Sunday, January 26, 2014

Where Are We, Paraguay or Costa Rica?

Once we completed our coursework in the US (a week-long interpersonal skills workshop and a four week intercultural missionary course), we left the US to spend three weeks in Paraguay. We hired a “handler” to help us navigate the immigration offices and translate, validate, and file our permanent residency paperwork. We also took some time to visit with the families we know there and looked for housing options: no rentals available so we will have to buy a house or build one!

As of January 5th, we are in Costa Rica to begin five months of language training, primarily for Sandy but also for Bill. While Sandy is in her classes, 7:30 am – 12:10 pm, Monday – Friday, Bill is helping in the school that teaches the missionary children, as well as some of the local Costa Rican children. He will be teaching computer applications, two Spanish math classes, and tutoring several students that need help with math. In the afternoons while Sandy is doing her homework, Bill will be getting Spanish tutoring of his own three days per week and tutoring another Costa Rican student to help prepare him for upcoming English exams, and in February Bill will be teaching an ESL class with AMCA, a Christian youth organization. Needless to say, we have a full schedule!

It’s easy to get focused on our various tasks, to get discouraged by the piles of verbs, confusing sentence structures, dirty streets and broken concrete but God sends us reminders of the beauty that surrounds us each and every day. We wake up to the beautiful smiling faces of the wonderful family that takes care of us so we can focus on our learning and we even have fuzzy flowers to make us smile!

The first of June, we plan to return to Paraguay and start to get settled, buying a car, a house, furniture for the house, etc.

Prayer requests:
  • that we learn and retain as much Spanish as possible 
  • that Daisy and Rudolpho (our host family here in Costa Rica) continue to see God’s blessings in their lives
  • that the Holy Spirit would continue working in Paraguay, preparing the hearts of the people we will be serving

Saturday, January 18, 2014

What's In a Name?

LAM? UWM? Su Refugio? What’s going on? Are you trying to hide something?

Those of you supporting us financially may have noticed a change after the first of the year… allow me to explain.

We are (will be) working for Su Refugio Ministries in Paraguay. Latin America Mission (LAM) is an organization that partners with existing ministries in Latin America, like Su Refugio. LAM is the mission organization that handles some of our state-side logistics, such as collecting donations, sending the funds to us when we have ministry expenses, and handling our IRS/tax obligations.
United World Mission (UWM) is an organization similar to LAM that does the same thing as LAM (partnering with existing ministries) but it works world-wide, not just in Latin America.
On January 1, LAM and UWM merged, closing the LAM offices in Miami, FL and moving their functions to the UWM offices in Charlotte, NC. Because of this merger, UWM is now collecting our donations, sending them to us when we have ministry expenses, and handling our IRS/tax obligations.

Any donations you setup through LAM, through their website, telephone, or mail, have automatically been transferred to UWM (so I’ve been told!).

If you want to start donations for us, here is the procedure:
      1)   go to the UWM website:
      2)   click on GIVE
      3)   mail a check to the address indicated (include a note the gift is for Bill & Sandy Stevener)
           -or- click on GIVE ONLINE… if you are giving online, a new window will appear…
      4)   under the Designation label, select Missionary
      5)   below Missionary, scroll down and select Stevener, Bill & Sandy – 27668
      6)   to the right, in the amount area, enter the amount
      7)   click “Add” to finish this part of the form
      8)   continue to fill out the rest of the form with your name, address, frequency, etc

If you have any questions, you can call UWM at 800-825-5896, Monday-Friday between 8am - 5pm EST. You can also call one of us at 702-866-9548.

NOTE: LAM and UWM are both 501(c)3 organizations and your donations are fully tax-deductible.