Friday, August 5, 2022

August 2022 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family

We hope that this letter finds you doing well. Last month was an encouraging month. We continued our normal evangelism efforts and church services. Jeremy and one man from the church were able to fix up one bathroom and convert another unused bathroom to a small office. After that, we held our first church VBS. We were encouraged that nearly everybody from the church stepped up to help in some way. We averaged about 30-35 people per day. We saw one mother receive Christ as Savior. Since then, we have seen higher than normal attendance. Our children’s class is now at max capacity and we are praying about starting a second children’s class. However, in order to do that, we will need some people to step up and commit to serve in that area. Near the end of the month, we had some water issues at the church building. Hopefully, they should be resolved this week.

As for our family, the kids are now on summer break. They all did very well at school and had very good grades. Even Elijah has made a lot of progress this last year socially as he is now speaking more and more Spanish. Lila will soon be entering 5th grade, Ellowyn will be entering 4th grade, and Elijah will begin kindergarten. We have tried to enjoy the slightly slower pace of “summer break” with a little more family time. We are finally able to focus on settling in to the house a bit more. We have set up some new shelves and organized a lot of things room by room. We were also able to go visit another missionary family that lives not too far from here. It was nice to talk about the progress of missions here in Costa Rica as well as some of the things that need to be done in the future.

Thank you to everyone who prayed for our VBS last month. I believe the Lord really blessed! This month, please pray for the following:

1. That the Lord will send forth laborers to serve in a new childrens class.

2. That the Lord will lead new believers to follow the Lord in believer’s baptism and be added unto the church.

3. That God will continue to guide us as we take the next few steps in establishing the church in San Pablo.

Thank you!

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

July 2022 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

It is hard to believe that July is already here! We hope that you had a nice 4th of July. Last month we kept busy finding ways to push forward! Besides leading normal services and visitation evangelism, Jeremy had the opportunity to preach to the missionaries at the language school. It was good to encourage them to persevere when times get difficult. As for the church, now that we have our meeting location, permits, etcetera we have moved forward with an official church name – Iglesia Bautista San Pablo Para Cristo (San Pablo For Christ Baptist Church). We designed new tracts, but they were declined by one printer for being “religious.” The second printer never delivered them and after 2 weeks had to give us a refund. This led us to invest in buying a nice printer that we can use for printing tracts, invitations, and church materials. We have also made up our first church sign and are working to make some changes to the building where we meet. For Father’s day, we had a special service and had some new visitors. We are now finalizing plans to do our first Vacation Bible School (VBS). We are a small church but we are trusting in God to do big things!

As for our family, we are doing pretty well. The kids recently finished the school year. It was a big goal for many teachers to get kids back on track after missing so much education throughout the pandemic. We are proud that all of our kids did an excellent job. Lila and Ellowyn scored all A’s and Elijah also did very well and made great progress in his Spanish. At home, we had a little complication due to some refrigerator issues. We lost some food, but that seems to be all straightened out now. Near the end of last month, Tropical Storm Bonnie passed over Costa Rica and Nicaragua. We were expecting massive rains, power outages, and even landslides. Somehow, it passed over and we didn’t really experience any more rain than normal! Jeremy was even able to go visiting as usual! However, one morning, as Jeremy went to the back porch area of our house, he found a fairly large snake that had somehow entered through an opening in the screen. We think it was probably a boa constrictor (not venomous), but they all look pretty similar. Jeremy managed to remove it with some brooms. Thank God for His protection!

This month will be an extra busy one. We will need God’s help to pull off all of our VBS plans. Please pray:

1. That God will help us as we plan our first VBS.

2. That God will continue to save souls and add new members to the church.

3. That God will lead us and guide us as we continue to develop the church ministries.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz

Friday, June 3, 2022

June 2022 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope that you are doing well! Last month went by very quickly. We’ve continued working on many different things as we continue to settle into the new church location. It seems that the heat has really picked up. We purchased some fans to help keep things cool during the service. We’ve also had a contractor come and make plans for some minor modifications to the building. We are looking at changing one bathroom to an office and the old office space to a small kitchen. He has also drew up plans for a new pulpit. We are also working on getting new signs and materials as we prepare for a new phase in the new location. Jeremy has been preaching a series on the Will of God and teaching a Tuesday night series on “Spiritual Stability.” Thankfully, we have seen an improvement in attendance. Jeremy has continued visitation evangelism and continues to meet new people and encourage them in the Lord. Of the Christians that we meet, there are so many who stopped attending church during the pandemic and have not yet returned. Many have said that their churches have been closed. We know that the Lord has a plan for us as we press forward preaching the gospel. We are currently making plans to do a Vacation Bible School in July, so please pray for that!

