March 4, 2008
Dear family and friends,
I first want to thank you for reading these updates. We are very honored when we hear that people are reading these. I was thinking today about how my two greatest passions in life are relationships and writing. These updates have been so much fun for me as I write them and then get to engage in relationship when I receive and respond to your encouraging emails or talk with you about them! Thank you! Thank you too for sharing with us your prayer requests – I do keep track of these in a prayer journal and also pray as God brings you to mind.
We would like to announce to you that CRC World Missions responded to us last week. They said that they would like to pursue a partner relationship with us! We are so thrilled about this because our hope was to be involved with a missions board that had a strong relationship with Nicaragua Christian Academy as CRWM does. God’s hand is also seen in how we are more of an exception than the rule as CRWM usually works with those who are members of the Christian Reformed Church and we currently are not members. We have experienced God’s grace and His love through this positive response from CRWM. Logistically, we are not yet “official” as we need to send in a completed application and go through the process of being approved. Dan and I spent this past weekend working on the application and have completed it. We will keep you posted on the progress with that.
Finally, I’ve had this analogy rolling around in my head as it relates to those of you who are praying for us and making yourselves available to assist us in this process. I was thinking about how I’ve ridden a roller coaster that had very few passengers and have also ridden a roller coaster that had a person in every seat. I’ve found it to be a far more exhilarating experience to ride a roller coaster with lots of people than it is to ride with only a few. We are recognizing that the more people we invite to ride this “roller coaster calling” with us, the more joy we experience in riding the ride. It is fun to celebrate what God is doing in this process with those who are right there on the ride with us – praying, encouraging, and celebrating with us through the ups and downs. This is what we believe “community” looks like. It has been fun to celebrate this week with several people and enjoy their excitement as we shared with them about CRWM. A friend who has been one of our prayer warriors burst into a huge smile and had tears in her eyes when I told her about CRWM’s response. She said, “Lisa, I feel like I’m going with you!” And in a very real sense, you all are. We are thankful for each of you and for how God is using you in our lives! We pray too that God would use us in your lives as well! We also invite you to forward these updates to others as you feel led. There are several more people joining us on the roller coaster this week and we want to welcome you and invite you to visit our blog to catch up on this story and past updates at http://www.vanzoest.blogspot.com/
For God’s perfect timing. Rebekah had two days off from school this past week and we used a half a day to get all four of our passports in process. The rest of the time Rebekah and Will enjoyed time at Grandpa and Grandma’s while Dan and I worked on the World Mission Applications. (We emailed them to CRWM last night.)
Will’s cold never developed into a respiratory illness which is unheard of in his history of getting colds! Rebekah is back to full health as well.
I’ve been thinking lately about how I have now enjoyed so many wonderful pain free days in a row as of the beginning of the year. I’ve done some things to change my diet and have felt good enough to get back into an exercise routine. Chiropractic care is helping as well. When the pain began, Rebekah came home from Sunday School with an assignment for her parents to memorize Psalm 103:1-5. Dan and I did memorize it and as I now look back on these past two years, I see the miracle of how He kept His promise as this verse would be my testimony - in a nutshell - of how He’s worked in our lives these past 2 years! He is so amazing, so faithful.
Please pray for wisdom for those who will review our application at CRC World Missions and for God to continue to clearly show us “the next step”.
We know that prayer is a critical part of this process and would like to start our support raising journey with corporate prayer on Sunday, March 16. We plan to have a potluck at 12:00 pm and following this, a time of prayer. Would you please RSVP in regard to your interest/availability to join us? (It would help this detailed-challenged person if you would email me your RSVP or call – it is more difficult for me to keep track of these kind of things when they are communicated in passing - Thank you!) I am thinking through child care, etc. right now if this is a need/concern.
Please pray for 10 local couples to commit to doing a small group dinner for us. Our time is short (goal of getting to Nicaragua in August) and we cannot meet with people individually as we did with FamilyLife. Please also pray for families who know and love our children to commit to watching our children during the dinners. We are so blessed with a great community of people who care for our kids. I will send an idea of what this need looks like later this week.
Please pray for Dan as he plans to let his employer know sometime this week or next about our passion to pursue this call to Nicaragua.
I will be getting the “job descriptions” for childcare and small group dinners out later this week. The CRWM application was comprehensive and I needed to complete this first.
The name Nicaragua is a combination of Nicarao, which was the largest tribe in the region when the Spanish arrived, and the Spanish word agua (water) which referred to the two large lakes along the country’s Pacific coast.
Nicaragua Christian Academy began in 1991 with 2 teachers and 7 students. There are now 260 students on the English speaking campus grades K - 12 (60% Nicaraguans with other students being from 9 other countries). At the recently developed Spanish speaking campus (4 years old), there are now 220 students grades K – 12.