Friday, March 1, 2024

March 2024 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope that you are doing well. Last month was an exciting month. We have continued in our evangelistic efforts and have averaged 6-10 people witnessing to others at the park each week. Jeremy was able to lead one woman named Carolina to the Lord. There were some others who also professed faith in Christ. We have had several new families attending the church. Last Sunday, our Central American director with BIMI, Bro. Terry Jones, preached our Sunday message. We had 9 first time visitors and 2 returning visitors that day. Because of the recent growth, we have bought a few extra chairs. In February, we received 5 new members at the church. We also have a few more who should be joining in March. Our Tuesday night Bible studies have also grown to the point where we will need to change the format a bit to be able to accommodate everybody. Because of the recent growth, we will be enlisting the help of a few more ladies to help with children’s ministry. Apart from the church, Jeremy was also able to preach the spiritual emphasis week messages at the language school.

February was a month of many blessings, but it was also very busy for the family. Unfortunately, we have had more sicknesses than usual. Please pray for the health of our family. The kids have been studying a bit more than normal as they are taking the standardized tests for Costa Rica. From what we understand, if they do not pass the tests they will have to repeat the grade that they are in. Thankfully, all of the scores that we have seen have been excellent. They have done very well to conquer any challenges that they face. They have also been helping out on our weekly evangelism, which is nice and probably encouraging to others to see children carrying the faith to the next generation. Later, in July, we will be taking a trip to Nicaragua to be part of the 9th anniversary of the church we started with Pastor Berner in San Marcos, Nicaragua. Over the years, the church has continued to grow and send out missionaries who have started other churches. God is good! Our son, Elijah, was born in Nicaragua but he has no memory of the country. He is looking forward to seeing the place where he was born.

This month, please pray for the following:

1. That the Lord will help us to stay healthy and able to do all that we have to do.

2. That the Lord will continue to save souls and build up His church in San Pablo.

3. That the Lord will guide us and provide future needs for us to one day have our own church building.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz

Thursday, February 1, 2024

February 2024 Prayer Letter

 Dear Friends and Family,

This month, we are sending out our letter a little ahead of time. We have continued to push forward in the ministry here in San Pablo, Costa Rica. We continue to preach the Gospel throughout the San Pablo and Heredia area. In recent weeks, we have had between 6-8 people sharing the Gospel in both door-to-door visitation and public park evangelism. Last week, while witnessing in the park, there were two individuals who professed faith in Christ for salvation. On Sundays, Jeremy has been preaching from the book of Joshua. On Tuesdays, we have been studying the topic of Apostasy and what the Bible says about those who reject the faith that they once proclaimed to posess. Michelle and a lady named Silvia have been teaching the kid's class. We have continued to emphasize the importance of church membership and last week three more people joined the church. We have several others that we will likely receive in February. We have had several visitors in our Sunday and Tuesday night services. Two new families have recently begun attending very faithfully. We also were glad to see one couple return to attend faithfully after not seeing them for a while.

In many ways, the month of January was an opportunity to get back to our normal routine. Jeremy has been able to get caught up on some of the things that were still a little bit behind. The kids are back in school. During December we took regular walks together as a family to spend time together and get a little exercise. So far, we have been able to continue that habit. Unfortunately, we had a few different sicknesses run through the family over the last few weeks. As of this morning, Elijah had ear pain due to a possible ear infection. Lord willing, we will all be in the clear again soon. Last week, we participated in a special family day at the school where our kids attend. It was good to spend a little time together with the other families and lend a hand where we could. We also were able to meet up with a few members of a supporting church from PA. We don’t get to take a furlough very often, so it is good to see friends and family when they are able to come here!

This month, please pray for the following:

1. That God will help us to see more souls saved and added unto the church.

2. That God will continue to strengthen the church in the faith.

3. That God will expand the ministries of the church.

4. That our church plant in San Pablo will honor and glorify God in all that we do!

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

January 2024 Prayer Letter

 Dear Friends and Family,

I hope that this letter finds you doing well and that you have had a great start to the new year. Last month was a pretty good month. We always enjoy singing the Christmas hymns and preaching on the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Jeremy preached on several prophecies of Christ’s birth in the book of Isaiah. We had a special Christmas fellowship with about 50 people. Attendance goes up and down, but we have seen the church growing both spiritually and numerically. We have had several new visitors including a family who has been very faithful. The father studied in a Bible Institute under another BIMI missionary, so we believe that they will likely be a good fit. The last couple weeks have seen a significant increase in attendance on Tuesdays, so that it is also great. Michelle stays busy teaching the children and our teen Sunday School teacher, Alberto, has been teaching the teens how to share the faith with others. We should be receiving some new members in the coming weeks. In our weekly evangelism, one man named Alvaro called upon the Lord for salvation.

