Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Last Minute Trip Home

My grandma’s memorial service was planned for Memorial Day Weekend in Central California. Originally, I thought there was no way I could go (timing, funding, transportation, ect). Then things got moved around and suddenly I was free to go. I found a great deal on a last minute ticket and decided to fly back to California 3 days later. It was a whirlwind of a trip, but I am so thankful I was able to come back. It was wonderful to be able to share the weekend with family who I haven’t seen in years. We celebrated my grandma’s life through retelling countless memories we had shared with her and the influence she has been in our lives. It was a very special time, one I will always cherish. It was also great to see my siblings; I can’t believe how much they’ve changed in only 4 months! One of the hardest things about living in Costa Rica is knowing I’m missing out on so much of them growing up.

Even though I was in California for less than 4 days, I was still able to see a few friends. Thanks to some amazingly flexible and serving friends, I was able to spend some short bouts of quality time with several dear friends. (Thank you Roberts for hanging out at LAX for SO long, and Jon for driving me down in the middle of the night.) Even a few hours with good friends is so refreshing and encouraging to me. As time and distance makes it more challenging to maintain friendships, these are people who I really treasure in my life. I am thankful for their continuing presence in my life, even across the distance. I wish I could have seen everyone, but it was a VERY quick trip. I look forward to having more time at home at the end of the year.

Lady Lilac

When I saw this car, I knew it was meant to be. How often does one get to drive a car in her favorite color, especially when her favorite color is purple? We bought the car last week from a super nice Costa Rican couple. Both of their kids are on staff with YWAM, so they were happy to see the car go to another home in ministry. Cailah did a great job learning to drive stick, and was ready to drive us home after only 15 minutes of practice. I was thoroughly impressed! Having a car will minimize the stress of many aspects of daily here in Costa Rica. For example, we no longer have to make the 20 minute walk to the grocery store in the rain, and we can easily get home from night events with the teams. We are very thankful for the blessing of having a car.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Two different 27's

We've now had two Club de Niños and they seem to be going really well. We have a space to hold Club for the afternoon group on the patio of one of the kid's house. It's definitely not as orderly, but we still have a good time. A lot of the kids we've been doing home visits and tutoring with come to the Club, so it's great to be able to continue to build relationships with them. To give you an idea the social structure of the community in Los Guido, I have a story to share from this Friday. (I promise to share pictures, soon)

Tracey and I are cutting papers and stickers getting ready for the afternoon group. A bunch of kids are hanging out with us and we are making casual conversation about school and family with the kids.
Carmen who is 16 years old, asks Tracey, "How old are you?
"I'm almost 30", Tracey replies.
"Oh, my mom is only 32 years old," states Carmen.
Mafe, who is the fourth of six kids, the oldest being in high school, turns to me,"How old are you?"
"Twenty-seven", I reply
"Oh, my mom is twenty-seven, too".

No response from me. How do you process that. My life, a single, 27 year old, with no kids, is completely foreign to them. Most of the kids can easily understand that I'm not married, since their mom's normally aren't either. And if there is an adult male living in the house, he's probably not their dad. But the kids really cannot grasp the fact that I don't have any children. My prayer for the girls we are building relationships with, is that they will have another option, that they will be able to break the destructive cycle. That they will have the option to be married to a faithful man and have children within that marriage, if they choose to.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Club de Niños

Tomorrow (Friday) is our first Club de Niños up in Los Guido. As part of our partnership with Food for the Hungry, Tracey and I are continuing the kids' club they have once a week before the church serves lunch for the kids in the community. Yesterday we went up and met a lot of the kids and invited them to the club. They all seemed pretty excited. Unfortunately because of the rotating school schedule, a lot of kids we talked to have class in the morning. We are trying to figure out a way to hold another session of the club after lunch for the kids who go to school in the morning. (Something you could be praying for) Over the past few weeks we've been working on curriculum and activities to share with the kids. I am really excited about our theme for the first 2 months-- Psalm 139, looking at all the aspects of how special God made each one of us. Many of these kids come from home situations where they don't get to hear how precious and special they really are. As a result, it affects almost every aspect of their lives: school, friends, life dreams, the way the treat others and themselves. I pray that through our time together, they can start to see themselves the way God created them.

How many resources does it take to plan a Bible lesson in your second language?
1. Children's Bible, English
2. NIV Bible, Spanish
3. Spanish/English Dictionary
4. 501 Spanish Verb, to look up all the subjunctive conjugations
5. Spanish textbook, to remember when to use subjunctive
6. Calendar
7. Notebook with ideas and notes
8. At least 4 different tabs open in Safari on my computer
9. Word document with actual curriculum
10. Lots of coffee!

Staff Planning Retreat

This past weekend all 11 of us crammed into 2 cars and took off for Tamarindo on the northern coast. Rainy season has begun, and thus we were able to score a great deal on the modern version of the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House. We saw monkeys and giant iguanas from the patio every morning. We had a great weekend planning, playing, cooking, and hanging out together. All the kids did great together, Cailah and Aiyla tried their feet at surfing, and we were able to brainstorm some great ideas for the summer teams that begin coming at the end of this month.

Everyone has their floaties

Unfortunately, on the way home we had a little car trouble.... The Dixon's car started making a high pitched noise and loosing speed. We pulled over on the side of the road, but couldn't figure out what the problem was. Luckily, Costa Rica has a great national car insurance company. They'll pay to tow your car to your mechanic no matter where you are, and they'll cover your taxi as well. Wonderful news, since we were still over 3 hours away from home! Luck for us, even though we were in the middle of nowhere, there was a little pulperia, run out of the front of someone's house. We bought water, and broke out our snacks and waited out the rain. Our taxi and tow truck arrived an hour or so later, but not before the lady next door kindly let us her bathroom. As we were leaving she told us be to be sure to stop by next time we head North. I love how open and hospitable people can be here!

The Car....

Waiting out the Storm