With the busyness of the holidays It’s been a while since we’ve updated our blog. In brief, the last couple months have been full of activity! We wrapped up the Women’s Study and School of Ministry semester, celebrated the holidays, traveled, and now are back home, ready to see what God has for us and the church this new year!
One of the exciting things God has for us this new year is the soon birth of our daughter Luna! We can’t wait to meet her in a few short weeks and see what life is like with a little girl! Luna is scheduled to be with us via c-section on March 6th. We would greatly appreciate your prayers for Rachel and the baby that day as well as continued prayer to cover all the costs of the delivery. We can’t wait to send some pictures of this little one! We’re not too sure how Jesse will feel when he find out he is no longer the baby in the house, but Jaime is definitely excited to meet his little sister and be a big brother again.
We’re also really excited about what God has for His church this year. When we got back from traveling early January, God really placed it on my heart to do a short series on the function of the church and the importance of functioning as a body in Christ. I didn’t want to pressure people or motivate them by guilt, I wanted God to speak to their hearts and birth a desire in them. The response from the church these past few weeks has blessed my heart beyond words. The majority expressed their desire to serve and many have already begun to get involved in different areas of the ministry. My prayer now is that the steps of faith these individuals have taken will be the first of many and that God will equip myself and others to encourage and train them up in the ministry…till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ – Ephesians 4:13
We took a short break in December but have resumed home fellowships on Wednesday nights at our house. Like we said before, we really look forward to this time together as it’s so different compared to a formal church setting and really allows for some sweet and intimate fellowship during the week. Our prayer is that God would use this gathering as a way to deepen relationships among us and also allow our time together to be sincere and open as we get into the word and prayer each week.
It’s been really awesome for us to see some of the things God has been doing here in the church the past couple of months. We see a fresh work being done in people’s lives, new faces coming and having a hunger for the word, and people having a desire to serve. It’s definitely an answer to our prayers and an encouragement to our hearts.
Like we’ve said before, serving in another country far from family is difficult at times, but God in His kindness has blessed us with a growing family here as well, people who love us and love our kids and we are so grateful for that.
Here’s a few things going on that we would love if you kept in prayer!
Please pray for our new Mid-Week Fellowship
At the beginning of May, we started up a mid-week fellowship. Our desire was to create a really relaxed, intimate, and informal setting where people could come and enjoy a time of conversation through the scriptures and also receive prayer and encouragement.
It has been a great blessing so far and a time that we really look forward to each week.
Please pray for our School of Ministry
We just finished our study in Romans in the school of ministry. As we look to the next semester, we would ask you to pray that God would show us which direction to continue. We would really like to see the School of Ministry grow to be not only a training center but also a hub for churches to connect and work together here in the community. Please pray that God would lead us in the right way to go about this.
Please continue to keep our Residency in prayer
We submitted everything in February and are still waiting to hear back from immigration. We’ve heard that this could take up to a year but we’re really hoping for things to go through sooner!
This update is more of a personal one focused mostly on our family and us as missionaries. We’ve included a few prayer requests in there for you to keep in mind.
Costa Rican Residency
As far as our residency goes, we submitted everything about 2 months ago and now we’re just praying and waiting to hear the results. Having our residency will be of great benefit for us personally and for future ministry plans as well, so we’re asking God’s favor in this.
There are so many blessings that come with serving in another country, just one of many was mentioned above with the ability to obtain residency through our kids being born here. On the flip side, being in another country also has its difficulties, the main ones being the absence of family and at times feelings of loneliness. Through past experiences we’ve come to realize the value there is in having a team sharing with you in the labor and fellowship. We would love for the Lord to bring another missionary family over here, partly for fellowship and also to share in the work being done here! This is something we’re praying about and would love if you would pray too!
Jaime and Jesse
We’ve been told so much to enjoy our kids when their small because time goes by so fast. We’ve found this to be incredibly true! Jesse will be 1 and Jaime will be 3 in the next two months and we don’t know where the time went! Jaime rides his own bike, he knows the entire alphabet and each letter’s sound, he talks your ear off in English and he’s not too bad in Spanish either, According to his 3-year-old self, he’s got life figured all out! 😉 Jesse’ not far behind with all of that even though he waited until 11 months to pop out four teeth in one week!! He’s also just starting to walk and say some words and really is a lot of fun to be around!
