Friday, November 28, 2008

Greetings from Whataburger!

In case you don't know, Whataburger has great hamburgers and french fries, plus they have free WiFi. We are writing this from the Whataburger in Pensacola, FL. We drove down here from Brewton to go to take the kids to see a movie. We thought we were going to a family Christmas movie, called "Four Christmases". As the movie began, we quickly discovered it wasn't appropriate for Charlotte and me - much less the children. In the beginning, we told ourselves, "It will get better." After about 20 minutes, we realized we had a choice to make. We could stay and expose our children to language and subject matter that they didn't need to see, or we could walk out and lose $36.00. We left, and I ran into the manager in the lobby. I told him that we went to a movie that was inappropriate for our family. He then gave us free tickets to come back later this afternoon to see the movie "Bolt 3D" Here is a picture of us with our cool 3D glasses on.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

We have been very busy over the last few days, and have not had a chance to post on the blog. We left White House, TN on Tuesday morning headed for Brewton, Alabama to spend Thanksgiving with Charlotte's parents. Tuesday night we spoke at Charlotte's home church - Catawba Springs Baptist Church. We shared the process of how God has called us to Costa Rica and some of the work we will be doing there. It was a great time to see people Charlotte has known all of her life, and some that remember her sharing as a 10 year old girl that God had called her to be a missionary.

After arriving back at Charlotte's parents home after speaking at the church, we were about to get in bed and I stepped on a needle. It broke off into my big toe, and the thread which was still in the eye of the needle was hanging out of my toe. It was 11:15 pm, and the needle was not coming out on its own. Charlotte and I notified her mother of what was going on so she could keep watch over the sleeping children, and we headed to the Emergency Room of D.W. McMillan Hospital in Brewton.

It was a slow night in the E.R. so I received attention quickly. The doctor turned out to be a very nice young doctor whose family is from Pakistan. I had an opportunity to share about what I'll be doing in Costa Rica. He was very interested, and even gave me a bag of medical supplies to take with me to use when medical teams come in.

They x-rayed my toe to see exactly where the needle was, and then the doctor numbed it and cut into my skin to get the needle out. He put a couple of stitches in, bandaged me up, and we arrived back at my in-laws at 1:00 am. Tuesday was a very crazy day!

Yesterday (Wednesday), we had our own family version of "Extreme Makeover." We got all the kids involved and redid the guest suite at Charlotte's parents home. We went to the brand new Walmart Supercenter in Brewton and purchased new comforters, curtains, pictures, and other supplies to give the guest suite an update! We couldn't believe the change, and thankfully Charlotte's parents liked it, too!

Today, we are gearing up for a great Thanksgiving. We will be having the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. But more than that, we are reflecting on all that we have to be thankful for. God has truly blessed us. We have sold many of our personal belongings, but He is teaching us that that is not where the true blessings lie. Our true blessings lie in knowing Christ as our Saviour and knowing that our eternity is settled. This time next year will be very different for us. We will be in Costa Rica in language school. They do not celebrate Thanksgiving in Costa Rica so for them Thanksgiving is just another day. Yet, we will still take time to reflect on our blessings.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Prayer for a Friend

I'd like to get everyone to pray for a good friend of mine - Sammy Clary. He is a pastor/church planter in South Carolina. God has been using him as he started Stonebridge Church just over a year ago. Sammy is probably one of the most creative, exciting people I've ever been around. God has given him gifts and abilities which blow my mind.

Starting a new church is probably one of the hardest things I've ever done. I just feel God placing Sammy on my heart to pray for him as he continues in the work at Stonebridge Church. Pray that God will give him wisdom, endurance, and encouragement. Also, pray for Sammy's family - Melissa (his wife) and Isaac (his son) as they go through the challenges of church planting.

Check out Sammy's blog - the link is on the right side of the screen. Also, check out the webiste at

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Are you a missionary?" (Posted by Charlotte)

Yesterday, I took Christian and Preston to the dentist. They needed to have a cleaning since we will not have dental insurance for a year after going on the field. When I entered the room where Christian had had her teeth cleaned, the hygienist asked me, "Are you a missionary?" The question took me somewhat by surprise, because I still don't feel like a missionary. Inside my head there was a conversation going on - inward voice #1 said, "No, you're going on the field next year; inward voice #2 said, "Yes you are - you were appointed last week." To my surprise, I heard myself say, "Yes, I am." I then had an opportunity to share a little of what we are doing and how God has brought us to this point. It's still a little overwhelming, and I certainly feel so inadequate. Plus, it still seems a long way away since we do not go to FPO (Field Personnel Orientation) until January.

