Thursday, September 27, 2012


Hola (hello)

We have now been here for 3 weeks, and are finally getting into a bit of a grove. 

Here is how our days have shaped up. . .

I get up at 5:00, for a number of reasons

          *the sun rises about 5:30 so I should go ahead and get a jump start
          * I need some alone time with the Lord, and this is just about the only way I can get it
          * When three girls share a bathroom, I need all the extra time I can get

by 5:45 I am ready to wake up the girls and get them going (the night before they lay out their clothes, we have their lunch packed, bookbags and raincoats ready to go).

6:00 we are all ready to eat some breakfast

6:25 we are all out the door

We arrive to our school at 6:50 so that the girls can ride the school bus to their school, Sojourn.

Now Dave and I have to wait an hour before our school starts, so this is where Dave often reads and prayers, I lay my seat back and snooze, or we go have breakfast with our fellow Missionaries in their home. 

Then Dave and I have language school, and the girls are at their school.  They return to us close to 3:00, and we venture back to our house we are staying at for one more week. 

We get homework for the girls started, and then dinner started, and then the girls have a little down time, baths, and then in to bed by 8:00. 

That is when Dave and I start our homework. 

Crazy, our lives went to pretty loose schedules except on the weekends and Wed, to very strict and time conscious schedules. 

Things will change next week when we are in our new apartment.  We hope to be more settled, and less like we are camping then.  During the next 2 1/2 months we hope to find a new place to live and shop for our furniture, so that we will be ready to celebrate Christmas in our New home.  Here in Costa Rica there is no Halloween or Thanksgiving, so they already have their Christmas decorations out.  That is super crazy, but since I love Christmas, the only think stopping me from putting up my tree in October, is that I would have to move it :(


But we have been busy here.  We celebrated Costa Rica's Independence day.  We had a lot of fun, making our faroles (lanterns).  At 6:00 on Sept 14, everyone steps outside and sings the National Anthem, and the children light their faroles to remember when they came through the streets declaring that Independence had been won.  So the girls were in a parade at their school.

We had open house night at the girls school as well, and it was fun to check out their classrooms and meet their teachers.

 For me, I most enjoyed seeing a set of enclyopedias in Maggi's classroom.  Now those were the good ole days.

We are learning to grocery shop here, and aside from sticker shock on how much things cost, we are having fun with the new products they have (chicky's, yippys, mammo chinos (actually that is a fruit but it is still fun).  About the sticker shock, I noticed that they had that scanner (thing that they put on electronics in the states, the thing that they have to wave over a pad to demagnetize it or whatever) on CHEESE.   It's that bad people. 

All that to say, we are adjusting.

The girls are doing really well.  I am not just saying that so the grandparents will be happy.  But they are sincerely legitimately happy.  I keep waiting for them to show signs of culture shock.  But so far, nothing.  Emma and Maggi both love saying their simple prayers in Spanish now (and thanks to them I impressed my teacher in my class when I offered to pray).  They love looking at the things in the produce isle, observing all they can in the car, etc. they are soaking it all in. 

And for that I am grateful.  That is not an accident.  I know it is because people from all over the country have prayed for them, prayed for protection, prayed for them to make friends, to enjoy school, to pick up on the language fast.  Countless prayers have gone up on their behalf.  And because of it I am amazed. 
and grateful

David and I doing well, maybe not as good as Maggi and Emma, but we are hanging in there.  When you become physically exhausted, it wears on your emotions, that combined with the immense job of learning a language, I felt saturated with it all last week.  So when my Spanish teacher (who speaks no English) asked me where my parents were, I, in my broken Spanish, told her my dad was in the US.  Then she asked me where my mom was, and I in my very little Spanish, not knowing many words, said "Con Dios"  which meant, she is with God, but I couldn't say it without tears flowing down my cheeks.  So of course there I am, crying in class before it even gets tough. 

But my Father is faithful, He is building us up, and has proven faithful time and time again. 

We are in awe of His goodness over us. 

And while we may be at a loss for words sometimes (because we don't know them in Spanish, or because there is no way to articulate something) we are so incredibly happy to be here. . .

in Costa Rica

serving Him

Sunday, September 16, 2012

We Are Here!