Please pray that God would continue to keep them healthy and strong and most importantly, that they would grow into young men that love and serve God!
Thanks so much for taking the time to catch up with us a little!
Love, The Aristas
These are just a few praise reports of the great things we are seeing God do here as well as a small list of things to keep in your prayers. We really appreciate you taking the time to read and stay updated! God Bless! Love the Aristas
ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY
This month is the one year mark since Chris began pastoring Palabra Viva. We’re so grateful for all we’ve seen God do in the church and in our lives personally up to this point and look forward to see what the Lord will continue to do this new year!
A VISIT FROM OUR HOME CHURCH
In January we had an amazing group of servants come from our home church, Mission Calvary! The week was full of fruitful events; handing out backpacks and school supplies to underprivileged kids in a more poor community nearby, a community park outreach, baptisms, fellowship, and much more! and We saw many people ministered to young and old and continue to see the fruit of this teams labor and love!
GRATITUDE FOR FELLOW SERVANTS
We thank you, our friends and family, for keeping the church and team of leaders in your prayers. We praise God for the servants He has surrounded us within the church who we are blessed to serve alongside.
This month we are initiating home fellowships. These weekly gatherings will have a multi-focus of discipleship, fellowship, and evangelism. We’re excited to see what God will do with these groups and ask you to be keeping this in prayer.
In the beginning of this month, we submitted our residency papers and are now waiting for a response. Please be keeping this in your prayers.
WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY
In January we started on our women’s Bible study. We are going through book 1 of the Navigators series, Growing Strong. Honestly, this has been a very refreshing time of study and fellowship. Please be praying that the women would experience spiritual growth and a deeper love for God throughout our time together.
SCHOOL OF MINISTRY
Last week was the start-up of a new semester for the school of ministry. It’s exciting to see God use this in the equipping of pastors and leaders from all around our region. Please keep this current semester and the students in your prayers as we study the book of Romans together.
Hi friends and family, here’s a small list of praise reports and prayer requests that include details of what’s been going on with us here in Costa Rica these past few months. 🙂
– In August we had a team here from Mexico who helped us put on a Sunday school teacher’s training. Our children’s ministry servers and those from other churches in our city were able to come out and be a part of the training. It was a huge answer to prayer to see everyone refreshed and re-energized with new passion and creative ways to serve the kids!
– Last month God answered our prayer in providing a new vehicle for our family! 🙂 :)Thank you for praying with us!
– We’re excited to be visiting family and friends in California in December. Please be praying that God would work out details for our trip; provisions while there, a place to stay, and residency paperwork for Costa Rica that needs to be done in L.A. Praise God we already have our tickets!
– It was really awesome to have Pastor Bryan Parish and Chris De Ruyter from Mission Calvary come visit us in late August. They helped us hold a 3 days pastor’s and leaders conference for the churches in our region. It was great to see and hear how everyone who attended were encouraged and blessed. I also was personally encouraged being able to connect with other pastors in our area.
Now that we are connected to these nearby churches, we’re making plans to begin a pastor’s breakfast and prayer every other month. We feel this will be a great encouragement and support system for local pastors. Please be praying for this.
– In early August we finished our 4th semester of the School of Ministry here at the church. It was a more challenging class this semester, but it was great to see each student grow and excel throughout the course. Please continue to lift this ministry and the students up in prayer as the new semester just started again last week with Principles of Ministry.
– We feel the Lord leading us as a church to begin small home fellowships during the week. Please be praying that God would direct us in the details for this ministry. We plan on starting in November.
We’re blessed to be a part of God’s work here and are thankful that you guys are able to do the same through your prayers. Thanks for staying updated!
One of the things that we saw as a need for the church, was for other churches and ministries to come alongside and partner with Palabra Viva. We are so grateful for the two groups that have joined us and for the ones that are still to come! God has used them to enable us to reach out in a greater way to our community and edify the members of the congregation.
