Hi There, I’m Kathryn

 

Hi there, I’m Kathryn, or as I am called here in Costa Rica, Catalina.

I am a photographer, artist, writer, bookworm, and serious coffee snob. I am a bit obsessed with beach cruiser bicycles (always with a basket!), extra large sunhats, fresh pineapple, and Taco Tuesdays.

Most importantly though, I am the new communications/media coordinator for ReachGlobal Latin America/Caribbean, and will be curating this blog for the next few years, so I thought I’d take a moment to introduce myself.

I am a Southern California girl raised in the mountains of Colorado, with an insatiable desire to travel and explore new places. Because of this, I have gotten to see many parts of the world, and live in some interesting places, my favorite being a remote village in the Alaskan bush for two years. My education is in art, with a degree in music first and photography second. My photography degree had an emphasis in photojournalism and documentary work, with the purpose of working in the non-profit world. I had the privilege of working in depth with an inner city Christian school in Denver for several years, helping them with their fundraising and awareness efforts by making short videos and doing expansive photographic stories.

My heart is to tell God’s stories around the world, and I am over the moon that I get to do that here in this region.

I will be based out of Costa Rica for the next few years, making my way around Latin America and the Caribbean, telling the stories of our teams, ministries, and partner churches along the way. You can expect an abundance of photos and videos here on the blog, as well as the grand narrative of how God is building His church in this part of the world. I look forward to learning, sharing, and hearing from you as well!

My other passion is teaching art to people who are walking through trauma or just need a safe space to open up and make beautiful things. Art journaling is my specialty, which is really just “mess making with a purpose” as I like to call it. It has been a wonder and privilege to watch the Lord transform hearts and open up closed off spaces during art classes over the years. If you are interested in learning a bit more about this, you can read my blog post here.

My heart and vision for this blog is to be a space for connection, for stories, and for community. We can all use updates on each other’s ministries, but storytelling is so much more than just reporting the news. We get to all be a part of this Kingdom work, whether we are in Latin American countries or somewhere completely different and participating by prayer and giving. This blog has been, and will continue to be a place where we can go to see the stories that God is writing in His church, and the ways we are connected to one another in the body.

If you are interested in learning more of my story, please visit my personal blog over at www.kathrynbronnblog.com. I can’t wait to walk this journey and see where God leads us as a Division and the Body of Christ over these next few years! ¡Pura vida!

Calling Young Adults! [Summer Apex Missions]

Combine your passion to serve in cross-cultural missions with our passion for developing future mission leaders.

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From June 19-August 4, 2017, ReachGlobal is sending out teams of young adults (college age and post-grads) to locations around the world as part of our Apex mission program. Apex teams will integrate into the local ReachGlobal teams, serving alongside our missionaries while receiving training and equipping for future mission and ministry success.

Let us invest in you while you invest in the cities and countries that we call home.

Find out more about how you can serve this summer in:

Applications are due by April 2017 — however, the programs are first-come, first-serve and may fill up sooner. If God is calling you to go deeper into missions, don’t miss your opportunity to be part of His greater story in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Video: Trek7 – Drew’s Story

As we gear up for three Trek7 missions experiences for 2016 in Latin America and the Caribbean — Costa Rica, Haiti and Peru — let’s take a look back at a previous Trek7 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Trek7 provides college students and recent college grads with seven weeks of hands-on mission experience woven together with ministry training, spiritual mentoring, language learning and cultural immersion. It’s a challenge to get out of your comfort zone and put your faith into action.

Will you join us?

See more info and apply online at myef.ca/trek7.

Serving in Rio Azul

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“At the end of 2013, my husband and I were invited to serve as leaders in a Costa Rican church restart in a nearby slum, Rio Azul. We had prayed for years that God would open doors so that we could participate on just such a team and were blown away by God’s goodness to provide such a wonderful opportunity. Since accepting the position, we now regularly teach, serve on the worship team, co-lead the Sunday school, preach, lead a Bible study, teach music and English classes and serve in a variety of other ways.”

