Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Two weeks later

Well, it's been about two weeks since my last post. I picked up my parents in San Jose a little over a week ago and we have been spending quite a bit of time with them. This has been their first visit in over two years and it has been really nice to see them. The girls have been having a great time with them too. Unfortunately, Makena seems to be developing asthma. Ever since she was a baby, whenever she has gotten a cold it seems to have settled in her lungs. She always develops a really dry, hacking cough that just hangs around. She had a cold a couple of months ago and the cough came and stayed for at least a month afterward. Now, the cough has come back and she is having trouble breathing at times. We have used an inhaler a few times with limited success and are going to try a new medicine that her doctor prescribed so we'll see how it goes. We just hate seeing her trying to sleep, coughing so hard that she starts gagging. Please pray for her if you get a chance.

We were supposed to get some work done on our lot today, but wouldn't you know it...the rain kicked in again last night. We need about two dry weeks to get everything done so that the builder can begin. The first thing is clearing out the lot and getting the house-pad ready. even in the absence of OSHA, the tree removal guy isn't too keen on getting up in a 100' tree with a chainsaw if the thing is totally wet and slippery. Can't say that I blame him. We also need to get the road material laid down and we need good, dry conditions for that as well.

In the meantime, we will be moving out of the house we have been renting for the past three years by the middle of June. The landlords want to raise the rent to a place that we can no longer afford to pay. At the same time, our friend from Spain, Pablo, offered to let us stay in the house he is building for free until ours is built. He is going to be leaving for Spain and needs someone to watch his place while he is gone. This is a great blessing for us as we were trying to figure out how we could afford to pay on the loan we need to build our house, while paying rent on our current house at the same time. Now we don't have to worry about it. The catch is that we will be moving our entire family plus two dogs and two cats into a two room (not two bedroom) house that really is in the jungle. It is also quite a bit further from town. Maybe not ideal, but definitely a blessing considering the fix we were about to find ourselves in. Yesterday we drove down to visit and had the priviledge of seeing monkeys in almost every tree on his property. It will definitely be a different way of life for a few months. Please pray for us... It will be a little like "Little House On The Prairie" with a couple of twists. Maybe I'll ask the girls to start calling me "Pa".

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Amy's visit to Clinica Biblica

Well, we're back in Puerto once again. Amy survived her surgery and everything looks good. The doctors wanted to biopsy the tumor just to make sure, but it didn't look like anything to worry about. Thank God for that. Now we are just getting back into the swing of things here with the weekend skate sessions and House Church tomorrow evening.

Last night at Youth Night we watched an incredible film about the horrible things that happened over a decade ago in Rawanda. Everyone has heard of Hotel Rawanda, which was a good movie about a difficult subject, but I almost felt like Beyond the Gates told a better story. It certainly answered the question, "Where was God in all of this?" The movie was difficult to watch but is something that I believe needs to be seen and I also believe that it really shows that people are not naturally good. We are all sinners that fall short of God's glory and without Him, we are all capable of the most horrible things. In the movie, people that had known each other for years became bitter enemies. Neighbor turned on neighbor and an entire society broke down in just a few short days.

Afterwards we had a short time of discussion and talked about the horrible things that humans are capable of and about God's love for us in spite of what we do to each other and ultimately to Him. We also got an opportunity to talk about God's version of love..."no greater love is there than this, that a man would lay down his life for his brother." It was a powerful film that spoke about sin, sacrafice, hope and peace in the middle of horror. It really hit us all hard.

Things are moving along with the house. We are quickly finding out that things are not so "inexpensive" in Costa Rica as they might first appear. We should be finalizing the purchase of the land within the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, we are getting ready to install the electric cable, build a road, dig a well, put up a fence and take down a couple of dangerous trees...all just so that we can begin laying the foundation for a house that we don't even have plans for yet. Please pray for us in is going to be a challenge to keep up on the construction while maintaining focus in ministry. I'm about to find out what my parents went through almost 40 years ago when they moved to Uganda as missionaries and had to start by building their own house. God help us! We are still somewhat short on the funding. If you are interested and would like to help us with this, please contact me at "" and I can give you details on how to make a tax deductible contribution through Shepherd's Staff Missions Facilitators.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Well, here we are in San Jose again. Alternative Missions is now officially recognized as a Religious Organization (is that a good thing or a bad thing?) in Costa Rica. One good thing that comes from that is that we get to pay lower electricity bills at the skatepark. Another huge benefit is that it should now be much easier for all of our long term staff to get residency. We are hoping to actually have residency within a few more months (although we are not holding our breath). We have been in process now for almost 4 years and the end may now be in sight although I will probably have to actually get a Costa Rican motorcycle license which is no easy feat in itself.

In other news, Amy gets to have outpatient surgery tomorrow afternoon. We would appreciate prayer for that as she will be having a small lump removed from her back. Hopefully it is nothing.

We also just returned from another surf contest on the Pacific. Maili competed in the little girls’ division and surfed great (although she didn’t advance). We were able to spend some good time with a few of the teenagers from the skatepark as well. I really enjoy getting to spend time with them outside of the normal day to day in Puerto. I have found that these trips are the times where we really connect and build deeper friendships and relationships. Too much of the time in Puerto is spent on email or other administrative things which makes it hard to connect with people where they are. It just doesn’t work to demand that people meet me where I am. I have to be where they are…doing what they’re doing…when they’re doing it. More than anything else, purposeful time doing “nothing” is where most of the ministry and discipleship happen…especially with the youth.