Friday, January 30, 2015

What is an UPG

 UPG's are Unreached People Groups.

David just returned from an intensive boot camp, for missionaries in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Their goal was to learn how to target and reach the people that are not being reached with an adequate presentation of the gospel.

The Assemblies of God defines UPG's as follows:  an unreached people group  is an ethnolinguistic population among whom there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate number and resources to evangelize the rest of its members without outside (cross-cultural) assistance.

I wanted to share with you, what that means for our family, and our call here to Costa Rica.

I found an article by Greg Mundis, in the Enrichment Journal, His article is here, and I'll use that to help me communicate the overall picture.

He says. . .
What we believe shapes our priorities and determines how we live.

We believe, as the founders of our Fellowship did, that our Lord commands us to proclaim His gospel and establish His church in all the world.  We also believe, as our early leaders did, the Lord's promise that His Spirit would empower us to accomplish that mission.

More than 4 billion people have not yet had an adequate witness of our Lord's saving message.  The purpose of AGWM is "so all can hear".  We must pay any price to keep fulfilling that purpose.

Greg Mundis


What we believe shapes our priorities and determines how we live.

I think about that and put it in context to my family.  And how we, the Cartwrights live.
Has "so all can hear" shaped us?
Does it determine how we, as a family, live.

I find myself comparing what our lives actually look like, to what my mind creates.  I think for my family, to fulfill the great commission, and reaching unreached people groups. . . we need to be living out in the virgin rain forest of Costa Rica.   Living off the land, teaching my girls on a dirt floor under a thatched roof, roasting food over open flames.  Contracting rare diseases. .  . ugh. . .

When I compare my real life here, living in San Jose, against the life my mind creates,
I fall short.
I feel shame.
I want to go home.
I don't feel worthy of the sacrifice of those who sent us.

It has taken several years, of saying "yes Lord, I'll go", leaping into unknown places, making decisioins  based on blind faith, living in constant transition, sleepless nights waiting to hear a small still voice, falling down and getting back up again, failure, planning an escape route back home, fasting, waiting, crying, renewal, . . .
for me to finally get a glimpse of our "shape". . .
to see how He is putting things in place for our family.

We believed we were called.
We said we would go. . . wherever
We stepped out in faith when asked to come to Costa Rica
We are learning what our role is in the unreached people groups of Costa Rica.
We are determined.

What we believe shapes our priorities and determines how we live.

What has taken shape for our family, is unique for our family.
We didn't know when we said, "yes" what that would look like.
What shape it would take.

So what does it looks like for us. . .
We kind of look like a puzzle at this point, with lots of shapes.

Here in Costa Rica, the Assemblies of God, owns a camp ground, called La Garita.  We were asked to help build classrooms and dorms, so that missionaries BEING SENT from all other Spanish speaking countries here in Latin America and the Caribbean can be trained in sound missiology.  The idea is that they will come here for orientation, like we went to Springfield, Missouri.  These Christ followers, have much more access to countries than us with a passport from America do.  They are answering the call.  They want to LIVE DEAD.  They sometimes lack sound missiology that will help sustain them.  They need to be equipped, and we were asked to help with that.  We did NOT sign up for helping with a building project, but our believe in the great commission, changed the way we lived.  We believe this is a launching pad, for these missionaries, who are a product of missionaries before us, that were sent by you, will be able to have access to millions of unreached people.

While here, we have been targeting a specific community, Salitre.  This is a community of Bri Bri Indians.  This is where about 1500-2500 people live.  You can read about our work there in our newsletters here  But, what is exciting, is that  through Community Health Evangelism, two different Indigenous communities (Cebecar and Boruca) have given us invitations to share in their communities in this area. Within the 8 groups of Indigenous groups here in Costa Rica there are roughly 110,000 people.  

We believe we have been sent to Costa Rica, 
and that shapes us and how we live

We want to fulfill the purpose of reaching the unreached of those we have the privilege of meeting.  We will use whatever tools we have.   We want to Go with the Power of the Holy Spirit.

