Thursday, December 5, 2013

Right in front of me

Sometimes.  .  . it is just right in front of your eyes.

I tried several times to blog about what was in my heart.  But I could never spill it out.

Several weeks ago, I was invited to a consultation among the Latin America and Caribbean missionaries who minister to people who work with victims of the sex industry.

I started out the other blogs talking about the horrific facts of the sexually exploited, the numbers, the statistics.  I felt like I was ranting, and could never share adequately, what the Lord was doing in my heart.

When I came home, I was broken.  My thoughts were::
Lord what can I do I am one person
My Spanish doesn't allow me to communicate my thoughts
I have lived a "shelter" life
I can never relate to these women and children, and the nightmare that they live with.

People from all over our region, spoke on how the Lord had used them, and I felt so little.
I felt like I had been invited by accident, because I live close to the place the event took place.

I am a rookie missionary and all.  We have actually only be on the field for 3 months (our time in language school is not really our beginning date. . . )

The next day was Sunday, and because we got to church a little late, and we had some quest who stayed over a few extra days, the only place my family and friends could sit, was the front row.

After the sermon, there was a time of prayer.
There was one girl, whom the Lord guided me to.
It was one of those times that is undeniable from the Lord.

I went to pray with her.
I did not pray in English or Spanish, but with a language only the Lord knew.

After we prayed, I gave her a hug. . .
and it lasted a long time.

She would not let go, even after the service moved on.

After service was finally over she went her way, and I was talking to someone else.
But I knew the Lord was asking me to go talk to her.

I didn't listen. . .

But God's will is in play, even when we are not.

She came to me.

Her words are etched in my heart.
She said she was lonely.
She had moved from a small pueblo from way outside the city.  She had come to the city to work and go to school.
And she was lonely.
(she has her own story, that is NOT the point of this story)

Friends, I immediately heard the Lord say, to me, "See, It is not that hard, I placed her right in front of you"  "Just love her" (my interpretation of course)

And so that is what I did.

We have made her a part of our family, she has spent the night, we shared our Thanksgiving traditions with her.


Loving the Lord and following his voice is not rocket science.
The need is great, that is the truth.  The Enemy is fierce, and is constantly at work. No doubt.

But we don't have to go into the brothels, we don't have to start a home for rescued women, we don't have to solve the entire tragedy.

We start with what is right in front of us.  We need to be just as faithful to the "one" as to the convention center full of girls. . . .

I have been given the opportunity to work with a veteran missionary, who believes, we can prevent the victims when we educate the girls when they are young.  I get to work with her.
I will one day, share the amazing things going on there.
At some point I will share my BIG dreams.

But for now.  Lets love the person in front of us.
What does that look like?  who knows. . . making a meal, fix a car, give out of abundance.
It will not come back void.

I can not wait for us to get to heaven to see how God has orchestrated details.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up(or think we are not qualified).  So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone and especially to those who are of the household of faith (or right in front of you).  Galatians 6:9-10. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Our house

 OK, we have been in our house for almost a year now, and I have NOT posted pictures of it. 

For one reason, it is still not complete, you see I have empty pictures frames on the walls.  When I took the pictures off the wall in South Carolina,  I said that could be our "before" picture.
I said I would call the picture of the new home  the "after" pictures.

But, oh well,  Life isn't perfect. so .   . I will go ahead and show my "after" pictures.

Except I don't have one of the outside of the house.  But that is ok. . .
This is our living room (notice the picture frames)

and the Big comfy dad chair

This is our Thankful Thursday jar.  We each have a color of paper that is our assigned color.  Every Thursday we write down what we are thankful for.  It doesn't have to be award winning, a phone call from a friend, a card, a package, a special dinner out.  We plan on reading them on Thanksgiving, or somewhere around there then.  We started with an empty jar, and I wanted it to be filled with new memories, and with grateful hearts.

Life is in the details they say, and these little decorations match the colors of my living area really well.  We bought many things from a missionary that was living the country of Costa Rica.  I was so happy because I bought them from her, having no idea, that they would eventually match our living room perfectly.

This is our patio outside.  We had this wrought iron furniture made when we were very new in country.  The man spoke no English, and we barely spoke Spanish.  But the end product was beautiful.

