So, you just saw pictures of Caia at the beach, but I just remembered this other picture, from 14 months ago! Caia was 4 months old on her first beach trip and here she is at 18 months...and still can sleep on a lawn chair, with her knees tucked up under her, in the shade....nice! Thank you Caia for being so flexible!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Our house is about 900 square feet, that includes the garage. It sits between (by between, I mean we share walls with) 3 houses, one of which functions as a chinese restaurant. Across the street is a grass parking lot, with a garbage dump and port-a-potty on it sitting directly in front of our house. There is also a grocery store and 2 other restaurants sitting catty-corner from us. We also sit on about 2nd gear of the bus line (buses go by every 15-20 minutes from 5 am to 11 pm, everyday). Without air conditioning, our windows remain open 24/7 and with all that surrounds us, it tends to be noisy. One night as some men were standing in front of our house talking and fixing their car, Jonathan and I were sitting on the couch and I said to him, "If I couldn't hear life going on outside my home, I think I would feel lonely."
After more than 5 years of living in over-populated (India) or busy (the street on which our house sits in San Jose, Costa Rica) places, I have come to not only appreciate the differences of the places I've lived, but to need some of them. During our 8 months in the States (between India and Costa Rica), Jonathan and I only lived in our own space for 3 months, and they were lonely months to me. We lived in a nice little house on a quant street near friends and I was constantly trying to get out. I didn't necessarily realize it then, but looking back I can see that I longed to be near people and I realized it wasn't the way I grew up. It wasn't a North American trait.
I was raised in a wonderful family, in beautiful homes, in great neighborhoods. But after not only experiencing, but living in and engaging in different cultures, I have found myself more like them in this respect of needing people near me. And I have come to understand it as a gift. God has called me to these places and made ways for me to be a part of them for extended times so He gave me this gift. He made me like them.
It hasn't been easy and He is still molding me to become more like my neighbors in other ways....there are certainly areas that I am not like them! But He has done this work in me and I am thankful for that gift. I am thankful to be more Costa Rican, for now.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Here is a sample of a typical work day at the Project when a team is here. We had a team of high school seniors here this week from California and they spent the day breaking up crates and "cleaning" boards. The wood that we use at the Abraham Project as our principle building material is donated by a local company that imports glass. When we receive the wood it's in pretty rough shape and our teams help us prepare it by pulling out the nails and staples as well as treating it with poison, polyurethane, paint, etc. The transformation that the wood undergoes is pretty incredible and just one very cool way that the Lord has provided for this ministry. The space in the picture where the team is working will be the seating area/soccer field of the new multipurpose building when construction is complete. As you can tell, there is a lot left to be done...one reason we love and appreciate all of our teams so much.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Tony and Laurie (JG's oldest brother and his wife--one of my DEAREST friends) came to visit us and spoiled us rotten! They brought birthday gifts (from them and others) and easter candy and it might have well been Christmas for Caia based on all the goods they brought her! We had so much fun with them, as we always do! We spent 2 days at the active volcano at Arenal and the clouds lifted so we could see the top smoking! Then, we spent the following 5 days at Playa Tamarindo and enjoyed relaxing and eating! Wow, as is to be expected with Tony Griffith, we ate well! We were sad to see them go but excited as we've already begun planning next year's trip to include Evan, Nic and Alex (their 3 kids)! Tony and Laurie, we love you and appreciate you so much!
Tony and Laurie on the canopy tour (zip-line)
In the kiddie pool at Playa Tamarindo
Our view, not too shabby!
She LOVES the water!
One night at sunset
Caia's response to "GO DAWGS!"
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Last year, Jonathan's oldest brother, Tony, and his wife, Laurie met us in Ft. Lauderdale on one of our visa runs. Now that we're residents, Tony and Laurie have to travel all the way to Costa Rica to visit us! They are coming in tomorrow (Easter Sunday) and staying a whole week! We're so excited to see them, hang out and eat some good food--because one thing is for sure, if you are dining with Tony Griffith, you are eating well! We're not sure if we'll have internet access over the course of the next week, we'll be visiting an active volcano and seeing some beautiful beaches here in Costa Rica, so the next post may just be lots of pictures documenting the result of a great week!
