Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's hard to say: "Don't worry about the volcano."

This is a picture we took last Thursday of our local volcano, Turrialba.

You can see the fumes spitting out of the top. It's a bit unsettling.

I've never lived next to a volcano, nor anywhere even remotely near one. This one, however, is about 30km from our doorstep.

In the past few weeks, it has become increasingly active, spouting fumes and small rocks from two (small) new craters, and the latest news is that we may see lava soon.

In February 2007, for the first time since 1866, Turrialba woke up and shot ash about 2000m into the sky. It hit the "Sleep" button, but the alarm went off again on January 6th of this year, and has remained active ever since.

The good news is that the mountain isn't bulging at all, so it is not going to blow any time soon. Apparently, before a Mount.-St.-Helens-style explosion, the whole mountain stretches a bit, and Turrialba isn't showing any signs of that.

In fact, in the time between the picture above, and now, we've passed within a few kilometers of another local volcano, Arenal, that spits out lava constantly. Not only are the lava flows not considered dangerous, but they have been a huge economic boon to the entire community... It's one of Costa Rica's most popular and most developed tourist destinations.

Turrialba, then, is not likely dangerous to Candice and myself, but what about the people we've grown to love here?

People like Mila, a milk producer whose farm is located on the volcano, within a couple of kilometers from the top. She can't leave her farm because her cows have to be milked (twice a day), but she and her family and her cows are potentially sucking in harmful gases all day. In additional, they just closed the school because it's considered too dangerous, the very same school that her children attend, and is currently providing refuge to a number of families that have been forcefully evacuated from their homes (that were closer to the top). Not to mention the impending threat of temporarily or permanently evacuating themselves.

People like our Costa Rican "parents", Mecho and Macha, who have lived in this community for all of their lives. Imagine being (give or take) 70 years old, and thinking that the friendly giant you've known for all of your life may be going a little bit "loco", and may yet force you from your home.

And the youth we've been working with, thinking that in the long lives they have ahead of them, they'll be living next to a ticking time bomb.

So am I worried about the Turrialba volcano?
No, not for me and my family, in the time we have left here.
But: Yes, definitely and absolutely, for the Costa Rican families that have adopted us, who won't be coming back with us to safe-and-sound Canada in April, and will continue to live in the shadow of this potential monster.

Dutch Blitz Fever

When Bob ad Erica came, they brought a few packs of DB.

And to describe what has happened since the introduction of the game, I need to quote one of the youth that excitedly told me yesterday "There is a Dutch Blitz fever stretching across Tuis!"

And these kids are fast.

And I mean fast. Just give 'em a few seconds to warm up first.

Stay tuned for the upcoming DB Tournament in Tuis de Turrialba.

Anyone interested in taking on these youngens?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Week in Review

After arriving back last Friday night, we jumped right back into serving. Saturday morning there was congregational fast... We gathered together for 5 hours of prayer and hunger to dedicate 2010 to the Lord, for his will to be done within the congregation, the town, the country, and the world. Saturday evening we had our church service; Tom drove Filemon (young man with cerebral palsy) & family to church and back. They live a ways down a crazy gravel road... Always a 'fun' adventure ;)

Sunday we had our first youth bible study, lead by one of the youth. We had fantastic conversation. Very interesting; very insightful. After, we had a 3.5 hour Dutch Blitz fest!

Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday we were back into the studies; a woman's ministry meet, birthday party, and planning meeting were mixed in there too. Last night we had a big bonfire for the youth. We introduced s'mores to the youth... We had to start the s'more building lesson with 'How to Roast a Marshmellow'. LOTS of fun! I love the youth.

My parents also arrived this week. We were blessed with the opportunity to get to San Jose and meet them at the airport. It's always nice to visit the "big city"; and it's always fantastic to have visitors!

So, after today, which will entail Filemon's family, Tom preaching(!), and a farewell, we are off for our next week of LOA. We are traveling with my parents through Costa Rica. We are very excited to experience other parts of this beautiful country, which we have grown to love.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


On Friday evening we arrived back form the beautiful Panama City.

We had an amazing trip and have returned rested and recharged. Thank you for your prayers in this area. We really felt them!

On Saturday morning, we joined the local church in a fast and prayer meet for the new year. It was a beautiful way to reunite with those here after being away for a few days.

