Monday, October 31, 2011

Pray for Missionaries

Excerpt from the book Reckless Abandon by David Sitton:
"When people ask me how to pray for missionaries, I tell them they need to be remembered daily, because these kinds of stresses are everyday realities. Pray for the big things: that the gospel will advance through their efforts; that they will be sustained through loneliness; that the Lord will provide financial partnerships; and that He will protect them from illness and those who could do them harm. But also remember to pray for the everyday things: transportation to the market, strength to do tasks such as washing clothes and making meals, finding correct boundaries in relation to possessions and privacy, and enduring the stress of long periods of separation. Pray for the Lord to sustain their relationship with Him and with one another. And, particularly, pray for their children." (p.64-65)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Language Learning Panic

Language learning is a weird thing. It's exciting at first, then frustrating, then overwhelming, then maddening, then understandable, then fun, then back to frustrating and on and on. We are two months into school, and I feel this range of emotion on a daily basis. If I were studying Spanish in the USA, it would be a completely different feeling. I am really enjoying school and learning Spanish, but it's the constant transfer into daily living that will drive you insane. We met two doctors here a few years ago, and they said there was a lot about language school that's harder than medical school. Mainly because there is no escape from it.

Here is an example of what is needed regularly:

And if I see one more commercial that makes language learning look easy, I think I'm gonna scream. I keep seeing this satisfaction guaranteed, learn language in your sleep, learn it in 60 days or your money back...blah blah blah
I think I had certain expectations about how quickly I would learn Spanish and that's just not happening. Now there's this thing that has set in that I would like to call "language learning panic". I keep hearing that this panic will subside, so I'm praying that it will and just keep plugging away day by day. I like listening to Spanish on tv, reading signs or listening to other people's conversations and trying to figure it out.'s a whole other thing when someone starts speaking to me in Spanish. I wish I didn't care about being embarrassed, but I do. I wish I would just jump in and try, but it scares me. I wish it would all just sink in quickly, but it's not. I usually draw a complete blank when someone talks to me. I'm doing fine in school, so why can't it transfer over into speaking confidently on the streets?

I see the panic in my kids too. They used to think Spanish was fun, would attempt to talk to kids on the playground and would ask me about words all the time. Now they run and hide behind me or just run away when someone speaks to them in Spanish. I'm telling you, it's the panic that is so frustrating!
The famous saying around school from everyone is "poco a poco" (little by little)
It reminds me of how inadequate I am and gives me a greater dependence on the Lord. That's a good thing, but wow what a process! My prayer life is more of a constant state of asking for the Lord's help in everything I do, because I just can't do it on my own.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13
"Rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ" 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
"May the Lord of peace himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance" 2 Thessalonians 3:16

I saw this picture and my first thought was, "She must be learning Spanish"...hahaha

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rainy Season

Rainy season in Costa Rica
How can it be described?
So much water everywhere
And your clothes will never dry
I don't think I enjoy this time
When the sidewalks are full of slime
We slip and slide from home to school
And with our kids we lose our cool
The houses have no warmth or heat
Snuggling under a blanket just can't be beat
I dream of warm and dry days ahead
When the sun greets me as I climb out of bed
Thank goodness for new friends we've met
Who are full of encouragement when I want to jet
Now off to study more and more Spanish
Maybe in a few months I'll be tannish?

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Punta Leona

We had a long break over the weekend and we decided to go for the closest beach at Punta Leona. We had heard good things about it, and it was only a 2 hour drive away so this was definitely a place we wanted to try out. The Marten family (Andrew & Claudia with kids Samuel & Bethany - from Canada) and The Reeds (J.D. & Rhonda with kids Abie & Nathan - from West Virginia) went with us. We were so excited to get away from school with friends and get out of the Dos for a while (San Francisco De Dos Rios).
Then it started to rain.
And rain.
And rain.
And rain.
And rain.
And rain.
Our driver, Fernando, said he wasn't sure we were going to be able to make it to Punta Leona because of some mudslides on the highway there...but he was going to try. We barely made it there. Roads were closing all around us!
And then it rained some more.
And finally it was kind of cloudy, so we made the most of it at the beach.

Then we moved the party to the pool for the rest of the weekend. This way we could run under the covered area when it rained every 20 minutes. The kids loved swimming in the rain!
Enjoying the break from the rain
Our covered rain hideout right by the pool
We saw all kinds of animals everywhere. Maybe this is a squirrel with a really long tail?

Monkeys watching us at breakfast. Kind of creepy.

They would make a run for it if we weren't looking and steal our sugar packets off the table!

