Showing posts from 2013

Me llamo go to the bathroom

I just finished my first trimester of language school. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned in 13 weeks. Though I have plenty to learn, I know just enough to get around and get my main point across. The highlight of my time studying was my last day of phonetics class where I was able to answer my teacher’s question about the Christmas story in Spanish. I got to see the light bulb go off in her head as she understood the visit of the wise men and Herod’s genocide for the first time. This is exactly why I’m learning Spanish!
Patrick is also picking up on Spanish and is learning and applying things very quickly. He just spends time with Gina and applies all the rules I’m learning in my grammar class. The other day when I told him to say “hasta luego” (see you later) to one of my girlfriends, Patrick “corrected me”…. “mom, it’s supposed to be hasata luega. She’s a girl.” I had to explain that luego is always the same, but he’s got the whole gender thing down.
Patrick has also learned the p…


It has begun. We have started the season of Goodbyes here in our district of San Fransisco De Dos Rios. Last Saturday was the last youth group session for one of our student leaders. She is a Junior, and her family is moving back to the States--their church is successfully planted and thriving, and God is moving them home.

Others are just beginning. I just returned home from a commissioning service at Sojourn, the k-12 school attached to the Language Institute. The service was to help the students of all ages to remember what was going on--why they were moving on. Each got a picture frame with a couple of pictures from school for them to remember. Two of our youth groupers were among this group.

Goodbyes are hard. Hard for those leaving, but also for those staying behind. A connection is severed when goodbyes are said. Most of these we will never see again in this lifetime. What do you do with the love you come to have for a person, the investment you've made into each other's…

Quick Trip to the States

Here are some photos from our quick trip to the US at the beginning of the month. Ironically, I did not get any pictures of the wedding--which is why we went in the first place. The colors were superb!

 Pretty Lake Burton in the fall.  While the Bridesmaids were doing their thing, Patrick and I went to Talullah  Gorge!

 And he climbed ALL of the stairs by himself from the bridge up. I was impressed!

 Fishing in his PJs at his favorite spot  Throwing the rest of the bread to the ducks!

Solid Youth Ministry Requires a Solid Bible Base

The last four weeks that I've been able to teach at youth group we've focused on the gospel of John. It's has been incredible to see how pointed and focused the apostle John was in writing his gospel. In 20:31 John says that his gospel was written 'that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name'. We're seeing that theme over and over again in chapter 1 and the first half of 2 alone. Indeed, I can't see how I've ever missed it!

One of the things that we're really purposeful about is trying to help walk students through the process of Bible study. This is modeled in the way I go about teaching John. Of course I want the biblical principles to pierce the heart; I also want to model responsible and accurate study of the text, that they may learn in the Spirit how to approach the Bible themselves.

In guys bible study we're nearing the end of a study on Joshua 1-6, and we are learning…

Campout- Nothing in Vain

Jonathan, Patrick, and I returned from the youth group's annual fall retreat on last Monday. It was a blast to spend 2 full days with the students in the cloud forest at the beautiful camp La Cumbre. Each night of the retreat, Mark Flach, who was the youth director of the IYG 5 years ago, spoke on the fundamentals of the faith. Many students responded with an eagerness to go deeper in their walk with the Lord.
One of the most important aspects of this campout were small groups. Each group was lead by a student leader. In addition to discussing as a group the previous night's talk, the students rotated among various activities: a prayer walk (really a prayer scoot as they called it), rappelling, team building activities, group games, creating a skit, and doing a service project for the camp.

It was so neat for Jonathan and I to plan all of the activities and use our skills from our time working at Miami University. Going into marriage, Jonathan and I both knew that we wanted to…

Poco a Poco

*It's crazy to think that we've been in Costa Rica for well over a month now. Sorry for the lack of updates; we're learning how to juggle our many hats.*

Whenever I speak to a Costa Rican and tell them I'm learning Spanish, they always respond "poco a  poco" (little by little). This is so true not only for my experience learning Spanish but also for our adjustment to Costa Rica. It's been an extremely smooth transition, but there are many little and big ways we're making adjustments. Little by little we're feeling more at home and less confused by the difference (many of them positive) in living.

It is very evident that we have people praying for us, because we know the peace we have in the midst of the craziness can only come from the Lord. Language school is going extremely well. I'm learning Spanish! I'm so thankful for my classmates who are encouraging as we all wade through directions in Spanish. All of my classes are solely in Spanis…

Our Exciting Week

That flew by so fast. On Tuesday Maggie started her first day at SLI (Spanish Language Institute). We're having someone watch Patrick 4 days a week for some of the morning hours while Maggie is in school and I am working. Her first day was also on Tuesday, and we love her! Her name is Gina, and she and Patrick get along really well. She has helped out SLI students for 11 years now, and is used to our "strange" customs :)On Tuesday we met with the continuing adult leaders of the youth group and talked about things that will stay the same as we take over leadership of the youth group, and things that will change. It was great to spend time with others passionate about seeing the youth group grow deeper spiritually. We have two adult leaders, Melissa and Andres, and then Grace, who just graduated high school is staying on as an intern. Andres grew up going to youth group. He was the interim director, and will continue to help in many facets, including a lot of the admi…


It's so awesome to see God's faithfulness through this whole process to get to Costa Rica. God has been present through every step, and his perfect timing is becoming more and more evident.

Two years ago in October, we were in Minneapolis applying with ReachGlobal. On the way to our meeting to find out if we were accepted, a double rainbow painted the sky. It reminded
me of God's promise to Moses and of His faithfulness.

