Sunday, December 7, 2014

Merry Christmas

Christmas blessings to you from Costa Rica.  We are finishing our 5th year of our school. We have had the privilege to teaching English to many students of all ages. We promote education not only in the classroom but encourage all we meet to challenge them to learn more about as many things as possible.  We encourage them to embrace the philosophy that life is a classroom and we must be aware of the many new things there are to learn and to get off their phones and experience life through real people.  It is a fun challenge and we see a growing interest to care a bit more and try a little harder.

Warner, a retired teacher, turned 79 years old on Saturday. He goes to the market every Saturday and stays from 9-12 and talks to everyone who comes to market. Mom and her friend Lidieth decided to surprise him with a birthday cake. They brought the cake to market where Warner hangs out and they had everyone sing happy birthday to him then shared the cake with everyone at market. It was a wonderful time of celebrating and honoring this man who has given so much time to others. With tears in his eyes he thanked everyone. It will be a memory he will treasure the rest of his life.

Cornelio is going to present his thesis this Friday. It has been a long process to complete this degree. He is now a certified principal which gives our school a better rating.

We look forward to visiting family and friends over the Christmas holidays as we will be in the states for a month. Let's all remember the reason for the season and look for ways to keep Jesus the center of our conversations and keep praises flowing for all the many blessings we have.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

      I saw this little compairason and thought how perfectly it explains how Jesus has changed each and every one of us! Happy Thanksgiving!

      How is being a Christian like being a pumpkin?
God picks you from the pach, brings you in and washes all the dirt off of you. He cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, ect... and then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

November continues the rainy season here and fall in the states. Our family celebrates Thanksgiving here and we all have so many things to be thankful for. It is such a blessing to have Mekhi join our family!  We are rejoicing that our schools move to the new location went well and on Nov 1 we held classes in the new location.  The building we were renting was sold so we needed to relocate to a small building in the center of town. It’s a great location and easy to get to.
 The tires on Bonnie's car were almost bald so she had to get new tires. Cornelio used the old tires to make a baby swing and a swan for beautiful recycled yard art.
Help, someone call 911.......
Cornelio is finishing his degree at the university. He is writing his thesis on how to improve English oral communication in high schools. He goes to a high school to apply the games and activities he has written up in his thesis. One afternoon he saw a high school couple "making out". The boy was on top of the girl laying down right in the walk way. The teachers just walked by and the other students seemed to just be watching then moving on.  Cornelio, seeing this was NOT ok behavior, said” Quick, someone call 911 this girl is getting mouth resuscitation and she needs help." The boy quickly jumped off the girl and everyone watching just laughed at them. Working with teenagers is a whole different level of needing to think on your feet and needing to be spontaneous. To God be the glory for creative corrections.

Mom has been such a great help and encouragement here. She looks for ways to help others where ever she goes. Last week she met a homeless man who lived next to the bus stop with his dog. After she talked with him in Spanish for a while she went and bought some orange juice and bread for the man. She also bought some soap because he said that he really wanted to wash his dog. With a full tummy and a grateful heart this man was blessed that day and a ray of sunshine and hope touched his life.

With grateful hearts we say "Thank You" 
to those who help us through prayers and support.
 Lives are being changed for eternity!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Homeless man and his dog

Bonnie Rogers has been such a great help and encouragement here. She looks for ways to help others where ever she goes. Last week she met a homeless man who lived next to the bus stop with his dog. After she talked with him in Spanish for a while she went and bought some orange juice and bread for the man. With a full tummy and a grateful heart this mas was blessed that day and a ray of sunshine and hope touched his life. She also bought some soap because he said that he really wanted to wash his dog.  "What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived, it is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of  the life we l
ead." Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rainy Season

        With joyful and grateful hearts we want to say, "Thank you and send blessings to those who help support our work here in Costa Rica through prayers, encouragement, and finical support. Lives are being changed for eternity. Just as you do in the states, it is our honor privilege and responsibility to “tell the story of Jesus."Often we get to talk to someone and explain what it is like to have a relationship with Jesus and be freed from their past. Restoring relationships and reconciliation with others and God is an ongoing outreach for all Christians.
Cailene teaching the kids how to play spoons.