Dave and Angie Ziel are ReachGlobal missionaries serving in San José, Costa Rica, since November 2011. Learn more about their life and ministry on their blog, Ziels in LA.

 

Colleague Close-up: The Hunters


J&M Hunter
There’s no question why Jonathan and Maggie Hunter are smiling these days. After waiting more than two and a half years between applying to ReachGlobal and landing in San Jose, Costa Rica, they’re glad to finally have reached their goal.

Jonathan and Maggie, who have been married for almost four years, have a toddler son, Patrick, and a baby girl on the way in January. Jonathan, 25, who grew up as a missionary kid (MK) in Ecuador, serves as the director of the AMCA youth ministry in San Jose. AMCA ministers to about 75 expat and Costa Rican (Tico) teenagers in the San Jose metro area. While Jonathan takes over the reins of the youth ministry, Maggie is attending full-time Spanish language school at The Spanish Language Institute in San Jose.

The couple took some time recently to talk about their journey and what they’ve seen God doing as they dive into full-time youth ministry.

Their call to youth ministry:

J: During the application process, we spent a lot of time in prayer. There was something inside us – we knew this is where the Lord was bringing us.

 

M: Both of us have known we wanted to do something with youth ministry. The Lord led us to missions, and we didn’t necessarily see youth ministry in missions. [But] this position is just a perfect fit, because we’re able to serve students, and with Jonathan himself being a missionary kid, a third culture kid, he’s able to be a resource for the students and the parents in our youth group.

Value of Jonathan knowing Spanish:

J: It’s really been invaluable. It helps you relate to students, because there is a little bit of a clique, in one sense, when you have the long-term MK’s who already speak Spanish and have integrated with the Tico students and youth group. So knowing Spanish and being an MK gives me an instant credibility that otherwise wouldn’t necessarily have been there.

It also helps me communicate with a lot of the parents of the students who won’t speak English or can’t speak English. Just being able to speak the language breaks down a lot of barriers that you might otherwise have when you’re trying to work with parents.

Nice surprises

J: Some people come into a new field, and they’re kind of overwhelmed and entirely lost. We’re familiar with Latin cultures and Latin cities, but we for sure didn’t know where to go to buy groceries. We had no idea how to put chips in our cell phones – we didn’t know you had to have your passport with you.

Our ReachGlobal team was really spot-on. When we got here, our team leader [Jim Wilson] met us at the airport and drove us to the apartment that [Jim’s wife] Melanie helped find. We had people to show us around the first day.

M: We had our Internet installed within 24 hours of making our first phone call, and in the states it took two weeks for that to happen. Other people where have had longer experiences, having to wait a week or two as well. Melanie Wilson laughed – she said, “What are we going to do to make this more of a missionary experience?” I responded, “Good luck. We’ve had people praying for two and a half years about this transition.” The Lord definitely has had a huge part in how smooth it’s been.

Primary goals

J: Our first [goal] in the ministry is to make the transitional into the director role, and that means not changing too much at one and getting a lot of feedback from people.

Another immediate goal that I have is really helping the people that I get to work with in Bible study and whenever we do the big group teachings to, even at a young age, develop a good hermeneutic Bible study methods and to help form an expectation with how people are going to be approaching the Bible.

Long-term team goals – we have three of them:

First would be just discipling students and helping them mature in Christ and in their walk with the Lord.

Number two, supporting families: A lot of them are missionaries, and one of the main reasons that missionaries leave the field is problems with children. If we can help provide stability and discipleship by being there, if we can help support the families in their everyday ministry life, hopefully we’ll be able to see them remain in the field. If we can in any way strengthen the family unit through youth ministry, that’s a huge plus.

Finally, helping the students in their transitions …

M: We have many people in the youth group who are here from anywhere form just three months to a year while their parents learn Spanish. A huge part of our ministry is to help people through the transition, as they transfer into Costa Rica and prepare to transfer out to where their parents do ministry or to go to college.