While we were away, the local volcano blew (a little bit). Ashes fell all the way over in San Jose! The local area is on Yellow Alert because of the volcano. Exciting, no? Have no fear, the worst it would be is ash and a contaminated water supply. I'd take that over lava any day. I'm not concerned. Plus we are leaving the area again next week ;)

My parents arrive on Wednesday. I'm very excited to see them!

Today we are having the youth over for a bible study. Yesterday evening at church they were very excited to see that we returned safely.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

LOA... Not MIA

Dear readers,

Tom and I are off on our obligatory border hop starting this afternoon. We're heading to Panama City for a few days to have our Costa Rican visas renewed. (Yes, if you can believe it, it's that time already.)

Please keep our travels and time of rest/recuperation in your prayers. We should be back by Thursday, or Saturday at the latest.

Your co-servants in Christ,
Candice and Tom

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bob's thoughts on Chirripo!

My sincerest apologies for this post being delayed (filter problem in g-mail).
Please see below for Bob Lehmann's thoughts of our Chirripo adventure.
Composed December 16, 2009


The invitation from Tom and Candice has become my Christmas gift. The purpose was to join them for the Chirripo-hike. Great that we could do this as a couple – and even fly out of Montreal on Erica’s birthday!

We arrived in San Jose late on Nov. 27 - picked up by two amazing people, Hector and Daniel, who we got to love and appreciate. After a two hour ride to La Selva de Suiza we met our dear friends Tom and Candice in the early morning hours. What precious moments of reuniting! From that Saturday ‘till Tuesday there was so much activity and meeting wonderful people.

A few highlights:

1. The men’s breakfast that the Scatliff’s hosted, and Tom was the speaker and shared everything in Spanish (WOW!)

2. The Thanksgiving dinner

3. The church service (amazing!)

4. One and a half day of Spanish – classes with very patient teachers Lili and Karen.

5. Visit Henry on his old farm, which included a four hour hike to a waterfall. Last part of the hike was up the river to the falls. Amazing! (I still think, that Candice was testing us for the Chirripo-hike).

6. Visit one of over hundred of Costa Rica’s volcanoes, Irazu. Amazing!

Now it is Tuesday night and we are preparing our packs for the four day hike. Little anxious but very excited for the uncertainty before us.

Wednesday is a four a clock start of the day – quickly meeting the 19 member team. As strangers we were getting awfully close in the back of a cattle truck that drives us to the trail-head. And at about 8am the great adventure is on it’s way.

The hiking part for these four days was out of this world. Waking through the jungle, over mountains, through valleys, through raging rivers up to our waste, repelling over Rio Chirripo in an uninspected Aluminum-cage etc. etc. was a dream - just amazing - amazing is now my favourite word! God’s amazing creation! We saw a Capuchin Monkey, a Kinkajou, snakes, beautiful butterflies, toucans, parrots and other birds and even a scorpion and huge spiders and more spiders.

To meet the indigenous people, including chief Arnoldo, was a great privilege, honour and a highlight of the trip. The work the Mission in Tuis is doing for those people is amazing and encouraging. And Tom and Candice are so privileged to be right there with the Mission to make a huge difference to so many people.

One of the most amazing things that I experienced on the Chirripo-hike and in the Church community is being accepted, loved and embraced by those people. I started off the hike with mostly strangers and finished it off with the same people now being true and close friends. The experience of a tough hike where we all depended on each other, helped bring us together. There were only two rules for the hike, given by Hector: You are not allowed to cry or complain. And he encouraged us to spend time with God - listen and pray. These very simple but important rules made a huge difference for team-building.

The Chirripo-hike and the many new brothers and sisters I met in such a short time, I will never forget. Thank you Tom and Candice for initiating this great trip for us and thank you God for opening my eyes a little more. You are truly amazing!


Friday, January 1, 2010

How to Comment on our Blog

We've had some feedback that it is very difficult to leave comments on our blog, so we change the commenting method. Here is a little tutorial on how to use the new method:

A) You'll see a "Comments" section below every blog:

B) You can view the existing comments, or leave a new one, by clicking on the word "comments". This window pops up:

C) Now, leave a comment if you'd like...
  1. Type your comment in the box below "Leave your comment".
  2. Click "Name/URL".
  3. Type your name in the box labeled "Name".
  4. Click the orange box labeled "Publish your comment".
Hopefully, this method is a little easier than the last one, but we realize it is never as simple as ABC. :)

The Road to Tuis

This is a video we took of the drive to the Mission in Tuis. Somewhere around the 1:20 mark it points toward the "Smith House", which is where we are staying.

What do you think? Is it what you expected?