Relationships are beautiful, hard, time consuming, transient, and worth every, single, moment. True relationships, the deepening and strengthening of relationships, happen in the unplanned moments. We plan Casafé weekly as a way to be intentional with our youth, to provide structure to their and our weeks, and to allow for consistency in their chances to meet with us and grow with God. Recently God has been showing us how good this is, but also how His ways are even better. His unexpected blessings are what life is made of, what ministry is made of. This applies to everyone. Whether your ministry is in Jaco meeting with kids every week and teaching them day in and day out, or is with your coworkers at work where you consistently have to remind yourself to share Jesus’ love through your words and actions, or it is in a school with tons of crazy kids whose only good role model is you. Whatever it is, wherever you are, whoever you are with, we are all in ministry.

Recently, God’s unexpected blessings have been coming in the form of disorder, altered plans, falling behind in work, and exhaustion. In the very best way possible. I write these with a smile on my face.

One of the things especially important in this ministry is the intentional relationships with our youth. This often means going out of our way to spend time with them when maybe we had other things planned. It means making ourselves available to surf when all we wanted to do was take a quick nap. It means going out of our way to give someone a ride, even though they’re going in the opposite direction. It means instead of writing about the ministry, like we had planned, we accompany some of the youth to a talent show so they aren’t alone. It means we let go of the bible study we had planned, because today, today God has brought along someone else who’s words need to be heard by our youth (read more about this in the update titled: “Guest Speaker”).

This is true for all intentional relationships. We must be willing to sacrifice to form these relationships and always trust that God’s plan is better. No matter what ministry you are in, making these intentional sacrifices to better the kingdom of God will never be wasted.

Every week the same two boys who always attend English class want to surf multiple times. We obliged, as they do not have very structured weeks (it’s better to be surfing than doing other things available to them in Jaco). In place of this we could have been working on ministry budgets, updates, websites, newsletters, Bible studies, class prep, or any of the other numerous things that occupy our days, but building realtionships with these boys is also very important. We are here to be in these relationships. Our plans will be thrown off for the week because we just spent a lot of productive hours surfing, but we don’t see it that way. We look at it as this: those hours were just spent in relationship with two souls who belong to Christ. Souls who are pursuing relationships with Him. Us simply being with them, surfing with them, talking to them weekly, and teaching them consistently are crucial moments; those things are providing a space where they are comfortable enough to take steps with God. If we did not sacrifice those hours, that space would not exist; it takes work to be in relationship.

Another member of the youth spent a lot of time around Casafé a few weeks back. His mom was out of town and he didn’t want to spend all his time alone at home. He would often came over to walk the dogs and partake in meals with us. We, again, took time we could have been using for all the “things” we had planned for the day. Instead we took the time to be there for him and make sure he felt welcome. This was a sacrifice, one we are called to make by our heavenly father. Love others as yourself. Oh how worthy a sacrifice it is.

We seek to see these things as pure blessings from the One who sees everything. While we may not always know the circumstances of those who walk through our doors every week, He does, and He will point us in their direction when we are needed. All we must do is listen and follow.

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Guest Speaker

This Wednesday at Casafé we were blessed by the unexpected words from Pastor Luvin, a friend of Lisa’s. Pastor Luvin and his family had decided to make their own unexpected trip to see us just the night before; he and his family were camping in our backyard for the night. It looks like God had his fingers in all this. Shocking, I know.

This week we had not planned for any guest to come and speak, but Pastor Luvin and his family showed up just as we were about to start the bible study. Lisa was talking with them before we settled down and ended up asking if he wanted to share a few words. This was very on the spot as he had not prepared anything, we were not expecting him to say yes, but in true Costa Rica fashion he did! He took a couple minutes to jot down a few thoughts, and then got to it. What followed was beautiful. He captured their attention and had them engaged, he shared with them words they seemed to need to hear. The youth were involved, listening, and asking questions; not once did we ask them to be quiet. He was animated, he had them laughing, clapping, eyes attentive as he looked at all of them individually and brought the words to them personally. He was connecting with them. A stranger telling a story to a group of youth, captivating them.

