Dear Friends, Family and Former Team Members,
These past few months have felt like running a race, with the summer months being a full-out sprint. I am not a runner. I tried to do the “Couch to 5K” thing last winter and I was able to run (OK, it was a SLOW jog) for a little over a mile. I can’t say I ever enjoyed it—in fact, I hated it (I cannot understand how anyone loves running…) But I did set a goal and it felt good to accomplish that goal! However, this “run” was a blast. Once it was 5 PM on August 17, the run “stopped” and I didn’t like the feeling. I didn’t like that it was “over”.
But the more I think about it, it is not “over” and it will never be “over”. I realized that when I saw my kids’ Bibles lying on their beds and knowing that they had spent time reading the Word of God. It is not “over” when so many team members’ and leaders’ lives have been changed for eternity. It is not “over” when so many nationals came to know the Lord as their Savior when the teams ministered in their project countries (over 800 in Honduras alone). It was exciting to receive their email reports and read about how the Lord was working in their lives and what was happening in their ministries. It was even more exciting to see them at Debrief and see first hand the changes that the Lord had wrought in their lives.
Paul and I stayed home this summer. It was a busy summer, but the Lord provided amazing staff to help get everything done. There were phones (24/7) and emails to answer, reports to post on the web, grass to cut, a retreat to run, daycare, cooking, dorm room cleaning and numerous other jobs that kept us from getting bored. We have never had so many summer staff (14) before (usually it is about 6-8), so it was much easier to “divide and conquer” the many jobs that needed to be done. No matter what we asked them to do, they did it with great attitudes! Thank you to all those who served with us this summer—you were such a blessing to work with!
Colton and Danae had an excellent summer in the Philippines. No, they did not kill each other and came home much better friends. They spent over a week ministering to street children. They were also able to do presentations (dramas, music and testimonies) in several schools. While at the Teen Missions base near Buena Vista, they poured concrete stairs/paths and rebuilt the prayer building that had been destroyed by the typhoon last winter. They fell in love with the country and the people. We praise the Lord for their great leaders and the spiritual influence they had on their lives.
BJ went to Belize on a Preteen team. His team poured sidewalks and also ministered in a church and to children who lived in the area. We saw a lot of maturing and spiritual growth in his life also!
THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO SACRIFICIALLY GAVE AND PRAYED FOR OUR PRECIOUS CHILDREN THIS SUMMER!!!! The Lord is working in their lives and we wish you could see the positive changes!
Well, we are back to our “normal” lives. We are still putting away everything from this past summer and getting all the paperwork organized and filed. We are also registering 2014 team members and over 200 are already registered! Our three have already registered also. Colton is planning on going to Mongolia and South Korea. The team will be setting up six yurts at our base along with beginning construction on a toilet block building. They will be teaching English in South Korea. Danae is going on the motorcycle team to Madagascar (yes, this scares me!) where they will be holding Sunday schools in remote areas. BJ is going to Uganda where they are going to do construction work at our Bible school and also play soccer with orphans in the area. Lord willing, Paul and I will be leading the Myanmar (Burma) Orphanage team. It will be remote and I have not done a remote team in MANY years, but I am excited to see how the Lord will give me the strength to endure. Please pray as the kids start raising their support and prayer partners.
They are all back in school. Colton is a junior. He is working hard to get his grades up so that he can get his license. Danae is a sophomore. She is also working hard on her grades so that she can get her license in April. She will be starting JV soccer in October. BJ is in the 8th grade and he just got his braces off. He is working hard on his grades so that he can keep his electronic devices! His club soccer team made it to the “elite eight” in State Cup, so they are playing in a premier league this year. This means he plays only one weekend a month (very nice for us!), but does require more travel. Lindsay is still at the local college and working a couple of jobs.
We are still praying about getting a minivan. With our support fluctuating, we are hesitant about making any kind of payment commitment. We all fit (tightly) into our 1997 Ford Escort, so it is not a “need”, but the kids are getting taller! Please pray with us that the Lord will make His way clear.
HAITI: “Here in Haiti I’ve seen God more alive and more real than I ever have before. Each day I grow closer to Christ as He grows in me the heart of a servant. As I see the faith that the Haitians have in this beautiful, yet dark place, my own faith in Christ and in His will for me is strengthened. Each day I pray that God would continue to use me and my team as His ambassadors in a place that so desperately needs His grace.”
HONDURAS -“When I arrived at Boot Camp with my brother, the first thing that happened was the director of Teen Missions prayed with us. From that day on we would pray for everything, for classes, food, leaders, teammates, our family, everything. I have learned to pray for everything. I am pleased to say that prayer will become a firm habit of mine hopefully to the end of my days. I am thankful for Teen Missions and its impact on my life.”
Honduras: “One week ago, we would have never guessed that we would have the privilege of witnessing 519 kids and adults accept Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior in just six days! I am always blown away how we as believers can be used to further His kingdom. By our words and our actions, we have been obedient to God’s calling on our lives. Each team member has witnessed first hand what the simple proclamation of the Gospel can do. They have witnessed the power of God’s Word and what showing the love of Christ can do.”
INDIA: “I’ve really liked many things about the Lord’s Boot Camp so far. From the Obstacle Course to the rallies, there are a lot of things to enjoy. but I think the thing I like the most is the reasonable expectations it sets for teenagers in a culture that believes they are capable of so little. Thank you Mr. Bland!”
Thank you so much for your prayers and support for our ministry here at Teen Missions. It is very much appreciated! We pray that you get a glimpse of the fact that YOUR labors are not in vain. We have been “blessed beyond measure” by your prayers and generosity!!!!
Serving Him Together,
Paul, Beth, LIndsay, Colton, Danae, BJ
The Kostner Family