Friday, December 18, 2009

This one’s a bit long so hold on… There’s a lot to pray for if you would be so kind;)

So, many of you have heard a little bit about my most recent stresser, but I doubt many have heard the entire story. So here it is to ease minds, tell you a little bit about the culture and hopefully get a glimpse of what God is doing in my life at the moment.

It all really began on the 9th of June when we bought our 4runner. It was a real deal at nearly half the price that we had seen others for. It was missing a door handle but didn't have any other large problems. Here buying a car is like buying a house in the states. You go see the lawyer, he documents everything, then he has to log the documents in the national registry, they check the records to make sure everything is ok and then they send you the title... Well we had a small problem... The previous owner painted the car a gray/blue color... It took three to four weeks to get that figured out but by the time we did that we were so busy with life that I never went to check on the title again. When we finally did, the lawyer saw another problem. There was a lawsuit against my car in a city called Limón which is about 3 hours east of us.!! I had never been to Limón and it wasn't on the title when I bought the car, so our obvious thought was that the previous owner sold the car cheap to get rid of it fast and get rid of the liability for whatever happened. I spent the three weeks following our trip to CA (Aug 26th-Sept 25th) calling him every chance I got. He seemed willing to help at first, but then I told him the incident was in Limón, he told me he had never in his life been to Limón and then every time after that he hung up on me.

So at this point here's what we knew:

1) for some reason there was some kind of lawsuit against my car

2) The former owner wasn't going to cooperate.

3) If the lawsuit was won, they could take my car from me

4) the something that happened was in Limon

Here's what we didn't know:

1) When

2) what




The lawyer, knowing we didn't have a lot of money (He's actually a christian) gave me a deal. For around $150 he would go with me and find out what the problem was. So about three weeks ago we drove to Limon to see what this lawsuit was all about. Come to find out, there was a hit and run accident the night of August 17th and the owner thinks he saw my plates. He had no vehicle color, model, or any description, but somehow he came up with my license plate number. We got copies of the entire case against my car and made our legal declaration saying that I had never driven this car to Limon and that we would permit an inspection of the car to prove it. Well, I was quite nervous but the lawyer thought that it was all great. He said we made huge progress and he was sure that it would all blow over... Well it didn't.

The other thing that happened was I gave my email address to the court so they could contact me. Well they, for some reason, can't send email to AOL accounts so I had to create a Hotmail account. The only problem with that is that I had to go back to Limon to change the email because they don't permit anything to be done by phone.... I never thought anything would happen so quickly. After all, ticos are known to be late and take a long time for any formal process. I was wrong... Yesterday, as we were just finishing moving all of our new tools for the wood shop, I got a call from someone. He said, (Translated) " Is this Mr. Jeremy Janzen? You have an appointment to have your car inspected at the transit office in Limon at 1:30... Are you coming?" It was 1:39!!! I said," What!?!? Wait... Who is this!?!" HE proceded to tell me that he was a judge and I was going to lose my car if I didn't show up... I told him I could leave right then but I would need 3-4 hours to get there... He was nice enough to say he'd wait but by then the stress was overwhelming.

We jumped in the car ( jeff, myself and our newest staff member Dustin) I dropped Jeff off and Dustin and I were off to Limon. Now get this, Erin and I have just moved into a new house, (stress) we have no phone yet (stress) the car had just broken down and been fixed last week (a lot of stress) We had just come back from a staff retreat (not stressful but in the midst of other stress it was stressful enough) two weeks ago we picked up and went to Panama for Visa stuff (stress) ad we have all been sick for two weeks (stress) So we go with all this stress to Limon. We, of course hit a lot of traffic on the way (stress) and finally arrived at about 6pm. The offices had closed at 4:30 so the judge and the owner of the car that got hit had been waiting, a long time. The entire thing was a bit confusing. There were random questions about the incident and about my car but the majority of it was this man, who said I hit him, standing behind my car and describing the car that hit him... While looking at it!!! So it went like this... "Uh, I remember this (while pointing) and this and the tires and this and, well, yeah, this is the car that hit me." NO physical inspection. no questions directed to me... Just a "remembrance" of the other guy. Here is his story. He was stopped at a light facing south when this car came out of nowhere and side-swiped him turning him so he was facing west. He looked up in the dark immediately after and saw the license plate, again in the dark on a speeding car, and wrote it down...But it was too dark to see the color. Right, like that's possible. Also there was a taxi driver who saw the same # and came back to tell him. Taxi drivers don't help anyone!! So anyways, I spent all day today driving around getting receipts from mechanics, my car was in the shop 2 days after the "accident", making faxes, trying to do everything I could to prove I'm innocent. The thing is; the week before and the day of the accident, were the only times in the entire summer that I had nothing on the calendar. So now we wait. The gov. offices are closed until the 4th of january, so until then there's nothing.

Now the good part. God has really been showing me, through this and just all of the stressful things that have happened recently that I shouldn't be stressed!! Stress is the opposite of the fruits of the spirit. It robs my joy, it is literally the opposite of peace, I'm not kind when I'm stressed.. You get the point. The thing is. If I lose the car, or have to pay a bunch of money, was God not there? Does he not have a plan? Did He just take a break for this one? Does He care about the other guy more? NO!! God is in control!! If I could just grasp that... Really grasp that, then I could have that peace that passes understanding. You see my stress is an indicator. It's telling me that I'm relying on myself. I'm doing it myself and I am not trusting God. It's saying that I'm not in close enough relationship with Him. It's saying I'm bearing my own burdens. You see psalms says, "do not fret, because it leads to evil.” How true is that!? When I fret (stress) it leads to evil. That could be, anger, lust, lying, or anything else. For an addict it would mean relaps. Stress is not good!! We as Christians can have a peace that passes all understanding. That means when the world is falling down around us and we have every reason to panic or be stressed… We are calm, resting in God’s peace. Resting in the fact that He can handle it all, that He wants the best for us, that He will use whatever happens for our good… WE can have peace cause HE is in control. The only thing is we have to KNOW HIM!! Learn to trust Him… I’m in the process… If you’d like to be too, let me know…we’ll do it together!

All of you if you can just say a little prayer for us right now. 1) that God would teach us more about Himself in this process.

2) that we would live stress free

3) And that He would take care of this problem in Limon

Thanks for reading!!

