Monday, November 5, 2018

Life Happens

Looking back a few years, I can see us getting on a plane and moving to Costa Rica. Missionaries embarking in pursuit of God and His Kingdom in Central America. I remember holding hands on the plane when we made the move here and being a little nervous, very excited, and ready to take on anything. Life happens. 

The annual Texas Camp for the seniors of Colegio Metodista takes place in May. Every year for one week we take the graduating class to Texas and experience adventure together at Camp Eagle. Every year is terrific, but this year was even better. Paul Trejo (worship leader for Kerrville FUMC) lead worship and Ryan Barnett (Senior Pastor of Waco FUMC) shared testimony each night of who Jesus Christ really is. 

My favorite part of Texas Camp was "Cabin Time". Every evening before we turned the lights out we would gather in our bunks and share our high and low points of the day, and then how we experienced God. It was a blessing to listen as students took inventory of the day. What was also a blessing was getting to spend the week with Brian and Katrina Sherman (Youth Directors of Gonzales First Methodist).

I'm going to talk about them for a bit. Brian and I met in high school.  We played football together as defensive linemen.  We were involved together in youth group trips to summer camp and it's where we both met our wives for the first time. Brian and Katrina are absolutely beyond a shadow of a doubt some of the best people we know.  As youth directors in Gonzales, they are amazing. I want my future children to be a part of their youth group because it's that good, folks. They also take a week from working with their students to come and work with our students! For the past three years they have spent the entire week with us and our students during Texas Camp. Leading small groups, games, and life changing conversations. They've even come to Costa Rica multiple times to follow up and continue to build relations and plant seeds. AND! They just had a baby! So be praying for their ministry alongside ours, as well as their sweet healthy baby girl. 

The week we get back from Texas Camp, we took a selfie at the school: 

Image may contain: Kendra Thomas and Spencer Thomas, people smiling, cloud, sky, outdoor and nature

We love this picture.  And we're even wearing our fresh Camp Eagle shirts. We were tired, but excited about how camp went and to be home.  Right after this photo, Kendra says "My side kinda itches and it won't go away." 

Kendra gets shingles. Crazy.  Later that day we're looking at her side and there's this weird looking circle rash thing. So she spent about 3 weeks resting, taking medicine, and avoiding anything that raises body temperature (apparently when you have shingles, everything gets more itchy and irritating when it's hot, or so I've been told).  She made a full recovery and is 100% more beautiful than ever! 

July was super busy. Kendra and I broke a record... for the longest amount of time we'd spent apart since getting married. There is a three week break in July and we usually spend some of it in the states visiting our families and churches. One of my best friends was getting married the week before the break started, and his bachelor party was a camping trip the weekend before. Then Kendra stayed a little bit extra in Costa Rica because Brian Sherman was in country with his youth group helping build a church! I've never been so excited to pick someone up from the airport!!!

August... Kendra's birthday is in August. I was planning a thing. I was going to take her on a  surprise birthday trip to the beach for the weekend. I was going to pack our bags, hide them in the trunk, and then on Friday when we left for work.... drive right past the school and straight to the beach for her birthday weekend celebration bananza! This did not happen. 

I always thought I had a sensitive tailbone. I had heard others say theirs was sensitive.  So when mine hurt, I always thought it was just a little sensitive.  Not even worth mentioning.  Over the years it would become more sore, and then less sore. However, the beginning of August it started to be more than sore.  I went to sleep on my side because laying on my back was a no go. Well, in the morning Kendra decided to be a goof ball and wake me up by wrestling me out of bed. Usually I would welcome such a challenge.  When climbing over me she accidentally drove her knee into my tailbone. I woke up seeing stars. So much pain.  We end up going to the hospital and as it turns out, I have a massive cyst on my tailbone. It had been there for years. I'm excited that now it's going to not be there for many more. Kendra's birthday bananza to the beach turned into Spencer having surgery in the hospital. I am healing. And hopefully will have my final check up appointment this Friday. 

September has been on autopilot. I'm at home, trying to do things around the house that I shouldn't really be doing and she's at the school keeping the boat from sinking.  She's done an amazing job taking care of me and covering for me at the school.  

