Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Profiles of a Team, Part 6

Thank you for your prayers so far. We appreciate your support. Here is another team member you can add to your list . . .

EDEN SCHMIDT . . . Eden is completing her sophomore year at Bishop Diego High School and is no stranger to Costa Rica. She and her family have spent extensive time in the country. Eden's sister, Kyle and husband, Dennis are missionaries for the Free Methodist church in this beautiful place. When Eden was very young it was there that Kyle met Dennis, fell in love, married here in Santa Barbara and together went into full-time ministry. Eden's work ethic, gentleness, love for people, love for Christ and happy spirit add so much to our team. Her quiet confidence will be contagious. Pray for her as she finishes up her school work and prepares for the trip. She will go down with us and stay on with her sister and family for most of the summer!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Profiles of a Team, Part Five

Next week at this time we will have completed our first day in Costa Rica. Today we pray for another team member ( I happen to know her very well!) . . .

ELISE RANCK . . . Elise was a member of Team Costa Rica in 2008 and very happy to be joining us again. She is now in the final days of her junior year at San Marcos High School. She will be happy when it is over! Elise's love for life, sense of humor and big heart of compassion will be a wonderful part of our team. She is looking forward to seeing many of the friends she made on the first trip. Pray for her as she completes several assignments and then turns her attention toward final trip preparations. Pray for her perseverance and peace throughout this week.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Profiles of a Team, Part Four

One week from tonight and two more team member profiles (I know one very well!) . . .

MIKE PARK . . . Mike has been a faithful volunteer youth ministry leader for tons of years. I've actually lost count. His loyalty, consistency and love for God have been a tremendous blessing to the youth and the ministry overall. This is Mike's first missions trip and he is excited to go. His calm and confident presence will add depth to our leadership and care for the team. Pray for him throughout this week as he continues in his full-time job at the Santa Barbara News-Press and prepares to leave his wife and jr. high daughter behind to join us in ministry.

DOUG RANCK . . . Since 1988 I have been leading international missions teams to Mexico (Santa Ana, Tecate, Ensenada and Los Mochis), Ecuador, Antigua West Indies and now for the second time to Costa Rica. Though I have led almost 20 missions teams each one presents a new challenge and further dependence upon God. I am excited about the quality of this team and the potential for our small but effective impact. Pray for me as I think through the massive check list and make all the necessary decisions to ensure our safe and successful time in Costa Rica. Pray that I will lean fully upon Christ for wisdom and strength.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Profiles of a Team, Part Three

Seven and a half days to go until our departure, two more people for whom you can pray . . .

PATRICK KNOWLES . . . Patrick is almost finished his freshman year at San Marcos High School. This year he sang in the men's group, "Royal Knights" and threw discus/shotput for the track and field team. In addition he regularly played guitar, and sang, with the youth worship band. Patrick's experience with the Boy Scouts and his love for God give him a strong "can-do" attitude. His insights and heart of compassion will be an asset to the team. Pray for him as he finishes up all the remaining school work and readies himself for the trip.

NATASHA NARANG . . . Natasha is another Free Methodist "lifer." She has grown up in her church and has known many of the team members from an early age. She is completing her junior year at San Marcos High School and has participating on the award winning dance team, "Marquettes" and female vocal group, "Enchante." Natasha's calm and pleasant personality will bring a definite strength to our group. Her growing relationship with the Lord will also keep our focus in the right direction. Pray for Natasha as she tackles tests/projects on these final days of school and gets ready to board the plane with us!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Profiles of a Team, Part Two

Today I am offering the opportunity to pray for two more of our team members as we get ready to leave for Costa Rica, eleven days from now . . .

JENNA GUTIERREZ . . . Jenna has known missions from early age having spent one year with her parents in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia while they helped to develop a "Study Center" for children without the resources to attend school. Jenna's upbringing in the church and this experience has given her a joy for the Lord and a big heart for missions. Her enthusiasm and vocal musical talent will be an asset to the team. Pray for her as she finishes out her freshman year at San Marcos High and prepares her heart, soul, strength and mind to be with us.

