Thursday, June 30, 2011

The first Princess Club!!!

The original Princesses!!!

Planning for our first club meeting!!
Ana Laura and I have entered into the land of princesses!!! What an AMAZING first week! Ana Laura and I decided to have the girls make tiaras the first day. So we drove to a craft store. We found poster board and markers that we could use to make them out of, but weren´t really sold on the I suggested we go to Burger King to see if we could get cardboard crowns to decorate. Ana Laura was doubtful at first, but what did we have to lose? We knew they would either say yes or no, so we technically already knew what the answer would be. It was pouring down rain when we pulled into the drive through. They must have thought we were nuts when we drove right to the take out window. There the typical high school looking young man in the window. Ana Laura shyly asked if we could have some crowns. When he asked how many, she was like, well, maybe just, like 10, if you can spare them. So he brought out 35!!!! He asked what we were going to use them for. We told him about the Princess Club in Anonos. He got really excited an said it was a great idea!! We were so encouraged!! What a blessing from Jesus! An over-abundant, generous blessing! We had enough crowns to decorate for the next 3 Princess Clubs!!!

Saturday finally arrived. We brought down balloons and enough pink to look like a Pepto Bismol truck exploded in the Casa Nueva. We had 9 out of 10 invited girls come with an unexpected girl show up which evened it out to exactly 10!!
This week we talked about the Kingdom of God, how in this world there is a Kingdom of Light and a Kingdom of Darkness. God is the King of Kings and the devil is the prince of this earth. We taught the girls that since we are daughters of the King, we are Princesses!! We had them draw the kingdom of God. We read through Colossians 1:9-14 which will be our verses for the entire club. Each week we will talk about a different value from these passages. This week we focused on verses 12 and 13:
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Then each of the girls got to decorate her crown. We talked about how every princess gets a crown!! The girls had a blast using glitter glue, sequence, pom poms, and markers to decorate their own crowns.

We served cookies and pink punch as a snack and then ended in prayer. What an amazing first week!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Featured Profile: Rosa

Name: Rosalba Espinoza
Birthday: November 9
When did you move to Costa Rica? I moved from Nicaragua to Costa Rica in 1984 because there was too much fighting in Nicaragua.
Do you still have family there? Yes, have sisters and some aunts and uncles still there. My 2 brothers are here in Costa Rica, though.
How many children do you have? I have 5 kids, Ebert, Brenda, Lester, Enrique, and Evelin. 1 lives in Pavas and the rest live here. My husband lived here with me, but he died about 2 years ago.
What is your favorite color? Green or black
What is your favorite kind of music? Romantic music, meringue, or Christian
What do you like to do? Crochet
What is your favorite food? Beef. Or salad.
What is your favorite flower? The Rose, haha (that´s what her name means) and the lily. I would love to have a large flower garden.
Where do you work? At a restaurant called Los Anonos. It´s a steak house. I´ve work there for 9 years.
If you could have 3 wishes, what would they be? 1. To pay off my debts. 2. That my kids could have a better life. 3. Health for everyone.
If you could travel any where in the world, where would you want to go? Mexico.
Why? To go to see the Mariachis.
If you could live any where in the world, where would you live? Here. I really love it here.
How long have you been a Christian? I´ve been a Christian since I was really little. I attended church when I was small and living in Nicaragua. I played the guitar in my church. I still play a bit, but not often. My dad played, too. I played guitar sometimes in church. I was married and baptized in the church. I was baptized about a year ago.

If you could tell anything to the people reading this, what you you say? Thank you for the miracle of helping me with my house.

If you could ask God anything, what would you ask Him? TO help my have my own business. I would like to have a small restaurant, my own place, where I know it´s mine and I could cook there and eat there and work there.

If you could ask the world anything, what would you ask? Health for me and my family, to help us move forward. To build a small wall in front of the yellow house by the street to make it safer so the land won´t erode, or if there´s another earthquake to make it safer.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Passing of the Microphone

Viña Anonos is pleased to host once again the New Life Church of Columbus, Ohio!! We have a full team who arrived on Saturday to bless the community. They came fully prepared to work and serve with the heart and mind of Christ...and with them came over 600 pounds of items for our thrift store!! What a blessing!! Ana Laura and I were also BLOWN AWAY by their generosity with items for the Princess Club!! We definitely experienced the generosity of our King of Kings through the team!!!!

One of the neat things about hosting teams is seeing the community again through fresh eyes. No matter where you live, after a while we all experience ruts in our daily living. When teams come, I am reminded about all the little things that I´ve become ¨accustomed¨ to in just a few not being able to flush my toilet paper down the toilet, seeing very small children play in the streets unattended at all hours of the day (and night), seeing people in the streets drunk in the middle of the day, and hearing the egg man announce that he has fresh eggs at 6 in the morning. I think I´ve even gotten used to hearing the dogs in the streets...all night long...