       October begins our rainy season, which means it rains every day and on and off through the night. It's a time of wearing sweaters and getting all the outside chores done in the morning sun.

Cornelio building a covered area to get out of the rain.

       The building we have been renting for our school was sold so we have to relocate by the first of November. We are praying for land so we can build a school in the future. As the school grows it is getting harder and harder to find a building to rent. It is a joyful time of transition and we feel we are right where God wants us. The delightful preparation for baby Mekhi, who is due the end of October, is almost done.

       Cailene's class schedules have been divided up between Kattia, who is a substitute teacher, Cornelio and Bonnie. Cailene will return to the classroom for part time work after the first of the year.

8.5 months pregnant
       We had a neighborhood cookie making day. The culture here is kids aren't in the kitchen helping. None of our neighbors have an oven. They all cook on gas burners. So making cookies in an oven is an extra treat. We played games afterwards.
Bonnie baking cookies with the girls. 

      This is each of our “mission field” to share the gospel, and the love and grace of Jesus Christ.  It is through love and God’s grace that hearts and minds are freed.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

September update

     We are training Kattia, our new part time teacher, to fill in for me when our baby is born. Kattia has been my classmate at the university for the last 2 years so it is fun to have her join us. We are rearranging our school schedule so Cornelio has more classes to teach and mom will be teaching all the Friday classes. This will make the transition easier for everyone.

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived, it is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead." Nelson Mandela

     Last week Cornelio came home encouraged and said that his whole day was worth the one hour he had with one of his students. This young man was scared and didn’t know what to do when he found out that he and his girlfriend were pregnant. Cornelio explained what this new responsibility would be like and encouraged him to step up and take control of his life and the one’s he is now responsible for. He reminded him that Jesus is the glue that makes everything work together and by the time the student left class he decided not to abandon his girlfriend and try to work things out by taking on this new responsibility. God is good! Cornelio continues to encourage him and others to be the next generation of Costa Ricans who are strong in their faith and make responsible choices.

           We enjoy having get-togethers in our home. Here we are preparing to watch a Costa Rica soccer game on TV. We painted the Costa Rican flag on everyone’s face and all watched the game together. Our house will be full of fun, family, food and laughter on our Independence Day September 15th.  There is a big parade in our town. We will go and watch and cheer as many of our students participate in parade. We enjoy staying active in the community activities and to support the hard work that goes into each event.
God Bless

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Making learning fun!

      Last week I was praying for a chance to make a difference and see a change in someones life. The next day a student dropped out of our school. When I called his mom she sadly told me that her husband was one of the many teachers who hadn't had work for 2 months because throughout Costa Rica the government hadn't paid public educators. This family, like many others, had to take out a loan to pay the bills. I told her that Fernando, her son, could still keep coming to class and that she didn't have to worry about paying us because her son's education was more important than money. She started to cry, thanked me and sent her son to class.

     This is the reason we have the school, to give people who wouldn't normally have the chance to expand their education the opportunity to do so. That evening Cornelio and I felt just as blessed as our 10 year old student Fernando. Two days later we had a 16 year old girl whose parents are deaf and money is tight. She was thrilled when we told her to come to class for free and  to do her part by taking advantage of learning English.She is very appreciative and motivated to learn. God answers prayer in many ways and both Cornelio and I were happy to be part of His bigger picture.

       English game night was a great success this month. Over 30 people showed up and we had new people come and check out our school and participate in the nights activities. Children, teens and adults were all laughing and enjoying the evening together as we spoke only in English.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Bug Season

Some people say that Costa Rica doesn’t have seasons, only wet or dry. I however notice the seasons here not by temperature, but by bugs. As the months change so does each bug season. Right now we have these little winged creatures who only live a day. This is what I wake up to and clean. I am thankful however that most of the bugs that invade our house are harmless.

Last week when Cornelio was biking in the mountains he saw a cow that had just fallen off a cliff and died. After he told the owner, Cornelio helped him butcher the cow. The owner said that Cornelio could take as much meat as he wanted, so he took 30 pounds of meat! He had to walk 2 hours carrying the meat on his shoulder. We are so thankful for that blessing and after giving a lot of the meat away to family and friends we still have abundance! God is so good and creatively continues to provide for all our needs.

            Father’s day was celebrated here this month also. In the school we had our students make a father’s day card and write something personal in it. I was surprised at how they struggled not with the English they had to write, but finding meaningful words to put in the card. It was a good reminder to take time out and really tell someone you care. A form of honoring an important person is telling them how much they mean to you. Both Cornelio and I are expressive people, but we are learning that not only do our actions make a difference, but being bold and speaking truth and light into someone’s life or a situation can change the whole environment. That is the kind of change that needs to happen on a more regular basis.

Ephesians 4:15

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Filled with Joy!

This month has been filled with joy. I graduated from Universidad Panamericana with my ESL degree. I can now teach English as a second language in public and private schools. It feels great to be done and I am thankful for my family and friends who have encouraged me through the whole process. I will continue to teach in our school. We have been praying for a teacher to help out with some classes and we now have one, glory to God! As the school continues to grow she will be a big asset starting next month.

         Cornelio and I are thrilled to share that I am pregnant. We wanted to wait till after I graduated college to start a family and God worked out the timing perfectly! This baby will be such a blessing and we are so ecstatic to be parents!

As a graduation present, Cori invited me to go with her to Guatemala over Holy Week. It was fabulous to visit a different country and experience that culture.  It really did make me appreciate Costa Rica more than I had already. It is easy to take for granted simple things like drinking water from the tap. It was nice to have that time in Guatemala but I was happy to go back home.

Over this past month Cornelio and I have been reminded to appreciate the simple things of life. As we continue to be grateful and notice the daily things Jesus does for us, we find a deeper level of happiness and joy.

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what you hand have done. How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts! Psalm 92:4-5

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cori's Update: A Season of Change

Change is good. I like change. I thrive on it, actually. But not all change makes me happy. First change: the weather. Second change: new living arrangements. Third change: Logan headed back to the states.

The weather changed in the last week and a half or so. It cooled off. Logan was thrilled. It started with an afternoon when the clouds rolled in with a teeny-weenie rain shower. We're talking spit from the sky. Each day, it rained a little more. As I sit here typing, rain is pounding on the roof and pouring out the gutters. And there are some SWEET cracks of thunder too. :-) Summer (as they call it here) is ending, and the rainy season is on its way. Luckily, the porch is entirely roofed and guttered, the house has been re-roofed, and some recent issues with the septic tank were resolved just as the clouds blew in. Believe it or not, Cailene and Cornelio's house and property is starting to look normal again. Heck, the space on the side of the house that has been a dumping ground since we got here and construction started is once again bare dirt waiting for the grass seed to be laid! The dogs are sure happy about that!!!

This is the river running down our driveway from the rain. Just a small flood every afternoon.
New living arrangements. This one goes hand in hand with Logan leaving. The short story is that I'm living on Cailene and Cornelio's porch. We put up a cozy twin bed and nightstand, my clothes are in the same tub they've been in since I got here, and I get to sleep in the open air and wake with the sun. Not too shabby, if you ask me. The sucky part is that I'm without my better half. Logan's talked about going fishing again this year for several months, and he finally got around to doing it. He got tired of being hot and spending money (hard to buy property when you've spent all your money…), so he packed his bags and headed home last night. He is scheduled to arrive in Wenatchee at 1150pm tonight (Thursday), after a solid 24 hours of traveling. Then he'll spend a few days in Stehekin getting his fishing clothes and gear together, and should be headed to Dutch Harbor sometime around the 13th or so. Once he makes it to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, he'll be on the boat for at least a month, possibly 6-8 weeks. He's committed to two trips (each takes about 2 weeks), but may stay for a 3rd if he's feeling good.

This is from last year, but you get the idea.
With Logan leaving, I had to decide if I was going to stay here in our house alone (not a good choices due to high rates of burglary), pack my bag and do some traveling in Central America, or head back to the states two months early. After a very rough day of thinking about it, I decided to stick around. I'm not ready to be back in the good ol' U-S-of-A and surrounded by English again. And I'm not sure I'd like traveling alone, much less for 2 months. But I didn't want to live alone. My imagination is way too active for that. Thus, we arrive at the porch solution. As soon as the apartment is finished, Bonnie will move down there, and I'll move into her room. But that's a slow process (albeit coming along) and may or may not be finished by May 6th. But it doesn't matter. The porch is sufficient for me, and I'm thankful to Cailene and Cornelio for their hospitality and friendship.
Best part about living on the porch? The amazing view. God sure paints the sky with pretty colors.
That's where we're at. A period of change. Now I just have to get through the next 8 1/2 weeks until I can see my husband again. It's gonna fly by.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Random acts of kindness.

Lately God has put on my heart to go above and beyond the norm and to look for opportunities that he gives us daily. Last week there was an elderly lady limping her way back home with a heavy load of groceries.  I offered to carry her things home and after we arrived at her house she invited me in. When I saw her old run down little house I asked if  she lived alone. We chatted about 30 min.  She was a widow who just needed company and some encouragement to hang on to her faith and a reminder of Jesus’ love.
Mom helping YWAM missions group 

Cornelio helping a man off the street 

Jorge is in his 60’s and has been helping us off and on. Many people won’t give him work because he is half crippled and has a drinking problem. But after we hired him to help with the apartment, Cornelio said if he come on time everyday that we would feed him breakfast and lunch along with his pay. He came to work everyday on time and sober.  He use to beg for coffee and sugar when we passed by on the road .One day he brought a bag of lemons from his tree and asked if we could trade them for a bag sugar. He not only learned work ethic, but also the value of  being resourceful.  

Cornelio saved a little piggy on our walk back home the other day. It came out of nowhere and was being bitten and chased by 2 dogs. After Cornelio calmed it down he took the abandoned piglet home with us. Logan and Cornleio made him a little house and we are hoping to get more pigs to raise with him.
These were just good reminders for me to go out and do the random acts of kindness. Even the smallest things are important to God. When we make the extra effort, God blesses our lives and the lives of others!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cori's Update: A Month of Visitors!

Hello everyone. I know, it's been way too long and I should've updated a month ago, but I didn't. And I'm here now, so there you have it. :-)

Where did I leave off? Colter went home on January 15th, and then my parents came down January 25th-Feb 1st. It was wonderful to see my mom and dad, and to share Costa Rica with them! Aside from a Cancun vacation several years ago, this was their first trip to Central America, and they enjoyed it very much. Mom was gracious enough to bring some hearty, American germs with her (she was sick when they got here) and she shared them around with both Logan and I. That part wasn't fun. But the rest of the time was. We took a day trip to the Caribbean coast, which meant getting up and leaving my house at 3:30am, driving for about 5.5 hours, snorkeling and swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea for about 6 hours and enjoying a fabulous seafood lunch, and then driving another 6 hours or so to get home, finally ending up in bed around 10pm. It was a LONG day, but very enjoyable, and we were so thankful to Cornelio for being our chauffeur so we didn't have to take the bus!! Oh, and we saw a couple cute lil' monkeys in some trees at the beach too. Love it! My parents and I also spent an afternoon shopping at Mercado Central in San Jose, which is a huge market with everything from restaurants to souvenirs to raw meat and veggies and clothing. They picked up some good stuff to take home, and got a taste of the city as well (not that it's that different from any other city).

My friend, Jessica, was supposed to arrive on January 30th, but her flight got delayed by AN ENTIRE DAY!!! She flew in without incident on the 31st, and we loaded up in the car the next morning to get my parents to the airport to go home, and us to the bus station for a lil' jaunt to Nicaragua. Logan and I have to leave the country every 90 days on our tourist visas, so I'd very precisely counted our days here and established that we need to be out of the country from Feb 1st through Feb 6th to have exactly 90 days in country on either side of that trip. We decided to go to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua solely because it is the closest place to get to. Logan isn't fond of bus rides (not that he's every really taken them before this) and 7 hours sounded like an eternity to him, but it was our best option. So we loaded up the car with Cornelio driving, Logan up front, me, Jessica, and my dad in the back seat, and my mom in the trunk, with our bags tied to the roof. (Thanks, Mom, for riding in the trunk!!!) Beverly Hillbillies, anyone? Of course, when we got to the bus station in San Jose, we found out that the bus to Nicaragua was sold out!!! For lack of other options, we booked tickets for Monday, Feb 3rd, prayed that no one would notice that we'd been in the country a couple of days too long, and headed to the airport to drop off my parents. They got all checked in uneventfully, and we headed back to Palmichal.

Logan, who was still trying to get over Mom's friendly sickness, was thrilled to not have to spend the day on a bus, but the real treat was getting to watch the Superbowl from the comfort of Cailene's couch instead of at a restaurant or bar in Nicaragua! Yes, we watched the whole game, though it wasn't much of a game, was it? In case you're wondering, the commentary was all in Spanish, and no, we didn't get any of the good commercials. We just got the usual Costa Rican commercials, and yes, it was slightly disappointing. :-) And we loved having traditional football food - chips and guacamole, homemade caramel corn, and homemade pizza. Yum!!

Monday, Feb 3rd, began our jaunt to Nicaragua. We took the bus from Palmichal to San Jose, walked a few blocks to the Tica Bus station, sat around for a couple hours, then got comfy on the bus for our 7 hour ride to San Juan del Sur. It took 5 hours to get to the border, a solid hour and a half there, then another 30-45 min to Rivas, where we got off Tica Bus. It was about 630pm at this point, and we ended up taking a taxi for $23 to San Juan del Sur, which was about 30 minutes away. Nicaragua uses both the Dollar and the Cordoba for currency, but since we hadn't changed any money at the border (bad exchange rates) all we had was the $23 in Jessica's wallet. We settled in at Hostal Amelia, and headed to an ATM to get some cash. Of course, even though I told my bank I was going to be in Nicaragua, due to the massive fraud stuff with Target and all recently, they blocked my card. Luckily, Jessica was able to pull out enough money to get us through until I could talk to the bank and get it all fixed, so we didn't have any problems. San Juan del Sur is a little beach town that in the last few years has gotten very touristy. It's nestled on a cute little bay and has some amazing seafood ($6 lobster dinner = YUM!!!), but you have to take a shuttle to any of the beaches. We spent most of one day at Playa Maderas (playa means beach), which was absolutely beautiful. We played in the water, enjoyed fish tacos for lunch, walked on the beach, and found a cozy lil' spot under some trees where we could keep Jessica's tender, western-Washington skin out of the brutally intense sun. :-) After a few minutes under the trees, we realized the ground was, well, moving. It was covered with tiny hermit crabs!!! So we entertained ourselves by building corrals for them and watching them climb out, having races, and trying to find the biggest/prettiest ones. The next day we went on a zip-line canopy tour. It was really fun, and I saw 3 monkeys from one of the lines (of course, neither Jessica nor Logan saw them). We did some souvenir shopping, and I purchased a hammock chair and a big, lovely painting from a street vendor. Jessica also got a painting, which will be a great memory/souvenir. We left San Juan del Sur at 6:30am, sat in Rivas for a couple hours, then started the 7 hour bus ride back to San Jose. Then we got to the border. We sat in line for Costa Rican immigration for what felt like forever, and then when we got to the front, the guy said he needed our itinerary. Of course, I didn't have a copy of our itinerary showing when we were leaving the country. He wouldn't let us in the country without it. So I ran all over the border area begging people for a computer and praying that I'd be able to access my email and print the needed info. Thankfully, I found a place and the guy graciously let me use his computer and printer for free with minimal begging. I ran back past our bus (which was full of everyone waiting just for us) and into the customs area, where I shoved my way back to the front of the line and gave the man the desired info. It only took about 30 seconds for him to realize who I was and what I was talking about. He finally stamped our passports and Logan and I hurried to the bus. Poor Jessica sat on the bus watching the driver come back and count people as the seats filled up until ours were the only empty ones. When he looked at her and pointed at the seats, she said, "Mis amigos?" and hoped they wouldn't leave without us. :-) Luckily they didn't, and off we went. We took the slow route back to San Jose, meaning we didn't get there until about 6:00pm! We got on the bus at 9am. Ugh. Luckily, we walked to the other bus station and were able to get straight on a bus for Palmichal, getting home here about 8:30pm. Long day, but a fun trip and it was GREAT to be home.

Jessica and I also took a trip to Tortuguero, which is the Costa Rican version of Stehekin. We took 3 different buses, then an hour boat ride and arrived on a narrow, little island in the northeast corner of the country. We could see the roiling ocean surf from our bedroom door at the hostel. Definitely not a good swimming beach, but it's famous as a place where sea turtles lay their eggs. Of course, we were there when there were no turtles at all (not the right season) but between taking a canoe tour of the surrounding waterways and walking through the national park, we saw two different kinds of monkeys, lots of nasty spiders and bugs, beautiful butterflies, several different lizards (including iguanas and the 'Jesus Christ' lizards - google it if that means nothing to you), some very colorful frogs and caterpillars (mostly poisonous), a toucan, a snake, and a crocodile. On our way home from Tortuguero, we headed for the Irazu Volcano. After getting all the way to Cartago, we missed the bus by 4 minutes. Of all times for something here to be on time, that way what it had to be. Sigh. So we decided to just get some lunch and then come home a day earlier than planned. It was still a fun trip despite the failed volcano visit attempt.

We spent Jessica's last few days here sharing the germs we'd all enjoyed from my mom (yes, we sent Jess home sick) and seeing some of the local cool sights: a couple of waterfalls, Cerro Pinto (which is a nearby mountain top from which you can see both the San Jose valley as well as the area where we live and more), and swimming with the dogs at a nearby swimming hole. So we sent Jessica home with some great memories, some awesome souvenirs, and a love respiratory infection. :-)

Construction has been plugging right along, and we are happy to report that the porch is back and more beautiful than ever!!! The new tile floor on the deck is beautiful, and Logan and Cornelio have been welding the framing/bracing for the roof over the last couple of days. We should have it on by the end of the week if all goes well. The apartment below the porch has it's last wall framed, and we have most of the supplies to finish it (tile, toilet, sink, etc). It's a slow process but it's coming along.

School started on Feb 1st, and we're happy to report that the school has a nice crop of new students, in addition to lots of returning students. Bonnie and I are substituting as needed so that Cornelio can keep working on the porch and the apartment with Logan, and we're getting back into a nice routine.

Cailene and I have started going to the local gym instead of the pool for this month, and it's great to be running, biking, and lifting weights more regularly.

Please be in prayer for us regarding the road by which Cailene and Cornelio's house is accessed. One neighbor is trying to close the road because he thinks it is his property and doesn't like the traffic. It's a messy situation and looks like it will take some serious time and money to resolve, so be in prayer that everyone stays calm and that things progress quickly to get it resolved. Also, Cailene's knee, which she hurt a good month ago or so, is improving, but pray that it continues to get better quickly and she can keep doing the things we want to do. Logan and I have just under 10 weeks left in Costa Rica. I can't believe time is going so quickly, even though I knew it would fly by. Pray that we enjoy the rest of our time here and use it well.

Sorry I don't have any pictures…I know that what most of you want anyway. I didn't take any in Nicaragua or Tortuguero cuz' Jessica had her nice camera. Hopefully I'll be able to get some from her in the next couple weeks and can post them next time!!!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Great start to a new year!

This past month has been a great start to the new year. Cornelio and I are helping lead worship at church. It is great to have Cori joining us. I have been teaching Sunday school twice a month and growing in Spanish because of it. Some of the VBS songs I have translated to teach the kids at church and it is fulfilling to see how they absorb everything.
Leading worship
Sunday school kids sharing a song with puppets 

Pablo is our friend who was a strong Buddhist before Cornelio started witnessing to him. After 4 months Pablo was more interested in Christianity. Now he often comes to church with us! Mom gave him his first Bible last week.  (We gave him one in English too so he can practice.) We are praising God for Pablo’s new steps in faith!  
Mom giving Pablo his first Bible.

House to house advertising went well this year and glory to God we have more students for both our music and  English programs. Three students graduated last year able to clearly communicate in English. We look forward to keeping in contact of them and seeing how they use their English for themselves as well as encouraging and helping others. Mom went to Christian's public school graduation. He was so happy to have her support.
Advertising for our school
Christian graduating from high school and our English program

1 Peter 3:15

 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cori's Update: Vacation, vacation, vacation, and a lil' bit of home improvement

Apparently, I'm incapable of blogging more than every 2-3 weeks. Sorry. And lots of people have been asking for more pictures, so here's the story. I don't take pictures. Yes, I have a camera here. Yes, Logan has his itouch here. Yes, we all have phones that take pictures. No, I don't take pictures. That said, between the 5 of us, we do have several pictures, so I'll try to throw a bunch of them into this post.

We are still on 'summer' vacation, so there isn't much to report regarding the school. Cailene, Bonnie, and I have been sorting papers and files, creating and modifying worksheets, and just generally getting organized for the coming year. Both the Tabarcia and Palmichal classrooms have been cleaned, and, after digging through several tubs of stored random school stuff, we are getting some new books, games, and posters into the classrooms. Classes start the first week of February, and there are several students who want to take classes but can't afford it. If you're interested in sponsoring a student, please check out the official website (

While we've been taking it pretty easy and enjoying places like the beach and the river, we've also been working on the construction of Bonnie's apartment. It's official now: the apartment is going below Cailene and Cornelio's porch. There will also be extra garage space for 2 or 3 cars below the porch, which will be great for parties and group events. After our beach trip, the guys really buckled down and put in a few long, hot days of construction work. The walls are now completed, the support beams for the porch are being welded together, and as I type, the guys are putting in the septic tank (not quite a US-style tank, but still functional). We don't have any predicted finish date, but progress is being made, which is encouraging. It will be nice to get the porch back, and to have more usable space in general.

Logan's brother, Colter, just left this morning after spending 2 weeks with us. He arrived at 645am on New Year's Day (nobody got much sleep on New Year's Eve...), and spent a couple days here in Palmichal before we headed to the beach at Jaco. For lack of space in the car, Bonnie stayed behind and enjoyed a 'girl's weekend' with a couple of her good friends. They had great fellowship and opened doors to lots of new experiences for one of the ladies. The rest of us had a wonderful time at the beach. Logan and Colter took an Open Water Scuba Diving Certification course (and even passed!), which allows them to now scuba dive without an instructor. They did 4 dives in the ocean and several pool sessions over 3 days. Cailene and Cornelio did a Discover Scuba Diving program, which was one pool session and 2 ocean dives. We don't have any underwater pictures, but it sounds like the saw some cool stuff. I know my limits and passed on the scuba diving. See, you have to take a lil' boat a decent distance out into the ocean, and then you're out there for a few hours. I get motion sick. Thus, small boat + ocean + me = really bad idea. After their ocean dives, they all said it was good that I didn't come along, because Cailene and Cornelio both got pretty sick on the boat. I spent my time and money in a much more intense pastime: surfing. I took a lesson one day and just rented a board the next, and had a fabulous time beginning my professional surfing career. :-) By the time our 3 days were up, all 3 boys thought they were dying of heat stroke and couldn't wait to get back to the cooler mountain air. Not gonna lie, it was pretty toasty.

Bonnie and I spent a day with Lidieth and her friend, Isobel, learning how to make tamales. It was an all day process (started at 7am and finished about 3pm), but they were delicious! Pictures below.

Not a whole lot else to report. Bonnie, Cailene and I are still swimming regularly, and working out here at the house on non-swimming days. We try to run a couple days a week (I'm determined to convince Cailene to like running!) and we do some strength circuits a couple days a week as well. It is fabulous to have people to workout with again and I'm really going to miss it when we go home!!! Speaking of home...can't believe we are approaching our 3 month mark. Time flies!

Getting perms!
Rocky hiding in the shower during fireworks.

Prepping for the backflip!

Jumping off the rock.

Even the girls jump off the rock!

Floating the river at the swimming hole.

Finished perms and Logan's new motorcycle...
Unloading block for construction.

Ready, set, scuba!

Stoked about diving!

Never looked better!

First breaths under water.

Cailene rockin' the wave!

Cori surfin' in Jaco.
Baby gecko that incubated and hatched on Cailene's nightstand.

Isobel burning the banana leaves to clean/prep them for tamales.

Straining the masa.

Stirring the masa (it really was tiring!)

Making tortillas for lunch while making tamales.

Slicing veggies and washing banana leaves for tamales.