May Jesus Bless You,

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Aaaah, a moment to breath...

Judah enjoying his "copo" in a Panama park
Ella cooling off after playing in the park
Our view from our apartment window in Panama City
Painting over the hideous green in our new house
Thanksgiving dinner with team and friends

So once again, a long time between posts. We'll get the hang of this blogging thing someday! Between the last post and today, so much has been happening and continues to happen. Besides the day in and day out of every day life, there has been a few "happenings" worth mentioning! During Thanksgiving time we had a team here from Wasco, CA. We had a fun time getting to know each other and working together. They were an awesome team that actually brought down 2 turkeys for our Thanksgiving feast. Our team here in Costa Rica was thrilled since turkeys are around $70 here! Not an option for us. Jeremy worked on a street in Los Guidos with his team of guys. There were bumps in the road (no pun intended), but the work week was very successful.
Jeremy and I have decided on schooling for our children Ella and Judah. They will both be starting in February, the new school year. They will be going to different schools for a couple of years due to the fact the one Judah will be going to has the option of only going 3 days a week. I like that because that gives me an opportunity to spend one on one time with him, while Ella is in her school. She'll be going M-F, 7:30- 12:30. She is SO excited and talks about all the things she will learn and the friends she will make. We are glad the decision has finally been made and that we don't have to keep looking.
During the week that the team was here, an opportunity came up to move from our house. We have been in this location since April, and really like the neighborhood, the people, and the location in general. We didn't like the fact that we felt we were being taken advantage of in our monthly rent, knowing there is probably something else out there cheaper and more or less the same. We didn't like the idea of possibly having to move away from friends we've made either. Well a house literally 2 doors down became available. We spent time talking and looking at it with the owners, and left wondering if this was an opportunity for us. There were definitely pros and cons and we were trying to weigh them out. The first night after we presented to the owner our price we were willing to pay, we both woke up in the middle of night, nervous and hoping we were making the right decision. We just started praying and asking for a peace and assurance we were making the best decision for our family. Also that we weren't jumping the gun with this, but that it was really God's timing. We both fell right back to sleep and woke up in the morning feeling completely different. Needless to say, we have spent the last week painting and moving our things into this home. We have a deadline of when we need to be out of our home, the 15th! It seemed like all would be fine in the timing, but put on top of that a staff retreat to the beach and leaving the country for visa renewal. We - have - been - BUSY! I am currently writing you from Panama City because cheap plane tickets came up on Friday to leave on Saturday! In the midst of our moving, this was an unexpected thing. Now we will return on Tuesday night, I'll have 2 days of more packing, unpacking, and cleaning, then we leave on Friday morning for our staff retreat. Then I'll have one more day before we absolutely need to be out of our house. Moving 2 doors down is not really an event like traditional moving. We literally just walk boxes down, or load up our car and drive it down. We are now taking some time to rest being here in Panama, knowing the craziness is not over yet. We'll be walking and taking buses to see what we can see the next couple of days. The kids definitely go with the flow, but with all the walking, it'll definitely take a toll on them. Pray for our continued sanity the next couple of weeks and that we get through this time well. On top of all this, it's Christmas time! We don't want to neglect this important time of year or the joy our family finds in it. We'll let you know how everything pans out this month.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Working... or not

Hello everyone, Jeremy here again. Well not much has been going on of late but we've just been plugging away. It looks like we're still gonna move forward with the Furniture shop/wood shop/apprenticeship program. The Idea would be that we start with a wood shop. It would be to create interest and a clientele but mostly to effect the lives of young boys in the area. We'd begin with 2-3 days a week where we'd be open for whomever wants to come. We'd do small projects like bird houses, step stools or small trinket boxes. The boys would learn basic skills but for the most part just hang out and have opportunities to hear and experience the good news. Later once we have some of them that want to move on we could take on some larger projects that we could do on our two "days off" during the week. These boys could become apprentices and begin a formal program that we could start down the road. The possibilities are really endless with this idea, which is why I'm so excited. We've had nothing but good responses from everyone who works around Los Guido. they all respond with,"Oh my, something like that is really needed."
So for now my work has been research and development... Which I HATE!! for all of you who spend your day behind a computer, or just inside.... You must have the grace of the almighty God all over you. I would much rather come home injured after having worked 36 hours underground than spend a few hours a day behind desk. 8-0 Actually it hasn't been all bad. I get to spend a lot of time with my kids, which I haven't really ever been able to do. I get to experiment a lot with ideas, some of which don't go so well. And then I get to go out and meet new people too! When I was going out to research some plastic options I ran into a great opportunity for our future endeavor. While I was waiting to talk to the salesman I noticed some workers taking a huge load of wood outside. It was pallets that they had broken down and were going to throw away. I ran out and asked if they were throwing it away and if I could have it. They looked at me like I was crazy so I told them about the idea we had to work with boys in Los Guido. As it ended up they were very impressed with the idea and said they'd be calling me when they had more!! So if you saw the new doghouse I built (or kids house as it appears in the pictures) That was all free wood. Actually it was about 1/15th of what I got.
So recently I've taken 2 classes. The first was a hydroponics (gardening) class and the second was about child abuse and the process to go through to report it. The first was really fun and inspiring, the second was... well, heavy to say the least. I learned a lot in both classes but the hydroponics has given me some great ideas for micro businesses and future projects in Los Guido. I am currently experimenting with: hot peppers, bell peppers, tomatoes, celery, basil, squash, lettuce and two types of basil. I have seedlings growing in a hotbox and a bunch of other stuff all around the house. I hope that maybe with the wood shop we can build special planter boxes and then we can start a program to help women grow their own vegetables to consume and sell.
Well I think that's enough for today. as you can tell, while the work is boring, there's a lot of great opportunities around. I leave you with this thought. We only use what God has given us so that other people see Him. While we are not always talking about Him, we need to always demonstrate His character through our actions. The only problem is that we (christians AND SI) are not the peace-core, we're not a humanitarian aid group. While we whole heartedly believe that we need to help peoples situations, that is only a means to an end... We do our "job" and wait for the perfect moment to share about the reason we are doing it. It's not cliche, or lame, to say we're doing this for Jesus. True, people all over the world say things and don't really mean it. Jesus is our excuse when we're embarrassed or when we really are striving to be something important by what we do... those circumstances have made it lame and cliche... The reality is that these situations have lulled us christians into thinking we need to just be like christ and never say anything... To just be a living witness. ABSOLUTELY TRUE!! But we need to make sure that we enter into true evangelism. And that's not standing on a soapbox or humanitarian work. True evangelism is discipleship. It's the example of our lives coupled with the evangelism that is discipleship...and THAT makes a difference. It's not a one or the other thing. Word AND deed... Faith WITH works. So many times I can only focus on one or the other... We need the complete gospel, not only part of it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lazy weekend, good times