Thankfully, the kids did not have any cavities. The dentist was a Christian and had been to Nicaragua on a mission trip. The dentist even told me he could help me get fluoride tablets if I need them. (In Costa Rica the water doesn't have fluoride in it). Everyone in the office was very nice, and the ones I met were all Christians.

Today, I had to take John Robert to the doctor. He has been sick for the past two days. Again, it was a great experience. The practice is called "Crossroads Medical Group" and their symbol is a cross. It has been great to experience Christians out in the world being a witness for Him - just like we are all called to do!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why I don't take pictures

For years I have said that I don't take pictures because it is better to remember it in your mind. Over the years I have found that I embellish a lot of my memories. That's ok - but I have started to feel guilty about not taking more pictures of special events and the kids. Take the IMB appointment service - I hold tight to that memory at the same time I will embellish the memory over the years. In 20 years, I will be sharing about the time that I spoke at the Texas Southern Baptist State Convention at First Church Houston. I won't remember the 103 other missionaries that shared and that we were only allowed to share 60 words. In my mind I I will remember that I was the keynote speaker.
As I get ready to go to Costa Rica, my plan is to take more pictures for the purpose of sharing what we are doing. But don't get upset if my story is different than the picture!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Community Thanksgiving Service

Today we attended Temple Baptist Church in White House, Tennessee. White House is located about 20 miles north of Nashville and about 35 miles south of Bowling Green, KY. It is just off of I65. Temple is a growing church that seems to be seeking God as a church body. This was the first week that Cavin hasn't preached since leaving The Church on the Circle. I think it was somewhat of a difficult day for him because he truly loves to preach and proclaim God's word. There have only been three Sundays that he has not preached all year.

Tonight Temple hosted the community Thanksgiving service for 10 churches. The church was filled to capacity which was a wonderful sight. They had to bring extra chairs in to seat everyone. Several pastors spoke. An African American pastor spoke early in the service and did an outstanding job. I wanted him to keep going, but he was only given 7 minutes. The main speaker was the mayor of the town, and that was a disappointment. He did not seem to have a deep relationship with the Lord, and mainly spoke about how "lucky" he had been all his life.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sagemont Baptist Church - Houston, TX

Yesterday was another great day! We had a wonderful time with the people from Sagemont Baptist Church in Houston. We were picked up from the hotel by Randy and Nancy Alexander who were our hosts for the day. They are a great couple who truly love the Lord and were very hospitable to us. We had lunch at Texas Land and Cattle Company with some of the other newly appointed missionaries along with the hosts from Sagemont. It was an enjoyable time getting to know them, and seeing that they truly have a heart for missions.

Last night Sagemont had a Missions Celebration in which we participated. The format was similar to the Appointment Service, but they gave us a little longer to speak since there were not as many of us. It was great sharing with them, and being blessed to be a part of the service. I hope the church was able to see that there is nothing super spiritual about any of us. We have all had challenges and struggles and even times when we ran from God's calling on our lives. Yet, here we are - and I pray that God will use each of us for His glory.

Sagemont is a very unique church. The church was started in the 60's and has steadily grown over the past 40 years. The founding pastor is still the pastor. They say, "he's the best pastor the church has ever had!" The church has always been committed to being debt free, and never pass an offering plate. In spite of not passing an offering plate, the church is a very giving church. They have a sweet spirit which is obvious by spending time with the staff and lay members.

We were up very early this morning - 4:30 am - and left the hotel at 5:00 am. Our flight was at 7:30 am this morning. We were back in Nashville at 9:20 am, and I was eating lunch at school with Christian at 11:45 am for her Thanksgiving meal. Isn't air travel amazing!?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More thoughts about last night

We greatly appreciate all the people who were able to come to the service. We had our children, all of our parents, my brother Blake, Bud and Nancy Zebahazy who come from Lilburn, Georgia, Don and Amy Asdel and their children who live in the Houston area, Fonceil and David Blake - Cavin's aunt and uncle (Fonceil works for the IMB in Richmond), Greg and Lenny Glenn - Lenny is a cousin of mine who lives in the Houston area, Kenny and Lesley Vines and their new baby - they are currently in the appointment process.