This is a beautiful tea set that is made here in Costa Rica.  It depicts the amazing hummingbirds that flutter around 

Our Dinning Room

We bought this dinning room suite from another family that was leaving Costa Rica, which had bought it from another family leaving years before.  So the rumor is, a lot of discussions from Assemblies of God missionaries in the field have taken place around that table.   It was made here in Costa Rica, from the beautiful native wood.
This is the  buffet table that matches the table.  

Again, more details.  I love the beautiful colors of living somewhere tropical.  While we live in the city, far away from the colorful display of ox carts, or beautiful blue ocean waters, I still wanted to infuse them in my home.  Slowly we are getting there.

ok, not pretty, but blessed indeed to have music fill our home.  Our wonderful friend from Northern California still skypes lessons for the girls.  We are beyond blessed to have found a friend who makes sacrifices for us, but also the equipment and the space for our girls to continue learning to use their talents for HIM.

Ok Now for the Kitchen. . . . .

We found this beautiful table off of Craig's List Costa Rica. That's right Craig's list.
 We bought it on Thanksgiving Day.

Our little kitchen.  I used a table cloth to make the curtains, and the placemats.  (Use what you can find, right?)  we had to buy all of our appliances and light fixtures, which we mostly bought from other missionaries. . . but because Maggi and Emma know how to pray, our house came with a dishwasher.  Practically unheard of in Latin America.  But we serve a BIG God.

More Colors and Details.  We store our eggs in a basket outside the fridg.  Strange concept, but we really do put all of our eggs in one basket.

Our aprons. . . My great friend made one for me with her mom, and Judy, the girl's grandma or "nanny" helped them make theirs.

More colorful details.

The Laundry Room
(a huge blessing room)

We have a very long laundry room.  Extra pantry storage is on the left.  In the very back or lines to hang clothes on.  They are directly under some plastic that heats this room very nicely.  We feel very blessed to have this space!

The washer and dryer were the only appliance we had to purchase from a store.  I had never owned a new washer and dryer before, so I am especially fond of them. 

This is the airplane bathroom.  So hard to capture how very small it is.
You have to come and try it out for yourself.

 Our bedroom. The same guy who did our table, helped us with the bed. Furniture is very expensive here.  However labor is not.  So when he told us to pick out a picture and he would try to make something for us, I of course turned to the pottery barn catalog.  And he made me a bed from the catalog.  It turned out amazing.  I couldn't be happier.  (lets not tell pottery barn ok)

rookie mistake.  Don't hang a swinging candle above your bed in a country with earthquakes. . . Just saying.  "rookies"

 I wish I had a better way to take a picture of my bathroom.  The bed turned out so well, he made me a vanity for the bathroom.  I found baskets the colors of the accessories, and they are the kind I can bleach if necessary.  He did a great job of recreating the iron effects on this stand.  Drawers are a commodity, and I am blessed that these pieces turned out so well.

 Maggi's Room. . . The colors were chosen by her, the bed linens she brought with her from the states, after picking them up in the WM's closet in Northern California Nevada Women's boutique.  We found many co-ordinating pieces around town, and  had fun bringing them all together.  The decal she got for Christmas.  Every southern girl needs a monogram in their room.

 These are things that Maggi loves. . . .

And Emma too! 

For Emma, we were able to paint, and accessorize for her taste.  Somethings were given when friends left.   Some things were brought from the states, and some things we picked up here.  It all came together to make princess Emma feel quite at home.

So you can see we are blessed beyond measure with what all of our friends helped us pull together.  We have things from all over the country, and in each room we have a reminder of someone or someplace that helped us not only get here, but helped to make our house a home.  

Hogar Dulce Hogar
Home sweet home.

Unless the Lord builds the house. . . the builders labor in vain
Psalm 127:1

Monday, October 7, 2013

confessions of a missionary wife

We skyped a missionary service a few weeks ago, and someone wanted to know how we became "ninja christians".   He meant, I think, how did we decide to actually LEAVE.  

We were with other missionaries, and we were thousands of miles away with a 30 second delay, so I could not laugh out loud like I wanted to.

I thought, if only you knew. . .

I am NOT a NINJA christian.
I am NOT.
My life is not glamorous.
I struggle with some of the same things I always have, I have laid some time, only to pick them up again.

Sometimes I wonder if people realize how very not ninja I am.

Let me give you some recent examples.
of my non-glamourous life.