As for our family, we stay very busy. The kids are doing great in school and have made a lot of friends. Michelle stays very busy teaching the Bible, preparing for Sunday school, and planning ladies meetings… not to mention taking care of the family. Unfortunately, the last “fix” for the washing machine did not really fix it as we had hoped. We eventually had to get a new washer, but thankfully it is running smoothly and we will not lose any more time trying to fix it! We are all looking forward to the end of the school year at the end of June. We hope to be able to get a little rest, but also be freed up to do more outreach at the church plant.

We are so thankful for those who pray for us and support our ministry. We would not be able to do what we do were it not for those who give sacrificially and hold us up in prayer. This month, please pray for the following:

1. That God will help us to see more souls saved and more follow the Lord in faithful obedience.

2. That God will raise up laborers in the church to help us grow in our ministry capacity.

3. That God will lead us and guide us as we move forward to the next phase in the church plant.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

May 2022 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope that you had a wonderful time celebrating Resurrection Sunday last month! We had a special early morning service and several people brought in food to have a special breakfast together. As we have been settling into the new church location, we have purchased some new chairs and a couple of new tables. In order to better utilize the space, we also purchased a screen which we are now using instead of the projector. We have also moved our Tuesday night Bible studies out of our house and into the new building as well. Unfortunately, we have seen a small drop in attendance, but we hope to bounce back very soon. Last Sunday, we had a shorter service and held a planning meeting afterwards. Not that we have cleared out many of the obstacles, we are now moving the church plant into the next phase. We will be deciding upon a formal name for the church and will be producing new signs and materials for the new address. We are also hoping to get more people involved in serving and be able to have a greater outreach in the San Pablo area.

Not only have we recently changed meeting locations for the church, but we also moved to a “new” house. We are about the same distance to the church, but from the other direction. We hope that the Lord will open many doors and opportunities to share the Gospel in the new neighborhood. Since arriving, we have had a lot of setbacks… roof problems, electrical problems, washing machine problems, computer problems… Thankfully, we have gotten most of those resolved. As for our family, the kids have loved adjusting to their new rooms. The kids are doing well in school and Elijah has made significant progress in his Spanish. The other day, while playing at the park with his friends, he was using new words and even conjugating them correctly! Near the end of the month, we were able to take a short trip to do some hiking and enjoy the natural scenery here in Costa Rica. It was nice to refresh and get ready to push forward again in the ministry.

We have faced a lot of ups, downs, trials, and difficulties… but God has been faithful! We are thankful to be able to serve the Lord here in Costa Rica. We are thankful for all of your prayers and financial support. This month, please pray...

1. That God will use us to lead many people to Christ.

2. That God will build up His church and send forth laborers into the harvest!

3. That God will guide us and lead us as we move forward with the next phase of the church plant.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz

Friday, April 1, 2022

April 2022 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope that this letter finds each of you doing well. Last month was an exciting month for us. We asked you to pray about the permits needed to hold services in a building we wanted to rent. Shortly after sending that letter, we received news that the first permit was approved. We then begun the work to obtain the second one. About a week and a half later, we obtained the second permit… but there was a problem – It had the wrong address! We then resubmitted it with the note explaining the change that was needed and were able to receive it again a week later. Thankfully, we were able to proceed with beginning a contract and getting the church building ready for our first meeting. On Sunday, March 27th, we held our first service in the new building! We have continued to run the van to pick up families for church. On one Sunday, we saw 5 first time visitors! We have also seen some new regular attenders. We still have a lot to do to adjust to the new location such as building modifications, changing the address on the gospel tracts, and other things. This month, we are planning to do a family activity as well as a special early morning service for Resurrection Sunday.

Our family has stayed very busy throughout the month of March. Michelle and I (Jeremy) celebrated our 13 year anniversary! I am so thankful that the Lord has given me a godly wife. Proverbs 18:22 says, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.” God sure has been good to me! As for our children, they have been keeping busy with school. We also had a church “clean up” day in which we all worked together to get things ready for our first service in the new building. Not only have we recently changed buildings, but we are also preparing to change houses! This month, if the Lord wills, we will be moving to a new house. We hope that it will give us new opportunities to be a witness to the people around us in the new location.

