Tag Archives: Alliance

Feeling abit Disembodied!

We are back in Canada (Calgary) and have experienced 3 or 4 snowstorms! Unbelievable! And very few days of temps above 10C. But the warmth of family and the people of several Alliance churches and 1 Baptist church we have met have more than made up for it. Well, truthfully, there was driving in one snowstorm where I just did not want to be here. Coming back to Canadian culture has been tougher than I thought it would be. We felt disembodied. Here but not really here. Feeling comfortable but not really…just having to wait for Canadian cultural norms to float to the top and feel more natural. It’s amazing how one can adjust to the Spanish culture in such a short time. There have been many times where I wanted to give a “beso and an abrazo” in welcome and saying good-bye but I think it would have thrown many for a loop. I thought for this blog update I would give a general ministry update via a note I sent out to a friend.

Our ministry focus continues to evolve. We have re-focused our name to Caribbean Justice and Compassion Team to better describe the direction of ministry. Over the last several months, we have been doing more program development than anything else. We were in C*b* to check out the micro-enterprise which was totally uplifting. What  a revival movement that is developing into! Nicaragua was a great experience. 2 weeks of working with a Alliance Men’s work team doing translation work. It was very cool how a small business loan opportunity was put in my lap. Got a guy started with a welder. I am working through the local church on this one hoping to start something bigger and develop with stronger CHE guidelines. It’s really a test for the Pastor’s leadership to see if he will buy into community leadership and development thinking. If it works well, I would like to start a business cooperative there. When we get back to Costa Rica, the plan is to start some development work in a Nicaraguan community (in CR). There is already a local feeding program and a couple of other small initiatives through a local Alliance church that I want to expand on. Maybe use a CFGB grant in the area. Lot’s of work to do. Lot’s of money to raise. I want to use this as a bit of a proving ground in basic community development as there are larger things on the horizon in other countries that we need to tackle. Start small. As our ministry is regional, this will build into enabling a system of national level leaders in the Caribbean area to work on local CHE style programs. I want to center on a combination of micro-business and disaster preparedness training at the local church level but use this to teach basic community-level problem solving working towards Kingdom transformation principles.
On the disaster response front, the National Ministry Centre is totally revamping their database structure. I managed to get a request in with our needs. Our plan is to create a interactive, national database of volunteers from Canadian churches that are able to respond to a disaster event.  I want to work out the kinks with this response program in my region first. Then as other Alliance compassion track leaders come on line in other world ministry areas, they would be able to use this database for their response needs. Right now, I am working through ideas of how to involve the local Canadian Alliance church at the grassroots level making them feel part of  a ministry response even though they never leave the pew. We’ll see how that goes.
At times I am feeling intimidated and overwhelmed at the scope of ministry in which I have been placed though it is exciting to see how God moves, opens doors, puts people in our path. I think my biggest struggle at this point is finding that niche in disaster response that enables us to come along side other organizations and not duplicate problems and procedures. Though this morning (by chance), met with the SP Project manager for Latin America and we seem to be on the same page stressing the need for disaster preparedness/reduction programs in smaller communities using the local church as a mitagating force. A great contact for some future work. He enrolled me in the national DART (Disaster & Response Team) training happening in May.
I have written enough. I need to get some work done before watching some hockey. It’s really nice to sit and watch the playoffs. I didn’t realize that it was something I missed!
ps While we are here in the Calgary area and you feel like sitting down for a coffee… Give us a call 403-617-6377

On the Road

As of lately, it has felt we have not been home much. But as busy as it has been, we have been extremely blessed to be part of what God is doing in the Caribbean area with the C&MA. We are still feeling the excitement of seeing what was happening in C*ba. That carried over into our two week stay in Nicaragua. We were translators for the C&MA Men’s work team led by Art Wiens. As a team, we replaced a rickety set of wooden stairs with a metal structure to service their second floor as well as welding railings on the second floor to prevent children and others from falling 12 feet to the ground. My language abilities took big strides forward. Though it was not without it’s mishaps. I had to buy all of the supplies (structural metal, welding supplies, rent tools….). That was a process all in itself as I do not have a construction background in English either. There are lots of stories to tell. Linda chose to work with the team and was in charge of the painting. 

