Thursday, December 31, 2009

What Christmas looked like around here

If your interested, click below for a few pictures and descriptions of what Christmas time was like around these parts.

Happy New Year!

CR Christmas

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


For the record, I really wish I could have kept that Twitter Feed on my side-bar, but I just ran into two too many problems (not sure if you noticed that other people's updates were showing up my side-bar... or heard the rumor that someone hacked all passwords used on one particular day...)

It was so just wonderfully easy to give a quick update and keep going with things here, instead of needed to put aside a chunk of time to dream up somthing logical, interesting, and remotely grammatically correct to post here.

So, if you'd excuse me in advance, you may see a few more short and possibly less interesting quick updates in the post section now...

Okay, let's practice:
- It's raining animals outside.
- I'm just about to start class.
- Tom's in San Jose working with Hector... They'll both be back tomorrow, so I'll probably be sleeping at the neighbor's house tonight.
- New Year's is coming... A HUGE family day around these parts. We're hosting a special church service for it and everything.
- We're gearing up for the new year with the youth. First meeting on the 1st!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

But don't open it 'till after midnight

This is our Christmas Eve schedule:

  • Assist in arranging a huge food hamper to be dropped off for a very needy family
  • Assist in transporting a load of goodies to the mission for a kid's concert at 2:00
  • Help run the concert (the awesome youth are doing a puppet skit... I'll be sure to tape it for you)
  • Help clean up, then set up for the church service at 5:00.
  • Pick up a family with a wheel-chair bound son using the mission's van (otherwise they simply cannot physically make it to the mission)
  • Be Maria (Mary) and Jose (Joseph) in the Nativity story (I thought we would do better as white sheep, but nominations are nominations)
  • Drive the family, mentioned above, home
  • Catch the bus back to our place and join the neighbors (our Costa Rica family) in celebration of Freedom, with great food, singing, and dancing.
  • Take part in the gift exchange (we drew names last week). But this cannot be done until after midnight!
  • Be in our houses soon after, for tonight is the most dangerous night for having your house broken into.

What's your plans???? Let us know in the comment section below, or simply leave us a 'hi'. Comments are very encouraging for us... They let us know that people are indeed reading this blog (and you all haven't forgotten about us ;)

Merry Christmas, brothers and sisters!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


...Is not the same.

I know Christmas isn't a 'feeling', but sometimes feelin' it really helps with the reminder of the season. And, in our case, we are indeed feelin' something, but it's not the same. And sometimes changes are hard to take, even thought they aren't bad. Being dropped in another culture often leads to learning more about your own culture more than the culture you're living in (because, in reality, you will never get it, and especially so in a matter of a few short months).

One thing that I've enjoyed about this season here is the lack of propaganda and the lack of excess spilling out from under a tree. Emphasis of Christmas here is spent on family and food... Traditional foods that take much labour and love to make, and this labour is dispersed between all those who are free the day before Christmas Eve to help prep the food together. These helpers range from the grandkids to grandma. And, in our case, the neighbors too. The cost of family gatherings is dispersed between all families attending, too. The labour is shared, the cost is shared, and the meal is shared together in the Grand Day. And that's where the emphasis is. Sharing, as a family, for the celebration of Christ.
Kind of nice, eh?

In Canada I'm often left with the thought that Christmas is so stressful, and especially so for mothers. It seems that the 'joy of the season' is theirs to deliver. Along with a roasted bird, beautifully wrapped presents, a clean home, Christmas music.... Don't 'they say' that Christmas time is something like the most depressing time of the year? And January is the month that people carry the most debt? I know this isn't an original thought, but is this the way to celebrate freedom?

Yes we live in cultural contexts, and adherence to traditions isn't a bad thing. But isn't it a true shame, waste, and downright evil thing when Christmas is a time that is dreaded, depressing, and debt-inducing?

Yes, this season has been a bit heartbreaking for us, but beautiful lessons often arise from 'hardships'. And although we're only going to be in CR for a short while, I can image that this Christmas season will impact all of those to come for us.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Month 2

I've tried to summarize our last month here in 100 pictures or less.

Enjoy the 91!!

Month 2

(Click on photo to see more)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Chirripo Thank-You video

The Chirripo outreach project, summed up in 3 minutes and 29 seconds.


Monday, December 7, 2009


Okay, sorry for the long-time-no-write!

I kicked myself a few times in the car on the way to the end of the road when we were off to Chiripo... Oh why, oh why did I not write to my readers that we were heading off into the wilderness-jungleyness for 4 days???

Oh, right, because we had (have) amazing house guests and A LOT of prep, planning, and ministries to take part in during the days leading up to the trip. Then there was the trip, which of course didn't contain any electricity... never mind internet :P

Okay, enough excuses, eh? I'll just tell you how it went.


I could just leave it at that, if I were to sum it up in one word. But you deserve more.

So here are the:


We were a team of 19 individuals, coming from all sorts of places (Winnipeg, Montreal, San Jose, Turrialba, Tuis, Las Colonies....), and all ages (from 25 - 61) with one goal: To serve the indigenous people. We did this through medical clinics, church services, a dental health workshop, construction work, and simply playing and hanging out with the women and children.

The 19 of us met at 5:00am in Tuis on Wednesday morning, climbed into the back of a cattle truck, and drove to the end of the road (about 1.5 hours). Well, most of us went in the cattle truck, Erica and I were of the lucky ladies that got to ride in Daniel's 4-Runner :D

Once we reached the end of the road, we left the heavy bags for porters to take, and we headed off, into the jungle, as a team of 19 who had no idea what they were in for!!!

We hiked for about 5 hours... Under the jungle canopy, over fallen trees, through rushing rivers, and under thick brush. Oh, the experience!!!!

Then we made it there.
Sinoli village.

We fell exhausted to the floor of a wooden hut built by the mission, but we didn't stay for long. We took off to the river to clean ourselves up to do a medical clinic for the village.
Except our bags didn't arrive.
Until after dark.
An executive and wise decision was made to hold off on heading off to the next village on Thursday morning, but instead stay in Sinoli for another day and have the medical clinic there.

So we did.

And it was great!

Tom and Bob worked on light construction projects for the mission hut and the community's church. A nurse (Cindy) and an American Spanish student (Crystal), along with two translators (from English to Spanish, and from Spanish to Cabecar) served those in the community seeking medical attention. The women and children who attended the clinic walked for hours to get there. Can you imagine? They are coming because they are sick. And they walked for hours, through the jungle and under the sun to seek medical attention, because this is their only opportunity for the next few months.

Erica and I had the opportunity to play with the kids, make a million balloon animals, and hand out candy necklaces (thank you Lakeshore!). Erica even ran a dental health workshop that provided toothbrushes and toothpaste to the children and showed them the proper way to brush their teeth. Erica was amazing. The kids were so cute.

(And no, the irony of providing candy necklaces prior to the workshop was not lost on us.)

On Friday the other 17 people from the team left for Palmera, a village located a few more hours' hike away. Tom and I stayed behind due to, errrm, gastrointestinal concerns that dragged out allllll Thursday night. Oiy! I'll spare you the details.

The team ran another medical clinic, partook in a church service, and had time with the kids in the second village. Then, before sun rise on Saturday morning, they packed their belongings and hiked back to Tom and I, had breakfast, and we all hiked out. The hike out took about 7 hours and boy howdy it was challenging.

By God's grace we all made it out, relatively in one piece each, and the cattle truck did indeed meet us at the end of the road.

Pictures and feelings to come!!!