Monday, December 14, 2009

There, and "almost" back again

Looking back on the 3 and a half months that I have spent in Costa Rica I am overwhelmed by the journey God has led me on. There have been times that I have wanted nothing more than to never hear Spanish again in my life and stay inside the US forever. However, there have been times of the opposite. Where I couldn't get enough spanish and every conversation in my new language was the most exciting adventure life could bring. Ups and Downs, thats life for you I guess, keeping perspective. This past week has been one of the most packed weeks that I have had in Costa Rica. It all started last sunday with a surprise invitation to a soccer match, which happened to be one of the most historic games in Costa Rican history, so I am told. There were fights, riot police and small explosives going off. All on the other side of the field from me, luckily, but on my side we were singing and chanting for the underdog team (in spanish :) ). As you can guess the underdogs won and I watched as hundreds of people flooded the field and old men tore off their shirts to run around the field with tears pouring out their eyes. As the week went along I found myself saying good bye to a lot of the new friends that I had made, some to the US and many all over the spanish speaking world. I spent a lot of time studying for my final grammar test, which I ended up failing. Which is really odd that I made the mistakes that I did, because I can actually speak the material I just have a hard time when its in writing, I am just weird like that. Then it was on to searching for the right christmas gifts for ever one, once again using my spanish all along the way. I spent some time with the missionaries that I help, we went to the biggest mall in Costa Rica and experienced reverse culture shock. Everything, except signs, look exactly like a mall in the states. It was very strange to experience. However, the other night I did something that made me so excited, I went roller skating with a bunch of friends. I HAD A BLAST. Now, I grew up roller skating with my Aunt, so this was a special treat to be able to go, but the fact that I was rolling skating in a foreign country was super exciting. Then the next day I had two conversations in spanish ON THE PHONE!!! Which is a very hard task and Lord helped me through. Church yesterday, lunch with the missionary family and a youth group party that afternoon. Seeing all that God has brought me in this week is just an example of His faithfulness over the past 3 and half months. The weeks after my grandpa's death were difficult and lonely, but God supplied strength and comforted. The weeks that I hated spanish, He spoke soft and clearly to guide me through. And the weeks were I was so wrapped up in my own selfishness, He was still there waiting for me to see that is was all about HIM.

Now, as I sit on my bed with packed bags lying on the floor, I can't wait to be back in my home country tonight. But I know that come January 11th, I won't be able to wait to come back to Costa Rica to see what another 8 months has in store. I once again petition you for prayer as I travel back to the states today. I arrive into chicago at 12:50 am and then leave on a bus to Indianapolis a few hours later at 8am Tuesday. So, I have a lot of traveling and I am in need of prayer during that time. I look forward to seeing many of you while I am home, please come and talk to me. It would be a privilege to put the faces behind these words. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Another Time, Another Place

My time with Mom and Dad was wonderful. We had such a fun time being together and enjoying the beauty of God's handy work in Costa Rica. We crammed in as much as we could and made the most of our time. You can see a slide show of pictures on the right side bar or on facebook. If you see several shots of a valley, that is actually the view out of our hotel window. Being a shutterbug at heart I made sure to get the photo at sunrise, night time, day time and when the clouds moved in and out. This entire valley is filled with coffee plantations. Also, make sure you see the photos that prove Mom did the zip-line. She was a bit nervous at times but she did make her way through a serious of 11 platforms above the Costa Rican Rainforest. They made it safely back to the US with all the souvenirs. I now have 9 days till I head back to the states and only 4 days of classes left. With one test left in Grammar, which is going to be a big one, my classes are wrapping up. The last month has been a lot of fun and difficulty wrapped together. We have moved into the sections of the spanish language that do not translate into english, literally. They are ideas that are said differently than how we would think about it or say it in english. So as you can imagine you get a little baffled when you say, "me caes" "you fall to me" (rough english translation) but it is communicating that you like them, they are a good friend to you. Please pray for me that I would finish strong and please mark december 14th and 15th as I will be traveling at night and the early morning of those days. Hope you are having a wonderful Holiday season, please enjoy a bit of cold weather for me and I enjoy the warmth for you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving with my parents in Costa Rica

I just picked up my mom and dad from the airport, here in San Jose. We are going to be celebrating Thanksgiving together in Costa Rica and then exploring the coffee plantations, waterfalls, volcanoes, zip-lines and Mountains. I will be sure to post lots of pictures and stories by the end of the adventure. Happy Thanksgiving (I would say it in spanish, but they don't have the holiday)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pictures from the Mountains

A Few weeks ago I had the amazing chance to go fishing in the mountains. Here are some pictures from there.
Volcano Irazú. 

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Some Days Are Better Than Others"

I recognize it has been a very long time since I have given any type of update. Everything is going fantastic here in rainy Costa Rica. It finally feels like I have begun to settle into things; school, living with a family and the culture. Most of the last month has been pretty much devoted to studying spanish and I am glad to report that is coming along very nicely. A big thing did happen though, I was able to get a battery for my camera and was able to get some great pictures that I will be posting for you to see somethings. I would like to fill you in on some of the amazing ministry opportunities that God has brought my way that I was not expecting. The first and probably most limited, is the opportunities I have had to work at the church I have been attending. It has been limited due to my limited spanish ability, but I have still been able to participate and help a bit in the youth group and the men's soccer bible study (the one where I em-famously scored for the other team).  Those two have been great ways to practice spanish, connect with people and participate in the church family. The second has been a single guys bible study that I am leading for the other single guys at the language school. There is usually only 3-5 of us, but it has proven to be a time of great spiritual growth as we study the life of Paul, a fellow single guy in foreign lands.
    God has been working on my heart and life in overtime. Being separated from the familiar defiantly puts you into a pressure cooker and God leads you through to see Him in a way not seen before. He has blessed me with the pleasure to tag along with an ABWE missionary that has over 15 years experience in foreign missions. I have learned so much about ministry from talking with him and observing him has he helps people in the walk with the Lord. Serving God always takes you to places you never thought possible and allows you to meet some amazing people along the way. Even though there are some rough  days here and there, most days are better than others.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Car

I have never owned a car before. In High School I drove my dads truck and when I am home now, I just steal my mom's car. So the basic thought of owning a car feels strange to me, but that would be if were just any car. However, I know own a 1948 Crosley Station Wagon. This was my grandpa's dream car when He was my age, but because he was in the army he wasn't able to buy it. When I was in 5th grade he finally bought the body of the car to restore. When he began to restore it he and I traveled to North West Ohio for the National Crosley car show to find all the parts he needed. It was there that I fell in love with the Crosley cars as well, but more importantly Grandpa and I had the time of our lives (as we always did when we were together). Through the past few years as Grandpa restored the car I would help when I was in town and he would always keep me up to date on the latest improvements through phone calls and photos. As many of you know he went to see his savior the end of August. When he passed, he gave the car to me. So beyond owning a car, THIS car is especially amazing to have. It is a symbol and representation of all the things that my grandpa gave to me that aren't material. I have never drove it (because I don't how to drive stick) and I haven't seen it home yet (because I am in another country), but the feelings are just as rich. As much as I miss my grandpa, I know we have more adventures to come soon. Here are some pictures of it so you can see this truly remarkable and one of a kind car.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Glimpse Into Classes

Here are the lovely people that are in my classes. The group pictured here are those who are in my Grammar class. We meet for 2 hours everyday taught by the lady that I am standing next to. Then me and the other two men have an hour a phonetics and an hour of conversation. Honestly I couldn't have been blessed with a better group of people to learn spanish with. We all jump in together head first and make it easy to laugh at ourselves when we say stuff like, "My birthday is the 18th of tuesday" or "No I don't want your eye balls" or my favorite "The boy was eating the pigeons" instead of "The boy is feeding the pigeons." Needless to say, learning another language is shameless and I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to make a fool of myself in front of.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My first goal in Fútbol

Before you get to excited for my great success and triumph in the world game, I must confess that I scored the goal for the other team. Yes, my first goal ever in fútbol was against my own team. My teammates quickly realized the state of my ability and placed me as goalie in hopes that I would have greater success. As I whole I did do better at this position more than the rest. All for one exception, throwing the ball in. I am playing fútbol right, so when I picked up the ball to throw it in I chucked that thing like a football, totally missing the guy I was throwing to. All to say, if it was a game of football I would be doing much better, but when it comes to fútbol, well lets just say I am still learning. If it wasn´t for building friendships and connecting with the men at church, I would feel like an idiot. On the other hand, if you know me at all you know that I am use to putting my self in those types of situations.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Attack of La Cucaracha