Last week Dave had dropped the girls off at school, and later I hoped in the car to go to a Bible study.  He was driving with the window down.
I make it a practice not to do that, because there are many people who come to your car while you are stopped for a variety of reasons.
Well it was a beautiful morning, with blue skies and white fluffy skies, and the music was on, and I was by myself (which rarely happens) so I was enjoying it.
I was at a stop sign, minding my own business, keenly aware of what was going on in front of me.
When all of a sudden, a man on roller-skates comes out of no where, FROM BEHIND, and pops his head in my window to ask me if I wanted to buy a back scratcher.
OK.  I panicked, thinking how am I going to get out of this situation, 2 of the missionary women here have had men grab them and steal their purses.
I am thinking I am going to die in Costa Rica by a strange man with a back scratcher.
My immediate thought was NOT let me witness to this man who obviously needs Jesus.
No sir, my ninja faith had me run the red light and roll up the window as fast as I could.

speaking of the car.
last week I decided that I drive better  when I am angry.
I have had a huge fear of the road from here to the girl's school since the beginning of school, creeping my way up.  Praying that the rapture occurred at any second.
It is scary people.
Well last week I was angry before I left, (I am not going into the details :) and got half way up the road when I realized I was driving the "drive of death".
And I was not focused on the bathsized pot holes, or steep embankments.
(negative points there)

I still struggle with materialism.
I have hardly thought about that in a long while (selling most everything you own and packing everything you want for the next 3 years in 20 suitcases makes you choose your purchases carefully)
However, the girls started a new school, and at this school there are some very affluent people.  I found myself wanted to know who Micheal Kross was and how could I get a bag like everyone else's.  (or I would settle for a coach bag.)  I have never ever in my life wanted a purse that would cost a house payment.  But yep, it is true.  I did recently.  I wanted to fit in by the things that other people saw.  (before that I just wanted some new pajamas from k-mart)

The next have nothing to do with Ninja faith, but are just some confessions.

I can not do a three point turn (it is more like a five point turn if I am lucky)
I use my i-phone to help me in difficult conversations, and directions.  I am still addicted to it.
I still like Vera Bradley & Brighton jewelry
I have become a hoarder.  (not like extreme coupon hoarding) but . . . here you never know what you are going to find, and how long they are going to sell it.  So when I find something I like, or my girls like, I buy 4 of them. (which may or may not include brownie mix)  I know that is ridiculous.  But I have gone back so many times and NOT been able to get them, I have resorted to hoarding.  A month ago (for example) they had the cornbread mix that we like.  Now we like it so much it made the precious 20 suitcases when we came.  Only one box, because we only eat it on New Years Day.  But they had it in a store here, and I bought 4 boxes.  (really?)
I buy imported fruit.  I can't for the life of me understand how people can eat some of these fruits. (for the record apples, grapes, and kiwi are imported)
I don't understand why missionaries criticize each other.
I don't want to get the "yellow fever" vaccine that I have to get.

I could go on and on. . .

But I will stop with one last confession.
Today I cried.
I came home from a parent volunteer session at the girls school.  I plopped down in the room where Dave was doing office work, and started to cry.
I will give the man credit, he was smart enough to stop what he was doing, but was totally clueless at the cause.
Every time I tried to tell him, I found myself physically unable to.

Our Big prayer is that our girls, especially Maggi, finds a true good friend.  Maggi's personality needs a good friend.  There are only 5 girls in her class.  One is sweet but has a faith completely opposite of what we believe.  One has no faith.  And two are girls who are from here, and have been in the same class since Kindergarden.  They are tight, and speak Spanish as first language.  Maggi and I have been brainstroming ways to "mix" the Costa Rican girls and the American girls.  Well today I realized how hard it is to be in her shoes.  In the parent volunteer meeting, the women paired off, obviously being close friends, and after cordial introductions with me, they start speaking in Spanish, and became involved in their own conversations.  Now our Spanish is good enough to order food, grocery shop, small talk, speak in conversations, pay bills, and are comfortable in conversations that we are familiar with the vocabulary.    But that doesn't take the place of a life time of "history" between friends, talking about things that are familiar with local phrases and terms.  I came home with the painful reality of what Maggi faces everyday.  Wanted to connect, but having a big divide.  My heart was bleeding for her.  I had no words.  I had no ninja like faith.  I wanted to take her home, and give her a pajama party  with her old friends.  I wanted to go to the mall, go to chick-fil-a, and drive with the windows down singing songs at the top of our lungs (I would even let the songs be One Direction songs).  I wanted things to not be hard for her.
so I cried.
Not the stories you here missionaries talk about when they come to your church.
Not the thoughts they make people give money to your mission.
Certainly NOT the definition of a "ninja" Christian.

just an ordinary mom, doing the best she can, realizing that it is about the small steps that are defining our family and our faith.

