We recently returned from two weeks in Guatemala. It was a packed, fun filled trip.

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New Feeding Center

Monday was the first feeding of the new feeding center sponsored by Mason Community Church. The feeding center targets the homeless community of Alajuelita. They live in the coffee plantation near central park and in the cemetery near Juan Pablo.

Waiting for the center to open.

Spreading the word.

Spiritual food.


George Bush Visits Costa Rica

Couldn't believe it today when I saw this man sitting on the side of the road. Secret service was even kind enough to let me take his picture! ;o)


Spencer's Ramblings - Have You Heard...?

Have you heard the latest? Molly kicked Spencer out of the house because he was having an affair with Carolina. On top of that he got into a big fight with Victor and fired him from 6:8 Ministries!

These are the rumors that I returned home to a couple days ago. It's tragically sad, and at the same time ridiculously funny. Over the past three years there have been rumors of me being an adulterer, pedophile, and a drug dealer.

When I first moved to Costa Rica I was discouraged by the lies that were being spread about me. The same people I was trying to help were the ones spreading the hurtful lies. However, the most frustrating part was that most of the lies were rooted in my attempts to love like Christ. What I've learned is that the world can't understand true Christian love.

The voice of a lost and broken world says: "Nobody gives away a new house, he must be sleeping with her.", "Why would a middle-aged man spend time hanging out with teens? He must be some kind of sick pedophile!", "Spencer has money and spends time with the drug-addicts, he must be a drug dealer."

It would be easy to allow these lies to cause me to become cynical and jaded. Honestly, sometimes I just want to quit trying, or at a minimum give the same weak and conditional love in return. However, quitting would be tragic and would allow the enemy to win. Furthermore, a choice to love like the world is a choice to not to love at all.

In contrast, when my love is rooted in Christ it's powerful and life changing! Christ-like love is unconditional and always requires some level of sacrifice. I guess it comes down to a simple reality. Can I love those who hate and speak lies against me? Is my love for others contingent on being loved in return?

Truth is, I rarely get it right and I fail more times than I succeed. However, I'm learning. The more I experience Christ's love for me; the more natural it feels to try to love others the same way.

So I'm asking you to join me in learning to love better. Let's love sacrificially and unconditionally. Let's love with a crazy love the world won't understand; and in the process we can change the world!

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." - Jesus

Love and miss you all,


Tepezquintle - It's What's for Dinner

Tepzsquintle, originally uploaded by goodgollycr.

Some dear friends brought us some Tepezquintle to try. Apparently the foot is left on because it is an expensive cut of meat and some markets may try to sell you some fake stuff. We did marinate it and grill it up. It was good. Just could have done without seeing the foot.


Happy Birthday, Alix

I can't believe that it has already been 17 years. I remember that she was born on a Sunday. It was the Life Chain Sunday, being held just down the street from the hospital. We are so thankful for this LIFE that God has blessed us with!


Update on Jose Antonio

You may remember how thrilled we were when Jose Antonio started walking at the age of 6. Spencer went to visit him last week and these are the sights that greeted him...


Happy 13th

13 just seems to be one of those milestone birthdays (actually as my kids are getting older they all seem to be milestones that are bittersweet).

Christopher ~ I am proud of the young man that you are becoming. We love you and are so glad that you are part of our lives.


Hoarding Tendencies

A couple weeks ago we had a mission team help a family clean house. This family really needed a lot of help. While I did not help with this particular house, I have helped in a similar circumstance and can relate to what it was like.

This house was packed to the gills. They had a back room with piles of junk, including a shopping cart and broken typewriter. The bathroom was disgusting. No soap in the shower and feces in the sink. In the bedrooms, piles and piles of moldy clothes under which they found a bag with some unopened bars of soap.

Pastor Jorge took the family aside and had a talk with all of them. He encouraged them to clean out the old in order to make room for new blessings that God will bring.

Hearing the team talk of their experiences in this home made me think of my home: my heart. All of the baggage that I have stored in my 'back room' for a rainy day. You never know when you are going to need a broken typewriter or shopping cart? I have 'pet' sins and insecurities that I hold onto, because you never know when you might need to bring them out and dust them off, right?

I need Jesus to come and clean my house. I need Him to shine light in my dark places and clean the crap out of my sink. He is ready to get his hands dirty and throw my junk away. Why? Because He loves me. He loves me more than I could ever comprehend. He wants me to quit hoarding all of this garbage in order to make room for Him.


Come As You Are

While we did not come down to plant a church, God has provided a church. After sending several short-term mission teams down, Celebration Church felt called to plant a church in Alajuelita. Or rather BE the church for the homeless, rejected, alcoholics, and brokenhearted.

Here is a glimpse of what a Sunday morning might look like:

Promising faces...

A broken face the needs minor medical attention...

Rejected men crying out to Jesus...

Praying for healing of a sick baby...

A man taking a moment to read his new Bible...

One of the most beautiful moments was when Jorge asked if anyone wanted to pray. Among others, a shirtless man made his way down to pray. The heartbeat of this church is to be a place where even he feels welcomed and loved. It is going to be messy. But I firmly believe that Jesus loves the messy.


The Civil War

We have been spending a few months reading about and studying the Civil War. We have enjoyed playing the Professor Noggin Civil War game. After playing it a few times we decided to branch out and instead of taking turns, the kids raced to answer first. One of our questions was:

What edict by Abraham Lincoln allowed freed slaves to join the union army?

In his hurry to get it answered first, *Bob shouted out, "CONSTIPATION EXPLANATION!"

You just can't make this stuff up!

*Names have been changed to protect family secrets. But it starts with a 'C' and ends in a 'hristopher'. :o)


Jose Antonio

Remember this update from Spencer? We finally captured it on video to share!

Almost every team that has come through over the last two and a half years has gone down to Jose Antonio's house to pray for him and his family. To finally see him walking has been such a miracle! His mother gives the glory to God and is so thankful for all of your prayers. Celebrate God's glory with us!


Missing Tooth

This is the last time I will have a child missing a front tooth. Feeling a little mommy sadness.

Minus One

So Christopher is spending some time with Duke and Candy at the farm. Reportedly he has been sleeping in the cabin by himself while they are in the main house, about 300 mtrs away. I wonder what this says about a budding teen who is one of 4 children, and shares a room with two younger brothers. Hopefully the adjustment home at the end of May will not be too painful.

He has been staying busy on the farm...learning to shoot his new bb gun, building a chicken coop and collecting eggs every morning. We miss him, but know he is having a wonderful time!


What NOT to take into the Embassy...

Alix and I recently made a trip to the US Embassy in order to get her passport renewed. When you first enter you have to turn over your cell phone and other electronics (Items 1, 2, and 3). They then x-ray your bag before finally letting you enter. After x-raying my bag, there were a few questionable items that they wanted to explore further:

#4 - Pepper Spray - which they removed (of course)
#5 - Alix' current crochet project - they let us take this with us
#6 - I don't know what this is, or how it got in my bag, but they decided to remove this too. It must be something quite dangerous.

#7 - Mini-tripod - They let us keep this.
#8 - They also let us keep Alix' book. I think she would have rather they held her book and let her have her iPod, though.


Double Digits

Happy 10th Birthday, Nathan!

I was disappointed that I forgot to take a picture of the crowd that was present. It seems that there is an ever-changing presence of people here with us. Those present were: Duke, Candy, Cathy, Dave, Daniel and our family of 6.


Family Update

Hello from Costa Rica! It's been a while since our last family update. I'm excited to tell you about what God has been doing in and through our family over the past four months. However, before I start I want to thank each of you for your faithful prayers and support. We realize that God is using you to allow us to be here, and for that we are humbly grateful.

The greatest change over the past four months is that my position in 6:8 Ministries has changed. God has continued to grow and expand 6:8 Ministries and there is a growing need for someone to manage and oversee the operations. Therefore, the board of directors has changed my title to Executive Director. I'm currently transitioning my focus away from the day to day task of leading teams, and have more of an oversight and managerial role.

