Nov 27, 2009
Dave and Janice Hansen
This past month I visited SI Costa Rica while on a "vision tour" with professors representing nine colleges or universities from the states. All are interested in partnering with Students International for semester programs. It is exciting to report that Costa Rica will be offering semester programs similar to the spring Guatemala term and the fall term in the Dominican Republic. Jeff Dixon, country director, and Darin Mather, who has been instrumental in developing curriculum for all of the programs, are crafting a unique program that will include an SI partnership with the University of Costa Rica. Several Christian Universities are excited about the partnership that would allow science majors to study abroad without falling behind in their required class and lab work. The program would also include an emphasis on learning the Spanish language and offer time to work alongside our staff at the ministry sites.
The current semester programs in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic have served as great models, yet each country and culture is unique. The Costa Rica program looks as if it will begin spring of 2011. Students spending a semester in a country while pursuing their course of study and serving at the ministry sites have been a blessing to the work of Students International. Furthermore, the semester programs encapsulate our mission and vision statement:
Bringing students and the poor together cross-culturally to encounter God, share the Good News, disciple and serve others in occupational ministries.
Seeing students and the poor transformed into the likeness of Christ and discover their true calling.
Oct 30, 2009
Janice and I count it a privilege to have led a team to Fiji this past summer. Fiji is an English speaking country, and without the hindrance of a language barrier, we saw deep relationships being formed among team members and Fijians. A highlight was being a part of the group that prayed with Mr. Sharma to receive Jesus as his Lord. SI Fiji staff and Jonathan and Tricia Thompson took part in his baptism a few weeks later.
Please pray for and along with Ray and Laura Pittman as they continue to seek the Lord's plan for SI ministry in Fiji as it is in its formative stages. See their prayer requests listed below. Once again, thanks so much for all of your support to the ministry of Students International, and please continue to pray for wisdom for us as we grow.
Sep 28, 2009
Jesus's words in Luke 13:20 (The Message) challenge us, "How can I picture God's kingdom? It's like yeast that a woman works into enough dough for three loaves of bread -and waits while the dough rises." We are all called to be part of Kingdom work.
One story that illustrates how God is working is that of Allison Mullinax, an inner-city elementary school principal from Norfolk, Virginia. She felt called to bring a group from her urban church with limited resources on an overseas trip. I challenged her to bring a team to SI Costa Rica, but because of what seemed to be insurmountable financial need, it looked impossible. We love and serve the "God of impossibilities," and the financial obligation, passport acquisition and time off from work schedules all fell into place and the group was Costa Rica bound! What an amazing experience they had. The interaction of all participants and staff along with the people of Costa Rica was such a witness of loving Jesus and displaying servant hearts. Allison said that they are still talking about Costa Rica and plans are underway to secure more resources and passports for future trips!
Please continue to pray for all of our staff as they get some rest. Those in the Dominican Republic are gearing up for a fall semester program with Bethel College, pray for their refreshment as well as transition into the fall schedule.
"How can I picture God's kingdom? It's like yeast that a woman works into enough dough for three loaves of bread - and waits while the dough rises."
Aug 12, 2009
As I sit down to write this note, I am grieving the recent loss of my dad and preparing for an upcoming memorial service. It is life markers such as these that remind us that we are "just passing through" and our days are definitely numbered. Psalm 103 states, "As for man his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more."
My dad was my hero and he will be greatly missed. If only I could have one more hour. Yet at times like this, I am reminded of the vow he made to God as he sat in a German P.O.W. camp.He promised that if he got out alive he would strive to make his life "count." And, indeed he did! He lived a life of loving God and serving others while modeling for me what a godly earthly father looks like. Thank you Dad!
Let us all be reminded that as our lives are racing past us, only what we do for God and other people is what lasts. Let us deepen our walk with Him daily and continue to look for opportunities to serve others in His Name. I am encouraged by the dedication of these two principles that I see within the SI family, and I count it a privilege to work together with you.
A photo of my dad, below, on a short-term mission trip to Mexico.