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Showing posts from November, 2008

Mountain of Death

Traveling through Costa Rica is never pleasant for me because the ridiculously winding roads. I always have to take dramamine to prevent motion sickness. Not only is the bus ride to Panama extremely windy but you pass through the Mountain of Death or Cerro de la Muerte as it is called in Spanish. You know when you are in this particular area of Costa Rica because your ears will start to pop and the temperature drops very quickly. Here in San Jose the elevation is 3,809 ft. but in the Talamanca mountain range it is a whopping 11,322 ft. above sea level. It does not matter if it is a pretty day or not once you get up there you cannot see anything because you are in the clouds. Amazingly enough temperatures can reach below freezing and much of this mountain range has not even been explored. Sometimes the clouds will split and you can see the range and it is an absolutely beautiful sight.

Surfing at La Barqueta

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This morning I woke up and went to the beach with Dina, secretary from school, and our bus driver. The weather was nice and we had the beach to ourselves. The waves were killer and I was a slightly nervous going out by myself. But the whole reason I wanted to come to Panama, other than renewing my visa, was to surf. So this year I have surfed in El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Panama. I walked out and the current was super strong and that made me nervous but I braved it and finally was able to paddle out without getting beat down by the waves. I started catching some waves but I did not want to go out where the huge waves were breaking because I know my surfing limit and plus, I was alone. However, before I knew it I had been carried out beyond the huge crashing waves. The only way for me to get in to shore was to ride those huge waves. I was out for about an hour and riding wave after wave. They were massive and because of that all you had to do was stand up and ride and rid…

Thanksgiving in Panama

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As I am sitting in the lobby so I can use the internet at our hotel in Panama it all seems a little strange. This morning I woke up and went out to the pool and then we went walking around downtown where I saw the lady and child above and thought about how much I have to be thankful for. The reason I am in Panama is because in Costa Rica you have a 90 day visa. To renew the visa you have to leave the country and re-enter to receive a new 90 day stamp. So we are spending a few days in David, Panama and will be heading back to Costa Rica on Saturday. Tonight we are all going to have our "Thanksgiving Dinner" at TGI Friday.

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

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I finally decorated for Christmas. I am behind everyone else here but I figured I would go out on a limb and decorate before Thanksgiving. Granted my decorating is buying a Poinsettia and cutting some pieces off the Pine tree that fell outside my apartment during a storm the other day. But it gives me a feeling of Christmas and even better I am going home for Christmas so it doesn't really matter if it is decorated here or not. Since I am such a huge fan of everything Peanuts I figured my christmas tree would be a tribute to Charlie Brown.

Hot Springs

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Saturday one of the teachers at the school took the women on a field trip/excursion. We went to the Volcano Arenal to visit the natural hot springs. Even though the weather was not agreeable it was still beautiful. On the side of a Volcano, in the midst of a rain forest, sitting in hot springs was rather wonderful especially after having a stressful week. It was a good time also to get to know other women that I hardly ever see at school because of my class schedule.

Prayer Makes a Difference

I would like to ask all my readers to pray for some people that need miracles in their lives.
1.) Roberto- A young guy here in Costa Rica who has cancer and is going through treatment.
2.) Dennis- Father of my roommate who has been ill all of her life and he is at the end of his rope and does not want to live anymore.
3.) Cheryl- Mother of another friend here who has cancer and is going through treatment.
4.) Andre- Child of missionary's that are here studying has been sick with some strange infection and has been in and out of hospitals for the past month or so.

I appreciate your prayers and will keep you updated on the progress in these people as I know about it. I know that to each one will be thankful for your prayers. You may not know them but the Lord created them and it is the responsibility of believers to lift up other believers.

ECO

Today I had a very important linguistic test called the ECO. It stands for something in Spanish that I can not remember exactly but it is a world wide standard test. Every student has to take to know where to be placed the next trimester. I did not know about this oral exam until the middle of last week. We were told not to study, not to worry but I apparently have test anxiety and I did both of those things. The instructor who presented my test to me is the Director of the school and is the most trained in linguistic placement. However, he is also the only teacher that I have never had a conversation with and I think he is super intimidating. So not only was I nervous but slightly intimidated but I went in and had a 45 minute conversation with him, which was my exam. So I am so happy that it is now over and I am anxious to find out where I placed or what this evaluation means.

