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.