Things are winding down at the school.  The end of the school year will be in November, so October is full of test review and final project preparation.  We are currently three weeks into a card game known as Phase 10 with our small group students. I am winning. But I don't know what's going on.  And Kendra keeps looking at my cards.  I think she's cheating... but it might be to help me win. I don't know. 

Cowboy (our dog) is doing wonderful.  He doesn't know what surgery is or why I've been around the house more often.  But when I came home from the hospital he could tell something was wrong. He slept by my side and brought me all his toys throughout the day.  We also adopted a cat. Her name is Indi. Cowboy and Indi.  They love each other and play together all the time. 

The last few months of this year we have found a new normal for our life. We have not been able to operate the way we did months previous because life happens and we adapt. Thank God for this incredible gift. The world throws problems and pain at each of us, but God in his infinite wisdom equips his children with the ability to learn new things and adjust to circumstances we can't always control. From family to friends (and in this case doctors) we are grateful for the work God is doing through His people (Romans 8:28).

We love all of you.  Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.  We are praying for our Texas friends and all the rain they're getting. Stay safe out there!

- Spencer, Kendra, Cowboy, and Indi 

Monday, April 2, 2018

Holy Week

I believe this. 

I believe this and sometimes it seems crazy. I did not arrive at the conclusion that there is a God simply from being told so. I have experienced and witnessed something in my life that I cannot deny. I am not quick to call something "supernatural". When confused by a phenomenon of science I do not simply credit it to be magic or sorcery. I believe there to be a Creator. I believe His name to be Jesus. I believe Jesus died on a cross. And I believe that Jesus is alive and seeking to be in a relationship with us.

In the movie Star Wars, Luke Skywalker goes to a system of planets called the "Dagoba System" to train and learn how to be a Jedi Knight. His mentor, Yoda, has him do all sorts of tasks. From running and jumping around the jungle with Yoda in a backpack to doing handstands while lifting rocks with his mind, his training is meticulous and challenging. Skywalker crash landed when arriving to the Dagoba System and his space ship was partially submerged in a swamp. Yoda challenges young Skywalker to lift the ship out of the swamp (in the same way that he was lifting the rocks) as part of his training. Skywalker tries... and fails. He actually ends up making things worse... His ship sinks further into the swamp and becomes fully submerged. Skywalker is discouraged and defeated.

Yoda then lifts the ship out of the swamp and the two have this exchange:

 Skywalker: "I....I don't believe it!"

Yoda: "That is why you fail."

The goodness of God's character and nature is revealed in your life not because you go to church or read the bible. God's goodness is revealed because He chooses to reveal it. We are simply left with a choice to believe.

I choose to believe. I will not stumble blindly into the chasm of religion. I will seek truth on the mountain tops. Starting on a hill called Calvary.

Happy Easter.

- Spencer Thomas

(Click here to watch the video of Luke Skywalker and Yoda)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

What is The Forge?

The Forge is home base for all small group activities.  It's where we meet with students for bible study, prayer, fellowship, and other stuff like making watermelons explode.

A forge is defined as a workshop containing a furnace for refining metal.  Our Forge is a place for refining hearts, educating our minds, and growing closer to Jesus. Each week more than 40 students come and participate in activities within our forge. This will be our first week having small group in 2018 and we are excited to review the why behind calling this place The Forge.

"Your hands have made me and formed me; give me understanding that I might learn your commandments."
Psalm 119:73

For something to be made there must be a maker. And our Maker is good at what he does. He doesn't make garbage. He is intentional and specific in knowing everything and everyone he makes. He is an expert, who when swinging the hammer, never misses the mark. 

I remember when my dad would be building something and I would try and help. He would eventually give me a "very important task" of hammering two boards together. While he worked on the real project I would be attempting to nail some throw-away extra material together. My father was wise to give me this task. I was awful. Just like every other six year old, I hit the board more than I did the nail. In the time it would take my dad to build a tree house and two picnic tables, I could destroy two pieces of wood without ever nailing them together. 

God never misses his mark. He strikes his hammer precisely where he means to. His vision is perfect and so is his plan.

