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Prayer Requests

(7/30) A few days ago,I hurt my neck and back. Please pray for healing!
(9/9) Things seem to be taking longer to heal and am back to the no lifting restrictions.

God’s Miraculous Provision

July 6, 2013

Time has flown by once again and in that time period since I last wrote, we have hosted more people from the States, (Brian has joked that we should start a tourist agency.  Ha!)  my in-laws left for a one year furlough and we moved into their house to watch it for them while they are gone.  Yes, that makes house number 3 in a little over 1 1/2 years and we will be moving again in a year!  Oh and a side note, Emma is walking!! Yay! 

Anyway, that’s not exactly what I planned on writing about today.  The Lord reminded me this morning about how good He is to take care of His children.  I was thinking back to even before we stated deputation, before we knew where God wanted us to serve (other than our home church) and Brian “just” worked a construction job, the number of times he took care of us.  So many times the Lord directed us to take steps that really didn’t make sense at all, but we knew that was what the Lord wanted.  There was a time when we only had $5.00 sometimes $10.00 a week for groceries, sometimes, but rarely, $15 if Brian was able to work overtime and the rest of the check went to our tithe/missions and bills.  No, we didn’t have cable or internet, no extra anything, but we were fine.   The Lord took care of us!  We had food to eat and a nice warm apartment to call home.  How in the world we had food to eat is beyond me!  But the Lord did it!  My dad got a deer that fall and gave us some of the meat and some other groceries too, that was just one way the Lord took care of us.  Another time we had our car insurance bill coming up and no way to pay it, believe me, we cut as much as we could cut and it still would not be able to be paid.  I remember Brian saying that he went to the Lord and told Him that He promised to provide for us and so far it hadn’t come.  Well, just the next day Brian’s boss gave him a Christmas bonus check for $500, which took care of our insurance!  The Lord used that time to really teach me what “needs” are and what “wants” are.  Preparation for what He would call us to next… At that time we didn’t have direction as to where or when he would direct us to a country or people group He wanted us to serve.  We were in this kind of situation for about 5 months, then the Lord gave us direction and we were able to start deputation.  But there are those pesky start up costs, like a presentation, display and projector.  How would we pay for those?!  So many times we received money anonymously.  To this day we have no idea who the givers were.  The beginning of deputation was a little un-nerving for me, but I knew that if God had taken care of us this far (and He had!) then He would take care of us in the next step we took.  When we started fulltime deputation another 8 months later we were booked solid!  God is good!  The love offerings took care of us.  We didn’t have a credit card, didn’t borrow money, just allowed God to work and boy did He!  We were in a church that had a food pantry and they gave all of us missionaries big boxes of food and told us to come back any time to get more food!!  God says He will provide for your food, clothing and lodging, He never goes back on His promises!! 

Do you remember when we had car trouble and it would have cost $4,000 to fix, but God gave us a car to use for the remainder of deputation??  If not, read about it here!

Ok, one more story and I’m done…  I don’t remember what level of support we were at, but since we came to Costa Rica on 75% of $3200 (our goal), I know we didn’t have much.  We had traveled from Ohio to Montana for a meeting and once we arrived at the hotel the church had provided, we realized we only had $45.00 left in our bank account to get us to the west coast of Washington state.  We wouldn’t get a paycheck until the following Friday.  We didn’t know what we were going to do.  But God knew!  The church had been preparing for us and gave us a HUGE love offering!  It was enough to get us to Washington and all the way back to Ohio the next week and all expenses that we had while traveling! 

I love hearing stories about how God has provided for others!  If you have a story to tell; tell it so that God can receive the glory and that others may be encouraged!!        

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A Year and Five Months Later…

April 20, 2013

We have been in Costa Rica a year and five months now {woohoo!}  and yes, I am still trying to learn Spanish.  If you “Google” the top 10 hardest languages in the world, you will find that Spanish is not on that list.  In fact, you will find it on the opposite list, the list of the top easiest languages to learn, as (you guessed it!) the #1 easiest language to learn (for an English speaker, that is).  I tell you all this so you understand that I know I have it easy.  But I still have good days with the language (understanding what is being said, for the most part, and being able to respond back with fairly coherent sentences) and bad days with the language (not understanding a word that is being said and not able to make a coherent sentence.)  It seems every day is different with the language thing.