Friday, April 10, 2009
For those of you that are unfamiliar with Latin America or other Catholic countries, those countries really like to celebrate Semana Santa (Holy Week). Many people get the majority of the week off of work and school, especially Thursday - Sunday. And since it falls at the end of the dry season in Costa Rica, it's a great time for Ticos (Costa Ricans) to take off for the beach. In fact, about 20% of the population heads for the coast at some point this week.
We did not go to the beach, but we have been doing the next best thing. That's right, the old baby tub/bucket in the garage trick. It's been really sunny and hot for the past few weeks and our house starts feeling a little bit like an oven around 11:30am. So that's the perfect time to bust out the baby tub and mop bucket. It's a great way to entertain Caia, cool everybody down, and pass a little time. Plus Caia looks funny when she's squatting in the bucket.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Caia at the beach...she could get used to this! And thankfully, one of the perks of our job is to accompany teams on their Costa Rican excursions. Teams come down and work at the project (and often with other Costa Rican ministries) for 4-5 days and then they are ready to relax for a day on the beach, see a waterfall, explore a volcano or experience another one of Costa Rica's naturally occurring landscapes. We have really enjoyed working with teams and on their days "off," we get an even greater chance to really talk with them, hear where they came from, hear where they're going, to understand what drew them to Costa Rica or how God wooed them unto Himself. It's during these days that Caia and I (Amy) finally get to hang out with a team and get to know them. So, you will see more of Caia at a beach, at a volcano, in a pool, in front of a waterfall, etc. and we are thankful to the teams who allow us to see Costa Rica with them! **This picture is of Caia at Tortuga Island with a team from Living Hope Baptist Church in Bowling Green, KY. They were a huge help with her the entire day! Thanks y'all! Come back soon!
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Amy and I work with a ministry called the Abraham Project on the outskirts of San José. We moved down here in January of 2008 and spent the year learning Spanish. Last month, we officially took over as the short term mission team coordinators for the Project. Our teams come from all over the States and represent many different age groups. We love meeting such a wide variety of people and helping to serve as a bridge between our community here and the Church back home.
Our teams donate their time and services helping us through construction, children's ministry, outreach, teaching English, and in any other way that we can incorporate them. In exchange, they are blessed with the opportunity to participate in what God is doing in Costa Rica and by getting to know one of the best countries on the planet.
The Abraham Project was started in 1997 by a local church comprised of only 7 people. The pastor (Jorge Gomez) believed God was calling the tiny church to transform its community by living out the Gospel of Jesus. In other words, God wanted this body of believers to participate with Him in healing the community, both spiritually and physically. After praying, the group was convinced that the pastor's vision was from God and they were on board. So with $20 they set out in faith and obedience believing that God would do the rest. Now the church has an average of 350 people in attendance every week and has founded the Abraham Project. Aside from the church, this ministry has 4 major areas of outreach which are 2 children's homes, a daycare, vocational classes, and a multipurpose building that is currently under construction.
Amy and I love the vision of the Project because it is seeking to truly transform the community through evangelism and meeting the needs of the people in very practical ways. It's not the perfect church or ministry, but it's a very good example of the body acting as the hands and feet of Jesus for a community that desperately needs him.
Below is a video that our youth group made to show a little of the history of the Project as well as what the place looks like now. Oh yeah, it's in Spanish. (The guy talking is our pastor).
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Just when everyone thought it wasn't going to happen....here we are in the blogosphere. As a first line of business I would like to say that this is something that we've considered for a long time but have not done mostly because we feared the commitment. We didn't want to be the guys that said "Hey, everybody! We have a blog!" and then only put up a picture of our kid every 5 months (not that there's anything wrong with that...we just didn't want to do it that way).
So here we go. Hopefully this blog will really be a window into what we are doing and help us stay better connected to our friends and family back home and around the globe. The idea is that we will do our best to keep our followers up to speed on what we're doing on a regular basis and in such a way that's not too boring. We live in an amazing country and work with some amazing people so we hope to give you some insight into what God is doing in, through, and around our community.