Loren Triplet, former AGWM Executive Director said, "You don't measure yourself by your success; you measure yourself against the unfinished task.  We've got to keep that task in front of us all the time. We don't move forward by neglecting what we are already doing around the world.  We move forward by following the Spirit, implementing strategy, and expanding what we are doing."

That is what we want to do, move forward, follow the Spirit, implement strategy, and expand what we, the Cartwright family, are doing.  God put these Indigenous groups (these unfinished tasks so to speak) in our hearts, in our prayers, in our lives.  Continue to pray that these groups, will come to believe the life changing power of Christ.  Pray that God continues to raise up people who will finish the task, that are willing to be changed, who are willing to GO where God leads them.

My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ
has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else.
I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says, 
Those who have never been told about Him will see, 
and those who have never hear of Him will understand.
Romans 15:20-21

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What is Chicas de Promesa?

Describing what Chicas de Promesa is will take a series of Blog posts to talk about.  

I'll start with a basic introduction.  

Chicas de Promesa is a girl's empowerment club.  It is a safe place where girls can study and be mentored,
 build friendships and have fun.  It helps girls at risk realize their dignity, not matter what they have been through,
it strengthens them to overcome their current challenges,
 and prepares them for the future they dream of:
all within an atmosphere of God's love and promises.

The girls in the club attend the local Latin America Childcare School. 
 Although at school they learn in an atmosphere of God's love,
at home most of the girls are exposed to domestic violence and molestation, 
gangs and drugs, and women who sell themselves to make ends meet.

The girls carry a heavy burden.
Chicas de Promesa gives them a place to bring their pain,
share with other girls,
receive healing through God's love,
and learn how to create a different future for themselves.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Dad

The month of November turned out to be the beginning of another heartbreak for me, another journey. . .

On November 5th, My dad went quietly from this world, to meet our Heavenly Father.

My dad owned his business for over 35 years, and since the beginning,  he passed out a business card that said:
If you never knew me,
you'll miss nothing

If you never know JESUS
you'll miss EVERYTHING.

That's the kind of man my dad was.  

I wrote a legacy and read it at his funeral.  If you would like to read it , Click here

Be inspired to spend yourselves so others may come to know Jesus as savior. May you do so in whatever way God has uniquely called and gifted you and let nothing stop you. Strive to leave a legacy of generosity, lavishly spending your life and your talents for Jesus Christ. 

That was his legacy. 

It is now almost 2 1/2 months since I lost him and  I still can't believe he is gone.
I miss him so very much

 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. . . 
Psalms 68:5

Monday, January 19, 2015

Medical Missions

In late October we were able to host our first medical mission's team.

It had been a long wait.    We met the co-ordinator, Dr. Bob of the medical team while itinerating, now several years ago.  He came down a year before (in 2013) on a planning mission.

We have targeted a certain Indigenous group, and was planning on using this team to help us integrate into the community.

We had taken several trips into the community, meeting the community leaders, praying, planning, etc.

We as a family were very excited to be able to participate in something we felt the Lord had called us to do, so many years before.  We were going to use the skills and tools he had planted in our lives for "such a time as this".

The girls decided to take the week off of school, so that they could come with us.  This was a hard decision for them, because they had to make up all of the school work.  But we were committed.  We were a "family on a mission".

To be able to work in medicine here in Costa Rica, you must have a local physician.  We had one lined up several weeks before hand, and a dentist who was willing to come and participate in ministry with us.  Well, 2 days before our team arrived, our doctor cancelled, and well. . . the dentist had bowed out too.

Dave was convinced, that God had the perfect people ordained for this trip.  So we prayed and waited.

Trusting and waiting are sometimes very hard. . .

We were going to be several hours out side San Jose, which meant, lots of planning, meal prepping, equipment gathering. . .

I baked and cooked and then cleaned my kitchen, and then baked and cooked, and then cleaned my kitchen, . . . (I think you get the picture)  All of our meals on site would have to be cooked without an oven or stove.  Hmmm, that take's extra planning.

The morning of the arrival date of our team, God answered a specific prayer,  we had found a Doctor and a Dentist.   We invited them both over for our "Get to Know You Meal". We always host the first night of a team, at our house.  God had a plan.

