Friday, December 2, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

We have so much to be thankful for. The hurricane Otto hit Costa Rica hard in the north and over 1,400 people were evacuated from their homes. The shelters are set up in schools and community halls for the people. The Red Cross around the country has been receiving money and clothes to give to the people as they had to leave with short notice and have nothing. Cornelio and I sent some cloths along with much prayer for all the homeless families. We continue to pray as they start from scratch again.

On thanksgiving night I was surprised after I got home from work. The girls in my small group stopped by with hand made cards for me to celebrate thanksgiving and they thanked me for having the weekly gathering with them. I felt so loved and special! We ended up playing games, dancing and eating root beer floats (that Cornelio made us) till 10pm (which is late for the parents to let them go out on a school night here)! What a memorable thanksgiving! 

Cornelio and I just had our 8 year anniversary. We are excited about 2017 and want to work hard to grow our school and to look for more ways to reach out to the communities around us. 
May God bless you and let us rejoice that Jesus is the reason for the season! 



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

November 2016

We are praying for our nation as the elections come to a final   decision.

 " Don't become preoccupied with your child's academic ability but instead teach them to sit with those sitting alone. Teach them to be kind, teach them to offer their help teach them to be a friend to the lonely  teach them to encourage others Teach them to think about other people Teach them to share Teach them to look for the good  This is how they'll change the world."

One of the new things we are trying at the school is a parent student class. We are teaching the parents how to work with their kids. As a culture, playing with kids is not a common practice.  Kids play on their own but little interaction with parents.  The parents who are involved are over achievers and push their children very hard.  We want to show parents how to make learning fun and interactive. One parent said whenever her son sees numbers he just cries and says he can't do it.  I reassured her that just because he has his mind set that he doesn't like numbers that it can be changed. I suggested they go to the park and count the birds, walk and count the steps from one tree to the next, see how many jumps it is from the slide to the swing. Both the mom and son were thrilled with this idea.

This is Caleb. Ten years ago he was in a very bad car accident. His brother was killed. Caleb's leg was crushed and doctors said he would probably loose his leg and probably he'd never walk again. Bonnie went to his house most every day for the three months she was three to help with physical therapy and took him to the pool for a final therapy lesson after many surgeries and all his stitches were  removed.   When he came home from his last surgery Bonnie had hung balloons up all over his room, which he left up for months.  To celebrate the marking of 10 years since the accident Bonnie brought Caleb balloons and banana bread. They spent time reflecting on his progress over the last 10 years and thanking God for HIS healing hand.

While waiting for my soccer game to start Bonnie was preparing lessons for school and coloring some  booklets. Soon she had several kids around her and they were coloring all together.  She is a kid magnet where ever she goes.

On October 25th our son Mekhi turned two. It is exciting to hear his first words said both in English and in Spanish. 

 Food is always a creative motivator to stimulate fun language activities.   This is a marshmallow monster.  The students created their marshmallow monster with uncooked spaghetti, gummy rings and marshmallows.  They introduced their monsters to each other and told them their newly invented name, what their favorite foods are, where they live, how old they are.  They had to ask each other questions depending on what area they were studying in English class. There was lots of giggling and fun interactive learning going on during this activity.

There was a balloon making class for the community Bonnie and I enjoyed learning how to make several different things. In Costa Rica all baby showers, birthdays and school events have balloons for decorations. It is the cool thing to do so we now have some fun new ideas for decorating for Christmas and graduation.

We now have shirts with the school name on them. In Costa Rica all public and private schools the students wear uniforms.  Now as teachers we have uniforms. This makes us look professional and we now do not have to wonder about what we are going to wear. We are now starting to prepare for graduation at the school which is in a month!

Friday, October 7, 2016

October 2016

October is the rainiest season of the year. We are amazed at how much it can rain is such a short time. Life  continues just with umbrellas and rain boots. There have been many mud slides and evacuations but none in our area.

 One of the young men on Cornelio's soccer team got an blood infection and was in the hospital for a month and at the age of 22 died!  This was such a shock to the community. Cornelio helped the soccer team to rally and all wear their uniforms to the funeral. Many of them stayed with the family all night and slept on the floor just to surround the family with love and prayers.  The team captain said a prayer and all the players signed his jersey and it was put in the coffin. Lots of tears and reevaluating what if that was me..... this lead to many deep conversations and some changes in life choices. God uses each situation as a tool to understand that there is so much more to life than just living for ones self.

This lady's husband left her to be with another woman, leaving her a single mom with no income to pay electricity bill. Bonnie and a friend bought supplies to make bread and showed her how to make the bread and sell it. She and her son were able to pay the electricity bill and have supplies to make lots more bread. This helped her get through a tough time and also gave her tools to earn some money and teach her son a work ethic. 

Kids day in Costa Rica is a big deal.  Just like Mothers Day is in the states.  In our school we dressed up like clowns and played games to celebrate.

Now Mekhi has learned how to turn on the keyboard and enjoys playing by himself. He is so much fun.  At the end of the month he will be two years old.

In my teen girls group we have been rotating the leadership so each girls gets a turn sharing and giving the lesson. The past gathering it was the youngest girls turn and she talked about respect. We all gave our perspective on how we need to respect (not necessarily  agree) other peoples' choices and beliefs and that way we can be the light of Jesus in our actions and words. We also talked about respecting others  (mostly authority) even if they didn't respect us. I am so grateful and amazed at how God has been changing these girls' hearts and how they have softened and are willing to change and act and react  in a positive manner. 

How Can we be praying for you? 




Friday, September 9, 2016

September 2016

September 15 is independence day in Costa Rica and we feel blessed to be in a free country! A popular tradition is to make homemade lanterns and have an evening parade on the 14th. There are also typical dances and bands that are in the parade on the 15th. We enjoy going and seeing our students and families participate in these activities. 

Corn season is twice a year and it is a tradition to get together with the family and all make "Chorriadas" which is like a sweet corn pancake. Bonnie was invited to join in on the action and be part of this family as they made the traditional dish. 

Bonnie is also bringing new interactive ways to learn English at our school. The students are greatly enjoying the different activities and are continuing to learn in a fun way. 

Last month we celebrated mother's day and Cornelio brought me these flowers. I feel loved by my husband and son. 

Cornelio always cleans the entrance and the mud buildup. He works hard to keep it safe for others who use it daily. He continues to bless the neighbors with his labor intensive work and as rainy season comes, this entrance is now safe to walk and drive on. 

I talked to my girls gruop about the freedom of forgiveness. I explained that after one truly forgives, the burden is taken away and one can feel real peace that Jesus gives once we forgive. The girls took on my challenge to ask for forgiveness or to forgive something that week and came back with outstanding results of how they felt the peace from forgiving! One of the girls said that it took her  the whole week to forgive a person from her past. After she did she felt the burden off her shoulders. God works in great ways and I am glad that these girls are choosing to personally grow receiving nuggets that Jesus has for them! This picture of my girls group and I.

        Let us know how we can pray for you!

 If you would like to contribute to our school here's how. 
Thank you for your support!



Wednesday, August 10, 2016

July and August 2016

July was summer break so we went to the states. We were there for Grandma Chitty's 90th birthday.  What fun to gather family and friends to help her celebrate her life, recall shared memories and to honor her and thank her for how she has impacted our lives.

Bonnie's oldest daughter Annick had planed to get married in October but changed her wedding date so the Costa Rican part of the family did not have to make another trip to the states. So we planned and prepared for the wedding in two weeks!!! Another wonderful family event with lots of love and laughter.

August is the season for the fruit "mamonies" They look like a  long haired sicamore ball. The inside looks like a grape with a large seed in the middle. You suck the fruit then spit out the seed. They are sweet, delicious and fun to eat.

Costa Rica has a rich family based culture. This is one of the many things we enjoy about being  here. We are included in many different  families activities  from several different families. One of the August activities is making choreatas  They are made from a special corn. Husking the corn is step one.

Many generations are involved so it makes if fun for all. The corn is then removed from the cob. The corn kernels are then put into a blender with an egg. This batter is then fried into a big pancake. They are filling and very taste.

Returning to Costa Rica we stepped back into teaching English and being part of the community. Many of our students participated in a typical dance competition. Many schools from the surrounding area were involved and it was an all day event in the high school gym. We want our students to know we are interested in them and all that they do.  This relationship building process is what makes our outreach have more of an impact than just teaching a class. We are investing in the students  interests and building individual relationships with our students.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June 2016

The end of May we were invited to be judges for the Public night school  English spelling bee. It was a big event with certificates for all who participated. There was a rice and beans dinner for everyone afterwards. It was a honor to be asked to help and confirmation that we are embraced by this community.

There is a family in our community who's dad just died of brain cancer. It was a long process and very hard on the family. The mother has 2 college age kids and two in grade school. The oldest girl is on  a full scholarship at the university so she continues with that. The oldest son quit the university to get a job and support the family. In this culture few think past each day. Taking up an offering gets little response. Asking for helping in putting together a food basket gets no response. But lottery is a big deal. They will take a chance on getting something. All school and church projects offer lottery  for everything. It is how they to things and  many participate.

We had a pair of soccer shoes we bought in the states and secretly donated them to a lottery to help the family.  It will run for 2 weeks and the money will be presented to the family on Fathers Day.  It's the little everyday things that make the biggest impact. Joyfully sharing the love of Jesus with out words or taking credit gives God all the glory and increases faith and hope.

In our school we try to use music whenever we can. Music takes us places. In our minds and in our hearts, music touches us in ways that no other medium can. That’s just one of the reasons that it is such a powerful teaching tool. It  makes teaching fun for both the teacher and the student.  We are really enjoying teaching and praising God for all the hearts and minds that are open to learn.

Cornelio and Mekhi just enjoy hanging out together. Cornelio remains active biking and doing sports. Spending time as a family is so important to us as we build a foundation for the future. 

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