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Calls To Action – Costa Rica

 

 

On a recent mission trip, JE Guide Joanna Farnham lead a group of high school seniors to Costa Rica with the intention to serve local neighborhood kids. Through this initial service, God provided incredible opportunities to grow partnerships in Costa Rica and show His faithfulness. 

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This past March, I had the pleasure of leading a trip for a wonderful group of students from South Carolina. For this group of seniors, the week was filled with a mixture of ministry and adventure activities, all while enjoying the many beautiful sites Costa Rica has to offer! While we had a blast zip lining through the jungle and snorkeling off the shores of a private island, the highlight of the week for me (and the majority of the students) was our ministry time in La Fortuna.

 

While doing outreach in the park at the beginning of the week, I was praying for opportunities to build more ministry relationships in La Fortuna and for additional ways to invest in the people there. As we were inviting neighborhood kids to come play with the team, God compelled me to go meet the principal and a few of the teachers at the local bilingual school next to the park. I first met Shirley, one of the 3rd-grade teachers, and I was able to share with her the work that Joshua Expeditions does in Costa Rica and around the world. Shirley got so excited about the work we are doing and immediately took me to the office to meet the principal. After our introduction, he said they would love to have us come to their school and help the students as they try to learn English. In their school, students learn to read and write English but rarely have the opportunity to speak with native English speakers. Without verbal practice, they lack the confidence to speak in English and as a result, don’t retain the information they are learning.

 

On Tuesday, our team was scheduled to go explore the waterfall in La Fortuna and spend the afternoon loving on the kids at the nearby orphanage. After sharing my conversation with the principal with the Group Leader, he asked if we would be able to come back and spend time working at the school prior to our time at the orphanage. I spoke with the school, and we were able to rearrange our day to visit the school after the waterfall hike. I loved seeing how excited the team was to sacrifice “fun time” to do additional ministry! The next day we were able to go back and help teach in the 3rd and 4th-grade classrooms. We practiced introductions in English (‘Hello’, ‘How are you?’, ‘My name is…’, etc.) and helped with the lessons they are currently studying. After the formal lessons, we took the students outside to practice English while interacting and playing games. Even the principal came out to join in on the fun!

 

As we debriefed our trip at the end of the week, many of the students shared how our impromptu time at the school was their favorite part of the trip and how it greatly impacted them. God gave them a huge heart for loving those students, playing with them, making them feel valued, giving them confidence as they learn a new language, and praying over them.

 

Through this opportunity, God reminded me how He is so faithful to provide when we are open and willing to the ways He wants to use us. God wants to use all of us in big ways to further His kingdom—it just takes us simply trusting in Him and being willing to listen when He calls us to action. In this case, that meant following His prompting to introduce myself to the teachers and principal of the school adjacent to where we were already doing ministry. I am so excited to see where this new partnership leads as Joshua Expeditions continues to take teams to serve in La Fortuna!

 

Interested in joining JE on mission? Check out our Mission trips here!

Interested in becoming a JE Guide? Fill out an application here!

*Photos courtesy of Joanna Farnham (Instagram: @joannafarnham)

Teacher Appreciation Week 2017 – Thank You Teachers!

 

Thank you to all the teachers who participated in our Teacher Appreciation Giveaway! We have been reading some wonderful stories. You all are wonderful human beings, and we’re so happy for those of you who shared your stories with us to help us better understand how to appreciate you and to be encouraged to show our appreciation for all those who play a special role in our lives.

As a small token of appreciation, a $25 Visa gift card will be sent to each of the randomly-selected participants.

1) Kathy B.

2) Dina H.

3) Tracie S.

4) Peter Z.

5) Wendy C.

6) Cindy M.

7) Kelley H.

8) Kristi W.

9) Mika E.

10) Karina S.

(Make sure to check your email so we can send you your prize!)

 

Here are a few of the stories submitted:

“I became a teacher for one simple reason: to serve the Kingdom. I felt God calling me to teaching, but specifically to teaching in a Christian school. I know I don’t make as much as a public school teacher, but I get to share the love of Christ on a daily basis.

 

“I became a teacher because I had an amazing teacher who made me feel like I could encourage and care like she did. Today, I have been teaching for twenty years and I still think of her. So thankful for her influence. Teaching is not a job, it is my heart!

 

“It is my desire for all children and teens to feel valued, honored, and heard. In teaching, I am able to connect deeply with kids, while participating in their growth and development as students, Christ-seekers, and citizens of the community.