This Wednesday our youth heard important messages. They heard to look towards good examples. They were told to run from sin. They were told to keep their eyes on the Lord. God wanted to speak to someone, or maybe many people that night and he swept aside any plan we had in order to do that.

Lisa and I often pray that God will do this. Every week, at the beginning of the week, we sit down and talk about the plan for the week, the things that need to get done. Every week, at the end of the meeting, we pray that God ruins any plans He wants to. That he messes things up and makes them so much better. This Wednesday we saw that in action. How beautiful to see these youth hearing these words with such enthusiasm. While this is not abnormal, it has so much more magic when it’s orchestrated so obviously by God’s hands. This was worship through flexibility and through storytelling.

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Kids Club

Our youth are growing in their walks with Christ, they are becoming more mature and the process is both beautiful and excruciating for them at times; as it should be for all of us. One thing we encourage of our youth as they grow spiritually, is to step out into their community. To lead. To take the hands of the generation coming up behind them and guide them into the light they have found. This, too, is both a beautiful and a difficult process.

Once a month we pack up some crafts, games, snacks, and as much energy as we can muster and drive to Estarillos, a town about a half hour away. There, a couple dozen kids will descend on us with the unparalleled chaos of happy, small souls. We take with us three or four of the youth from Casafé who sacrifice their Saturday to be with these kids, play with them, teach them about the bible, and pursue relationship with them. With heartwarming enthusiasm and love, the youth throw themselves into the day. They play soccer with the bigs, they draw with the littles, they clean up after the messes, they sit with the shy, and they laugh with and encourage every small face that smiles up at them. They become rooted in the moment whenever their attention is needed, giving 100% every time.

This past Saturday we went on a cloudy day threatening to cancel our plans once again, but we had faith and we went anyways. It did not rain and we did have our club! Some of the youth right away grabbed a ball, a group of boys, and started playing soccer on the beach. Another, encouraged by some of the younger kids, set up a table under a roof, got out the colouring books, sat down, and coloured with them, chatting aimlessly. For a while this was enough for them as we waited for the rest to arrive so we could begin the games.

During the games one of the youth stepped up, showing profound leadership skills as he explained and ran the group games with energy and grace. Another, displaying wonderful relationship skills, helped kids paint and encouraged them all day. As is normal in any culture, these kids look up to the youth, it is easy to see, giving our youth an opportunity to be a good example-to teach through their actions. Our youth stepped up to the challenge gifted to them. Because it is that, a gift, something to be received with an immense feeling of honour, respected. It was, and they delivered on a promise made over generations, as the old have always taught the young. This is how it is supposed to be.

We have been teaching the kids about the armour of God, every month doing a different piece. This week we taught them about the shield of faith. We brought cardboard cut in the shape of shields and paints, the kids took to them with creative power. And lots of paint, not all of it ending up on the shield. But, in the end, that’s almost better; talk about painting outside the lines! Some even wrote the word “Fe” (Faith) on their shields. Not only were the youth helping to keep the kids focussed during the little lesson, they were helping to explain the lesson as it went along. For the kids having trouble focussing on the lesson and less trouble focusing on one of the youth, they still received the lesson. They still had it explained to them one on one. The youth know these stories now so well they can explain them without even really thinking about it.

Once the afternoon was over, we had said goodbye to every little child, and we had cleaned up, we packed ourselves back into the car and took off back to Jaco. The drive back was focused on reflection. Highs and lows? Hard parts? Best parts? We shared our experiences from the day, learning from each other, laughing with each other, encouraging each other, teaching each other, being in community and continuing to strengthen both the current youth, and those about to take their place.

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In the Spirit of Giving thanks.

