Sunday, February 19, 2017

February 2017 update

Hello friends.
I wanted to give everyone an update on how things are going for the Wutka family and also for 6:8 Ministries.  

Wutka family:
  • We moved back to CT at the end of June 2016.  My parents coordinated getting our house in order after our tenants moved out.  Yvonne’s parents also sold their home about a month before me moved home so they moved into our house in East Hartland until their apartment was finished.  They lived with us for about 2 months after we returned and it was really a great experience.  We missed them during our two years in Costa Rica as they were not able to visit due to some health issues.  Getting to spend a couple months under the same roof was really a wonderful time of catching up.
  • The kids loved being back among their cousins and friends and spent the summer catching up on sleepovers and playdates.
  • I had a 36 hour adventure getting our two Costa Rican dogs back to CT, but we all made it safe and sound.  They never saw snow before but have really loved playing in it recently.
  • Everyone (Yvonne and I included) loved having them back in public school and they were all able to reinsert themselves without any issues.  Mara, Jonathan and Abby all returned to their school in East Hartland and Elise started her sophomore year at Granby High.
  • Yvonne found a Marriage and Family Therapy position at a Christian counseling and has steadily been building up her client base and has really enjoyed helping them.
  • I helped my parents at their apple orchard while I also continued to travel back and forth to Costa Rica to continue building at the Children’s ranch.
  • At the end of November I started my own Home Improvement business which has enabled me to help support the family and also have flexibility to travel.
  • God has been awesome in providing for our financial needs and also our spiritual needs.  He seems to have affirmed that our decision to move home was a good one.  We are still receiving support from some amazing people and churches and that money is being used for my travel and expenses at the ranch.  God is so good!

6:8 Ministries
  • Progress continues at the Living Waters Children’s ranch.  The first large family house is almost complete (I know, I have been saying that for a while now but if you have ever built something big on a part time basis you will understand).
  • I am currently on my 4th trip to work at the ranch since moving home last June.  My home church (Valley Brook) sent a team down in January of this year and got to experience what we are all about.  They are excited to continue to partner with the ministry.
  • We rented a storefront in town and will be opening a community center in March of this year.  A young lady named Colleen has been serving with the ministry full time for a couple months and will be running the center.  It will include before and after school time for kids to get a snack and hand out in a safe and Godly environment.  We will also be running English classes at the center and that will be a huge draw for the local people.  Both of these will offer great opportunities to share about God and His love for the people here.
  • The national electric company contacted us and they recently installed a transformer at the end of our driveway which has solved out electrical issues.  Before this transformer, our power was often weak and fluctuated a great deal.  This was a big issue for the ranch and our future growth and was going to be very costly to fix.  It turns out that the electric company heard of what we were building and they donated the transformer and install at no cost!!
  • We have had some great meetings with Pani, which is the Costa Rican department of children and families.  They approve of what we are doing and we continue to move forward towards getting children here.  There are certain key items that we are actively getting checked off the list before this can happen.  Some of the items, like residency for the house parents, can take a long time.
  • We have a lot of teams booked through August of this year so it will be a very busy time and we hope to get a lot accomplished.

Please continue to be in prayer for the ministry as we continue to seek God’s will in all that we do.  We are humbled by the fact that God’s timing is not always in line with our plans but it is always the best course of action. If you have any questions about how you can support the ministry, please get in touch with me.

Serving Him,
Rob Wutka

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Back to Connecticut!!

Hello friends.
It is with mixed emotions that I tell you we are moving back to our home in East Hartland CT this week.  While we are sad to leave Costa Rica, we are excited about being back among our family and friends in Connecticut.  We fly home this Friday June 24th.  Here is an excerpt from a recent letter that we sent to our regular financial donors.  It gives a good summary of what we have been a part of accomplishing in the past two years.

Thank you!!  Thank you for your faithful support of our ministry here.  Thank you for your generous donations over the past two years.  Thank you for your prayers for our family, our ministry, and the people we are serving here in Costa Rica.  We literally could not be doing what we are doing without your sacrifice.  It has been such an affirming journey as we have watched God provide for our needs each and every month.

Since some of you may not be aware of what God has asked us to do since we moved to Costa Rica, I wanted to include a summary of what God has allowed us to accomplish to date.
I often get asked how many children are currently living at the Ranch.  It is a fair question.  I answer that question by explaining how much infrastructure is required when starting from scratch.  After two years of preparing the property we are now focusing on the family houses.  God willing we will be ready to take in the first child this winter.

