After months of silence, I finally have some plans to report. I will be returning to Costa Rica on April 15 to continue my ministry with the Costa Rican Baptist Federation.
As many of you know, I took a leave of absence in May 2003 from my publishing ministry in Costa Rica, Ediciones Lumbrera, to care for my mother. We enjoyed 8 wonderful months of time together, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to give back to her some of the selfless care and love that she offered me all my life. Her health continued to decline and she passed away peacefully in the presence of her family on January 6, 2004.Since then I have been settling her estate.
In addition, I have begun writing an exciting new curriculum for our American Baptist churches to help them catch the vision of International Ministries' Go Global strategic plan.What does it mean to do mission in an age of globalization of economies, peoples, technologies and religions? How are American Baptists responding to the global trafficking of persons, especially the abuse of women and children? How are we leading the way in urban ministry? Why are American Baptist missions some of the most respected in the world?These are some of the questions I'm dealing with in the 13 Bible studies. International Ministries hopes to make them available online early in 2005.
When I return to Costa Rica, I will be leaving the curriculum ministry in the competent hands of my Costa Rican colleagues. The Centro Teologico Bautista Metropolitano, CETEBAME, our seminary in San José, has asked me to start a formal program to train Sunday school teachers for the Federation churches. This will be an exciting new challenge. In Ediciones Lumbrera we have long been aware that good curriculum without trained teachers is only partially effective. So I hope to supplement the content with method. I think that often the problem churches have in recruiting Sunday school teachers is that teachers don't feel qualified or valued. With this course of study I hope to resolve both barriers. I have long been convinced that the vitality and future of our churches lie in a strong Christian Education program. If Christians have a strong grounding in their faith, with good Bible study skills, a supportive community and ministries to live out their faith, the church will accomplish its purpose.
I will have to look for a house once I arrive. Please pray for strength and courage for me as I settle Mom's estate, move, and get settled in San José, with the major expenses and adjustments I will face.