The last month has been crazy with hope and wonder if we would make it to Costa Rica in August. Two weeks before we were cleared to go, we were overwhelmed with the question "will this happen?" On an evening when I was most discouraged, a rainbow again painted the sky. It wasn't about my wishes for timing or even a result of my effort. God is the only one who is faithful, and He assured me that He would be faithful in getting us to where He's clearly led our family. Just 4 days later, we had the funding to go!

We're now here, and I&…

Pura Vida - We have arrived!

Pura Vida!
Literally translated, 'pure life', this is a common greeting with Ticos.

We are happy to announce that we have arrived without hassle and are almost all the way settled in!

Quick facts:

Left for airport 8/19 at 6amArrived in CR with all of our bags at 1 pm CR time (currently on mountain time--but CR doesn't do daylight savings and time stays the same year round)No problems or taxes in customs (9 bags, 3 carryons, 1 guitar, 2 personal items) Dinner and groceries provided for us for the first week. Set up with internet at home within 24 hrs of calling the company. What!!Language school orientation starts Monday, first youth group event is Saturday 8/31Patrick is doing very well considering the time zone, and loves his new room! (pics below)

Our last days in the United States where a whirlwind. We had a bittersweet time at our church on our last Sunday, and had the house [mostly] taken care of by the time we went to bed Sunday night. Maggie's sister had to…


I just finished reading the book of Judges, and I came away from it utterly ashamed of man's sinful nature. So I decided that the book of Acts was the best book to read next. It is always so encouraging and hopeful to see the Holy Spirit work in building the Church knowing that the same part of the Triune God is at work in all believers lives. I read Acts 3, I was encouraged, convicted, and full of thanksgiving for Jesus Christ.

You can read the text here: Acts 3:1-10. I'll just summarize since, sadly, I so often overlook it when people quote Scripture.

It was a normal day for a lame man: being carried to Beautiful Gate outside of the temple to beg for alms. As he was being carried in, Peter and John approach the gate. As was the lame man's source of survival, he asks Peter and John for alms. So use to gazing from one worshiper to another with hopeful anticipation for help, Peter and John have to declare "Look at us" to get his attention. It works, and the man &quo…

Video: IYG Part 2

So I finally edited the second part the IYG videos sent to us. Thank you everyone who helped out! I appreciate it so much.
I hope the you are able to step into the youth group for a minute through these clips.

My Anchor Holds

Today I worked with Signature again. We're building a team challenge course. In the mud. We've gotten our machines stuck an embarrassing amount of times. It's been raining many days, and all of us workers are betting that there used to be a septic tank right where we park the machines and store the tools, and slosh through ankle deep mud. Gross. 
Yesterday we sunk anchors for for the guy cables. Guys are those cables you might notice coming down from  towers and poles. Their purpose is to provide stability for a structure, so when the wind blows, or the tower is stood upon--and it rocks, the guys hold it in place. 
Using a skid steer, we screwed these six foot steel anchors into the ground. (This is not the actual machine--we were deep in the woods and mud valiantly fighting off mosquitoes and man-eating vines)

We drove 8 anchors in for one side of the course. Today, I attached cable to the anchors, and my fellow workers attached the cable to the structure. I then tightene…

To College Students, RE Missions

(Students can skip to the bold text.)

Quick update:
I have been sick this month for about two weeks. I was able to make it to some meetings and a wedding, but I spent a lot of time in bed. This is strange because I rarely get sick enough to stay in bed... ever. The last time that happened I think was the Spring of 2009, when some wonderful dishcrew people brought food up to my Culby 4 dorm room (thanks, Diego!) and my wonderful girlfriend got me a can of soup. Ok, so she wasn't my girlfriend yet--I actually asked her out on our first date on our way back from taking me to the urgent care center (full disclosure here--not my brightest moment). (she said yes, and ended up marrying me, so I must have done something right later on!)

But I digress.
We're full steam back to raising our support now (support raising doesn't get much attention when you have a 102 fever). We've reached the point where might just know enough people to reach our full budget now. We're waiting …

Why So Few?

*This Article or Blog does not reflect the opinion of ReachGlobal or the EFCA. This Article is based on personal research, experience, and opinion.*

This last weekend my mother in law had an open house for her art and for our ministry. When asked about the demographics of our sending team many had a common question: Why do only two churches support you? We have over 75 households supporting us--and two churches. The question came not as one of suspicion (if there are only two churches, you must be doing something wrong) but one of disbelief (how could they not want to support you?) While that was flattering, with all modesty it was a good question. We know many missionary candidates and field workers who have similar church statistics. Not only that, but we were advised numerous times to nottry and connect with churches because of the low result ratio and the bureaucracy behind the long time spent waiting for churches to make a decision.

I saw my parents finish their support in '9…

Simply Ask

I'll just go ahead and use the fact that we are now at 71% of our monthly support as the reason we haven't posted. With that being said, we've been blessed to see God work. We've gained 11 new partners and are praying for more as our campaign comes to a close soon... 

 When we were in Knoxville for a prayer conference, we had lunch one afternoon at Chick-fil-a. After receiving our yummy food, Patrick went up to the counter all by himself and asked "Can I please have some ice cream?" Jonathan, the lady at the counter, and I all laughed, and we went on our way to the play ground. About 20 minutes later, the lady came up to Patrick with a bowl of ice cream with sprinkles (I didn't know they had those at Chick-fil-a). I had Jonathan take a picture of Patrick with the ice cream he received by simply asking. It brought to mind the following Scripture: 

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given …

Easter Photo Shoot!

Happy Easter!
We had a wonderful day celebrating our Risen King at church in the morning, and with family in the afternoon. It was a great time of reflection and worship. May the Savior ever give us eyes to see the depth of his unwavering love and the heights of its cost.
-Jonathan, Maggie, and Patrick