Get to know you meal at our house

Dr. Bob and David

The next morning, we get up very early, and drove several hours to our community, we were in a very small church, in an Indigenous area, way off the beaten path, through the pineapple fields, off of paved roads, etc.

We had to hike up to the church we would be preaching at.

This was just outside the church
It was like we were walking straight into the jungle.  The church was ready for us.  God shows up no matter where.  One of the team members was able to preach,  our interpreter, had a hard time with the southern preacher from Kentucky.  At times the sermon went from English, to Spanish, to their language.

Afterward, we made it back down and had lunch, and checked into our hotel.  Later that night, we were able to sort through the meds that had been brought down, so that we would be able to distribute the medicine to the people efficiently.

Everyone Pitched In!

Over the next few days, we got up early, set up clinic, and came back tired.  Some people walked hours, or rode horses to be able to receive medical care, to be prayed for, and/or learn more about the Bible.

We had people from all ages helping us.  We were able to provide much needed dental care, pass out eye glasses, perform medical exams, provide vitamins and  medicine for the entire family.  The girls, the bus driver, the local church leaders, the home missionary, the community, so many people were working to make up an amazing team.

Dental Care was such an amazing part of the outreach

We are with the pastor and the home missionary, Carlos

We were able to sponsor a very unique class.  
We taught a first aid class specifically for those living in remote areas.  
We were able to hand each person from different communities a "first aid kit". 
We taught them what to do for a burn, a deep cut, choking, CPR, etc. . . 

During each medical clinic, the pastors that were on the team, 
taught basic Bible classes in a separate location.

This was such an awesome example of how God uses all of our talents.

And then teaches some of us new talents. . . . 
like how to use a crock pot, or how to feed an entire community





There were many amazing things that happened that week.  
We were able to reach into the community in a very meaningful way.

God's love was spread to over 3 different Indigenous areas.
Many were prayed over
Many were loved on

Sometimes we just played with the kids, or colored with them.


Because God is God

my favorite part

Is watching the following story unfold.  We had our plans, we really thought we did, but God had other plans.  It turns out that during one of the evening services, after the preaching was done, Dave gave a call, to anyone who wanted to give their hearts to Jesus.  I was standing at the back of the church praying.  Then I saw something I am not sure I have ever seen before. . .

 One person stood up, and then the person sitting with them stood up,
 and together they almost ran to the alter.  

If that isn't amazing enough, it gets only sweeter when I tell you who it was

it was our doctor and our dentist.

God knew exactly who was going to be on our team.
He had it planned a long time ago.

He hand picked them.
Just like he did you and me.

The way God writes His story is amazing.  
His details are incredible. 

And sometimes we get a glimpse of it.
And sometimes we get to be a part of it.

I pray that wherever you are in your story, 
you experience His amazing, incredible, indescribable details.

  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name
John 20:30-31

Friday, January 16, 2015

Year in review part 2 July too . . . . well October

 Wow.  Looking back, I am not sure how we survived July.  It is a blur.

We started out by going on our first family "missions" trip.  A fellow missionary was going in to an area in the country called Rio Frio.  We all went with her.  We were not responsible for any of the set-up, we just went to minister, and maybe help translate, so we call it our family mission's trip.  We had a blast.  The team was broken up into 3 groups.  Maggi went with one, Emma went with another, and Dave and I went with the third.  The girl's both loved it.  There were so many young people, and they incorporated the girls into their teams, before the time was over, Emma was a clown, Maggi was in the drama, and they were praying over anyone they could get their hands on.  We loved watching our girl's participate in ministry.

Emma as the Clown

One of the churches in a community in a remote pineapple plantation

This was the commute after the service.  

Then. .  . We were able to host a team from West Texas and New Mexico.  We had a great time, but worked hard.  We worked with a local church to host a sports camp.  We had planned for a max of 100 kids.  The first day we had over 200.  We were in way over our heads.  The team was led by an MK that used to live here, so it was fun to be part of his team.

 Judy, Dave's mom came for the summer.  She was such a blessing to have with us.  She cooked, cleaned, prayed over so many people, cried, laughed, and fell in love with the people of Costa Rica.
Maggi finds someone to hold everywhere.