Our family has had a good and lazy weekend to end our busy week. Our week was filled with a birthday party for Aiyla Shockency, then a farewell dinner for her since she traveled back to California after 9 months of being here, then a weekly staff meeting at the Dixons. Don't get me wrong, all these things are great, just a lot of late nights with kids make the following days preeeetty miserable for everyone! So the weekend was calling for some relaxation and kid time.
On again off again we have problems with our two cars that require Jeremy's attention and time. I'm always amazed at his skill and determination to get something fixed. My neighbor once told me when she saw one of his many projects, "He can do anything!! What a gift." I agree. It surely helps to have someone around that knows how to fix even the small things that in this country could take a long time to repair. The list of things to do never seems to end, but at least when one things breaks, another starts working again. I choose to believe these small things are ways Jesus is telling us he's watching out for us and knows what we need. It's in the little things of life where I see God the most.
So after working on one car, Jeremy began building a dog house for our dog, which we should be getting at the end of this month. The kids enjoyed this project and think for right now it's a little play house. The measurements I gave Jeremy for the house will leave the dog with PLENTY of space, so much that Jeremy and the kids all climbed inside! What can I say, I wanted him to be comfortable! After this project was finished we decided to have a movie night with the kids and enjoy Kung Fu Panda, which I've never seen in it's entirety, and popcorn for dinner. It was very fun to pull out the couch and enjoy some time together.
This morning, Sunday, we went to our friends house next door for a typical "Tico" breakfast. My friend Gabi officially taught me how to prepare "gallo pinto" (beans and rice dish), something I've tried many times, but couldn't get it quite right. We also enjoyed scrambled eggs, fried plantains, fresh corn tortillas and bread. We had a great morning talking and getting to know each other even more. Around noon they decided they wanted to take us to a favorite restaurant of theirs "El Boyero". Every Sunday this place has a clown who walks around making balloons for the kids and a nice lady named Cindi that paints their faces. Well our son is deathly afraid of clowns and clung to us for dear life the entire time. I did convince him to get his face painted like Spiderman. That he liked, thank God! The food was delicious and can definitely be a place we put on our list when we need a splurge. Gabi and Vini also treated us to lunch which was extremely generous. We are so enjoying our growing friendship and Gabi and I might start exercising together, which is a big deal since I've done very little of that since arriving in Costa Rica. We know it would be good for both of us. Our only time, besides in the evening, is 5am, which might just be the kick in the rear I need in the morning! I'll let you all know how that goes! Accountability is a good thing, I guess even with exercise!
So off to another week and more things to do. It's a good thing we don't rely on ourselves but on the One who sustains us. More and more He is teaching us as a family what that looks like. We can't control our circumstances but we can control who we run to in times of testing.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

So much to catch up on!

Our lives our getting back into the swing of things here in Bárrio María Auxiliadora. Jeremy has been occupied with writing up proposals and budgets for future projects while I've been taking care of life around the house and kiddos. We've been having beautiful weather here right now, and had no problem adjusting back to the breezy days and cool nights. While we were in CA, friends here told us it had been very dry without much rain, very abnormal for this time of year. Lucky for us, the rain returned with us, and we've been enjoying the clean, crisp air it brings with it. Jeremy called me outside the other day and said, "You smell that? There is nothing like the smell of a Costa Rican rain." It's a good smell, he's right, but I was reminded of us driving through Tulare, CA a couple of weeks ago and him telling me the same thing about their dirt. I guess it's good to have things you value in all parts of the world! Anyhow, it's good to be here taking walks to the park with the kids, letting the lady at the corner store know what we've been up to and why she hasn't seen us, and catching up with neighbors/friends. Lots of little things I missed while in the states (and yes, there are things we miss while we're here as well!) Just to name a few for your information: My clothes line - I don't know why, maybe I got this from my Mom, but I love to hang things on the line in the sun! I love the smell, the freshness, and the non-rushed time it takes.
**The people I see walking all the time - maybe it just reminds me that I don't always have to be in a hurry. Maybe I can walk or take the bus instead of just jumping in the car. More than once in CA I thought, "If only they had a bus system like in Costa RIca, it'd be really useful right now!"
**The feria (farmers market) - Every Sat. our family goes and we load up on fruits and veggies for the week. It's very cheap and the kid like eating the craziest tropical fruits we can find. In my opinion, some shouldn't be called fruits, they're just plain weird!
**Costa Rican driving - I know, call me crazy, I find it entertaining, amusing, exhilarating all at the same time. What people will do sometimes just blows my mind!
**And lastly, SI Cost Rica team time. I enjoy just sitting around, hearing ideas bounce across the room, what's happening at the different sites, or what we could do different next time. We have a great team to do this.

While we were gone our neighbors next store, Vini and Gabi, who have also become our good friends, watched our house for us. We came home to a freshly mopped and dusted home with some new plants in the front yard. Have I mentioned they're awesome!! They are such a blessing to us and we hope we can be to them. We had them over the other night for coffee and cookies just to chat and catch up about life. Their son Daniel and our kids are becoming good friends as well. I had a humorous conversation with Gabi when we returned about the Costa Rica's obsession with locking everything up so securely. She couldn't believe that our house wasn't locked down 24/7, even though we have 12 ft gates and razor wire surrounding the place. So I don't think I'll tell her the events of today. I decided to get the kids hair cut today at the mall in Desamparados, about 15 min. away. Jeremy drove us and stayed for the event, Judah's first haircut in over 2 1/2 years! Yes, I was tired of the matted, tangly long curls that were occurring too frequently. He was a trooper and of course I saved the cut locks. The hairdresser said he had curls of gold! I agree. After that we celebrated with a food court lunch and frosty's. Jeremy left to go work and the kids and I took the bus home. Our bus drops us off about a block 1/2 away from our house. Super close and convenient. We enjoyed our walk home and as we approached our home I saw to my dismay our garage door/gate had been left open for the past 3 hours! I quickly looked around and everything was left as it was. Our front door had been locked by Jeremy, probably thanks to the recent talk with Gabi, but I didn't have that key. Thankfully Judah's window was open and I sent the children in. I closed the heavy gate while some neighbors looked on probably fully aware of what had happened. Do you know how many people pass our house in 3 hours?? ALOT! It is by the grace of God that nobody took the kids bikes, scooter, Jeremy's tools, ladder, just to name a few. I find it absolutely amazing and completely comforting knowing my God is looking out for the everything. Needless to say, I don't know if I'll pass this story onto Gabi. It might give her a heart attack.

