Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Family Vacation

Mike's dad - Jerry; Mike - my brother-in-law; and Jeri - Mike's sister - all enjoying our awesome steak dinner!

Mike's parents, sister, and brother-in-law arrived to San Jose yesterday. It was AWESOME to see them! A little taste of home :-) And not only are we privileged to spend some incredible time with them, they brought more than themselves with them. They brought an entire suitcase of goodies! Included in it were Omaha Steaks! We have not had steak since we have been here. I know...I know...seems like a strange thing to be craving - but let me just tell you - it's one of those things you don't realize you miss until you don't have it. For over 8 months we have been without steak. We borrowed our friends BBQ, and out on our back porch, had the most incredible dinner we have had since we have been here. Pineapple, mango, fresh bread from the bakery, good local beer, and STEAK!!! There was much "mmmmmm" going on during dinner.

Mike successfully returned from La Ceiba, Honduras. He was able to register Madison into school (a HUGE prayer praise!!), look at some housing - didn't find any - but good to know it's available, and found a temporary living arrangement for when we arrive. It's a boarding house, and certainly not permanent, but a NICE option to have instead of living in a hotel until we find a house. This was a VERY productive time for the guys!

The next four days we will be spending in Arenal, an active volcano, then up to one of the beautiful beaches on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. We are hoping to find Internet along the way, but there is a chance we will be unable to find it. So - stay tuned - and if able - we will be posting our adventures along the way.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Yesterday Madison and I spent the day at the amusement park in San Jose. It's a decent sized amusement park for Central America. We were done with all the rides in 3 hours, but managed to stay for 7 hours at the park. Madison kept riding the same rides over and over again, until finally SHE said it's time to go :-) This will probably be our only opportunity to go there in the remaining time we have in Costa Rica.

Mike is still in Honduras with our team mate Sean and our team leader Mark. He was spending the day looking at potential homes and getting Madison registered (hopefully) into her future school. They have had a full day, so I haven't heard from them today to see how things went. They will be returning to Costa Rica tomorrow in the evening. I am going to the airport in the morning to pick up Mike's folks, his sister, and her husband. They will be spending the next 10 days with us in Costa Rica. It's going to be a great time of family fellowship :-)

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Today is the first day of our vacation. Yesterday was graduation, and it was very, very sad, yet very good as well. There were a number of friends we said our final farewells to - and yes, on my part, there was much crying. We will still be seeing some friends as we are not leaving for two more months, but many have gone. Today Mike left for Honduras with our teammate Sean, and they are meeting up with out team leader, Mark. They have many things planned over the next couple of days including looking for a future home for us (PLEASE keep that in your prayers), and registering Madison into school. Madison and I stayed home today, ate homemade pizza, brownies, and watched some movies on our lap top. It was a great way to bring in the first day of our vacation!

One other item of prayer - I continue to suffer with severe allergies. My nose is in a constant state of congestion, and makes it difficult to breath effectively. I've tried most of the over-the-counter medications, and most of the perscription anti-allergin/decongestants out there. They all only have a minimal effect. This has been a bit discouraging for me, as I wake often in the night coughing, etc. So if you would please pray for this to end soon - and that I won't have this problem in Honduras.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Final grades!

Today was our LAST day at school!!!!!! We are relieved, excited, exalted, exhausted, and content! As our final posting grades, between the two of us we received 2 B+’s, and A-, and an A! Not bad for a bunch of gringos that came here not knowing ANYTHING! Tomorrow is our “graduation” ceremony, then we are off for two weeks. Mike will be spending 4 days in Honduras looking for a future home for us, hopefully registering Madison into school, and reaffirming old acquaintances. Then Mike’s family will be coming for a visit – his sister, brother-in-law and his parents. We will be showing them around Costa Rica. After that Madison will finish up her last reporting period in school and we will begin tutoring for a month. Then…on to Honduras! Exactly two months from tomorrow! Please pray for all of these upcoming events! We have a VERY busy final two months here!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mariachi at school

Mariachi bands are used in Costa Rica for a variety of events including weddings, quinceañeras, or just to seranade your girl :-) There was a celebration at our school last week. The husband of one of our classmates hired a mariachi band to celebrate her during break time at school for her birthday. This gave the entire school a treat as we were able to listen in. Watch this quick video for a taste of what we saw/listened to.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Goodbyes: This week is the beginning of goodbyes. Many of our friends are leaving. It's been heartbreaking knowing we won't see them again, this side of heaven, but feel blessed for having known them for as long as we did. We know that God has placed each of these families where He wants them to be, and for this we are grateful. Missionary life is filled with hellos and goodbyes all the time. No sooner do you make friends then they are leaving, or you are! So - as difficult as this is, it is a life that God chose for us and we must become accustomed to.

Hellos: Mike's parents and his sister and brother-in-law are coming next week! We are priviledge to be able to spend some time with them showing them the sights of Costa Rica. What a pleasure it will be to be able to show them many of the sights we have come to love - the volcanos, waterfalls, coast, etc.

School: This is our last week of school, and are excited to be done. Madison has a 2 week break at the end of this week as well. She is very happy for that. This is a difficult time in any kids life - being a pre-teen, or in many of the cases of her Tico schoolmates in her grade, the teen years. With that comes many trials that many may remember, or that some are experiencing with their own kids. It is no different here - but it is compounded by the fact that her friends here are only temporary, and that all of them are going through stressful changes in their lives. Please pray for Madison in these final 2 months of school.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

21 Accents

My friend posted this on his blog, and I couldn't resist sharing it. Very amazing!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Last day of playing

Yesterday was my last day of playing the piano in chapel. Funny thing was, it was also my worst day of playing. I had a raging headache, and it was so cold that day, my fingers were stiff. However, since we have an incredible guitar player, and we were playing with a cello that day, most of my errors were unheard by most. It has been such an incredible opportunity to play for over 8 months in chapel. This has increased my courage, and my confidence with my playing. I'm hoping to find a piano teacher in La Ceiba to be able to continue in my playing and reading music. I didn't plan on playing when coming to Costa Rica - Learn Spanish - was my primary goal, but God knew otherwise. We are never on "vacation" from serving our God. Just when you think you are - God places things in your life to remind you that everyday and every opportunity is a chance to serve God.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

English as a Second Language Classes

For 10 weeks we taught an ESL class to 17 Costa Ricans. Last week we taught our final class. We are very excited about this ministry. This is something we look forward to implementing in Honduras.

