Update on the Van
Posted by Shawn on January 19, 2014
I realized that we never gave the final update on the van that was purchased partially with donated funds. We put the van to good use while we were working in Villa Mella. Many trips to the capital and back (about 1/2 hour drive each direction.) This allowed us to also get away a couple of times as a family for short stays in Sosua and even a resort stay for some needed rest.
When the decision was made to move back we had to sell the van. We felt guilty at first knowing we had others help us get a vehicle and we felt it would be wrong to keep the money that was donated. God provided the perfect opportunity to not only relieve us of that guilt, but get the van sold. This also provided a way to bless a local missionary whom we have known since my first trip in 2003.
We sold the van to her for just our personal portion that was spent on the van. We passed on your generous gifts as a gift to support this missionary and those she works with. It was a huge blessing just to tell her that we would sell her the van for about half the price she was expecting and I explained to her why. That this was money sent to support us in Missions and how it was best to pass that on to her.
So thank you from us, the Oliveria family, and from our friend, a wonderful missionary in the Dominican Republic!
Heather and her Kona Outreach
Posted by Shawn on May 21, 2013
Heather has been in Kona for over a month. She has been very excited with all that has been happening and what the Lord has been doing in her. Here is what she wrote on here Facebook page:
This Performing Arts school is amazing. We are always busy dancing or singing or acting. In the mornings we have worship and teachings. It’s like living in a big singing, dancing, dramatic church.
And God has been changing me. No, I cannot say I am positive on what I am going to do in the future, but that doesn’t matter so much right now, I realize. This is a time in which I am being drawn closer to know and glorify God, and to know how to glorify God. Some updates: I feel called to stay here after this DTS is over, and also…Europe. Crazy, no? But in order to stay, I need to be able to pay, right? So, pray, and if possible, support and download my CD!
We are very excited seeing what God is doing in our daughter and hope that if you think about her that you would pray for her.
P.S. you can follow the link and download her music for free as well.
Posted by Shawn on March 28, 2013
Now it is that time. We are sending Heather off to see the world!! (or something like that.) She has been accepted to a YWAM Performing Arts DTS which starts April 4th. We are very excited about her decision to go this direction and at the same time sad to see her leave already. I know God has plans for her and this is just another part of her training. Please keep her in your prayers.
She has been asking for support and since we no longer need support as missionaries, we are asking you to support her financially if you feel led. Since this is a school any support sent direct is not tax-deductible. There are two phases to the DTS, the first being 3 months of a lecture period and then followed by 3 months of outreach. The plan is to go to Israel and South Africa on the outreach phase. She has raised about half of the support needed for the lecture phase and still has a ways to go to completely raise the funds needed.
We also would like to say thanks to all who supported us either by finances or by prayer the last couple of years and we hope to share what God has done with each of you.
Our Next Chapter
Posted by Shawn on January 30, 2013
Wow, we have hit 2013 running! We currently have 37 people from Kona-YWAM doing their outreach at the center. They arrived the third week of December and leave in a couple of weeks. It has been great to meet this “all generations” group. Each came to do their DTS (Discipleship Training School) for a variety of reasons. Many of the group will return back to regular living in their countries, some will head to new territories, others will go back to Kona and work with YWAM there, a few will feel that quiet nudge (or loud push) to head into missions full time, and all will have a new perspective on life and deeper understanding of who the Lord is, wherever they may go. Watching this group has opened up our eyes and hearts to see some new things. For starters, YWAM has always been a part of us here. It would’ve made sense for us to go into YWAM and do a DTS from the very start of our mission journey. Yet, as much as we thought about it, and prayed about it, we never felt like that was what we were supposed to do. Even along the way, during our many transitions, we never had a peace about taking this step. Many of our friends here have suggested it and questioned us about it and each time we have taken note but still we were not convinced the time was right. Now as we sit back and watch this group and others that have come and gone our hearts are feeling pulled, a fire is beginning.
Secondly, we are learning through our adventures what our passions are in ministry. We love watching young people come alive in the Lord. Our desire is to help them and encourage them on that journey. As well as, share with them our hearts to live a life of serving wherever the Lord leads them. We have so much yet to learn in these areas and fail in so many ways, but by God’s grace He can use even the most broken to bring glory to His name.
