Category Archives: Sexual abuse

June 2020 Newsletter

Karen shares this month:

To see Karen’s online class, search out “Training Churches to Speak Up” on YouTube. 

I love the old doxology: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise him all creatures here below, praise him above ye heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.” Every time I hear it I have beautiful memories of singing it in church as a child accompanied by organ and piano, 50 of us singing it in 4-part harmony before meals while on Chorale tour in college, and singing it a cappella with Grace Bible Fellowship Church short term missions team up in the mountains as the fog cleared to uncover the beautiful Central Valley of Costa Rica as the city lights came on at dusk.

Lately the song has been repeating itself in my mind as I watch God work around me here in San José. After years of work and preparation, in February I began teaching my new course The Church Confronting Sexual Violence. We had 17 adults in our first English cohort, a mix of US missionaries and Costa Ricans, and met here in our home. Just about the time I started to get the hang of everything, exactly half-way through the 8-week course, quarantine changed everybody’s world. Within a couple of weeks, we had figured out Plan B: we were back at it, studying together via live video conference. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”

Even while we were finishing up those last 4 weeks, it dawned on me that switching to an online format had truly opened up new possibilities. There were fellow missionaries around the world who wanted to take the course, plus some workers in the US, and some of them had extra free time while they were waiting for quarantine to lift. We opened cohort #2 to start immediately after the first one and have now gotten through the first 5 weeks. Taking the course are adults who work in Russia, Spain, Mozambique, Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Costa Rica, Ecuador and the USA. “Praise him all creatures here below!”

One of my students shared with us recently about her experience in Honduras. She is fairly new there, so asked someone whether their large church had any type of child safety policy. The question got to the pastor, who replied that they did not have one, and was so troubled by it that he couldn’t sleep. The next morning, he got in touch with their denomination’s leaders to ask if any of their churches had such a policy. They did not, and the denomination’s leaders were so convicted about it that they asked us to please help ALL of them set up a child safety policy as soon as possible! I am still stunned and in awe of how God is clearly moving in the hearts of church leaders here in Central America! “Praise him above ye heavenly host!”

Needless to say, I am already making connections with people who can help translate everything so we can train those church leaders, plus anyone else who will listen! And now while I work, that familiar song of praise is in my heart, tying the old to the new, and my strength is renewed with gratitude that God has finally let me see the first true fruit of years of hard work and uncertainty! “Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost!”

ANNIVERSARY! We praise God too as we celebrate a personal milestone: our 40th wedding anniversary! We were having trouble deciding how to celebrate in quarantine, so our dear missionary friends Nancy and Paul Mauger treated us to a delicious breakfast!

Many blessings this month! Gary and Karen

anniversary breakfast 2020

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Shogrens’ February 2020 Newsletter

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.

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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

  1. Protection from spiritual warfare (health, time, distractions, protection)
  2. That God would send the right people to attend Karen’s pilot program, and use them to provide critical feedback for final adjustments
  3. That God would provide someone who is willing to translate a lot of material free of charge
  4. That Karen will have clarity of thought in these last days of writing the course
  5. 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
  6. 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

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October 2019 Newsletter – Karen shares!

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!

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Christmas 2018

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!

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October 2018 Newsletter

“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

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August 2018 – “Is our Furlough Wrapping Up?”

Our times in the US (besides short visits) are a funny thing: they happen every 3-4 years; they can go as long as 12 months; their start date is always iffy; and the finish date is the most unpredictable of all!

We now have been in Lancaster Country, Pennsylvania, since January, and our hope is to return for the next semester at ESEPA in September.

Since arriving in the States, we have logged many miles through Pennsylvania and three tours through New England.

We have spoken to about 20 church meetings and many small groups Continue reading

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April 2018 Newsletter!

Greetings from SE Pennsylvania!

We are making the most of our Home Assignment (furlough). This is a wonderful time to visit our supporting churches and reconnect with many of you, updating everyone about our teaching ministries. We are highlighting Karen’s new ministry, training Costa Rican church leaders how to handle sexual abuse. In the odd hours, we are also spending time doing writing, research, and networking.

If you’re on furlough, Amish country is a great place to be!

Typically, a missionary couple can expect to spend a full year on furlough, but our situation is unique. We are responsible to care for our foster boy Sammy, and he cannot get a visa to come north with us. It is difficult for him to have us gone even for the four months we have scheduled for this cycle. In fact, in our absence he seems to be trying to set the record for eating Easter Peeps.

We have a lot of ground to cover in the two short months we have left before our planned return to Costa Rica. If you are interested in hearing more about our work, we would love to visit with you over coffee! In particular, we will be in New England from April 6-23. Get in touch with us by email at either keshogren@gmail.com or gsshogren@gmail.com.

Our Schedule
April 7: Karen’s Workshop to be held at Sovereign Grace Church, Boscawen, NH: “The Christian’s Response to Sexual Abuse”
April 8: Living Hope Church, Penacook, NH
April 15: Sovereign Grace, Boscawen, NH
April 22: Perryville, RI
April 27-29: Karen is speaking at Woodlyn’s Women’s Retreat, PA
April 29: Woodlyn Baptist, Woodlyn, PA
May 6: Christ Evangelical Free Church, Lehighton, PA
May 13: Whitehall Bible Fellowship Church, Whitehall, PA
May 20: Lancaster Bible Fellowship, Lancaster, PA

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Who are Gary and Karen Shogren?

We are WorldVenture missionaries to Costa Rica. Gary is professor of New Testament at Seminario ESEPA and is a blogger and author. Karen teaches at ESEPA and also specializes in sexual abuse and the church. They have four adult children who live in the USA.

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