JACLYN HORTON . . . Jaclyn has also been with our church since birth. Last year she was promoted from eighth grade at La Colina Jr. High. This year she has been attending her freshman year at a boarding school in Austin, Texas. We have missed her but been grateful we have been able to stay in contact through email, cell phones, texting and even SKYPE. Jaclyn has a big smile and a big heart for missions. Last year she and her family visited Esterillos Oeste and her second cousin Kyle so she has done some good "scouting." Pray for Jaclyn as she finishes school in the next few days and flies out to join us!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Profiles of a Team, Part One

Over the days leading up to our departure I will be profiling each of our TEAM COSTA RICA members (alphabetically) so you can better know them and how to pray for them. We will do two today!

KIERSTIN BROWN . . . Kierstin is a sophomore at Dos Pueblos High school and has grown up in our church. Her vibrant personality is infectious and it has long been her dream to travel on a missions team. Presently she is exploring the possibility of full-time ministry and often you will find her leading worship with our youth ministry or proposing a new idea for our programming. Pray for her as she finishes up her school year and prepares to help in the leadership of our children's ministry in Costa Rica.

JAKE ELLIOTT . . . Jake is a senior at San Marcos High School, has grown up in our church and next fall plans to attend Westmont College. He brings many talents and a great love for people to our team and ministry. Jake has done almost everything musically possible from a very early age and has been an active member of our worship team in the youth ministry and the church at large. This is Jake's first missions trip so he would appreciate your prayers as he finishes up the school year, celebrates graduation and gets ready use his musical abilities on our ministry in Costa Rica.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Two and a half weeks from today our team will meet in the church parking lot to depart for Los Angeles International airport and an all-night flight to San Jose, Costa Rica. The time is short but the days will be littered with plenty of distractions. Students will be finishing projects, taking tests, doing final concerts, athletic events. Adults will be working on full-time and handling school year end projects.

All this amounts to little time for actually thinking about the trip and considering the many different ways we all can be ready. Our team has been meeting monthly since October but it’s amazing in how many different directions we have all been pulled between meetings. Life goes on and can be relentless in robbing us not only time to focus on the mission ahead but our time to just “be.”

Lately I have been keeping my focus on finishing a few other things ahead of time to allow “margins” over the next two weeks. These quiet spaces will make available time for the unexpected and last minute tasks while reducing potential distractions.

Pray our team will do well at battling the distractions and caring for ourselves spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically in these last 18 days. Your support will mean much.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Countdown to Costa Rica

There are now less than 27 days until our team leaves for Costa Rica. After leading over 20 trips like this I believe it would be possible for me, if I took the time, to chart some of the stages or even phases a leader experiences in the preparation for such an adventure. For the moment I will say I am in the middle of the "I-can't-believe-the-trip-is-actually-this-close" stage. Since September of last year I have been preparing for this trip and started meeting with our team back in October. As always it is fun to anticipate and share life with those who are also anticipating the same thing. Now it is almost here and the reality of final details is settling into place. Thankfully the final part of the task list is almost complete and we seem to be in great shape.

I believe God has put together a great team and I am grateful to travel with these students and leaders. We have a plan for the trip but I know God has an even better one. Pray we all will keep walking with Him and letting Him lead us to the most important work.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Homestretch to Costa Rica

It's been almost a year since I lasted posted. Life in ministry and other projects swept over leaving little time to add entries.

Now it's back and now we are going back . . . to Costa Rica.

In less than a month I will be leading a team of 3 adults and 11 high school students to work with our Free Methodist teammates in Tilaran and Esterillos Oeste, Costa Rica. We have been meeting since last October to prepare for this trip, June 5-15, 2011. While there we will be doing community service, ministry with children and families, being an encouragement and loving/showing Christ's love through our words, actions and attitudes.

We invite you to tag along with us over the days before the trip and during the trip (as the internet connection allows). I will plan to post short entries updating you on our progress and ways you can pray for us.

Thanks for being on the team! More to come!