One couple from the church brought us juice one day and ended up staying and working with our team for a week. The wife, Diara worked with Linda while Maurico turned out to be an incredible help with the welding and his general construction knowledge. Even with the language differences, we enjoyed each other alot. It was unbelievable to see ministry opportunities open up. I was able to start a pilot project micro-business with Maurico. The possibilities of this type of ministry in the second poorest country in the western hemisphere (after Haiti) is mind-boggling. I wait with great expectations to see how God will direct us through this open door of using community development to transform communities through local churches. It was encouraging after spending much time talking with Rosario, the national church president and see her example of being a servant. Ramón, the pastor asked me to speak one morning in church. With less than 24 hrs notice, I began preparing for an hour of Spanish. In English, that would take me a week! After 20 mins of speaking, I finished and walked away from the pulpit. As I passed the pastor, he whispered “that’s all you have?” All I could do was nod my head! He did a great job of scrambling to fill in the time! By the end of each day I was mentally and physically drained.
 
With our schedule, it has been hard to plan for our time in Canada at the end of this month. I am happy to say that as of today, God has provided a suite for us to stay in. And it is in the south part of Calgary, closer to the churches we need to visit. Also, opportunities are opening up for us to present what we are doing in churches, men’s groups, and prayer groups. We would love to sit down for a coffee with you. Let us know.

We were reminded how powerful prayer is by our time in C*ba. There are several things we would appreciate you to remember to pray for.
– finalizing the plans for the 3 months in Canada
– opportunities to share our ministry vision and the building of partners from Canada in working together to accomplish this vision.
– the raising of funds for our vehicle in Costa Rica.
– making great memories with family, friends and churches.
– continued giving to the Global Mission fund that supports international workers

An Eye-Opening Experience

I am not sure how to start. Having visited a communist country (south of Florida), it is important to guard what is said to protect those we visited, especially writing on the internet. So if you have not

 figured out where we were, drop me an email. As our Crisis, Compassion and Community Development ministry moves forward, we have been given another opportunity to see God at work. We went and viewed a micro-enterprise outreach that is working in the local churches in this country. We went and saw things that no tourist will ever see. I fell in love with the believersthere. Living in a restricted system and yet flourishing. Since the C&MA is not a recognized denomination in this country, all of the churches are house churches with pastors and their families living in 1 or 2 rooms sacrificing a bigger room for a permanent place for people to meet and worship together. I saw unrestricted joy as these micro-enterprises were allowing them to honor the Lord through tithing and supporting their families. There is amazing cooperation between denominations as this program is sweeping through communities. Some levels of government are recognizing how much of a positive change has been happening in communities with this program. Average salaries/person, whether you are a doctor or a farmer is $10-$20/month in a country where the local necessities of life ie basic food often is just not available. We heard testimony after testimony of God working in and through people. A common story was of person after person experiencing a new life in Christ. One community has 12 people in this program and 11 made a decision and as the pastor told us, the last one “will be!” There are many opportunities for this type of community development in Latin America. Pray with us as we explore the possibilities.

On Feb 17, Linda and I leave for Nicaragua for 2 weeks to act as translators for a Alliance Men’s work team. It will be a real test of our language skills. Pray for the impact the team will have on the local community. Pray for us as 2 weeks in a strange place in the heat away from the comforts of home will have its own unique stress builders. Linda is currently enrolled in the “Perspectives” course that is being offered at a local church. Not only is the course opening up her heart and mind, it is opening up community contacts and language acquisition (in a non-threatening manner). Some of the course is in Spanish!

Other prayer requests include
1. A clear direction for further ministry development. We are exploring 2 opportunities for small community development projects right here in Costa Rica.
2. Our home assignment in Calgary starting in April for 3 months. We are looking for a place to stay, a vehicle to use and opportunities to share our vision in churches and small groups.
3. The raising of our vehicle funds.
4. The completion of a database for disaster response volunteers.

How was your Christmas?

