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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Pray for our language learning and that it continues to become part of us.
- For continued opportunities to build bridges with people and organizations that have a similiar ministry direction.
- 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.
- 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.