So please enjoy the snapshots: Giant Hulk hands (Judah's favorite to beat us all up with), rainy day fun, and todays haircuts.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Long Awaited!!! (Sorry)

Well We're back at home in Costa Rica. Trying to get back into the swing of things. It's been a while since we've blogged so let me get you all up to speed. Summer was busy, lots of teams. August we went back to the states , might have been busier. We saw lots of people, had good food. Jeremy gained 12lbs and Erin is as gorgeous as always. (This is Jeremy writing) Got a lot done but never got the VISA figured out. We're back at home now on a tourist VISA which means we'll have to leave the country every three months. We've been back for almost a week and have just gotten settled back in.
Well there's the LOST style update for you. Hope it lets you know what we've been up to.
We are going to be trying to get a routine for updates which will hopefully narrow the gaps. Erin will probably be updating you more than I will. We are currently researching the possibility of opening a furniture shop here in Costa Rica. We would supply low cost furniture to needy families and I would begin an apprenticeship program to teach young men to work with wood and possibly metal. Please be praying with us as we do our research. We would be looking at a possible start up cost of $50,000-$75,000 that we would have to raise before moving forward. It could be a very exciting thing to do. Most every Costarican that we've spoken to loves the idea but we still have a lot of leg work to do before we even begin.

Monday, July 27, 2009

As promised... I was healed!!

So here it is as was promised to my facebook friends... But first a little background for those of you who are completely in the dark. A year ago from this last June I was in a motorcycle accident on a friends bike. It was a solo accident and I think I hit some sand and went down. I was going about 45-55MPH and fell straight on the left side of my body. My face and my left wrist took the brunt of the fall and then I slid on my forearms for 44 feet. The doctors couldn't immediately tell but I broke my wrist in the fall. It was put in a brace for a few weeks and after the brace came off I realized that my wrist no longer bent back like it should. The doctor prescribed physical therapy to stretch it out but by that time it was two weeks before we left to Costa Rica. Since then my wrist has hurt too bad to do push-ups, hand stands (with Ella) or even push myself u off the floor. It must have really been a sight to see me have to roll over on my stomach get up on my knees and then use only my right hand to get up. Well not any more!!!
So the other night I was on facebook just peering into other peoples lives (creepy I know, the whole concept is weird) when I came across this video posted by my friend lindsay.After that I just flippantly said "Erin, pray for my wrist." Erin prayed and immediately my wrist felt a little better so I said, " It feels better. Pray again." She must have prayed about 4 times and then I got down on the floor and did a push up, which I couldn't have done moments before. It didn't feel 100% so i had her pray again...and again...and again. all the while i was pulling on my wrist and trying to see if it hurt. Finally I went in the hallway and did a hand stand...Healed!!! I can now do handstands again!!! God is so amazing!! the only thing now is that when i do handstands both wrists hurt. Probably cause I'm out of shape... Maybe we could pray that God takes off all the fat too;)
May Jesus Bless You All,

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Photos of our home

Hey everyone! Just wanted to post a short slideshow of our home, including our new family car. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

So much to say

Well a lot has happened since the last time I wrote a blog. It's kinda hard to remember. Time has just seemed to fly by since we graduated from language school. So where should I begin? Well we moved to Asserí after searching just about everywhere. My parents were here to help us move and we spent some time on the east coast. It took us almost two months to feel at home but in the mean time we had to buy appliances, furniture, a car, and everything else one needs for life. We found a store that imports used appliances and got a decent deal on: a fridge, a washer, dryer, and a stove. We also bought a table with chairs, an entertainment center, and bookshelves from a place in Sarchí. We found a '90 4 runner for really cheap and are looking to sell our little blue car so I can buy a work truck.
So besides that we had our first group come to the city. They were great. My group worked on remodeling a bathroom, installing a small eve to protect the patio from rain, and we re-finished a table. It all turned out incredible. The lady that lives in the house is a great woman and really serves the people of Los Guidos. She helps single moms with sewing classes and teaches bible studies. She is also a missionary with Food For the Hungry. She is a great help to us as we begin to work where she has lived for quite a while.
The second team came and I went to the jungle with them for the first part of the trip. I always love going to the jungle but this time it was a bit different. While I love going and I love the people there was just to much going on back in the city that caused me to not enjoy it as much. When we came back to the city all of the plans had changed and we were working on a street I had never been to before in Los Guidos. It's just up from where we worked on the house but the people were all new to me. Even with all of the other complications everything went great. The kids I had with me were amazing and worked their tails off. We had some great normal work and then some extreme sights (we got to see the water company cut into a live 2" water main and then not be able to shut it off.) It was very interesting.
When the teams aren't here we have plenty to keep us going. All of our other staff members have every day commitments to teach, help at day cares, etc. But I get everything else. I have built tables, book cases, shelves, and playgrounds. Anything we need to help the ministry sites out. This next week we'll be looking at starting a large retaining wall. the work just keeps on coming!
Even with everything going on, and all that we have accomplished, the thing I am most excited about is that people are starting to know us. I have some people I can go talk to and I run into people in the streets. I have people who care that I'm here and are thankful for what we do. All of the work and everything we do is just so people can get to know us and give us a platform to show them who Christ is. It's so easy to let the work be the main thing, but the main thing is still Jesus. We are doing all of this just so HE can be known. We're just the middle man.
There are still some things that we are needing prayer about. 1st. that Jesus would draw us into Himself. That we would continue to grow in Him. 2nd. that we would find a home church. Imagine trying to find a church in a country you don't know, with no one to make recommendations, with services in a language you don't fully get, With the possibility of not having child care and having a 2-6 hour service. That's where we are. So pray. 3rd. That we would make good friends. Our neighbors are great and seem to want to be best friends, but they work a lot and there's just no time to do anything with them. We need good Christian friends. 4th. That we would find a good school for the kids but still be able to be with them enough. We don't like the idea of letting someone else parent our kids in these important years but it's necessary for them to learn spanish. 5th. That God would continue to find a place for us and SI here in Costa Rica. Although it's been close to a year we are still finding our place. We don't know what it could look like in the future because there's just so many unknowns.
Thank you all for your prayers. We are really loving it here. It's more and more feeling like home. Even with the bars and the traffic and the crazy fireworks all night long. We are continually reminded of how blessed we are to be able to serve God here. Every time I drive up the mountain to go home and see all of the beautiful lights, I can't help but say thank you Jesus. And thank you to all of you who are believing in what we're doing and giving financially. With out you... I guess God would have to find another way;)
Jesus Bless You All,
For Erin, Ella and Judah