Christmas 2010 has come and gone but we look back at it with many memories. What are your memories? We celebrated Jesus’s birth and the reason for our faith with friends and families. We were able to go to my sister’s (Kim) home in Kansas and and spend time with Jordan and Briana, my parents and the Enn’s. Being able to do things with our kids was a highlight – shopping, playing games, having communion together on Christmas Eve and just relaxing with family. We had to fly into Dallas so we spent a few days with friends; Dan was our best man in our wedding. By the way, Linda and I just celebrated 23 years of being together! Not only was Dan’s family amazing, they made us feel totally at home. Dan (a MK from Venezuela) and Leann have a generosity that knows no boundaries. His family made us feel special as we re-entered back into the North American culture. Linda and I were introduced to a new hobby that is pretty normal for many Texans. We got to shoot guns, lots of guns and I loved it. Linda had her own style when it came to handling a pistol.

With being back in the Alberta area for this April, May and June, our next 3 months in Costa Rica are jam-packed. All of our activities of Jan-Mar are prayer requests for you to uphold us with. Our next three months of ministry development are the most important to-date as we begin to paint in most of the details of the picture that we have been drawing for the last 15 months. We begin with a new home. We get to move from our 3 room house to a 3 bedroom house later on in Jan. That’s an answer to prayer. Also sometime this month, we will be spending some time, either in Mexico, Nicaragua or Guatemala (depending on some details) visiting some communities that are in process of being changed and transformed through the efforts of using CHE principles. This will be a major aspect of our ministry as we use disaster reduction and the local Alliance churches to see whole communities experiencing the love of God and changing physically and spiritually. Also in January, we have Joanne Beach, the Director of Alliance, Justice and Compassion (C&MA) coming to visit for meetings. For 3 weeks in Feb and Mar, Linda and I will be in Nicaragua with an Alliance Men’s work team serving as translators. In March, not only will we have to close up our house to be gone for 3 months, we will also have Jim Foster visiting Costa Rica. We will also meeting up with an Alliance missionary couple from Cuba  to compare notes.
If you hear of any houses that need to be house-sat in the Calgary/High River area  during Apr – June let us know. We are also looking for the use of a car for those three months. Let us know if you hear of anything. The last prayer request is for the planning of the 3 months in Alberta as we look for opportunities to share in churches and the building of our database for disaster responders.

Throw in continued language training and growing with a Spanish culture, these next 3 months will fly by. Heavy on our hearts is the fund raising for our ministry vehicle. We need to raise almost $12,000 by June. If you feel led, you can direct giving to the Doell Vehicle Fund through any Alliance church (and receive a charitable tax receipt). General giving to the Global Advance Fund which covers the needs of overseas Alliance ministries all over the world was up in December for which all of us missionaries are very thankful for as this covers our basic requirements.

Thank you for your continued encouragement. The many Christmas cards we received were a huge blessing. Just knowing and hearing of those who encourage us prayerfully is amazing for us.

Can’t Wait For Christmas

As I started to write this, I turned on some Christmas music and the song playing was “I can’t wait for Christmas”. I thought that would be a great title for this update. Christmas has taken on a new meaning for us. It is so easy to take things for granted. Christmas is special as the celebration is centered on the birth and  meaning of Jesus Christ. But this year, we are traveling to Kansas where my sister Kim and her family live. And by the sounds of it, it will be cold. Things that Canadians usually take for granted at this time of year, like the cold (snow) and being closer to family will be a renewed experience for Linda and I. We could not afford to get to Canada but we could get to Dallas. We will spend a weekend with Dan and Leanne Zondag (best man at our wedding) outside of Dallas and then with a borrowed vehicle from Dan, drive up to Kansas where we will meet our kids and other family as they drive down from Calgary. It will be a great 2 weeks with family and friends.