Watch this 2 minute and 20 second video to get an overview of our ESL class:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The final stretch

So here it is. The final stretch. I've come home from school, so this school day is officially done. That leaves 7 more days. Three this week, and four next week (Friday is graduation - no classes). Most teachers finish up their course work this week because they know (think senioritis) that most people will be already thinking about leaving. For that matter, many students are in fact leaving early. So - we anxiously await the end of this phase of learning. We have struggled much more this trimester as we try and comprehend the subtleties of the Spanish language. Please pray for us as we try and maintain a positive attitude toward learning, and a good mindset to finish out this trimester. We are exhausted, and our brains are overflowing as we try to pull together all that we have learned.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


We conclude our classroom instruction in two weeks and move into the tutor phase of our Spanish learning. Mike and I have secured private tutors for May and June. We both have different tutors and we will meet with them seperately. We both need help in different areas and would not benefit from learning together.

This is a phase of our Spanish study that we have been looking forward to for a while. A tutor will be able to get into our heads and fix the mess in there. Each tutor will give us both two hours of personal instruction two days a week.

We can´t wait.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Final Weeks of School

The stress level is high at school right now. Many people are taking exit exams because their mission agencies require it, or if they just have a burning desire to "see where they are at". This includes a 30 minute oral interview and a 3 hour grammar exam. Mike and Erin decided not to take the exit exams as we still have tutoring for a month after our formal education is completed. Usually they are taken after 3 full semesters of language school. On top of that, Erin had 3 exams this week, and Mike had 2 exams this week. So - the stress level is high, and people are starting to get worn out from school. Our family is taking a 3 day break to the beach. Monday is a holiday, and many people are taking advantage and getting away from San Jose. This was our last full week of school - next week is only 4 days and the final week is fairly stress-free. So - we are in the final stretches, and are excited and sad at the same time. This has been an incredible opportunity and blessing to be immersed in the language we will be serving in.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Saprissa vs. Houston

Tonight we went to the CONCACAF Champions Cup semi-finals game between Saprissa (Costa Rica) and Houston (U.S.). I must be honest - I went with my Saprissa shirt on prepared to cheer for Costa Rica. However, once the Houston team came out, my heart was changed. I LOVE my host country, and have been richly blessed here. We have been to 4 games now (at $8.00 per game, it's hard to pass up), and each time I have voted for Saprissa. However - I just couldn't do it. So - I cheered HARD for Houston - because they certainly needed it. They just weren't up to their game tonight - a poorly played game - 3-0 with Saprissa getting the win. That moves Saprissa up to the finals against Mexico's team - Pachuca in a 2-game series for the championship. The first of the 2 games will be played here, in Costa Rica, in two weeks - we plan on attending. If you have never been to a futbol game in a Latin country, it's just NOTHING like a game in the U.S. However, Madison and I were well received as we cheered for Houston - of course it may have helped that they played poorly and lost - but we still felt okay about cheering them on :-) The one thing I thought rather odd, though, was when they hung the U.S. flag from the flag pole, they put it on backwards. Hmm...the strips were to the pole, not the stars. What a strange sight indeed.

Monday, April 7, 2008


The tree hit in our local park by lightning
It went the full length of the tree

Shards of bark and wood were found from where I am standing when I took this picture - the tree where lightning struck is the tree in the center of the picture

Well...the rainy season is back to Costa Rica, and with a vengence. Yesterday it hailed! Also, two blocks from our house, in the park closest to us, lightning struck the tree in the middle of the park. Yikes! Being from California, we just don't get the lightning storms like in the South. However - even after having spoken with folks from the South - they say this is nothing like they are used to! It's back to carrying raincoats and umbrellas wherever we go!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Pray For Team Honduras

We will be gone this weekend, so this will be the last post until either Sunday night or Monday. Stay tuned.

So much has gone on recently within Team Honduras. Most of it outside our family. We are so excited with recent growth and change. Here are some new things we ask you to pray about:

1) New teammates for Team Honduras – Andy, Josh and Jamie have all applied to be 10 month interns with us in Honduras. Their process is not yet complete. But, it looks like they may be joining us in the Fall. We'll keep you informed.

2) Another McCann – Our teammates the McCanns are pregnant with their second baby. They are due in the Fall. They are here with us now in Costa Rica.

3) Hondura site visit – Sean McCann and Mike have been planning a trip to La Ceiba, Honduras to explore housing, schools, immigration, ministry, etc. That trip is scheduled for April 26-29. We just learned that Mark, our team leader, and Bill, an ex-missionary to La Ceiba, will be joining them in Honduras.

4) Future teammates for Honduras – Several other individuals have inquired about joining Team Honduras. Several are even in the application process.

This is all more then we deserve. Please join us in rejoicing and praying for all of this.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Cows on parade in San Jose, Costa Rica; pt. 1

This week the city of San Jose announced the arrival of the Cows on Parade. Not sure why, but boy did it bring people downtown! We looked at quite a few, but didn't see more than half of them - according to the newspaper there are 120 cows on parade. A fun site to see.