Would you pray with us...
God, would you help direct us to be your ambassadors. Speak to us your vision and desire for this space. Give us understanding. Use this space to refine our hearts, to make your will come alive in us, and to build friendships.  Amen

- Spencer and Kendra Thomas

Thursday, February 8, 2018

A New Year

We hope you had a wonderful winter break! Kendra and I were blessed to spend time in Texas during December and January.  For those of you that don't know, our school year in Costa Rica is from February to November.  Our winter break was a very restful time. Texas is still full of cedar.... It is always hard to say goodbye to friends and family when we head back to our home in Costa Rica, but knowing that we wont have to deal with cedar makes the trip easier. 

We are very excited about what God is doing in the life of Colegio Metodista.  As part of the Christian Education department, Kendra has been assigned as the Director of Programming and I the Director of Discipleship.  We are each leading a team to help us with our tasks and working with other groups within the Christian Education Department.  More and more people are beginning to share an intrinsic value for the salvation of students at the school. 

E. Stanley Jones  was a 20th-century Methodist Christian missionary and theologian. He is remembered chiefly for his inter-religious lectures to the educated classes in India, thousands of which were held across the Indian subcontinent during the first decades of the 20th century.  Jones ministered to the wealthy and elite of India.  The poor need Jesus.  The rich need Jesus.  The hope for our students at Colegio Metodista is that they would experience being loved and cared for and that they would develop a burden to seek after truth and compassion. 

Would you join us in this?  We are praying that each of our students would continue on after Colegio Metodista to be successful, that their lives be rich in love, and that they know the love of their Creator.

- Spencer and Kendra Thomas

Thursday, August 3, 2017

June/July 2017

One of the things I will remember about the summer of 2017 is living out of a suitcase. I will also remember it as two months spent meeting new friends and catching up with old ones.  

The Thomas Family Mission was on the road for June and July as we raised support to continue in ministry for another three years in Costa Rica.  To all our friends and churches that support us, thank you so very much.  

We are back in Costa Rica and glad to be home! We enjoyed our time in the states but Costa Rica is home to us now.  As I sit in my living room, with the doors open, I feel the crisp morning stillness that is accompanied by the Costa Rican sunrise.  The stillness is only interrupted by exotic (and sometimes not so exotic) birds occasionally chirping past. I am learning to enjoy these mornings before the hustle and bustle of the day. Waking up early is tiring work though.  

An important event will be taking place in the life of the school soon. August 7-11 is a very special time at Colegio Metodista called "Spiritual Emphasis Week". This week is spent in worship at the school.  Imagine summer camp being brought to your school for a week. Students will be in class for a few hours and will then spend the rest of the school day in worship with some extraordinary folks learning more about Jesus.  The Mark Swayze Band is leading us in worship for the week and is bringing a team from The Woodlands United Methodist Church. Holy and Spirit filled conversations will be had. Please be in prayer for this short term mission team that will be serving us at the school, for our small groups, and for the students.

A personal prayer request that we have been asking God for is community. On tuesday we had the pleasure of welcoming a new family to Costa Rica who will be in ministry with us at the school! Praise God! Kyle and Tessa, with their four kids, have moved in next door to us. Please be praying for their family as they adjust to living in a foreign land and learning to speak Spanish.

Even though Costa Rica is our new home, and we've been here for two years, there is still a lot that is new and questions we still don't know the answers to. Kendra and I figured out this week that we can pay our electric bill right down the street from our house instead of driving across town! No matter what country you live in there will always be frustrating things. There will always be something to be mad about, and there will always be something not worthwhile that we can tie ourselves to and brood about until the floodwaters engulf us. The most joy filled  people I know are the way they are, not because they've somehow managed to remove themselves from frustrating things or solved them somehow, but because they personally know their Creator and seek the presence of God daily. 

We must not building upon anything other than the costly cornerstone that is Christ. We must not anchor our soul in anything other than Jesus. Worry/squabbles/frustration/gossip... these things are like an ugly piano, broken beyond repair, sitting in the middle of  the living room during Christmas morning. It is in the way and keeping us from opening presents! 

The Challenge:
Trust in someone who knows Jesus and ask them how they let go of the things keeping them from Christ. Then, with an open bible, ask Jesus to help remove the things that hinder you from him.  

-Spencer Thomas

If you have any questions about The Thomas Family Mission please email me at

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Meditation Words

-----Meditation Words-----

Meditating is only for ninjas and wizards... FALSE! Our perception of what meditation is has in part been twisted by movies. When I think of meditation, the first thought that comes to my mind is the Ninja Turtles. There is a specific scene in one of the movies where they have to meditate as a punishment. Balancing expertly while trying not to be distracted by pizza. Of course they fail, for it is common knowledge that the Ninja Turtles' greatest weakness is pizza. 

