Saturday, July 25, 2009

Plans Change, From Costa Rica, to NYC

Plans Change, From Costa Rica, to NYC

As many of you know, we have been extremely excited about going to Costa Rica as a missions team, to serve the people of BriBri. However, I got a call last week from Experience Mission, cancelling our trip due to Swine Flu issues that were concentrated in the BriBri reservation. This was sad news, but we really feel that God still had a plan for us. So we are now Going to NYC to serve with "New York School of Urban Ministry" (NYSUM). We will be leaving on August 4th, returning August 10. The students have taken the news well, and feel that it isn't were we serve, its how we serve, and its who we serve (Jesus)! Please pray and check out this blog for updates.
Below is the letter that was written and is being mailed out to all of the donors!

July 27, 2009

“In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Dear Donor,

I want to start by personally thanking you for donating to the Calvary Assembly of God Youth Missions Trip ’09 to Bribri Reservation in Costa Rica. Your donation was very appreciated and we have been extremely thankful to all the donors who gave towards this mission.

I got a call last Tuesday (July 21) from Experience Mission, which is the organization that was planning our trip. They called to let us know that there were four confirmed cases of H1N1 (Swine) flu virus in the Bribri reservation. Some of the cases being a young boy who was part of the VBS program they were doing. They also informed us that Costa Rica as a country was having a new outbreak of Swine flu, and from July 15 through July 24th, there has been about 250 new cases and 8 new deaths. Because of this, the Missions Organization cancelled our trip to Costa Rica. I was upset when I got the phone call, but also knew that safety had to be first priority when it comes to making decisions about the Youth of our Church and was fully supportive of that decision.

I have been really excited about our team of 20 students and 8 adult leaders. We have been training together and I know the God has a purpose for us during that week, if not Costa Rica, then somewhere else. After many days of prayer and leader meetings and 20 phone calls, we choose another ministry opportunity.
On August 4th our team will be traveling to Queens NYC to partner with New York School of Urban Ministry (NYSUM). We will be doing a variety of Urban Ministry and service work. Some of that work will include; soup kitchen outreach, homeless shelter outreach, church VBS ministries, coffee house ministries, construction work projects, etc. We will be Leaving a day early, and coming back a day early (Aug 10th). I was really amazed at the peace the kids feel about this trip, and the way they understand it is not about who we serve, its about how we serve.

We wanted to contact you and inform you about this change since you are one of the donors of our trip. Our money that was used for our flights will be held on Credit for up to one year, and will be used (Lord willing) on an overseas missions trip next year. Our money that we paid to Experience Mission will be transferred to NYSUM to cover our costs in New York. So technically, your donation will go towards two missions trips, one this year, and one next year. If you are not content with your donation being used for NYC instead of Costa Rica, and would like a refund, please call our church office and we will accommodate that request.

Thank you again for donating and supporting the youth and leaders at Calvary Assembly of God. Please pray for us as things have changed so recently and we don’t feel quite ready for this trip. But we believe that God strengthens the weak and uses the least likely, and we are excited to be his followers, no matter where he leads us!!


Pastor Devin Blankenbiller
Youth Pastor, Calvary Assembly of God

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