This week is the perfect examples of this!  Thursday, Brian was spraying for bugs and we needed to be out of the house. So, Emma and I walked down our mountain into town.  It took us 15 minutes to make it down into town {Yay!} and we still needed to kill some time till Brian was done and would pick us up.  I decided I wanted to go back to a used clothing store (Ropa Americana stores are stores that get clothing from the USA, mostly from the used clothing stores there.)  The lady in the store, I found out later that her name is Marie, loved Emma and gushed all over her.  She even went so far to go get the the vegetable guy (Randal, remember him?) and bring him over to see her.  (It’s the combination of blue eyes and light skin that makes her a magnate…)  After Randal politely said we knew each other, bid us hello, and gave courtesy look at Emma, he left.  After that Marie talk to me for a while!  And the best part is I was able to understand almost all of what she said.  We actually had a conversation for about 10 minutes, until she found out that we are missionaries.  She then just walked away.  I have no idea what happened.  I’m really hoping I didn’t say something wrong.  That is my biggest fear!

Ok so, that was one day, the next day on the other hand I felt like I just arrived in the country!  Friday morning our neighbor came over to ask if she could borrow something.  Only I couldn’t understand any of the important words, including the part where she said she wanted to borrow “something”, whatever that “something” was!  So I asked her to slow down and she did and then I only got a few more words.  So she repeated it again and through explaining the words I didn’t understand and a little acting out, I got that she wanted to borrow something to wash the floors with (at least that’s what I thought).  But I still couldn’t figure out what “it” was!  A mop? Cleaner? A broom?  What??  Instead of bringing multiple items out to her, I just brought her through the house to the pila room and hoped I had what she needed.  As I was rummaging around trying to find the different items for her to take her pick, she said “manguera” and pointed to the washing machine (I thought).  I was still baffled.  The things that were by the washing machine were an empty vinegar bottle (that I can’t throw away because it’s a nice container and I just might need that someday, you understand, right?), Emma’s diaper laundry detergent and a garden hose.  I was still thinking of washing floors and nothing there fit that description to me.  Finally she went over and pointed to the hose…  Oh boy! {Insert eye roll here.}  All at once it made since, and I felt a little dense. Smile

Of course there are those fun times when I think I understand what is being said and then make a comment and get a strange look in return.  Like the time I got the words camino (way, pathway) and caminando (walking) mixed up… There is a big difference, by the way.  And yes, I received a strange look and didn’t know why until I realized what was really asked much later.  And I could go on and on and on with the word mix-ups, but I think you get the idea.

Yes, this is just the normal process of learning a language and I will just take each day as it comes!  I know I say this a lot, but your prayers are greatly appreciated!

Bloomin’ Flowers

April 17, 2013

The coffee harvest time is over, and the plants have all been pruned to promote better growth.  Now the cycle starts over again!  Little white flowers are all over these plants now and boy do they have a strong smell!  We, quite literally, are surrounded by a cafetal (which is a coffee planation) and the fragrance is a little overwhelming, though the sight is quite beautiful!  I snapped some photos the day they started blooming, so here they are! 

A Flowering coffee plant (excuse the dead banana leaf hanging down there, this was the best I could do at getting a shot at a whole bush.  The landscape is a bit treacherous and I was in flip-flops… )

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A closer look at the plant…

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… and closer yet…

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The white/light dots are the flowers… they almost look like popcorn from a distance. (Taken from the left side of the house)

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Taken from the back of the house…

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Our back yard… (well not really, but since our back yard is only about 2 or 3 meters deep and is right up to the cafetal, it seems like it.

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So there you have it, bloomin’ flowers! 

