Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, lies on the Bay of Bengal and is surrounded by India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. Eighty-nine percent of the population practice Buddhism. In the remote village of Gwa, on the Bay of Bengal, 20 plus young children are waiting on a team of North Americans to come and build the first building at their orphanage. Presently, they live in a small bamboo structure with a grass roof. We have been asked to lead this team and we are so excited. A year ago, Paul traveled to Myanmar to set up the team and he is looking forward to returning to this place that grabbed his heart. Presently, we have four guys and nine girls signed up to go with us. Two of the team members are the children of former team members of ours! Please pray for more registrations for this team, health for the team and leadership, unity among our leadership, safety in travels and that we would be godly leaders who would encourage those under our care to be all that Christ has called them to be.
We had a good Christmas holiday. It was a little different this year. Danae traveled to Phoenix to visit her leaders from her 2012 team and Lindsay went on a cruise with a friend and her family. I can’t say that it is something I want to repeat… We volunteered for security duty for eight days during the break. We were the only ones out on the property, so that was different. The boys enjoyed their time out there—having 200 plus acres to explore. Thank you to all of you who sent letters, cards and gifts. You are a blessing!
Last spring and fall, we put in our prayer letter that we were praying about getting another vehicle. We hesitated calling it a “need” as our 1997 Ford Escort wagon was meeting our “needs”—although it was not always the most comfortable. Sometimes it is so easy to make “wants” become “needs”. Never did we expect the Lord to answer our prayers the way He did! Someone anonymously donated enough money for us to purchase a 2010 Honda Odyssey. It is so much more than what we expected. We were looking (dreaming) at 2005-2006 Odysseys with 100,000 plus miles. We got the same vehicle with just over 60,000 miles. It was a private seller who lived in Orlando. And to put the icing on the cake—she is a Christian! Thank you to those who prayed and thank you to the anonymous donor!
The kids are back in school They all made all A’s and B’s for their first semester. I guess this means that Colton and Danae will be able to get their licenses. Not sure if we are ready for the insurance increases… Lindsay finished at the local community college with her AA degree. She is working this semester and saving money. She is looking at colleges to get a degree in social work. Please pray that she will make a wise choice concerning schools.
Danae played JV soccer and her season ended just before the Christmas break. The team did really well and only lost two games. BJ is still playing club soccer. They were at a Disney tournament during the Thanksgiving break and were semi-finalists. They were at a tournament this past weekend in south Florida and ended up as runner-ups.
The kids are really excited about their summer teams. Colton is going to Mongolia and South Korea. Their team will be teaching English in South Korea and putting up Yurts in Mongolia for our new Bible School. Danae is going to Madagascar where her team will ride motorcycles to remote villages and conduct Sunday schools during the week. This will include teaching Bible stories and memory verses, playing games and teaching phonics. The neat thing about the Sunday schools is that Muslims will allow their children to attend because it is not “church”. BJ is going to Uganda where they will work on buildings at our Bible School in Koboko. His team will also be playing soccer with the many children in the area. A friend that he has played soccer with since he was four is also going on this team. The kids have to raise over $10,000 to go on their teams. Praise the Lord that they have raised almost half! If you are interested in donating towards their mission trip, please fill out the coupon included in this newsletter. Please pray that the rest of their support will come in. Also pray for health and safety while on their mission trips. Most of all, please pray that they would be sensitive and teachable and will be open and willing to what the Lord wants to teach them this summer.
Meanwhile, back in the office… We have over 500 registered for teams this coming summer! We are keeping busy with phone calls, emails, and paperwork. I will be starting to work on getting the paperwork for visas out to the teams that will need visas. Paul is finalizing all the travel and project plans with the missionaries. We are entering our busiest time of the year. Before we know it, the tents will be up and the kids will start arriving. So much to do and so little time…Please pray for wisdom as we deal with their parents. Most are sending their kids for the very first time and it can be challenging to give them to the Lord and take their hands off.
We recently found out that both BJ and I needed some dental work. BJ has seen a Periodontist and has had minor surgery on his gums. And I need a crown…Unfortunately, our dental insurance doesn’t cover much of these costs. Please pray that the Lord will supply the finances for these unexpected expenses.
Thank you for your vital part in our ministry. We could not be here if it were not for your prayers and sacrificial giving. YOU are making a difference in countless lives and we count it a privilege to be a part of that difference.
Paul, Beth, Lindsay, Colton, Danae and BJ Kostner