 As a testimony to this outreach, I have to share this story. . . One of the long time members of the church came up to Dave After the service and told him, that on the back row, he saw one of the drug dealers, not a low level drug dealer, but Leader and gang member.  He never thought that the this man would step foot in the church, let alone be able to have the gospel presented to him.  I can't say that he was saved in the service, but that was a "first" step in what we will believe will be the beginning of a change in that community.

Then. . . My home church from Lake Wylie, South Carolina came.  It was a dream come true, to share our home and ministry with my "people".  The men worked on a classroom for missionaries from Latin and South America to come and be trained in missiology.

The men started with a poured concrete slap, and worked as long as daylight would permit.

I took the group of ladies with me to different schools, to minister to 5-6 grade girls.  The ladies shared snacks, did a craft, and told them of their worth and beauty in Christ.  We also worked with a church in a strong Catholic community with street evangelism, and helping in the service.

 A fun story: Emma had dressed as super girl, with an "s" on her check.  Well, after the morning and afternoon in the sun, she had an "s" sunburned check for quite a while.

We also worked with a church in a strong Catholic community with street evangelism, and helping in the service.

This was such a sweet time, I was able to bring my home church to share in my ministry for girls in Linda Vista

Lake Wylie Christian Assembly, took a little piece of our hearts when then returned home.

Finally, after ministry for 5 of the girl's 6 weeks of summer, we went on vacation.  It was wonderful.  We were able to rest, play, swim, and sleep in.  It was a great way to decompress with the girls.  I asked them if they thought it was too much for the summer.  

This was their answer, "we would do it all over again!

We saw lots of this. . .
We got to be a family on vacation in Costa Rica!  

The last day of summer. . . . . . 


As soon as we got back to San Jose, the girls returned to school.  
Emma started 5th grade and Maggi started 8th grade.  The summer helped recharge Maggi, not only physically, but each group that came refreshed her mentally, and she grew stronger in her faith.  She gained the knowledge that she didn't have to feel lonely here, because she had friends all over that were praying for her.  

While the girls were back in the swing of things, I was able to bring Judy to  Chica's club with me.  She did a great job talking about how each one of the girls are a light on a hill.  We were able to have a time of prayer, and shared a craft letting them know that when they look in the mirror they "BRILLA" or "SHINE".  Judy did a great job, is was an honor having her share.
Judy also helped each girl make a nametag.
 I was able to attend my first women's retreat with the ladies from my church.  My Spanish was stretched to the limit.  I drove more than I cared to, but bonded with the ladies, and felt like I belonged and was connected to these caring ladies.


Once we were told we were released to come to Costa Rica, we bought a "Yay Us" cake.  So every year, on September 5th, we buy some sort of "Yay Us" cake.  We celebrated our 2nd birthday.

The same community that we held a sport's camp was doing an outreach into the community, they live in "Los Cuadros"  which means "The Block".  Because we fell in love with the pastors, and the passion they have for the community, we went back as a family to participate in that outreach.


You just never know who you will run into in Costa Rica
This summer, from a sweet friend, we learned the art of balloon making.  This will instantly bring a smile to almost anyone.
Costa Rica celebrates their Independence Day on September 15th.  The girls practiced and learned a typical dance for a group dance at church.  We are so proud of our little MK's

I promise I will tell you more about Chicas Club, But I ended up the month with an amazing session.  We had a session on recovering from sexual abuse with these girls.  The time invested in this community with these girls is a process, this was a step in a long transformation process.

October. . .

This was a special time for Emma.  This is her BIG dance recital.  Her big show is in October.  She has worked very hard.  Her classes are taught all in Spanish.  She goes to class 2 days a week for 2 hours.  This was a BIG thing for her, because when we left the states, she just asked if she could please do dance when we got to Costa Rica.  So our dancing queen. . .

OK, I think we are going to have the year in review end here.  
I am going to work on a post for our team we hosted in October. . . and the rest of the year. . . .

Just looking at the pictures, and reviewing the dates, I realize how amazing our life is.  

Psalm 16:5
"Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.  
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; 
surely I have a delightful inheritance."