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We're finally reconnected!!

Thanks to everyone for hanging in there while we were without internet for awhile!  Like we've said before, things happen in Costa Rica slowly, and apparently getting hooked up for internet too.  For those who don't know, we moved ourselves into our new house at the end of April with much help from parents, Doug and Debbie, who were here visiting.  Thanks again!! In the process of unpacking we found out it could be up to a year before our internet could be hooked up at our new location.  I don't understand all the details, but needless to say, we were pretty bummed! And so was our Skyping family.  Long story short, a new company was now offering internet to our area, and after their 3 attempts to come and install it, we are finally online! Thank you Cabletica! I think Jeremy and I agree we are feeling quite cozy in our new home.  We have acquired most of the furniture that we need and have a great welcoming family next door.  Their names are Vinicio, Gabriela, and Daniel (4yrs).  They have invited us into their home to share meals, gifted us with small "welcome" gifts, and shared tamales through the gates.  Her parents own one of the first tamale factories in the nearest town to us, Aserrí.  Did I mention I  love tamales! It has been fun getting to know them and also fun for Ella and Judah to have a playmate come over and practice Spanish.  I'm sure they're not worried about the practicing Spanish part, I just enjoy watching Judah say, "Daniel, venga aquí!" Over and over he'll say it.  It means "come here" in Spanish. 
We feel like we're are now getting into the swing of things with teams beginning to come down. 
With the last team, Jeremy had 3 people helping him at a home in Los Guidos.  Our new friend Isabel teaches sewing classes in her home for young mothers as a way for them to hopefully turn around and make a living.  She also leads Bible studies in her home as well.  Jeremy's team completely redid her second bathroom that she uses for the ladies, it had many problems.  They built a new eve on her home to act as a shield from the rain for the place she teaches the sewing.  They also refinished a large table she had that she also needed for her classes.  She was extremely blessed by the team.  She told us the neighbors were watching what was going on all week and said they noticed something different compared to other "missionaries" that have come through.  I know that was a big encouragement to the team.  We're here to love the people of Costa Rica.  We're here to serve and be a blessing in what ways we know how.  It's not a big production or show.  That is what I love about SI.  Hopefully people will be encouraged by our lives and seeing our love.  We don't want this to ever be about us and what we can do.  It's Christ living in us and through us!!  
Jeremy and our teammate Cailah  will be returning from the jungle today bringing a group of young high schoolers from the states.  They've been there since last Wed.  It's kind of exciting to see the tired faces that come back, but to also hear what has impacted them the most so far.  They will have a few days with us here in the city working at the ministry sites as well.  So much going on here and it seems their is always something new to write about.  I almost forgot to mention that we purchased a second car for me, Erin, a couple of weeks ago.  It's a '90 Toyota 4runner that will be our family car.  Jeremy is still looking for a work truck because of all the tools and materials he will be hauling around.  We will then sell our ever so faithful 80's Nissan that humbles me every time I drive it. That cars been great for us.  Quick funny note, someone actually asked me once if we brought that car from California with all our things.  I just started laughing, it was hilarious!   
So after all of this, God is good! He's been faithful and is faithful!  We don't know what tomorrow holds, but we're excited!  Thanks for listening, supporting, and praying!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

T-6 Days

The "summer push" is here!! Right now our first official team is heading for the jungle and will be back in the city in 6 days. We have been learning spanish, making contacts, and praying now, for 9 months. It looks like our first summer of "ministry" will be a full and interesting one. We have four ministry sites up and running and we are ready to bring in students. As for me, I met with a lady this morning whose house we will be working on this coming week. She is a missionary working with Food For The Hungry and holds sewing classes and bible studies for the poor ladies of Los Guidos. We will be extending here roof about 3 feet and remodeling here bathroom. It's plenty of work to keep us busy and believe me... There's plenty more. 
Those of you who are praying, continue to pray for Gods hand of blessing and protection over what we are doing. The enemy is always out to destroy us. Pray also that God will continue to give us wisdom as we work here and that He alone will receive the glory. We want to be a light in the darkness and only want to do His will.
Note: We should be getting internet soon. hopefully all will get back to normal after that. Thank you to all of our supporters, new and old. We wouldn't be here without your obedience. 

Monday, April 20, 2009

Until later...

Well, We're in our house now and it's lovely. We've got a few problems but they'll be worked out soon. Hopefully next time we'll post some pictures. The point of this is really to let you all know that we're going to be without internet for a while so we will also be out of contact. If there's any problem that we are needed for contact the Dixons and they'll get word to us. 
Thanks and God bless you all.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ella's 4th!!

Well after procrastinating for a week here are the pictures from Ella's birthday. Thanks to all of you that came, and all of the rest of you who would have if you could have. Ella had a lot of fun! It's so amazing that she's 4 already!! 

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Trip to the jungle!!

