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Monthly Archives: September 2008

Finding our Niche – A Little Taste of Home

We have been in Costa Rica for almost two months now.  Can you believe it?  Well Sundays have been difficult here because of the need and the desire to worship, but without an easy way to do it.  Either we are traveling in an expensive taxi for 40 minutes to Cot to worship, where we feel right at home and love every moment of our time there.  Or we are stress-fully taking a bus/taxi combination to and from Cot that takes hours and is exhausting.  Then there are the Sundays where we are not going to Cot and desire to worship closer to where we are living (within walking distance).  We have tried this for many Sundays.  The hard thing is that we do not understand anything that is going on because it is all in Spanish.  Each Sunday we are understanding more and more as we learn the language, but it is hard for that to be our Sunday worship.  Well this Sunday we decided we wanted to do things completely differently and have a little taste of home.

Our pastor from home, Johnny, called us a couple of weeks ago to let us know that Jeff’s and his sermons are now being put online at http://www.sermonaudio.com .  So we decided that we would get up this morning and do Sunday school with the children at our table and then all gather around the computer and listen to a sermon of Johnny’s from our home church in South Carolina at the same time that it is going on in South Carolina (that would be around 8:15am here since church is at 10:15am there).  We made copies of a coloring sheet for the 10 Commandments, taught them a lesson on that and went over a memory verse.  Then as they colored, we gathered around the laptop and listened to Johnny’s New Orleans accent preach the gospel and teach about the Spirit vs. the Flesh.  It was such a joy to hear one of his sermons since we had not heard one in almost 2 months.  All that was missing was the glorious fellowship of our church family and music with my buddies on the praise team.

Thank you to all of you back home that are working hard to encourage us from a distance and are continuing to do home missions as we are battling the Enemy here in Costa Rica.  Thank you for putting Jeff and Johnny’s sermon’s online.  It will continue to bless us.  Our hope is to get up and worship with our home church on Sunday mornings by listening to Johnny’s sermons and around 6pm est/ 4pm here by listening to Jeff’s sermons.  This worked wonderfully and it allowed us to not only worship the Lord, but feel close to our church family in Easley, South Carolina.

We feel that we have finally found our Sunday worship niche.  Every other Sunday we will travel to Cot and worship with the family of believers we have there.  And every other Sunday we will worship in Spirit with our home church in South Carolina.  Here are some pictures…

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Posted by on September 28, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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Memoria, Memoria, Memoria

This learning Spanish thing is very time consuming.  It takes a lot of memoria (or memory) to keep up with what is what.  Basically we just have to sit down each night and work on memorizing the information that we have been taught.  So tomorrow I have a test on 50 verbs that I have to know.  It takes a lot of time to memorize that many verbs.  One of the verbs that, as of last night, I was struggling to memorize was “llorar” or in English it is “to cry.”  No matter what I did I could not remember the verb.  I would look at the picture and my mind would go blank.  I knew that it was similar to “llover” or “to rain.”  But that was all I could remember.  Well yesterday a classmate said that word is similar to “orar.”   It did not hit me then what he meant because I did not remember the word, so I just let it slide.  Then last night as I was working on my verbs I noticed what my friend was talking about.  “Llorar” or “to cry” is similar to the verb “orar” or “to pray.”   How beautiful is that?  To cry out to our God in song, praise, pain, love…is to pray to Him or to talk to him; “llorar” and “orar” are similar in sound and in meaning to the Christian.   So last night I cried out in prayer to our Heavenly Father about our ability to learn Spanish.  I cried out that He would make it stick in my head and flow off of my tongue.  All for His glory that we learn this language and take the message of GRACE or GRACIA to the people on Volcano Irazu.  And amazingly today I had such a great day of recall.  My teachers would say a word and I would remember the meaning!  It was so exciting.  It also brought a huge amount of peace to me.  I know that I am not learning Spanish and living in Costa Rica for my own gain, but for that glorious day when we will all be praising the Lord in Heaven and every language.  There are people here that need to know about God’s grace and Jesus’ finished work on the cross.  We are learning Spanish so that we can take that message to the people in their own language and love them.  All for God’s glory. 

