Sunday, October 31, 2010

Life in Community

Meet the Family...

Rodney
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
 __________


Cindy
10 [c] A wife of noble character who can find?
       She is worth far more than rubies.
 11 Her husband has full confidence in her
       and lacks nothing of value.
 12 She brings him good, not harm,
       all the days of her life.
 13 She selects wool and flax
       and works with eager hands.
 14 She is like the merchant ships,
       bringing her food from afar.
 15 She gets up while it is still dark;
       she provides food for her family
       and portions for her servant girls.
 16 She considers a field and buys it;
       out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
 17 She sets about her work vigorously;
       her arms are strong for her tasks.
 18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
       and her lamp does not go out at night.
 19 In her hand she holds the distaff
       and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
 20 She opens her arms to the poor
       and extends her hands to the needy.
 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
       for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
 22 She makes coverings for her bed;
       she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
       where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
 24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
       and supplies the merchants with sashes.
 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
       she can laugh at the days to come.
 26 She speaks with wisdom,
       and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
 27 She watches over the affairs of her household
       and does not eat the bread of idleness.
 28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
       her husband also, and he praises her:
 29 "Many women do noble things,
       but you surpass them all."
 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
       but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
 31 Give her the reward she has earned,
       and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

________________


Steve
I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand—
I who set the heavens in place,
who laid the foundations of the earth,
and who say to Zion,
'You are my people.' "

_______________


Christina
 4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying,
 5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew [a] you,
       before you were born I set you apart;
       I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
 6 "Ah, Sovereign LORD," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child."
 7 But the LORD said to me,
"Do not say, 'I am only a child.'
You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.
8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD.
 9 Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me,
"Now, I have put my words in your mouth.
10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down,
to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."

_____________



Tito
Psalm 40:2
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

____________


Biscuit
The great pleasure of a dog is that you make a fool of yourself with him
and not only will he not scold you,
he will make a fool of himself too.
~ Samuel Butler

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Flood


The destruction of the river was beyond words. It swept away whole houses. It left holes in walls that you could literaly walk through. There was no prejudice or mercy in what the river took. Houses, objects, land, the riverbank were all subject to the current. The Quebrada looks like a totally different place.
I also saw the women of the church step up and serve like I have never seen.
They were up early and stayed up late making sure people were well fed.
They gave out of the few supplies they had. They made sure they knew what peoples needs were.
They gave to the people who lost every thing.
These awesome women also made sure it was the people in true need that received aid first and not just people looking for a hand out.
I saw the face of Jesus in these women.
Adriana, Meyling, and Jaqueline, thank you for serving!!
Steve and Kevin also worked tirelessly to help a family that literally lost everything.
They helped stabilize the roof, gutted the house of all the damaged things, and built beds.
You guys ROCK with the heart of Christ!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Prayer

Please pray for Los Anonos. The river flooded this evening and many of the houses along the riverbank were washed away. This comes right on the heels of a fire 2 weeks ago that burned down 2 houses. Please pray for the provision of basic necessities like food, clothing, shelter, and protection. Pray also that people would find hope and peace in Christ during this difficult time.

Before



After

A bird in the hand...


(Steve holding a bird he caught in the house) 

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” is a proverb or idiom saying that it is better to stick with something you already have, rather than pursuing something you may never get. It is always better to have a small but certain advantage than a mere potential of a greater one. The phrase is extremely old and seems to have originated at some point in the 13th century, in a related Latin form: Plus valet in manibus avis unica quam dupla silvis.

Some people also respond to this proverb, not necessarily accepting the wisdom that a bird in the hand is in fact better than two in the bush. People who respond negatively to this saying are usually pointing out that while something that is known and possessed might be certain, the unknown could have a value far exceeding the known. A response might be something like, “a bird in the hand is good, but a bird in the bush might sing.”

What ever the spin on this proverb, it has caused me to reflect on what we have actually been given and the perception of what we don't have. I mean, I'm from America. Land of the free, the proud, the brave, the land of ME (in Generation Me, no less...thanks Rodney for that phrasing ;) A place to work hard. To have a career. To pull out pieces of PLASTIC and buy things when ever wanted, where ever wanted. A place where people are extremely talented, but you should be better than you are, you need to be twice a good at whatever you are and that is still not good enough. You need to have more and be more...in fact, if we look at the proverb, it accurately reflects that whatever we have, we seem to always want the double that is potentially out there waiting for us. But this is not only an American condition. I see it here in Costa Rica, too. And I don't think this applies just in a monetary sense, either. I think it applies in all areas of life. We all want more, more, more and whatever we don't have.

Instead, I think we should think of it more like this:

14"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents[a] of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.
 19"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'
 21"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
 22"The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'
 23"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
 24"Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'
 26"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
 28" 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' (Matthew 25)

The servants who were given the five and two talents took them and invested them. They took the time to cultivate what they already had in hand and double what they had been given through hard work and wise investment. They didn't wait for more to miraculously appear or strive for something they were not entrusted with, they put to work what they had in hand and had been given. In the mean time, the servant who was given one didn't appreciate what was given to him. He didn't see the value or the potential in it. He was driven by fear and a misperception about the Master's character.

Assuming, for the moment, that the servant was correct in his assessment, why wouldn't be at least be motivated by that fear to make a profit for his master? If he were afraid to take any risk, then why wouldn't he at least put the money in a bank to at least make some interest off it? The servant wouldn't even have to be bothered to watch the money on a day-by-day basis. Maybe a small profit could have been gained without any risk or effort, but instead he chose to do nothing. And the longer the master was gone, the more interest was lost by the guy's inactivity. His perception of his master was all wrong, too. He looks at his master as a wicked, harsh, impossible person who would never think of the good of others. Almost as if he had said, “I knew you were unreasonable, and that there was no way to please you, and so I decided not even to try.” But the master DID provide. He gave the guy a bird in the hand. A physical way to make a profit. But this guy threw it back in the master's face. This guy didn't just not go after the two birds in the bush, but he also let go of the bird in his hand.

Traditionally, the parable of the talents has not just been about investing money. It is usally seen as an encouragement to Jesus' disciples to use their God-given gifts in the service of God, and to take risks for the Kingdom of God. These gifts include personal abilities ("talents" in the everyday English sense and translation), as well as personal wealth.This has definitely been a good reminder to me. To invest what God has put in my hands. To work with it. To double what the Lord has entrusted me with. It means not looking for the 2 potential bird in the bush, or what other people have been entrusted with, but taking the bird I have and  investing it in God's kindgom.


Yet I might also ponder, if a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,
what are four birds in a pocket and three in a backpack worth?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Building a House, Making a Home

God is providing in Anonos!!!! An opportunity recently opened up here to rent a house down the street, which we have appropriately named "Casa Nueva", or New House. The hope is to renovate the house and use it for God's kingdom in a multitude of ways, including a church, meeting place for small groups, classrooms, internet cafe, place for the people in the church to sell handicrafts or baked goods, and a space for parties, dancing, singing, rejoicing, laughing, kids clubhouse, etc., etc., etc.... Here is the house and the facelift it is getting!!

 The house is literally down the street from the main house. It is easily accessible to the people in the community.















This is how the house started out. With a very spacious backyard to eventually use for church services...and a cross already provided :)






















Once we had the keys we went through the whole house and prayed over each room. We asked the Holy Spirit to come and fill each room and prepare the house for what the Lord wants to do here.





















And now we are in the renovations process. Most of the walls had significant mold on them, so the walls were repaired, a good coat of mud added in places, and a fresh coat of primer. We definitely had some help.


    

Each room got a fresh coat of primer.


The house is currently in the painting and cleaning stage.
To be continued.....




Monday, October 18, 2010

A note on hugs

As you all know, I LOVE giving hugs. I am known for my hugs and thoroughly enjoying giving and receiving them. I saw this post on wikipedia and just had to share it. Following the article is my own personal thoughts and techniques on hugging.

