We’ve finally stopped writing 2007 at the top of school papers! It’s officially a new year! As Anne Shirley would say, “It’s a new year with no mistakes in it!” The past few weeks have been busy with Christmas and New Years, small construction/maintenance projects and restarting school. Life is calming down now, and we’re getting back into the “swing” of things.
This past week has been very special for the body of Christ in Guasave. As part of the international 24-7 Prayer ministry, the Alliance of Churches set up a house for a week of continual prayer. You can read more about 24-7 Prayer by clicking on this link. Calvary Chapel – Boca del Rio was responsible for an 18 hour period on Friday, January 11. What a powerful experience! If you ever have an opportunity to participate in a 24-7 prayer event, do it! The house was rented for a week and decorated so that each room represented a different type of prayer. Pray-ers were invited to enter the room of Repentance first and then could continue to whichever room they desired. There were rooms focusing on intercession, worship and adoration, prayers for missions/missionaries, prayers for pastors and ministries, and upstairs was a “Room of Silence”. The directors requested that the room be occupied at all times during our 18 hour period. At any given time, there could be dozens of people praying throughout the house, or the house might be almost vacant, but there was always at least one person praying – 24/7.
The banner reads: Jesus Christ is Lord of Guasave!
In the foyer of the House of Prayer was a map to show the various rooms of prayer. Evie is standing beside a pennant which says, “I’m happy praying!!!” The walls of every room were decorated with verses and posters.
The past weeks have also been spent reflecting on the awesome things that God has done and has permitted us to do during the past year. We spent several dinner times reminiscing about blessings of 2007. From one of those conversations comes this great, although not original, idea:
The Coult’s Top 10 Blessings of 2007
#10: We were given a swimming pool and were able to set it up during the hot season. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that God would bless us with a pool. It’s a luxury, certainly, but it’s also a great ministry and outreach tool. It took almost a month to fill it with water, so our actual usage time was short this fall, but we’re looking forward to being able to cool off in a couple of months. In the meantime, we’ve been using the pool in a different way. I’m sure that the person who donated the pool never imagined it, but that pool makes a very nice cistern! We’ve mentioned before that getting water to our house has been challenging. Drinking water is never an issue, because it comes from a different source, but water for washing and bathing is piped from who-knows-where and has only come sporadically since mid-October. The water company says that they’re working to fix the problem, but it’s hard to tell how long it may take. Until then, we’re able to siphon water from the pool to our underground cistern when the city water isn’t sufficient. God knew ahead of time that we would need the pool for more than just a way to cool off in the summer!!! Who’d’ve thunk???
Monday, two pipas (water trucks) drove by on their way to somewhere. The boys flagged them down and the men filled our underground cistern for us. They offered to come back the following day to fill our pool completely. What a blessing!!!
#9: As we continue to adapt to the culture, God continues to provide for us in every way. Financial support has been up-and-down, but no matter what, God has been completely faithful. Sure, it’s challenging living in a different culture, but each day brings new opportunities to trust in Him. We try to remember to praise God in every situation. The kids had many things that they thought of that were specific gifts from God this year. Andrew’s turtles and his bunny, Sarah’s horse and Seth’s lizard were on the lists. We’ve always been “animal people” and we love to learn about our Creator through the things He’s created. (Plus, they’re a lot of fun!) Kids being kids, of course they were thinking about cool “stuff” they got during the year, too, and with Christmas just past, Christmas gifts were on everyone’s mind. We did a mostly “homemade” Christmas. Everyone’s creativity shone forth, and once again God proved Himself faithful. The week before Christmas, a cold front rolled in, so when the kids opened packages that contained homemade polar fleece ponchos and slippers, everyone was ecstatic! Another detail that God has worked out this past year is our website. Some of you know that we’ve wanted to build a website for some time, but haven’t been able to. Christian Web Host has donated a domain name and 6 months of free hosting to our ministry. Praise God!!! Now we’re just praying for the time to get the site put together. Prayer is definitely the key. Seeing how many prayers God has answered this past year helps us remember that He cares for us, and it helps us to trust Him for future needs, too!
#8: In June of 2007 we were blessed by a Missionary who came down from California. Rachel was only here a short time, but her visit impacted our family and the church here immensely. During her visit, she shared her skills as a teacher with the School of Ministry by teaching them how to share Jesus with children. Then she shared with the children of Boca del Rio in a short VBS. The techniques she shared with the students were then used during their mission trip to Puebla and the VBS kick-started the children’s ministry at the church.
Andrew, Evie and Rachel performed a drama about sharing Jesus with their friends.
Rachel and Luz discuss ways to teach the Wordless Book to kids during the VBS.
#7: In December we began a Bible study at Esteban’s house. This is something that we’ve prayed about for quite some time, but it hasn’t worked out – until now! It has been wonderful to fellowship with our Christian brother and his family. Four couples and their kids meet every Monday night for a time of Bible study and prayer.
Taken at Esteban’s last birthday, this photo shows the couples in our Monday night study (minus Vasilia, who is taking the picture). As you would guess, these studies are never boring!
#6: The church’s youth group is growing! What began last spring as an occasional get-together, has blossomed into two weekly Bible studies. Although the groups are small, we are expecting to see some great things this coming year! Continue to pray for these kids! The annual city-wide youth conference will be held in the middle of February at our church. Pray for an out-pouring of God’s spirit on these kids and direction and vision for us as we lead.
The youth of Boca del Rio are like youth anywhere else we’ve been – full of energy and desiring approval. Few of the boys in the village have stable home-lives. Alcoholism and drug abuse are a huge problem. Even in the Christian families sometimes there is a spirit of hopelessness that overshadows everything else. Gebran, in the blue shirt, lives with his grandmother because there is no school in the village where his parents live – 18 hours away. His parents and grandmother are Christians, and desire the best for him, but he is in rebellion. He was the twins’ best friend when we first moved here, but now has become very distant and angry. Pray that he and other kids in Boca would develop a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ.
#5: We had some big birthdays this year! Of course we have birthdays every year – in fact we have birthdays just about every month in our house – but this was a special year for half the family. In September, Caleb celebrated his 13th birthday thus entering the teenager zone. (Weird music would be appropriate here). He was able to celebrate his special day in Oregon with some of his best friends, so that was an extra blessing! In November, Andrew entered the realm of double digits. The double-digit birthday is a very special one in our family. Andrew got to go out camping with Dad, Esteban and Tio Armando. And best of all, they camped out on an island, so Andrew got to travel by boat. Andrew is a boat fanatic, so that was VERY special for him. Then at the end of November we threw a quince años party for Sarah (although her birthday wasn’t till December). For more about her great party, you can check out Mom’s Blog. That party ranked really high on Sarah’s Top 10 list!!! And finally, although it’s technically this year, I think we should also count Doug’s birthday in the list of important events. Last Tuesday, January 8, Doug turned the big 4-0. Keeping with Boca del Rio tradition, he was doused repeatedly with buckets of cold water. Read more here.
Doug thought that staying in the house would keep him safe from the cold water that awaited him. He was wrong.
#4: The mission trip to Puebla Doug, Sarah and Caleb were part of a team that traveled to Puebla, southern Mexico, last summer on a two week mission trip. They had a fabulous time of teaching and faith-building as they traveled. They were able to share Jesus with many people there during concerts and drama outreaches, and they were able to encourage the Church as well. It was a long, tiring trip, but the blessings and spiritual growth were worth it!
These are the team members who traveled from Boca del Rio to Puebla, Mexico, with the pastor of the church there. There are 5 Americans hiding in this photo. Can you find them?
#3: Doug graduated from Calvary Chapel School of Ministry – Boca del Rio. After a year of grueling homework and exhausting schedules, it’s finished. This was #1 on both Doug’s and my list, but made it on the lists of 3 of the kids. The course is demanding and there is very little “free-time” during the year. All of the students were challenged to keep up with the studies. We thank God for providing this opportunity for Doug. Bible College was something that we only dreamed of in the States. It’s been amazing to watch God bring those dreams to reality! Click here to read about Doug’s graduation.
