Friday, December 27, 2013

Cori's Update: No More Teachers, No More Books...

It's summer vacation!!! Cailene and Cornelio wrapped up their school year on December 21st by hosting an end of the year party/presentation for the school. Of the 70 students who attend the school, approximately 25 came and participated. We baked yummy cinnamon rolls, cheese bread, and sugar cookies (very colorfully decorated by Meredith and Jesus, a niece and nephew) and had a great time. The kids had learned a couple Christmas songs in English, and sang them for their parents at the presentation, and got certificates for course completions as well. We weren't bummed by the low attendance...public schools finished up in early December, and lots of families have already started their vacation plans. Additionally, it is hard to get commitment from people for such events, and they almost never come on time. Example: one student arrived just as the entire program was finishing. She was very disappointed to not get to perform her song for her mother, since she had been practicing hard at home, so we set her up for a lil' mini performance on her own, which filled that gap at least a little bit. But all was well, and vacation is now in full swing.
Students receiving their course completion certificates.
Cailene, Bonnie, and I took a day and went to San Jose to go shopping with one of Cailene's classmates from the university, Amelia. We took the bus to avoid the cost of gas and parking issues, which should have taken about an hour or a lil' more than. Well, for those who don't know me, I get carsick. And here in Costa Rica, I'm getting more carsick than I pretty much ever have before. The roads are really twisty, it's usually hot, and drivers aren't exactly slow and steady. By the time we got halfway, I was like, "Um, I need to get off this bus..." So we took a break...for about 40 minutes. We watched 2 buses go by before I finally felt solid enough to get back on. The rest of the trip is luckily the straighter half, and I made a stronger point of being FRONT and CENTER where I can see the road and the airflow is good. Once we made it to San Jose, we had a great time shopping at a huge second-hand store and enjoyed lunch at Mercado Central, which is a big market with food and gifts and restaurants and basically everything you could imagine. It was a good day and I'm feeling better and better about getting around places on my own.

View down and into the property from the back door.

Construction got underway at Cailene and Cornelio's house shortly after my last update. In the last 2 weeks, the porch was taken apart and stacked beside the house, a backhoe came and dug out somewhere around 30 cubic meters of dirt, and some supplies have been delivered to start construction on the 2 walls that we are going to build. The original plan was to put a garage and an apartment for Bonnie in that space, but, in typical Costa Rican fashion, it's taking longer than expected, and plans for the apartment aren't set in stone. Space at the house here feels much smaller and more limited, especially with the dining table in the garage, right beside the weight set and the disassembled porch, but we're surviving. The dogs aren't thrilled with it either, since their space was cut in half, but Eros had no problem dashing THROUGH the house (they're not allowed inside) and LEAPING right out the back door into oblivion in pursuit of a dog they particularly hate. It's probably a 12-foot drop from the door down to the newly excavated dirt, but he hit the ground running without so much as a stumble or a yip and off he went. Much to our surprise, he didn't attack the hated dog, just sniffed it and then came running when Cailene called. What a good boy!
View from the bottom corner of the driveway to the back door.
Christmas was a fabulous day for us. We drove to Rio Laguna (the river), which is about an hour from here, and spent most of the day there. It is a beautiful spot, and the water runs nice and clear. There is a good sized (50x50ft) swimming hole that's probably 12-14ft deep, and it's clear and cool and has a lil' waterfall flowing into it, as well as a couple lil' hot-tub sized pools and small falls above it. We brought a big inner tube, and spent the day getting tan and playing in the water. Logan and Cornelio went on an iguana hunt, but their pursuit was futile and they came back empty-handed. Luckily, us girls packed a lunch as a backup plan. :-)

Cailene and Cornelio
managed to both stand up on the tube for a few precious seconds.

There were valiant
attempts made by others (my head, the
feet belong to Cailene and Bonnie).
This was Cornelio standing on the tube and diving/jumping off of it.
Bonnie is currently on a 3-day tour to Panama with her friend, Lidiette. American 'tourists' in Costa Rica don't need a visa, but you can only stay in the country for 90 days at a time, then you have to leave the country for 72 hours before you get another 90 days. Her time was about up, so she and Lidiette found a bus tour to a beach area in Panama just across the border. There's snorkeling and a nice hotel and other tourist activities, so I'm sure they're having a great time. Logan and I will be out of the country February 1st-6th, but we are going to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. More on that in Feb, of course. :-)

Things we're thankful for: Cailene finished her classes at the university, and is all set to graduate in February. It's been a long road for her, and she's pretty excited to not have to drive the 30 min to Puriscal two or three times a week anymore. The construction here has gone smoothly thus far, with all the resources needed being accessible and provided. The weather has also been great for the project. We are loving our lap swims at the pool in San Bosco. Great exercise and great fun. Colter (Logan's brother) arrives for a 2-week visit on January 1st, and then my parents arrive for their week in Costa Rica on January 25th.

