Sunday, February 28, 2010

Holy Matrimonies, Batman!

A community wedding was held on February 14th to wed couples who have been living together and want their relationship to be bonded in Holy Matrimony.

The whole community chipped in to make the wedding possible... (Most people here don't get married simply because they can't afford it.) Wedding clothes were rented, borrowed, or sewn... All guests brought food to share, chipped in for the cake, helped decorate, etc.

It was amazing. A real community effort to help THREE couples become husbands and wives!

Tom and I were the 'official' photographers for the big wedding. I can hardly wait to share the printed photos with the couples!

Check out this video we presented to the couples in church today. I hope you like it!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Update: Please STOP praying for more chickens... lol!

Wow, the Lord has provided!!


It looks like we are up to a possible 27 chickens to bring to Chirripo! At this point, I wish they could fly... Cuz our arms are going to be tired!


But in all seriousness, please keep praying for his trip, because prayer works ;) and we need a lot of help with this venture!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Praying for Chickens

We are in full tilt preparing for our upcoming trip to Chirripo.

And it's amazing.


Last time we were in Chirripo, back in December (read about it here or here, or see a short video of it here) we met many of the beautiful Cabecar indigenous people that live there... We also heard (and witnessed) some of their many needs. After returning to the Latino community, and after the Chief of the indigenous community stopped by our house for coffee (like that happens everyday) and we were able to discuss the needs of his community further, Tom and I were left with one thought ringing through our minds: As LEC-CR servants here in the field, What are we going to do about it?

We knew half of the answer was "return" and the other half was "help", but HOW was still the issue.

The following is what's been approved and is what we're going forward with... With the best of intentions. And we are more than excited to share this experience with Ben, a short-term mission team member from Lakeshore Evangelical Church. Ben will be serving with us for a week in March and helping with:

1) The Solar Panel Project

A need greatly emphasized by the community’s chief is for solar power to light the church building. Sinoli has no access to electricity; providing solar energy to the community’s sole gathering place would benefit the entire village and result in a safer place for people to meet.

Tom and Ben, along with a Costa Rican gentleman who knows the area and an indigenous individual from the Sinoli community, will be installing a solar panel and lighting system. We may be there for their first ever lit church service!

2) Raisin' the Roof

The Sinoli church roof, in two sections, in supported by posts. These posts are currently sitting on floor planks, halfway between two joists. The floor planks are not designed to be load-bearing. In other words, the roof is prone to collapse and must be proactively repaired. Tom and a local Costa Rican will lead the project, Ben will assist, and volunteers will be recruited from the local community to provide any additional required manpower to alter the current design to create a stronger support.

3) Reducing the impact of childhood parasitic infections

Candice has teamed up with  a nurse who heads the medical outreach aspect of the Chirripo hikes, to undertake an intestinal de-worming clinic while in Chrripo. Albendazole, a broad spectrum anti-helmintic, will be distributed to all willing mothers to treat as many children as possible. In order to provide informed consent as well as educate the community on infection transmission, Candice will be providing an education session to all families emphasizing infection prevention methods. 

4) Combating Malnutrition… With Chickens

Sadly, childhood malnutrition is visually evident in the village of Sinoli. Stunting (short stature for age, indicating long-term protein-energy malnutrition), bloated bellies (indicating protein malnutrition, and possible intestinal infection), and skin lesions (indicating inadequate intake of micronutrients, especially those found in animal based foods) are common in the childhood population. As a nutritionist Candice was able to undertake a nutritional-assessment interview with the chief of the community and some of the local women. From the information gathered, it is clear that not only malnutrition, but also food insecurity, is endemic in this community.

In Sinoli, the responsibility of food gathering is that of both the woman and man, however if the man were to leave or pass away, the responsibility is solely that of the woman.  Additionally, and very importantly, families do not share food supplies.

In order to address malnutrition in this community, we proposed to bring hen-laying chickens to Chirripo to distribute to families most in need. Hen eggs provide highly nutritional animal-based whole proteins and much needed micronutrients to the diet.  We wanted to purchase 20 egg-laying hens... Mature, scavenger fed, and culturally acceptable, to distribute based on the needs of the families and recommendations of the chief, to respect the community’s leadership order.

----

So, as you can imagine, we've been doing a lot of preparing. And at times we've been asking ourselves if we really know what we're doing... Especially when we'd receive raised-eye-brow looks when pleading for people's chickens.

For the first while there were just no chickens to be had... Oh, there were lots of chickens around, but no one wanted to give up their chicks! I prayed to God, and knew that if He indeed want us to bring them, He would provide them. But there were still no chickens to be had.

Then last Saturday, a man approached Tom after church and told him that his 12 year old son wanted to give his chicken away to a family that needed it. Yes, God provided a chicken... from a 12 year old boy, and in doing so I've been provided reassurance to go forth with the plan. (And it just so happens that today we got news that a friend found us many more that are available for purchase... Now we are up to 11!!)

There are many many things that can go wrong on this trip, from logistics to weather. I ask for you prayers in our preparation, for both of us and for Ben, and I ask that God's will be done on this trip, and we be nothing more than willing agents in His plan, no matter how crazy we may seem!

Monday, February 22, 2010

What is that?

There have been a many of times Tom's heard me say "Oh no, what is that?"

And it's never good news.

There are so many things that crawl, slither, or run on 8-legs that it's just never good news.

So, the other night when I saw this:




And asked Tom, "Oh no, what is that?"