Another wonderful part of having teams come is experiencing bilingual church. Not many people can say they attend a completely bilingual church. While we sing all our songs in Spanish (well, except for an occasional verse or chorus in English) alll of the messages are bilingual. Usually Rodney preaches in English while someone translates into Spanish (either Federico, Ronny Ruiz, or myself) and typically when teams are present and a Tico preaches in Spanish, the message gets translated into English.

Today was an example of how this process can take on a hilarious spin. We had invited Federico, a local gentleman from the other Viña in Escazú, to preach (in Spanish). After the worship set, we always have a prayer, collect the offering, dismiss the children, have a time of announcements, etc. We have two microphones, one black and one silver. Apparently today whoever spoke in English into the microphone was supposed to use the silver microphone and whoever spoke in Spanish was supposed to use the black microphone. It became a hilarious exchange as Federico translated into Spanish for Rodney´s English, then Federico translated into English for Alejandro´s Spanish  (Alejandro shared a testimony), and then I translated into English for Federico´s Spanish message!!

We are very excited for this coming week of work. I´ll keep you posted as we go along!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Princess Club

I am about to embark on a new journey into a new and beautiful land. A land full of beauty, grace, and delight. A land full of energy and youth. A land called the Kingdom of God full of 8- to 11-year-old princesses. We are starting a new club in Anonos called The Princess Club. Based on a program by a new friend and sister missionary here in Costa Rica, Amy Lineburg, the Princess Club teaches young girls that they are the daughter of the King of Kings and therefore princesses!! The kingdom of God and royal values are taught in weekly lessons. El Club de Princesas was started in the neighboring community of La Carpio by Amy several weeks ago when she saw the need for young girls to understand their importance and identity in the eyes of God in the midst of poverty. Instead of something indefinitely ongoing, Amy decided to invite specific girls for 6-week opportunity to grow in their knowledge of Jesus by learning what it means to be a daughter of the King…a Real Princess! Lessons include our identity as princesses in the Kingdom of God, our authority in the Kingdom, purity and values in the Kingdom, Royal behavior, Royal beauty, and life lessons from the story of Queen Esther.
 I first learned about the Princess club from a good friend, Ana Laura. She and her husband attend the Vineyard church in Escazú, which is where our Vineyard church was planted from. Every week Ana Laura comes to help me with my Tuesday English class. A few weeks ago she approached me with the idea of starting a Princess Club here in Anonos. She had met Amy at another conference and struck up a friendship. Ana had heard about the Princess Club in La Carpio and was very excited about the prospect of starting one here. I also went to see how the Princess Club worked by visiting with Ana was AMAZING!! Every girl gets to wear a crown during the club, which in and of itself is delightful. I loved watching Amy´s enthusiasm as she taught them about their authority in the Kingdom of God. Ana Laura and I knew we had to bring this to Anonos. We are about to embark! Next Saturday will be our kick off. We hand picked and invited 10 girls from the community. Our program will run every Saturday afternoon for 9 weeks.

 Each week the girls will get to write in their ¨Princess Diary¨. They can use it to write the lessons that they are learning as well as write stories about being a Princess. Every week there will also be a craft that goes along with the lesson. I will keep you updated as we go along!!

One of the girls right after we invited her to the club :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Avocado Chocolate Pudding 

All credits go to the blog by Warm Vanilla Sugar, this post is a repost from this website:
The recipe just sounded too good and delicious not to pass on!! Enjoy!!!
It’s 8am and I’ve already devoured an entire batch of chocolate pudding. Think I like chocolate? That goes without saying.
I have a few things in the kitchen that I need to get rid of. Oranges, a pineapple, and an avocado. So, to use up my avocado I threw it in my pudding recipe as a thickener. Think I’m crazy? Maybe. But this unusual recipe turned out to be the best chocolate pudding I’ve EVER tasted. Seriously folks, would I lie to you?
Avocados are great, and are considered the worlds healthiest fruit. Why? Because they contain vitamin K, dietary fiber, potassium, folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin C! So, using them in my chocolate pudding makes me feel great. I used other healthy ingredients like pure cocoa powder (instead of chocolate chips), honey (instead of refined sugar), and light coconut milk (instead of heavy cream).
I love chocolate, and telling you this will never get old. Earlier this year I brought some of my chocolate baking to a faculty pot luck to hear my professor say “Ew, I HATE chocolate”. Really?? I mean, really? People don’t like it? This baffles me in several ways. I sometimes wish I didn’t like it so much. It would save me from eating all of the cookie batter before I put the cookies in the oven, but it’s one of those simple things that I NEED to survive. Chocolate + Honey + Brown sugar = my favorite ingredients.
So here we are. 8 am and ready to begin another chocolate fun day. Awesome. This recipe makes 4 small servings and is 3 weight watchers points per serving.
1 ripe avocado
2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp honey
Put all ingredients in a blender and BLEND! The pudding will come out smooth and sweet. Absolute perfection!
Aren’t avocados just the greatest?