Terremoto

I woke up this morning and almost immediately after getting out of bed the phone rang. I answered it and it was our Tica friend Jenn. She asked me if I felt the earthquake last night. I told her no I must have slept through it. However, Heather my roommate said it woke her up but she was to tired to think anything of it. It was a 6.2 earthquake with the epicenter in Panama close to the Costa Rican border. It was felt all the way to San Jose, the capitol of Costa Rica, where I live. You can read more here
http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE4AI1PF20081119?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews

Book of Hope Girls

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Since class began we have had four girls that work with Book of Hope. Part of their internship is to come to language school and then go somewhere else. They are leaving on Wednesday to work in Peru. One of the girls is my only classmate so after she leaves I will be alone in my classes. Each of them are great girls and it has been so wonderful getting to know them these past few months. It is sad to see them go but is the story of my life. I had them over and cooked dinner for them as a farewell. Most importantly we prayed for them and committed to continue to pray for one another which is the mark of true friendship.

Aim Low

I want to share this video that a friend shared with me. It accurately portrays the vision of Bro. Don Triplett and that is why I love working with them in El Salvador because this is the concept that King's Castle has been founded upon.

Political Gift

Yesterday afternoon China's President arrived in Costa Rica. The only reason I know is I was with some friends yesterday and our bus ride took forever because the highway and all major roads were shut down and the police were everywhere. China is giving Costa Rica a new national stadium and today he will be laying the first rock.


Chinese president visits Costa Rica
By Gillian Gillers
Tico Times Staff | ggillers@ticotimes.net

Chinese President Hu Jintao is expected to sign 11 accords with President Oscar Arias today in the first visit by a Chinese head of state to Central America.

Hu arrived at Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela, northwest of San José, yesterday afternoon, with his wife, Liu Yongqing, and a sizable delegation. His agenda today includes a private meeting with Arias, followed by a press conference where he will sign accords and make a statement to the press but take no questions. He will then meet with lawmakers, visit the National Museum and eat lunch w…

Concert of Sorts

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I helped set up for a youth outreach, at church, this evening. They were also having a Bazaar which is like a church garage sale with lots of food. The money raised is to buy each child in the church a Christmas present. After we finished setting up for the concert we hang out with Roberto and Lizbeth who are the Pastors of the church. Lizbeth is also my phonetics teacher. I also made a new friend, which is, the little boy in the photo above. He was so sweet and fell asleep as I was holding him during the concert. The concert consisted of two groups. One was two-piece, metal band from the youth group. Then a local kid from the area rapped and there was a breakdance team. It was cool and he was stoked that some North Americans were there to hear his stuff. It was cool to be able to help out and reach out to the local neighborhood. During the day we walked to someones house to pick up a curtain we were using to hang across the the stage and some of the guys who are always out …

Nintendo Rocks

For all you Mario fans out there.

Tico Tamales

My conversation teacher took my other classmate and I to a small restaurant to eat tamales and drink coffee. My teacher, Miriam, said tamales are a food that is synonymous with the Christmas season. Which is the season we are in here. My other classmate is leaving next week and will not be finishing out the trimester because she works with Book of Hope and they are going to work in Peru. So Miriam wanted to take us out as a "despidida" (a time to say goodbye) to Debbie. It is going to be a little weird when my only classmate leaves. I will have almost four weeks of private classes. I do not know if that is good or bad. Hopefully, it will be like having four private tutors and I will learn even more.

Why Is Latin America So Excited About Obama?

