Monday, May 30, 2011

What to pack!!

As team season approaches, I thought I would include a helpful lists!

Things to bring for yourself for during your trip:
Your Bible!!
Camera with plenty of batteries!
Umbrella or rain poncho. It will rain. You will get wet without it.
A pair of flip flops for wearing in the house. Help us keep the house clean!!
Old tennis shoes (or shoes you don´t mind getting dirty and muddy) for wearing in the community
Bathing suit (depending on what your team is doing and where you are going)
Clean underware (always a must, regardless of country of destination)
Work clothes
Your own toiletries (shampoo, soap, razors, etc.)
Jeans and a sweatshirt/hoodie for evenings. It can get chilly!
We do have wireless internet at the house, so if you want to bring a laptop, iPhone, or iPods, you can bring them, use them, and charge them here at the house.
We have American electrical outlets, so all small appliances do work here (hair dryers, electric shavers, flat irons, laptops, etc. can be charged here).

Things NOT to bring for your trip:
Linens (towels, sheets, pillows, etc.) We have those here for you to use
Fancy clothes
Anything really expensive...In the event that it could get lost or stolen.
15 hair dryers and 12 flat irons. You can share. Unless you want to donate them to the thrift store when you're done :)
Knives, guns, swords, or num-chucks

Things you could bring to donate to be sold in the thrift store:
Shoes!! Gently used shoes for men, women, or children! ESPECIALLY for children and tennis shoes!!!!
Gently used women´s clothing in good condition
Gently used clothing for older children (4 to 15 years old)
Gently used clothing for men in small or medium sizes
Bags, such as the cloth reusable grocery bags or large canvas bags or even bookbags
Curtains, blankets, towels
House wares, such as pots, pans, rice cookers, silverware, and kitchen utensils
(Plates, bowls, and cups are not needed, we have plenty of those available here)

Things that are always a blessing to us and to the church that we always receive gratefully:
Nueva Versión Internacional Study Bibles (New International Version Study Bibles) (Bibles that we can give away and for us to use on Sundays during church)
Silly Bands and other cheap'o prizes that can be given away during Sunday School or English classes
Craft materials (EXCEPT GLITTER!!! Glitter WILL BE THROWN AWAY!!! It´s messy and gets out of control) (We use the materials with the kids during the week)
Anything  in the theme of princesses...I am starting a new ministry with the girls ages 8-11 on their identity as princesses in the kingdom of God...anything princess related would be AWESOME!!!!! Crowns, play jewelry, princess pencils, trinkets, etc!!!!!
Beef jerky. You cannot get it here and the guys go NUTS for it!!

Prayer needs

Prayer update:

Pray for the continued growth of the new church.
Pray for a Tico (native) pastor.
Pray for workers for the harvest.
Pray for our teens that they would continue to stand strong against the temptation of drugs and alcohol.
Pray for sexual purity in Anonos, specifically among the youngest generations and the teens.
Pray for the addicts that they would be freed from their addictions.
Pray against the violence that is happening in the community.
Pray for healing miracles, specifically quick healing from wounds

If this sounds like a lot, would you commit to praying specifically for one or two of these areas?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Featured Profile: Maria Antonia

Name: Maria Antonia
Age: 45-years-old (I asked, she said it's okay to put on here)
Bithday: December 6
How many kids do you have? Four. They all live around here.
Favorite color: blue
Favorite food: rice and beans and pork chops
Favorite singer: Enrique Iglesias
Favorite day of the week: Saturday. Because I can rest and relax.