Well it's been a week and I've been putting this off in order to find a house... We still haven't found one (so keep praying) but we have some possibilities. I figured that I better tell you all how my week was in Talamanca so here we go:
Well we picked the guys up at the airport on sunday morning, there were 20 of us. Lee, Forest, Gail, Mac (Dave Mcmahon), Beak (Bill), Dr. Dan, Luke, Seth, Dale, Doug, Hud, Bob, Jim, 2 Jeffs, 2 Daves, 2 Mikes and Me. We all jumped on the bus and drove all day to the south eastern part of Costa Rica to a reservation called Talamanca, in a town called Shiroles. We did a lot of work over the five or so days we were there, but that wasn't the best part so I'll just list it off. Together we: 
Dug Leach lines, poured a slab for a shower and toilet, and emptied an 18 year old septic tank (yuck)
Helped plant plantains.
Laid a lot of brick to finnish a dorm.
Poured a concrete column for a gate.
Started a patio cover.
Hauled dirt to fill below a future foundation.
Laid large drainage pipes for rain water.
Helped in a medical clinic (Only Dave, Seth, & Dr. Dan but we all still get credit)
Helped with some teaching (Jim the retired 5th grade teacher)
re-finished a dresser.
Put up a clothes line.
& had a lot of fun!!
It was great. We all worked really hard and had a great time doing it. The best part for me however was the "bible studies" in the morning and night. We got up every morning around 5A.M. and read a chapter from Ephesians  and then discussed it. We had some great conversations. Our facilitator was Gail, a great man of God, and he kept bringing us back to the fact that it's JUST all about Jesus. It doesn't matter about theology and denomination, It's just all about Jesus. 
In the evenings we all took turns sharing about our lives, past present and future, whatever we wanted to share. It was a good time to get to know others and see that we all have stories to tell of what God's done or how we need Him. 
For me the whole trip was great because I got to be around godly men who I could really understand (cause they spoke english). I really got to just glean off of their lives and they all encouraged me. 
After 5 days in the jungle we left. We went to a beach Cauhita to spend an afternoon on the way back. We did a canopy tour and white water rafting, and then got to shop before they left on sunday afternoon. (Don't expect all of that if you come on a future trip... Remember, we're working in the city now and it's all gonna be different) Over all I had a wonderful time. I was really encouraged to memorize more scripture and spend more time getting to know Christ personally. It's not about all the "do"s and "don't"s but it's all about Him. 
So there you have it... I'm hoping to go to the jungle at least one or two more times this year. We'll see what happens.
Thanks for reading. Jesus Bless.
Pictures to come later.... 

Oh yeah! Ella turns 4 tomorrow!! We'll post some video if our camera works;)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Stop everything and pray!!

Well, very soon I will be writing a blog about my recent trip to Shiroles, de Talamanca with the mens trip. I am just waiting to get the photos from one of the men. In the mean time we are requesting that everyone drops everything and pray with us. Right now we are in transition again. We ned to be out of our house, here in San Francisco de Dos rios, by the 20th of april. So far we haven't found a new house but we really need to find one... yesterday. After we find a house we need to find used appliances and purchase furniture. So we need God to come through for us very soon. 
Another prayer request is for our house in Visalia. We were advised by people at S.I. and our missionary training to keep our house as an investment and also as a place for our kids to call home. The problem is that we have been without renters for two months now. Needless to say, that puts a huge financial burden on us. We are praying that a nice family that wants to rent long term would find our house and love it...very soon. 
We thank all of you for your prayers and welcome any encouragement via e-mail. I always forget that when I ask God for something He takes me pretty serious. I have continually asked that He would put us in situations where we would see His faithfulness... Well this is one of them. We know he will never leave us or forsake us but now to see the practical application in our lives.
Thanks for everything... Praise report coming soon!! 

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Turn!

So now it's officially MY turn to watch the kids for a week without my other half. Jeremy left on Sunday for the jungle to help lead a team of men from the valley on a "vision" trip.  He'll be gone till next Sunday.  Sunday started out pretty good with Jeremy continuing his Sunday morning tradition of strawberry waffles.  Yes, even though he was planning on heading out, he still wanted us to have our waffles.  So great. After he left, the kids and I played at the park until we all officially needed bath #2 for the day.  We later received some gifts from my mom (Nana) and my sister (Auntie Antz) that made their way to Costa Rica c/o some men who were coming to the jungle.  The kids were extremely excited and immediately started playing and wearing their new gifts.  Thanks Nana and Auntie Antz! Later on I decide to make some pasta sauce that would be for spaghetti Sunday and pizza Monday.  I had a couple more tomatoes to chop and put in when I decided to check how big my dutch oven pot was.  I wanted an idea of about how much I already had in the pot.  So I lifted it up, the rim then somehow hit and got stuck on the hood above the stove, and it all came tumbling down.  You know that sick feeling you get when you're at a loss for words, that's how I felt.  If it was a jar of Prego, no problem. But the fact I just spent 30 min chopping and sauteing and was 3 tomatoes shy of a yummy sauce, wasn't okay.  I think I tried hard to hold it together until Ella asked what had happened since she was standing right there.  I just cried, just being frustrated and tired and now not knowing what to do for dinner.  Luckily, there was my daughter who tells me, "Mommy, I can make you feel happy." And she just held on to my leg and then gave me a hug while she swayed back and forth.  It was just what I needed and I told her so.  Luckily my teammate Tracey mentioned earlier in the day I was welcome over for dinner that night.  At this point I changed our plans and gave her a call.  I knew at this point I just needed to throw in the towel and not try anything else.  Thank goodness for friends and open invitations! 
Today we didn't have school.  Instead they had "culture day" and I decided to stay home with the kids.  I figured I don't get to see them enough anyway so I'd take the opportunity.  I'm hoping to stay on task this week and just enjoy time with the kids in the evening.  If you've made it this far in this blog, please pray for motivation for me.  I'm really feeling ready to be done with school and be with my kids more.  Behaviors they're displaying make me want to be with them more often to correct, and not being able to is tough sometimes.  So, yeah! Only 5 more weeks. Let's pray I (and Jeremy : ) make it through strong and learn everything we can. Although I'm not so sure how much more my brain can hold!  
We're also in the process of looking for our more permanent residence, a home to rent. Not being familiar with the areas makes it hard, so we're really believing God to help us find one. He knows our desires and our concerns, and knows what's best for us.  Please pray with us that His direction in this would be clear.  We want more than anything to be in His will. Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 27, 2009

