Saturday, October 20, 2012

October Update from Jeanie

Greetings from San Jose!

We can hardly believe that we have been here in Costa Rica a little over 8 months!! In many ways it seems like yesterday that we arrived and in others it seems like we have been here forever! So much has happened and we are finally beginning to see God open up doors of ministry for us here. We miss our friends in Bolivia but know we are right where God has called us and each day brings new opportunities to be an influence for Jesus to those around us. Here is just a short update on our lives here.


Travel: Our position on the Leadership Team for Latin America/Caribbean requires travel, especially for Ron, to various countries in our area to encourage our staff but also to training conferences to be better equipped to assist our staff. This past month he attended a 10 day conference in Turkey for Operations Leaders of Campus Crusade from around the world. He came away encouraged about how he can come alongside our staff and help them be more effective. Then the next trip was to Germany for a training in crisis management with Campus Crusade leaders around the world. While he was gone I was able to spend a few days in Norfolk, VA with our son and his precious family. We are now ready to stay home for a while!!

New Area Office: Ron is in the process of setting up an office location to serve our ministries in 25 countries. That requires meeting with lawyers to set things up correctly as well as finding a location and equipping it with all the necessary things to be a fully functioning office for our leadership team. We will be glad to move the office from our bedroom to its new location!!

Gathering Place

The Gathering Place: The Gathering Place is the name for a new church plant here in San Jose that we are privileged to be in on the ground floor. Ron is an elder in the new church and now leading the small group ministry and writing the materials for our groups each week. Our target group to reach is Costa Ricans who want to improve their English or already speak English fairly well. There are many here that fall into those categories who are seeking answers to spiritual issues and the church is growing!

ESL (Teaching English): Through the contact of another missionary we have become involved in an ESL ministry each Wednesday evening. The leaders of this ministry are helping us learn how to use English classes to reach Costa Ricans with the Gospel. Our ultimate goal is to multiply this ministry to our new church, The Gathering Place. We have been averaging about 90 students each week. We are leading the Beginning level and have about 25-30 students in our section. This is fun and I am learning so much!


GAP Students: The lead pastor of the Gathering Place is also the Bible teacher for a ministry to young people (age 18-25) who want to take a GAP year between High School graduation or mid-college to have a year away in another culture to focus on language study, Bible and Missions. These students are also part of our new church plant. This ministry is a fantastic training for our future missionaries! I (Jeanie) am leading a small group of girls each week as part of this program. I love being with them each week and influencing them in missions and their walk with Christ. These students are also using the small group material that Ron is writing for our new church.

Family update: Our kids and their families are all doing great! Stephen and Rachael are expecting baby #2 the first week of January and all is going well. They are adjusting well to their new life in Norfolk, VA and Stephen loves his job as Assistant Professor of Science Education at Old Dominion University. We are proud of Dr. Burgin. Leah loves her new school and she is so precious!

Patty and Luke and their 2 precious little girls are in Camden SC where Luke continues to serve on the staff at Malvern Hill Baptist Church and Patty is a happy mom at home with her little girls.

Sarah and Dustin are in DC and enjoying their life on “The Hill”. They are expecting another baby boy in March to join almost 5 year old Wesley and almost 3 year old Cooper! They are open for any suggestions for boy names!

Andrew is almost mid-way through his Sophomore year at the University of Florida and enjoying his business classes and being involved in the music ministry at his church and also Campus Crusade, not to mention rooting for the Florida Gators every chance he gets!

Christmas 2012: We are so excited to be in Oregon for the month of December. Andrew will be joining us there for his Semester break. We will be planning a meeting for our friends and supporters during that time. Specific details will follow within the next month.

We are so grateful to each of you for the part you play in making it possible for us to serve here with this ministry. We know that giving is a sacrifice and we do not take it for granted.

Thank you so much,

Ron and Jeanie

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 2012


Ron and Jeanie Burgin
Campus Crusade for Christ, Latin America and the Caribbean

September 17, 2012

Dear Friends,

Hi from San Jose! I hope you are well and beginning to settle into the fall routine in the USA. There are special things we miss at every time of the year, but we always think fondly of warm Indian summer days in the beautiful Northwest.