Maria and David cooking for the Will and Jessica's wedding
Where have you lived? I was born in Guanacaste. I lived there until I was 25 and then I moved to Pavas. I moved to Anonos about 16 years ago.
Why do you like living here? I'm used to the climate here. I'm just used to it.
What would you change about where you live? I wish there were more buses that would pass by.
If you could live any where else in the world, where would you live? In the States?
Any state in particular? No, just a states there.
What about where there's snow? Oh, no. I couldn't live there. It would be too cold. I would like to see the snow, to experience it once, but not to live. I would live some where not too cold and not to hot.
What about Michigan? No. Too cold.
What would you change about where you live? Having my own property. Owning the land.
What would you change about yourself? I would like to be a little heavier. I've alway sbeen too thin.
(Me) Wow, not too many women say that about themselves. (Maria) I know, but that's just how I've always been.
If you could change your name, would you? Well, I like the name Maria. But I don't like my second name, Antonia. I would change my second name to Alejandra.

How did you meet Rodney and Cindy? They came up to David's to visit him. About a year and a half ago. I think it was when he had his accident was the first time I met them.
What is your favorite part of going to church? Giving glory to God.
When did you become a Christian? When I was about 30 years old.
How has God changed your life? Wow, he's changed it a lot! I have more health, work and many more blessings.
What would you like to say to any groups that may come to Costa Rica? I would like to share more with them, get to know them better. And I would like to know more about God.

If you could have 3 wishes, what would they be?
1. To get married again.
2. To better my financial situation (more food, more money).
3. Blessings for my family.

If you could have any super power, like a super hero, what would you want? To be able to box. I used to box some, but only when I got mad. Now I would just like to box.

How can people pray for you? Pray when they can. Pray for my family. Pray that we would be more unified. Pray for our house. For blessing. And to know more about God.

If you could say anything to the world, what would you say? I would say the words of that new rap artist, Mecatelio or something like that...he's a druggie, you know. He smokes marijuana and all. But he says the truth in his song. He sings "para la violenica", "stop the violence". I think he's got it right there. Stop the violence. That's what I would say, too.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fact versus reality

"I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr

This is a quote that came out on facebook just after the news of bin Laden´s death was annouced world wide.  As this quote started circulating around the virtual world, it was received by many with ¨way to go¨, ¨touching statement¨, ¨too true¨, etc. etc., etc. I think many people whole heartedly agreed with what Martin Luther King Jr. said since he, an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader, is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world. He is most remembered for using nonviolent methods in seeking liberty of all people and is often presented as a heroic leader in the history of modern American liberalism. The only problem with this quote, however, is only part of it is from Martin Luther King. A girl named Jessica Dovey commented on what happened to bin Laden and followed it with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. Over time, as it was quickly posted and reposted, quotation marks were removed and left as stated. In truth it should read: "I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy." Jessica Dovey... "Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

Here is another example to consider. This picture was also posted on facebook immediately after the Royal Wedding with many compliments like "Too funny, I bet the wedding couple didn't even know!" and "I wonder if the sisters planned it after the movie", or "Wow!! They really look the same!!" 

But in reality, this photo is also doctored. With a little research, it should look like this:

In both instances, with the quote and the picture, people were commenting as if what they were reading and seeing were truth. They were taking whatever they saw and attributing as reality. But the fact is, they were commenting on only elements of the truth.

Who said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand"? Many would say Abraham Lincoln, which is true, and in one of his most famous speeches, but the actual author of the quote is Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:25 and Mark 3:25) Or thinking that some where in the Bible it is written "God helps those who help themselves". It's not there!! (Not even in the Message!!!! And I did double check, just to make sure even this fact was straight.)

How often do we do this? We misquote all the time believing it as truth. We let others tell us things and believe them without checking them out for ourselves. How often are our eyes deceived by false images and our ears fooled by what others say?!? Just this past week we all saw how one man told the nations that the end of the world and judgment day would come about on May 21, 2011. Many, many people were completely conviced by "Biblical proof" that the end was nigh. And yet how many actually checked what the scriptures said for themselves? How many took what one man said and compared it to the actual Word? The same Word that says the following (this is the entire chapter of Matthew 24 taken from

Matthew 24

The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times
 1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
 3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
 4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
   9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
   15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
   22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
   26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
   29 “Immediately after the distress of those days
   “‘the sun will be darkened,
   and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
   and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[b]
   30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
   32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[e] is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Hour Unknown
    36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
   42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
   45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The point is, as a nation, as individuals, we need to wake up, to start asking again. In college, we were taught to research EVERYTHING (to the point of nausea at times), and then to quote our resources. We were taught to question, to research, and to learn. To struggle with ideas and theories. To accept some and reject others. But we often forget that when we get back into the "real world". I challenge you, and myself included, to start researching again. To start asking questions. When people "quote" other sources or give us "facts", instead of blindly accepting them, research them. Now a days it can be as quick as a google search. There are so many resources out there, it's pure laziness not to.

