Dear Friends, Family and Former Team Members,
Last week, five of the Big Top Tents were put up. As we were putting up Big Top #1 (the biggest one), one thought kept going through my head—“Didn’t we just do this—in 2011????” How can another summer be literally “just around the corner”?
Needless to say, the work load is rapidly increasing. I continue to be busy with registrations and we have just over 700 team members and leaders registered to go on teams this summer. I have sent out the visa applications and the applications and required documentation are already returning to me to be processed. The phone calls and emails are increasing. The team members’ paperwork is arriving to be processed and filed. Paul is busy finalizing all the travel arrangements, corresponding with the missionaries, talking with parents and doing other responsibilities to prepare for Boot Camp and the ministries overseas. We have overseas staff coming in and he is involved in getting their transportation arranged. Please pray for wisdom for us as we attend to all the last minute details and as we reassure the parents that we talk to and correspond with.
We are so excited about returning to China this summer!!!! Colton and BJ have all their support. I am planning on getting everything out of storage in the next couple of weeks in order to get everyone packed for Boot Camp and the field. Danae has all of her support for her team also. She is NOT looking forward to getting her yellow fever immunization that is required for her to travel to Tanzania. We still have to get their boots, but want to wait until the last minute due to feet sizes rapidly changing. Thank you so much to all of you who contributed so generously to their summer involvement and indicated that you would be praying for them this summer. All three are looking for odd jobs to do in order to get their spending money. Please pray that the Lord would supply jobs for them to do. Also, please pray that they would have effective ministries this summer and that they will allow the Lord to work in and through their lives. Please pray that they will not only be a witness to the nationals, but also to their fellow team members. Please pray that Paul and I will be effective leaders and that we would lead with compassion and wisdom.
Lindsay will be finishing up her freshman year in college within the next couple of weeks. She is planning on returning home and working this summer. Please pray for safety for her this summer. Also, please pray that she will get enough hours to meet her needs throughout the summer and next year. Most of all, please pray that she will grow closer to the Lord this summer.
The younger three will be completing school at the end of May. Needless to say, they are looking forward to that. Right now, they are “enduring” the state required testing (FCATs). During Early Boot Camp, Colton and Danae will be helping out in the daycare. Danae plans on working with the younger kids and Colton will work with the middle-age kids. They will start their Boot Camp on June 20—move into a tent, bathe and do laundry out of a bucket, no snacks, mosquitoes, etc. They really are looking forward to Boot Camp, but not necessarily all of the aspects of it…Paul will also be moving into a tent, but since I am “old”, I get to stay in a dorm room (along with BJ). There are some perks for age!
After Boot Camp, we will be “commissioned” on July 7 and will fly out on July 8. We fly from Orlando to Toronto and then straight to Beijing. From there, we will take a 12-hour bus ride to our project site. We will be doing renovations at a camp and will also be running at least one week-long English camp. At the end of our project time, we will take the “fast train” (3 1/2 hours) back to Beijing for a couple of days of sightseeing.
Danae will also be flying out of Orlando (and onto Washington, D.C., Addis Ababa, Ethiopia before arriving in Tanzania) on July 8. We will all be debriefing together in Florida and our teams conclude on August 8 (same day that school starts). Please pray for health and safety in all of our travels. Also, pray that the Lord will calm my mother’s heart in being separated from Lindsay and Danae this summer.
So, that will be our summer in a nutshell. We are excited about what the Lord is going to teach us this summer. We are excited about meeting our “kids” for the summer. We are excited about what the Lord is going to do in the hearts and lives of those who are going to be involved in the ministry of Teen Missions this summer. And most of all, we are excited about those all over the world who will come to a saving knowledge of Christ this summer through the team’s ministries. “Excited”—do I sound like Tim Tebow?
There will be reports posted twice a week on the Teen Missions website (www.teenmissions.org). There will also be pictures and videos posted. Please check it out periodically this summer. You can click under “China” for our reports and under “Mt. Kilimanjaro” for Danae’s team’s reports.
Thank you so much for your prayers and your generosity in giving to our ministry that allows us to serve the Lord through the ministry of Teen Missions! You are a vital part of what the Lord is going to do this summer and we pray that you will be blessed by what is accomplished for His kingdom.
In Christ, Paul, Beth, Lindsay, Colton, Danae and BJ Kostner