We want to give a big thanks to The Father’s House Church, Reaching the Hungry Ministries, and Calvary Chapel North Grove. You guys were a huge blessing to us and Palabra Viva!
– We are hoping to apply for our Costa Rican residency soon. With the tourist visa that we currently have, we are required to leave the country every 3 months which means driving to Panama or Nicaragua. This residency process includes us taking a trip to California to be physically present for our FBI background check. There are some hefty expenses involved in getting the residency as well as traveling and we are praying that God would provide for those needs.
– Almost a year ago, God provided for us to purchase a vehicle here. Shortly after we purchased it, we began to have mechanical trouble. We ended up having to rebuild the transmission along with other repairs. Vehicles and parts are extremely expensive here and we don’t want to continue investing in a vehicle that won’t last as long as we need it to. We’re asking that God would provide a reliable vehicle for our family.
– The church is full of spiritually young believers. One of the things we’ve been praying for is that God would mature these believers in their faith in the Lord and mindset towards serving.
– We’re asking the Lord to bring people alongside us that can share in the work here. Whether that means Missionaries coming here to serve alongside us, or someone local from the church. There’s much to be done and we definitely can’t do this alone.
Thank you so much for keeping updated on what’s going on here with us and especially for keeping these things in prayer!
– We praise and thank God so much for the healthy delivery of our baby boy, Jesse. God has been so good to us in providing all the finances needed for the delivery and hospital stay. He never stops amazing us and always uses these times to grow our faith in Him.
– We praise God for continuing to answer our prayers of raising up people in the church to serve the Lord. This past Sunday we prayed for 2 young men, Danny and Johnathan. They will be serving as deacons at Palabra Viva.
– We thank God for bringing new faces to Palabra Viva and continue to pray for more people to come and grow in the Lord.
– This past Thursday we finished up Pastoral Epistles in the School of Ministry. During the last class, the students shared how much God had spoken to them through the text and are excited for the next class to begin on June 8th.
– Please keep Palabra Viva in prayer as a team from The Father’s House church will be here from San Marcos, California at the end of the month. They will be partnering with us to help meet some of the church’s physical and spiritual needs.
– One of the things that this mission team will be helping us with is a 2 day VBS for the kids of the community. Reaching out to the community is something God has placed on our hearts so we’re really excited for this event to take place.
– Last month we began our first English Service on Sunday mornings. God placed this on our hearts as we saw and heard of ex-pats who do not have a place to worship and hear the word in English. Please pray that God would use this service to bless and reach out to a different group people.
We appreciate you staying updated and keeping these things in prayer!
In January we were able to visit some friends and family in the states and had the opportunity to see many of you and share the new things the Lord has been dong here in Costa Rica. Unfortunately, there were also many of you who we were unable to catch up with and that’s why we wanted to write and update you on what’s been going on in our lives and ministry. We hope you have a few minutes to read what we have to share! 😀
We know this update is long overdue and we apologize for that! These past months, we’ve been praying and seeking God’s direction about future ministry plans and we’re excited to share with you how He has responded to us.
Since closing the Bible College back in August, our plans have been to move to San Jose around mid-year to pursue planting a church. Currently, those plans have been postponed due to changes in our involvement in ministry at Palabra Viva, the church we’ve been serving at over here.
As of the beginning of this month I’ve started pastoring Palabra Viva. The previous pastor and his family who have been missionaries here have decided it’s time for them to move back to the states. This wasn’t something Rachel and I planned for or even something that had entered our minds, however we know that God doesn’t always direct us the way we think or plan. It often seems like He likes to surprise us. 🙂
As we’ve prayed our heart and vision is to be here for about 2 years in order to train up a Costa Rican who would eventually pastor the church. The church currently has about 40-50 consistent members who we have grown to know and love and we are very eager to continue the vision of equipping them for the work of the ministry!
Apart from that news, Rachel and I are also expecting our 2nd son due the second week of April! It seems like this pregnancy has flown by and we’re really excited about welcoming this new addition to our family not long from now!
So with all these changes we really appreciate your prayers as we step into these new adventures.
We plan on sending out monthly prayer requests and would love if you guys joined us in prayer for the church and also us personally.