Some sort of anteater thingy? Also wanting our food

We really enjoyed vacationing with the Martens and the Reeds, but the rain was difficult. Punta Leona is very spread out and we had the smallest room at the hotel. Wouldn't have been a big deal if we could have gotten out to walk around! But we were drenched most of the time and our stuff never dried.

We really enjoyed the evenings when we put all the kids in one hotel room and the adults hung out in the room next door. The Reed's daughter, Abie, was the babysitter and we paid her in Pringles.

After 3 days and nights of torrential rain, we were ready to go home...but then there were more mudslides. Fernando barely made it back to get us and he said there was only one road that was open. We decided to go for it.

Ground falling

Concrete crumbling

Water pouring
Traffic forming
Mud sliding
We made it home with very little problems...praise the Lord! I'm definitely not used to praying that the Lord will keep the road intact as we drive over it.
We have decided that we will not be traveling any more during rainy season. We're staying at home sweet home. It has now rained for 15 days straight.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 24, 2011

Culture Day

October 12 was Culture Day here in Costa Rica. That was also Will's birthday, and I found it humorous that this was a day for the school to celebrate yet another holiday. I mean, if you know Will at all, then you know how much he loves these kinds of things! Each class at ILE and at Sojourn had to pick a country to celebrate the different languages and cultures around the world. My class chose Spain, Will's class chose Ecuador, Jack's class chose Peru, and Emma's class chose Japan. We had to wear the colors of the flag and make pictures and food from our chosen country.
We got to celebrate Will's birthday the next day. All he wanted for his birthday was a big steak that was cooked medium (NOT well done!). We decided to go a restaurant called Inka Grill in Curridabat. Since it was pouring down rain, only a few other people were in the whole restaurant, and we got to sit and enjoy the evening. We realized this was the first time just the two of us had been to dinner since we moved here. Inka Grill was wonderful! The food was delicious and Will got him some good meat to eat. Happy Birthday Will!
Here are some pictures from the Culture Day celebration:

Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 21, 2011

Honduras Trip - Day 3

The last day we were in Honduras, the Allen's took us to where their oldest boys attend school. It's called The International School and the website is if you would like to check it out. It's a private christian school that's close to their house and we were very impressed with it!

Front gate to the school with guards. The school is on the top of a mountain!

New soccer field

Lunch / Snack area

The front sidewalk of the school

High school building. Kids graduate with a Honduran and American diploma. It's an English school where all the main subjects are taught in English, but the extras are taught in Spanish. Music, art, PE, etc. are in Spanish. And most of the kids who attend are Hondurans so Spanish is the language spoken in the hallways and lunchroom.

Beautiful view from a sidewalk of the school

Picture of the front gate with the guard

After visiting the school, we went to a family's store in a nearby town. The Allen's were purchasing some items from this store for a mission team coming down, and they warned us about this town. The people we met were nice, but they said it was a very rough area full of gangs. Not a good place to be when the sun goes down.

Nice view up there though

Only one road up and down through this town

Back in the city, passed a musical band playing in the back of a truck

And on to lunch with the Allen's and Zelaya's at a restaurant called El Patio. All Will wanted was a steak called "El Conquistador"
There it is...what a happy guy...he ate the whole thing
Last we went to a cool park at the top of a mountain. If you can't tell, it seems the whole country of Honduras is one mountain after another, so everything is pretty much at the top of different mountains. This park was full of pine trees!
Unbelievable views from up there...see the crazy airport runway in the middle? Tegucigalpa is the second most dangerous airport in the world because of the difficulty of landing the plane. Pilots have to have a special license to be able to fly into this city. There just isn't a straight scientific way to land the planes and they have to turn continuously before landing on a short runway. Here's a link to a crazy video of an airplane landing in Tegucigalpa:
Of course...rain rolling in
A few years ago, homes were destroyed and lives were lost as an enormous mudslide happened during a hurricane. Homes were never rebuilt, and now you can just see the grassy area where the tragedy happened. Costa Rica doesn't have hurricanes...I guess Honduras does.
Family pic overlooking the city of Tegucigalpa
Huge Jesus statue on the mountain overlooking the city

Jack loved this park and climbed and played everywhere. He said it looked like Narnia.

Then we had a foggy, dreary and rainy drive back down the mountain to the Allen's house. That's just life in rainy season in Latin America. We had a great trip and the Allen's were wonderful for letting us stay with them and see their life in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

We are still praying and exploring the real possibility of us moving to Honduras to work after our year of language school is finished in August. Please pray for us to have wisdom in this process and for doors to be opened where God wants us to go. We are excited about what lies ahead!

Posted by Picasa