We live way down in the valley behind us that's all misty.
Can't believe we've been here for just a few days shy of 2 months already! Only 4 months left! While I can easily communicate with people and get around on my own, the reality of only 4 more months makes me want to STUDY Spanish a little more so I can be more fluent before we leave. Logan's Spanish is, well, there...he's mastered the use of 'Que Mob!', which is the equivalent of "Hey dude!!!" :-) And lastly, we took a lil' jaunty ride to the wind turbines that we can see from our house. It's a nice drive up a very smooth, well-maintained (do you hear the sarcasm here???) dirt road, and there are fabulous views of both our side of the mountain, as well as the entire San Jose valley. Of course, as soon as we got there, the clouds rolled in and blocked the view, but it was still a fun, refreshing ride. The car only over-heated once, and we only got sprinkled on for a few minutes. And yes, it was chilly (hence, the blanket)!!!!

<----Aren't they so cute???


<----The 'Trusty Tracker' cooling down at the top of the mountains. We took the top off cuz' it was SUPER hot when we were getting ready to go. Then it got cloudy and chilly, but at least Cailene and I didn't hit our heads in the back going over bumps! Plus the extra airflow really helps the carsick issue!!!

That's about it. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers. Hope everyone had a very merry Christmas, and has a fabulous New Year's!!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cori's Update: Nature, Dairy Products, and Sweat

Do you like how two of us are updating the blog on the same day lately? No, we don't plan it that way, but yes, we know we're cool because of it. :-) December rolled in uneventfully. While our friends and family in WA are freezing with temperatures in the teens and single digits, summer is in full swing here, and we sweat profusely on a daily basis. It's beautiful. Only 2 more weeks of school before Cailene and Cornelio's 'summer' break starts (yes, they are counting down the days), so this past week Cailene started Christmas crafts with her students. This week they are continuing crafts, as well as learning a couple of Christmas songs to sing at the end of the year celebration.

We spent a morning last week at Nacientes Palmichal, a rural tourism 'hotel' about 20 minutes away. It is operated by Hernan and Florita, a wonderful couple from the church. They have lodging, meals, and several activities guests can participate in, from nature walks and butterfly gardens to tours of the coffee farms/processing plant and local artisan crafts. It is a beautiful location; a place where it's impossible to overlook the beauty of God's creation and His omniscient presence in the world. Check out their website:  Don't worry, it's in English.
Me, Bonnie, and Hernan on one of the trails.
Bonnie on our nature walk.
The river, which we drank out from. It was deliciously sweet and pure!

Cailene and I both ordered two 2.5-liter bottles of fresh, raw milk from a local farmer last week. She had been getting one bottle a week, but we decided to put our cheese-making skills to use (thank you, Dawn Courtney!), so we upped the order and off we went. Since Logan and I are snobby and enjoy real butter, I skimmed the cream off my milk and made butter in my blender. If you've never tried it (besides the elementary school 'shake the baby-food jar until your arm falls off' method), you really should. It works like this: place cream in blender, blend for several minutes until the butter fat separates (ie: nasty-looking yellow chunks clump together and float to the top when you stop the blender), scoop off the butter fat and reserve the liquid (this is the original buttermilk, by the way), press the butter w/a spatula until most of the liquid is removed, then place the butter into ice water, and continue to press liquid out of it (called 'washing' the butter). Drain the ice water, and repeat until the ice water stays clear (or as close to clear as you feel like getting it). Remove the butter and add 1/4 tsp of salt (word of caution, a lil' salt goes a llllloooonnnnnggggg way) and mash it in good. Voila. Butter.
The buttermilk (left on Cailene's counter to get nice and tangy for baking treats!) and the butter. Delicious!
We made two batches of mozzarella cheese as well, one for each of our households, and they came out fabulously. In Logan's words, "Ah, finally. Cheese that melts and tastes normal." :-) Poor guy. Did I mention he's planning to have Colter (his brother) bring some cheddar when he comes to visit in January??? True story. Anyway, the main byproduct of cheese is whey (think 'Little Miss Muffet'). From a gallon of milk, you get a small, softball-sized ball of cheese, and about 2 liters of whey. Since our consciences won't allow us to merely pour this down the drain, we googled 'uses for whey'. Aside from a good feed for animals or a way to lower the pH of your garden, you can use it basically like milk. Drink it straight, pour it on cereal, add it to smoothies, use it in baked we made potato soup. Lots of potato soup. It didn't thicken like milk does, but it had pretty good flavor. (Sidenote: pork chop in potato soup is good. It's not bacon, but it works. And when you ask for bacon at a country meat store, they show you literally a giant hunk of fat w/no meat...that's how we ended up w/pork chop). Also, whey tenderizes pork. It's often used as a marinade for pork, or even a liquid to cook pork in. Whey cool!!! (Logan's idea...he's punny). :-)

