Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Surveying the land

I am reading this book called "The Source" and it begins with an archiologist viewing the land in which he is about to dig into for a year long project, and knowing that the area he choses to begin in must be significantly chosen and thought out. It must be the area that he feels will yeild the most return. It is an investment, this dig, and he knows that where it starts is almost as important as what he hopes will be found there. I feel a little like this archiologist, knowing that very soon I am going to begin digging and digging hard, but not feeling quite sure where I should first place my shovel. I was emailing a friend whom I have grown up with and knows my heart, and I told him that I recognize so many areas where we could get involved and probably have the time of our lives, and we would build incredible relationships with people and I know that God would be glorified; but what I want more than all of that is to know deep in my soul that we waited, and we heard, that this was the location God had brought us and this was the spot where our shovel should begin to move the soil. Phil and I have spent the last twenty days surveying the land. We have met some incredible people, first in Alejuela, and now in Hone Creek and Puerto Veijo a little closer to home. There are people our age who have come to Puerto Veijo thinking they would stay a year and have opened up some incredible businesses and stayed for 8. There are people we have met that I can see turning into awesome friends and people that we can let our hair down with at the same time that it is ministry if it makes any sense at all. I am laughing inside at God because the people that he is having me meet and really love are the people that surrounded me in the Tower District, in Fresno, and the students that I was drawn to in HighSchool. I have a heart for the alternative, hippie crowd, and that is what I am finding over and over again; and who I believe I need to be sharing God with in those moments when they are asking me about my views on astrology and religious freedom. God in some ways has brought me all the way to Costa Rica to continue to teach me that who I need to be a witness to are some of the same people I have been sorrounded by in the States. It is interesting to see how God will get you to see things eventually, no matter how long it takes or what avenue He needs to use. I am thankful for the continued teaching.
Returning to the process of scoping the land, Phil and I have turned in applications to Alternative Missions, and are waiting to meet the Vice President somewhere around the 23rd of this month. We want to invest in Hone Creek, where our home is and spent the morning talking to some teachers at the school down the road from our house. It was encouraging to hear the needs they expressed and saw, and the areas they thought, as teachers, we could be of some benefit. We had no idea what we were doing or what we were going to say when we went there, and left feeing blessed by the conversation, and excited to go back on Thursday to speak to the director. I am thankful that God allowed us first to meet the teachers rather than the principle, because I feel they can offer a different, helpful picture into the school. We are attending a biblestudy/ house church that meets every Sunday in the home of Barret Cruise the main guy here for Alternative Missions and have loved meeting his family and some of the people he has built relationships with. Our goal is to try out some of the other churches in the morning, see more of the community that way, but continue to go on Sunday nights to learn more about Barret and his heart, and the people there also. God is still our provider, Phil and I are finding the areas in which this trip is going to help us invest in ourselves, our marriage, and we are ever learning more and more about ourselves here in this country. It is funny how I came to Costa Rica to learn about this culture, and what I am discovering on a daily basis is more and more about myself. We send all of our love, and thank you for the prayers I know are being said on our behalf.
God bless,

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Spanish Bull makes it to Costa Rica

The Spanish Bull is the shirt I'm wearing. My brother bought it for me when he was in Spain. At times it has been my lucky shirt (my guy's know what I'm talking about) and at times it's been a reminder to me to get out and see the world. So of course I had to bring it to Costa Rica. This is a picture of Shannon and I at the very top of the mountain our house sits on. This land is actually owned by our neighbors Martin and Madeline (who also own the Viewpoint Hotel). We took this picture the second day we were at Hone Creek.

Now, Lance Grush, the Missionary we are held accountable to, is here and we are showing him around. More importantly we are having those late night discussions that help form your understanding and world view. One question we have been discussing, I would like to ask all those who read this blog. "What IS missions?" I would love to hear your response via posting a comment at the bottom of this blog entry.

As we learn from our experiences we hope that any understanding gained can be shared. Thanks for reading and keeping us posted on what is happening at home.

Sharing the experience,

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Honey, I'm home...

