Dear Friends, Family and Former Team Members,
One would think that a summer spent at “home” would be boring and monotonous, especially when contrasted with a summer spent overseas with a group of North American teens. I mean, what would one do all summer? Surely, there is not enough going on to keep one busy!
Wow! That is one word I could use to describe this summer! I also wonder where the summer went. It just seemed to fly by at the speed of sound! We moved to our summer home on June 1st and moved back to our regular home on August 14th. Our summer home was nice. It had a real bed, air-conditioning, a refrigerator, an inside bathroom and even a TV to watch during all of our free time! Until our kids joined their summer teams, they were in the room next to us, which made our abode a lot less crowded and definitely more “quiet”.
We always begin our summers staying home with a list of staff that will be there to work alongside us. However, we also know that as the summer approaches, that list gets smaller and smaller. We’ve learned not to count on the “list”, but to count on the Lord to supply our EVERY need, including the number of people who are needed to help cover all the bases during the summer. This summer was no exception. We had a FANTASTIC group of people to work with. We had two moms (who were suppose to be on maternity leave) step up and volunteer to answer the phones for us. They even volunteered to pull night duty when needed (thank you Sharon and Sarah!). The person who was supposed to work in the kitchen with me got pulled to be a leader on a team. However, the Lord knew that Taylor would be back from China in time to help me cook for all the Debriefs. Taylor has been a leader with me for two different summers, so we know how to work together to get everything accomplished. Amanda, Ashley and Amy were able to “pinch hit” when needed in the kitchen, along with doing anything else that was needed. Linda did her usual good job of working in Finance, along with covering night and weekend phones. Emery did double duty in keeping the outside and buses maintained, along with coordinating bus runs. Bernie helped tremendously with the Missionary Barrel laundry— folding and bagging it in order to get it shipped overseas. Akeline was able to produce the Scrapbook videos in time to give to the team members at Debrief. His wife, Bobbie, had many varied, but necessary duties to help the summer run smoothly.
Paul’s days were filled with a lot of juggling. He was in charge of the four debriefs, making sure everything was running smoothly both at home and overseas, phone calls and emails and anything else that was needed.
In addition to cooking for the summer staff and debriefs, I also was involved with phone calls, emails, posting reports on the web site, doing Missionary Barrel laundry and in my spare time, I FINALLY completed a soccer tee-shirt quilt for Lindsay.
Colton, Danae and BJ had WONDERFUL summers on their respective fields of service. Colton grew about 2 1/2 inches and lost 35 pounds! Danae and BJ also grew physically. But most exciting is that they all grew spiritually. We are so thankful for the Godly leaders they had and their fantastic experiences.
Colton: “This summer I went to Haiti along with 32 other people. While there, I got to play with the children who lived in the tent city, which was right next to us. I really liked giving them piggyback rides, arm wrestling with them and just holding them. We did work. We built a fence separating the orphanage from the tent city and worked on a house. One of my teammates got cholera and a lot of us got sick. Because of this, Teen Missions brought us home two weeks early, but our trip wasn’t over. When we got back to Florida, we started working on a covered sidewalk leading from the main office to the dining room. We also cleaned a hoarder’s house, worked at a food pantry and fed the homeless. I met a lot of truly amazing people this summer and wish they were with me right now. I would never trade this experience for anything.”
Danae: “2011 Bethlehem Bible College was a GREAT team! I got to see a lot of different sites in Israel, and my favorite was the Garden Tomb. We were staying on a hill that overlooked where David and Goliath fought. It was such a good experience—eye- opening to how the Bible describes these places. It is so amazing to think that I really walked where Jesus walked. We finished our project of pouring over 4600 feet of concrete. We were even able to do open-air evangelism at the Nativity Church. We were told they wouldn’t let us be there for over five minutes, but we did a two-hour presentation! It was so cool. Thank you so much for your prayers and support!”
BJ: “This summer I got to go to Sicily. I got to build a foundation and a 223- yard driveway. It was really fun. It gave me a chance to work for God. At the same time, God taught me to never give up. When we had to finish the foundation, we got coffee and no one stopped working. We just kept going and going and we also did a little of the driveway. After that, we had a very good dinner. I also got to go to the Mediterranean Sea. You could call it a beach. This summer was life changing for me!”
They are already making their plans for next summer. Danae wants to go to Southern Sudan, Colton wants to go back to China and BJ wants to go with us for one last time.
At the beginning of August, we drove Lindsay up to Tennessee to attend soccer camp before starting school at Bryan College. It was a very bittersweet time. The first thing we saw when driving on campus was “Christ Above All/Bryan College”. We knew we were leaving her in the right place and that she is totally in God’s Hands! She is doing well in soccer and has started every game so far. School is going well for her. She has a great roommate and seems to have made a lot of friends.
We also made a quick trip up to Tennessee last week to visit Lindsay and do some deputation. We were able to see a couple of Lindsay’s games. Danae spent two nights with her in the dorm room. Colton was able to spend time with a guy who was on his team this past summer. On Sunday, we all attended a small Baptist church just outside of Dayton. The pastor was the same pastor I had when I was growing up. He and his wife were a little surprised to see us! It had been around 30 years…
Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support. We especially thank you for your ministry to our children this summer in praying for them and supporting them financially. I pray you get a small glimpse of the impact YOU are making all over the world through your ministry to our family!
• For what the Lord did in and through Colton, Danae and BJ this summer while on their summer teams and for their health and safety.
• For what was accomplished this summer all over the world through the ministry of Teen Missions.
• For the great “summer staff” that we were privileged to work with this summer.
• For the way the Lord has made it possible for Lindsay to attend a Christian college.
• We have experienced that “dreaded summer slump” in donations for our support this summer and we are still in the “red” as of September 10. Please pray that there will be an increase in our monthly support coming in, especially this month, and that we will be wise with our finances.
• For Lindsay as she adjusts to college and for us as we adjust to this “new normal”. Please pray that she will follow the Lord with all her heart, soul and mind.
• That Colton, Danae and BJ will continually remember what the Lord taught them this summer and that they will be “lights” in their worlds.
God Bless! Paul, Beth, Lindsay, Colton, Danae and BJ Kostner