Cailene w/her cheese and me pouring the milk for mine.
Stretching the cheese. The whey is the liquid in the pot.
Cornelio's birthday was yesterday, and we started our celebration by running a 10k race in Puriscal (20-25 minutes away). I've run many a 10k in my day, and let me tell you, this was by far the HARDEST course I've ever run. It was 2k course that you lapped 5 times. Nice for spectators cuz' they get to see the runners a lot. Bad for runners like me because everyone gets to watch the progression from 'I feel great' to 'Holy cow, will this race ever end?' I don't run so much as I waddle, and on a course with lots of hills and at some 3600ft above sea level, I wanted to die. Oh, and it was probably 85 degrees out with decent humidity. Barf. But Cornelio did great, and his friend Pablo won his age group, so we had a good time. I got my finisher medal and my free (or not so free?) t-shirt, so I was happy.
The group from Tabarcia/Palmichal: me, Cornelio, Andres, Pablo, Oscar, Reyner
Seconds before the start. The guys are intense. Me? Not so much...
Cornelio and a few of his siblings took lunch to their dad's house one day, and we spent a few hours playing some cards, shooting a couple guns, and just hanging out. It was good family time, and we got to hear some stories about Cornelio's childhood. Ever seen bamboo plants? Yeah, they used to climb them and, according to Cornelio, launch themselves from 'limb to limb'. I don't quite believe that part, but Logan and Cornelio shimmied right on up and gave us a great demo of human monkeys. Apparently it's hard on the arms, since there's nowhere to brace your feet. Wish I was strong enough to climb bamboo!
Climbing up. Notice Cornelio in the background?
Swinging down out of the bamboo, and almost clunking me on the head w/the piece in his hands. Luckily, I slipped and fell at the exact right moment to avoid getting hit!
Probably 20-30ft up in the air!
Logan and Cornelio started deconstructing the porch today in preparation for 'home addition part 1'. Rather than put Bonnie's apartment over the garage, it's going to go below the porch, along with an additional parking/garage space. Thus the porch is getting taken apart, tons of dirt will be dug out, retaining walls will be built, etc, etc, etc. Hopefully it can be a timely process, and not drag on for months.

That's pretty much it. Cailene and I have conquered the butterfly stroke at the pool. It's not perfect yet, but we can pretty easily go an entire length of the pool, and we're looking and feeling smoother every day. So great to be swimming again regularly, especially in a beautiful outdoor pool (that happens to be right next to a large cow/horse pasture). And here's a picture of Cailene's banana tree. They should be ripe in a few weeks, and I find it interesting that the bananas grow with the bottom up. Who knew? Also, bananas in a clump are called a 'mano', or 'hand'. So you can buy a hand of bananas, which usually has at least 10 bananas on it. And the smaller the 'nana, the sweeter it is. Bananas 101. :-)
The red part is the flower, which will fall off. These will be 4-5" long when fully ripe.

That's all she wrote, folks! Nos vemos!!! (See you later!)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

During this Thanksgiving season  we all have so much to be thankful for. I  want to praise God for His love, favor, protection and provision over each of our lives. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what God is doing in each of us and to take action by using our many gifts and talents for His glory. 
Thanksgiving blessings to you and your family.  \O/

Cori's Update - Giving Thanks

It's only been a week, but already so much to say. We celebrated Thanksgiving a day early, since Cailene and Cornelio both have to teach today. We celebrated with a friend, Lidith, who spent 11 years living in New Jersey and loves Thanksgiving. Total, there 8 of us: me, Logan, Cornelio, Cailene, Bonnie, Lidith, Pablo-a friend of Cornelio's from his running team, and Lidith's daughter, Kimberly, who came late after work but came to celebrate just the same. A couple of trips to stores like Price Smart (aka Costco) in San Jose allowed us to get a turkey and other non-Tico things like black olives, but alas, canned green beans and yams were not to be found, so we did without. Our meal was complete w/both pumpkin and apple pie, tho' the pumpkin may have been more akin to squash, since giant orange pumpkins don't exist here. All in all, it was a wonderful meal and a great time to consider all of God's blessings and provisions in our lives.

Speaking of blessings, have I mentioned how thankful I am for Logan? For a guy who never wanted to leave Stehekin, coming to Costa Rica for 6 months, where the climate, food, language, etc are completely different, is a really big deal. There aren't many men who would step so far out of their comfort zones simply because it's a dream their wives' have always had to live in another country and learn another language. He's pretty amazing. Secondly, the mere fact that we have the resources to do this is phenomenal. It's pretty hard to quit your jobs and leave your life behind for 6 months while you live off your savings account. But God is good, and we have absolutely everything we need, from the material things life requires to the money needed to pay our rent and power/water/etc bills. It's pretty freakin' awesome to choose to trust in God for those needs, and to see him fulfill dreams and take care of His children so capably.