Meanwhile at home (Costa Rica), the transition from rainy to dry season is happening. That means a couple of weeks of cold winds. I know, cold is relative but 16-18 C means putting on a warm jacket! Here’s a picture of all the Canadian C&MA’ers here in Costa Rica taken at Canadian Thanksgiving.  Let’s get you updated on our work here. There is so much to say. Linda and I just got back from a week in Phoenix where we attended CHE training. The principles learned here are the cornerstone of our disaster reduction ministry. Part of our work is educating communities towards basic disaster response as well as how to reduce the effects of the disaster when it occurs. Now with the CHE training, we can approach this with a total community transformational mindset of building into God’s Kingdom. Disaster reduction will be the tool to empower the community to transform physically and spiritually using the force of the community to carry the change through. It’s an unbelievably powerful evangelistic tool. God has used this in 95 countries of the world to transform over 4500 villages. On the Disaster Response side of things, our focus has been on building a web-based database to handle all of the information of a response effort and the number of volunteers involved. We have had a volunteer, Will Autio, out of Mission Creek Alliance who is helping us out with getting this database operational. Thank you to our volunteers. God does supply our needs as we had a sizable donation given from a person in Prince George, BC. towards ongoing training (including our local CHE community leaders).

As you know, we have been trying to raise financial support for a vehicle that we can use for ministry purposes. We finally were able to find a suitable SUV. It’s a 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee that has been babied and is in great shape. When all is said and done with the costs of buying here… it will cost us under $12,000. (Yes, vehicles are very expensive here). Our vehicle fund has not received that much in donations so in the meantime, we have been able to borrow from the Alliance field (Caribbean Sun) and we have till June of next year to pay it off. But guess what? We are already 25% of the way there! That is exciting for us. So we are asking you to prayerfully consider giving to the Doell Vehicle Fund through any Alliance church or you can give through the national C&MA office and direct it to the Doell Vehicle Fund and receive a charitable tax reduction.

From our family to yours, Linda and I want to wish you a merry, merry Christmas filled with the joy of celebrating Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Moving Right Along

Life continues to move right along here in Costa Rica. The whole country was recently deluged with hopefully the last heavy rain of the season. Parts of the country received over 40 inches creating deadly mudslides, floods and taking out bridges and roads. Our house was in danger for a short time of being undercut by a river but thankfully the rains stopped and the banks have been reinforced. This was all due to the widespread affects of Hurricane Tomas. It was also touch and go with having to pull a quick response together for Haiti as a result of the Hurricane. I recently was in North Carolina (Wow, the Smoky Mountains in the fall!!!) for a conference for engineers that I was invited to attend. God really impacted me with the importance of just not having water access for victims of disasters but having clean water, free from the issues of cholera and other similar health problems. Pray for me as we look to options in this area.

As part of our compassion ministry will involve the education of how to make the local church the hero when a disaster hits their community, Linda and I are attending a course at the end of November. The course is sponsored by CHE (Community Health Evangelism). The ideas learned here will form the nucleus of the education component of our disaster reduction ministry. Pray that God will go before us as we open up our hearts and minds to new ways of doing ministry.

Linda and I are really excited for Christmas. Air tickets are too expensive to fly back to Alberta so we have managed to have some of the family meet us at my sister’s in Kansas for 2 weeks. On that trip we will get to see some friends (best man at our wedding) that we have not seen in 10+ years. Plans are also being made for April, May and June of next year. We plan to be in the Calgary area for a home assignment time of  meeting with churches, friends and family. Which leads to a huge prayer request. The second half of our ministry is having people from Canada help with disaster respond by actually responding. The database surrounding the gather of information is quite daunting. Pray for development and implementation of this endeavor. I envision this growing into a database that C&MA can use all over the world, not just in Latin America. Part of our time in Canada will be building into the database with people who want to help others in a time of disaster.

God has been great. I am including some prayer requests and praise for answered prayer that I recently sent to churches.

Prayer
1. CMA Canada (specifically Jim Foster) has given each overseas worker the book called Power Praying by David Chotka. Pray for Linda and I and our accountability partners as we interact through this book that our prayer lives may be more real and intimate with our Father.
2. Pray for Linda as she has been diagnosed with exhaustion after our year of language school. Pray that she will find the rest she requires and a strengthened desire to continue her language learning.
3. We are in process of buying a ministry vehicle. The Caribbean Sun field has loaned us the money required to make this possible. Pray for our provision for financial support with this vehicle and our ministry, and for prayer support as we continue to search after God’s heart in our compassion ministry development. We have until June/July to reimburse this. It’s very simple to give and you receive tax help with the charitable donation.
4. Linda and I are in the Arizona for a week of training at the end of November. This training is the cornerstone of our disaster response ministry. We will be learning how to use the local church as a light within their local community when a disaster or crisis affects the people. We will then transpose this training to churches throughout Latin America.