This journey has been a rough one with its windy roads. Yet, God has been so incredibly faithful to meet us in all circumstances. It has been a desert experience in many ways. But then again, the living water has always flooded the dry ground. All the above is to say, that we have made the decision to go back to the states for a year. Primarily to regroup, refresh, and reconnect with family and friends. Also, Heather will be turning 18 this May (absolutely unbelievable how time flies) and our desire is to help launch her into the next phase of her life well. Many of you know and have been praying about Heather’s back, her scoliosis, during the last year. This too is one of the many side reasons for choosing this time to come back. We are not finding the help she needs here and want to help her find relief and to get her back stabilized. Unfortunately, it seems to have gotten worse in the last few months, with the pain increasing and back/ribs twisting more. God has given us our children as a treasure and a blessing, our job is to take care of them and give them all the tools we can as they step into adulthood, including good health.
After this next year of rest (yeah right), the thought is to do a DTS with YWAM either in Mexico or Kona or……… At this time, that is what is on our hearts. We consider this the first of many missionary journeys. We have just tasted and it has forever changed us. There is so much more to do.
We cannot begin to express how blessed we have been with the many people that have stepped into our lives. There are so many that we hope to cross paths with again. If not here, in heaven we will have quite the reunion. Others have supported us in prayers, encouragement and financially. We couldn’t have made it this far without you. We know our journey has looked a little odd at times, we have changed our status from missionaries to gypssionaries (it fits right?), but we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for sticking with us. It has meant more than any words could possibly say.
We are grateful to Island Light Ministries, Niños de la Luz, and World Grace Mission for allowing us the opportunity to serve with them. We will take with us a little bit of each of these ministries as we move forward to what lies ahead.
The plan is to head back the end of March or early April. We ask for your prayers as we pull away from things here and get ready to reenter the states. Below are some of the specific requests listed. We love you all and thank you again for sharing in our lives. You are all awesome!
In His Love,
Shawn, Jessica, Heather, Samuel, Josiah, and Silas
Transition here at the center, please pray for the right people to step up and take over where there might be gaps, specifically a facilitator of the property and/or an outreach coordinator, as well as a person who has an interest in the aquaponics system.
For the baseball ministry here – we have really connected with the guys and we will miss them. Pray that God would use us in their lives this next couple of months. Also, there are a couple of them that have the possibility to be signed very soon to pro-teams locally, in the states, or in Korea. It would be an awesome opportunity for them and we would love to see some of that take place before we leave.
Good price on airfare (why does flying into Medford have to cost sooo much?)
Transition for us reentering the states , we will need to find housing, some basic household items, car, etc…..(if anyone has a lead on any of the above for rent/sale, let us know by email or message us on facebook)
We would have wisdom for Heather’s back and what direction to go with her care
For reconnection with family and friends, especially for the kids
That God’s grace would be over all the planning (the comings and goings)
Unity in all things during the process
Posted by Shawn on November 15, 2012
Thanksgiving in the USA is coming quickly. Time moves at an accelerating pace. This last few months have been somewhat overwhelming, with many new things on our plate.
As I am typing this, my lovely wife Jessica is teaching English to our 8 Dominican boys who are living with us at The World Grace Mission Center. Samuel is helping, Josiah and Silas are probably lost in a world of legos, Heather is baking brownies, and our 2 Korean kids are doing their studies.
Oh, did I mention we have 14 kids here?
So, as you can see our world has changed some. The Lord is stretching us in many different ways and in ways we didn’t expect at all coming to the Dominican Republic. One thing I have learned living as a missionary is expect everything and in everything grow closer to the Lord.
We knew coming here we would be learning a new culture, we knew there were going to be things that may be hard to adjust to, but we didn’t know He was going to add a second culture for us to adapt to and learn. We are working with a Korean ministry with many other Koreans visiting. Whether they are on short term teams, part of YWAM, other missionaries or business people who live here, we are being surrounded by Koreans. God is teaching us how our culture causes us to think differently. I am learning that all of our cultures have good, bad and ugly in them but that we need to be adjusting our culture to that of one like Jesus.
Paul talks about being thankful in all things (I Thess 5:18.) If we are thankful we can see better what the Lord might be doing in us. I am thankful for the time we have had in all the areas we have worked in this country. He has really opened up my mind to so much more that what I had experienced before. I am thankful for what little or how much I have had over the years realizing that so many are just trying to get enough food for the next meal.
Thanksgiving to me has a broader meaning to me than that of our country’s history. It is me giving thanks to GOD who loves us so much, thanks to friends and family who have supported us in so many ways, thanks to others for forgiving my shortcomings.
One last thank you – Thank you to all of our supports who have given financially or have prayed for us these last two years! May God pour out even more blessing on you.
The New Van
Posted by Shawn on August 26, 2012
Many were probably wondering what ever happened with the vehicle fundraiser, whether we hit our goal, what we bought, etc… I will have to say it wasn’t easy. We searched and searched, called and test drove many SUV’s and vans. The problem was that so many I checked would have needed so many repairs that they weren’t spending the 2 times amount it would cost in the USA!
