Acclimation Phase Dos

As I sit down to share our next update with you, I am flooded with so many good things I would like to share. It has been 13 days since the youth missions team left and 22 days since our arrival. We are trying to settle in more each day, but we are still shocked every time we walk out our door and see the beauty that surrounds our home!


We were extremely encouraged to get to FaceTime with our church in Placerville California this past Sunday. We could see everyone and shared our praise reports and prayer requests. They also sang a prayer over us which was a huge blessing  and encouraged us so much. You can see a video recording of that here:

The youth team were able to share from their experiences that Sunday morning; they also were able to show this video of some of the ministry that took place, which you can also see here:

Well we did not purchase a vehicle yet, but we did still return our rental car 9 days ago. This in itself has been a bit of an adventure. The public transportation in Costa Rica is inexpensive and pretty convenient. The only thing is: we live out where the public transportation does not venture! We have been able to get a few rides to town with Agustin and from there we have taken the bus. We did wait for about 45 minutes at what we thought was a bus stop. We soon realized that we needed to walk to the actual bus stop you see Matt sitting at in the picture bellow on the left, but only after two buses had passed us by without even slowing down to our waves!

One day we bought a fridge (hurray for fresh food!) and we were able to get a ride home with our fridge delivery! I was amazed that they were willing to wait for us while we finished our shopping at other stores, and returned for our fridge delivery and ride back home. Matt and I barely managed to both squeeze in the cab of the truck. I had my feet up and over on Matt’s lap due to the manual shifter. The delivery man was certainly surprised at our long bumpy road, but he did keep mentioning how beautiful the drive was, so it couldn’t have been too bad of an experience for him.

Two days ago we received a ride with Agustin to work on getting a bank account (more on that story in a moment) and we found a taxi to drive us back up the mountain. Not as inexpensive as a bus, but he did take us all the way home. I didn’t expect this since he had given us a flat rate at the beginning to take us to Caragral. We had planned to walk from there, but I think our driver was enjoying the views and the adventurous ride. At one point they were felling trees across the road and he was even alright with waiting through that! While it has been an adventure of faith not having our own vehicle way out here, we are both looking forward to when we are able to find and purchase our own vehicle.

Which leads me to our bank account, or our lack of a bank account. 😉 Agustin has been patiently collecting 5 different letters for us to open an account as foreigners. We would like this account so we can use their SinPay system, which is basically an account to account payment method. We have been putting off the purchase of the car to hopefully be able to use this payment method, rather than take $8,000 dollars, which is about 4,423,800 in colones, with us in cash out on the street. Yikes! So two days ago  we returned to the bank with all our letters stamped and signed. The very patient employee worked through phone call after phone call for 2 hrs. She then let us know we would have better luck at a different bank. So a long morning, still no account, but we do have a very good and patient friend Agustin who is still working to find a way for us.

I have been able to teach the kids bible lessons twice, and I have been preparing for more. We get to see them here at the building twice a week! The kids are so sweet and open to learning. I have also been able to lead worship in music at these meetings which has also been a sweet time for me. I was so happy to stumble upon Not only do they have a children’s Bible curriculum available online, they have it in Spanish too! Pastor Larry Enterline also has some recordings available on the site that teach how to use the curriculum in a way that encourages the kids to meet with God for themselves. In the teachings, he references a book written by Richard Bennett called Food For Faith. I was particularly excited to hear the reference, as that was my favorite and most impactful extra reading book I read while attending Calvary Chapel Bible College. Mr. Bennett’s goal in the book is to encourage simply meeting with God through the scriptures; this is an approach that Pastor Larry also encourages Sunday school teachers to use as they teach the Word of God to children. I hope to be able to use the curriculum starting this Saturday; we will see how it goes with my Spanish as it is a very interactive and conversational approach!

We have also gone to work on our house, sealing the floors and walls. We hope this will help to keep some of the bugs out and the warmth in! Thankfully the wind has finally died down, making sleeping much more enjoyable! 🙂 I also fixed our heater! I was looking at the fan blade inside and realized it was stuck on the heating coils. We were unable to open the heater as the screws were very strange and hard to get to, but I was able to slip a knife through the vents to push the fan blade and send it away from the coils. I unplugged it of course. 😉 So we also now have a working heater which is nice to get the chill out of our room when we first go in to sleep.


Speaking of sleep. Every morning we get an outstanding wake up call around 5:30. I haven’t discovered what kind of bird is so kind to sound as loud and as consistent as an alarm clock, but he sure is dependable. 😉

Matt has been working the past couple of days with Agustin and some other workers to cut down trees and manage the property surrounding the church. God has been faithful to keep them safe and Matt has really enjoyed working alongside others. He has been learning to communicate despite language barriers and has been picking up lots of useful vocabulary as well. In addition to the tree work, Matt has engineered some pvc pipes to help him with the watering here on the property. He is certainly relieved to have his watering time cut down.

We have also met some fun creatures including but not limited to: mountain coatis, giant spiders, birds, lizards, bats, ants, mosquitoes, and a super cute-hard-working donkey.

We also visited a coffee plant where I had the chance to reunite with a young lady I had met here in Costa Rica about 5 years ago. I had helped her learn how to use their new espresso machine; she remembered me and it was a fun reunion.

We’re extremely grateful for all that has happened in these past two weeks since our last update and we are looking forward to what the next weeks hold for us as well.






Some Rough Roads

Today is our 9th day in Costa Rica and our 1st day spent without the youth team; they traveled with us and helped us to get settled into our new Costa Rican home. (Thank you!!!) We have experienced more things in the last nine days than I think I can express, but I would love to share with you some highlights.