Every week I have an interaction class which I am required to have atleast 4 or 5 interaction partners throughout the week. My class is to talk about my theme and how the interaction went. My theme this past week was an easy one. It was about the election. It was super easy because all of Costa Rica is talking about it. No matter where you go or what you do when they see you are from the United States they start a conversation about the President elect Barack Obama. I had found out in the past few weeks that John F. Kennedy is super popular here. Shortly, before his assassination he visited Costa Rica and planted a tree downtown that is still there. The Costa Ricans not only love Kennedy because of his visit but also because of the "Alianzo de Progresso." The Alliance for Progress that was signed in 1961. Wikipedia says that it was aimed to establish economic cooperation between North and South America. One of my teachers is a product of that alliance. She says sh…

Smile and Make a Difference

"We need to stop complaining about what we do not have and start being thankful for what we do have." This was the main point of the sermon in church today. That being said something happened during church that applied this point to a T. There is a young lady who attends the same church as I do. She has some kind of physical condition that affects muscle control. She is able to walk but not without help. She can not speak very well and can not close her mouth so she constantly drools. With help she can wipe her mouth but she can't clutch the cloth in her hand. However, she understands what is going on and smiles most of the time. She sat in front of me this morning and kept looking back at me and smiling. When I smiled back at her she would just smile even bigger and then turn away. She would look back again and smile and I would smile back and she continued doing this. As she was smiling at me I felt the Lord speak to me and say, "If you only understood…

Manos Misionarios

Today I worked with the local King's Castle team and we did Manos Misionarios which directly translates to "missionary hands." You split up into groups of two or three and walk house to house asking people if they need any help doing anything. Basically, it is a practical way to demonstrate the love of Jesus by helping out in the local community. I went with one of my friends, Lesli, and her father to the market and helped carry vegetables and fruits. That took most of the morning and afterward they invited me into their house and I ate lunch with them. It was really cool to get to know this family. I found out that both of Lesli's parents are originally from Peru and her dad is a baker. It was a privilege to be invited into their home to eat and drink coffee. Being invited into someone's home here is even more of a big deal than El Salvador, I think, because here there is so much more pride. It was a great day and I felt like I made a cultural breakth…

Living out the Beatitudes

Today in chapel we had part 2 of the Beatitudes and, again, it was super convicting. Basically, we have to go through those things in the beatitudes to apply it to our life. For example, blessed are the peacemakers. Well, to be blessed as a peacemaker you have to go through a difficult situation in which to bring peace. At the end of chapel my roommate told me I should go read The Franciscan Blessing and I thought I would share it.

Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console,
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it its in dying that we are born to eternal life.

A Franciscan Blessing

May…

History Has Been Made

I woke up this morning to learn that Barack Obama is the new President of the United States of America. I can not say that I am surprised. I did not agree with Obama nor McCain enough to vote for either. When I cast my vote two weeks ago I can say I voted for someone I agreed with. I voted for Nader. Now that everything is all said in done my absentee ballad was probably not even counted. They usually do not count oversees, absentee ballads unless it is really close call. Like most of the U.S. I want change and I do think Obama will bring it. How and in what manner is a different story. It is hard for me to understand why "christians" are upset because of Obama's victory. In Daniel 2:21 it says, "It is He (God) who changes the times and epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings." The Lord has allowed this to happen. It is not out of God's control. I can tell you what did surprise me was the reaction around the world. Most of the countries …

Live As Though

As I was reading the Bible today a line from a verse in 1 Corinthians 5:20 hit me hard. It says, "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." Live as though God were making his appeal through us, wow! That is deep. If we lived every moment, every encounter with other people as if God was making his appeal through us what a different life we would be living.

Day of the Dead

I started off my Saturday, as usual, by going to work with King's Castle. Instead of going to do a program for the children they had a workshop to learn how to face paint. It very interesting and I learned a lot of cool stuff to paint on children's faces. I realized while I was talking to some of my friends that today was "El Dia de la Muerte" the Day of the Dead. I asked what that meant for them. They answered me that it meant nothing, to them, specifically. It is celebrated very different in Costa Rica than in other Latin America countries. Here, they simply go put new flowers on the grave and apparently the younger generation does not really participate. It is very interesting to learn the differences in each country regarding holidays. After the workshop, we took the bus home. From the location of the church we have to take two busses to get back to our part of town. The bus change is downtown so we usually do shopping or get stuff we need while we are…