It was  two years ago (May 2014) that the ministry received local approval to start construction.  Here is a quick list of our accomplishments, with more details on the website.  
·         Security fence installed along the road
·         Electricity and water lines were run to the buildings
·         600 foot road and small bridge installed
·         Men’s and women’s bunkroom constructed (capacity of 28 people)
·         Kitchen and staff room building constructed (Wutka family lived here for 1 year)
·         2 Bedroom cabin constructed (currently used to bless Miriam in her retirement)
·         Large garage constructed (houses tractor, tools, building materials)
·         Chapel/Kitchen constructed (used for visiting mission teams)
·         Architectural approval and permits have been obtained for the whole project (10 family homes and large courtyard chapel and playground for the kids and families)
·         Joshua 1:9 cabin constructed (3 bedroom cabin that Wutka family currently lives in)
·         First large family house was started (this home will house a missionary family and take in the first Costa Rican foster child.  Scheduled for completion in Fall 2016)
·         6 acres of our 17 acre jungle has been tamed
·         Some great relationships with the local community have been established

When we first partnered with 6:8 Ministries we said we would commit for two years and then re-evaluate where God wanted us.  After much prayer and discussion, we have decided that it is best for our family to move back to Connecticut on June 24th of this year, sort of…..We still feel that God wants to use our skills and abilities to complete the Living Waters Children’s Ranch, and to give a loving, Godly home to 80 children.  How can we move home and still serve God in Costa Rica?
Since our construction model at the Ranch is to use mission teams, God has made it clear that I don’t have to be living full time in Costa Rica to oversee this.  Over the past 2 years I have developed a network of contacts and suppliers that I can still maintain a relationship with via phone and email.  As teams come down to work on large projects, I can coordinate the delivery of materials and then fly down and manage their work.  I anticipate needing to make 8 to 10 trips to Costa Rica per year.  God has already provided another family to live on the Ranch and to take care of the daily tasks and to continue to build relationships into the community. 

Another huge need of the Ranch is for funding.  This proposed model would allow me to spend a significant portion of my time educating the Northeast about what we are doing.  By seeking out churches and other service-focused organizations, I hope to find additional mission teams and funding for the Ranch.

Just as God lined everything up for our move down to Costa Rica, He appears to be opening the doors necessary for this change.  I would like to commit to this model for one year and I humbly ask that you consider continuing your support during this time.  Yvonne is currently searching for a full time job in her field of Marriage and Family therapy.  As many of you know, supporting a family of 6 in Connecticut is very costly.  In order to take care of the needs of my family and to know how much time I will be able to devote to this ministry, I need to have an idea of what support we can expect.  To be clear…all support will be used to pay for my travel and to allow me to ‘work’ part-time so I can focus on growing the ministry in the Northeast.  Please pray about how you can continue to support our ministry through your gifts.  If you can continue at the same amount, great.  If you need to reduce the amount, that is okay.  If you prefer to stop your support then I would sincerely thank you for what you have been able to give over the past 24 months.  It would be very helpful if you could contact me and let me know your decision. 

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about this transition.  As always, you can visit our blog ( to find more detailed information about what we have accomplished during our time here.  More general information about 6:8 Ministries can be found at

Serving Him,
Robert Wutka


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Spring update.

Hello friends.

It has been a very busy three months since our Christmas update.
It was a very enjoyable Christmas time without a lot of the hustle and bustle that we are used to in the States.  Simple presents, time relaxing with our family, and remembering why we are here and who we are serving.

In early January we had the privilege of hosting our home church Valley Brook Community church from Connecticut.  It was a special time, connecting with some old friends and making new ones.  It was great to be able to actually show them what we are doing here and let them experience it for themselves.  They spent 3 days serving seniors and children in the community of Alajuelita and 4 days working hard at the Children's ranch.  We even got to catch a soccer game at the national stadium during their visit.  We mixed 50 bags of concrete and poured a large cement pad and erected the wall and roof frame for our new team chapel and dining area.

On the day before Valley Brook went home, my sister Sue and two of her boys came down for a week long visit.  Elise and Yvonne knew about the trip but is was a complete surprise for Mara, Jonathan & Abby.  It was an awesome week watching the cousins play together out here in the beautiful nature.  It was also neat to have them experience one of our feeding centers and meet the staff.

In mid February, another of our favorite churches came for visit.  This time it was Copiague Christian church from Long Island.  Yvonne's uncle Paul is the pastor and they brought a great crew for their second year in a row.  They also brought a special surprise guest with them......Brenda Ryan!!  Yvonne's sister was able to fill in at the last minute for someone that could not make the trip.  We had no clue.  As the team was unloading from the bus and we were saying hello to everyone, all of a sudden Brenda was standing there.  It took a couple seconds for this to register with me but Yvonne's face lit up immediately.  It was such a beautiful occasion and we really enjoyed having her stay with us for the week.  The team worked so hard as we laid tile in the new chapel and dining area, processed so much lumber into finished wood, and installed aluminum studs and cement boards in the walls of a new cabin.