Filipenses 2:9-11

9 Por eso Dios lo exaltó hasta lo sumo
      y le otorgó el nombre
      que está sobre todo nombre,
10 para que ante el nombre de Jesús
      se doble toda rodilla
   en el cielo y en la tierra
      y debajo de la tierra,
11 y toda lengua confiese que Jesucristo es el Señor,
      para gloria de Dios Padre.

Philippians 2:9-11 

  9For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,  10so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Won’t that be a glorious day?  Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we work hard to learn Spanish. 
 
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Posted by on September 23, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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Celebrating Costa Rica’s Independence!

This past week Costa Rica celebrated it’s independence.  And we gladly joined in on the festivities.  The celebration started at our school with the Kinder parade (this is from K-5 down to a few months old).  Most Costa Rican public schools celebrate with their children in a parade.  We were told that their theory is that in other countries around the world they march their military in parades as a show of strength.  They march their children because it shows their peace and their belief that educating their children is the future of the country.  So our school was no different.  Classes stopped and we all watched the parade of our children.  It was so cute.  Sophia marched with a balloon (globo in Spanish, by the way!) and Lizzie marched with a drum.  It was so cute!!! 

Then we had a special hour of learning about Costa Rica’s history and their independence.  Then we all broke up into groups and made lanterns.  This is what most children do here, but the school had us do that as adults.  It was funny, it was like craftime in VBS for adults!  They make lanterns here and the children march with them because the letter that declared Costa Rica’s independence had to travel across Central America back in the 1800’s so the way was lit with lanterns.  Independence was declared on September 15th (without any war by the way) and Costa Rica did not receive the letter stating that until October.   There were all kinds of parades on Monday the 15th and fireworks, which started going off before the sun came up Monday morning.  It bolted us out of the bed!  It was like being bombed!  We love this country and the peaceful nature of the people that has even manifested itself into its government!  Here are some pictures!

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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Taking friends to Cot with us to worship

Last Sunday we decided to be adventurous and attempt the bus system to Cot to worship with a group of friends from school.  Being that the Prathers can speak more Spanish than us we decided it would be a good time to try it.  We learned a lot on this trip, but we had a blast.  It was a bit hard on the children because it made the day long and Sophia fell asleep twice, once going and once coming home.  Which meant that I had to carry her through the streets in order to make it to different bus stops.  We also learned that buses do not go into Cot until 11:00, so that meant that we had to take a bus to Zapote, then one to Cartago, then catch a taxi into Cot.  We arrived a little late, but the fellowship was sweet.  And we all had  a wonderful time.  We also took lunch with us (meatloaf, salad and bread) and ate with Francisco after church, first cover dish dinner?! 

Our friends also blogged about this.  I would love for you to check out their view point on the day and they have pictures of the day.  Their blog is www.pratherfamily.wordpress.com .  They live in the house right behind ours.  They have been looking out for us since we have been here.  They are also fellow Global Outreach missionaries and we love them.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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A Day Blessed By Prayer

We are so blessed by our Lord and Saviour.  He has not only called us to the mission field of Costa Rica, but we also have been blessed to study Spanish at a school where each class is usually opened with prayer.  Today, September 11, was especially meaningful.  We started out the day with prayer in my gramatica class.  It was special because Jung prayed for us.  Jung is from Korea, so naturally he prayed in Korean.  It was beautiful.  Even though I could not understand most of what he was saying I knew that the Lord could.  I was so moved by it and many of my classmates were as well.  Here I am in Costa Rica studying Spanish and struggling with all of the memorization and figuring out just how to pronounce the alphabet and our Lord is so huge that He already understands every language on this planet.  The Korean couple that is in my class is learning Spanish in English.  Their first language is Korean!  That would be like me learning Spanish in French!  But to the Lord it is nothing. 

Later during chapel we had a time of praise and prayer instead of a sermon.  We broke up into groups and shared and prayed for many things, but especially for unity as Christians and for the United States.  We were split into, I don’t know, maybe 7 or 8 groups and we were all praying at one time as groups.  It was not intentional, but this hit me.  Here I am trying to pay attention to my group and I could not listen to more than one person pray at at time.  But the Lord, he heard and understood it all at the same time.  He could hear each individual voice without any struggle.  I thought I wonder if this is what it always sounds like to Him.  Groups of believers crying out to Him at the same time and he can hear it all.  My “ADD” brain again picked up on the Korean couple praying.  So at that point not only were there many people praying to our huge God at the same time, but I could hear it in another language.  It was awesome.  It was beautiful.  And we were speaking to God!!!  How huge is that?