Our parents and children left early this morning for a long day of riding in the car. Cavin's parents have our children and will be driving to Nashville which will be about 14 or 15 hours. My parents and brother are driving to Brewton, AL and have about a 9 hour drive. We are still here for another day. Cavin and I, along with some other missionaries, will be going to a Missions Celebration tonight at Sagemont Baptist Church here in Houston We will fly our early in the morning and will arrive in Nashville in time to go to lunch at Christian's school for her Thanksgiving lunch.

As we were practicing our testibyte yesterday, it was a little humorous to me. My first line was "God called an awkward 10 year old girl to GO TELL." Cavin's first line was "God called a crazy, teenage boy to GO TELL." As the kids heard us, Christian and John Robert said, "Are you going to say anything about Preston?" You see, they thought we were describing them. I said, "We're not talking about y'all!" I thought it was funny at first because they think everything is about them. But as I thought about it a little more, I realized that they truly feel called to what we are doing. The descriptions DO describe them. God spoke to me when I was a 10 year old girl - and now we are taking our own 10-year-old girl to the mission field. God spoke to Cavin as a teenager - and now we are taking our own teenage boy to the mission field.

They may be fussing and fighting in the car right now with their grandparents... But we've got GREAT kids!! I stand amazed!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We are officially "missionaries"!

It is 12:03 am and I am still dressed in my black suit which I wore to the appointment service at Houston's First Baptist. Tonight was one of those times when we are just on a spiritual high of what God is doing in our lives. It will be one of those times we will need to look back on when we get discouraged or are less than excited. I know those days will come.

Anyway, each couple and single gave a "testibyte" to share a little about what God did in our lives to get us to this point. Each couple could say 60 words, and each single could say 40 words. It was a pretty big task to say what we wanted to say with such a few words. But it was amazing how each couple/single captured in such a few carefully chosen words what God wanted them to share with the congregation.

This is what we said:

Charlotte: "God called an awkward 10-year-old-girl to GO TELL."

Cavin: "God called a crazy teenage boy from South Alabama to GO TELL."

Charlotte: God brought that couple together. While serving at a multi-ethnic church in Marietta, Georgia, God confirmed that calling to GO TELL."

Cavin: "We're that couple. We're Cavin and Charlotte. We will GO TELL the story of Jesus to the people of Costa Rica."

That's our story in a very small nutshell, but God has done so much more in our lives to bring us to this point. The Lottie Moon slogan for this year is "Go Tell." That's why we incorporated that into our testibyte.

The service was very powerful. There was a huge choir that sang, flags from many nations were brought in, everyone shared their testibytes, and Dr. Rankin (President of the International Mission Board) preached.

I am very proud of our children. They are excited and ready to serve God on the mission field!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Having a great time in Houston!

These last few days have been packed full. They are definitely keeping us busy while we are here in Houston.

Sunday we went to Houston's First Baptist Church. The service was very uplifting. Travis Cottrell was a special guest in the service. He sang and led the music. He sings with Beth Moore a lot at her conferences. In fact, we all had lunch with Beth Moore after the service. She is a member at First Baptist. Cavin and I were sitting just two tables away from Beth and Travis. She led a special prayer for all the new missionaries after the meal.

While at First Baptist, all of the appointees were asked to speak to various Sunday School classes. Cavin and I spoke in a single mom's class. They were very sweet and seemed to enjoy having us in their class! They asked if they could pray for us, and of course we said, "Yes!" We definitely need everyone's prayers.

This week we have been very busy going to meetings to prepare us for going on the mission field. We have also had a chance to get to know so many wonderful people. Our families and close friends arrived today. They drove many hours to get here, and that really means a lot to us.

The big night for us is tomorrow night for the Appointment Service. There are 105 people who will be appointed as missionaries to serve all over the world. This is the second largest group to be appointed at one time in the history of the International Mission Board. That's very exciting for all of us.

We are getting ready to ride busses to First Baptist for a rehearsal of tomorrow night's service.

Please pray for us tomorrow. It's a very BIG day for us!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

We have arrived in Houston for Appointment Week!!

Hello! This is Charlotte writing! Cavin is finally letting me have a chance to write a few words!

We left Nashville yesterday at 12:15 pm and arrived in Houston at 2:10. We met up with several other appointees at the airport and rode together to the hotel where we are staying - The Hyatt Regency - which is in downtown Houston. We had met some of the appointees in Richmond in July, but some of the others were at Candidate Conference in August so this was our first time meeting them.

Everyone is coming in at different times. I think everyone should be in today. We are looking forward to reconnecting with friends we have met before, and also getting to know some new friends! It's great to hear how God has called each person and couple in unique ways, and how each has a passion for reaching people for Christ.