1. Pray for the Church body during this time of transition.
2. Wisdom to lead the church
3. That God would give the members of the church a heart of love and service
4. School of Ministry that we have every Thursday night
5. Continued healthy pregnancy for Rachel and also financial provision for the delivery coming up in April
A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9
As we’re adjusting to some recent changes this verse encourages our hearts and reminds us that God is continually in control and is by far the greatest guide!
In the beginning of August, the decision was made to close the Bible College because of too few students resulting in a lack of funds to keep the school running. This change was unexpected, however, through it we see God directing our steps and faithfully guiding us.
Even before moving to Costa Rica we’ve felt the call to church plant for some time now, we just weren’t sure on the when or where. When God brought us to Costa Rica to direct the Bible College we committed to 2 years, knowing that this was not a long-term calling. Around the beginning of this year, the burden of church planting once again began to surface in our hearts. San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, is a specific place we began to think and pray about. In order to not let this short newsletter turn into a book, 😀 we’ll keep things somewhat brief.
One thing we do want to say is that although we loved what we did at the school, we have complete peace with these changes because we know God is guiding our steps and answering our prayers through them. We are still unsure yet of many details, however, we are confident in His calling as well as the confirmation and encouragement we have received from others. With that, we will begin moving forward as the Lord instructs us as we seek Him on the next steps to take!
Our plan is to move to San Jose in the coming year and prayerfully begin ministering over there. For the meantime, we will remain in San Isidro continuing to serve alongside the church, missionaries, and Pastor at Palabra Viva. During this time we are also seeking and praying for God to raise up other servants to fill those gaps in ministry when we leave.
Please be praying for us about all that we’ve mentioned. We plan on using this time as well to take some scouting trips to San Jose, (we live about 4 hours south of the capital). Pray that God will show us an exact location for us to live and serve over there, that we can begin making connections with the right people, and most of all that even now God would start to stir people’s hearts for the gospel!
Your prayers, encouragement, and support for us are sincerely a gift from God and we are so appreciative!
Chris, Rachel, and Jaime
Dressed Up for My Sisters’ Wedding
Chris teaching the Spanish Bible College Theology Class
Hey everyone. Here’s a little bit about what we’ve been up to in Costa Rica
We’ve just wrapped up our third semester here in Costa Rica as our group of students left this past Monday. It’s always a little weird for us as each semester comes to an end. We spend time and energy pouring into a group of people, getting to know them like family and watching God do really great things in their lives, and then have to say goodbye without knowing if we’ll ever see them in person again. It’s a hard thing to get used to, but we’re so thankful for every individual that God has brought into our lives each semester.
Here are a few highlights from the past few months
In April we took the students on a Mission trip to Nicaragua where we were able to serve alongside Chris’s parents, Jaime & Monica, at Campo Gonia. Campo Gonia is a men’s discipleship ranch that they are directing in Nicaragua. The trip was a blessing in many ways for us; being able to visit with family and also serve alongside them and with the students was so sweet. This trip followed a weeklong class of Cross Cultural Missions. It was nice to balance the in-class study with the practical application of serving.
We were so happy to have Pastor Bryan and Lisa come down for the last 2 weeks of the semester. Pastor Bryan taught a block class on Christian Ministry. To have someone who has so many years of experience in ministry come and share was a great blessing for the students. We also were encouraged and refreshed to have them spend some personal time with us.
This month we also celebrated Jaime’s first birthday. We can’t believe how fast a year has gone by and how quickly he is growing into a little boy! We thank God for his life!
It is really exciting to see the Spanish Bible College students so passionate about studying. They get off at work around 6pm and come to the Romans class tired but ready to study. The same students we started with were faithful and completed the 15-week course this past Thursday. As their teacher, to see their diligence and desire to learn was exciting and encouraging to me. I can’t wait to start the next class; Systematic Theology.
During this break between semesters, we are looking forward to visiting both of our families, serving along side the church here and the groups coming to serve for the summer, and seeking God’s direction as we prepare for the following semester.
-Praise report: Thank you praying for David’s mom. Her surgery to remove the tumor was a success. We praise God for that and also for her quick recovery.
-Please continue to pray that God would provide a vehicle for our family.