As soon as Copiague left, we had two back to back teams from Jacksonville Florida.  These two teams were part of the J1:9 group.  This is a group of churches coming together to be Strong and Courageous, as instructed in Joshua 1:9.  This group had a fund raiser and was able to fund the construction of a three bedroom cabin that we built right next to Miriam's cabin.  We worked non stop for two weeks trying to complete this build.  Finished wall studs and cement board exterior, stucco, paint, insulation, drywall, mud, ceramic tile, electric, plumbing.  At the end of their two weeks, we were in a great position.  Mauricio and I have spend the past two weeks continuing the finishing touches and my family is set to move into this new cabin by Tuesday March 22nd.

The whole family is excited about the move but also a little sad.  It will be great to move from one 400 square foot open room into a place with three bedrooms, a living/dining room, and our own kitchen.  But in a surprising way, we have rather enjoyed our cramped living space for the past 13 months.

If anyone is interested in more details on the projects we have worked on at the ranch over the past year, please check out the ranch page on our ministries website, which I just updated this week.  Here is the link:

We also have some exciting news about our future after this summer.  I will write another blog entry soon giving more details on those changes.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us and also for those that have been supporting us financially.  We cannot do this without all of you.  As always, if you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.

In Christ,
Rob Wutka

Friday, December 25, 2015

Feliz Navidad 2015

Merry Christmas to all our Family and Friends!

My heart is full and overflowing with contentment this Christmas season. As I mentioned in a Facebook post, this is both my and Rob’s first Christmas ever away from our families. I have to admit that I wasn’t really looking forward to it and it seemed that the kids weren’t looking forward to it either since they wouldn’t tell me what they wanted for Christmas. In past years, that has always been an easy question and some of them would have a list that took up a full page. Not this year, every time I asked, they would have a blank stare or just plain ignore me. Finally, one of the kids said, “Well, we really don’t NEED anything so why don’t you just tell our grandparents to make a donation to the Children’s Ranch or something.” What? Wow! Huh. Every once in a while, your kids just melt your heart.

A couple of weeks ago, we decided to give a gift to a friend of ours who has been helping us build at the ranch for the last year. We wrapped it up in typical Christmas wrapping paper with a bow so that looked pretty and presented it to him. It was a small package about the size and shape of a book. When he saw the gift that we were presenting to him, he teared up. He said that he has never received a Christmas gift in 43 years. (He is 43 years old). He then said that Christmas is when they get their clothes that they need for next year and that is all. They aren’t wrapped. So, even though the gift was something as small as a book, he knew it couldn’t possibly be clothes or something ‘practical.’ I had always heard that it is better to give than to receive but this moment really made me realize the true joy in giving. It was a very impactful moments for our whole family.

Two of our neighbors came over this week and dropped off tamales. This is what everyone here eats for Christmas, it is a very special meal that takes a lot of time and effort to prepare. We were honored to be included in this tradition and we enjoyed eating the tamales today for our Christmas dinner, since we had the ‘American ham dinner’ on Christmas Eve. They were delicious.

Jonathan enjoying the tamale at our 'casual attire' Christmas dinner
These gifts of tamales prompted us to give away the cinnamon swirl bread (that we made for French toast Christmas morning) as a gift to our neighbors. It was fun to wrap them up in shiny tin foil and tie them with ribbons. The neighbors seemed happy to receive these gifts as well.

It is a tradition in my Norwegian family to open all of our gifts to each other on Christmas Eve after our evening dinner. Well, as soon as the kids woke up, our youngest asked, “Are we opening presents now?”
I replied with, “No sweetie, we open gifts after dinner so not until it gets dark.”
About an hour later she asks, “How much longer until we open gifts.”
Again, “not until it gets dark.” A while later she asks what time does it get dark? And finally when she started to ask how much longer until it gets dark I lost it and told her, “If you talk about opening presents one more time today, we will not open them at all! Let’s enjoy our company while they are here!” Grrrr.  We were not looking forward to a Christmas alone so we invited a couple in our ministry to share Christmas with us. They came over for the day on Christmas Eve and we had the ham dinner with them. It was so much fun to play games and share some time with our ‘new’ family here in Costa Rica.
After our friends left and I announced that it was time to exchange gifts, my sweet little baby said, “I’m so excited. I can’t wait to see everyone open the gifts that I got for them.” Stab me with a dagger right in the heart. So that’s why she couldn’t wait for us to open gifts.