– Written by Paige Guthrie

Every week I am blessed to tutor english to at least two boys here at Casafé. Sometimes more youth come too, but I always know for sure these two will be here. They bang on the gate at 4pm every Tuesday yelling our names with the biggest grins on their faces. These two are brothers and get along very well with each other and everyone they come into contact with. They are incredibly outgoing and hilarious, brightening up the days of everyone they meet. I love teaching them every week; they bring an excitement for class and are attentive and respectful while I teach. Their patience is greatly appreciated and very important as I am new to this as well and I often need a lot of grace to get through the classes without too much confusion.

This week we started off with the verse Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” As with every other week we start with a bible verse. In my culture this is a month of gratitude. With this in mind I talked to them about being thankful. This idea: We live because of Jesus, we bear his stamp, and we owe him thanks for everything. I talked about the importance of giving thanks in every single circumstance. God is with us in the highs and lows, he is always there, thank him for that. Over time, as we continually point everything back to Christ, we will be a light to others, and they will see Jesus through our relentless gratitude in the face of worst trials or most desirable days.

I wanted to also bring in the flip side of this coin. This isn’t about others, it’s about Jesus, and we should aim to be like him even when no one can see us. It can be easy to sit back and hope the poor decisions we make, the things we do when no one is watching, are overlooked by God. Sometimes we need too be reminded that every actions are seen and meant to reflect Jesus; make them count. We should always be doing things to make God smile, he sees everything we do even when we don’t want him to.

It is encouraging when the boys ask questions and seek to understand verses; they definitely did this week! They were very happy to find that they don’t constantly have to verbally give thanks, as that would be exhausting, and understood what it meant to give thanks and worship through our actions, our prayer, and our thoughts. I gave them the reference to the verse one more time to encourage them to memorize it for a prize next week. After looking at the english version, we continued with the rest of the lesson. This week we reviewed numbers and practiced our conversation skills. We learned new greetings and some questions to ask someone you have never met before. Where are you from? What is your name? How old are you?

After the lesson they visit for another few minutes, then they hop on their bikes and ride off down the street to their home, happily conversing in spanglish. We will see them later this week for Casafé, and I will see them next week for another lesson.

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Casafé Close-outs!

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An afternoon at Casafé!

Weekly on Calle Mora, Jaco, Casafé is descended upon by local youth toting around smiles, laughter, and an energy barely tamed by the ocean they play in. Bikes fill the yard, and the house and garage are emptied of all their surf, boogie, and skim boards. Starting at 3pm on Wednesdays and 4pm on Thursdays, up to a couple dozen small feet patter around the yard grabbing swim suits, rash guards, and flippers; surf boards are waxed and the smell of artificial banana subtly takes to the tropical air. Then, as if on queue, the youth move in a pack to the beach. Surf boards and leashes hover over ankles decorated by anklets and tans. The group is surrounded by a bubble of chatter and laughter. They walk slowly, no need to rush, until they get past the gate and onto the sand, then they run into the waves, splashing in the white wash and paddling far past the beach, up to the big waves they expertly shred. They will be entertained to play and practice together for a while, enjoying a safe community and the remarkable show mother nature puts on for them every week.

Just like that the house is quiet, save for the sound of the waves, and we continue to prep food and clean up whatever was left behind by the youth. We know they will be back in about an hour and chaos will descend once more.

This is Casafé, and these two days are just some of the things we do here in Jaco. Every Wednesday the 12 to 15 year olds join us to surf, play ping pong, play fuss-ball, and listen to the word God has for them. On Thursdays the 16+ year olds join us for surfing, ping pong, bible study, and a meal as a small community. These days are indeed very chaotic as the house can be full to the brim with energetic young men and women possessing very powerful voices; nonetheless we love every moment of having these incredible people take over the house for these hours. The youth have made this time their own, they are a close community in a safe place that is readily available to them. It’s easy to see how having a place like this can allow people to relax and enjoy each other’s company without the pressures they might face elsewhere.

In this space we have encouraged the youth to spur each other on in good deeds. We teach them to have responsibility for the things they are entrusted with; if something goes wrong with an object they were using it is their responsibility. We ask that the youth clean up well and take extra care of the things not theirs. Those who know to do this well, encourage others to do the same and it becomes a cycle of good deeds. These youth constantly bring me back to the verse found in Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,”. They live this verse out in the time they have with us and we hope and pray they take this outside of Casafé as well to encourage their peers at school and in their homes.