A funny thing happened last night right as I was finishing some studying and getting ready for bed. My books and flashcards where on the end of my bed as I lay there going over verbs. In about 3 seconds this cockroach about 2 and half inches long runs down the wall, across the floor and jumps 2 feet up off the ground onto my bed in front of me in the middle of my flashcards. It completely startles me so I jump up and start throwing all my books at the cockroach until it dies, all the while yelling. Hearing this my Tico family runs in the room and starts talking really fast in spanish asking what happened, so understanding what they were asking I explaining the whole thing, but I was traumatized so it was really fast in english. A few seconds later I realized what I was doing and relayed the whole thing spanish, using some vocabulary I don't get to use that often. Through it all, I figured out that I have more spanish in me than I thought, at least when its scared out of me.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I took this picture this morning and no its no the sun reflecting off of the camera lens. This is an actual 360 degree rainbow around the sun. They happen all over the world, but are not that frequent. It happens when the sun reflects off of the ice molecules in the upper troposphere. Just thought it was cool looking.

Friday, September 25, 2009

"Poco a Poco"

Do you ever find yourself in the middle of some project, you turn to pick something up and then when its in your hand you think to yourself, "Now, what was I going to do with this?" You completely blank on what it was that you were doing. I think that is a universal event for anyone, regardless if its truly a senior moment or not. Today I received a jolt back to reality in regards to my current project. Over the past two weeks my mind has become more and more numb, probably because its trying to think and communicate in a language it doesn't know. However, I am here to be able to do just those things and this past week was very difficult. The basics are over and now we are diving deep into the stickiness of Spanish. Being taught spanish, in spanish, can be overwhelming at times and at moments you just shut down. That is what I did this week, I stopped attempting to learn the language for a few days and merely went through the motions. Then God sent an amazing message to remind me why I am studying spanish, a jolt back to reality you might say. I heard from someone I had a conversation with several years ago, in the midst of that conversation I was able to share the gospel. Today I found out that this person had received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior a few months ago. This news was amazing, exciting and put a smile on face from ear to ear. A sense of complete awe that God used a simple conversation as a part of a long series of events to bring someone to a saving knowledge of Himself, with no real action on my part. This was truly an act of God. The reason I am learning spanish is because I am from the 2nd largest spanish speaking country in the world and rather converting them to speak my language, I want to talk to them in the language God created them speaking and tell them about a relationship with Jesus Christ as their saviour. This jolt has encouraged me to not only step up my study of spanish, but more importantly it has opened my eyes to areas of growth in my own relationship with Jesus Christ. My spanish lesson for you this week is a phrase I here dozens of times every day, "Poco a Poco." "Little by little," that is how I am learning spanish, little by little. On the other hand, that is also exactly how God is working on me, "Poco a Poco." Thats how He works on all of us, Phillipians 1 tells us that He is still working on us everyday. Now to step from blogging to a bit of preaching, (sorry I can't help it) I must ask you to think about this for yourself. What's God using in your life to help you do His will more effectively and to grow you along the way? Mine is spanish classes in a foreign country, but it could be anything for anyone. Are you letting Him work? Are patient enough for Him to work in His timing, "Poco a Poco?" Thanks for reading what God has laid on my heart and I pray that this will be an encouragement to you.


Friday, September 18, 2009

This Weeks Spanish Lesson

I would like to teach you another phrase that is common and unique to Costa Rica. "Pura Vida," meaning Pure life, this phrase is used for greetings, explaining how you are doing and even farewells. There are many phrases or words, that are particular to specific countries. The same goes for english speaking countries with a plethora of differences between the US and Great Britain. Further showing how culture and language are inseparable. I have been spending time in thought and study of scripture over the topic of language study, and I look forward to writing to you on the subject soon. But in the mean time, when all is good and you are happy to be alive, its PURA VIDA in Costa Rica. So I pray that you have PURA VIDA. Thanks for reading and for all the prayers, God is most defiantly at work.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pictures from the Day of Fun

A picture of me with my Costa Rica Jersey and then the facepaint the guy ran up and painted on my face. I will try to get more pictures up, but the blogspot server is giving me trouble.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Day of Fun

I arrived back to Costa Rica on Thursday night, with a hard day of catching up with classes on Friday. So on Saturday I decided to have a bit of fun. First, I joined about 30 of my fellow students and went downtown San Jose for taste of History, Crafts and Coffee!!! It was a great time to meet new people and makes some friends. I love to find out what ministries and countries people will be working with after language school. God is amazing in how He takes people of all ages and occupation to fulfill the most unique works for His kingdom. We were able to go to the National Museum of Costa Rica and brush up on our history. I hope to have some pictures up soon. We went to a market place, where I got my Tico Pride on and bought a Costa Rican National Fútbol jersey. While walking through the streets with it on, a man ran up and painted my face with Blue, White and Red stripes in spirit for that nights game against Mexico, I did not ask for it, but it was fun!! We went to the central market where there is fish, fresh made peanut butter and of course COFFEE!!!!!!! I enjoyed the most amazing cup of Joe I have every had with some new friends and then it was time to come home. After spending some time catching up on homework, it was time for the big game. Unfortunately, Costa Rica lost really bad and then we sat around the table discussing how bad they lost and possible reasons why. All together a great day for learning, new experiences and FUN!!!

Much More Than Words

I was asked a lot, why Costa Rica? Why not courses at a community college or Rosetta Stone? My choice to go to Costa Rica was from the wise council of many who told me that immersion is the best way to learn. I have begun to see why that is true. One of the most exciting and sometimes difficult parts of learning another language is also learning the culture. Language is tied to the culture that it supports, so to know the culture is to know the language. Ticos are vibrant people who are very expressive with a welcoming spirit and peaceful attitude. This is one of the many reasons why Costa Rica is great to learn spanish. Spending time out in the country and surrounded by the people is very helpful in the process. A difficult obstacle that I am trying to overcome, is the difference in thought pattern. Substituting Spanish for english words is wrong, but learning to form sentences the way a native speaker would. Thus, this weeks spanish lesson. "De hoy en ocho" is the phrase used for "in 1 week." Here in latin america you count the current day and then include the days to come when communicating the days to come. If you know me at all I am easily fascinated by the littlest of things, these nuances of culture and language FASCINATE me. Next time I will try and be a bit more prompt with the week's spanish lessons on Fridays. Thanks for reading and all your prayers, they help so much!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Prayer Request

I am writing from the International Airport in San Jose, because I am having to travel back home to the states. My Grandpa passed away Friday night and I going home to be with my family during this time and have the incredible honor of preaching his funeral. I would ask for your prayer for my safety as I travel to the states and then back to Costa Rica at the end of the week. Also, please pray that the gospel of Christ will be heard by those who need and that the relationship my grandpa had with Jesus Christ would serve as a catalyst for those who do not know Him as he did. The viewing is on Tuesday and the Funeral Service is Wednesday morning. Thank you for all your prayers. 

Friday, August 28, 2009

This week's Spanish Lesson

Each Friday I will post a little spanish lesson of words or phrases that I have found necessary or interesting. First, is the word Tico. Tico is the word for a native of Costa Rican. You would not call someone a Costa Rican, but a Tico (for men) and Tica (for women). I am told that this comes from the early days of coffee plantations, but I am not sure the exact syntax of the word. However, when referring to someone here, they are a Tico. Second, is a phrase that I have found myself saying over and over and OVER. ¿Cómo se dice...en Español? It is "How do you spanish?" One who is learning the language this is your greatest tool in acquiring a vocabulary of words. My wonderful Tico family are so patient in explaining and pronouncing words over and over to me until I am able to say it back really well. For them Iam so thankful, they are my best teachers, I pray that one day soon my spanish will be good enough to repay them with the kindness of Christ in words. Until then, I will stumble through saying ¿Cómo se dice...en Español? making it through with the help of wonderful Ticos. 

Monday, August 24, 2009

Where The Streets Have No Name

One thing I have learned and am adapting to is that there are no names for the streets here. To find your way around you use landmarks and descriptions of what the street is like. The part of San Jose that I am living in, San Francisco de dos Rios, has two main roads. A North/South Road and a East/West Road, they are called the Major Roads. The house where I live, as you can see in the picture, is right off of the East/West major road. It is absolutely beautiful every direction you look, you can see from the photo of the road in front of my house heading south, that mountains surround the city. I embarked on a walk today, to familiarize my self with the major roads, my walk to school and the parks. While out I made my first purchase with Colones, Costa Rican currency, an umbrella because it rains a lot here and a sprite, I was thirsty. God has placed such a peace in my heart that this is where I need to be. Already I can see Him using me in peoples lives, you know its all God when you can't even speak the Language. 

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Have Arrived in Costa Rica!!!!

Just wanted to send a quick update that I have arrived safely with all my things to San Jose, Costa Rica. I keep pinching myself only to realize its all real. The couple I am living with are very nice and have already helped me with a lot of spanish. Well I am now off to go to church for the first time here, thanks for all your prayers.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Just finished packing and I leave in just a few hours. I never unpacked from Florida, so I have been living out of a suitcase for two weeks. When it came time to pack, things exploded!! However,  it all came together. All weighting in under 50 lbs. a bag.  My bus leaves for Chicago at 3:00 p.m. Eastern and I arrive there at 5:15 p.m. Central. Then I go to O'Hare at 12:00 am for my 3:15 am flight to Guatemala City, Guatemala. Arriving there at 6:30 am I have a 2 hour lay over until my flight to San Jose, Costa Rica where I arrive at 9:35 am Central/no Daylight savings. It will be a long two days of traveling, but its worth it all for Him. Excited to share more with you along the way. Hope you have a great weekend and Lord's Day. 

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Full Summer

I just finished 2 and a half months of ministry in SW Florida at Corral Ridge Baptist Church.  It was an amazing opportunity to step aside from school an dive deep into ministry for a short time. It was at the same church that I fulfilled my internship for Moody and was mentored by Pastor Barry Crohn. The internship experience was remarkable and when face with what to do with the time before leaving for Costa Rica the Holy Spirit pressed on my heart to pray about Corral Ridge. To make a long story short it was from there that it all worked out for me to go to Cape Coral, FL and help out in the church. The time was full with teaching and preaching opportunities in all areas of the Church. I began the summer with helping the missions team prepare for their trip to Nicaragua. God used experience from previous missions trips and my time as a camp counselor to help in training the team for their trip. While they were gone I held down the camp and preached from Exodus. Then two exciting studies exuded from then on. First, was an exciting study of Lamentations on Wednesday nights for the Adults and the Second was a church wide study of Galatians on Sundays. The Galatians study was invigorating!! Pastor and I team preached on Sunday morning and evening, then combined with the sunday school classes the entire book was covered verse by verse. This study took 6 weeks as the whole church divide head first into Galatians. Needless to say, all who were involved learned and grew so much. Corral Ridge went above and beyond to include me into their family and shower me with love. Overall, this was a great experience of ministry, friends and growing in the LORD. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Regen Conference 2009

Just finished up preaching at the Regenerate Conference 2009 Wheaton. What an amazing opportunity it was to preach God's word to a hundred students. The Holy Spirit was most definitely at work in the hearts of people, myself included. I preached from Philippians 1 for 3 main sessions and then enjoyed the fellowship and encouragement from other ministry leaders. I met so many new people who God is using all over the country. God still surprises me in the way He works and controls everything, bringing so many details to His glory. Also, He blessed me with the opportunity to spend time with dear friends Ronel and Kim Borromeo and then swing by to see Ryan, Ginger and Evelyn Jane Barnhart. Lil' bird was born just 2 weeks ago, so this was my first time to see her. It is so good to see those you love. Back in Florida now, with two weeks to go. The next two sundays we will be wrapping up our church wide Galatians study and then back home for 2 weeks to spend with my parentals and family, who I am really missing. 26 days until I leave for Costa Rica!

By His Grace, 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Up with the trend

Well I have finally decided to open a blog. I assure you this will not be a place of ranting or raving about issues and politics. It is merely a place for me to tell of what God is doing in my life through stories, updates, pictures, commentary on scripture, theology and the Church. I hope that it will be a fun read and that my weird sense of humor will bleed through, but not too much as that will make some of you nauseous. May all that is written be glorifying to God and edifying to those who read.