Hug

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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A hug is a form of physical intimacy, not necessarily sexual, that usually involves closing or holding the arms around another person or group of persons. The hug is one of the most common human signs of love and affection, along with kissing.[1] Unlike some other forms of physical intimacy, it is practiced publicly and privately without stigma in many countries, religions and cultures, within families, and also across age and gender lines.[citation needed]
Sometimes, hugs are a romantic exchange. Hugs may also be exchanged as a sign of support and comfort. A hug can be a demonstration of affection and emotional warmth, sometimes arising out of joy or happiness at meeting someone.

Hugs are mostly short and used to show many levels of affection. It is not particular to human beings alone, as there are many species of animals that engage in similar exchanges of warmth[citation needed].

Hugging has been proven to have health benefits. One study has shown that hugs increase levels of oxytocin, and reduce blood pressure.[2]

There are different variations of hugs. Prolonged hugging in a cozy, comfortable position is called cuddling[3]. Spooning is a cuddling position, a kind of hugging when both the hugger and the hugged persons face the same direction, i.e., the front of one person is in contact with the back of the second one. The person whose front is in contact with the other's back is referred to as the "Big Spoon" and the person whose back is in contact with the other's front in referred to as the "Little Spoon". [4]

In May 2009, the New York Times reported that "the hug has become the favorite social greeting when teenagers meet or part these days" in the United States.[5] A number of schools in the United States have issued bans on hugs, which in some cases have resulted in student-led protests against these bans.[6][7][8]

Despite hugging being widespread across human culture, several cultures - such as the Himba in Namibia - do not embrace as a sign of affection or love.

I will now share my hugging techniques. I once shared these secret techniques with Sara Butler via a very authentic communication device called Facebook.

First is the kamikaze hug. You find some one shorter than you and when they're not looking, you sneak up from behind and wrap your arms around them...they usually have no clue what is going on (Brittany Mong is my favorite person for this technique ;)

Then there's the bear hug. Find someone shorter than you that you haven't seen in a while. When you make eye contact and they eagerly approach them for the hug, wrap both your arms around their shoulders (their arms will be around your waist) and squeeze REAL tight. (Kasey VanderTol is a good one to try this on since she's always eager for a hug). This is also called the Over Under hug. When properly performed, it can be an effective way to comfort someone during an incredibly emotional moment. Done incorrectly and, as some one once put it, it's like trying to slow dance in the eigth grade...AWKWARD!!!

Apparently, I have learned, if you’re single and the person you re hugging slaps your back three times when you hug, it's to signify that you are forever locked into the “friend-zone” with no chance of EVER dating. When someone hits your back three times, in your head you should imagine that hand beating out the chorus to the song, “We're just friends.”

I have also witnessed many time the Man Hug, which in reality is the perfect fusion of a handshake and a hug. It opens with a handshake as the huggers lean towards each other. With their free hand they pat each other on the back vigorously, before separating quickly. Men adopt this hug with other men in an effort to retain an air of machismo without leaving the impression that they have settled merely for a handshake. It shows a willingness to share an embrace, but a fear of how people watching the men embrace will interpret it.

The Lift and Spin Hug is for the advanced hugger, not for the beginner or the faint of heart. The hugger lifts the huggee off the ground and spins them around, twirling them in a circle before returning the huggee to the ground.  This hug is only for excited, happy people. People who have been separated for an extended period of time or people who have something fantastic to celebrate. This is also a good one to use on small children or really tiny friends who are light and easy to pick up.

And of course there's the "High Kick". When you see someone just a smidge shorter than you, you approach them for a "normal" hug, but as you embrace, you both proceed to high kick one leg. (Attempt this only with Tanya DeYoung, as she is the only professionally high kick trained person I know)

Finally there is the "Christian Side Hug". Yes, the "Christian Side Hug". It was popularized by a rap song for teenagers to hug from the side because "front hugs be too sinful". Instead of face to face, you go side to side, putting your arm around the person and your hip against their’s. Still having a hard time mastering it? Pretend you’re taking a photo and you’re both looking at the camera together. The side hug, or A frame as it is also called, is safe for the whole family, friendly and above all holy.