We have officially moved in! The house is amazing and has some of the most beautiful plants and flowers along with an abenjero bush that I will be using the chiles from to flavor our meat with! So fun. So much to do. We have spent yesterday and today cleaning our bedroom up and unpacking our clothes.. isnt it funny that that is all we have to un-pack, and putting things in places that we will remember that they are there. We shopped for food and a few cleaning supplies at a local market in Puerto Veijo where we went to drop off stinky, stinky clothes at the lavanderia. The laundry shop also sold fresh collected honey in an old wine bottle and that was the highlight of our dinner last night; Phil surprised me with a loaf of great bread and I cooked for the first time in our kitchen. I am not familiar with how they cook black beans down here, and after boiling them in a pot for close to two hours, I realized that they simply were not ever going to be done. I will be asking someone pronto about the secret to that one, because I love the beans and rice here. Phil installed a shower head in our bathroom that introduced hot water to that shower which made him the manliest stud in town for me! It is awesome that we have a warm shower now, and Phil enjoyed the benefits of the invention after installing it right after I showered and washed my hair in water that just melted from an iceburg! I love him still and he felt bad about the timing. =) Phil and I just met Barret, the guy from Alternative MIssions here, and had a great time talking about the latest projects and needs they have. They have two house churches going right now, as well as a coverd skate area where some local boys come to ride skate boards. The side of the street they are on, however, is not able to get any building permits at this time so no work is being done on the music cafe or other building. That is something to be lifting up in prayer, that they recieve favor and are able to get the O.K.'s they need to do some of the projects they want to see get done in the next year or so. Phil and I are going to be spending the next week or so just lifting that possibility up in prayer. Talking was good, but we want to get direction from God on whether or not this is why He has brought us; there is a reason we have been brought to Costa Rica, and we are asking for God to show us our place here. I look forward to the time to do that these next couple of days, and to talk to our friend Lance who is coming from El Salvador and get more perspective on Latin American culture and ministry. Keep us in your prayers these next couple of days that God would be direct and clear with us, and that we would seek out all opportunities to hear from Him. As always, we send our love to our families and friends, and thank you all so much for the different ways you have invested in our upcoming year here. We are figuring it out, man, and continuing to see what adventures the next day brings us.
That the Lord would coninue to guide, and shelter us,

Monday, September 04, 2006

Adventure After Adventure After Adventure

We have been here for five days now and already have seen some of the most amazing parts of Costa Rica's Pacific country side. Places that we have driven through look like pages off of National Geographic's "best pics" addition, and have been some amazing moments for Phil and I to witness together. I have been blessed by the last couple of days with my husband, and have loved the time to experience life and language and survival with him. We are "figuring it out"; and that has become our moto for almost everything these days.
Phil mentioned that we had purchased a car the first day we arrived in Costa Rica, and on the fourth day in this country, that car decided it no longer liked its American companions and refused to run. So now we begin again. (This is where those anonomous expenses come into play). "La gracia" (the grace) of God is a phrase that I have come to see everyday we have been here so far. We broke down in Manuel Antonio, a National Park that had an information booth with a tour guide who spoke great English and gave us his phone to use the majority of the day. Before Manuel Antonio we were driving through places that had nothing except coconut-oil farms and bridges made out of broken railroad tracks. God is good for taking us to Manuel Antonio.
Manuel Antonio, however, was possibly the farthest from Alejuella (our temporary home) that we could have been and we made the five hour journey back to Alejuella in the cab of a platform truck with our new found amigo Rabbes. He didn't speak English, and we don't speak Spanish like we should so the trip was very exciting to try to have conversation and relate with him. Phil is a lot better at Spanish than he will admit to you and at moments both of us had so much fun learning how to speak with Rabbes. Our truck ride was very enjoyable; another blessing from God.
I was reading in the scriptures from Acts chapter 2 and decided that the first verse Phil and I should memorize was the words David spoke regarding the hope and protection he has seen from the Lord. I thought that it fit. The verse begins at line 25 and reads:
"I saw the Lord always before me, because he is at my right hand I will not be shaken, therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices, my body will also live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay, you have made known to me the paths of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence".
I love you all, sorry this entry is enormous, and continue to keep us in your prayers; they have worked amazingly so far!

In testament to what our God has done, can do, and continues to work out in our favor,