On the Lighter Side…

April 11, 2013

Going through old pictures on Facebook, I found this that someone had “tagged” me in a while ago.  It’s rather funny and to some extent, true.  Enjoy a chuckle… Smile 

 

 

 

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What We Encounter on a Daily Basis

April 10, 2013

For a few weeks now I’ve been trying to think of a way to explain what we have experienced with the people up here in the Los Santos area.  People in Costa Rica are generally friendly, hospitable people, that includes the people up here in Los Santos zone, but it seems to be more among themselves.  I’ve mentioned before how people will stop their car in the middle of the road, blocking both lanes of traffic and chat with someone.  Driving though town you always see people walking down the road and stopping to chat with someone while they sweep their porch.  They are easy going, relaxed people.  But with us they are more reserved.  People on the street will greet us if we initiate the greeting, but they are not overly friendly (though, they adore Emma, but sometimes won’t even look at us).  Almost every week I go to the same grocery store (except for when we need to go to San Marcos for other things, I will shop there.) and once, sometimes twice a week we go to the same fruit and vegetable market.  At both of these places we see the same people.  The lady at the grocery store will smile at Emma, but give us a dour look.  Trying to make conversation with her doesn’t go anywhere.  At first I thought that was just the way she was, but then I noticed how she was with the other people in town… smiling and friendly.  Hmmm… Then there is the Vegetable Guy (the name I have given to him, because for the longest time I couldn’t remember his name and now it’s just kinda stuck… he does have a name, it’s Randal).  Brian has tired to have many conversations with him and Randal will talk but is not overly friendly and the last few times we have been in there he has seemed less friendly.  (Of course is could be because of the US/Costa Rica soccer game that was played in Colorado and they got 4 inches of snow during the game and Costa Rica lost.  Almost all the Ticos Brian has talked to about it blame the US for the snow.  And yes, they take soccer that serious that the blame would transfer to us!)  I could go one with other examples, but I think you get the point.

Coming up here, I knew things would be different and that it would take time to be a part of the community, but I didn’t expect such reserve.  Brian lived up here for 3 years before going to the States for his Senior year of high school and then college, but people in our town didn’t know him then.  Just the other night I was talking to my mother-in-law about this.  They have lived in San Marcos (the next town over) for 12 years.  She said that after they lived up here for a few years, their landlord finally told them that when they first moved up here, the talk in town was that they wouldn’t last a year up here.  Now they are part of the community and the people around them look out for them because they are now “their Gringos.” 

My father-in-law, Ron Todd just sent out his latest prayer letter and actually addressed this issue.  The Lord knew what I needed to hear and He did it through a prayer letter!  Here is an excerpt from the prayer letter that cleared up a whole lot of things for me.  It reviles so much!

With a heart-felt desire for you to pray intelligently; let me share a bit of what we have faced over the years here in our valley. Although there are several foreigners who live in the valley, we are only a few. And there is a certain fear of foreigners. Not long after our moving here, a fellow missionary loaned me a book containing the history of the Gospel’s spread in Costa Rica. Although I had heard of such things before, I read that long years ago the Roman Catholic priests of Los Santos had told the people here to avoid missionaries because they would eat their children.

Now let me tell you how this story affects us, today. Over the past two years, a little school girl from our neighborhood has befriended me. She and I began by saying, “Hello” in English since she is learning English in school. Obviously, I have been very cautious to speak to her only in the presence of her mother as she walks her to and from her classes. One day, while I was out painting the fence, our conversation became more involved and she told me something that was rather revealing. She mentioned that she was scared to talk to me at first because she had been told that I would probably abuse the neighborhood children. Of all the obstacles that we have faced over the years – and they have been many – this one sure has been a hard one to overcome. So, as you pray, please pray that God will bless as we seek to live the Gospel before a people who are very closed to not only our presence, but to our message as well.

So, as my father-in-law asked in his prayer letter, so I would ask you to pray for us in that area.  Please pray that we would not be put off by the unfriendly attitudes and that we would have wisdom in how to make friends. 

The For Sale Sign

March 28, 2013

 

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This is a for sale sign in Spanish… the translation is: For sale, this property. We see a lot of these kinds of signs. It’s really not uncommon at all.  However, one place I didn’t expect to see one was here:

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Yes, that’s right… OUR front yard!  As many of you know, we are renting this house and will be (at lease we thought we would be) until the end of June.  Tuesday we were gone almost all day, doing our monthly grocery shopping in the capital, San Jose, and when we came home, we found this sign.  In reality, it is unlikely that the property will sell by June, but there is still the possibility that we could be kicked out of the house before the end of our agreement.  So, prayers are appreciated!! 