It’s time for the kids to come back in now. They bring with them their laughter and chatter; salt water clings to their hair and skin and sand adorns their feet from the trek across the beach. One by one they use the outdoor shower to rinse themselves, their boards, and return everything to its place; towels are placed around everyone’s hips and the rest of the evening can begin. We will gather either outside, around the kitchen counter, or at the table with the whiteboard, depending on the night. We will eat and chat and settle down for a small bible study. Bibles are passed around and the word of God can be heard in their Spanish voices. The pages of the bibles flip back and forth and create the backdrop for the real fun, the chatter, the questions and the scribbling pencils. Voices will be raised as they chatter aimlessly and then shushed as they are redirected to the study. Coffee will be drank and discussions will be had. Youth will direct their attention to learning more about their Jesus as a group in damp bathing suits. As the conversation starts to die down the study will come to a close and any remaining questions will be asked.

We always pray before the end of the night when the youth leave on their bikes (sometimes three to a bike) and disappear into the street lights. We know they return to a life very different from the hours they have spent with us, so we send them with our prayers drifting into the air behind them, knowing God goes with them. As the chatter and laughter fades with the departing pack, we retreat back into the house, tired but thrilled that God once again got to use our time and space to bless a group of crazy, passionate, curious, and energetic youth.

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EGGS – Coco’s Birthday!

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Casafé Christmas Party!

We had another great Christmas party here at Casafé this year! We started off with crazy games, a few of which were: a coke drinking challenge with a tiny straw, drinking gatorade and doing the bottle challenge, and eating spaghetti like Elf – syrup and marshmallow included! We had small gifts for the youth, Ice cream, Pizza for dinner and a talent show to finish the night off. It was organized chaos, but we all had a lot of fun!!


This year for Christmas we focused on the verse in Mark 10:45, where it says that Jesus did not come to be served but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many. 
We talked about the greatest gift of all: Jesus, and how he offers us Salvation. He came to live and to die for us. We also talked about how He is our example and we must seek opportunities to serve others too. And how this season is a great time to practice that. 

May God bless you this Christmas season! May you remember the greatest gift of all: Jesus; and may you find ways to serve as He did! 

Many Blessings and Merry Christmas from Casafé!!! 

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Thanks Benders!

Kevin and Michelle Bender, and their two boys Braeden and Ashton, have been serving with Casafé for the last 6 months. They helped faithfully every Wednesday with a variety of things, their time in Jacó came to an end this month and we have had to say goodbye to them.

It was really neat to have the Benders serve at Casafé together as a family unit. It was a great example to the youth of a healthy family stucture.

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The Benders filled many helpful roles at Casafé, some of which were: Official Casafé Barrista, Ping Pong Pro, Dish Washer, birthday cake maker Official Pastery Chef, Kitchen Clean-up Crew, Wii Initiators, Mini Movie Maker (Teck Guy), Bible Study Small Group Crowd Controllers, Tico-Style Mop Janitor, Prayer Team and some others…that don’t have titles.  Pretty much, they were really helpful in many different practical ways!  🙂

Thanks so much for your help and support to the ministry of Casafe in this season!

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Thank You Rodney!

Rodney and Laura Andrew and their 3 kids, have been serving as missionaries here in Jacó for the last few years. During these years Rodney has been serving faithfully at Casafé on a weekly/biweekly basis. This month we had to say goodbye to them as they moved back to the US.

Rondey led devotionals, surfed with the youth, built relationships with them and discipled them both at Casafé and outside of Casafé. Rondey had great patience with the youth here and always had a passion to share the gopel with them any time he could!

Thank you Rodney (and family) for giving of your time, energy and service to bless the youth through the ministry of Casafé! You have been a huge support to Casafé and you will be missed. May God bless you all in this new season of your life!




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