Gracias A Dios….

Gracias a Dios. To be be honest, the first time I heard this phrase, I thought someone was saying, “Gracias. Adios,” meaning “Thank you. Goodbye.” I was quite confused, but I soon came to learn that it simply means, “Thanks to God.”

We have so many things to be thankful for… and I think that November is the perfect time for sharing those. It is amazing to think that we have been here for 11 months. The Lord has been so faithful and continues to pour out His mercy upon us. Sure, there have been hard times, sad times and struggles, but even amidst those we have been reminded that the Lord is good.  Below are just a few things that we are thankful for!

you

We are so thankful for each of you! We could not do this without your love, support and prayers! Thank you for your faithfulness.

beauty

Thankful for the beauty that we continue to discover here in Costa Rica.

HUSBAND

Thankful for a creative husband. Because of the rainy season and no backyard, it can sometimes be difficult for the kids to find active things to do.

FRIENDS 11.57.29 AM

Thankful for friends and a Halloween celebration. Reeves was very thankful for “dirt ice cream” and “graveyard brownies!”

SKIRT

Thankful for our time at language school. Hard to believe we only have 2 months left!

Cornbread

Sometimes it’s the little things! Thankful to find cornbread mix for my corn casserole recipe. Yay!

LADIES

So thankful for this group of ladies! They have been such a blessing and encouragement to me. We will all be heading in different directions come December, but thankful for the time we have had together.

CAR

Praising the Lord that the tire fell off after Matt and Ian were off the highway! Thankfully they were back in town, in a safe neighborhood and only going about 3 kph. Thankful that Matt is friends with our mechanic and the car was repaired quickly.

PRAYER

  • We will be finishing up school in a few months. Please pray for wisdom and direction as we move into full-time ministry.
  • Pray for our safety as there has been a increase in robberies in our neighborhood.
  • Pray that we will continue to grow in the Lord and cling to His promises.

Hello from Nicaragua…

We are currently on a visa renewal trip (we have to leave Costa Rica every 90 days to renew our visa). This is our second trip so that means we have been in Costa Rica for 180 days! It is hard to believe that we have been here for 6 months.

The last few months have been filled with many changes….

We began our second trimester of language school, the kids finished up their year at Sojourn, and we moved into a new house. Although we are nowhere near fluent, we are learning the language poco a poco! The funny thing is Matt is able to understand the language more easily, and I am able to speak it more easily. So, when having a conversation with a local, Matt translates into English what is being said, and then I respond in Spanish! Teamwork at its best!

We have been blessed to housesit this trimester for a couple who is visiting the states for their daughter’s wedding.  This house has great space, a garage for our car (no more parking at the school!), and a backyard that is quite big for the neighborhood. The first thing the kids did was have a water hose war in the backyard! What a blessing!

WATER.jpg

“Bags for Beds”

We had the opportunity to take part in the “Bags for Beds” project in Los Guido, a very poor district here in San Jose. The school and others in the community collected plastic bags. We took these bags to a group of women from a church in Los Guido, and they were taught how to crochet these bags to make sleeping pads.  The ladies were paid for each mat they crocheted, and then the mats were distributed by another organization to the homeless in San Jose.  It was great to see the kids serve and interact with the ladies and the neighborhood kids that were there.

We had our first visitors….

Mom and Dad visited for 10 days during our trimester break. We had a great time discovering more of Costa Rica and simply spending time with family. We spent some time at the hot springs, visited the beach, and Reeves finally got to see her first sloth! It was hard saying goodbye, but we enjoyed the time that they were here.

Thank you for your prayers. We have seen the Lord heal us when we have been sick; comfort us when we have longed for our friends, family and our “normal”; give us peace despite the dangers that surround us; encourage us when we get blank stares from the locals when speaking Spanish; and give us laughter amidst the ants, las cucharachas, and the daily rains. We can see how the Lord is molding our hearts and calming our spirits. Please continue to lift us up!

 

I lift my eyes up…

SKY.jpg
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made the heaven and the earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

 

We have now been in Costa Rica for a month. Many have asked, “So what is different there”? If I am completely honest…at this time, almost everything. The smells, the language, the food, our transportation, the kids reactions/emotions, our schedules – our lives. The transition has been tough; we miss our friends, our family, and our “normal.” And just about the time I want to scream “I can’t take it anymore!”, the Lord gently reminds me, “Lift your eyes up…”

This verse has come to have greater meaning to me in the last month. As we walk the streets or even look out our bedroom balcony (pictured above) we are bombarded with razor wire and gates and bars and frustrations. But if we just look up, we are bombarded with God’s beautiful creation, His gentle reminder that he is here and that He is where our help comes from.