Praise
1. I attended an engineer’s conference (eMi) in North Carolina 2 weeks ago for further training in disaster reduction. Not only did I connect with some great people,  our compassion ministry response capacity grew!
2. We just received a sizable financial donation promise  that will enable further training of ourselves, of Latino coordinators we want to build into and covering some of the travel. That is a great God story as I was directly praying for that only days before.
3. Only God could have orchestrated leading us to the right ministry car.  It turns out the seller is a strong believer and God was working through circumstances on her side in order to sell it to us. Pray that all of the financial and legal details will be worked out next week as we meet with the lawyer on Nov 19 to finalize the deal.

Our Second Year Starts

You would think that after 1 year of in-depth language learning,  not only would we begin to look Spanish but speak it fluently. Well, we still look the same except for some extra gray hairs, but now we need to put the grammar we learned to practice and continue to learn how to “think” in a different language. So as part of our job description for this second year of being an International Worker (IW) is to spend 50% of our time in further language learning and 50% in ministry development. Actually, I think we will be spending more time in language now that while we were in school! God has already provided Dr. Ron de Pass as a conversational tutor. We have started on memorizing 100 verses (in Spanish of course) Plus  +…there is more than enough to keep us busy. Over the past couple of weeks, our ministry proposal has been taking shape. Here is a little excerpt from our proposal draft giving you an overview of where God is directing us.

C&MA Canada has chosen to interact in the lives of people in the Central/South America and the Caribbean regions for many years. Thousands of people in this area are effected annually due to a disaster event in their area. In many of these areas, we are fortunate to have Alliance churches, a natural bridge to mitigating a disaster in the local community. Supporting the national church and creating sustainable resources through training locals to be response coordinators is an active method to Kingdom-building. Adding the expertise of (people from churches across Canada)  professionals as response teams to a response network will focus our capacity to directly respond to the needs of the person affected by a disaster, great or small. The local church will always be present in the community. The local church will be enabled to reach out, show compassion and be a light in a community that is in need after suffering through a calamity.

God has provided a one bedroom house for us to live in. Here it is called “apartamento” due to its small size but it adequate for us. It is located on what is called a “finca” or farm. It’s actually 5 houses on several acres filled with gardens and fruits trees. Our house is located beside a river helping cool things down. We have been able to purchase some needed furniture inexpensively from other missionaries and gringos leaving the country thanks to the monthly giving from an Albertan couple. Another local Albertan provided a substantial financial gift  knowing we needed a vehicle for personal use giving us the flexibility to get groceries and make local trips.  Our ’79 Landcruiser is serving our needs but now as we are getting involved in ministry, changes will need to be made. We are still in process of raising needed funds for a ministry vehicle. We are needing a 7-9 passenger type that can transport response teams.

Slowly but surely, Linda and I are getting into a schedule and adjusting our mindset from attending a school for the last year. There are many things to pray for as we adjust and step into a new role.

  1. Pray for our language learning and that it continues to become part of us.
  2. For continued opportunities to build bridges with people and organizations that have a similiar ministry direction.
  3. For Curtis as he attends a conference of Alliance pastors from Central America in Nicaragua (Sept 19-24). This is a great opportunity to get to know what’s happening in the various countries.
  4. For continued financial support of Alliance IW’s all over the world. With your support, ministries continue to move forward. For our personal financial help of building our 3 funds -vehicle fund- outfit fund (housing necessities) – and ministry expenses fund. You can mark your donation with the name Doell and whichever fund you are led to give to.
Our kids spent the summer in BC as camp counselors and general help. Sounds like a lot of fun was had but also some life-learning too. It’s difficult being a parent from a distance. A couple of blogs ago, I mentioned about a soup kitchen for kids that I am involved with. I will have to update that on the next blog but I will let you know that a church (from North America) helped to build a fence to prevent the kids falling down the cliff. Prayers do get answered.