Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The REAL Adventure Begins - Esther Peterson

Hi again everybody! Guess where I am? I’m home in Florida!!!! I guess that’s not such a surprise. I’ve been here for about five weeks. After the last time I wrote you guys I left my beloved base in the city of Corrientes and headed down with some of my teammates and most of the base staff members to the conference in Buenos Aires. It was for all the YWAM bases in the five countries of the Southern Cone of South America. I thought it would be a nice time, but I was wrong. It was an incredible time, (apart from the heat and lack of sleep)! We met people there from all over the place and had some great speakers, workshops and worship times.
By the end of the conference, I still didn’t have confirmed plans for the next six days before my flight and I started freaking out, really wishing my mom and dad were there to work everything out for me. But God was faithful, and it worked out better than I could have imagined. All of us five foreigners from my DTS went down to Mar del Plata, a famous touristy beach five hours away, and while my crazy American guy friend stayed down there in a hostel, the four other girls and I stayed an hour bus trip away with a friend from the YWAM base and his mom. They spoiled us rotten! They fed us tons of food, let us use their washing machine, burned tons of CD’s of photos on their computer, and gave us presents to remember Argentina. It was a really special and blessed time.
The other American, Alex, left first, then the girls from Bolivia and Peru returned to their homes by bus. Last of all Johanny from Venezuela and I left at 1:00am to take the five hour bus trip back to Buenos Aires, arriving at the airport at 7:00am. We spent the whole day at the airport. Johanny left at 6:00pm and I left at 10:10pm. It was a long day at the airport. After a stopover in Washington DC, I was back home with my family. I had a lovely vacation, catching up with people and celebrating the holidays.
Wow, this really was the most incredible time in my life. I had a lot of amazing experiences I never would have dreamed of. I learned Spanish and the Tango, I made friends with people from all over the world, and God taught me a lot of things about Him and about myself.
· I learned that God’s love really is unconditional and unchanging.
· I learned that when God tells you to do something (many times through your spiritual leaders) and you don’t think you can do it, just do it anyway.
· I learned that God makes and keeps his promises and that He uses us just the way he made us.
· I learned that we can fight the enemy’s temptation by taking our thoughts and feelings captive.
· I learned that to build friendships you have to make spending time with people a priority, even when you may not understand much of the conversation.
· I learned that God loves all countries equally, that America (or Australia) are not better than any other countries in the world, and that you can’t judge the people of a country by their country’s history or government.
· I learned that I can hand wash my clothes, take a 10 minute shower three times a week, sleep in a sleeping bag on thin mattresses for four months, and…
· Many, many other things!!!

And all of this was because of you guys!! Your financial support, your prayers, and your encouraging e-mails are what got me through and brought me safely back from this amazingly blessed time. I can never thank you all enough!! Every time I received a check or heard that someone was praying for me, I was just amazed that I have so many people that care about me so much. I am so blessed by God! I now want to do my best to pass on this blessing to as many people as possible.
I also want to take this opportunity to encourage EVERYBODY to do a Discipleship Training School! It would be so awesome if every single Christian did one. It’s like our spiritual boot camp. They have them all over the world, including America, Australia, and England as well as numerous second and third world countries all over the place. There are DTSs with special focuses as well as Crossroad DTS for people over 35 or those who may have families and/or careers. They’ve even had 70 year olds so it’s open for everyone! So tell your brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, children, grandchildren, parents, neighbors, friends, and churches about them and look into them for yourself. You can find more information and search for DTS at the Youth With A Mission website: www.ywam.org .
So what am I doing now? What they say in YWAM is that when your DTS ends, your real DTS of life begins. I just finished my second week at Trinity College of Florida. It’s a really little (280 students total) Bible college near Tampa. Right now I’m headed toward a major in youth ministry. I’m enjoying college life so far! God has already blessed me with some great friends, which was something I was worried about and prayed about a lot. I have a lot of work for my classes but at least it’s mostly just reading and writing, no more math! After visiting a number of churches I think I’ve finally decided where I’m going to connect and I’m really excited about that. It’s called Highest Praise Family Church, and some parts of it remind me of my YWAM base in Corrientes.
I have a few things you could keep in prayer for me. One is that I need to get a job soon to pay for gas and to start paying for my insurance and cell phone bill, new expenses that come with living away from home. I also need God’s help in managing my time. And I would like to spend most of this next summer in California, but I really need to seek God on that for confirmation.
And last, but definitely not least, I’ve decided to go on the Trinity mission trip to Costa Rica over spring break (March 3-12). It sounds perfect for me because they’ll be working mainly with kids and youth, the two groups I really love, and I’ll get to use my Spanish! I’m really excited about the possibility. It is coming up really soon and the cost is estimated at around $700-$800. If anyone is able and feels God’s call to give a donation towards this trip I would appreciate it. To receive a tax deduction you can make a check out to Trinity College of Florida and specify that it is for the Great Commission Missionary Fellowship. Otherwise you can send cash or check to me at my parent’s address: 4418 Lake Trudy Dr., St. Cloud, FL 34769
I also would love to have people committed to pray for me and the group every day while we’re on the trip so if you could commit to doing that, please let me know.
Well, I can only thank you all for coming on this incredible adventure with me over the last seven months. I may continue to write every now and then to share life’s exciting moments. I’ve also made a Window’s Live Space that you can check out at www.godslittlerocker19.spaces.live.com.
All of God’s super blessings to each and every one of you! You rock!!!! In Christ, Esther Peterson

Peterson's Prayer Guide - February 2007

Be earnest and disciplined in your prayers… Continue to show deep love for each other. Manage well the spiritual gifts God has given you so that God’s generosity can flow through you.
1 Peter 4:7-8,10