What God has done with us:

We can’t deny that this week has been overwhelming and stretching. But it has also been full of blessing and growth. We have already learned so many important lessons. The first is rest- God’s timeline is not always the same as what we think it needs to be and it is good to take time and rest in Him.

The second is preparedness- we already got to experience our first visit to the Dr. for a member of the team and it was an eye opening experience for us. Because where we live is remote, we need to be prepared with an emergency plan as well as maybe even some basic medical training for ourselves and future teams.

The third is double checking our receipts before leaving a store. We had purchased a table saw for work that needed to be done at our house. Not only did it take a day and a half to assemble, but it was missing pieces! So we had to return the saw and we bought a different brand. Well I was checking over the receipts, returns and our bank account and an outstanding withdrawal was unexplained in our purchases. Well it turns out the first saw that we purchased was charged twice! I was very worried about returning to the store and trying to explain what had occurred with the added complication of a return already having been made and Spanish being my second language. God was gracious. They understood everything, were able to check our story against their inventory and grant us our money back. We are grateful we learned this with a large ticket item so that we could notice it now rather than paying more for little items over a long time not realizing this lesson until later.

The fourth lesson is “Pura vida.” Pura vida is an expression used by Costa Ricans to express a lot. Literally it means: pure life. The best way I can explain it is this: life is good, so no worries. Were you unable to finish a project? Pura vida, it will get done tomorrow, or next week, or someday. Did you accidentally wrong someone or experience a wrong? Pura vida, there is forgiveness. Is there a tree down in the road? Pura vida, we can take a different route or even help to cut it up, where ever we are going is not so important that it can’t wait. Were you getting ready to leave the house and an unexpected guest arrives? Pura vida, the time spent with them will be understood by whomever you were going to meet. This culture can be both challenging as well as comforting and I think we will be learning this lesson for a long time.

In other news we have been able to purchase a lot of necessities for our home and work here including: a microwave, a bed, a computer monitor, some tools, basic home essentials, a washing machine which Matt is working to install today, and a heater that doesn’t work… but that’s another story. It has been so incredibly and unusually windy and cold for this season and we will hopefully be able to exchange the heater soon. Some things we hope to find this week are a vehicle  (our rental is due back on Wednesday the 18th), and a cell phone plan that has coverage on the mountain.

What God did with the team:

From the first day we arrived, the team was already involved in ministry. Wednesday just happens to be one of the two days that the bi-weekly Bible study falls on here at the building on the mountain. People with whom we have been sharing life with for about 2-3 weeks out of the year, during the past 5 years of missions teams, attend this meeting to learn more about God and grow in their relationship with Him through the worship and Bible teaching. Agustin and Nela have been facilitating this study for the past year. The team was enthusiastic to share worship and teaching with the adults, as well as worship, puppets, teaching, and crafts with the kids. They also were involved for the following Saturday study.

After the first day, the actual days get a little foggy, so here is a general description of the rest of the outreach and ministry days: They were invited to Pastor José’s church near Jorco in the evening. We met him during the youth trip one year ago and the encouragement and love was so mutually edifying that we couldn’t wait to see him, his family, and congregation again this year. The team shared the Life House “Everything” pantomime drama, as well as some worship songs and a short teaching about the drama. After the service we were invited to share in dinner and fellowship at Pastor José’s home with his family.

The team was also invited to Pastor William’s church in Jorco for their Sunday service. We met Pastor William one year ago at the same event where we met Pastor José. Calvary Placerville’s Youth Pastor was able to teach the sermon and the rest of the team shared their drama, as well as ministered to the children with their puppets and worship songs. Every member of the team was so blessed to participate with them in their Sunday service. Their Worship leader speaks English and was a huge encouragement to the team both during the service and afterwards.

Finally the team was invited to another church in Jorco for a special outreach midweek. The team shared their worship songs, and one member shared his testimony with the adults, while the kids did a craft, worship, and puppets. Afterwards we shared in lunch and fellowship while many of the team members were very encouraged by the Pastor.

In addition to all of the outreach, the team was able to share in some one on one conversations with our friends on the mountain. I was also blessed to have help shopping for some of our more essential items and with cleaning and organizing our home. Some of the team members were able to work on our electrical line to bring us electricity after a few days without it. They also built us a beautiful bed frame so our mattress is now up off the floor and away from the bugs. Our sliding bathroom door is hung and operational. Some preventative maintenance was also done on the property to avoid power-outages in the future. We are so grateful! It was also so neat to see God working individually in each member of the team and especially the youth. I can’t speak for them, but I believe each of them grew a lot in their relationships with God and will never forget this experience.

Some rough roads: literally 😉 We live up a mountain on some pretty awesome four wheel drive roads, which I think serve as a good picture for a large part of our experience this week. As we drive along these roads it can be uncomfortable at times, feel like a lot of time is spent on a short distance, require alertness to the obstacles, and can sometimes instill a bit of fear or worry at certain seemingly impasses. But we always get to where we are going and also get to enjoy A LOT of beautiful views along the way. There were many times we (including the team) were uncomfortable this week; be it new experiences, physical pains and sickness, the lack of electricity and internet , having to step out in ways we feel ill-equipped for within ourselves, the horribly windy weather, or simply adjusting to a new home. The amount of time it would take us to accomplish a goal became a very long process due to different complications in seemingly most every circumstance! 🙂  We needed to stay alert to maintain unity and not allow our own needs to come before others. We were continually called to put our trust and confidence in God as we faced trails that seemed overwhelming at times. But for all the bumps, dips, fog, and trees in our literal and figurative road we are so grateful that God’s faithfulness proves true every day; every day we made it to where God wanted us to be and we certainly got to experience a whole lot of beautiful things in the process.dsc02651