Editor's note: The following is shared from the North River Church of Christ newsletter.
Though we are miles away from you, we feel your love, support and presence daily. We literally feel that we have been carried by your prayers. Thank you to everyone who put a reminder in their phone to pray for us daily. You have been a part of every heartfelt talk, every honest conversation and every changed heart. Thank you.
We are sitting here watching a beautiful sunset and thinking about how incredible God is. This week he has amazed us. We have seen him at work over and over again in countless ways. Last night at our family devotional we each had a chance to share about the many ways we have seen him. The campus group has been amazing! Dan Rivera (just hired as campus minister at Penn State) and Brie Broyles have led the charge both on campus and by running the camp.
The next generation of leaders has done a great job leading the way. They have poured out their hearts at the University of Costa Rica these past two weeks, resolved to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. They set up impromptu studies, had honest, genuine life talks and led Bible talks on campus. They also have led a series of leadership training classes for the campus disciples. You should be so proud of them!
Our second team arrived less than a week ago today, even though it seems like we've been together for weeks. It has reminded us of how powerfully God can work if we are wholehearted and completely united to accomplish his will. Our team is such a cross-section of North River. The group includes families from the Youth & Family ministry, campus students, teens and EDGE members. It has been such a joy to bridge all boundaries and work side by side as one team.
Jeff preached powerfully on Sunday, and the team gave their hearts, helping with communion and the worship service. In the afternoon we spent several hours in leadership training. The Costa Rica team from North River has met several times to encourage and strengthen the Costa Rica leadership team.
Camp was life-changing for all of us. It takes time to build trust, so after three consistent years of loving, encouraging and teaching the kids, we were amazed when they instantly opened up about the things that they were struggling with in their lives. We couldn't shut them up. They had been waiting for this moment! They kept asking for more time in the discipleship groups to talk.
Camp closed with an amazing challenge to make decisions now to build your life with God at the center. The highlight was when Ella Grace Hickman shared about her life and some of the challenges she had had making a stand for God. Her determination to persevere inspired all of us! The kids couldn't stop talking about their need to imitate her courage. The small group of middle school girls kept stalling to go to dinner, after hearing Ella Grace, wanting to share more and more.
We felt God's Spirit at work! We saw God's Spirit change hearts. We knew he was with us and we just got to be a part of his miracle. And we felt your presence daily. You are such a part of the victory. We hope you feel it. Thank you for carrying us with your prayers!
If you are a Spanish speaker with a dream to change lives, we would love to have you on the team. Please contact Jeff Hickman or Lin Ottenweller.
Costa Rica Team 2017