The report

Well, here's a quick run down of our lives. Erin and the rest of our female staff here in Costa Rica has been in Guatemala for the last week which leaves me and Jeff home with the kids. It really hasn't been that bad but the dishes tend to pile up quick. 
So every day we've still gone to school (except I was a little sick thursday) And then the kids come home and take naps, then we play at the park, eat and play a little after dinner then it's off to bed. It's not so bad. Ella cries every night for about 10 minutes for her mom but other than that they've done great. I printed a few pictures of Erin and we taped them to the wall. tonight while putting Ella to sleep I jumped on her bed and laid against the wall. Ella immediately started crying cause she wanted to "lay next to mama". So cute... Then she got up like she has most nights and gave the silliest picture of mama a kiss. Erin will probably cry when she finds out. It was adorable. 
Well other than that there's not much to report. School is going well. We have a wonderful teacher who is very very gifted. I have a class in which I go out and just talk to people about whatever I want to learn. It's been good to learn not only language but culture as well. We have come a very long way in the last 7 weeks. I feel like I know so much more than I did at Christmas time. We now have 86 ways to use every verb!!! 86!! It's pretty hard to remember exactly how to use each different tense. Here's a quick example. feel free to skip it.
Present tense Caminar (to walk)
There are 6 "people" 
Camino                 Yo (1st person) 
Caminas               Tú (you informal)
Camina                 El/Ella/Usted (3rd person singular or 2nd person formal)
Caminamos          Nosotros (1st person plural)
Camináis               Vosotros (I don't really know cause I never use it plural something)
Caminan               Ellos/Ustedes (3rd person plural or 2nd person plural)
Then past has all the same "people" but I wont write them with the root "Camin" and endings 
so in those two forms, present and past there are 12 "uses" for one verb... Well then there are 12 more tenses... Each with 6 "uses" imperfect preterite, conditional, future, PPC, Plusc, perfect preterite, future perfect, conditional perfect, Present perfect subjunctive,  past perfect subjunctive, future perfect subjunctive. I dont know if I got them all or what.... Horrible, But we're learning.
So besides that... We're here. We've never doubted that we're supposed to be here, never wanted 
to leave. We're just trying to live life and really figure out how Gods gonna do what we think He wants 
I leave you with a little video love Ella and Judah.

Sorry It's been so long... (this one's kinda just to get it all out there)

Well to be honest, I've been a little under the weather.  Physically, emotionally and spiritually (if you even can be). I think that God has been exposing a lot in me that I have never seen before and I am realizing that I am really not such a great person. (Not a new revelation but just expanded in recent weeks)  Also I've been pretty lonely. It's really hard to make friends when there's a language barrier of any kind. I can speak and understand 95% of what I need but wow... that 5% really puts stress on a relationship. 
Twice now I've had to talk about when my friend Rich left after the last trimester, and twice, in the middle of class, I've choked up and had to stop. Really, we weren't like best friends or anything. True I will always remember him, and always consider him a friend, but really... Choking up in class, I didn't cry much when leaving California. (only a little but not as much as one would have thought) 
I think that we are still adjusting to life here in Costa Rica. It's rough some times, and we expect it, but walking it out is still hard. 
All of this to say two things: 1) Please pray for us! We are always in need of your prayers but right now I would really appreciate them. 2) When I feel like this it's really hard to write about life here. For those of you who don't know me well, this is me... I wear it all on my sleeve. I don't really mind if you see me in my weakness cause I'm just like you... 
So anyways... Actually I'll write another blog to split it up a little

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Judah is 2

So Judah turned 2 on the 13th of feb. He got a small piece of cake with some whipped cream for breakfast and... well you can just watch the first few moments of him being 2. If we're counting hours too he was actually 1 hour shy of two in this video. We had a birthday party for him with the rest of our team and then the next day had some fun with the decorations. I forgot to put a picture of the cake Erin made in the video so I'll add that later. We miss all of you and wish we could have shared this experience with you in person. Also...HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SISTER JENNIFER. WE LOVE YOU!!! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

¡Demasiado Español!

Okay, we've had family asking for an updated blog... and to sum up how we're feeling right now... overloaded!  Jeremy and I were talking last night about our grammar class and all the tenses and conjugations we're learning right now.  We did the math, and by the time we learn all 14 tenses in Spanish, we'll be able to conjugate a verb around 84 times, mas o menos.  This is ridiculous, we said!  For some crazy reason I enjoy the challenge in class when our teacher says "Erin, give me the verb "oir", in "tú" form, all nine tenses." (I am translating it for you :)  I think this is as many as we have had to recall at one time so far, but tomorrow, we add 4 more tenses!  Something in me strives to get every one right.  I told Jeremy, by the end of this trimester, I want to be able to conjugate a verb in every form and every tense.  I think he just rolled his eyes at me. So our brain is full.  Sometimes we can't sleep at night because we have conjugations dancing around in our head! So please keep us in prayer that we'd keep our sanity and that we'd sleep too.  
Outside of Spanish, we're branching out in relationships with neighbors around us, and I've finally gotten enough Spanish under my belt to step out and invite some locals over for dinner. This is a HUGE step for me.  This and driving around San Jose.  One more milestone for me!  I finally conquered the dreaded Costa Rican rotundas (at least they are in my mind), this past Sunday.  My husband made me, yes, made me, go to Hipermas (kind of like a Wal-Mart) and get over my fear.  I've been dreading driving there because I'd have to go through 3 rotundas. We set a time for me to be home, since we have no cell phones to call, so he'd know I was alright.  Well...I was 30 min. late and when I got home he told me he pictured me driving around and around the rotunda, crying hysterically not knowing which exit to take.  On the contrary I told him.  I conquered them like a pro and was quite giddy when I got home because of it, but had lost track of the time! He just thought I was strange.  So I am quite proud of myself for the new-found freedom of being to get myself around.  Now to tackle downtown rush hour traffic... : (

Saturday, January 24, 2009

what happens when you get your hand kicked while playing soccer?

This does...