I pray that even as you read this, God will put a hunger in you for the truth. I pray that your hunger for truth will keep you from being deceived by the simple distractions of this world. I pray that you will know the truth and the truth will set you free and you will be free indeed.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Costa Rica Update

Just what goes on here in a week? Here's a basic run down of what's going on at Viña Anonos:

Monday (lunes):
Afternoon English classes with the kids and teens
Evening small group Bible study led by Julie at Rosa's in the Mangoes

Tuesday (martes):
English classes with Karen in the Mangoes
English with the teens (kids in the house to play)
Women's exercise with Julie at the Casa Nueva

Wednesday (miercoles):
English classes with the kids and teens
Evening small group Bible study led by Rodney (translated by Julie) at Fransica's house in the Mangoes
Evening small group Bible study led by Luis at David and Terri's house in the Mangoes

Thursday (jueves):
Evening women's Bible study with Elidey in the Casa Nueva
Evening in-depth Bible study "The Rock" with the older teens and 20-something's with Rodney in the Casa Nueva

Friday (viernes):
Women's exercise with Julie in the Casa Nueva
Youth Group (for ages 11+) in the Casa Nueva

Saturday (sabado):
Skateboarding ministry in the Planche with the skaters with Steve and Tito
Every other week, trip into the city to give away food to the homeless and pray for people in the streets
Prayer and worship nights in the Casa Nueva

Sunday (domingo):
Church in the morning with Sunday School for the kids

There is so much that is constantly going on in the house, around the community, and in the Casa Nueva that I feel like this "schedule" doesn't even begin to capture it all. This is such a bare bones reflection, but I feel it's important to share. Worship pracitices, guitar lessons, pastoral meetings, visiting and getting to know members of the community, and counseling drug addicts are only a few of the other things that go on here.  We are constantly making and strengthening connections with people in and around the community. As these groups continue to grow, pray for more workers!! Please pray for continued growth of the groups and with it a continued hunger for the Lord. Pray for these people as they seek God in breaking free from alcohol and drug addictions. There are other people who would like nighttime Bible studies, but we need more people to lead them!!! It is also our desire to train up locals to take over in ministry opportunities. People who have a passion for leading worship, teaching the children, discipling the youth, and making a difference for the Kingdom of God in Los Anonos!!!

New challenges have come up within the last few weeks, too, including an increase in drug crimes and violence in the community, the recent earthquake (which shook several already shaky shacks causing the people living there to panic and question their safety in any subsequent aftershocks), and continued uncertainty about whether or not the municipality is going to continue to remove houses from the community.

Last week I helped survey the community in coordination with Niños sin Fronteras (Children Without Borders, a nonprofit organization that provides free medical and clinical services to all children in the area free of cost). From the survey, results indicate people are most concerned about the river and the event that it could raise again this rainy season (causing flooding and damage) and the drug culture in the community. While I will write more about the results of this survey in my next post, please join me in pray for now about these two things: Change in the drug culture here and safety for the people against natural disasters.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Just lived through an earthquake!! Welcome to Costa Rica! Here´s the scoop from

A 6.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Costa Rica  at 4:57pm Friday.

The quake was felt throughout the country with an epicentre in the area of the Tilaran, west of the Arenal Volcano, with a depth of 70 kilometres, lasting almost 20 seconds, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Centre:
World Data Center for Seismology, Denver.