And that's it. My free guide to hugs. Go hug some one today. Maybe try a new technique. See how it makes you feel.

God-incidences

I love how the Lord works in timing. Since He is outside time, He can be incredibly ironic in how He moves in ours. Here are just a few examples of how I've seen the ironic timing of God here in Costa Rica:

1. I was in the casita one day waiting for some guys to show up for an English class (which they never showed up for). All of a sudden I felt this overwhelming sense of "why am I here? What is the point of life?" I had no idea where it came from, but it was sudden and heavy. I started praying through it. After about 10 minutes I stepped outside the door and on the balcony of the house across the street was the son of a lady in our church. I walked over and asked him what he was thinking about, since he looked so deep in thought. He replied that he was thinking about the deep things in life, the meaning of life, and why he was here.... We struck up a really good conversation and through the course of it told me he wanted to start taking English classes, but was unsure of how to get a hold of me to ask!

2. I've had 4 instances where I've needed to go into the Quebrada or up into the Mangos where I haven't wanted to go by myself, but needed to , and just as I got to the edge of the bridge, one of the young guys has been walking there, too, and has gone with me.

3. We are renting a new house right down the street to start a house church/open an internet cafe/have a space for classes.Rodney and Cindy were in the states all week, but before they left they commissioned us to pray through the house when we got the keys. The lease was signed on Thursday and we had the keys in our posession on Friday. Steve and I decided Sunday would be the perfect day to pray through the house since it is our day of rest. All Sunday morning I couldn't get up the energy to pray through the house. Every time I would think about going down to the house, I would find some other menial task to do instead, like bake cookies or watch a movie. All of a sudden, a little after 3 in the afternoon, I told Steve we had to go, NOW!!!! to pray through the house. It's as if a fire was lit under my butt and we HAD TO PRAY NOW!!! I told Steve I was going to go down to Ellie's house to see if she could pray, too. As I walked toward the new house, there was a guy standing in front of the house...it was one of the guys from the church. I asked him what he was doing (since he lives about a 10 minute drive from here). He said he was out walking and felt like he needed to come to the house to pray!!! I told him that was the plan, to pray through the house!! He told me he thought he was being all stealth to pray for the house when he thought no one was around, but I told him God had other plans.

4. The was a huge fire in the Quebrada and two houses burned down. Carla, one of the women in the church, "happened" to stop by later that day with two huge bags of clothes, a bag of shoes, and toys. We were able to give the clothes to the family in need. She had no idea what had even happened.

5. When we had the flood, we started getting calls from people in the community as it was raining. As a family, we prayed against the rain. Practically as soon as we stepped out the door to go see what we could do to help, it stopped raining.

6. The women were able to feed over 60 people on 2 small bags of rice. God continued multiplying food as it was being given out to the families in need during the flood.

7. One afternoon I was helping pass out food in the Quebrada and we had forgotten our umbrellas. We had our cameras and other dry paper goods/food to pass out. I looked up at the sky and in Spanish yelled out this prayer "God, please let Christina and I get home without getting wet!! We forgot our umbrellas!! We know you love us and we love you!!! We love that you care for us in these small things!!!" The women looked at us like we were crazy. It rained while we were serving lunch, but we were able to move the table inside a house and serve from there. Half way through lunch it stopped raining. It was dry. We all thanked Jesus for holding off the rain. Christina and I were able to walk all the way back to the house and as SOON as we walked through the gate to our house it started raining again. We thanked Jesus. The next time we saw the women we were able to testify about the love of Jesus in even the small details of our lives. They were SOOOO excited and it increased out faith. Thank you, Jesus!!!!

I will continue to add to this post as more stories pop up. Please feel free to add your own stories of God-incidences as they come up in the comments section!!! GOD IS GOOD!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Word-a-Day

Here is a list of new Spanish words that I have learned and use since coming to Costa Rica:

mantequilla de maní: peanut butter
estirar: to stretch
curita: bandaid
exprimir: to squeeze or wring out
anhelar: to long for
Que chiva!: cool (I've used Que guay! and Que cool in other places)
choco chispas: chocolate chips
chispas: spark
melaza: molasses
remolacha: beets
espinacas: spinach
nuez moscada: nutmeg
bicarbonato de sosa: baking soda
levadura en polvo: baking powder
chocobanana: chocolate covered banana!!
estante: shelf

mocos: boogers
burbujas: bubbles
espinilla: zit
pedo: fart (I hang out with a lot of guys)
predicador: preacher
higuera: fig tree
higo: fig
inundación: flood

chancleta: sandal
portón: gate
puntadas: stitches
lapicero: pen (we used "boli" in Spain)
don: gift (as in gifts of the Spirit)
plata: money
estornudar: to sneeze
pantuflas: slippers (I totally forgot about this word, but used it in Spain :)
lupa: magnifying glass





 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Knit together

Tuesday Steve decided to do something different to relax. He pulled out a crochet hook and proceeded to start making a hat. He had learned from his mom and grandma how to crochet when he was younger, and had looked up a pattern online for making a hat. Intrigued, Natalia and I also wanted to learn. So we pulled out some more crochet hooks from our craft supplies and some yarn. Steve patiently showed us how to start the hat, talking through each stitch to get us started. Then he let us go so he could work on his hat. I had crocheted once before, about 10 years ago, and had made a scarf. I assumed I could figure it out. I got going on a roll and just went to town...mostly doing my own thing...Later that night I worked on my hat some more, but it didn't quite look right. I thought I was doing everything correctly. I mean, I had watched Steve carefully for how to do each stitch. Still, the stitched felt awkward, and they didn't look anything like the hat Steve was popping out. Anyway, I perservered, until about half way through I realized I was doing the stitches all wrong. I finally took the time and patience to try out a few different ways to hook the yarn and voila! The stitches started to look right and they were REALLY easy to do. So I kept going, adding more and more rows, all the while thinking in my head, "maybe I should take the stitches out and start over." But no! That would be ridiculous! Take out what I already did!!??!?! And waste all that time I spent constructing my hat?!? Afterall, even though the stitches weren't done correctly, it gave the hat character, right? Wrong. The hat looked horrible. It was lumpy and uneven and puckered at the top. (See picture)


And that's when I realized I needed to suck up my pride and take all the stitches out and start over. As I began ripping out my work, the Lord started to speak to me about life. Our lives are also being knit together. King David states in Psalm 139:13, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." Since the day we are born, we are also knitting together who we are. We knit into our lives ideas about who we are, how the world works, and who God is. What we knit into our lives determines our shape and function. When we try to knit life our own way, we make up stitches, whatever feels right at the time. It is by pure "instinct". But the resulting design can be lumpy, bumpy, and totally unusable for the original function. When we look to God, the master knitter, He gives us the specific pattern for what our life should look like and how to make each stitch.  If we have the patience to listen and learn the stitches at the beginning, the resulting design is easy to make and so much more enjoyable to work with. If we chose to ignore this design and keep on doing things out own way, we may eventually realize the truth, but this results in having to remove stitches. Hopefully we will listen early and catch the mistake in our thinking and acting before too many rows have been stitched. If not, we have to take out many more rows instead of just a few stitches. See also Jeremiah 18. The picture below is after I ripped out most of the stitches and started over again.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Stretching out Faith

