mental focus, that God’s compassion and love for the helpless will flow freely, that his Spirit will change our hearts, and prepare us and lead us forward in this ministry
- That Gary and Karen would persevere in pursuit of new and healthy household routines, that we would keep our sense of humor through any rough patches of adjustment, that we would become an even stronger team in God’s service
Filed under Bible, Costa Rica, ESEPA, Gary Shogren, Karen Shogren, Missions, New Testament, seminario, Sexual abuse, Uncategorized, WorldVenture
At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen. (Philippians 4:18-20, NLT)
With just a few small changes his words are still applicable today for the Shogren family: “We too have all we need – and more! We have been generously supplied with the gifts many of you have sent online or through the mail. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. And this same God who takes care of us will supply all YOUR needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Now ALL GLORY TO GOD our Father forever and ever!”
Every day there are unlimited reminders of your generous faithfulness: every time we go food shopping or pay our electric bill, it is a testament to God’s faithfulness through you. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts! Without you we would not be able to focus on our ministries in Costa Rica and elsewhere, training church leaders and missionaries through teaching, mentoring, and writing.
Now there is a new reminder of God’s generous provision at our house – in the garage! Thank you, Rose family, for your over-the-top generous gift of a 2011 Nissan Murano with only 43,000 miles logged on it!
A church burns: in Paris? No, in Costa Rica
One of the first things we learned about missionaries, is that Missionaries are concerned with other Christian workers and try to support them practically and in prayer! So, this month we speak on behalf of others.
FIRST – Two days before the Notre Dame fire, there was a shocking tragedy here: a fire that destroyed homes and partly ruined the church Dios Proveerá (God will Provide) in La Carpio, a large nearby precario (shantytown).
ESEPA Seminary’s director says: “All the nine people who lived there died because of this fire. Two of them were members of the Dios Proveerá church, which is pastored by one of our students and her husband. The church facilities were also damaged. You can see more in the following video [subtitled in English]: http://youtube.com/watch?v=IVl6bgcbV7o&yt:cc=on. The damage is so great that it is not possible for the church to cover all the costs. As a seminary we would like to ask you for your collaboration and to encourage you to organize an offering in your local church for this sister church. Individual donations are also very welcome. You can deposit your donation using the following link: ESEPA Agape Fund. In the comment section you should mention “ESEPA/La Carpio”.
If you want to donate using a check you should use project number 65420, description “ESEPA/La Carpio” and the following address:
United World Mission
PO Box 602002
Charlotte, NC 28260-2002
SECOND Two of our dear missionary friends are preparing to move north to Honduras; like us, they will be involved in pastoral training. They just posted: “Please be in prayer for Honduras. There is a lot of rioting going on and it’s not civil. We’ve seen numerous videos and heard from missionaries there about burning buildings, including a fire at the US Embassy, gas bombs being released in the streets (not by the police), roads being shut down, the airport was shut down yesterday.”
PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR FRIENDS, and consider donating to Dios Proveerá.
Karen just flew up to Pennsylvania, to help Vikky prepare for the big wedding! The date is June 29 and we hope to share some pictures of Vik and Chris shortly!
Gary turned in his book, Iceberg Ahead! When God’s Servants Crash into Cold, Hard Reality to his translator. Kerigma Publications in Mexico plans to publish it! If you want to read a copy, let us know!
Thanks so much for putting us on the field! Blessings, Gary and Karen
That’s what they exclaim when they have no clue what you just said in Spanish.
The Gospel Coalition just came out with an article on “What We Lose When We Lose Language-Learning,” arguing why language study is important to a person’s education. But first, the minuses. Gary’s thoughts:
– It’s really hard to talk in a second language all day. Really.
– One of your common phrases is “Pardon me?”
“Gary is in the classroom again!”
After a year of furlough, teaching online, and writing, Gary is back where he feels most at home, in the classroom. This term he is offering Ruth & Esther face-to-face! Some students study it in the Spanish Bible, while three advanced students are studying the books in Hebrew and Greek.
He is still working on his notes on 1-2 Timothy for Wycliffe Associates. 1 Timothy should be done in a few weeks; plus, he just finished an article on the Theology of Romans for a collection in Spanish.
ESEPA graduation is tonight, and three of Gary’s long-term students are finally graduating with their degrees, Masters in Biblical Exegesis.
Sammy starts 5th grade next week!
The teachers went out on strike in September, so he has been at home for many months. The strike was settle, we’re happy to report!
Karen is working away on her new project, with local people doing research, and Karen heading to Colorado in a few days for a conference.
Vikky and Chris are counting down to their June wedding!
Gary gave a full conference to new missionaries at the Spanish Language Institute, in October. The whole conference available here!
Praise and Prayer
- PRAISE that Gary has found a publisher for the Spanish version of his book (aka The Iceberg Project); PRAY that an English publisher also comes through!
- PRAISE that we are back in Costa Rica!
- PRAY for Karen, who has a long year of planning and study in 2019
Many blessings to you! Gary and Karen Shogren
Click Christmas Newsletter 2018 to get the pictures!
Celebrating Home Assignment 2018
We want to thank YOU for a truly amazing home assignment this year! Most of you were able to share your precious time with us, generously opening your hearts, homes, and church. We treasure the hours spent laughing, catching up on family news, sharing, and brainstorming together with you! There are too many church and individuals to name, but you know who you are, and be assured that our time with you was sheer joy for us!
In addition to visiting current supporters, we were able to make new friends, visit new churches, and find new supporters. Welcome to our team! You join a loving and faithful group of brothers and sisters in Christ that spans from New Hampshire to Ohio. We also spent considerable time preparing ourselves for the term ahead, studying, networking, and researching.
We had originally planned to be in the US from January through April but, as he usually does, God had other plans! After sliding through a few self-imposed deadlines, Gary was able to return to Costa Rica on August 19, and Karen followed shortly after. (It was a few months later than we expected, but still 4 months short of the typical one-year furlough).
Thanks for letting us spend time with your churches!
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you!
Thank you for taking such good care of us!
Special thanks to Karen’s brother John for giving us a home all these months!
“We are Back in Costa Rica!”
The rumors are true: Gary returned late August, and Karen a few weeks later! This means that we are now starting our 21st year of ministry in Central America.
Gary is teaching three courses and working away on his new commentary on 1-2 Timothy for Wycliffe Associates. It will be part of a 2-volume work that will be “open-source,” that is, free for anyone to use, download, translate. It is designed to help those who are translating the Bible into the 2700 languages that have none.
Our adoptive grandson Sammy is glad to have us back! He is 11 years old now – and he would be in school this week, except for the fact that there is a general strike for the past three weeks.
Karen just spent time in Honduras, where she was giving her regular conference to Missionary Kids.
Thanks so much for helping us to return to the field, ready to go!
Gary is Teaching and Preaching in Spanish again!
Last week I spoke at a tiny local church that is run by our friend Ana Rita. You can get some jumpy video of the service by going to YouTube and entering this address https://youtu.be/LDGg7KPJq6E
Praise and Prayer
- Pray for Gary to find a publisher for his new book
- Praise that we have several new donors!
- And PRAISE that we are back in Costa Rica!
Many blessings to you! Gary and Karen Shogren