It's a little hard to see but there are 2 fractures in my 4th metacarpal. I play soccer once a week at school and lately I have been playing keeper. (thus the hand injury) I was going after a ball and there were a bunch of people around. I grabbed the ball just as someone went to kick it and...CRACK!!!! I felt/heard several cracks. It didn't hurt like it was broken just like it was kicked (obviously) I kept playing keeper until my knuckle disappeared under the swelling. I switched to forward and finished the night. (after all with only 3 hours to play a week. injured or not I had to take advantage of the time.) So I talked to a doctor about it at school and he said I needed x-rays... Nice huh? 
Well here's the good part. We had some bad news about our house in Visalia a few weeks ago and it looked like we couldn't rent it to cover our monthly payment. We started praying and said that this would be Gods first opportunity to show us His faithfulness financially since we got here. Well we've cut back and had nothing but veggies for the last week and a half. We were thinking we'd have to cover some payments from savings and then out of our budget. Well God had other plans. While the house still isn't rented, we have a rental co. that says they can get enough to cover our payment. Praise God #1. Then Erin finally went to the doctor and had to spend $160 between the visit and meds. Then this with my hand. Praise God #2 is that He put us in a situation where we felt like we had to save money so we did. Even though it wasn't the financial trouble we thought we'd be in He in essence provided the way for us to have the money...God is Good. So after a few hours and a few hundred bucks here's my hand. 
More to come on the house... we're still living as frugally as we can but I have faith that God will provide. If He doesn't it's only to expose something He wants to fix.
Here's a question for all of you reading... Make sure to comment with your short answer. Leave an email address so I can respond individually if needed. If God is going to provide, do I need to cut back on my spending? We don't live extravagantly, and it's all His anyway. Is my act of faith A) simply believing that He's going to provide and not changing how we spend our money?
B) changing and bracing for financially hard times, but still believing He'll come through for me in the end? 
It's actually a good question and I honestly want to hear what you would do and why.... 
Have fun with that and I'll talk to you soon.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

liguistas pequeñitos !!

Well I learned another lesson about Costa Rica.... the street venders start at more than double the cost of any given thing and will fight to the death. I worked long and hard to buy some soccer jerseys and shorts of the most popular teams here for my niece and nephew (we love you Miah and Teeney, and Micah too sorry there wasn't one small enough for you buddy) Anyways, I got the lady down from 10 mil to a little over six...($20 to $12) and felt like I won the battle of the price war... Come to find out I lost... I just found the same outfits for 3 mil ($6) at a small shop. I bought them for our kids and they wore them out on the town to Pricesmart and McDonalds tonight. We got quite a few looks and comments. Everyone seemed to think that they were very cute. Anyways, here are some pics... 
The other team is purple and white. They're called Saprissa and are actually a better team. When choosing the team that I would cheer for 1)I couldn't bring myself to wear purple and 2)I couldn't jump in and cheer for the best team. That would be like all of the people that liked New England only after they won the super bowl. Or maybe like the people that switched their team to the Cowboys  in the 90s. I'm still a Saints fan... even when they are terrible... Therefore I have no problem waiting for La Liga to get better.... Sorry for those of you who don't care about any of this  at all. Just enjoy the pictures... Until next time. 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Thank you to all of you.

To everyone who has supported us in our transition this year, Thank you. We are extremely grateful that God would impress it on your hearts to be so generous towards us. It is only because of your obedience towards God that we are able to be obedient to Him as well. We were all created to praise and worship Him. Our praise requires different aspects of life from each of us to accomplish the goal which is that all those in the world would see how great He is through our lives. 
I made this video as a thank you to all of you. Feel free to send it to everyone who would enjoy it. It is just a few minutes of how and where we are able to praise our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Friday, January 9, 2009

And now back to.... What ever ....

Well it sure was great to have my parents here these last nine days. We had a lot of fun and the kids know their Papa and Ninaw a little better (Judah can say Memaw but instead he says Ninaw) We had a great time showing them where we live and what we do as well as seeing some beautiful places. We went to La Paz waterfall gardens (thanks Robin) and to Playa Hermosa for a few days. We visited Manuel Antonio, a national reserve, and saw monkeys sloths and baby sea turtles that had just hatched and were making their way to the ocean. (see the pictures) It was great to see the country but it was even better to just be with family. We're in a bit of culture shock still and things are feeling rough. Sometimes it's hard to see the good things that we have here. I made the comment to my parents that if it wasn't for Gods call I don't think I could live here. I don't know that it's entirely true (due to the culture shock) but at the moment it feels true. It was good however to have people agree with us that cheese is way overpriced, and that the food isn't anything to write about. In a way it makes me more comfortable being here. I don't know why but it just does. 
So we have the weekend to get back in the groove and we start school again on monday. New teachers and new classes will probably be a little difficult but I am definitely looking forward to being able to communicate  better and get into actual missionary work. I don't know that I've posted much about what we are in for, work wise, but I'll post again later with all the details. For now... Thank you all for your support. We wish you could all come down and visit us for a while. I'm sure there'll be plenty of time later. Remember that you're all missionaries where you are and you already know the language. Look for God to move daily and if it seems that He isn't ask Him why... then ask Him to make Himself alive to you and those you're around. Here are some more pictures of where we were. Click the picture of the leaf then click side show and watch it for a while or just check out the ones you like.
Our trip to La Paz and Manuel Antonio

Friday, January 2, 2009

Mom and Dad are here!!

There are different levels of peace that you have when you're living in a foreign country. It's one thing to not have to stumble over your words or wrack your brain to recall the translation and just be able to speak in english, but it's a whole other thing to know people really well and spend time with them in the country that you just never feel 100% at home in. Needless to say we are very happy to have my parents here after 4 months of being apart. It's not only that we've missed them (and all of the rest of you) we didn't realize how hard it is to have nothing around you that is familiar. The friends we have here we now know, but not like the people in the states. We know the ingredients in the meals but not the tastes. We have enough familiarity to feel ok but not enough to truly be comfortable. Now that my parents are here it's just that much more familiarity to make us comfortable. I don't know if I make sense but I just wanted to try to relay what I'm feeling to you all... It's pretty strange. 
Thank you to all of you who sent a note with my parents to us and the Dixons. (Saviors family) we haven't had a chance to read them all yet but it is such an encouragement to know that you would take the time to write to us. More on this later...... 
I don't know why I really want to say this now but if any of you see Steve Haston, tell him that he's been on my heart recently and that I really miss him. Thanks. 
Thanks for reading and may Jesus Bless You All.