My favorite class to teach, bar none, here in Costa Rica is my ladies exercise class. We get together every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to sweat our guts out in the hope of possibly burning enough calories to compensate for all the eating we've done on the days in between class in an attempt to lose weight and get healthy. I love my ladies. They are faithful, committed, and always willing to try any stretch or exercise I throw at them with a smile on their face (and usually laughing at the ridiculocity of it all!). Here's the thing about exercise. You have to stretch. Athletes know this fact very well. They lightly stretch before exercising and always stretch after. A good athlete knows that stetching increases muscle control, flexibility and range of motion to reduce injury and increase performance.There are many techniques for stretching in general, depending on which muscle group is being stretched. Each stretch is done at a specific point in the work out so as to maximize the benefits to the muscles. A good athlete also knows that stretching can be dangerous when performed incorrectly, that some techniques may be ineffective or detrimental, even to the point of causing permanent damage.  After a good long workout, stretching can feel really good and relaxing. However, stretching still does not prevent muscles from being sore the next day. 

In the church, we often say that "Oh, God is really stretching me right now. You know, He's stretching my faith". What does this mean? If we take it in the context of exercising, you know, like running a good race, fighting a good fight, then we should be feeling stretching from God all the time. What if God were constantly calling us to "exercise our faith"? Maybe He would lightly stretch us to warm us up. Then haul our butts on the matt and work us out hard. Call us to do extraordinary things until our spiritual muscles burn. And then stretch us again. Stretch us in different ways. To maximize our spiritual muscle action potential. Maybe also He knows our muscles better than we do. He knows just exactly how far to stretch so as not to damage or tear our muscles. Only to do it all over again the next day. Sure we will feel sore the next day. And the next. And the next. But soon it won't hurt so much and we'll begin to see the results of the hard work that has been put into all the stretching and exercising. The results of living this kind of spiritual lifestyle would leave us with super ripped spiritual muscles. Muscles that would know how to do all kinds of things. Full of strength and power. Muscles that can carry the weak, defend the broken, and train others in stretching and developing their muscles, too.


1 Corinthians 9: 24-27
 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run,
but only one gets the prize?
Run in such a way as to get the prize.
 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.
They do it to get a crown that will not last;
but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly;
I do not fight like a man beating the air.
No, I beat my body and make it my slave
so that after I have preached to others,
I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fairy Tales

If I had to describe my life in the community, the best way to describe it would be through the eyes of two Disney characters: Wendy and Snow White. 


Wendy flies to a foreign land that is full of wild animals, jungles, and lagoons. There she finds the lost boys, and of course, Peter Pan, the mischievous boys who refuse to grow up. The lost boys are a tribe of orphans who live for adventure and are a formidable fighting force despite their youth and they make war with the pirates. I have often felt like Wendy here in Los Anonos, and the Ticos I hang out with definitely seem like lost boys some times. And not just because I am older than most of the guys that are a part of the church. Many of them come out of families where drug and alcohol addictions run rampant. They may or may not have a father or mother figure at home. These guys have seen tremendous horrors in their short lives and their role-models are not necessarily people that should be looked up to. A constant spiritual battle is being waged against the youth that are a part of our church and "pirates" in the community that want nothing more than to ensnare them in any number of addictions. There are definitely times I feel like Wendy, trying to mother the motherless, trying to teach and instill values like how to speak kind words, keep your word when you say you are going to be some where at a specific time, and tell the truth.


On the flip side there is Snow White. And not just for the fact that my skin IS snow white compared to the Latinos...Or to the fact that everyone is significantly shorter than me and the guys are literally dwarves compared to my height...Not to mention the fact that I love to bake and keep the kitchen clean...or the fact that I'm usually singing. There are other similarities as well. The people here really do live in less than cottages. Filthy, patchwork tin shacks with dirt floors. They do their best to keep them clean, but when it rains every day and there are holes in the roof their roofs, there is only so much they can do for sanitation.  Every day it's hi ho hi ho, off to work they go, trying to mine out the best life possible, working very hard for very little. Work is constantly needed in all parts of life, physical, mental, and most importantly spiritual. Of course for the dwarves themselves, I could probably match a dwarf name with each of the Ticos I hang out with... :)