I took a step out of my comfort zone a little bit last week and played guitar for worship at church. I've only been playing guitar for a year, and am almost entirely self taught, so there is a lot of learning yet to be done. Plus, I don't really like being 'on stage' in front of people. But I love playing w/a group, so when Cailene and Cornelio asked if I wanted to join them (Cailene on piano and Cornelio singing), I said, "Why not?" I definitely can't sing in Spanish and play at the same time yet, but it was really great to see how much people enjoyed the worship and how they were able to really praise and connect w/God. It's pretty powerful to create music that helps people experience and meet with God, and I'm secretly (or not so secretly?) hoping to have many more opportunities to play and worship.

Logan's almost finished w/a bookshelf for the school, and it looks amazing. The plan is to decorate it by having the students (there are 60+) each put a painted hand-print and sign their names on it. It will ultimately be both a functional shelf, but also a colorful reminder of all the kids whose lives have been changed by the school and it's founders.

A major blessing this week: Bonnie's ladies' group had 14 people! She shared the history behind Thanksgiving, and we each shared 3 things we are thankful for. The difficulty is getting people to be 'real' and go deeper than just being thankful for 'their family, friends, and living here.' But all these women really 'got it' and shared some personal and deep blessings in their lives. One of the biggest problems I see in 'the church' as a whole is a lack of real, intimate, personal relationships. Everyone is happy and smiley and being a Christian means your life is great...which it is, but that charming facade isn't reality. Being a Christian is about being real and doing life WITH those around us. And I really believe we can't 'do life' on the level that God wants unless we are willing to be vulnerable with each other. Why is it so hard to even share deep blessings in our lives? It should be easy to share the wonderful provisions of God and we should be shouting those things from the mountain tops!

There are always so many things to pray for, but this week especially we'd appreciate prayers for a few things: Cailene's cold that she caught in Honduras in July has resurfaced AGAIN, and while she's taking medication that is supposed to finally fix the problem, we believe God has the ultimate power to heal her body, so pray that her lungs would finally be clear and her cough/stuffy nose would disappear for good. We are hoping to have permits and plans back from the government very soon for a mother-in-law apartment over the garage for Bonnie. The plan is for Bonnie to provide the materials, and Logan will build the apartment while we're here, but we can't get started until we get those darn permits. Pray that everything goes through smoothly and that the project can get underway sooner rather than later. Lastly, I'm really hoping to spend some time volunteering at an orphanage while we are here, but am having a hard time finding something within a reasonable distance. Pray that God would provide the perfect opportunity for us to volunteer and share His wonderful word with those who have little else in life.

Blessings until next time! :-)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cori's Update

Time for an update from Costa Rica. This is Cori, by the way. Logan and I arrived here on Monday, Nov 4th, starting a six-month adventure of life in Palmichal and Tabarcia. We left our jobs in the states, and are renting a small house here while we 'do life' alongside Cornelio and Cailene. While we don't have a particular agenda of things to accomplish, we trust God to use us to bless others here, as well as to stretch and grow our relationship with each other. Additionally, I'm hoping to blog here fairly frequently in order to share our experience and grow a greater circle of prayer and support for Cailene and Cornelio.

Logan and I only brought 3 bags with us...our life for 6 months. Needless to say, there was a lot of setup to be done, and several purchases to be made. There isn't exactly a surplus of gently used furniture in Costa Rica, so buying a refrigerator, a bed, and a small gas stove/oven put a decent dent in our budget right off the bat. Fortunately, Cailene procured a table and 4 chairs for us, as well as a set of bunk beds for our extra room (something to look forward to if you're coming to visit us!). Also, Bonnie had several dishes and kitchen utensils in storage here, so we are putting those to good use. Since our house had literally NOTHING in it when moved in, we purchased some wood and Logan built a perfect set of shelves for our kitchen, which has made things much more organized. Of course, wood, which we take for granted in the states, is much more expensive and hard to come by here as the trees, which are plentiful, grow really tall really quickly, but never develop much width.

We've jumped right into life here, attending church, sitting in on some of Cailene's classes, and joining the local volleyball games on Thursday evenings (and sometimes Mondays). There are two locations where Cornelio and Cailene teach: one in Tabarcia, with two classrooms, and a second location with a single classroom in Palmichal. Lessons are taught either as private/individual sessions or group sessions, depending on the student's/family's preference. Students range from 5 years old to adult, and cover the entire gamut of proficiency in English. The curriculum taught uses lots of games rather than rote memorization, which allows students to engage and play as they learn. While a little shy to see new faces, the kids we've met use their English to introduce themselves and 'meet us' properly. :-)

There are a few projects underway (or soon to be underway) for the school. Logan is building a set, or maybe two, of bookshelves for the school. Cailene has several books and games that she currently keeps in a corner or totes back and forth, so it will be nice to have storage space on site for those resources. Also, we are trying to think of ways to 'dress up' what are currently 'unexciting' white walls. All ideas welcome...we'd like to add color/educational visual materials to make the rooms more fun and inviting. Lastly, Cailene and I are hoping to organize all the different printed worksheets and games in binders based on age and proficiency level. It's a lot easier to simply grab the 'Age 5-8 English  Introduction' notebook for a class than to sift through a huge notebook for the few sheets that you need. When we're finished, hopefully they'll be able to spend significantly less time making copies and sorting papers!

Other activities we're enjoying: Cailene, Bonnie, and I are swimming at a pool in San Bosco, which is about 25 minutes away, three days a week. It's been AMAZING to get back in the pool, and is so much more fun to go with friends. Thanks to the intense sun, I'm developing a pretty nice tan (yay!), complete with swimsuit lines (not yay...). Bonnie leads a women's group that meets on Tuesday afternoons, which is a fun opportunity to get to know some great local ladies, as well as practice our Spanish. Cornelio is running a lot, and he and I are hoping to enter a 10K race in Puriscal in December. He's likely to be fairly competitive...I'll finish...let's leave it at that. :-)

Logan isn't hugely impressed with rice and beans, papaya, or plantains (all staples here...and all DELICIOUS!), and unflushable toilet paper reminds us how much we take for granted in the USA, but minor discomforts as such aside, we are having a great time. The area is beautiful, the weather is fabulous, and though it rained daily the first week or so we were here, the closer we get to December, the less it rains. Christmas decorations are everywhere: lights, trees (fake, of course), wreaths on doors, etc, but we are making preparations for Thanksgiving next week, which we will celebrate in traditional American style, along with Lydia (who lived in the states for 11 years) and her family. And pumpkin pie is on the menu. :-)

Did I mention the bugs? They're everywhere. The giant cockroaches and spiders disgust me, and the giant scorpion cruising across my floor was seriously not ok on any level. VERY glad Logan was there to kill it. Ick. Anyway, hoping to post some pictures before too long either here or on facebook, but in the meantime share ideas for school decorations and please be praying that Logan and I will serve the purpose God has for us here, as well as for the continued health and safety of all of us living here. Adios!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Honduras Missions Trip

Cornelio and I were invited be the interpreters on a mission trip from the states to Honduras. We flew up from Costa Rica to Honduras to meet the team and serve 2 weeks together. 

We were just as blessed as the children at the school that we helped. God uses an open heart, no matter what country you are in or what language you speak. We were able to get to share, encourage, instruct, and listen and to let them feel Jesus’ love. The Honduras trip did just that. Many hearts were impacted and everyone was blessed by that opportunity.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Independence Day

September 15 is Independence Day here. The night before the whole community gets together and walks down the streets with homemade lanterns that the kids put together. The following morning at 3 am a truck full of people with pots, pans, horns and drums, go from town to town waking up everyone and starting the festivity.  
This year we serenaded Cornelio’s mom at 5 am to celebrate her birthday which is also the 15th. She was so surprised to see her family there singing to her and we later enjoyed a great breakfast of gallo pinto (rice and beans mixed together).

At 9am the parade started and the high school and elementary school band played. Dancers and ox carts fallowed the happy crowd.
 Later, in the community gym, we watched the band play and the children do typical dancing. Costa Ricans are very proud of their 192 years of independence and I felt honored to celebrate with them. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

National Art Festival

Cornelio and I were asked to be two of the judges in the Tabarcia Elementary Art Festival. It is Nationwide so we felt privileged to be there. I was one of the three Judges for Art, poetry and music. Cornelio was a judge for music and drama.  I always enjoy it when our students as well as other children run up to greet us. They lit up and said, “Teacher, are you going to stay for my presentation?” After we said yes they smiled and bounced off. All it takes is a little effort and encouragement to change a person’s day.  We were thankful for another opportunity to participate in a community event.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purposes.”  Romans 8:28

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Royal Family

When I was little I always wanted to be a princess. Now as an adult I realized I am a princess. I belong to the royal family of God. As a daughter of the Most High King, I am a princess. We are all royalty chosen by God. What a wonderful reminder of how much we are all loved. 

I wanted to something extra special so i got on my wedding dress again and enjoyed the evening with Cornelio. 

Deuteronomy 7:6
For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God as chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be hes people, his treasured possession. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

June Happenings

Always a project going on!
Lately we have been enjoying an expansion in our cultural awareness, each day holds something new!  Today we went to the big city to shop for the things we can't get in our small stores (peanut butter, Prego Spaghetti Sauce, Gatorade, spray PAM, mozzarella cheese, etc.) because sometimes a few comfort foods and familiar tastes are worth a 3 hour shopping and traveling adventure. 

This month we went to Maria's house. We put together a box of basic grocery items such as rice, beans, oil, and sugar.  We also included a few special items that are a real treat in rural Costa Rica like spaghetti noodles & tomato paste, tuna, and of course coffee! She and her husband do not have electricity or running water. They haul their water from their neighbor’s house and they go to the bathroom out in the bushes. They have a one room house so she cooks outside on an open fire with a grate over it. She welcomed us today with tears in her eyes as she did not have rice for dinner that night. I love how God prompts us to act and even tells us who to go see!

 "There will always be a reason why you meet people.
 Either you need them to change your life or you're the one that will change theirs."


Does anyone remember Chinese Jump rope??

We are trying to find new fresh ways to go into homes and spend time with people, build relationships, and encourage conversation about Jesus.  Time spent together laughing and talking is the first step to building trust.  God has been giving us some creative ways to reach out and, to our delight, is has been well received! Exercising is a good excuse to get together with people and do something productive and healthy. We had a great time going to the house of some new friends where Cailene lead some exercises. We turned on some fun, up-beat Christian music and worked out together.

Cat's Cradle is a new favorite


Cornelio continues to be the coach of a girl’s soccer team.  We are finding out that simple activities like playing cards, sports, and games like Cats Cradle are attracting all ages and relationships are being built in a healthy environment. Many times as we are playing cards with others, we are able to share about the influence of music, going against the norm, and having a personal relationship with Jesus instead of a religion. There are so many ways to share God’s love and we are finding that casual activities such as teaching and playing games creates a relaxed environment where people are willing to share and open up.

"If you can't fly, then run
If you can't run, then walk
If you can't walk, then crawl,
but whatever you do keep moving forward." Martin Luther King Jr.

Influenced by others

             I have a short reminder was a skit at a missions conference. There was a long line of people all dressed up in a different outfits. This man started at the front of the line  and walked up to each person and shook their hand. Each person said who they were in his life and said "God bless you" He then walked down the whole line shaking each hand then saying thank you....the first people were dressed as his parents, the next person represented his Sunday school teacher, he then walked to the next person who was dressed as his friend, then Pastor, neighbor, small group leader, worship leader, 6 people from his youth group jumping and cheering, camp counselor, teacher, leader of the summer mission trips, random words of encouragement shared by people and speakers he hardly knew and  the list goes on and on. The point is that it takes so many people to develop one person to follow Jesus and to stay walking in His light. Where ever you fall in that place of our life we want to thank you for believing in us, encouraging us and praying for us.  You have given us strength and when we have felt like we could not go on. We love and appreciate each one of you and treasure your prayers.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

iphone search

I need to get an iphone 4 in order to stay connected to family and friends better. Our home internet is temperamental and often doesn't work. Having a skype app would solve my communication void. Anyone selling a iphone 4 please let me know. My Uncle is coming in 2 weeks and could get it to me. Thanks so much!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

This Fragile Life

I have struggled to find words to begin this, so here goes....

The good news is, Mom and I (Bonnie) are fine. The bad news is, we were in a car accident. If you read nothing else, just know this...we are alive!!!!  We are feeling Gods protection and praising Him for the helpful and skilled medical personnel who helped us.

 The Short Story

Mom and I were driving in Oregon when we were T-boned on Mom's side of the car.  She had to be cut out of the car and we were both put on backboards and transported to the hospital. The details remain a blur, but all I know is that we both came out alive and we now have an amazing story to add to our testimonies. God's hands were on us through the entire ordeal and I now have a new understanding of who God is in my life.

I am fine, just bruised with some strained muscles and a few neck and back things going on.

Mom, however, did not do as well. She has 3 fractured ribs and a C2 fracture in her neck. Major bummer! She feels fine when she is laying down, but when she sits she is in a lot of pain. She isn't letting it get her down though!  She is using this time as a testimony to all of the hospital staff who come to help her.  She is the best Jesus testimony and such an example to me. Everyone wants to take her home with them because she is so positive in the midst of all this pain.

Please pray for her and praise God with us that we both have our lives, we are claiming through Christ that we will soon be fine!

That is the short version. After the shock of all this has subsided I will be happy to share details with you, but for now I will write this while the emotions are still so raw and real.

The Long Story

We were T-boned on  moms side of the car. Thankfully the air bags worked but we were trapped for a while. The EMT, fire department, police, and ambulance were there quickly. The first thing I remember was pushing the air bags down and reaching over to undo moms seat belt so I could get her arm out.  When the police arrived they told me not to move her and that they would help her.  They skillfully took over and helped me out of my side of the car. They had to cut mom out of the car while one person held her neck to keep it stable. They covered her and the EMT who stayed by her side with a tarp so they could safely cut her out of the car. They quickly put us on a back boards and had me in one ambulance and mom in another. We were then taken to the hospital. I was asked if I was fond of my shirt and jacket because they needed to be cut off! While they were talking, my light jacket and shirt were cut off and I was put into in a hospital gown. I was wearing baggy pants so they were able to slip them off me. Mom was going through the same thing in the next room. They were good at keeping us informed at how the other one was doing and worked as a team to get us both cat scanned.
I have nothing broken, just some bruises and strains, a very sore neck and back, and tender ribs where the seat belt crossed......Praise God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sometime after midnight when all of that was finished I was released to go home. Home?!? I looked at the doctor and said, "My cloths were cut off me, my van is totaled, all my belongings are in the van, I am from out of state, it is after midnight, and my mom is still in the emergency  room..what am I suppose to do?" He said that those issues were not his department but that something could be worked out.  There was a moment of helplessness, a bit of hopelessness, and then I closed my eyes and just prayed. I was filled with a peace and just knew I needed to stay strong for mom. The nurse showed up with a t-shirt and I was able to get dressed. Mom went to the ICU so I spent the night there with her on the couch in the room. Day one done.