My new responsibilities include overseeing the operations in Costa Rica and the Guatemala pilot project. I'll also oversee the accounting and bookkeeping, as well as manage our rapidly growing staff. Finally, I'll continue to cast vision for where we believe God is leading 6:8 Ministries.
Please pray for us as I make this transition. God is growing 6:8 Ministries faster than any of us could have imagined. My prayer is that we will be able to successfully host over 50 mission teams a year by the end of 2010. That could be 1,000 people a year returning home with a strengthened and renewed passion and faith! Which translates into His people strengthening His church and expanding His kingdom. It's my prayer that God will use 6:8 Ministries to revolutionize the way short-term missions are done throughout His church.

While I've been busy with the transition and traveling back and forth from Guatemala, Molly and the kids continue to thrive. Molly had a very busy season as she was overseeing the child sponsorship program and all of her responsibilities as wife, mother, and teacher. God used her to orchestrate school sponsorships for almost a hundred children!

Alexis continues to be an intricate part of the ministry and helps to lead the mission teams. She is learning to balance her time between schooling and leading teams. God is shaping her into a godly young woman.

Christopher is going through his own transition. It seems that each day He matures more into a young man. He has an increased interest in helping lead the mission teams, and a greater desire to learn the language. He is picking it up fast! He now attends the Bible study we lead in our home as well as a local youth group. He feels more comfortable hanging with the older kids.

Nate and Seth are busy being boys! They are truly best friends and enjoy doing everything together. Nathan is counting down the days to his upcoming birthday. The past couple weeks have been exciting for Seth as he had his eighth birthday, learned to ride his bike, and was robbed in the streets of Alajuelita! He was walking with a group carring a camera when someone rode by on a bike and snatched it from his hands! All he said was "I think I just got robbed!"
In closing we want to thank you for all of your prayers and support. Please pray for our safety and health. Please pray that God increases our families personal support. Finally, and most importantly that He would continue to shine in and through us.

In Christ,



Martha Project

Sunday we gave Martha the keys to her new home. After we prayed that God would bless her home and family, she told us that she had been praying for a safe home for her children. How humbling to be used by God to answer someone's prayer. YOU are an answer to her prayers.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.


Guatemala Family Trip

We had a great time visiting friends in Guatemala. It was exciting to go and see another Latin culture. Many similarities to Costa Rica, but also many differences. We were also able to see and experience just a taste of how our friends are serving and ministering to the people of Guatemala.


Uniform Distribution 2009

*sigh* After working two weekends to get the uniforms out we are officially finished. (unofficially however, we have some website updating, loose ends and new sponsorships, to tie up...)

Here is a glimpse of what we accomplished: (I know there are a lot of pictures, I don't expect you to sit through them all, but it may give you an idea of the task :o)

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

A special thanks to Cathy and Shellie who made a special trip to help with the distribution!


My Favorite Little Chef

Seth loves all things food. He would rather have a salad than a hot dog. He loves leftovers...for breakfast!
He likes things spicy. He loves to help in the kitchen.

Yum, Hot and Sour soup!


888 Challenge - Looking Back

I learned why I have never successfully been involved in a book club. I like to choose my own books...at the last minute. Planning them out at the beginning of the year didn't really work for me, though it was within the rules to change your list.

I did read more non-fiction than ever. I do think that was mostly due to planning it out and having different categories (though, as you can see most of my categories are really the same)

I has also put a lot of books on my list that I was planning to read for school...we just haven't gotten there yet. I wasn't thinking about the fact that the new school year didn't start until August and we wouldn't have much time to get into that year's reading

And I didn't even touch the classics list!

My list started out like this:

Non-fiction - Family
1. Power of a Praying Parent by Omartian
2. The Fruit of Her Hands by Wilson
3. You Can't Make Me but I Can be Persuaded by Tobias
4. Peacemaking for Families by Sande
5. The Most Important Place on Earth by Wolgemuth
6. The Heart of Anger by Priolo
7. The Age of Opportunity by Tripp
8. Don't Make Me Count to Three by Plowman

Spiritual Growth
1. Starving Jesus by Gross
2. Quaker Summer by Sampson
3. Get Out of That Pit by Moore
4. Messy Spirituality by Yaconelli
5. The Ragamuffin Gospel by Manning
6. Soul Cravings by McManus
7. Jesus, the One and Only by Moore
8. The Prayer That Changes Everything by Omartian

