Saturday, December 8, 2007

most wonderful time of the year!

December. Christmas. I love this time of year! Everything about it is wonderful, from the cheerful music and decorations to that crisp feeling in the air. It's a wonderful time to savor friends, family...and life.
As I ponder this year and all the changes and new experiences that I have had, I cannot help but stand in awe of the joy that comes from being alive. There are such wonders in the small experiences of drinking a dr. pepper, eating a hamburger, and being with friends. Things we aren't always conscious of, but that fill our lives. Life can be so complex and overwhelming, but then it's so simple...just live! I remain convinced that it's the litte things that make it worth the living.
I feel so grateful to be where I am today, learning new things, meeting new people, being able to look back and see how my Heavenly Father is shaping my life for His glory.
I guess there's something about this season that makes me so reflective, and maybe that's what makes this the most wonderful time of the year!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

utterly amazing

well the two month marker has now been officially reached. it feels more like three or four with all that's happened. God has opened so many amazing doors that i have no idea what's going on! not that i had much of one anyway...a small glimpse...the first week i arrived He put me in touch with a family that got me a two month pass onto a university campus (usually you have to be a student to be on campus) the school is one of the most prestigious in the country and the dean of the theological department came out to meet me and give me their latest text books. they also invited me to use their theological library. this same family has loved and adopted me as i learn this new place with all it's new ways.

that same week a girl from the church i'm attending invited me to a university Bible study lead by a organization whose prime focus is university students. a few weeks ago this same ministry asked to partner with me in ministry!

God has also given me the opportunity to, alongside my supervisors, teach two english classes for university students. we've been going strong for a month now. we started with two students and now have eight and growing. we are using a bilengual Bible as part of the class. most of the students either aren't believers or are ashamed to admit so to their peers. one of the guys who openly told us he wasn't a Christian has loved reading through the first chapters of John and seeing how beautiful the gospel story is! he told us he had no idea what the Bible said or that this is what it really meant to believe.

it is utterly amazing to see all these things and be a small part of them. it would be a lie for anyone to believe this has all been smooth sailing or that i have anything to do with any of is a daily battle of seeking the Father and His will...and it is never easy. one thing is certain though, He remains faithful and He hears the prayers of His children! blessed be His name!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

life in colombia

Well, I've been in Colombia a month now and am still trying to find my way around this HUGE city! It has been a hard adjustment for me, living alone, but God has shown Himself faithful in so many ways. He has given me wonderful friends that are like family, as well as put me in contact with a university! Woo-hoo! So much has happened so fast that I can hardly process it all. I still feel confused as to how God is going to use me here, but He is obviously working in so many ways. It's an exciting and scary is definitely an adventure...and I'm so thankful that His mercies are fresh every day!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

ya me voy

panamanian playa

sketchy border crossing bridge

bocas del toro isla (yes it translates mouths of the bull and I have no idea why)

proudly showing off the visa

Well, after two months and six visits to the Embassy I now have my Colombian visa and leave a week from Friday! Woo-hoo! It's hard to believe how quickly these four months have passed and that I'm going to be leaving soon. God has blessed in so many ways. My visa is just one of the many. I'm once again flooded with mixed emotions as I pack-up and leave a place that has just begun to feel like home. I'm trying to prepare my mind to face a world of newness and unknowns once again. I feel like a child at Christmas...I've waited so long to leave for Colombia and now that it's here I hardly know what to do with myself. Having the opportunity to come to Costa Rica, meet the people, learn the culture and see the sights has been a blessing too great for words.
I had the chance to visit Panama and renew my Costa Rican visa, and what a beautiful country! The whole border crossing was an adventure in and of itself, but thankfully we made it safely both ways. I don't know about inland, but the beaches of Panama are amazing. It's almost like a clip from a movie...unbelievably blue water, palm trees, white sand...absolutely gorgeous. I continue to be blown away by the beauty that our God has made and allows us to enjoy. What goodness!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

las tres cruzes

a beautiful view of the central valley

jessica, me and mandi enjoying the view from the top

us at the first cross

Sunday, July 1, 2007

tengo calor

So yesterday I got to do some hiking with some of the language students on a local mountain. The nationals call it the hike to las tres cruzes, because there are actually three crosses that you hike to. There were seven of us in all and we left early so we could avoid some of the crowd to catch the bus that would drop us off at the foot of the mountain. This would not only be a physical adverture for me but a great language learning opportunity.
As we started out I could tell this was not going to be the average hike. The mountain had a pretty steep incline that didn't level off very often. We had to hike up a road to get to the actual trail head. At the trail we stopped for a break and I was already feeling a little winded, the sun was shinning brightly and I was hot. I had been sick the week before and could tell that I was still weak. Our guide, a local national, asked me if I was ok. My reply, "Si, estaba emferma la semana pasada y estoy caliente." As soon as I made the final remark I realized my mistake. I quickly attempted to correct myself by saying "No, no. Yo tengo calor." Too late. My guide had already given me an odd look and begun to explain my HUGE mistake. In Spanish "Tengo calor" means "I'm hot." as in from the eliments of your surroundings. "Estoy caliente" in a nice translation means "I'm turned on." Needless to say it is not a good connotation, and my face was not merely red from the heat. Fortunately, the guide had a good sense of humor and we were able to laugh through my VERY embarrassing moment. I don't think that'll be a mistake I make again!

Friday, June 22, 2007

still learning

It's been a while since I've felt the inspiration to blog. A lot has transpired in that time, but as I reflect back even futher on this year, that we are rapidly approaching the middle of, I see how quickly and vastly my life has changed. God has stripped me of many comforts, and through this He has soften my heart. He is, I believe, not forcing me, but rather inviting me to lean more fully on Him, in a reckless abandon I cannot fathom. As you know I'm in a strange place, with strange people, who speak a strange language. I've commited to do something that I know is above my head and out of my hands. I am often tempted to feel alone and forgotten, helpless and at times a little hopeless of ever feeling competent at anything again. I am acquainted with the overseas illness that brings out the little girl cry deep within for mom to come and make it better. I have been humbled by seeing how prideful and arrogant I truly am. I have often felt confusion, the painful awkardness of being different, and at times even shunned. Yet greater than all this I have been absolutely AWED at the glorious, beautiful, capable, unchanging, unmeasureablely loving, LIVING GOD I serve! I can't remember a time in my life when I have been more grateful and aware of the faithfulness of His presence. I am learning and unlearning much. I pray that through the entirity of this journey I remain sheltered in the ming-boggling peace that He supplies.

Lately this familar and, often for me, easily forgotten verse has been on my heart,

Galatians 2:20 ~ "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

Sunday, May 20, 2007

feria and fiesta time

Today was full of first time experiences. It started early this morning when I accompanied my tico mom and her youngest son to the local feria. The feria is a huge trade-day-like-event. The atmosphere is filled with a large number of people busily picking over fruits and vegetables as the vendors yell out prices. I got to see, experience, and learn the names of tropical fruits I've never heard of before. I also got to drink coconut juice out of a fresh coconut! The man actually cut it open, stuck a straw in and handed it to me. I thought it was pretty cool.
Later this afternoon, I got to attend a fiesta de cumpleano, which I was really excited about. You must know this is my first real fiesta. It was the birthday of the younest son's best friend. So...we arrived at the party around 2:30 and we didn't get back home until close to 7! When we got there a clown was leading games and tricks with the kids. Then he moved to painting faces. About this time it's 4ish and the guest are served the traditional arroz con pollo, chicken and rice. Next, we bring out the pinata. After scrambling around on the floor for candy it's time for ice cream. We all enjoy the ice cream. Then the birthday boy opens presents. It was a big party so there are a lot of gifts...finally we cut the cake. After enjoying the cake and saying goodbye to everyone in the room we leave. I really did have a good time even though I had no idea what the topic of conversation was at my time the entire evening. Despite my confussed state of mind, I am thankful to have had some quality time enjoying life with my Tico family. When all's said and done the Costa Rican people know how to shop cheap and party hard! Well, at least the Costa Rican's I know.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

learning moments

Today was the second day of language school and I can't help but feel there is so much to learn. A language is such a vast goal to attain! Taking a deep breath, stepping back, and looking at the big picture, I realize it is only one star in the grand nightsky view of this journey I'm on. There are many things to learn and conquer, there always will be. I think one of the ironies of life is that the more you learn, the more you realize how much there is to know, and that you will never be able to learn it all. I'm learning to glean what I can and not worry about the rest. The teachers at the Institute are gracious and truly desire their students to understand and speak the language. I am grateful for their kindness and patience.
Having the opportunity to live with a Tico family is helping me immensely to learn more about the latino culture, language, and amazing food! Whoever said you lose weight overseas did not know my Tico mom! The youngest son in the family, Jean Pierro, is 8 years old, and is loads of fun. So far we have played cards, Gran Banco(Costa Rican form of Monopoly), and with pistolas de agua. Ocassionally his 8 and 6 year old nieces and 2 year old nephew (this is not a type-o) come over and we all play together. It's amazing how much fun you can have with people and have no clue what one another is saying! Diago, the uncle, is so cute running from room to room declaring "Hola!" to everyone in sight. My bond with him might be strongest since we share the same vocab range. Truly, there is much to be learned from children, their sincerity, and love.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

tico sunsets

This evening as I gazed on the unbelievable sunset here on this foreign shore I realized that I have been living here for a little over a week. There are many days that I feel like a kid in a toy store, in sheer amazement of all that's going on around me. Then, there are the days of feeling like the lost child in the store trying to get some one to help me, but no one speaks my language! As I have these feelings, God has continually taken me back to Psalm 23. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." O, the comfort of having a Shepherd to pick me up, place me on His shoulders and carry me during those moments of well share in the good times of fun, laughter...sunsets.

beautiful views in a foreign land

Monday, April 9, 2007

Estoy Aqui!