Day two and three have been in the trauma wing. She is getting stronger but her pain is still high so they are trying some different medications. She will be transported to Richland Eagle Rehab when the pain is managed better, probably sometime this week. She likes it at Eagle since that is where she went for her hip recovery. She likes all the OT and PTs there.

Through this entire ordeal, God came through for us again and again.  My sister's friend Maggie, who happens to be from the area, came to pray with us and made herself available if we needed anything. I had not met her before she came into the hospital room.  My son Tylan and his girlfriend Kasey had just moved to Oregon and they came to to be with us several times to read a devotional and have some great conversations.

I called the towing place to see about getting our personal things out of the van. The lady  was a bit harsh and said we only had 15 minutes to gather our things. I was dreading this trip. Maggie just said, "Let me do all the talking and just keep praying"  Before we went in, she and I prayed for peace, for more time to gather everything, to not be overwhelmed with emotion at seeing the totaled van, and for the person at the front desk to be nice to us.

Simple prayer...right?

We walked in and there was a black man at the desk, not the grumpy lady I talked to. He asked if he could help and Maggie said we were here to get our things from the van that was in the lot. He said he was sorry for the accident and asked if everyone was okay, and then told us that he prays for all of the people who might have been hurt in the cars in his lot.  We got very excited and told him we had prayed someone would make this easy for us. It turns out that he is the boss and is rarely at the front desk since he is usually upstairs doing paperwork.  Coincidence? I think not!
The roof of the van was cut completely off and laying on the seats. He held up the roof so we could shake the glass off everything and try to reach our things. He helped us pull things out of the car and was giving God the glory for us being alive. We ended up hugging him and thanked him for his concern and prayers. He was such a dynamic and on-fire man so we said he should be a preacher. I asked him if he felt comfortable praying for my mom on my phone, and he said "Bring it on, of course!" My mom received the prayer with joyful tears and I am sure she will listen to it on her phone many times during this recovery period.
I called him back the next day to thank him for the prayer and tell him how much it blessed and encouraged my mother. He said he was just listening to a sermon that said, "All we  have that really matters is our character.  We have one shot in life to make a change and impact someones life. To touch someones life and see Jesus in us."

That is going to be my new word for the year.... impact.  Now that I know a new level of the word impact, that is what I want to do in the lives of others.  I want to really impact them with the love of Jesus by just caring and being willing to really put myself out there for Him.

Please feel the peace that we are feeling.  Rejoice in the fact we are comfortable and being taken care of, and rest in the fact we will soon be back in the Tri Cities and that God will contine to use this seemingly horrible experience to His glory. Continued prayers would be greatly appreciated. We are experiencing the power of prayer and walking in faith that a complete healing will come soon. Thank you for your prayers my friends!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

     The sunset was beautiful this made me reflect and enjoy God's creation. Food for thought. What if we woke up tomorrow and the only thing we had was what we thanked God for the day before???? Remember, don't take anything for granted!

Friday, April 5, 2013

April Update

So far this month we have had many opportunities to serve people in our neighborhood. We were able to bring groceries over to our friend whose husband was in the hospital. She had little food in the house and could not afford to a taxi ride to the store, which is 15 min away. She called one of our other friends in tears so we went right over and brought her eggs, beans and bananas. She was so grateful and seemed to appreciate the encouragement and company as much as she did the food. Being the hands and feet of Jesus and sharing His love is part of our everyday lives here in Costa Rica.

Our 5-year-old neighbor boy, who is being raised by his grandma, likes to greet Cailene and chats with her nearly every day. A few days ago he was washing his bike for the first time and Cailene told him what a great job he was doing. He beamed with delight from the attention! He even offered to wash her bike for her. In this picture she is giving him a scratcher sponge to clean his tires, he was so excited! Positive words and encouragement are invaluable to a boy like this who deals with a drama-filled family life.

Cornelio gives guitar lessons to several students.  He focuses on theory as well as technique. The underlying goal of these lessons is to teach the students responsibility through the challenge of learning how to play an instrument. Because he is teaching Christian songs, the students get exposed to Jesus while also having fun and learning a new skill! You can't beat that.


