Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How Far We've Come

I was recently asked  why I thought that had God placed me in this position for the past two years. I smiled because for a change, I knew the answer to that question!  I replied that I have come to realize that part of my personality in God is that I love the challenge of seeing Him make the impossible become possible, especially with people. In the beginning of moving to Costa Rica, I asked God that very question hundreds of times. I have learned a lot of things about myself in these last few years and although the answer came swiftly to my mouth in reply to the person's question that day, it was a quite a journey for my heart to come to the revelation. 
I am not a competitive person in games or anything of that nature, I usually don't play to win, I just love being with people. My closest friends will tell you it's true! However, when it comes to people who feel lost, discouraged, lonely or forgotten, something rises up in me that becomes determined to show them that Jesus can change that feeling or circumstance in their life. I become fiercely competitive with the enemy. I remember Laura and I laughing at this realization one day of how I was not competitive or stubborn in anything, except this ministry. 

The safety fair went great and I am so thankful for everyone's prayers and letters of encouragement! Thank you to all of you that gave financially to the event. I want to say a very special thank you to the amazing ladies, Paula and Julie, who selflessly and tirelessly gave that whole week. As well as my awesome team of staff and translators! The pastors and the community of Tres Rios were so blessed! Because of this event, we have a stronger voice in the community. 

As I look back, I am amazed at all God has done with us in Costa Rica. I can't believe I have been here and called this place home for the last two years. We have seen mountain tops and valleys a lot in that time and especially these past few months but we have stood firm in knowing that God is faithful. He has never left us and we have never been alone.
There is so much I could say but it would take too long! We are seeing doors open in new ways of fighting sexual exploitation here in Costa Rica. Some of the dreams and prayers of my heart these last couple of years are starting to come about and I am THRILLED! God is moving is such fascinating ways and I look forward to sharing about it when I come to the States for the month of October!
I am ending with the lyrics to that song that has ministered to some of  the LightForce team and I hope it ministers to you. The lyrics to the song, best describe my heart as I reflect on our time working in Central America.
Standing on this mountaintop 
Looking just how far we've come 
Knowing that for every step 
You were with us 

Kneeling on this battle ground 
Seeing just how much You've done 
Knowing every victory 
Is Your power in us 

Scars and struggles on the way 
But with joy our hearts can say 
Yes, our hearts can say 

Never once did we ever walk alone 
Never once did You leave us on our own 
You are faithful, God, You are faithful 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Tragic Loss and A Prayer Request! Please Read and Pass Along!

"To believe in a child is to believe in the future. Through their aspirations they will save the world. With their combined knowledge the turbulent seas of hate and injustice will be calmed. They will champion the causes of life's underdogs, forging a society without class discrimination. They will supply humanity with music and beauty as it has never known. They will endure." 
This past Wednesday, I posted a request for prayer on Facebook, and the response was incredible. I am beyond grateful for the prayers that went up for us around the world. At the time of the request, I was unable to be specific as to the circumstances and all that was going on with our work in Costa Rica. I can now tell everyone the story of this past week and our desperate need for prayer then and now.

On the day of my prayer request post, a little boy from the community in which we have our "Children at Risk" program was raped. Two days later, he died. This little boy was only six years old. On top of fighting some intense spirituals battles, daily obstacles, and this tragic loss, our hearts were broken. By Saturday evening, I couldn't even think anymore. My heart ached so bad at the loss of his little life. The community of Tres Rios was rocked by this horrible event. 

Deep down, I knew then, even as I know now, that God can use this whole sad situation for good. We sat down with some of the girls in the community to talk about their grief and fear. The community is saddened but also inspired to take action against injustice in their country. The wonderful pastors we work with in Tres Rios, Jose and Flor Huertas, approached us about doing a safety fair in the community this week to raise awareness. Pastor Jose said, "Anna, we have to sound the alarm and speak up for the children in this nation." My heart fully agrees with this statement!
This two-day event (Safety Fair) will be a small fair full of games, prizes, crafts, face painting, and, of course, a teaching on safety. Please pray for this community and its leaders and well as for their pastors.
We have a small window of time to plan and prepare for this event that will take place on Thursday, August 11th, and Friday, August 12. Fortunately, two amazing women from Kingsway Community Church in California have come just in time to help us with this big task. To have them here in such a tough time is a huge blessing. We were weary, emotional, and resourceless. These lovely women of God showed up with hugs, prayers, and five suitcases of supplies! After we unpacked the suitcases, I cried at God's faithfulness. He always knows just what we need, when that need arrives!
We are still short on finances and supplies, as we were not anticipating the Safety Fair this week. Please pray for the provision of resources and for our team as we prepare for this event. Our heart is to draw as many children from the community to the Safety Fair in order to prevent more tragedies of this nature. "Children at Risk" programs such as ours and Pastor Jose's are such a vital part of combating sexual exploitation!

Thank you again to all of you who have prayed for us this week. We are encouraged by the family of God. 

Here are some photos of the community of Tres Rios, people with whom we've been working for the past four years:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Children At Risk-The Biggest Little Mission Field

After an extensive trip of traveling in the U.S.A, I returned to Costa Rica at the end of June and in true fashion,  hit the ground running! We were blessed to have several girls from the States join us for the month of July. It has been a great, busy and challenging month for us. We have also experienced a favor that has been unbelievable and has opened doors for us we were not expecting! We have also experienced a new level of spiritual battles and attacks. I am going to tell you a little bit more of our updates through photos! 
We launched A Children/Youth At Risk Program this month! We are so excited for the doors God is opening through this program. In working with Children At Risk, it is our hope to break the cycle of prostitution and hopelessness that trickles through their families.

God has blessed us with materials to help a pastor here that is reaching out to an "At Risk" community. He and his family have faithfully served in a very poor community by loving them, feeding them and working hard to keep youth off the streets and away from drugs. He asked us to partner with him and help keep young girls out of prostitution. We wholeheartedly accepted the opportunity to work with him and his wife and train the young girls in this community in the Passion For Purity material. This coming Saturday will be our first event where we will work with the young girls in this community every week. Please pray for us and the young girls who have committed to fight for their own generation in this country and reach out to the girls in their city!

There is more to come and I promise to be better about updating! Thank you to all of you who pray for us and support us! You help make this all possible.