The exact location is: 10.105°N, 84.261°W

Featured Profile: Randall

Randall Josue Castro Alvarez
Age: 19
Date of Birth: Some time in August. He refused to tell me because it's coming up. If the other guys know the date, on your birthday they will smash eggs on your head to "make you a cake"
Occupation: Student. Randall is studying at one of the institutos here for computer repair. He does some awesome computer graphics.

How long have you lived in Anonos? My whole life.

Favorite Bible verse: Psalm 72
Favorite color: Purple
Favorite song: Doesn't have one
Favorite Soccer team: Argentina
Favorite flavor at Pops: Piña Colada

Best part about living in Anonos: The people and the hearts of the people here.
Worst part about living in Anonos: The crime
If you could have three wishes, what would they be?
1. To see Cristo el Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2. To have money to help people
3. To know the Bible better

When did you come to know the Lord? About 2 or 3 years ago.
How did you come to know the Lord? Through Rodney and Herman.
How has He changed your life? I feel like a different person. I really feel the Lord right now and He is speaking into my life. I am seeing Him answer my prayers. It's awesome!
What do you feel is God's plan for you life? To capture other people for God. Starting with people here in Anonos.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would you change? My mentality and
how I think about things of the world.

What is one of the most memorable times with a team? When the Mechanic Falls team was here this year, I went out to pray with Ben Jr. and some other people and some one accepted Christ in the Mangoes. It was so special. We also saw someone freed from a demon.
What is one of your favorite memories from Anonos? I remember playing Legos with Pipo when we were 3 or 4 years old. We have been friends our whole lives and I loved playing with him when we were kids.
If you could live any where in the world, where would you want to live? In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I would love to see the statue of Christ there.

If you could tell people in the States anything, what would you want to say to them?
Believe in Jesus more and more.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Life in a coloring book

So I was coloring with some of the little girls in the community the other day and ran across this picture in one of the coloring books. It struck such a resemblence to yours truely that I fought a little girl for the page and colored it for myself....(Ok, so I did embelish it just a weeeeeee bit....I added the shorts and goggles to make it look identical to me, but still, it bore a striking resemblence, don't you think????!!!)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Featured Profile: Pipo

I have decided to interview and feature each of the youth that I work with here in the community. It serves 2 purposes: for people to get to know the guys here in the community (whether you ever meet them or already know them) and to help focus your prayers for their continued growth. My first victim, I mean willing participant, was Pipo!!

Real name: Marvin Barboza Muñoz
Nickname: Pipo (from a word meaning "lollipop")
Birthday: March 3
Age: 20
Siblings: 2 sisters
Current occupation: looking for work

Favorite song: How He Loves (John Mark McMillan/Kim Walker)
Favorite food: shrimp
Favorite color: pink (I think he was teasing me)
Favorite story in the Bible: Job
Favorite body part: My hair

If you could change something about yourself, what would it be?
My mouth. I just don't like it.
If you could have three wishes, what would they be?
1. To be handsome
2. $$$$$
3. To be able to help the poor

How long have you been coming to the Viña (the Vineyard church)?
About 2 years.
How did you hear about it?
From either Dago or Tito, I don't really remember

This is Pipo with a popi (lollipop).
It's part of my nickname.
I got my nickname because I really like sweets.

What do you want to do in life?
Be a missionary to Africa.
And work in medical forensics like on CSI. :)

How did you get your characteristic scar on your face?
I fell from a Cas tree when I was a kid.
But I could make up a different story if that's not interesting enough for you.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you want to live?
The States.
Maybe Las Vegas.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would start in the States. I would go to Maine, Virginia, Ohio, and Michigan.
I would visit all the churches of all the teams that come down here.
Then I would go to Africa.
Maybe I would stop by Australia, too.

What would you like to say to the people reading your interview?
"Hello and bye bye"
(he said that in English....)
If you could ask for anything, what would you ask for?
Help going to Africa.
And people to go with to Africa

What is your favorite part about living in Anonos?
My friends.
What is the most important thing in your life?