If I trust the Lord enough to move my family wherever He wants.
Then surely I can trust Him to bring Maggi a friend.
(and one who has a great mom wouldn't be bad- just saying)
and then I stopped crying (after I ate a little chocolate).

1 Thessaloninas 1:2-4
We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.  We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.  For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that He has chosen you. . .

Monday, September 30, 2013



Can I pretend that I haven't ignored the blog the last 6 months?

Life was really crazy, and we were all stretched thin.

So much has happened in the last 6 months.  .  .

The girls finished their first year of school here in San Jose.

We officially became residents of Costa Rica.

The girls started their new school 6 weeks after finishing the old one
(is it just me or did ya'll see the difference in Maggi, good grief. . . .)

We received our driver's license.

and. . .


Words on the page, or a blog, or even spoken can not begin to explain, how each of those things were major milestones in our lives.

I think that is why I haven't written anything down, I just did not have the words to begin to explain how we were living out our life here.

When they give you that test to assess your stress level, well lets just say, we "aced" that test.

The language school we attended here in San Jose, Costa Rica is called CINCEL.  It is where any missionary from the Assemblies of God will go for language studies if they are going to a Central or South American country, or a special assignment that requires Spanish.

CINCEL is short for the Center for Cultural Research and Language Studies.
If you translate the word from Spanish, it is chisel.


That is a perfect description of how our last year has been.
we have been chiseled.

and it has been painful.
and we wanted to quit.
and we cried.
and we studied.
and we humiliated our self trying to speak.

We were slowly being chipped.  carved.  simply put chiseled.


I just couldn't find the strength to share my experience on line.

When we agreed to go. . . at all cost, I don't think we knew exactly what that meant.

Let me point out, that I don't compare myself to people who have paid with their lives, their family.

I don't think we  (except my girls) are extraordinary people.
We have always said, we are just an ordinary family going where He leads.

But when you are being chiseled, and you see the parts that are falling off, you find your self surprised as you watch the process.
Some parts we saw "fall" are parts we thought were essential.  (I am a nurse, so to me, it is like in the middle of a procedure and the surgeon "nicks" an artery")
And to be honest, we felt like we were "bleeding out".

When we were being chiseled we, at times, had "open wounds".

But He kept chiseling.

and we kept moving forward.

I am not so foolish to believe that the "chiseling" is finished.  That does not stop because you get a diploma from a language school.  (but just for the record, I have one)

but, for us, we feel we have reached a milestone.

When we (David and I)  take a moment to look at the big picture, the big project, the "sculpture", we get very emotional.  Even as I type, I get teary. . .

What we couldn't see each day, or each "loss" looks beautiful now.
Even unfinished.

We have overcome very personal attacks, loss of control, defeat, sadness, anger, discouragement, and the list goes on.  Chiseled.

HOWEVER, I wouldn't change it.  Not one stroke of the chisel. We are stronger, our faith is deeper, our commitment is more fierce, our love for each other more bonded.  We trust the Lord more, we want to give more, go more, be more.  We want to be found faithful, obedient, and humble servants.

Thank you so much for sharing this journey with us.  Thank you for the encouragement, the prayers, the packages, the letters, the extra money, the calls, the faith you put in us.  Thank you for loving us, during the process.  Thank you for believing in the "rookie missionaries".

Our prayer for you is that during your CINCEL experience, when you are being chiseled to something that is unrecognizable, know that you are not alone.  We are partners together.

We are honored to be with you, as you are with us, for the "before" the "during" and we will together want to be found faithful for "after" . . .throughout the chiseling process.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A trip to the market

We have a variety of places to shop for groceries here in San Jose.

We shop mostly at a grocery store near our house, because of the proximity to our house.  There is an open fruit and vegetable market on the weekends, and when we get a chance we like to get our fresh fruits and veggies for the week there at the "feria".

We don't generally shop at the central marketplace for our meats but I had to share some pictures

just keep swimming

Not ready to cook with feet yet

Or hearts
ok, or tongue either

I have to admit, I have not gone totally native with all of the food, we stick to what we know, we have added more beans and rice to our diet, and have added many new fruits, many of which we don't even know how to pronounce correctly. . . remember we are new missionaries :)