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Paul & Beth Kostner Newsletter (Spring 2021)

May 2021

Dear Friends, Family and Former Team Members,

I keep thinking about last year at this time. We had just cancelled our 2020 teams, my desk was clean, Boot Camp looked just like it had the previous nine months—no Big Top tents were up and no Obstacle Course, the phones were quiet and there was no excitement. Now...my desk is a mess, I’m drowning in paperwork, emails are never ending, phone calls are coming in fast and furious, the Big Top tents are up, the Obstacle Course is up and there is so, so much excitement. Lord willing, it is happening in 2021!!!!!

In February, we made the decision to move all but four teams to our bases overseas. Due to COVID restrictions, we knew that everyone traveling internationally would need a PCR test going and coming back. Of course, we had to tackle the “what ifs” and we felt the safest places to be were at our bases. At the beginning of March, Paul and I traveled to Alaska and Idaho to set up domestic teams for 2021. This was the first time for both of us to travel to Alaska and it was so beautiful—cold, but beautiful! We loved the mountains and the snow, especially from inside the car! We Floridians don’t have much in the way of warm clothing, so we got really good at running in and out of buildings to the car. We visited some great friends in Idaho who introduced us to three ministries there. Both teams will be in great locations and there will be much to do.

For the first time ever, this Boot Camp will be “closed”—only the participants, leaders, staff and volunteers will be allowed in and no one out. There will be no running to town for Dairy Queen blizzards...Please be praying that everyone comes in COVID free, everyone leaves COVID free and everyone returning to Debrief from their projects will be COVID free. Please pray with us!

As of this writing, we have almost 300 team members and leaders participating this summer on a team. We are so very excited! Seeing everything ready for Boot Camp never ceases to bring a smile to my face! The mosquitoes and the weather got the memo that we are running this summer—a major increase in the number of mosquitoes and in the afternoon thunder storms. Bring it on!

And for the first time ever, Paul and I will be going to Zambia with the Leader Development Team! We were scheduled to lead the Leader Development Team to the Philippines, but the Philippines is still locked down. Zambia is wide open! Our team will be staying at their main base in Ndola where the team will be working on a building for a conference center. We are excited to be working with Doug and Barb Petersen, who have been coordinators at this base for 20+ years. We have 12 team members (eight boys and four girls) on our team, along with two other leaders. Our team arrives at Boot Camp a week early where they will have classes on leadership. During Boot Camp, they will be plugged in to different classes where they will assist the instructors, as well as help judge the Obstacle Course, help with rally music, etc.—wherever they are needed! Please pray for unity among the leadership and team members along with health and safety(and no COVID!)! Please pray for wisdom as we lead these precious team members.

Our annual Mud Run on May 8 was a success! There were 635 participants and there were many positive responses to it. We are thankful for the money raised (over $34,000!)—it will be going overseas to help with medical needs. The Mud Run is always such a blessing to us as staff and a blessing to our ministries overseas.

With the exception of $200+ water bills, things have been going well on the home front. We finally found the “leak” this week, so we are looking forward to lower water bills. We kept blaming the boys for their LONG showers...And we are finally (at least we hope so) getting new windows next week. This was suppose to happen in April, but...this should also help reduce the electric bills. Next stop, doors and floors! Please pray that there are no more “oops” this summer while we are at Boot Camp and in Zambia.

The kids are doing great! Colton’s car finally died, so he is the proud owner of a “new to me” Honda Civic and for the first time, a car loan. We feel better knowing he has a reliable car. He continues to work hard. Lindsay and Jamie ran the Mud Run for fun. They had a great time and were smart enough to buy clothes at a thrift store and promptly deposited those same clothes in the garbage after the run. BJ is still enjoying his job with ETA (small space company) and seems to really like the diversity of the jobs he is given. Danae is doing well in the Chicago area. It doesn’t look like she will get a “real” graduation ceremony, but she did manage to make this mama happy by sending some grad pictures. She got COVID right after Easter, but has recovered. She came down to see us a few weeks ago for a long weekend. It was good to have her home! All of her roommates have decided to go their separate ways in June, so Danae will be moving back home. She was fortunate to be able to keep her job and she will be working remotely. Please pray that she can find a place for an “office”—she knows she will go crazy working and living in the same place. We are looking forward to having her back home. Please pray for health and safety for all of our kids this summer and that there will be no hiccups with them, their vehicles, the house or the pets! :)

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers and support. We could not do it without you! You have been and are a blessing to us, our family and this ministry—many of you for a lot of years. You may not realize it, but you are a big part of what God is doing in and through this ministry.

In Christ,

Paul, Beth, Colton, Danae and BJ Kostner