Last June when I wrote, Jeanie and I were settled into our new home in Costa Rica. My job as Operations Director for CCC Latin America was going well, but we were wondering how God could possibly use us personally here in San Jose. After many years of exciting ministry and great relationships in Bolivia, we were feeling a little lost.

What a difference a couple of months can make! God is really beginning to answer our prayers in significant ways. In fact, we will soon have to begin prioritizing our opportunities!

The Gathering Place

Jeanie and I are on the leadership team of a new English Language church plant here in the city. There are thousands of Ticos (Costa Ricans) who speak English, and are very interested in any opportunity to practice. This gives us an opportunity to invite them to church, when they may not otherwise darken the door of a Spanish speaking congregation. Tomorrow we are setting up tables in front of a Call Center with coffee and snacks and an invitation to church. There are call centers all over San Jose with thousands of Ticos taking customer service calls from the USA (I know…)


One of our missionaries from the Gathering Place is a young Tico named Jairo (left) who ministers to poor kids just a few miles from our home with sports and after school programs. We will be partnering with Jairo in a few weeks to show the Story of Jesus for Children, giving the kids a clear opportunity to receive Christ and begin a discipleship process.

AMCA House

We met another missionary couple here in San Jose who runs a ministry called AMCA House. One of their outreaches is an ESL program that meets every Wednesday evening. Jeanie and I did a similar activity in Bolivia. We will be teaching the beginning level course. Last night at our first meeting there were more than 50 people. We have total freedom to share our faith and to invite folks to church.


Last May I met the leaders of the Federacion Alianza Evangelica Costarricense (the national association of Evangelicals in Costa Rica). These pastors took on the responsibility of hosting Josh McDowell in August, inviting 700 pastors and leaders in their network to come hear Josh. Through that contact, many other opportunities are opening up. I preached in a couple of their churches. Now we are exploring the possibility of a formal partnership to use the JESUS Film to plant new churches. Some of the older pastors remember the JESUS Film back in the days of 16mm film projectors, but there is a whole new generation of pastors ministering to young people and adults who may know very little about the life of Jesus, or why they would need a Savior. With the JESUS Film, they learn about his life, teaching, death on the cross, resurrection and invitation to eternal life. We are trusting God for great things!

This will be a month of a lot of travel for Jeanie and me, but it is exciting to begin putting down some roots in our new home country. Thank you so much for praying for us!

Your missionaries in Costa Rica,

Ron and Jeanie

Prayer requests:

· Our residency visas are in the final stages of processing. Pray that the visas will come through by the end of October.

· Pray for our daughter Sarah and daughter-in-law Rachael. Both are expecting babies in early 2013.

· Pray for our contacts with Costa Rican pastors, that God would open the doors to partnership with the JESUS Film.

· Jeanie has been experiencing a lot of pain down her right leg. We will be in Portland in December and the doctor appointment is already on the calendar. Pray that God will bring healing.

· Pray for Jeanie as she continues her Spanish tutoring. She is really showing progress and increasing confidence.

· Pray for me (Ron) as a give leadership to the CRU leaders around the continent.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Stephen Burgin, Ph.D.!

Cru-10-24-11-MASTER-TMRon and Jeanie Burgin
Campus Crusade for Christ, Latin America and the Caribbean

Dear Friend,

Greetings from Gainesville, Florida. We pray that God is blessing you abundantly this summer! We want to give you a brief update on our life, ministry and family.

Quick trip to the USA for graduation

We are in Gainesville, Florida this weekend for our son Stephen’s fourth graduation from the University of Florida. He has earned a Ph.D. in Science Education. Stephen with his wife, Rachael and daughter, Leah Rose, have already moved to Norfolk, Virginia where he has accepted a post as Assistant Professor in the Department of STEM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) at Old Dominion University. I guess we’re pretty proud! We’ll be heading up to Norfolk tomorrow for a family reunion with all of our children and grandchildren, then back to Costa Rica next week. Please pray for Stephen, Rachael and Leah as they adapt to a new city and job.