As we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, we are thankful that God loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son. We are thankful that the Lord has allowed us to serve Him and we are thankful for all who support us and pray for our ministry. This month, please pray:

1. That God will raise up laborers in the church to expand our ministry potential.

2. That God will allow us to see more souls saved, more baptisms, and more members added to His church.

3. That God will lead us and guide us as we take the next few steps in the church plant.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

March 2022 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family, March 2022

Last month was an exciting month. It has been a little unusual as we are still waiting to hear back on the permits for the new building that where we would like to hold services. In the middle of the month, our pastor, Rodney Kelley, came to visit us. It was a blessing to spend some time together and for him to see firsthand the blessings and challenges of ministry here. It has been nearly three years since Jeremy has been to Nicaragua, so it was a good opportunity for him to see the churches and spend a little time with the pastors. The trip started well until they were held up at the border. Their covid tests were not accepted, so we had to get new ones. After getting through, Jeremy then had some stomach issues. Thankfully, he recovered quickly after. He was able to teach a boys class at a church that was planted a few years ago. He was also able to preach at the church that we started in San Marcos. It was good for him to see pastor Berner and the church members. There are now 11 students preparing for the ministry at the Bible Institute. Praise God! It was a good reminder that a fruitful harvest in ministry usually only comes after many years of laying a strong foundation. We must sow the Word, but God gives the increase in His time!

Before our trip, Elijah walked into a moving swing and cut his head. We had to take him to the E.R. Thankfully, he only needed one stitch. He is now better. During the Nicaragua trip, Michelle stayed home and took care of the kids. She stays very busy caring for the kids and serving in many ways. In Jeremy's absence, it was good to see several people get more engaged. Several came early to help set up and others helped in other capacities. As mentioned last month, we were able to purchase a used 12 seat van/microbus. We did not know this, but one family that attends with us used to run a bus route in another church. They were very excited. The wife helped to coordinate with families, and the husband helped to drive. We did not expect to have to run two trips on our first Sunday! Even though several were absent, we had about 28 in attendance. It is encouraging to see how Jesus builds his church! The girls have continued studying very hard. Ellowyn has had to study extra hard as she is currently one grade ahead of where she would be in the United States. All of the children continue to make progress in their Spanish.

Last month, the Lord also provided by way of another church taking us on for support and also committing to send the first month's rent payment for the new building! What a blessing! This month, please pray:

1. That God will clear any obstacles to the approval of the permits for our new meeting location.

2. That God will continue to raise up more laborers to help us with the work of the ministry.

3. That God will lead as we push forward to see more souls saved and more spiritual growth in the church.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

February 2022

 Dear Friends and Family,

We trust that this letter finds each of you doing well. Last month, we continued to push forward. Throughout January, Jeremy preached a series on Biblical Priorities. This applies to us both on an individual level and also on a church level. One woman came on a Sunday morning and prayed to receive Christ after the service. As church planting missionaries, we have continued to prioritize evangelism and discipleship. We have continued meeting with the families that attend with us for counseling and discipleship as well as host weekly in-home meetings. Unfortunately, our attendance has been a little lower after the loss of a very faithful family that moved away. However, one couple who has not attended in a while has begun to attend again! Praise God! Another praise is that we have found a great location for our church plant. Not only that, but the owner is a Christian and also desires to help us any way that he can. We are currently applying for permits. If everything goes according to plan, we should have our own location soon! We are also moving forward with the religious association that we have established and now have an accountant who is helping us with the legal/financial side.

As for our family, we have stayed incredibly busy between school and ministry. Our girls have been studying very hard to master their spelling words. Elijah has been making progress in learning Spanish. We will be speaking more Spanish at home to help him to understand it better. Costa Rica is a challenging country for missionaries for many reasons. Unfortunately, we have heard of other missionaries that have recently left or are leaving the country, including 2 families that are friends of ours. It has been sad to see them go, but we trust that the Lord will guide them as they move into the next steps of their ministry. One of them will be selling us a used 12-seater van/microbus that we will be able to use in our ministry. This will be a blessing to our ministry as we will be able to help bring people to and from church. It will also be a blessing for church trips.

Before concluding with prayer requests, we want to thank those who have sent special Christmas offerings. What a blessing! May the Lord bless you above and beyond. This month, there is much to pray for. Please pray:

1. That God will allow for us to obtain the proper permits for the building we seek to rent.

2. That God will bring forth the increase as we continue to sow God's word in the community.

3. That God will strengthen each missionary family and clear any obstacles to ministry here in Costa Rica.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz