Greetings to you from Limon, Costa Rica! It is already the middle of September and time is passing by so quickly. We would like to update you with some of the highlights of the last few months. Through your help we were able to support two of our youth and four indigenous youth from the BriBri area in the NIKKO Camp with our missionary friends Alex and Julia Gonzalez. This camp is to develop leadership skill, team skills,survival training, and deepening their relationship with God through faith and trust by recognizing His presence. Our hope is these young men and women will use this training to help other youth in their community and church to know Jesus!
August is always a very busy month as we celebrate Mother's Day and the Afro-Caribbean Heritage of Costa Rica. We at Harvest Tabernacle had another surprise God encounter when God connected us with a Young Man of Nigerian descent, Akintunde Sowunmi, who lives in the US and is studying engineering. Tunde spoke with us at our Friday, Bible Study. He shared about growing up and his special relationship with his mother explaining how her prayers changed and impacted his life even to this day. It touched the hearts of all the mother's present and the youth. What made this even more special is that he did not know that we were celebrating Mother's Day in the coming days. At the end of our meeting we prayed for mothers and for children who do not have that relationship with their mother.
August is also the Annual Ecumenical Conference of McDougall International Inc. founded by Rev. Yvonne McDougall Hall. This year we celebrated 15th Anniversary of this ministry. The mission of McDougall International is “Reaching the World for Jesus, Who is the Christ; One Step at a Time.” Both Crosby and I serve on the Interdenominational Committee here in Limon. This ministry has helped support our church and community through workshops, ministry, and outreaches. This year five or our youth participated in the liturgical dance workshop. They then taught the younger youth and children at our church what they have learned. Our youth and children also participated in the youth night service by sharing a song and dance, “Every Move I Make”. On the day of outreach Crosby and I led the group at the children's home in Limon. At the closing celebration banquet Rev. Yvonne honored two of our oldest members Sister Elizabeth and Sister Maggie, recognizing their faithful participation in the conference through the years. We are so grateful to be able to help this ministry for all that they do and pray that God will continue to provide, lead, and guide them as they take “One Step at a Time.”
We had a wonderful day celebrating Children's Day at Harvest Tabernacle. We sang songs that the older folks sang in church growing up and then new songs that the younger children are learning today. It always amazes me watching Sister Elizabeth who is 101 this year and our little toddlers doing the same motions touching their toes and reaching to the heavens at the same time. Several older members of the church shared what it was like for them growing up and the comparison to the lives of children today. For example No phones, no tv, only fish and shrimp to eat, going to church in their finest clothes, and sitting in the front row for Sunday School. We also celebrated the dedication of our newest member in our church family, Krisphanie Ruiz Smith. Each child and youth were presented with a bag of goodies. We all enjoyed celebrating being a child of God!
Our students are busy studying and preparing for the end of our school year 2019. Again international strikes have disrupted their education, but they continue to move forward with the school year ending the second week of December. This year through your gifts, the education outreach program of our mission helped 127 students from pre-kindergarten through university. A total of 38 of these students will be graduating to the next level of education; moving into university, high school, middle school, or primary; with 14 of these students from Harvest Tabernacle!
Very few of our adult members were able to complete a primary education. We are so excited we are able to help break obstacles for these families and give hope for a better future. Each of the graduating students must purchase a graduation packet in order to participate in the graduation programs. You can help make this a reality for these youth and children. Please prayerfully consider sponsoring a child for graduation, participating in Giving Tuesday or joining in our Month of Thankfulness Giving Calendar this November.
BECAUSE OF YOU I am celebrating 20 Years of pastoring and Crosby and I are celebrating 20 Years of full time mission work!!! Twenty years ago God clearly spoke the following scripture to me, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you. This is to my Father's Glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples!” John 15:7-8
Much has been accomplished in these past 20 years all to the Glory of our Lord and Savior. Educational barriers have been broken. Many have come into relationship with God and Serve him faithfully. Work teams have shared their gifts within the community of Limon; digging wells, adding rooms to homes, putting in ceilings so homes would be cooler, free eye exams, sharing their faith and testimony. Families have received plants and fresh fruits, vegetables and staples. Gifts of clothing have been shared. Community members have been taught new skills such as sewing and cooking. Those that had only received found joy in giving through participation in missions trips. A new sense of pride and confidence has developed in individuals that had previously felt shame. Mission trips to Nicaragua and Panama. We have been able to establish Hearts and Hands for Jesus International to encourage the ongoing work of building God's Kingdom on Earth. God's Love does marvelous things and we are Thankful, and Blessed by your Love, Prayers, and Support.
We look forward to where God leads and guides us in the coming years as we work together as His disciples proclaiming Christ to the nations!
Serving Christ In Costa Rica,
Crosby and Pastor Sally Johnson
We continue to seek prayer for:
God's guidance, healing, and wisdom
Health and safety for Crosby and I
Creativity and patience working with our students and families
Monthly financial support for us and to meet 2019 educational and food needs in the community and church
Needed repairs and maintenance at church and mission house
For those we serve, health and safety and increased understanding of what it means to follow Jesus
Revival October 23rd-27th,
“Revive Us Holy Spirit, Let Your Fire Fall”
Youth Encounter “Celebrate Jesus” November 16th
Remember to Check out the 30 days of Thankfulness Calendar and Giving Tuesday December 3rd
Follow us on Facebook Hearts and Hands for Jesus, on Instagram hh4jint, or visit our website at www.hh4j.org