Gathering Place

Getting adjusted to life in Costa Rica has been tougher than we expected. God is now opening doors that are cause for encouragement. We are part of the leadership team of the Gathering Place, an English Language church plant in San Jose, Costa Rica. Our target audience is Costa Rican young professionals and university students who are interested in English. The number of English speakers in Costa Rica has come as a real surprise to me. To give you an idea, there is an ATT call center near our home with more than 500 employees who take customer service calls in English from the US. Please pray for Marlon and Silvia, a young couple we are trying to get to know better and involve them in the church. Silvia works at the call center.

Spanish tutoring

Jeanie has been studying at the Spanish Language Institute three days a week to improve her Spanish conversational ability. After nine years in Bolivia, most of it teaching in an English language mission school, she is motivated to get up to speed. Some days she comes home encouraged, some days she comes home saying Spanish is impossible J . Please pray for Jeanie as she continues her study.


As Operations Director for CCC, Latin America, I continue to travel to the countries of our region to audit, train and encourage our staff. In the past month, I have been to Venezuela and to Barranquilla, Colombia where I worked with our staff following a national Congreso of more than 500 university students. They returned to their homes all over Colombia motivated to multiply the impact of the Gospel on their campuses. Pray for our national leaders as I work help coach and mentor them.

VPC Congreso

We are so thankful for our team of supporters who have upheld us in prayer through this year of transition to a new country. We sense God’s comfort and encouragement. We, in turn, pray that our gracious heavenly Father will continue to minister to you and your family as He builds us into the image of Christ.

Your missionaries in Latin America,

Ron and Jeanie

Friday, June 29, 2012

June Update

Learning globally

Last week I was in Orlando for a meeting of our Global Team, consisting of the leadership teams from all 13 of our areas around the world, as well as the Global leadership team. We were working toward a unified vision and mission as we focus on 2020. What an amazing time of praise and worship, planning and vision as we work together, trusting God for great things.


Dela Adadevoh, our Global VP for Leadership


Lots of travel

In just the last six weeks, I have been in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, and Panama, meeting with staff, doing an audit, training accountants, and helping to build capacity in our national ministries. (Jeanie says explain that. Okay :) Build capacity means to create financial, measurement, and communications systems that can handle our ministries when God multiplies our ministries and disciples by tenfold). I will be in Venezuela working with our operations team the second week of July. Then on to Colombia the week of July 23. What great people I have the privilege to serve!



It seems like it has taken a long time, but we are beginning to see how God wants to use us here in Costa Rica. Josh McDowell, a well-known speaker and author with Cru, is in the midst of a Latin America tour called “The Naked Truth”. He is equipping pastors and youth leaders to confront our culture in the area of love, sex and dating.

We were coming down to the wire here in San Jose with no sponsor and no place for the event. I was asked to take the lead. It has been a great experience recruiting and working with our key sponsor, la Federacion Alianza Evangelica Costarricense, the national association of evangelical churches. This week we finalized arrangements with the church in downtown San Jose which will host the event on August 18. They are praying for 700 pastors and youth leaders to attend. Please pray that these leaders use what they learn to impact thousands of young people throughout Costa Rica.

Out of that working relationship has come a friendship with one of the key pastors of the alliance and an opportunity to preach this Sunday at his church in one of the poor areas of San Jose.

Jeanie and I have been praying about our own church involvement, and I have been invited to serve as an elder in a new church plant in the area called Guadalupe. It is an English speaking church targeting young professionals and students who speak English. We are very excited about the vision and the opportunity to serve this new growing church.

gathering place2

The Guadalupe Gathering Place


We are glad to be the “older couple” who bring wisdom and experience into the mix. Please pray that many will come to Christ and many new disciples will be built at the Guadalupe Gathering Place.

Jeanie is progressing since surgery on her retina 10 days ago, though not as quickly as we would have hoped. She is still seeing the flashes of light that caused the visit to the doctor in the first place. Please pray with us for complete healing.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Well, my bags are UNpacked, and I’m done going…

Greetings from San Jose! Jeanie and I are back home together after an intense, but very fulfilling 30 days of travel: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Santa Cruz, Bolivia; Buenos Aires, Argentina and Orlando. Why so many trips in so short a time? I ask myself that question.

My position as Operations Director for CCC Latin America and the Caribbean involves serving all of our national ministries and strategies. We help to train in financial management, leading with information, and measuring results.