At that moment, we are not overwhelmed with the different, but instead are overwhelmed and overjoyed with peace and encouragement of what the Lord has called us to do. We are so thankful to be here. The enemy tries (and will continue to try) to defeat us through the different, but we will fight and we will not be shaken!  The end of Psalm 121 reads:

The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day, Nor the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.
The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.
We don’t know what the “razor wire and bars” in your life might be right now, but we know that we serve a God who cares for us! We encourage you to look UP. He is there!

BUTTERFLY

The butterfly decided Ian’s head was a happy resting place.

FROG

We are still looking for a sloth, but Reeves was happy with the red eyed tree frog!

WATERFALL

One of the many waterfalls in Costa Rica. Another great reminder of God’s handiwork.

rainbow.jpg

The rainbows in the mountains are AMAZING, such a reminder of God’s promises!


Thank you for your continued prayers. We seriously could not be here without the love and support of all of you! God has been faithful in answering many prayers. We are beginning to build relationships and are seeing our kids make friends- what a blessing!

Here are a few ways you can continue to pray for us:

  • Pray that we will continue to adjust to life here. Our desire is to not simply survive, but to thrive!
  • Pray for us in language school. Y’all, is is hard to get these old brains back into learning mode!
  • Pray for us to have wisdom as parents. With culture shock/adjustment, sometimes it is difficult to know the root of certain behaviors. Pray that the Lord will direct us when to discipline and when to just give extra hugs and encouragement!
  • Pray that our house in Shreveport will sell. We had an offer fall through, but trust that the Lord is in control.

We are Here!

fam.jpg

Wow!! We are in Costa Rica and it seems so surreal. We are so thankful for the Lord’s faithfulness and so thankful for each of you who has helped us to get here. Thank you for giving. Thank you for praying. Thank you for encouraging. Thank you for being a part of this!

The last few days have been a whirlwind of emotions- excited, scared, happy, sad, doubtful, hopeful, exhausted….. Please continue to pray for us as we adjust and jump into school. We will be attending Instituto de Lengua Espanol and the kids will be attending Sojourn Academy, a Christian school that is part of the language school.

We are happy to have internet and can easily check email. If you would like to text us, please download the app called WhatsApp. It’s free and is a great way to communicate with us. Again, we can’t express how much we love and appreciate y’all. Thank you for your continued support and prayers!

2 Weeks…

TICKET.jpg
Y’all… we now have tickets… wow! It is happening!! Yes, we still have to raise a little more support, but we just want to give a huge shout out to everyone who is a part of this. God is so good and is continuing to bring along partners with us in this journey. We are overwhelmed by His goodness!

Silent night, holy night….

TREE.jpg

Since we only have 3 weeks until we hope to leave, this is what Christmas looks like for us this year. Reeves has loved that “her tree” is the main tree and is looking forward to seeing gifts surrounding it on Christmas morning!

all is calm…. (well not really)!

CALM.jpg

Everything is CRAZY around here as we are packing, selling, and storing all of our things. Despite the craziness, we are getting super excited about beginning this journey that the Lord has called us to.

all is bright.

We are 81% funded…. that is incredible and overwhelming to think about! We are constantly in awe as the Lord continues to provide partners to help spread the Gospel in Latin America. Thanks to all who have partnered with us!

So…. we still need 19% to GO!! We are trusting that the Lord will bring along those final partners so we can be at 100%. We know that we are called to GO, and also know that God has called those to SEND us. Please continue to pray about joining us on this journey!

Desperate…and OK

Over the past few weeks, I have had such feelings of desperation. This desperation began rooting feelings of guilt and shame. I began questioning my faith, “If I truly believe the Lord’s calling, then I should have greater faith.” Then it hit me-

The desperation that has washed over us is not due to a lack of our faith, it is BECAUSE of our faith.

  • We know that the Lord has called us to full time mission work and we are desperate to follow where He has called.
  • We have seen our kids’ hearts turn from cries of fear to prayers of “Lord, please get us to 100% so we can go!” We are desperate to see their prayers answered.
  • We have partners who have been faithfully giving, and we are desperate to begin the work that they have been called to support.
  • We have hearts that desperately want to serve and be obedient to the work He began in our family.
  • We are desperate to reach 100% because we know that it is the only thing separating our family from relocating to Costa Rica in December.

The Lord has graciously brought us to our knees and shown us that our desperation is OK. He has readied our hearts and created a longing so deep that our thoughts and actions revolve around this longing- this desperation.

The Lord is also continually reminding us that we cannot do this without the body of Christ supporting us financially and in prayer. We are desperately asking you to join us in the Kingdom work.

We know that we are called to go to Costa Rica. What is the Lord calling you to do? Maybe you are one of the financial supporters our kids are praying for?

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1 Peter 4:10)

45 days (and counting)…

Hopeful deployment date: December 30th
Support raised: about 65%
House items sold: about 90%
Trust in the Lord: 100%

Y’all the time has come. This is getting very real. We have moved from talking about leaving to preparing to leave. And yes- we still need 35% of our support!

Please join with us and help get us on the field. If you have questions, shoot us an email or give us a call. We want to share with you our passion for reaching the unreached and loving on the unloved!

For those who are partners with us, thank you for being part of this. Thank you for joining us in His Kingdom work. Please continue to pray that the Lord will move in mighty ways to get us to the field and to use this ministry for His glory!

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than
all we ask or imagine…. (Ephesians 3:20)

5 Words.

I was pretty sure it would happen- I just did not know when. We had been warned that it was normal and had heard stories from other missionary families. Despite all those things, it still broke my heart.

A few nights ago, Matt and I were in the kitchen cleaning up after we had put the kids in bed. I heard something in the living room and turned to see my sweet Reeves sobbing. Of course, I rushed to her and asked what was wrong. Through her sobs she exclaimed, “Mom, I don’t want to go!” The 5 words that I had been dreading. Then she fell in my arms and continued to cry. She voiced her sadness of having to leave all her friends and family, her fear of going to a new place, her fear of making new friends, her fear of having no friends…. it all bubbled up.

Reeves is one who is always up for a new challenge. She has been excited about moving, but this excitement was replaced with a terrifying and overwhelming fear of the unknown. So I held her tight, and I cried with her. I cried because I am sad to leave friends and family; I fear going to a new place; I fear making new friends!

I don’t know what the future looks like for our family. I wanted to promise my baby girl that she will have good friends, that she will like her school, and that she will learn the language quickly. I wanted to squash her fears! However, these are not promises that I can make. I did promise her that the Lord knows our future and that He cares for us. So, Reeves and I made a pact to be brave and to face the unknown with confidence. We snuggled up and played the song, “You Make Me Brave.” She fell asleep hearing, “You call me out beyond the shore unto the waves… No fear can hinder now the promises You made.”

Yes, this is an exciting journey, but at times it can be terrifying! Please continue to pray for our family.

  • Pray that the Lord will make us brave- this is not something that we can do in our own strength.
  • Pray that we will reach 100% support. If you have not joined with us, please pray about becoming a monthly partner.
  • Pray that God will give us wisdom as parents to love Ian and Reeves well through this transition.

The train, the train!

When Ian was just a few years old, we spent a lot of time at my Dad’s pharmacy, which is located just across from the railroad tracks. Ian loved to run to the front doors and watch the train pass. He would often run to the doors exclaiming, “the train, the train!” I would listen intently, but I (along with everyone else at the pharmacy) could not hear a thing! However, the seconds would pass, and eventually we all could hear the faint whistle of the train. The whistle continued to grow louder and louder and then the train would rumble past!!  I came to learn that when Ian yelled, “the train!”, it did not matter if I could hear it- I knew it was coming!

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:1 (NASB)

We are stepping out on faith that God has called us to move to Costa Rica at the end of this year. There are some days that, as the old magic 8 ball says… “All evidence points to NO!” However, we continue forward with the “conviction of things not seen!” We continue forward because God has called us to continue forward!!

I am sure we all have days where we are discouraged- we want to quit! Those are the days we must gird ourselves in the Word, we must trudge forward…. we must. keep. moving. There is an enemy that seeks to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He wants to steal our joy; he wants to kill our hope; he wants to destroy our relationships. RESIST HIM!! And keep moving forward!

Yes, there are days when we can’t “hear the whistle,” but we have faith that the train is coming! So we press on knowing that we serve a God who is faithful to accomplish what He has called us to! We look forward to hearing that whistle grow louder and louder until we see that train rumble by!