Thursday, November 28, 2013

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! :-)

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