We Can Not Believe we are actually Here, in the beautiful country of Costa Rica.

It has been a long journey!

When we completed our application in October of 2009, we had no idea where we would end up, or when.

But we landed on Sept. 5, 2012 in San Jose, Costa RIca.

We have been in the process of moving and saying goodbyes since July of 2011, so we all felt like we were finally ready to be here.

We had 20 checked bags (11 footlockers and 3 suitcases and 6 duffle bags). We each carried a small suitcase on the plane, and each had a back pack. We looked like the Beverly Hill Billies. But we did it.

We all got to bring a little of what we felt like we couldn't live without. For Dave it was some fishing stuff, for me it was a little from each American Holiday to decorate the house, For Maggi it was books and stuffed animals, and for Emma. . . well she brought a small village of my little ponnyville ponies and accessories. This was our first time, so we had asked a variety of people what they would bring, and we adapted it to our family.

We landed on the day that Costa Rica had a major earthquake, but the quake did minimal damage to the country, and did not delay our arrival at all.

We left Sacramento in the morning, and had a connecting flight in Dallas. While waiting for our flight to San Jose, we ran into other missionaries headed to San Jose to start their time at Cincel. I am going to have to say, the kids were all so excited to be there.

We then arrived and cruised through immigration, and the only hiccup, was that Maggi and Emma had made passports for their American Girl dolls, in hopes that they could get them stamped with them upon entry in to the country. However the agent wouldn't stamp them. They were slightly disappointed. Then we picked up all of our bags, and then went through customs without any problems.

We had Don, the director of Cincel meet us, as well as one of our fellow missionaries, Josh. It was so nice to be welcomed home. Josh took us to our apartment where they had stocked us up on some snacks, breakfast and lunch for the next day. It was such a thoughtful gesture.

The girls got up bright and early the next day to start their first day of school. I can honestly say that they were so excited. They were ready to begin. Such an answer to not only our prayers, but the prayers of so many. It was a little akward leaving them there at their school, and then going back to ours.

Then Dave and I went to start our first day of school. We took our entrance interviews, to help decide what class we should be placed in. Then we went to do a little grocery shopping, etc.

We were in a very Costa Rican apartment off campus, however, it needed a little maintance, so it was decided that we would wait till an apartment closer to campus became available at the beginning of October, and that would better suit our needs. So in the mean time, we are able to stay in a fellow missionaries home, while they are away.

Our grand plan, is to be in the little apartment until December, and in the meantime look for our house that we will stay in for the remainder of our time at Cincel, and our first full term. So please be in prayer that the right home would be available to us.

So, we are still mostly living out of suitcases, which is a tad stressful, because we go to look for something, and can't easily find it, but, we are managing just fine.

So all of that being said, we are adjusting.

We are still in a state of being overwhelmed that we are finally here. We are so grateful for everyones prayers, sacraficial giving, their generous gifts to our children, the act of friendship bestowed upon us. . . all of it.

We know that we are not here because of one church or one district. We are here because we serve a Father who taught the Cartwright family that He provides in His time a perfect plan designed just for us.

I wish I could tell you of each miracle that got us here, but the truth is I don't know. Often times a family would give us what they could, making a sacrifice so that we could go where we were called to go. I don't know who they all were, they willing placed their offering in the plate as it went by. But we pray for them, as a family we pray that God would pour in not only money, but health and safety on them. We had a family that left the service, went home and got clothes to put on our backs for the bitter midwest winter. We had the South Carolina District provide a large donation to help us actually get to the field, and provide money so that we could bring our excess baggage. Norcal Nevada has provided finical funds to help with our arrival also, but then women provided money to help us set up our household goods, and a store we could shop in before we left. The NPLAD provided us our last push to get here, and the SC Hispanic district wanted to be a part of the Cartwright family in Costa Rica, and are mixed in the support base as well.

We feel like we are a quilt, with different swatches from all over, woven together to make something beautiful.

"Thank you" seems like a small way to say how we feel.

We are overwhelmed with gratitude, ready to serve, anxious to hear Our Father be specific in each detail in our lives.

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! Psam 133:1