We started with The Mission Society a little over 5 years ago.  We spent a little over a year raising support and participating in Mission Training's offered by The Mission Society and MTI.  We just marked our four year anniversary living in Costa Rica.

You often hear people say, "Time flies when you are having fun" or "It only seems like yesterday".  Well, we have been in Costa Rica for four years and although I like living here, time hasn't flown and it doesn't seem like yesterday that we sold 42 years of our personal collections, household items, car and house.  Please do not misinterpret- I am extremely happy living and serving here, but at the same time, we miss being in the States.  We miss family, friends, English, working at the church and certain routines.  We miss favorite foods, especially Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Little Debbies and bar-b-que.  We have been absent to funerals, birthdays, weddings, class reunions and holidays.  We have gone from living in a small community where you always saw at least 6 friends at the grocery store to not being able to recognize the foods at the grocery stores.  Not only do we miss certain things, I constantly wonder how life would look for our children had we stayed in the States.  Yes, they are experiencing a different culture and opening their eyes to new horizons and experiences, but there are many times I worry if we did what was best for them.

Our first Kitchen and Coffee Table

Our kids will graduate this year.  Their school doesn't offer ACT, SAT or PSAT.  Actually, no colleges from the States visit their High School.  I feel so behind and lost when it comes to enrolling them in College.  I know if I were in the States, I would have formed a posse with my girl friends and would hold each other accountable for college visits and future growth of our children. 

I also miss my Thursday morning Bible Study gals.  I was blessed to be involved in a wonderful Women's Bible Study ever since my children were in preschool.  I still study God's precious word, but I miss my gals and us holding each other accountable for Studying His Word.

All of that might sound negative, but it's the truth.  We strive to make our "News" happy and not show disappointments or times when we are discouraged, but it happens- this is life after all.   Yes, it is very rewarding at times and Yes, I know that none of us were promised an easy path.

Today, however, I feel led to share how missionary life has been for us the past few years- both the positive and the negative.

What we have lived the last four years:

Schooling:

  • Bryan and I fashioned back packs and went back to school- language school. (Learning a new language in your 40's has it's challenges!)
  • We feel like we threw our kids in the deep end of the swimming pool, wished them luck and walked away.  (We had been told that they were entering a school where 1/2 the day was taught in English and 1/2 in Spanish.  Actually, there were only 3 classes in English- English, Science and Science Lab.  The other 9 class were taught in Spanish- including French!)
  • Our kids will graduate from a Costa Rican High School in December
  • School uniforms are wonderful!!!
  • Kirsten was elected President of her High School
  • Many Public Schools still use Chalk Boards and the teachers pay out of pocket for all supplies
  • Children are fed lunch at the Public Schools for free
  • Our kids are the only white people in the Costa Rican Independence Day parade for their High School
  • The Senior Prom is in October and the whole family is expected to attend 

The Culture:

  • Costa Rica elected their First Female President
  • The Cost of Living is more here than in Alabama, except fruit, rice, beans and sugar
  • Easter and Christmas are treated like normal church days
  • Discovery of Condensed milk- people drink it straight out of the can and it is a topping for many desserts
  • The people are nice, but they are crazy when driving
  • Legal driving age and legal drinking age are 18.  We still have a few months before that affects this household
  • We have witnessed earthquakes, flooding, land slides and many power or water outages
  • Denny's Restaurant is well liked here!  Sometimes we crave a McDonalds hamburger
  • You can view the mountains from the one baseball stadium in San Jose- they are beautiful
  • Commonly you see cows walking in the road or people standing in the middle of the road, waiting to cross the street
  • The movie theater chairs recline.
  • Remember the TV ad of the Indian crying when he saw trash being thrown out car windows and littering the streets?  That TV ad hasn't made it here, but it should!
  • Costa Ricans love mayo and don't appreciate Peanut Butter
  • Fireworks and Mariachi bands are common for birthday party celebrations
  • Pedestrians do not have the Right of Way
  • It is common to see both a Stop sign and a Traffic light at the same intersection
  • Gas attendants pump your gas and you do not have to drive around for the least expensive gas because the government sets the prices
  • The flora is beautiful and the plants are huge---- so are the spiders!
  • There is a monopoly with the Water and Power company.  When we first moved here, there was only one cell phone company and you were required to use a certain Internet company based on where you lived.  You also had to own a TV to receive internet

Church and Missions:

  • Numerous churches are filled with the Holy Spirit, even though they do not have walls surrounding the church
  • We have seen some missionaries come and many missionaries leave
  • There are many different Missionaries styles here.  Some want to offer as much help as possible and others are afraid that God's pie is too small and are afraid to share.
  • We have slept on church floors, school floors, inside Sunday school rooms and outside and in-between the Costa Rican/Nicaragua boarder
  • English is a really difficult language to explain!
  • We visit the Women's prison weekly and every time we are thankful to God for his provisions in our life
  • Meals of Rice and Beans are common and the main meal during our monthly weekend Expeditions 
  • Showering in cold water that drips from a PVC pipe is do-able, although not always a first choice
  • We continue to be amazed by the people God has us working with.  The Conexion Team is more than a team of workers, we attend church together; we play together and we pray and fast for each others families

Our Family:

  • We get to hug, pray and love on many children from many backgrounds
  • Our kids are the only North Americans participating in their Piano and Singing Recitals
  • We love working with Short Term Teams
  • Mom always said to walk with your head held high, but we don't do that here- for fear of stepping in dog poop or a crack in the walkway
  • We have been privileged to feed and help clothe many families in need
  • Drew has been to a funeral and we are hoping to go to a wedding soon
  • We have been to a few baby showers and birthday parties- these are an all day event
  • It took us about a year before we got a car and another year before I had the courage to drive
  • Bryan and I are totally confident in our kids riding the public buses to get where they need
  • We have had our kids in the ER at two different hospitals
  • We have felt lonely and forgotten by people we respect and hoped had our best interest at heart
  • God's grace is felt and his wisdom is always desired
  • We love hearing from you!
  • We have seen many of our electronic devices ruined by the electrical surges and have purchased many surge protectors
  • We have seen God moving in our lives- when He is all you have, you realize, He is all you need.
  • We appreciate you partnering with us and keeping us here by your prayers and financial support!!!

 

 

 

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