The whole thing about the youth group is that it’s the place that you’re not alone in that emotion or in that frustration. Also having Ticos there, you can’t just reject the culture that you’re a part of. You can learn to incorporate and adjust in this transition. Going through that process is something that’s completely normal.

Investing in Students’ Futures

AMCA gives kids place to belong

AMCA GirlsSAN JOSE, Costa Rica — Though it’s Costa Rica, the evening begins like any typical Christian youth group in the U.S.: socializing, worship music, message. The two-story house in San Jose’s San Francisco neighborhood swells with sounds of teens laughing and the student worship band tuning their guitars. For many visitors, the sound of English being spoken also provides a welcome to the AMCA youth group. As Costa Rican and North American teens gather in the brightly lit meeting room, they are welcomed by leaders and encouraged to take a seat. Kids begin to pull out their Bibles. Jay Fast, a volunteer leader, asks if anyone is willing to do the Bible chant. The hand of a teenage boy shoots up. He walks to the front, raises his Bible above his head, and leads his peers in the chant: “This is my Bible! I am what it says I am! I will do what it says to do! And I will go where it says to go! Now open it up and read it!” After the message and near the end of the evening, Chris and Cynthia Gault, AMCA house directors, invite the three North American students who won’t be returning after the summer to come forward. The rest of the youth group surrounds them with their hands extended, and students begin to pray. The next tear-filled 30 minutes of impassioned prayer suggest this group is anything but typical.

Reaching missionary kids

Asociación de Ministerios Cristianos (AMCA) international youth group is a ministry in Costa Rica targeted toward English speakers ages 13 to 18. The ministry was started in 1970 and at that time included the international youth group and English Bible studies. One of the key goals of the international youth group is to reach missionary kids. About four blocks from the AMCA house is the Spanish Language Institute;,an intensive Spanish language school attended by many missionaries learning the language skills needed to minister in Latin America. “About half of the students at AMCA are North Americans, who are kind of transient,” Fast says. “Maybe they’re here for six months or a year while their parents are doing language school or that type of thing. So it gives them a place to connect and speak and English and not feel like they’re totally out of their element.” Melissa Putney, a missionary with ReachGlobal, began working with the AMCA youth group about 2 ½ years ago after being asked to lead a Bible study for the high school girls. Since then she has taken on more roles, including helping with the Saturday night  big group of 70 kids and discipling some of the girls who attend her Bible study. “For the missionary kids involved in the group, it provides a spiritual community for them,” Putney says. “It recognizes that just because their parents are missionaries doesn’t mean that they have it all together or that they’re definitely already Christians. They need people to invest in them as well.”

Cross-cultural haven

In addition to ministering to English-speaking North Americans, the ministry also targets Ticos (Costa Ricans). “For the Costa Rican national students that are here, the Ticos, I think it’s a great place for them to connect on a regular ongoing basis,” Fast says. “They have a solid youth ministry in the area where they can be plugged into for four, five or six years — all through middle school and high school.” Andrea Duarte, a 16-year-old Tica student, says her favorite aspect of the AMCA youth group is that it is cross-cultural. “It doesn’t matter that some people only speak Spanish or some people only speak English, you find ways to break that barrier and join together in love and worship for God,” Duarte says. “It’s not about the language, it’s not about the culture. We all share the same God and that’s the greatest thing.” In this group marked by transition, Putney says that the recent influx of Ticos provides stability. “Most of the Costa Ricans aren’t going to leave until they graduate so they’re there for longer periods of time,” Putney says. “So then there’s more of a base now than there used to be of longer-term students. Ale Castro, a 15-year-old Tica student in Melissa’s Bible study, says her involvement in AMCA has helped her mature in her faith. “It has been a really good experience because I’ve  learned a lot of the Bible and I’ve been growing a lot in Christ,” Castro says. Putney says that the enthusiasm and spiritual growth she’s seen in student’s like Castro motivates her to continue being involved in the AMCA. “It’s been really exciting to see their growth and what the youth group means to the students,” Putney says. “They don’t want to miss out. They don’t miss a Saturday night big group or camp-out or anything. They always go.”