#2: Moving into our new house. In February of last year, we moved out of the house which we had been renting the previous year and moved into the one we had built. When we moved into it there was no water, electricity, doors or windows, but it was ours, and we praised God daily for it!!! Now, through more of God’s miraculous gifts, we’ve been able to expand a little, build an upstairs room for the boys and put wooden walls between some of the downstairs rooms. We continue to praise God every day for the home He’s given to us, and we pray that it would bring honor to Him – and not to us.
The very first mission team which came down to minister with us consisted of 3 young men from our home church in Oregon. We broke ground on our foundation in July of 2006.
Our home: December 2007.
#1: The Number One blessing for our family this year…drum roll…being able to drive to Oregon in August to visit friends and family. We visited grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, sisters and cousins and friends. We spent time with churches that had prayed for and supported us for the past years and made some wonderful new friends at churches we visited. One of the greatest blessings, unanimously, was that we got to spend time with our dear friends who are missionaries in Papua New Guinea. It had been nearly 4 years since we had seen them, and God saw fit to allow us several days together.
The Coults and the Raubes enjoying REAL American marshmallows and a campfire.
OK, gotta share a spiritual lesson about this. For the entire year, the whole family (Mom and Dad included) had been looking forward to this visit. As the time for our furlough approached, though, it began to look as if we weren’t going to be able to make it all the way to Oregon. Finances were very tight. For a week before our scheduled departure date, I wrestled with God over His will versus my will. I wanted to be able to say, “Whatever God wills is OK.”, but when I really analyzed my heart, I knew that I was holding on very tightly to my desire to go north. As a family, we prayed for God’s will in the situation. Two days before we were to leave, we had enough money to get to Arizona. Exactly enough money to get to Arizona. Like letting go of a breath that you’ve held for way too long, I finally told God that I really wanted to go to Oregon, but if that was not His will, it was OK. And I meant it. For a moment, it felt like I was a small child watching my helium balloon float away, just out of reach, but then I accepted it and rested in watching the balloon soar above the treetops. Three hours after we left the house heading north, the water pump on the van blew, and we suddenly didn’t even have enough money to get home. Instead of stressing out though, God gave us the grace to rest and see the miracles in the situation. Obviously, God provided the funds necessary for our furlough. It was a beautiful thing, watching Him work. It was especially beautiful because we didn’t feel like we were “in the way” of His plans, but rather in the middle of them. By the time we were headed home, nearly a month later, we had witnessed God’s abundant provision over and above what we could have possibly imagined. He truly is the King of kings and it’s good to be his child…isn’t it!
So, those are the highlights of 2007. We continue to praise God every day for His provision and pray that He would teach us and grow us the way He wants to. Thanks so much for praying with us and for us.
In His Service,
The Coult Family
Doug and Rebecca, Sarah, Caleb, Jessee, Seth, Andrew and Evie.
Prayers and Praises:
- We praise God for the technology that enables us to keep in touch with you all…even when that technology frustrates us!!! :^)
- We praise God for the churches and families that have partnered with us this past year and for those that God will bring into our lives this next year, too!
- Join us in prayer for Doug’s allergies. He has struggled much the past 3 years with severe dust allergies. His current medications take the “edge” off, but some days he still struggles to breathe normally.
- Also join us in prayer for Sarah as her wisdom teeth are beginning to come in. We’ll be checking with a dentist soon to see if anything needs to be done as far as removing the teeth.
- Pray that God would continue to give patience, guidance and perseverance in working with the younger youth group.
- Pray that God would capture the hearts of the youth of Boca del Rio.
- This past week we began an English language class at the School of Ministry in Boca. Doug is putting together the curriculum, and we’re taking turns teaching the class. Pray that we would be able to be understood and that these classes would bless those attending.
- Praise God for the mission team scheduled to come down in June. Pray that God would continue to guide both us and them as we prepare for their ministry here.
- Join us in praying for Pastor Ricardo as he and Cristina decide about their children’s education. They are thinking of home-schooling, but it is a very new concept here – much as it was 15 years ago in the States. They would become “pioneers” in this.
- Pray as we prepare for the annual youth conference in Boca
- Pray for guidance as we prepare for a quick trip to the States to renew travel papers.