This morning we are up early because we have a training session at 8:30 am, which will last until 2:30. We are going to be pretty busy while we are here. They have a lot of meetings and training sessions that we have to go to. Tomorrow we are going to First Baptist Houston. We will be sharing in Sunday School classes. At this point, we haven't received our class assignments where we will be speaking.

The big night for us is Tuesday night (Nov. 11). This is the Appointment Service and will be held at First Baptist Houston. This will be a momentous occasion for us. We are excited that our parents, kids, my brother, and some other close friends are going to be here to be a part of it. They will be arriving on Monday. Cavin's aunt and uncle David and Fonceil Blake will be arriving today. His aunt actually works at the Board in Richmond and goes to all the Appointment Services. We are looking forward to seeing them. Cavin talked with a good friend of his from high school yesterday - Don Asdel. He lives here in Houston and he will be attending the Appointment Service. It will be great to see him.

We will try to write on the blog when we can this week, but may have limited internet access.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mission Trip in Review

God has given me a vision for the Tico people of Costa Rica. I believe that God has called the Cawthon family to go and make disciples in Costa Rica. There are many great churches in Costa Rica, but I believe as the IMB works with Tico pastors and existing churches in starting new churches then a great revival will take place in Costa Rica.

We have much to do before we are on the field seeing new churches started. First we are to be appointed by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. The appointment service will be November 11, 2008 in Houston, TX at First Baptist Church Houston. We will be leaving for Houston this Friday. We will be there just less than a week. Many missionaries told me to cherish the appointment service because it will be something that we will look back on as a reminder of our call. Be sure that I will update the blog on the events during appointment week.

The next big step is to go to Field Personnel Orientation in Richmond, VA. We will arrive in Richmond at the end of January. The orientation will last about 3 months. The point of the orientation is to help us put behind the dependence on US culture. Missionaries have told me that we will learn things at orientation that we will use every day on the mission field.

After orientation will be going to Costa Rica more than likely the first of April. We will be going to language school for 1 year. During this time will be in deep study of the Spanish language. I am concerned more about going to school for a year than anything else. Please start praying that we will do well in school and learn Spanish as quickly as God would have us.

April 2010 will be the time frame of us starting to work with the Tico people and doing the job that God has called us to do. Don’t get me wrong - the work before this point is of God and important, but it is a long period of time before we get things going in country.

Seeing Costa Rica has given me a great understanding of the country, team members and work that is ahead of us. The country is beautiful and the people are so friendly. The culture is different than the US but you can see a lot of the US creeping into Costa Rica. Within two blocks of the house that we will be living in are Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and McDonalds. At the same time there are a great number of people without hope of the life that Jesus gives. Please pray, as we get ready for this great time of adjustment.

The team that we will be working with is a great group of God called people. They are from what I have seen a close group that are willing to help and encourage each other to see the work of the kingdom of God done. I look forward to working with each of them.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday in Costa Rica

Today I preached at San Pedro Christian Fellowship. The church is an international church that is in English. They are without a pastor and need someone to fill the pulpit. The congregation is made up of people from all over the world that speak English as their first language. The leader of the church is Mark Bloomfield who is from Jamaica. He has lived in Costa Rica for 30 years. He is a retired Professor. Now he owns a Pizza place. The church is like many churches in the US.

Mark Bloomfield took us to his restaurant for Pizza. I am in Costa Rica reading a Spanish menu ordering pizza from a man that is from Jamaica. Is God not awesome?

Today is the last day in Costa Rica. I really miss my family and wish we could go ahead and move down here and start our work. I must wait on the LORD.

Charlotte is in Marietta staying with Beth Brantley. She went this afternoon to see Paul and Marcelle McConnell. They are members at Olive Springs that mean a lot to us. They are doing well and Mr. Paul celebrated his 90th birthday. Happy Birthday Mr. Paul! Yes, Marcelle, I will put more picture of the family on the blog.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Over the River and Through the Rain Forrest!

What a great day. We went into the rain forrest to meet some people that had started a church. The church is three years old and still going. The couple in the picture are a part of the church but have moved. They both accepted Christ three years ago and are going in their relationship with Christ. The man has cancer and three years ago was at the point of death but is doing better now. He gives God the glory for his health. He now has two jobs and his wife is able to stay home and work.

We got to see the rain forrest today. It is so amazing. The other picture is the mission team in front of a small water fall. When we left the jungle, the drive back lasted about 4 hours. Normally it last 1.5 hours. I am so tied of riding.