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.

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The Drama Queen’s Servant Heart

I say the title of this post kind of tongue and cheek because although I do affectionately call her a “Drama Queen” around the house, I know that deep down she truly has a servant’s heart. I speak of my oldest here, who has over and over again impressed me and shown me what a true servant she can be, allowing God to use her through her love for theater and performing arts.

As parents, my wife and I have always encouraged our kids to find an area to serve in our church. My wife and I both believe strongly that God has given each of us gifts, abilities, talents and passions of our heart, that He can use for His glory and to build up the church body. In other words, find an area that you think you can contribute in, and get involved.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve watched my oldest flourish and just take off. As a teenager she started out getting involved in our children’s ministry. This soon morphed into involvement in a children’s ministry worship team. In this ministry I was blessed to watch her lead the young kids in praise and worship of our Lord. I watched her blossom into a leader, being relied on and depended on by the adult leadership of the group. What a great joy and thrill it was for her to be recognized for her leadership and willingness to stepup. Now, her service in our children’s ministry has grown into her role as what we call a “Large Group Leader”, which is responsible for the worship and teaching of a large group of kids. This role involves music, theater, leadership, teaching, her outgoing personality, and her overall love for kids. You can’t imagine the joy I feel when watching her use her gifts. I am truly amazed and blessed.

Now, as we approach Christmas, I will have the privilege and thrill of watching her use her gifts to bless those who attend our Christmas Eve services. She is a dancer and angel in our Christmas Eve service. She has been hard at work for a couple of months already leading up to this. I look forward to being able to see her do her thing. The unfortunate thing is that I won’t get to watch it as it happens, I’ll have to watch it via video. That’s because I will have the joy of being on the same stage, at the same time with her. Not dancing or acting, but doing my thing.