December was a good opportunity for our family to slow down a little and spend time together as a family. We did not do any traveling, but Michelle’s parents were able to come down and visit us for a few weeks. We were able to spend time together, visit a nearby mountain, and celebrate Christmas together. The kids enjoyed having a few weeks with no classes. We took advantage of the opportunity to finally get some new family pictures taken. Jeremy was also invited to preach the messages for a Spiritual Emphasis Week next month at the language school. We hope that the Lord can use him to encourage and challenge those who are training to serve the Lord in missions. At the end of the break, our kids were ready to get back to school. Lila was excited as there is a new missionary girl in one of her classes. She always tries to befriend them and help them to adapt to any changes.

We are thankful for all of God’s blessings. He has provided for our new van and we are putting it to good use for the work of the Lord. Another blessing is that we were contacted by the pastor of a church we visited in the past. They are planning to begin supporting us this year. God is good and is faithful to provide. This month, please pray…

1. For a lady at the church named Liliam. Recently, she has been improving. Keep praying!

2. For God to continue to strengthen the church and grow the believers in their faith.

3. For God’s guidance to lead us as we keep pushing forward.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz

Thursday, December 14, 2023

December 2023 Prayer Letter

 Dear Friends and Family,

It’s hard to believe that we are now at the end of another year. 2023 was a good year for strengthening the church here in San Pablo. The Lord has grown the church and strengthened it spiritually. Last month, Jeremy continued preaching through the book of Joshua while our children and teen Sunday school classes have continued in Genesis. On Tuesdays, Jeremy has been teaching through the church doctrines contained in our doctrinal statement. That has been good for grounding the church in sound doctrine. We had a slight delay with the church van, but finally received it on Thanksgiving day. That was a blessing because the following Sunday we had a special Thanksgiving celebration together with the church of another BIMI missionary about an hour away. Jeremy was also glad to have baptized 5 people who have trusted Christ as their Savior. In the coming weeks, we plan to receive several others as members. The process of planting a church from the ground up isn’t easy or simple, but the Lord is faithful to build His church. We have continued to preach the Gospel throughout San Pablo. We average between 3-5 people who go out knocking on doors every week.

As our children grow, we have begun to realize more and more that the Lord is also using them for his purposes. The children help us set up for church. Lila and Ellowyn take turns helping to watch the smaller kids. All three of our kids have done very well in school and help to bridge the gap between the Costa Rican children and the other missionary children who are learning Spanish for the first time. They have also had a positive spiritual impact on the other kids around them. We are so thankful for them. We are all looking forward to December as they will have a break from school and we will have a little more time to spend together as a family. Just within the last few days the kids decorated the house for Christmas (almost) all on their own. This year, we will be spending Christmas here in Costa Rica. Although we would really like to be able to see all of our family, we know that isn’t always possible. However, Michelle’s parents will be able to come visit us for a little while in December, so we are looking forward to that.

Before closing out with a few prayer requests, we just want to say “thank you” for all of your prayers and support and “Merry Christmas” to all of you. Please pray:

1. For Liliam, a lady who attends our church, who is in the hospital and in much pain.

2. That God will continue to bless our church plant and strengthen it in 2024.

3. That God will continue to save may souls and use us to make a difference in San Pablo.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz

*Below, we have included a few pictures of the van and the recent baptisms.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

November 2023 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

As we enter into November, we are reminded of how good God has been. We are thankful to be able to serve the Lord here in Costa Rica. Jeremy has stayed busy preaching through the book of Joshua and teaching the doctrines of the church. Michelle teaches the children’s class and cares for the children. We are thankful for a faithful man named Alberto who teaches our teen class. We have also continued our monthly English services, but we may make a few changes to that. Jeremy has been unable to drive the church van due to it not passing the emissions test. Just last week he put it up for sale and it sold very quickly for more than we were expecting. God is good! God has provided the means for us to purchase a much nicer van and we hope to have that in the latter half of this month. In the mean time, we have been using our car to pick up people for church. As we prepare for Thanksgiving, we are planning to have a special combined service together with the church of another BIMI missionary about an hour away. Lord willing, we expect to be baptize 5 people that day. We have also had a new man begin attending pretty faithfully.

We are also very thankful for our family and how God has provided for our every need. We began deputation back in 2010 and God has been faithful to provide our needs through every transition. We are thankful that our children love the Lord and help out whenever they can. At church the girls help set up and sometimes care for the smaller kids. All three of our kids help out on visitation evangelism, though not always at the same time. Thankfully, they are all doing well in school and speak Spanish very well. God has given them a unique upbringing and we trust that God will use them to do great things in the future.