Being mystical does not make meditation. Reciting mantras does not make meditation. Mental gymnastics does not make meditation. We claim meditation to be a difficult practice although many of us already do it daily, simply on the wrong things...

We are so prone to meditate on "worry". We fill our minds with obscure realities and sometimes empower those false-realities with a voice loud enough to influence, or even overrun, day to day life. Practicing meditation is important. It is not a question of whether or not we meditate, it's a question of what do we meditate on. The meditating part, for us, is inevitable. The material on which we meditate is subject to change.

One of my biggest pet-peeves is when people say "like" over and over again for filler while speaking. Example: "It's like, a thing when like, you have to like, do that thing". Figure out what your trying to say, and like, say it... This annoys me to no end! I am not perfect, and I have a confession. When I was in high school I developed this weird habit of saying "and, a ummm" for filler while speaking. It was a terrible phase. Every sentence would contain "and, a ummm" before, after, or in the middle. It took 4 long weeks to finally break this atrocious habit. 

Our perception of reality is subject to the contents of our meditations. When we meditate on worry it obscures our vision of God's promises. It causes doubt and frustration towards God. Jeremiah 29:11 is a fact. Our perception of reality is twisted by meditating on worry and God's promises will appear far away. It is our choice to practice meditating on other things... better things... the best things.

It took 4 weeks for me to break the silly habit of saying "and, a ummm". I challenge you to spend the next 4 weeks being intentional about the things with which you fill your mind. The purpose is twofold:
-First, to break the habit of letting worry obscure the reality of God's promises.
-Second, to develop the daily practice of giving your thoughts to something worthy.

"Spencer's Guide to Practicing Christian Meditation 101"

1- Scripture. Have it with you. From a book into your heart. 

2- Catch yourself meditating on the wrong thing? Start thinking about the verse you decided to memorize.

3- Ponder scripture while you drive, bike, or walk to work. 

4- Daily repetition. Practice, practice, practice.  

Let's meditate. 

Here is content to meditate on:

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

"The soul is dyed by the color of your thoughts."

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Prayer Words

-------Prayer Words-------

"And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words." Matthew 6:7

More words does not mean better. I sometimes find myself trying to imitate the cadence of people who I think to be "good" at praying. It's silly. What usually ends up happening is that I'm so focused on trying to sound a certain way on the outside, that the inside becomes babble. 

I enjoy a multitude of hobbies! Kayaking, fishing, frisbee, skateboarding, video games, playing guitar, and on and on and on. Kendra, my wife, will sometimes have to make me pause and evaluate the priority of my hobbies. Since moving to Costa Rica, these are the priorities of my current hobbies: 

1- Coffee drinking. 
2- Reading
3- Guitar/music
4- Games (Basketball and video)

To be the best at any of these hobbies a person has to practice. I'm so horrible at basketball, but I'm better than I was 3 months ago because of practice. Playing guitar takes a TON of practice. There has to be enough time spent learning and developing muscle memory so that holding a guitar and navigating the strings becomes second nature. We must practice praying. 

Everything we find important, we practice. What are some of the things you purposefully practice? What are some things you unintentionally practice? I realized, a few weeks ago, that I unintentionally practice having a bad attitude every morning when I first wake up. I don't like it. I'm not a morning person. I had practiced having a bad attitude every morning. Having a bad attitude in the morning had become second nature! I'm still not good at waking up in the morning. It's exhausting. But mornings have gotten easier with practice. Practicing getting up, and drinking coffee.

Practice praying so that it becomes second nature. Spend enough time in prayer daily developing "muscle memory" so that holding a prayer and navigating a conversation with Jesus becomes part of your nature. Drinking coffee has made my morning practice of having a good attitude easier. Opening the bible makes the practice of prayer easier. 

"Spencer's Guide to Practicing Prayer 101"

1- Use simple words. "God, I want to know you. I need you. Help me practice being in your presence."

2- Be honest. With yourself, and with God. 

3- Pray with an open bible. 

4- Daily repetition. 

Let's pray.

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1John 3:1

Dear Jesus, I want to know this love. Amen.