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Just call me Winnie-the-Pooh. I love honey. I mean, it's sugary, sweet, and useful for so many things. You can put it with peanut butter for a delightful sandwich, sweetend your tea, bake it into cookies and breads, or take a spoonful to cure hiccups. In the States it comes in cute little bear shaped containers. The funny thing about honey is, as most of us know all too well, if left on the shelf to long the real deal will crystalize. The funny thing about Costa Rica is real, pure, sweet, sticky honey is hard to find. We buy our honey at the farmer's market on Saturdays. You buy it in tall glass bottles (sorry, Pooh, no cute shaped bottles here).

But not all honey here is created equal. Many people add corn syrup to stretch the honey. You could buy a bottle of, what the people call, "pure honey" only to get it home and have it taste like carmel colored sugar.

So how can you know you're buying the real deal? There are several ways to tell. First, you have to know what real honey looks like. You have to know it's thinkness, how it moves in the bottle, and the natural color of it. You can't tell the real from the fake if you haven't ever had the real thing to begin with. With a sharp eye, you can quickly tell if the bottle they are holding before you is real or not. The fake stuff is much thinner, and moves quicker in the bottle, and has a lighter color. It also doesn't have the tell tale crystalization around the edges. But what about people who only use a little corn syrup to stretch it? Some times you just have to taste it. You can tell immediately from the taste if it is real or not. Of course then you get smart and learn who sells the real stuff and only buy from them, week after week.

So what does this have to do with the price of bananas? It's the same in the church. In Matthew 7: 15-20 Jesus warns us about the real deal versus people who appear to be the real deal but have corn syrup added to their doctrine. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

Jesus again warns us in Matthew 24 to watch out for false prophets and people claiming to come in the name of the Lord, or even that they are the Lord! As a church we should constantly be on the look out for people who claim to be the real deal, but have allowed other influences to tait the truth. 2 Peter 2: 1-3 also warns against this: "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping."

The best way to tell separate the honey from the syrup is to know the honey. By studying the Word for ourselves, we know for ourselves what it says. Passages become familiar to us. We  learn to "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him" (Psalm 34:8). That way, when we are interacting with people, teachers, pastors, preachers, we can  we can immediately tell whether they are speaking the truth or truth mixed with syrup. We can also take what they're saying, absorb it, digest it, and compare it with what we know to be true. As we learn to compare what others say to the Word, when something someone is telling us just isn't right, it will start to leave a funny taste in the mouth.

Psalm 119:103
"How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"

Proverbs 24:14
Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

Featured Profile: Kliber

 Name: Kliber Maquensi Quesada
Birthday: September 2
Age: 14
Favorite color: black
Favorite band: Guns 'N Roses
Favorite song: Paradise City
Favorite food: Lasagna
What do you like about yourself? My personality.
Describe your personality in three words: gentile, fun, peaceful
What is one thing you would like to change about yourself? My hair.
What would you change about it? I like long hair. I want long hair, but my school won't let me.

Do you have any siblings? Two brothers, 10 and 6 years old.
What do you want to do when you finish school? Be a pediatric doctor. And a bassist in a band.

If you could play any instrument, what would you play? Bass guitar and drums
How long have you been coming to Viña Anonos (the church)? About 6 months.

How did you hear about it? Did someone invite you? No. I saw it while skateboarding and just decided on my own to start coming. I did know Tito and he told me what times things were at.
Did you know about Jesus before? Yes. I grew up in the Catholic church. My family still goes there. I´ve known Jesus since I was really little.
What made you decide you wanted to leave the Catholic church? It was boring to me. They don´t sing like we sing here. It´s more like opera there. There´s no youth group, either.
What would you change about Viña Anonos? People who don´t respect each other in youth group or when we´re talking about the Bible.

What do you like about living in Anonos? Everything. Especially the skating.
How long have you been skating? For about 11 months.

What don´t you like about living in Anonos? All the drugs.
Do you think that the drug life style can be changed in Anonos and how? I think it can change. By guiding the drug addicts in the right path.
Who is your best friend? Chino. We´ve been friends since we were little kids.

If you could live any where in the world, where would you like to live? I would like to live in Mexico. My family is from Mexico, well my grandparents were from their. I visited Mexico with my grandma when I was really little. I don´t remember it very well, but I would like to live there. Either there or in San Carlos.

If you could ask one thing from God, what would you ask? To forgive me.
What would you like to say to Americans who come down? Don´t speak to me in English and think I understand. I don´t.
What would you like to say to the world? Change the bad in people so we can have a world full of peace.