Have you considered what a privilege it is that we can talk to God?  That He can understand us, even our deepest thoughts and feelings!  AND He cares!  He cares so much that He sent His only Son to the earth to be sacrificed for our sins.  So that we could have the privilege of communion with Him.

Our God is so good, all the time.  Good days and bad.  Even on September 11, 2001.  Things in this life can be painful.  Things in this life can be joyful.  Pray for your joys and sorrows.  For your friends and enemies.  Let’s take it ALL to God and praise Him.  For He is Glorious!!!

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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The history of Gallo Pinto

Okay.  In gramatica today we were going over new nouns and we came across “gallo” which means rooster.  So I think “Okay.  Our favorite food here is called gallo pinto.  That does not make sense.”  The word “pinto” in Spanish is painted or spotted.  So it means “painted or spotted rooster.”  Strange.  So I asked Graziella, my teacher, how it got its name.  Here’s the story according to her…

Gallo Pinto a Common Costa Rican Food“There was this guy who wanted to have some friends over and cook for them his prized rooster.  So he invites a few and kills his rooster (“gallo”) and cooks it for them.  Well Costa Rica being the social country that it is, many more people showed up than were invited and he did not have enough food.  So he was like, ‘What am I going to feed everyone?’  So he looked at what he had and he decided to mix together black beans and rice along with some seasonings and decided he would feed that to his guests.  When he served them they said ‘Where is the rooster?’  And he said right there, so they called it ‘gallo pinto’ or spotted or painted rooster.  The guests liked the way it tasted and continued to make it and now it is one of Costa Rica’s national dishes.”

I thought that was neat.  It clearly represents this wonderful nation summed up in that one dish.  People use what they have to make others feel welcome.  They are creative and social and accepting.  They make the best out of what they have.  I love Costa Rica.  I love learning more and more about this wonderful country that the Lord has called us to serve Him in.  Thank you Lord “Gracias a Dios.”

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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We have survived the first week of Language School

Wow what a week.  We started language school on Tuesday.  But let’s go back a little to last week and orientation and testing.  Last week we were tested with an oral evaluation and a written test to determine where they should place us for our classes.  Well Jacob had studied a lot of Spanish before we left and I had not studied much before we got here.  Well Monday we got the results of our placement and classes.  Okay so the  most basic class placement starts at 101 and our group that we are in the most advanced goes to 118.  Well, I was placed in 101!  And Jacob was placed in 106.  That was no surprise.  We knew going into it that he was well ahead of me.  And classes started at 7:30 on Tuesday morning.

So we get the kids up Tuesday and boy the Lord knew what He was doing when He placed us in Casa Verde being that it is just a few minute walk to class.  We got up around 5:30 and we needed every bit of that time to get everyone to school in time.  We showered, made lunches (p-nut butter sandwiches for everyone), got everyone dressed, hair fixed, teeth brushed, shoes on (Sophia has a 50/50 shot at getting hers on the right foot and twice this week they were on the wrong feet once we got to school), back packs packed, checking for rain gear, unlock the front doors, lock the front doors, unlock the front gate, lock the front gate and we’re off!  And it is already 7:15 and we have to have the kids in their classes and be in our class rooms by 7:30! 

We each have 4 classes a day.  2 hours of gramatica, 1 hour of fonetica, and 1 hour of linguaje.  You stay with the same group of people all day.  And for gramatica they combine two groups.  My class has four ladies all together in it.  Dawn Stoudemayer and I are in the same class!  The kids are doing great.  Sophia is in the 3 year old class and the teacher only speaks Spanish to her!  Lizzie is in K5 and the last 1/4 of class is taught by a Spanish teacher.  Benjamin in 2nd grade has a typical 2nd grade day with an hour of Spanish every day.  Benjamin took his first spelling test here already and made a 100 on it.  YEAH Benja!!!  Here are some pictures.  Please continue to pray for our health and our ability to grasp the language.

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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