In Rio, I joined a meeting of 50 of our top student ministry leaders. These young leaders are all full time missionaries with Campus Crusade and serve in national ministries throughout our region. They were attending a special equipping conference to be able to build movements of evangelism and discipleship. Here we are at the largest university in Rio meeting with the students:


In Santa Cruz, I felt right at home. We haven’t been back to Bolivia since we moved away last August and it was great to reconnect with some old friends. I attended a conference of our Global Church Movements staff from throughout the continent. They were there to help define our role in the growing global movement of church planting. They worked through philosophy of ministry questions, training curricula for church planters and strategies to connect with other mission organizations and denominations to extend the Kingdom of God. The JESUS Film continues to be a key tool and our unique contribution to the global effort. Jeanie and I spent a few days in Orlando right after this conference to be equipped as trainers in our new church planting curriculum.

Last week I was in Buenos Aires working with our finance staff. Argentina has one of our largest ministries with hundreds (thousands?) of students involved. Their financial systems, however, are firmly stuck in the 20th century. I was there to help them clean up their systems and get ready for some new cloud-based systems that will give our leaders around the country instant access to crucial financial information that will help them to make good ministry decisions.

I got home on Saturday and we are enjoying another week with Andrew and his girlfriend, Anna. Andy just finished his freshman year at the University of Florida. Here's a picture of Jeanie with Andrew and Anna.


That’s a real brief tour of what we’ve been up to the last month. We’re still struggling to find our place in ministry here in Costa Rica. I guess it would help if we stayed home for a month or so! Seriously, our biggest prayer request is that God would lead us to just the right ministry connections where we would be able to use our gifts to minister to others and where we would be ministered to as well.

Thanks for standing with us! May God continue to bless you,


Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday in Costa Rica

Thursday and Friday of Holy Week are very quiet in Costa Rica. Today we decided to drive into the center of our town of Curridabat and see if there were any Good Friday observances. We arrived just in time for the Procession, along with sno-cone vendors and lots of spectators.

I posted a video slideshow on YouTube of the procession.


Good Friday Procession, Curridabat, San Jose, Costa Rica

Over the years, we have thought a lot about Catholic vs. Evangelical Easter observances. Our conclusion is that we can take from the observances the Biblical meaning of Jesus bearing our burden on the cross. I hope you enjoy the video and the music I chose to accompany it, recorded by Keynote, a Cru music group.



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Can you put a number to what God is doing in Latin America?

I spent Thursday and Friday last week at Lake Hart in Orlando working to answer that question! We have more than 600 staff and associates working with Campus Crusade in Latin America and the Caribbean, but have never had a good way to track our progress. We are working on a system, GMA, that will allow local field staff and teams to set their own goals and input their numbers into a cloud-based application. Our leaders will have a tool that will help them to coach staff and manage the resources that God has given us.

For example, if our director of University ministries wants to know how many students heard a presentation of the Gospel in a given country, he will have instant access to that information. Likewise a local team leader will be able to coach his team members to help them reach the goals that they have set for themselves.

Sometimes numbers really do matter as we evaluate the effectiveness of our ministry. We need to know if there exists a breakout strategy in one country that we can implement in another country.


My teammates for this project are Mark Griffen (left), the system designer in Orlando, and Rodrigo Callado from Brasil. We made great progress last week and look forward to implementing the system in several countries in our region in 2012. We really appreciate you prayer!

I took advantage of the trip to Orlando to visit Stephen, Rachael, Leah Rose and our youngest son, Andrew at the University of Florida in Gainesville.


Stephen and Leah Rose


Leah Rose walking at Sam’s Club (this is a miracle!!)


Andrew accompanying worship at Creekside Community Church in Gainesville


Last, one more sunset in Costa Rica. We never get tired of God’s creativity.

Friday, March 16, 2012

National Director’s Conference in San Jose

Leaders from 26 Campus Crusade national ministries gathered last week in San Jose, Costa Rica for a week of prayer, fellowship, vision, and strategy. Jeanie and I had been in the country for only three weeks, so our knowledge of Costa Rica was pretty limited, but we had a lot of fun with all of our guests. Fortunately, Carlos Tenorio and his wife Tatiana, our national directors in Costa Rica, supplied the local expertise.