In March we had the water go out twice, both times for a full day. Mini power outages are common during this winter season in Costa Rica.  Fortunately our new water system is gravity fed and it does not need electricity. Many thanks to our family and friends in the states who made the water tank possible! We are enjoying God's continued blessings and provision over our lives here in Costa Rica.

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16
Joyfully serving Jesus in Costa Rica,

Cornelio, Cailene, & Bonnie

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Best News of All

If you have been a believer for any span of time, chances are you know that Easter has nothing to do with bunnies, eggs, or even chocolate. Many of us nod our heads and say "Yes, yes, I know, of course not" but do we really understand the gravity of why we celebrate this day?


Can you imagine being completely innocent and blameless, yet sacrificing your life to save someone who doesn't deserve it? God sent His son to this broken Earth and He died on the cross so that we may have a chance to live forever in the light and warmth of the Lord, even though we are full of sin and turn our backs on Him daily.
"Everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:15-17 
Close your eyes, still your heart, and imagine this: You are Barabbas. You sit in a prison cell, head hung low, guilty and awaiting the punishment for what you have done. You are hopeless and no one can help you now.
"A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising."  Mark 15:7
Jesus Christ walks in to your cell, tells the guards "This man is innocent, take me instead" and you are free.

You. Are. Free.


Christ died so that you could be free. What a reason to celebrate! Not only did Jesus sacrifice his own sinless life for your sin-filled one, but He also made it so that when you believe what Christ did for you and you stand before God on Judgement Day, He sees nothing but Jesus. Jesus takes your "sin card", erases your name and write His own.  But He doesn't stop there!  He then takes His "sin card" which is completely blank, erases his name, and writes yours in its place.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death" Romans 8:1-2 (NKJV)
"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)
"With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved.  Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous low-lying black cloud.  A new power is in operation.  The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death." Romans 8:1-2 (MSG)

No matter how many different ways you say it, the truth is clear.  And what a beautiful and powerful truth it is! Rejoice in your freedom this Easter Sunday, whether you are by yourself or with your family, and take some time to still your heart and mind enough to soak in the magnitude of what has been done for you. 

Thank you Lord for your sacrifice and for your great mercy and love!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March Update: Home (And Life!) Improvement

This month several important projects were completed that have helped make things just a little bit easier around here.  Some of the tasks of daily living that we take for granted in the states are more of a struggle in rural Costa Rica.  The first project was the water tank.

The Water Tank

The purpose of the water tank is to have the water from the house flow through the tank and then back into the house. This keeps fresh water flowing at all times which is important for everyday tasks.  First we dug a trench from the tank above the carport all the way to the house and then buried the pipe that carries the water. This project has been extensive but it feels so good to have a water supply in case of an emergency!
The water tank stand
The trench for the pipes!
The tank!

 The Wall & Fence 

The new wall and fence we have been working on have made such a difference!  Before these structures were built, when it rained or the neighbors did their laundry the dirt and water would come down and fill the driveway with mud.  Now that the wall is complete, the mud problem is gone as well as the mold. 
The heavy rains in Costa Rica brought a steady, muddy river flowing down the driveway.  Keeping muddy tracks out of the house was an endless battle!
Hard at work!
Finished wall, now for the fence!
Another bonus of the wall is privacy!  Before, the neighbors window and wash area was right above Cailene’s kitchen door so they were always peeking in on her and she did not feel like she could be in kitchen without eyes checking on what she was doing, cooking, eating, and wearing. Now she can do her household chores in peace.

The finished product! Water tank, wall, and fence.
Many people around our neighborhood choose to burn their garbage, which is not a good habit because it affects everyone around them.  Even though Cailene and Cornelio have offered to let others put their garbage with theirs to be removed on garbage day, at no cost to them, they prefer to burn their garbage, plastic, diapers, and whatever else they want. They tend to choose to burn on the day Cailene has just finished hanging her clothes on the clothes line so the essence of burnt plastic seeps into the freshly hung clothes. This new fence makes the smoke go up and over the clothes line. 
Thank you Jesus for the small things that make life enjoyable!  The peacefulness and privacy that the new structures have provided have been such a blessing because everyone benefits.
Last week there was a huge wind storm and the power was out for 2 days.  A lot of damage was done. Roofs were completely ripped off and some houses were blown over. We are so thankful that nothing happened to us. The wall and fence blocked a lot of that wind. 

Diving Into Scripture

All of this positive change is a reminder that God is good all the time! He is also ALWAYS at work, orchestrating even the small minute by minute details of our lives! Romans 8:28 ALWAYS applies!
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28
A lesson we have been learning this month is that things don't always go the way we want or expect them to.  The trick is to be flexible and trust that God has His hands firmly on our lives and He will not steer us off course.
"In His heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”  Proverbs 16:9
 Thank you all for your continued love, support and prayers.  Without your help, none of the things that were accomplished this month could have happened.

Cornelio,  Cailene, & Bonnie