Archive | November, 2009

Gratitude in poverty

26 Nov

This shack is where Andrés, one of the neighborhood guards, lives with his wife, three year-old son and newborn (yesterday) baby live.  We visited this morning so we could give them a blanket and Cathi could check on her recovery. 

While Andrés and I played trucks with the young son Dárian, Cathi visited with the ladies (and baby Dérian).  Thanks to a generous supporter (thanks Darlene!) we were able to give the family a fleece blanket for the very cool nights.  The mom told her it was the softest thing she had ever felt! 

You can tell by the impish grin that big brother is more interested in playing hard than looking at a baby.  He lives in a boy’s wonderland with rocks, dirt and lots of places to climb.  Some things are the same across all cultures!

So this Thanksgiving we will celebrate with turkey and all the fixins with a number of guests in our home while just a short walk away this family is celebrating a new life in stark surroundings.  Gratitude comes in many forms, but we are grateful that we have a daily reminder of God’s incredible love for all people.

Roto-Rooter Tica Style

22 Nov

My wife is quite resourceful. While I’m tramping around the Western hemisphere, she’s handling plumbing problems with her own tools. November is the last but also the heaviest month of rain during Costa Rica’s rainy season (May through November). This year was no different, but the plumbing finally had enough and the kitchen got the worst of it. True to Costa Rican ingenuity, there’s an access hole hidden by a tile behind a cabinet in the kitchen. From there most problems can be accessed. Don’t ask what is in the hole though. Suffice it to say a thorough shower was next on the agenda. I’m not sure this was mentioned in describing the commendable wife in Proverbs 31, but it sure fits in my interpretation.

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Costa Rica little brother

18 Nov

Bethany is a missionary in Tarma, but she started her missionary life in language school in Costa Rica earlier this year. During that time she spent a number of days in our house to relax and be with our family. She and Ben were not quite eye to eye, but it was fun to see her face when she had to keep bending her head back to look at him during our visit. Little brothers have this crazy tendency to grow when you’re apart!

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Looking on the Bright Side…..

17 Nov

It has been a rough twenty(when I looked on the calendar I couldn’t believe it had only been 20)days but despite some pretty discouraging circumstances, we’ve chosen to look on the bright side, and keep on with our family and ministry responsibilities….here’s a brief summary, not for the faint of heart!

Day 1-Slow leak in tire-no big deal, add air and hope for the best.

Day 2- Hot water heater not acting right, breaker flips whenever in use, must have that looked at

Day 3-Tire checked for screw or other problem—given clean bill of health, still looks low….

Day 4- Hot water heater melted with charred insides—not functional after repairman takes parts out to replace-not a problem, have a showerhead hot water heater in a drafty shower in a non-used maid’s quarters…cost to replace $650

Day 5- Flat tire, found by guard in furniture store parking lot while purchasing mattresses for our newest missionaries arriving Dec. 11thguard points out where tire repair place is, 20 minutes later, tire is fixed-$3.

Day 6-Tropical storm brewing….TONS of rain….inside warm and dry…praying that the now hurricane Ida doesn’t hit New Orleans(we heart New Orleans!)

Day 7- Brian and Ben are almost home…trying to cheer up by making homemade ice cream—expensive large bag of cream into bowl, completely spoiled…roasted broccoli and cauliflower with almonds will have to do tonight…

Day 8-Finished painting Brian’s office (shh, it’s a surprise, Anna and Mommy deserve lunch out—Gate wide open, some animal or vegetation blown by the wind, CLOSES GATE on R side of car, nicks right upper rear window—and GLASS crumbles into a million pieces….no one is hurt, we clean up the mess and eat hummus and crackers for lunch—all that is in the pantry

Day 9-Ben and Brian return home….yes, a little consolation and 20 hours before Brian heads to RG meetings…missionary loans us a car for the weekend, groceries in house, bills paid, happy kids…

Day 10-Borrowed car gets returned. Rain continues off and on—

Day 11- Make effort to take taxi to gymnastics—Anna practices for 30 minutes, then tears up and says she feels like she’s getting sick—after walking several blocks, a taxi eventually picks us up—Anna falls asleep immediately and we get her home and into bed

