Caskey Costa Rica Mission Trip Day 4 Conference Starts

The end of our 4th full day in Costa Rica has come to a close. This was the absolute busiest day, so far, from beginning to the end. Though it was busy, it was a wonderful day. The 3 day Pastor’s conference began today.

It wasn’t too early of a start as the Pastors and their spouses weren’t actually to arrive at the conference until around 12:00 PM, but we knew that some would probably arrive early, so we did get there between 9:30 AM and 10:00 AM. We got everything setup for the conference pretty quickly and then were ready for everyone to arrive. They all arrived over the next couple of hours. All of us had our assigned duties of either welcoming them, helping with registration, taking pictures or getting the audio/video equipment setup, and everyone jumped right in. It was a good start to the day.

The Pastors and their spouses were all very nice, friendly, a bit quiet and a bit uncertain about what to expect the next 3 days to be like. Many of them have never been to a retreat or conference like this. For many of them, this may be the first time they’ve been on anything like a vacation, away from home or the family for any extended period of time, or even to a hotel. One of the goals of The Brook Ministries is to provide the opportunity for these Pastors and their spouses to be refreshed, renewed, have a chance to get away and be ministered to, instead of them being the ones doing all the ministering. If you think about it, being a Pastor can be emotionally, physically and spiritually draining, and they need to have times to relax, to be supported and encouraged by others, which includes the support of other Pastors. They also need to be fed, and that’s where The Brook’s goal of teaching and equipping these Pastors and their spouses to help them deal with relevant issues in their ministries, church congregations and their lives in general comes into play.

During today’s sessions I had the privilege of spending the time praying for their specific needs and praying for them in general, for their time at the conference. I’ll be doing the same thing tomorrow and Saturday as well. They’re provided with cards to submit prayer requests on, and we pray for them during the sessions, along with, I’ll call them “prayer partners” around the globe, around the clock. Going before our God in prayer for these Pastors and their spouses is a powerful thing and I’m glad to be a part of it. As I was praying during the first session, God put on my heart to pray about how these Pastors and their spouses needed to be ministered to and I thought about the story of Jesus when he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness (Matt 4:1-11). After the temptations were over verse 11 says “Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”. So, Jesus after all that was over needed to be attended to, refreshed and renewed. I pray that these Pastors and their spouses will feel that renewal and refreshment, that they will feel ministered to, and cared for, and that their passions for teaching the Gospel, caring for their congregations, their communities, and their families will be burning hot when they leave on Saturday.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

Thankful For…

I thought that I should take time, once again this Thanksgiving, to think about what I am truly thankful for. I know that most of my life I’ve neglected to think about this, let alone write it down. Last year was the first time that I ever really took time to do it. So, here I am to do it again. Much of this is probably the same as last year, but who cares. Who knows, maybe this will become an annual thing.

Thankful for…

  1. My God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and the salvation that I have by His gift of grace that He made possible by His blood that was shed on the cross. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Eph. 2:8).
  2. For my wonderful wife of 22 years and the fantastic mother that she is. She makes life a joy each and every day. She is a great gift from God also. May I cherish her more deeply and be the husband that God intends for me to be.
  3. The blessing of 4 great kids who are all special, each and every one of them. God has blessed me so greatly here. I pray that I can be the dad that they need and that God designed me to be.
  4. Family in general. Thankful that they are always there and always in your corner.
  5. Friends. God has put some great friends in my life. I pray that I can be the friend to them that they have been to me.
  6. A great church and church family. God has placed us in a church that is commited to teaching the Gospel of Christ and reaching the lost for Christ. Also, a church family that lives out their Christianity by taking time to serve others in many different ways. It is a church family that is committed to bringing glory to God.
  7. The privilege of living in America and the freedoms that we have. I pray that God continues to bless this country. I pray for our leaders, that they will be men and women who will seek God and His guidance each and every day. And, as part of this great country I’m thankful for those awesome men and women in our military, that serve and protect our freedom day in and day out.
  8. A good job that God has blessed me with. I thank God for the privilege it is to work and the skills that He’s given me. I pray that I do it as if unto Him.
  9. God’s provision each day; shelter, food, water, clothing and the additional blessings that He has given.
  10. God’s continuous teaching and working in my life. I find it amazing that God finds it worthwhile to keep trying to teach, correct and instruct me each and every day. I thank Him for what he’s teaching me about His sovereignty, that He’s in control, that He has a plan and that I need to trust Him completely. I pray that I learn to follow Him completely and surrender all.

Since it’s Thanksgiving, just take a little time and give it some thought. Don’t let it slide by another day, another minute. What are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Reflections

As I sit here on a quiet morning after Thanksgiving, I finally have a chance to look back and reflect on what I’m thankful for. I know, you think I would have or should have done this yesterday on Thanksgiving, but it was a busy day and by the end of it, I was tired and didn’t feel like thinking about it. Actually, doing it a day after Thanksgiving is pretty good for me because normally I neglect to think about it at all. I’m one of those that most of the time just takes for granted how blessed I am. But, not this time.

  1. For my God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and the salvation that I have by His gift of grace that He made possible by His blood that was shed on the cross.
  2. For my wonderful wife of 21 great years and the fantastic mother that she is. Everyday is a great day because of her. She is such a special and wonderful gift from God.
  3. For the blessing of 4 great kids who are all special in their own unique way. They are a joy and make life a great adventure.
  4. For family in general. For the time we’re able to spend together, thinking back on old times and catching up on what’s currently going on in each other’s lives.
  5. For friends. I’m blessed with a group of great friends who are supportive and always there.
  6. For a great church and church family. A church that is commited to teaching the Gospel of Christ and reaching the lost for Christ. Also, a church family that lives out their Christianity by taking time to serve others on Thanksgiving day at another local church. It was a blessing to serve others on Thanksgiving day, but double the blessing to be able to do it alongside other members of my own church. It made yesterday even more special.
  7. For the privilege of living in America and the freedoms that we have in this great country. May God continue to bless this country. For those that serve and protect our great country day in and day out (Our fantastic men and women in our military).
  8. For a good job that God has blessed me with. I thank God for the privilege it is to work and the skills that He’s given me. I pray that I do it as if unto Him.
  9. For the necessities in life that God provides each day; shelter, food, water, clothing and the additional blessings that He has given.
  10. For God’s wonderful creation that we are able to enjoy and have been given the privilege to use and take care of.

Especially this Thanksgiving, take time to think about what you’re thankful for. Don’t be like I normally am and just neglect to think about them.

Many blessings to you this Thanksgiving.