Friday, December 26, 2008


We celebrated Christmas yesterday...first by opening presents in the morning. The girls really enjoyed their new Polly Pockets dolls and we all got a kick out of the new socks that Santa brought for us to wear in our boots (I'll include a photo of that soon). We are sort of at the end of our rope waiting for the house to be done. It isn't easy living in such a tiny house with no storage space, sporadic running water and rain often blowing in. We are also all sick at the moment so rather than trying to throw together a Christmas dinner, we went out for a treat to Chili Rojo and had a great Turkey dinner courtesy of Andrew (the owner) and his wife Ikuko. We took a family photo before we headed out. Here we are in our Puerto finest...ready to paint the town red...and green.

We celebrated Christmas at house church this past Sunday evening. It was almost a wash. Our plans were to have a Christmas dinner around 5:30 or so, read some of the Christmas story from the bible and then watch the movie "The Nativity Story". Well, our friend that was cooking the pork roast (smoked turkeys were the only traditional option and they were $100 each) got started cooking several hours late as he had trouble finding some of the things he needed. We ended up just waiting around, talking and hoping until almost 8:00pm when the roast was finally (mostly) done. Then, someone showed up with fireworks and created quite a side show. It was rather chaotic and hardly anyone made it through the movie, but we were able to celebrate in the end. That is sort of the way things seem to go down here. Flexibility is one of the necessary spiritual gifts...or you just break. Here's a photo from our evening.

Finally, the house. Please pray that we get through this in one piece. It is definitely a different world down here when it comes to construction. Overall, things are going well but the words "stay within budget" don't mean anything to the contractor and the laborers. We are finding ourselves in the position of either paying more or having them all walk...and there isn't much more available to pay. It is very frustrating because I have tried to plan well and stay on top of things the whole way through the process. that only works when all parties are on the same page and unfortunately, that is next to impossible. It looks now like the house will go up to $10,000 over budget and we have no control over this. Even though we have a contract, there is no ability to enforce it and the contractor has no surplus even if we could. We either come up with the additional funds or they walk away when we can no longer pay. Very frustrating, especially since we are so close to finishing. I will be glad when this is over. Anyway, here is a photo of the house taken yesterday.

Very air construction; no air conditioning; lots of ventilation; rainwater catchment system with over 2300 gallons of water storage to get us through drought periods. Definitely a different way of living. Our living area is on the second floor to increase security by limiting access to one point. Below is a storage area, homeschool area and a guest room (if you feel like visiting).

We can't tell you all how much we miss seeing you at this time of year. We have not visited the States for over a year now and it is really starting to seem like a long time. We know this is where God has us and we are comforted by Him but from time to time, we do miss home. Take care and God Bless.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Craziness and Christmas

Wouldn't you know it...right as I'm getting ready to get online, pay some bills and take care of a few other important things, the motherboard on my laptop fried. I haven't been able to get online for almost a week, which is really bad when I don't get that many opportunities anyway. Thanks to Dell's warranty, the computer is running again and we're back in business.

We are in San Jose right now, getting ready to head back to Puerto. We brought the girls in for a couple of days to do a few fun things for Christmas (beats hanging out in our 250 square foot house). We also met up with the builder to buy a few items so that they can continue working. Please pray that the house gets finished on time and close to the budget we had originally worked out in the contract. I am discovering that contracts in Costa Rica are more of a guideline than an actual figure you can hold someone to. In the end, you pay the additional amount (whether you have it or not) or the builder walks away when there's no more money for him to spend. There are no reserves for him to pull from if he goes over budget. If he goes over, you go over.

We are also going to pick up a turkey today for our Christmas feast at house church. Everyone is looking forward to that. We're going to eat, read a little bit of the Christmas story from the bible and then watch the movie "The Nativity". I hope everyone reading this has a great Christmas. Enjoy being with your friends and families. Take time to thank God for all of his blessings and for sending Jesus to spend some time with us and for taking the heat so that we don't have to.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

it won't stop!!!

Weather... Actually, that's not totally true that the rain won't just won't stop for long. It did stop for about five days...enough to begin drying out. We had about five days of dry weather which ended with a bang earlier yesterday morning. The sky opened...again. It's been raining most of the day today and we're looking at another four days, unfortunately. Already, Limon is cut off from San Jose by flooding and I believe the road is closed between Puerto and Limon again. Right now, it's raining so hard on the zinc roof of the skatepark that I can barely think. The good side is this...for us it is an inconvenience but for many others it has been devastating. Many people have lost their homes and belongings in areas close to us. Thank God we are in good shape...we can deal with mold...but many others have not been as fortunate. We were able to help a little by taking clothing and food to our local grocery store which was collecting for the relief effort. Please pray that the rain will stop so that people get a chance to get their lives back together. This is the rainy season, but we have just experienced the most rain this part of the country has had since 1941.

The House... As for us, things are going alright. We had a great Thanksgiving with Amy cooking up a storm (with help from the girls) and Whit joining us for the meal.

On the housing front, we lost almost two weeks of work but were able to get a few things done last week. Unfortunately, two things happened that slowed us down considerably. The styrofoam roofing insulation that was supposed to have arrived almost two weeks ago never showed. In addition, three of the additional workers that had arrived to speed things up went home due to the bad weather...the day before the rain stopped for five days. That meant that we weren't able to get the roof on when it was dry and now everyone is back and it's raining. Pura Vida!

Church... Our house church went well on Sunday. We finished going through the second chapter of Romans. It was a real hoot discussing the finer spiritual details of circumcision...not your everyday bible study topic. My goal each week is to simply and clearly, without a lot of "christianese", explain the scripture in a way that is interesting and applicable. I think this happens most of the time. Anyway, it went well Sunday and everyone seemed to go away with a clear understanding that we're not saved by what's on the outside...and hopefully a deeper devotion to Jesus. It is really cool to see people beginning to see themselves as the church. We are talking about starting some type of mid-week meeting that would be different from Sundays and we're talking about how we as a church might be able to begin reaching out to others. Please pray for us in this...although we've been at this for a couple of years now, we're still starting from scratch.

We would also appreciate your prayers for our safety and the safety of people in town. For a variety of reasons, crime has increased dramatically here lately with armed holdups, car-jackings, etc... This is the type of thing that won't really affect the safety of a visiting mission team but is a concern for those of us living here on a more permanent basis. I won't go into details but we would definitely appreciate your prayers.

End of the year giving:
As you consider your end of the year giving please consider the following...

Support for us as a family...your support of our family as missionaries enables us to do what we do. Prayerfully consider joining the Cruce Family Support team. We continue to need people to join our support team on a monthly basis. For options, click on this link to Shepherd's Staff or to donate electronically, click here.

Support for the ministry...your support of our ministry enable us to maintain the skatepark, purchase new skateboards and sponsor local youth as they compete on the national surf circuit. You can donate to our ministry through Alternative Missions by clicking here. Then, click on "Other Designation" and fill out the information making sure to indicate that your donation is for Puerto Viejo.

Sometimes it can get pretty lonely down here as the holidays approach and we want to be with friends and family. Thankfully, we have a very large extended family in all of you. We want you all to know how much we appreciate your continued interest and prayers as we do our best to be faithful to God's calling.