After 14 years of writing newsletters we have finally found a proper title “HIC SVNT LEONES” is Latin for “here be lions” and supposably was used on ancient maps to indicate a possibly dangerous unexplored area. We have taken it as a family motto to remind ourselves that life IS an unexplored territory that can feel very dangerous but because of Christ we can walk boldly without fear. Follow our journey on Instagram at the_leon_family_journey
We want to see everyone have access to a living church….by building authentic relationships, being and making disciples of Jesus, being a blessing in the community, and depending on the Holy Spirit. To do this we need healthy leaders….. According to “Missionary Burnout”, “ 80% of missionaries burn out and don’t finish their term. 46% of missionaries have been diagnosed with a psychological issue, and of those, 87% are diagnosed with depression”.
This may seem surprising, but the realities of living abroad and working interculturally are complex and often stressful. Luckily, FMWM cares well for its missionaries, preparing them and continuing to care for them while they are on the field. Every seven years full-time mission workers are able to take a three-month sabbatical, and after 14 years on the field, we are about to take our first sabbatical.
The benefits of a sabbatical are not just for mental health, it also allows us to step back from the day-to-day ministry and spend prolonged time with God. It will also help strengthen the local leadership in the church as they take on full responsibility for the local church, UNO+, and the 360 Mission District.
During our sabbatical time, we will be going on a pilgrimage. This is an ancient Christian practice where one steps away from their regular life to encounter God by going on a journey on foot. We will follow in the footsteps of thousands of other believers as we walk the way of St. James, otherwise known as “El Camino” for over 800km from Irun on the Spanish-French border to Santiago de Compostela.
We hope that you will join us in prayer during this time, we are going to need lots. (If you are interested in joining our prayer team please let me know).
Here is a summary of our itinerary so you can be in prayer for us during our sabbatical. We won’t be sending out a newsletter or answering any “work” related emails, texts, or calls from May 27- August 27 but follow us on Instagram where we will each be posting an insight and pictures from our journey @ the_leon_family_journey
May 10 Fly to California
- Meet with SoCal Churches that support the ministry
- prep for Camino (hike and outfit ourselves with shoes and packs)
- Get Elias a bank account and a driver’s permit
May 27 Fly to France, explore and adjust to the time change
June 1 Start walking
June 6 Bilboa keep walking
June 30 celebrate Dennis BDay and walk some more
July 7 hoping to celebrate Selah’s BDay by arriving in Santiago
July 9 go to church in Pontevedra
July 10-20 work our way down to Lisbon, Portugal (any tips or recommendations welcome, we still do not have a place to stay or a real plan for this portion of the trip)
July 20 Fly to Orlando
July 20-24 visit friends in Ormond Beach Area
July 24-28 GC23 conference
July 28-Aug.1 Missionary Resourcing retreat
Aug. 1 fly to California
Aug. 1-14 camp in NorCal
Aug. 14-27 in Santa Barbara getting Elias ready for college
Aug. 27- end of Sept. Visit SoCal churches and supporters (let us know if we can come to visit, we would love to catch up with you!)
- Travel mercies: there are a lot of flights and a lot of us, pray that we stay healthy and patient with the process.
- Part of “El Camino” is not knowing where you will sleep each night, at least for those pilgrims on a tight budget like us (we will be staying mainly in public albergues). As a planner, this is very difficult for me. Please pray that I can be flexible and go with the flow. We have three hotel reservations for a 50-day trip.
- The distance: we are planning on walking about 15-25k a day, with a 7 and 10-year-old. I think we might be crazy! We are hoping to have a sort of hop-on hop-off carriage for Lucas but this is still a lot to ask of his little legs. We have done some good long walks and he has done great but still be praying for us in this respect.
- The local team taking over the church in CR: pray that they can communicate well with each other and that God works in each of them and shows them the potential we know they have as leaders.
- Animals: It is not easy to leave your home for such as a long time, we are farming out all the animals and we ask that you pray with us for their safety and that we can find good places for them to go while we are gone.
- House: we are renting our house out on Airbnb while we are gone to offset some of the costs of travel. So far it has only been rented for 3 of the 20 weeks we will be gone, please pray it rents. Here is the link if you know anyone coming to CR.
Other updates and prayer requests:
The refurbished police station is up and running as a space the community can use. CREO (center for Recreation, education, and Opportunities, which also means “belief” or “believe” in Spanish) we will use this space for UNO+ Esterillos. We have had multiple political obstacles while developing this project, please pray that this space can be used for God’s glory. It has already been used by the local women’s group and the Esterillos Sports committee meetings.
We will be having a Disciples Multiplying Disciples training this month in Alajuela, pray with us that all attendees will be inspired and better equipped to share their faith with others.
After many years of working alongside Roberto and Leonor Matamoros, they have decided to leave the Free Methodist Church family and the 360 Mission District. They will continue to work in Parrita and we pray that God will continue to care for them in this new phase of their ministry.
Thanks for all your prayers for our parents. Both Kyle’s parents are doing well, recovering, and staying active. Dennis’ mom is bedridden at this point with no hope for recovery, pray that we can know how to handle family dynamics regarding her care.
Elias will be making his college decision this month. Pray for peace and wisdom for him.
As you can imagine a 50-day trip to Europe for a family of 6, even a low-budget pilgrimage costs quite a lot. We have been saving for this trip for years and will be offsetting some costs with our house rental but we still need to raise about $8000. So remember doing jogathons in elementary school? We are looking for sponsors to give a fixed amount or to make a per-kilometer pledge. You can sponsor any of us, Elias is the most enthusiastic so he will probably walk the most kilometers and Lucas will definitely be hitching a ride once in a while so he will walk the least. We will be including our mileage in our posts and will let you know how many kilometers we have walked in July when we reach Santiago. If you are interested in supporting our sabbatical time in this way please email Kyle at [email protected] all donations will go through FMWM and be tax deductible.