Esther at College
We have felt so supported in prayer over the past month as we’ve heard from a number of you telling us you were praying about our big decision regarding the future. Thank you for standing with us at a time when we really needed that partnership. It meant so much! We had promised our colleague, Sunny, that we’d try to give her an answer by mid January. It was an interesting process as we sought to discern God’s voice and leading in this big decision. We were very drawn to the job in some respects, but it became clear to us that this is not the right time for us to make such a move. There were a lot of things that God brought to our attention and we had valuable input from some people whom we highly respect. So we were able to come to a place of peace that we’d heard God on this and agreed to tell Sunny that we wouldn’t be coming. If you want to hear more detail about how we came to this conclusion, feel free to contact us, but it would take quite a bit of paper to document it all! We are excited to be able to dig in deep again here and know that we’re in the place that God wants us to be for this season of our lives. Thank you again for walking this journey with us.

Gary has had some wonderful and exciting opportunities in his role at Wordspring this month. The few items we wrote on the last schedule ended up being multiplied many times with new, last minute interactions with groups and individuals. Please continue to pray that Gary and his colleagues will be flexible, available and sensitive to God’s Spirit as they interact with all kinds of people who show up at the Wycliffe facility. Here is his known schedule for February:

2nd Special tour for students from Grace Evangelical Seminary
4th, 5th, 6th, 7th Teaching Perspectives Lesson 5 in Jacksonville, Gainesville,
Ocala & Orlando.
9th Tour for a school group
13th & 15th Promoting Wycliffe at Asbury Seminary
20th Another tour for a group visiting Wordspring

Gary’s foot problem was solved by replacing his running shoes, but he has since had problems with one calf muscle and hasn’t been able to run for a week or more. He’s riding a bicycle to stay in shape and still hopes to be able to run the half marathon on Feb. 4th.

Esther seems to be settling in well to her new life at Bible college. She’s making friends, finding her way around the campus and the town, connecting with several churches, and getting into study routines. She still needs to find a job that will fit her schedule and help to cover her costs (car, phone, incidentals…). We’ve been able to talk on the phone most days, which has helped all of us in this time of adjustment, and she’s already been home for one weekend - a bit different from when she was in Argentina! A missionary group on her campus is planning a trip to Costa Rica during Spring Break, and Esther would very much like to be a part of that. They’ll be ministering to youth and kids, and it’s a Spanish speaking country - all things that she loves. If you’d like to know more about it or would like to be part of her prayer or financial team for that trip, please e-mail her at: star-E19@juno.com

Josiah has begun his new Truth Project small group. He has put a lot of time, money and prayer into this already, and the first meeting (here at our house on Saturday nights) was very well attended! We haven’t seen him in a leadership role like this before, and we were very proud of him and convinced that God has His hand on Josiah and this effort. Please keep him (and us!) in your prayers as he leads this over the next 13 weeks. We’re conscious that we’re entering enemy territory and we need spiritual protection. Pray too that those attending will learn the things God wants them to as they go through this curriculum.

Both of our mothers have had some health crises in the last few weeks. We are grateful that things have settled down somewhat. My mother is in the midst of localized chemotherapy for her bladder cancer back in Australia. The last lot caused serious discomfort, so she’s not looking forward to the next three treatments. Please keep her in your prayers especially on Tuesdays when she has this. I know she would be very grateful.

On February 25th we will celebrate 23 years of marriage. We are so grateful to God for bringing us together and for the happiness He’s given us through these years.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Peterson's Prayer Guide - January 2007

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me in earnest, you will find Me when you seek Me.” Jeremiah 29: 11-13

Happy New Year to you, our invaluable prayer partners! We pray that 2007 will be a year in which you will grow to know and love our Lord even more, and you will see Him work powerfully in and through you.

Praise God, our daughter arrived home safe and sound at the expected time. We have thoroughly enjoyed having her around for these few weeks and hearing more about her experiences. She had the chance to share her adventures with about 20 interested friends at our church on Dec. 27th and was blessed by their commitment to continue to pray for her. Now we’re gearing up for the start of her college career. Please pray for all of us in this next transition. She’ll move into the dorm on Jan. 4th.

Mom Peterson has been with us for Christmas and New Year. We’re so grateful for our time together. She would appreciate your prayers for her journey back across the country on January 4th.

You must have been praying for our encounters with neighbors as we delivered our gifts on Christmas Eve. We had some very positive interactions, particularly with the Muslim and Hindu families. Pray that we’ll make the effort to be deliberate in our contact with them in the days ahead.

The potluck I organized at Josiah’s school went well, despite the small turnout. Gary did a great job as emcee, and I think all who attended really enjoyed the interactive, cultural things he did to help everyone get better acquainted. Josiah will turn 16 on January 10th. We thank the Lord for a son who loves Him and has chosen to walk in His ways. Pray for continued blessing on his life as he studies, in his relationships and as he makes decisions about the future.

Gary has decided to train for a half marathon at the end of this month. Please pray that he will be free from injuries and able to achieve this goal. Right now one foot is giving him trouble.

We sent out a special prayer request last month regarding a new invitation we’ve received to join the Asia Area staff in the Philippines. With everything happening this month, we haven’t felt ready to make a decision. Our colleagues in Asia would like to know soon if we will accept this new assignment. Pray that Gary and I will take the time needed and that our spirits will be quiet enough to hear clearly from the Lord. We’re very grateful that you are praying with us at this time.

Here are a couple more scheduled events to pray for:
Jan. 1st.& 2nd. Gary does the introduction and anthropology classes for Total It Up (the 5 day taste of translation and literacy course).
10th. New Testament dedication at Wycliffe.
24th. Gary gives a tour to a Christian school.
25th. My 45th birthday!