Just another day in Costa Rica…   

Trips, Trips and More Trips!

March 23, 2013

We have been blessed this year with having our families come visit us!!  First was my mom, grandma and sister were able to come down for a weeks (a very fast trip!) in January and we were able to take them to some places near-by.

A 4 generation picture!  We are trying to figure out a way to get a 5 generation picture with my great-grandma…

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A bridge we pass over on our way to Playa Dominical (Dominical Beach).

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Emma’s 2nd time at the beach… Though she wasn’t so fond of having her feet in the sand or water.

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In February Brian’s sister and husband came down with their two girls to visit for a month!  While they were here, they wanted to go to Playa Sámara (Samara Beach) which is about 6 hours from where we live.  Long story short, my brother-in-law’s parents (missionaries in Nicaragua) were coming back with them and everyone would not fit in either of the Troopers, so we HAD to go to have 2 vehicles… twist my arm, right?! Winking smile   This beach is in a bay so they don’t have the dangerous rip-tides that are along most of the pacific coast.

One picture that turned out as we drove…This part of the country is so dry! 

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The hotel we stayed at was right on the beach.  This picture is taken from the hotel property.

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Emma enjoyed the hammock!

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There were congos in the parking lot… there were quite a few (aka I don’t remember an exact number) in the mango trees throwing down mangos to try to scare the people away.  This guy wanted to explore a little, I guess…

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One of Brian’s other sisters (he has 3) has been down for the last 3 weeks.  While they were here, they wanted to go see the volcano Arenal.  We just got back from there, yesterday.  I guess this trip I was in a picture taking mood… probably because I enjoy mountains so much more than the beach.  So, yes, there are A BUNCH of pictures… I hope you enjoy!

Brian left at 5:00 in the morning with his sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephews to go to volcano Poás.  I’ve been there a few times and while I would like to see it again… I really didn’t relish getting a baby up that early and spend the WHOLE day in the car.  Now that she is mobile, she really doesn’t like to be strapped down for a long period of time.  So, Brian’s parent’s picked Emma and I up at 7:30 to head to the town of La Fortuna.  We met up with the other group for a picnic lunch and got to our hotel in La Fortuna a little after 3:00 pm.

Emma wants the trip to be over!

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This is the view right out the door of our hotel room!  Gorgeous Volcán Arenal!  Up until a few years ago this was an active volcano, spitting rock and ash.  My mother-in-law said if you were quiet, you could hear it breathing!  It isn’t doing those things now, but I still think it’s impressive!

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We went out looking for birds and animal.  On the way, we had a view of the lake.

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Friday morning the volcano was crystal clear! 

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Friday morning we hiked down to the bottom of this waterfall…

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This is what the pathway was like.

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The volcano can be seen from quite a distance away.

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On the way home we got stuck behind a truck carrying sugar cane and there was a looooong line of cars behind him.  And on the curvy mountain roads it takes a while for all those cars to get around.  So we were stuck for a long while.  So, to keep from going crazy at the slow pace, I took pictures of things we went by!

These gourds are called miel de chiverre (honey white spaghetti squash)… they come ripe around Easter time and so it is an Easter food here.

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Several houses we passes had a bunch of chiverre in the front yard

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Some places in the road were so narrow… though this one is not bad at all.  Several times when we were following a semi-truck, he would meet another semi-truck and one or both would have to go off the road to get by.  Scary when they drive so fast!

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A mountain town…

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A glimpse of the line…

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This town was having a fiesta!

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The Catholic Church in Zarcero has bushes that are cut into shapes.

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The town of Sarchi is known for the decretive painting.  All through town you can find this kind of painting. 

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Beautifully painted ox cart wheels (and lots of other items) are painted at a tourist shop.

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That’s the end of this adventure… there will be more to come, I’m sure!