But now I am happy to report to you all that we finally bought a van. It is a low mile van the was brought over from the US 5 years ago. It is a 2002 Nissan Quest.
From everyone in my family to all those who had donated or helped – THANK YOU!!!!
Posted by Shawn on April 18, 2012
We have heard a lot about change over the last few years. Sometimes when people promise change it is not what we want to hear and other times it is. Currently we have been seeing many changes and very quickly, but if God is orchestrating the change we know it is for good.
We have been praying for a while that God would reveal His plan for us hear after moving to the capital. We began to even question ourselves and ask “did we really hear from God?” We know we can learn from all things, our failures and successes, but when you believe you hear something from God and things don’t seem to be working the way you expect, it can make you wonder.
I know from the scriptures that many “great” men of God have had their times of “wondering.” You can read in the Psalms where David cries out to God wondering why things are going so bad, why his enemies seem to be conquering and why the enemy is getting away with mocking God. So I know I am not alone in my struggles of faith and understanding. God seems to let us make the step into the unknown to help us trust Him. I believe He lets us struggle in an area so that our eyes can be opened to another area of our lives that needs to be changed. I know for me, the last year plus has brought me to a realization to how I have taken for granted my wonderful wife and how I have missed so much of my children’s lives. I have a lot of work to do and I am asking God to help me make the changes in my thinking and my doing.
I love God and I am so thankful that He allows us to make mistakes and has the patience to put up with me.
Posted by Shawn on March 8, 2012
Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed.
O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.
When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas;
the one who by his strength established the mountains,
being girded with might;
who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples,
so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.
You visit the earth and water it;
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide their grain,
for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.
(Psalm 65 ESV)
I find that the more I praise God, the more I find peace through all things. We have all heard pastors talk about praising God in all circumstances and we find it easier said than done. However, if we start by praising God everyday in the good or the bad, we will find our strength in Him.
Can you give me a reason not to praise God? Is there something that He didn’t know that would happen in your life? We have no excuse, Jesus suffered so that we might have life!
Problems and Solutions
Posted by Shawn on February 22, 2012
One thing I really like to do is problem solve or fix things. I know that sometimes I might actually be creating problems too, but I am human right?
Since we have been here we haven’t had any bookshelves and being homeschoolers this can be an issue. We brought over many books and still had others bring more, but this has only caused me to get more in trouble with my wife for not having bookshelves ready.
Well, finally I am building some shelves, but I had some problems to solve. First, I have 2 saws – a circular saw and a reciprocating saw. Neither saw is really designed for building furniture. I also am short a router, sander, tablesaw, and so many basic tools that I am use to using to build furniture. Secondly, how do I make them unique, functional, and mobile? Third, very limited amount of money to spend on the project at hand.
Well here is a little solution I came up with: boxes. I am making small wood boxes to support the shelves. Now we could also use a coffee table and some end tables, so I am designing those with basically the same concept. The boxes can be stacked in different configurations. They can stack horizontal or vertical giving two different heights to a shelf. I found while making the shelves, that at 32 inches wide it didn’t quite look right to have a box at both ends, so I used one and used screws to help stabilize them.
Here are some pictures to show the process and concept:
First the problem – too many books, no shelves. (One part of the solution in the corner.)
The first one is 32″ wide and is ready for the books.
Here are examples of how they can be configured:
This one has a shorter shelf on top, it would look better if it was even shorter.
Concept coffee table using the same boxes:
So you might be asking how this fits in to being a missionary. Well, first we are still a family and we live in a house and still homeschool. There is a normal part of living no matter where you live. Secondly, how do we solve problems. Do we let things stop us or do we find solutions and move forward. One of the things I am learning on the field is to keep pressing on. There have been many challenges, but through Christ I know there are solutions and positive results of each of those challenges. I do believe what the Bible says in Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Harvest Connections – Connecting Missions
Posted by Shawn on February 16, 2012
While we were living in Sosua there was a group started to help bring together the different missions that operate in that area. The group is called Harvest Connections.
There are a couple of goals within this group, one being that each mission group knew about the others. This in turn can help them share resources, which this has already taken place in a couple on instances. Another goal was to help connect those wanting to serve in the area with the mission groups already working there.
Well, I volunteered to build the website at www.harvestconnections.org which is finally ready to show others. There are some further plans for the back end of the website to help the mission groups communicate needs to each other, and on the front end to help categorize in different ways.
Take a look and let me know if it has any errors or if you have an idea that might improve it.