Day 12-Anna is really sick—high fever, headache, achy body—no other symptoms…but I’m not, and can tell that this is either a tough virus or eeeewww….the flu(whatever type, doesn’t matter—just has to run it’s course)

Day 13- Rain continues and in addition to Anna’s continued fever, there is a flood in the kitchen…Ilsias and I use the rotorooter plumbing tool and try and get the clog—doesn’t completely work, and the additional rain continues to back the sewage into the kitchen—100% sulfuric acid and buckets of hot water eventually work

Day 14- Anna’s still sick, I’m exhausted from no sleep and every 4 hour Tylenol offerings…but fellow missionaries bring provisions and now I get 68 hours sleep

Day 15-Car taken to get measured for possible replacement window, on arrival to driveway, torrents of red transmission fluid spews all over driveway and street in front of house…car to be towed, and transmission not gone, just pieces needed to stop leak?

Day 16- Clinic day in Carpio– Earthquake—5.0, 33 miles as the crow flies from our home—minimal cracks in wall, no reports of loss of life or property—just strange and unnerving after the last week in our home…

Day 17-Last weird symptoms of Anna’s influenza like illness(CDC term, when not tested for swine flu or seasonal flu etc)causes itchy rash…thank goodness Denise Lewis sent me plenty of Children’s Benadryl—not sold in this country

Day 18-Anna is fever-free, still no workable car…Reachglobal missionaries lend us a different car so we can get to church and Ben can serve on the audio-visual team(and I have a BUTTERBALL Thanksgiving turkey—hopefully enough for 14-16 hungry people)!

Day 19- New hot water heater purchased and installed and we have ….HOT WATER, just in time for missionary guests arriving this week and no need for a tow truck…Mechanic in driveway fixing transmission under my portico—with his kids watching and learning! Window on order, not as pretty as the old one, but the car won’t get wet!

Day 20- Even in these difficult circumstances, and our limited budget(especially this month), I take newborn diapers and diaper cream, and various other necessary items to a family of 3 -expecting number 4 this week, living in a corrugated tin home with an outdoor potty(no plumbing) 200 yards up the hill from our home…and in the midst of it all, I know I can be THANKFUL for you, our supporters, our friends and family, and we are resolved to stay and use the gifts and talents God has given our family in serving in Latin America! What a praise—in the midst of hardship, I don’t want to return home(truly not of myself, I’ll tell ya!)

Divine appointment in the Smokies

16 Nov

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Flying the Smokies

16 Nov

My friend Mitch about to take me up in his Cesna 150 to view the Smokies from a heavenly perspective.

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Gift for a medical ministry van

14 Nov

Two Rivers Church works with a Guatemalan medical ministry that demonstrates the Gospel in practical ways with the very poor. This gift will go to the purchase of a van to get to remote villages in rural Guatemala.

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It doesn’t get any fresher

14 Nov

Change the faces and the language and this market in Tarma Peru would fit in perfectly just about anywhere in the majority world.  Fresh fruit, vegetables and just about any type of folk foods and medicines are available and you can always negotiate the price if you think it’s too high.  Bethany shows the local aguacate (avacado)  that made for a great snack later in the day. 

Person of peace

13 Nov

How do missionaries move into a new area?  There are many approaches, but one that proves to be very effective is to find a “person of peace”.  This is a person who may not be a Christian but who is sympathetic to the people bringing the Gospel.  Often this person is influential in their community, can introduce the team to others and can open doors that would never open for a ministry team.  In Tarma Peru one person of peace is Lucas.  He owns a higher-education institute where young people in Tarma can take courses in various languages as well as become chefs.  Lucas is a hard-working man who has a lot of influence in the Tarma community.  He has invited our missionaries to teach English classes as well as teach on other important topics such as conflict resolution.  Pray for Lucas (pictured in the center of this photo).  He’s driven to work hard and is not able to spend a lot of time with his family.  He has befriended our team in an incredible way.  God has his hand on this man who has been our person of peace in Tarma.

We’re going to meet with who?

12 Nov
The mayor of Tarma wanted to meet with us.  Ben, although on his best behavior, found the prospect not exactly exciting.  It takes mroe than a set of fancy stairs to impress him.  🙂