Welp, it's finally here. After a crazily busy weekend and half a day's travel, I'm in a foreign country. I think it will take a few days for it to all sink in. I'm sitting on the bed looking out at the breath-taking view of the mountains surrounding San Jose. The windows are open and a cool breeze is blowing through as birds are yaking and flying around. I'm amazed yet again at the goodness of my heavenly Father, and am in great ancipation of all that He is going to do. This past weekend was a great time to reflect on the unending love of Christ and to know why I'm here right now. What a life-giving message we, as believers, have to share with this world. I pray that I will not be silent, and that I will fulfill all of God's purpose.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Almost There

So there's only one more week of orientation left, and then we're all off to the various corners of the world. It's surreal to think that I'm actually doing this...going to live in another country and share the unending love of Jesus! How mindboggling is that! It feels like this thing that I've only talked and prayed about for months on end, and now it's actually reality.
Despite how intimidated I am, I am even more in awe of the greatness of this task and opportunity. I can't even begin to describe how being around like-minded people for the past eight weeks has encouraged and challenged me. What an amazing God who puts the right people in our lives at the right time. I know that this part of my life will forever change the person I am. My prayer is that I will become more of the woman God would have me to be, and that this time would cause me to walk with Him and trust Him as I never have before. So that I would become a woman after God's own heart who will do all His will (Acts 13:22).

Friday, March 16, 2007

Our Constant

God completely blessed my heart during our personal retreat time yesterday. The weather was perfect, full of the sounds and smells of spring. His word is so rich and fresh each time I read it. As I sat taking it all in I was overwhelmed and moved to tears by the thought of how vast and uncontainable our God truly is. He is unchanging. His beauty beyond description. He is the same yesterday, today and forever! With Him there is no shadow or turning. Words cannot express what amazing joy and peace this promise brings my soul. How uncomprehendable that while so many things in our lives are unpredictable, inconsistant and out of our control, we have a Constant. One who will love us no matter who we are or where we go. Who will never leave us nor forsake us! What wonderous love is this O my soul? How sweet are the riches of His goodness!

"For I am convinced that niether death nor life...nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our LORD." Rom. 8:39

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Everything in life seems to be hindged on balance; finding that place of true humility. Where you understand your depravity and need for Christ yet know that you are His beloved child. My mind cannot comprehend a God who is Holy and loves me inspite of the sinful person I am. I am constantly humbled to think that God wants to use me, and in the same breath amazed by His overwhelming grace. My heart's desire is to be balanced, remembering where I've come from, yet confident in who I am!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


This week has been crazy, and it's only Tuesday! The days have been long and the sessions a little draining. There's a lot of information to take in. Fortunately, I have lots of friends to enjoy the time with. This past weekend a group of us went exploring through some of the woods. It was great to breathe in some fresh air and climb on some logs like a kid. Being outside reminds me of what a creative God I have and how awesome it is that I can experience the beauty of all He's made! Thinking about that helps me deal with a lot of the tough info I've gotten this week. There are mean people in the world who don't care about God or anybody else. But that's why I'm going overseas. So they can hear what a great God of love and peace He really is!

Friday, February 23, 2007


This week has flown by. I can't believe that there are only five weeks left in trianing. I'm so tired of sitting through sessions. I know I need them, but I'm not sure if does any good if you can't stay awake! I'm excited about having some time to chill this weekend. Hopefully I'll get to get away from campus for a little while and breathe some fresh air. I really hope that I remember all this stuff when I finally get to Colombia! It'll all work out anyway I guess. I feel like a great gulf of unkown is luring before me. I know that's it's going to be filled with some great times as well as some hard ones. Thankfully I'm not alone and it's Friday!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Good times

So here I am in Virginia enjoying the cold weather, since it doesn't get that cold in Alabama. My brain feels like it's gonna bust from all the information it's been receiving for the last week! I'm excited to be learning so many new things that will help, but my brain has its limits. The scenery out here is beautiful. It's so great to go out and see nature. It's so refreshing and life-giving. I know I will look back on this busy time as some of the best memories of my life!