Upon closer inspection as to the object sitting on the napkins in the napkin holder on the living room coffee table, we saw this:

 


Yes, that's a frog. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Obedience

I could make you a list of activities, events, conversations, and actions that Tom and I have responded to 'a call to do' over the past few months, without feeling actually capable of doing them.
In a different culture, land, and language, some of these calls have include:

  • Leading bible studies
  • Creating and leading a youth group
  • Running the Alpha course
  • Preaching (!)
  • Doing visitation ministries
  • Teaching English
  • Translating
  • etc.
But we've found that each time we responded, whether or not we felt ready to, everything worked out.  And, at times, worked out way better than expected.  Worked out perfectly? By no means. But, I truly believe that when we respond to a call, we will be given all that we need, in good timing.

However, as I eluded to in a previous post, you need to give thought to what defines 'success' in these situations?  One could say that if you didn't succeed to the fullest degree, then why didn't you give the task to someone else in the first place? If you weren't qualified for such a position, why would you take it on? I think we need to adjust our goals and objections from results-based North Americanism to an appreciation of what may be happening at a deeper level, for the Lord. A wise man once told us that if you feel a call, but unqualified to fulfill it and therefore first seek to obtain qualification and get all yours ducks in a row before answering the call, it will probably be too late.
God calls people where they are, how they are. And it's up to us to respond, no matter how unqualified we feel.

Because:  
(Click here for the site I stole this list from.)

• Noah was a drunk
• Abraham was too old
• Isaac was a daydreamer
• Jacob was a liar and a thief
• Leah was ugly
• Joseph was abused and sold by his own brothers
• Moses stuttered and was a murderer
• Gideon was afraid
• Samson was a womanizer
• Rahab was a prostitute
• Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
• David had an affair and was a murderer
• Elijah was suicidal
• Isaiah preached naked
• Jonah ran from God
• Naomi was a widow
• Peter denied Christ
• Paul killed Christians

I'm not comparing ourselves to these people, but there is something to be said about simply responding and doing it anyways. 

--
So, what happened at the conference, you ask? Not too much. I translated for some parts (with help from the audience), but there just so happened to be a bilingual someone show up on each day and were willing to take the meat of it, and let me fill in when needed.

And is worked out great. Way better than I ever expected. Worked out perfectly? By no means. But I do strongly believe that simply answering yes to a call, and going through with it is success. For in saying yes, you are being obedient to your Lord, your Father. And what's more important than that?



The fact that I didn't cry was just a bonus! ;)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Life-Sized Dutch Blitz

[We moved this one back to the top, just in case you missed it.]

This is just a little video/slideshow of the tournament we hosted here last Sunday... What a hoot!




Or, click here to watch it in a bigger window on YouTube, or in HD.


The kids here are awesome... We love them... So much fun!

Your thoughts, please.

Now, in your opinion, when asked to do something outside of your capabilities and, out of servant-hood for our Good Lord, you said yes, how would 'success' be defined?

Let's take a random example of the many we've situations like this that we've been challenges with over the past few months, k?  How about.... translating at a Christian Women's Conference.

Now, to set the stage, your translation abilities are not up to the level they would need to be to undertake this. Nevertheless, you've been asked, and for at least one of the days there are just no other options. So you understand that in service to God, you must say yes.  The speaker is an amazing Christian Psychotherapist from the states, speaks no Spanish, and likes to talk (those are her words). There are 30 women staring back at you (so, like, 60 eyes), plus her's.

Your abilities can (almost) handle: Casual conversations, serious conversation, leading youth bible studies, and that sort of stuff. Now, keep in mind that in all of these listed 'can-do' activities include charades and help and patience from your conversation partner.

Because it seems our readers are a little shy to comment (or it's too complicated) let's take a vote! How would you define 'success'? Here are the long answers, please see the right-hand side-bar near the top of this page for a shorter version and a place to click your vote.

A) The fact that you said yes, got up in the morning, and did, indeed, go to the location of the conference
B) The fact that you didn't cry, or run away at the conference (and nor did anyone else)
C) Some concepts were communicated, with much help from the audience
D) Most concepts were communicated, with a bit of help from the audience
E) Complete communication between English speaker and Spanish audience.

Which would define 'success' in your mind?

Click beside the one you think, and then click 'vote'!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Survived Day One...

Thank you for your prayers for today. Please keep praying for us for tomorrow, this conference has become a great light to some of the women in this community (and I am left as the only translator in the room). Please continue to pray for words, wisdom, and patience. May God's will be done!

---


{By the way, I can hardly wait to tell you about some of my learnings of servant-hood here over these past few months.}

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Urgent Prayer Request

Oh dear.

I have been asked to translate (from English to Spanish) at a 2-day ladies conference this week in Tuis.

GULP.

Being given only 2 days notice and being a total novice in the Spanish language, I am feeling very inadequate and incapable of doing this.

Um, could you lend me some words? Please?

Please pray for wisdom, for words, and for confidence that the Holy Spirit is the one who is speaking anyways... Please pray for patience for the Pastor who is leading the conference, and for all of the ladies attending the conference. Please pray that this time will be a time of growing closer to God and to each other.

Thank you.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Come one, come all!

This is a promotion for an event we're running at the mission today...

video

Monday, February 1, 2010

Happy Birthday!

What a blessing it was to celebrate my birthday with so many new friends and family!



We had fondue, which was a completely new concept to our friends here.
(Same with decent chocolate, but that's another story... :)

Tom even needed to give a tutorial before the feast began...

But once we began...


It seemed to be accepted by all!


We went through 3 pineapples, a carton of strawberries, a kilo of grapes, a package of Oreos, 6 bananas...It was amazing!

Yes, gorgeous imported fondue chocolate (loveingly imported from Canada by my parents), and fresh, ripe Costa Rican fruits.


And great friends.


What more could you ask for for your birthday?