 

“I love working with students, investing in their lives. I consider it a privilege to be able to teach them not only academic subjects but spiritual truths from God’s Word that will give them hope for the future.”

 

“I love working with kids, encouraging them, helping them to use their gifts and talents and to reach their full potential. I am blessed to be able to help my students grow academically and spiritually.”

 

“I have always loved reading and learning and there’s no better way to share that passion than with kids who are eager to soak up everything around them.”

 

“37 years ago it was for the summers off and 7:30-3:00 work hours, but just days in, I discovered the joy, honesty, and purity of kids. 37 years later, it’s still the best job on the planet!  #lovemyjob #blessedbeyondmeasure”

 

“I wanted to touch lives in the way my life was changed by a few teachers I had. I wanted to make a difference.”

 

“I became a teacher 25 years ago to be an advocate for all students.  I became a teacher to show students possibilities, opportunities and that they could do anything with patience, practice, and perseverance.  I became a teacher because I love children and I love seeing that “I got it” moment after they have worked really hard to master a skill.  I became a teacher to help students achieve, believe and succeed.  Being a teacher is the hardest job I’ve ever had, but I love it and can’t imagine doing anything else.”

 

“I became a teacher because as a child I loved school so much! All of my teachers trusted me from an early age to run their errands. I played teacher when I was little, even 5 years old. Then when I was in grade school, I would invite all the neighborhood kids over for a story in my backyard. My mom would bake cookies, and make lemonade for my “students” when I was about 8 years old. Then when I went to college, I started out majoring in fashion design, but I was so good at helping others, and teaching them what to do, that my instructors told me that I should really go into education!”

 

I was studying to be a pastor, and I attended seminary, but my first pastor experience as an interim preacher didn’t feel like what I wanted to do. I was helping my wife, who is a teacher, who was teaching in a Christian school, set up her classroom a couple of days before school started. The superintendent liked me so much, that he asked me to teach social studies and a Bible class for a teacher that left suddenly, without warning. I took over the class, and now I have been a teacher for over 20 years!! I am a special education teacher and I love teaching!”

 

“I wanted to make a difference in a child’s life. I teach high school and I like watching them learn new things and putting that knowledge to good. It is even a greater feeling when students, who don’t take my classes, come to me for help and guidance. It is a fantastic feeling when you are a positive influence on a student. I love them all and claim them all as my own.”

 

“I became a teacher because I want to make a difference. I believe every child can learn something every day. It isn’t the same thing as their neighbors, but they are learning something. I want to help students succeed.”

Teacher Appreciation Week 2017

 

Teachers have influenced all of us here at Joshua Expeditions in so many ways.  They have been our mentors, motivators, role models, advisors, coaches, and advocates, and they deserve every bit of our appreciation. We love having the chance to work and travel with so many amazing teachers, and we hear from students and parents all the time about the impact that teachers have had on their lives.  It’s a blessing to have this type of close involvement with so many inspiring educators, and that’s why we wanted to have a special “Teachers Only” Giveaway.

We know how much time and energy it takes to be a dedicated teacher, and we also know that sometimes it seems like the only thing to help get you through the day is prayer and some really strong coffee! To help keep you caffeinated until the end of the school year, we are giving away a $25 Starbucks Gift Card to 10 lucky teachers.

To enter this Giveaway, simply fill out the form below before midnight on May 14th.  On May 15th, we will have a random drawing and contact our winners by email.  We’ll also be sharing our favorite answers to the Giveaway question below.

Remember, this Giveaway is especially for teachers.  So, if you aren’t a teacher, be sure to share this post with a deserving teacher so that they have a chance to win.

To all of the teachers out there, from all of us here at Joshua Expeditions… THANK YOU!

 

**This giveaway is now closed**

 

Featured Trip – Missions in Arizona

 

On a recent JE trip, our own Senior Class Trip Specialist, Edward Robinson, had the privilege of leading a group of high school students on mission in Arizona. We recently sat down with Mr. Robinson to discuss the trip and learn more about the life-change that occurred on the trip.

 

Joshua Expeditions: Can you briefly describe the mission of the trip you just lead?

Edward Robinson: We partnered with the Phoenix Dream Center and through them participated with Church On The Street ministry. Here we had the opportunity to set up booths at different apartment complexes in the Phoenix area. We played games with local kids, gave away clothing, and boxed up food to give away. We did all this to meet the needs of the local children and share the love of Christ.