Our theme for the week was Enraizados para la multilplicación, or “Rooted for Multiplication”. The idea was to grow our roots deep in Jesus to be able to build strong spiritual movements throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The theme came from Psalm 1:3 “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”

We divided into different table groups everyday. We had some great times working as teams. Here my table worked together to build  a Lego car, but lacking some of the instructions and a few key pieces (both supplied later in the process).


We were excited to have Andrew with us for the whole week. He worked every afternoon as our main translator for the conference. Those nine years in Bolivia have really paid off! (He is majoring in Business and Spanish at the University of Florida).


Jeanie and I really enjoyed working together with the other members of our Latin America leadership team to plan and run the conference.


The feedback from around the continent was very positive. Angela, one of our directors in Brazil, wrote to all of their staff a few days after returning home:

We have to say that God spoke to us in many ways during the conference, using each of the different sessions we had. The times of prayer were very special to us… It was an experience that brought answers to some of the doubts we had experienced. And that’s how it went, during the devotionals, during presentations made by our directors, in the informal times in conversation, in the interaction that we had around the tables, and also in the special women’s time we had one afternoon (the men also had a time apart).

I can say that for both myself and for my husband, Junior, we saw God highlight some special moments, some ideas, and some words that came specially to answer our questions, doubts and uncertainties. We left San Jose with new convictions and challenges, and our desire is that in some way we might share with you a little of what we experienced and saw during our week in San Jose.

We (Ron and Jeanie) want to thank all of our friends who pray and give sacrificially so that everyone in Latin America and the Caribbean will know someone who truly follows Jesus, and will have a chance to know Him personally.


Ron and Jeanie

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sometimes you have to look harder to see the truth.

I have been reading through Mark this week. It strikes me how Jesus speaks the truth, but his followers struggle to understand, to see the meaning. I think I identify with the disciples sometimes!

I saw an example in nature this morning. I took a photo out our window of a tree covered with dried pods and leaves:



But if you look really closely, one of the pods is not a pod at all!


May God give us the grace to be truth seekers.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Getting settled in Costa Rica

Greetings from San Jose! We arrived in Costa Rica three weeks ago today, and have seen God do some amazing things in a very short time. We came down in January and bought a condominium, so when we came back in February, our first task was to close on the house. Things are a little different here. The condo is owned in a corporation, so Jeanie and I became 100% owners in a Costa Rican company that owns as its sole asset the condo we live in. We each own 50 shares. I thought I should go for at least 51, but Jeanie said 50/50 Smile. The best feature of our new home is the view from every room. We look out over the city and the mountains. The sunsets are spectacular!

Small sunset

We sold our living room furniture and appliances in Bolivia, so we bought all of that in the first week while we waited for our container to arrive. We found just the right stuff that fit in our new space. The container from Bolivia arrived a little over a week ago, and Jeanie really took charge! In around 3 days we were all unpacked and pictures were on the walls. Jeanie is a real blessing to me, making a home wherever we land.

Transportation was also a priority. We sold a couple of cars in Bolivia and decided to buy just one here. We settled on a 2006 Toyota Corolla, which for me is a dream come true. My dream was to own a car built in this millennium!

We have been so focused on getting settled that we haven’t seen much of the country yet, but we’re looking forward to getting to know our new home. Yesterday we drove about 10 miles to the town of Cartago. It was the first capital of Costa Rica. The highlight is the ruin of the cathedral that had been under construction when the Santa Monica earthquake of 1910 struck. Construction was permanently stopped. The ruins are now the centerpiece of a beautiful park, including gardens inside the ruin itself.

cartago ruin small

Getting to know the people has been fun. Most of our contacts so far have been realtors, lawyers, car dealers, window treatment guy, furniture and appliance dealers, etc. I have been very pleasantly surprised by the extra effort folks have made to serve us honestly and efficiently. With all that we have had to do in these first weeks, it has been a blessing to deal with such kind people. To be honest, there was one crook among the bunch, but we discovered the fraud before spending any money.

The transition officially ends later this week as our Leadership team meets here in San Jose, followed by our National Directors conference starting Sunday. Our leaders will be coming in from all over Latin America and the Caribbean. Please pray that God will draw us together and that everyone will go home with a fresh vision and stronger walk with Jesus.