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Paul & Beth Kostner Newsletter (Fall 2022)

Paul & Beth Kostner Newsletter (Fall 2022)

Dear Friends, Family and Former Team Members,

Wow! So much has happened since our last prayer letter! We will start with our summer ministry.

Our summer began on June 5, a week earlier than everyone else. Our team of 17 team members (10 guys and 7 girls), along with two other leaders, were a part of the “Leader Development Team”. They were all former team members, at least 16 years old and had good evaluation(s) from their previous team(s). Their week of Boot Camp was still spent in a tent and they had Boot Camp classes on leadership, servanthood, etc. Following their week-long Boot Camp, they moved into the dorms and began their first “project”. The team began each day with either serving breakfast KP or assisting as a judge on the Obstacle Course. After that, they were “all over the place”. Some helped teach drama, puppets or music classes. Others helped with the “work” classes such as concrete and block laying (prepping the mortar) or helping the outside crew with their many responsibilities. In addition, they cleaned the bathrooms every morning and helped monitor the morning classes. In the evenings, they rotated with helping run the video cameras, monitoring, and helping as counselor assistants. We were able to be together for all of our meals, which was a blessing.

Following Boot Camp, we had the privilege of traveling to India where we worked at our base near Vijayawada.  Our flights were full and the team was scattered throughout the plane. At first, that frustrated me—I like keeping the team together. However, watching the team members witnessing to their fellow passengers was such a blessing. If they couldn’t answer the question, another team member in another row would help them out.

Yes, India was hot, but we all enjoyed being in rooms with powerful fans, and this is the first summer (this was our third summer team to India) that we experienced rain.

The original project fell through, and they learned that being “fluid and flexible” is invaluable in being a leader. They painted several churches in our village along with helping lay a foundation for a small church in a tiny village. They also taught the India Bible school students dramas and puppet skits. Three nights a week, we participated in evangelism in our village. We would hand out tracts—what a blessing to watch the nationals actually read the tract instead of throwing it away. Following that, the team would do a presentation which included testimonies, singing, puppets and dramas. They ended the presentations by either handing out Wordless Bracelets or making balloon animals for the children. 

This team was such a blessing in so, so many ways. They got along well and had such servants’ hearts—willing to do ANYTHING that we asked of them. One of our girls never received her duffel bag. She never complained and the other girls were quick to help her out with clothing, bedding and anything else she needed. Our two leaders, Eugene and Ellie, were invaluable. In addition to helping with the work projects, Eugene kept our water purified and was our official “fixer”. Ellie showed maturity and wisdom well beyond her years and she could have run the kitchen on her own (and this was her first time leading!). Our missionaries, Raj and Sajani (who are our India Coordinators), were selfless in their ministry to the team. They were quick to meet any and every need of the team and/or leadership. After spending the month of January with them, it was extra special to be able to spend the summer with them also. Please pray for our precious team members as they are all back home (two are students at the Teen Missions Sojourners School Of Ministry), that they will continue to seek the Lord in every area of their lives.

After our team ended (with MANY tears), Paul and Danae packed her car and he helped her drive to her new home in Phoenix. She is living with friends (former TMIers). They have three children and she loves spending time with the family. She was able to get a remote job with a company in Phoenix and is enjoying it. She has visited a couple of churches and is looking forward to finding a church home. While in Phoenix, Paul was able to visit a couple of friends and supporters and that was a blessing for him to reconnect with them. Meanwhile, I stayed home (there wasn’t room in the car...) and got our summer stuff put away. We miss Danae tremendously and we are looking forward to having her “home” for Christmas.

In August, Paul and I, along with five other staff members, traveled to Asia for our first-ever “Asian Summit”. We stayed in a retreat center outside (way outside...) of the capital. What a blessing to meet all of our coordinators from all of our Asian bases. It was also a blessing to meet up with Raj and Sajani again (three times in one year!). Following our 10 days there, we then traveled to another Asian base where we spent a week with our staff there. Another blessing! The staff were so gracious and fun. We enjoyed getting to know them, seeing the work and playing with the four children of the staff. There is so much potential in the staff and ministry in this country! They will be having their first post-covid Boot Camp in December and then they hope to reopen their Bible school in January. Please pray for a good response for the Boot Camp there and for the Bible school that will begin in January. Also, please pray for wisdom for the staff as they coordinate everything for Boot Camp.

And after we returned from Asia, we spent a few days doing actual office work and preparing to begin the registration process for the 2023 summer teams. We have received about 50 registrations, but that should increase after we finalize the projects for the teams. We have added some things to the registration process, so all of that has to be finalized and implemented.

All of the staff and many of the board members traveled to Bradenton, Florida, for our staff retreat. We spent time at a Christian retreat center. In addition to biblical teaching, praise and worship and game time, we spent time “debriefing” on our summer ministry—what worked and what we needed to improve on. It was a great time of fellowship and fun with everyone.

Two weeks ago, we had some major rainfall which resulted in about eight inches of water in our backyard. Paul went out in the pouring rain to dig a ditch to divert the water from the house. Thankfully, he decided not to fill in the ditch, yet. And then comes Hurricane Ian...We escaped damage, and we were thankful for the new doors, windows and a new roof (we didn’t hear a thing!). I am not sure our old roof would have survived the winds. There was a lot of flooding at Teen Missions, but it did not affect the buildings or main parking lot. Since we did not lose electricity, we were able to work at the offices and we are thankful for that. 

The kids are doing great. Lindsay continues to love working with facilitating adoptions. She continues to work mainly from home, but does have to go out to do home studies and appear in court for custody and adoption issues. Colton is still working part-time and going to school part-time and he is doing well in both. BJ just had to purchase another vehicle as his engine blew in the truck. He has been saving for several months, so he had a good down payment. We are thankful that he has a vehicle that is more reliable than the truck. He is enjoying working for a small space company. He is taking a break from school this semester as it was difficult to merge the work schedule and school schedule this semester.

Thank you for your faithful prayers and financial support that allows us to serve here at Teen Missions. We continue to love what we do and we appreciate your partnership in our ministry. You are a blessing!!!!

In Christ,

Paul & Beth Kostner

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