As I read back over these different experiences that we have had in the last week, GIVING seems to be the theme for our family this 2015 Christmas. We don’t consider ourselves anyone special.  We are just a regular American family who happens to be living in another country as our way of serving God.  We always have food and clean water.  We have a clean, safe, comfortable place to live.  We often bicker and argue like everyone else.  In spite of us, God is working in our hearts to give us a perspective that we probably would not have found back home. Knowing that is what fills my heart this Christmas season. 

Thank you God for giving us the greatest gift of all. Jesus. I now have a glimpse of the joy you must feel whenever a person humbly and gratefully accepts that gift. I love you. Amen.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Pictures at the Living Waters Children's Ranch

Here are a bunch of pictures that represent our past year.  God has been very good.

Baptisms in the river are awesome!

The garage.

Happy 19th!

Doing nails is serious business.
We love when young people come down so our kids can make friends.
Jonathan playing with friends  in Verbena
Mara and Jonathan working hard for lolly pop money.
The cone of shame.
Fun day at La Paz waterfalls (no waterfalls were harmed in the taking of this picture)
Our new greenhouse.
Abby and Jonathan enjoying the river.
Typical Costa Rican clothing.
The first large family house is under construction.
Jonathan got the perfect can from one of his sisters.
Snorkeling fun in Panama.
Sisters having fun at starfish beach.
Hola amigo.
The first step to making chocolate.

Crushing the cocoa beans.
Grinding the cocoa beans.

Jonathan doing the final mashing with a rock.

Tasting the final product.
Elise holding Mauricio's grand daughter.

Amazing moon rise.
Abby and Jonathan teaching Miriam a new game.
Halloween fun.
Abby just might follow in Aunt Katie's footsteps.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

September 2015 update

Hello friends. 
Wow.  It has been a very busy summer between hosting teams, travelling home to CT for visit and of course, building, building, building.

The family is doing very well.  The kids are enjoying school and are all actually doing amazingly well, considering that most of the teaching is in Spanish.  Elise has made a lot of friends and loves going to learn and socialize.  Mara, Jonathan & Abby are a little less excited about school and would much rather be huddling together on the couch playing mine craft.  Yvonne has hit a good routine of taking care of all of us, spending time in her bible and with Rosetta Stone.  She enjoys helping to host teams when they come out to the Ranch and has started to garden and make the place look great.  And best of all, we are all blessed to have Miriam living out here.  She is so patient and loving to all of us and a great example of trusting in and living to serve Jesus.  I am having a great time as we are into full blown construction mode on our house.
This first house is about 200 square meters (2,000 square feet) and will be the model home for the rest of the construction we will be doing here at the Children’s Ranch.  Each house will have the capacity for 8 children and one ‘Mom & Dad’ set of foster parents.  If we can quickly raise the necessary funds to continue construction, I hope to be able to move into the house by the end of this October.  We still need about $40,000 to finish this first house.  As of this writing, I do not have any more funds to order the next batch of materials.  

I am certain that this project is part of God’s plan for some of His most special children here in Costa Rica.  I am also certain that God’s timing is far superior to my plans.  Either He is telling me to take some time off from construction to focus on my family and making more relationships in the local community, or He is looking for me to completely trust in His provision.  I have about 2 weeks worth of work that I can do on the house without spending much more money, at the end of which I will have to determine how to proceed.

Our family has been extremely blessed by the generosity of our family and friends and churches and we have had enough money every months to pay our bills and continue with our ministry.  We hope that everyone knows how appreciative we are for that support and how much we recognize the sacrifice that this is for each of our donors.
I would like to issue a challenge to everyone that reads this blog.  Please consider how you might be able to help support this very worthy project.  Perhaps you have the resources to personally send our ministry a tax-deductible donation to continue construction.  Perhaps you feel compelled to band together with a group of folks and try to raise some money to help.  Every bit helps and every bit is needed.  I have a page on the ministry website that breaks down the cost of building one of these houses.  Please visit to see this detail and much more information about the Ranch.

The leaders of our ministry have met and we have decided that we should have at least two families, preferably three, living in homes at the Ranch before we start taking in children.  We can build a house in 4 months if we have the funds.  How amazing would it be for us to raise the $160,000 that we will need to get to that point to start radically blessing these children?

If you have any questions or comments please send me an email to  I would love to hear from you and perhaps discuss how you can come down and check out what we are going first hand.

Happily Serving,

Rob Wutka