Classics I Should Have Read a Long Time Ago
1. Pride and Prejudice by Austen
2. The Mysterious Stranger by Twain
3. Farewell to Arms by Hemingway
4. Animal Farm by Orwell
5. 1984 by Orwell
6. The Pearl by Steinbeck
7. The Yearling by Rawlings
8. Tom Sawyer by Twain

Banned Books1. Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Twain
2. Farenheit 451 by Bradbury
3. Bridge to Terebithia by Paterson
4. Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck
5. The Giver by Lowry
6. My Brother Sam is Dead by Collier
7. All Quiet on the Western Front by Remarque
8. Mirandy and Brother Wind by McKissack

Newbery Winners
1. Johnny Tremain by Forbes
2. Rifles for Watie by Keith
3. The Slave Dancer by Fox
4. Number the Stars by Lowry
5. Jacob Have I Loved by Paterson
6. The Grey King by Cooper
7. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Taylor
8. Island of the Blue Dolphins by O'Dell

Young Adult Fiction
1.Stormbreaker by Harowitz
2. Daughter of Time by Tey
3. Byzantium by Lawhead
4. Court of the Stone Children by Cameron
5. Blue Ridge Billy by Lenski
6. Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Field
7. Moccasin Trail by McGraw
8. Little Britches by Moody

Historical Fiction
1. Across Five Aprils by Hunt
2. Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom by Paterson
3. Red Badge of Courage by Crane
4. Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Choi
5. Kiss the Dust by Laird
6. Under the Hawthorn Tree by Conlon-McKenna
7. Number the Stars by Lowry
8. Phoenix Rising by Hesse

Childhood Favorites
1. Little House in the Big Woods by Wilder
2. Winnie the Pooh by Milne
3. Alice in Wonderland by Carroll
4. Peter Pan by Barrie
5. Caddie Woodlawn by Brinks
6. Prince Caspian by Lewis
7. Ginger Pye by Estes
8. Runaway Ralph by Cleary

And ended up like this:

** denotes books that cross over into two sections (8 crossovers were allowed.)

Non-fiction - Family
1. Power of a Praying Parent
2. Protecting the Gift
3. You Can't Make Me but I Can be Persuaded
4. Peacemaking for Families
5. The Most Important Place on Earth
6. The Heart of Anger
7. The Age of Opportunity
8. Don't Make Me Count to Three

Spiritual Growth
1.Pagan Christianity
2. Quaker Summer
3. Get Out of That Pit
4. Crazy Love
5. The Ragamuffin Gospel
6. Jim and Casper Go to Church
7. Jesus Without Religion
8. The Shack

Classics I Should Have Read a Long Time Ago
1. Pride and Prejudice
2. The Mysterious Stranger
3. Farewell to Arms
4. Animal Farm
5. 1984
6. The Pearl
7. The Yearling
8. Tom Sawyer

Banned Books1. Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn
2. Farenheit 451
3. Bridge to Terebithia
4. Of Mice and Men
5. **The Giver
6. My Brother Sam is Dead
7. All Quiet on the Western Front
8. Mirandy and Brother Wind

Newbery Winners
1. Amos Fortune, Free Man
2. Matchlock Gun
3. **The Giver
4. On the Banks of Plum Creek
5. **Bridge to Terebithia
6. Witch of Blackbird Pond
7. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
8. Island of the Blue Dolphins

Young Adult Fiction
1. Stormbreaker (read entire series)
2. Twilight (read entire series)
3. Byzantium
4. Court of the Stone Children
5. Blue Ridge Billy
6. Hitty: Her First Hundred Years
7. Moccasin Trail
8. Little Britches

Historical Fiction
1. Shipwrecked!
2. Bells of Freedom
3. Lewis and Clark and Me
4. The Gate in the Wall
5. The Boy in the Alamo
6. Under the Hawthorn Tree
7. Number the Stars
8. Phoenix Rising

Childhood Favorites
1. Little House in the Big Woods
2. Freddy the Detective
3. The Phantom Tollbooth
4. Secret Garden
5. Caddie Woodlawn
6. Prince Caspian
7. Ginger Pye
8. Runaway Ralph


This is just the beginning...

Happy New Year 2009

Nothing like finally getting a picture of the kids the day we take the tree down. I am a true procrastinator...

Happy New Year!