As we think about God’s provision, we know that God provides our needs through individuals and churches who give so that we may “go” and serve the Lord here in Costa Rica. We are so thankful and we pray that the Lord bless you above and beyond, that he provides your needs, and that much fruit will abound to your account. This month, please pray…

1. That God will continue to save souls and add them to the church here in San Pablo.

2. That God will lead us as we continually seek his guidance for each next step.

3. That God will bless those who have blessed us as we seek to bless others with the Gospel.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz

Thursday, October 5, 2023

October 2023 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

It is hard to believe that we are already in October. September is one of the busiest times of the year for us as we have both Children’s Day and Costa Rica’s Independence Day right after beginning a new school year. We have continued to proclaim the Gospel throughout San Pablo. We continue to preach and teach sound doctrine. We met one couple on visitation that is now attending with us on Tuesday nights. Jeremy also had an opportunity to preach at the language school where new missionaries learn Spanish before serving in their field of service. Unfortunately, our church van has continued to have several problems. We have now passed the window of time to have it pass inspection and we are no longer able to drive it. Yesterday, we had it looked at by another mechanic and we believe we may have found a problem that has eluded us for a long time. However, there will be significant costs. At this point, we are looking to sell it to someone who can fix it up. Jeremy has begun looking for another van and is considering all of the options.

September is also a very busy time for our family. We are now in the rainiest time of the year. That means lots of getting wet and setting our shoes out in front of fans to dry off before the next day. Michelle’s parents came down to visit us for a couple of weeks. We could not slow down, but they were able to help out in different ways. It is always good to see them. We were also able to celebrate the birthdays of both Jeremy and Lila. Lila is now 12 and Jeremy is one year older than he was before (now 39). The kids are doing well in school and are being stretched in different ways. Someone asked Elijah’s teacher what she did when the other missionary kids did not understand what she was saying in Spanish. She said that she has Elijah translate for her! It looks like he is getting a lot of experience from a young age! The girls also do a good job of bridging that gap between the Costa Ricans and other missionary children.

Before sharing our prayer requests, we would like to send special thanks to our sending church, West Jacksonville Baptist Church, as well as a supporting church in Tennessee that have sent special offerings to help purchase a van. Thank you! This month, please pray for the following:

1. That God will continue to save souls and add them unto the church.

2. That God will help our church to grow spiritually in both faith and in practice.

3. That God will lead us as we explore the options of getting another church van.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

September 2023 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope that this letter finds you doing well. We expected for last month to be a month to be able to catch up on a few things. Instead, it was a difficult month. But God is good and continues to bless! We have continued to knock on doors and preach the gospel throughout San Pablo. We have continued to see new visitors. There is one new family that has become very faithful. We also now have 5 candidates for believer’s baptism and hope to meet with them individually as we plan a special baptism Sunday. On Tuesday evenings, Jeremy has been teaching through our church doctrinal statement. We also had a special mother’s day service. Last month, we asked for prayer for our church van. Unfortunately, it has continued to have problems. Despite various repairs, it has had consistent problems. If we cannot get it fixed to run properly and pass the emissions test, we may need to sell it and consider the possibility of buying a new church van that we can maintain and use for many years. Not only has the van been in and out of the shop, but we’ve also had our car in the shop for about a week and a half. As a result, it’s been a lot harder to get things done. Thankfully, the car is now out of the shop and working great again!

Last month was not only complicated due to vehicle issues, but it was also difficult for our family. One morning, Jeremy received word that his oldest brother David had passed away early that morning. Although his health had declined over the years, it was still unexpected. Jeremy then found a flight to visit his family and attend the funeral. When Jesus spoke of those who would leave their families for his name’s sake, He did not speak of it lightly, but rather as an example of one of the most difficult things that His disciples would do for His name’s sake. Without a doubt, the hardest thing about serving as foreign missionaries is not being able to be with one’s family. While Michelle cared for our children in Costa Rica, Jeremy spent a little extra time with His family in GA to try to support them however he could. It was good to see his family, though obviously difficult given the circumstances. We will miss David very much and trust that we will one day see Him again with the Lord. Upon returning to Costa Rica, Jeremy had to hit the ground running to catch up on things at the church. Near the end of the month, we celebrated Elijah’s 6th birthday.

This month, please pray that God will strengthen both foreign missionaries and their families as they serve the Lord in foreign lands. Also, please pray for the following requests…

1. For our church plant in San Pablo, Costa Rica.

2. For more salvations, baptisms, and spiritual growth.

3. For us as we make decisions regarding the church van.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz