Monday, February 7, 2011

Doing the work of a small army, blessing those around them

We're heading home tomorrow, and this will be our last post from Costa Rica.

Here's a photo of our hosts, Matt and Lisa Befus from Saturday night at a beautiful restaurant in the mountains above the San Jose valley where La Palabra De Vida is located.

Matt and Lisa have provided funding, vision, and direction for La Palabra De Vida over the years, and the school, its employees and students have all been blessed by their many outstanding qualities.

While hosting us, they have fed us, taught us English, explained in nearly American terms how to get to different stores and locations in the city, prayed for us, and blessed us in every way imaginable. Because of their willingness to let us work at the school for this time, our family will never be the same.

We have witnessed first hand the extraordinary efforts that missionaries make to win souls, transform lives, and bring joy.

Thanks so much, we are indebted to you, and are already talking about our next mission adventure!

Bill, Vickie, and the kids.

p.s. For those of you wondering about the Green Bay cap that Matt is wearing...yes, he's a huge Packer fan, he grew up in Sheboygan, and he was pretty excited on Sunday night!

Biblioteca para los ninos, antes y despues (Children's library, before and after)

La Palabra De Vida provides an excellent Christian education for a large number of K-6 children. The teachers are energetic, vision-driven, and passionate about ensuring that the children receive the very best Costa Rica has to offer.

The children's section of the library was often visited and loved by the children, but unfortunately, the amount and quality of the existing books and area needed some improvement.

Thanks to your generosity, here are the before (from October 2009) and after photos of the children's library at La Palabra De Vida.

With the funds your provided and the generosity and assistance of friends from Wheaton, IL, the children's library now is a fun and book-filled area that children will truly love to come to.

Lending libraries are not common in Costa Rica, and this project will allow La Palabra De Vida to begin to see many children taking books home and reading them.

Our children love books and the hundreds of books in our home school area, our living room, and our children's bedrooms, made us yearn to give these kids something similar.

Here are the 2nd grade children in the new children's library section for the first time! So, from us to you, thanks and God's richest blessings!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Long drive, great finish (no, it's not about golf!)

The deck of our hotel room at La Mariposas made taking chamber of commerce quality pictures a simple task for this old Okie. The Pacific Ocean provided a stunning backdrop to the rainforest and the busy seaside town of Quepos.

Problem is, in this near equator location, sunset each night is around 5:40 pm, making for an early evening. Not a bad thing if you're getting as old as me!

To get to the Manuel Antonio National Park at Quep0s, one first has to navigate a treacherous three hour drive through the mountains, around eighteen wheelers built during the Eisenhower adminstration, and the usual collection of motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, and vendors selling their wares on crowded highways.

It was worth the drive. Known as one of the top ten beaches in the world, Manuel Antonio has the added attraction of monkeys that would as soon steal your last 5 colon coin as look at you. We spent a lot of time on the beaches, avoided the rip currents that have claimed many a victim in these parts, toured the national park, and came eye to eye with perezosos, monos, mapeches, pajaros, and other critters whose name I don't know.

We ate twice at Sancho's, a joint run by an ex-pat, boasting the freshest and best fish tacos we've ever encountered.
We sat at the pool and enjoyed smoothies with delicious ingredients and friendly waiters.

But the best thing we did?

We focused on God's sensational creation and the sense of wonder that it gives each of us. We thought about our place in this world and the purpose that God has given to our family. We read scripture and prayed for the rest of our adventure, and also for the needs of many close to us who are sick and hurting. We continued to be amazed at God's faithfulness to us in each step of our journey.

Thank you Lord, that you have made this not perfectly planned, not perfectly executed, not completely thought out, flawed little adventure, something that is blessing many. Like the last picture in this post, we are not perfect, but you Lord, are perfect, and you are worthy of our love, our adoration, and our praise. May each year that passes by allow us to do greater things for you.