 

JE: What distinguished this trip from others you’ve lead in the past?

ER: This trip was different from any other trip I’ve lead because the group was forced to travel through an ice storm. So they had many hurdles to jump before they ever started their mission trip. But when I met them, they were so full of life! We went back to the hotel, changed, and went out to minister to the youth that same day. Even though they were extremely exhausted, they went out and loved on the kids. That’s what made the difference. They did everything to the best of their ability.

 

JE: In what ways did you see the Lord move and work in this group?

ER: One of the ways I was able to see the Lord move during the week started on Day One. At the end of the day, the group was tired and exhausted, but still excited to gather together for devotions. We discussed how they ministered to the kids, and how God would bless their lives through their service. That first night, three young ladies and two young men ended up giving their lives to Christ! There’s nothing we did to make that happen. It wasn’t that JE planned this or did anything special, it was totally God who just moved in the hearts of the group.

 

JE: Praise God! So how were you then impacted on this trip?

ER: Personally, I was impacted by this trip because in my role, I’m usually trying to plan the trips, make contacts, and make sure everything goes smoothly. On this trip, specifically, I had the unique privilege of co-laboring with the youth in the ministry though face-painting, games, and passing out food boxes. To top it off, I was able to worship with the group during our Sunday Worship Service. You always build an unbreakable bond with a group when you co-labor with them in ministry. I must admit, the group was by far a bigger blessing to me than I was to them. I was surely blessed by the group and impacted during this mission trip.

 

JE: In reflecting on this trip, what would you say the Lord taught you?

ER: Patience….and more patience. As the Senior Class Trip Specialist, I try to do a great job and make sure that everything is lined up and planned out. Being a Type A personality, I want to have all of my ducks in a row and make sure that everything’s perfect. But I forget sometimes that God is sovereign. So no matter what I do to try and make everything come together, God is ultimately in control. I don’t want to be like Martha [Luke 10:38-42], who was busy in the kitchen when her sister chose instead to sit at the feet of Jesus. I learned on this trip, not to try so hard to make everything perfect, but because God is sovereign everything’s going to work out. My main focus is ultimately how I can give glory back to God. That’s something I’m learning; how to step back and remember God is ultimately in control.

 

 

Interested in joining JE on mission? Check out our Mission trips here!

Romania Mission Trip – November 2016

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Bucharest, Romania – The morning air was very crisp as our group of twenty-two strolled through the Bucharest North train station. The group of students and staff from Faith Christian Academy of Arvada, Colorado was prepared for the cold and excited to get to work. Close to three hours later, our trip through the countryside of southern Romania ended in Brasov. As we walked out of the train station, we were met by Estera, a smiling Romanian woman overjoyed to meet us.

 

Over the next four days, we lived at Estera and Vio’s camp hidden away in the beautiful Romanian hills. By day, the group worked hard to help the couple prepare the grounds for winter. The air was filled with laughter as the students joyfully worked to serve the couple they had grown to love. Each day after thankful sweets from Estera and a few tumbles down the steep hills, the work at camp would wrap-up.

 

 

img_2664 Evenings were the highlight of everyone’s trip. The group would set out each night to visit a different ministry that the couple led. It was a normal week for Estera and Vio to visit local orphanages and rural villages. Some villages were gypsy and others were not, yet all were filled with children who they love dearly. In each place, our students would sing songs, play games, do crafts, and make funny balloon hats. The students would also share stories of Christ’s faithfulness in their lives. Every night as our group walked back to the vans, though some nights there were tears, there was a joy. We were being given a gift; to see the Spirit of God at work in the city.

 

Many in America do not realize that southern Romania is a place hurting for the gospel. There is a great need for God’s people to engage the darkness in those rural communities. Communities that are ravaged by witchcraft, prostitution, sex trafficking, and alcoholism. Estera and Vio are a faithful couple following the Lord’s call to love their neighbors. As we saw their obedience and love, our entire group was left humbled. We were humbled to see true heroes of the faith fighting on the frontlines daily trusting God.

 

On our last night of the trip, a question lingered on all our minds. “What was God calling us to do?” We had witnessed great courage and faithfulness, similar to that of George Mueller or Esther of the Old Testament. As our thoughts all turned to home, God’s Spirit was at work again calling each of us to faithfulness.

 

Go and get grab your copy now!