Friday, August 31, 2007


  • Another beautiful day in Costa Rica. Well...we were chancing the odds. We washed our clothes yesterday and hung them on the clothes line hoping they would be fine by the time we got back from school. The rain hits here from around 2pm until about 8pm. Well...about 2 hours into school, the biggest rain storm we have seen yet hit. That's when we thought of our poor clothes hanging on the line. By the time we got home, you would have thought we jumped in a pool, how wet they were.
  • Madison did well at school yesterday. We shall see how today goes as she continues to settle in. Homework is a whole new concept for her, having been homeschooled for so long, but she seems to be doing fairly well.
  • More orientation today, day off tomorrow! YEAH! Think we are going to try and hit the farmers market and get some fresh veggies and fruit - of course then we are going to have to soak them for 30 minutes in bleach water - welcome to Costa Rica!

  • Wanna see what rain looks like in Costa Rica? Go here:

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Welcome to 3rd world culture!

Well, it's been a day filled with learning about the culture. I mean that because we went out to a mall on our own looking for things. The interesting culture tip of the day: NEVER slam car doors. Apparently Americans are notorious for slamming car doors. Check it out next time you get out of the car. I didn't realize how much I did it. Well, Tico's (nickname for someone from Costa Rica) HATE it! As a matter of fact, when we rode the taxi home (it was pouring rain!) the taxi driver told me in Spanish to leave the door open, and that he would close it :-) I wasn't offended in the least! Just another example of differences in culture.

Our internet is down at home - we do have access at school, and that's what I'm using, BUT we can't plug our memory card into the computer, so no pics today. So sad :-( We are still waiting to get internet at our home. We have been able to get wi-fi off of our neighbor for now, but he's currently unable to get on his internet. Sigh...

Had a placement exam today to see what level of Spanish they are going to put us in - we find out next Monday, and start our schooling on Tuesday! We can't wait!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

New Country - New Look

First day of school in front of the smaller children's play area.

Madison's teacher - Ms. Melanie. Hmmm...they look to be the same size! Go figure!

Hey gang - I decided to change my look to reflect our move to Costa Rica - so you are still in the same place, don't fret!

It was Madison's first day of school, and she couldn't have been more excited! She actually laid out her clothes the night before! Her backpack was packed before we even left the states. She has 10 kids in her class, 7 of which are boys! Yikes! She has Math, Bible, History, Spanish, Science, Grammar, Gym, and her elective - which she chose Science Club. She also is going to take an after-school activity. Her choices are gymnastics or soccer - she's picking gymnastics. Their day starts off in the gym with worship and prayer time, then off to class. She is in the same classroom except for Spanish, she has a different teacher and different class. She also has a locker, but we need to purchase a lock -haven't found one yet.

Our day consisted of meeting people, and touring around the school. We haven't received an official orientation of what our schooling will consist of. Maybe tomorrow. We have a total of 4 days of orientation.


1. Went to the grocery store by ourselves - no interpreter - needed to get some hamburger. I could get out the "I need some hamburger" in Spanish, but when he asked me "how much" (in Spanish) - that's when the blank look came in. Luckily, he was very helpful, and we managed to figure it out :-) Uno Kilo por favor (one kilo please - no pounds around here)

2. Walked through HUGE downpour with groceries in hand - not so fun (we are here right in the middle of the rainy season)

3. First day of orientation for language school

4. Purchased special type of bread (pan de hawiaian - I think that's the spelling - no, it's NOT Hawaiian bread) at the local bakery - still not quite sure what we purchased (haven't tried it yet), but it sure looks good!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Settling In

This is a view from our front door.

Our apartment. We are in the grey - top right.

Here is a quick video tour of our apartment in Costa Rica:

Today we went to orientation for Madison's school which starts tomorrow. We drop her off, then our orientation starts. Madison is THRILLED to be starting school tomorrow - she wore her backpack to orientation just to "get used to it" :-) After that, we did some MORE shopping for things to help our place feel a little more like home. Believe it or not, we still haven't gotten everything - but we are much closer. Not bad for day 2. Riding the taxi today was quite fun - speaking only in Spanish we somehow managed to get where we needed to go.

New firsts today:

1. Made red beans on stove top
2. Taxi ride speaking only Spanish, in Costa Rica
3. Walked to our school, and managed not to get lost (Mike led the way - but whatever)
4. Being shocked by our refrigerator...everytime I open it (remember - it's a 3rd world culture).
5. Stapled my foot (don't ask)
Something to consider: We flipped through the channels of our local TV station and caught Dora the Explorer on a local station. Hmmm...we thought...a children's program that teaches English kids Spanish - in a Spanish speaking country, it just seemed odd.

Monday, August 27, 2007

We have arrived in Costa Rica!

Mike on Vonage talking to friends back home from our new Costa Rican home.

16 bags into the car. Hard to see - but there are 3 layers of duffel bags on top of that car!

This has been a day of firsts! Whew!

We arrived to San Jose, Costa Rica after getting almost no sleep on the plane (plane left at 0100) in the morning. Our 16 bags flew through customs without a hitch. Getting them on the vehicle that picked us up - they say - a picture speaks a thousand words...

Arrived at our apartment - it's small, but clean, and cute! We immediately ran off to go get some lunch, and over to the grocery store for some needed items - household goods, food, etc. Came back, and started unpacking.

My firsts:

1. traveled with 16 bags (didn't fall down any steps this time)
2. Living in Costa Rica
3. cooked rice for the first time (hey - I've always had a rice cooker - why bother?)
4. washed the dishes in cold water (no hot at the tap), with Lye (only thing around here that works with cold water)
5. Spoke my first Spanish to a national
6. Survived through my first 8 hour downpour (it's the rainy season here afterall - supposed to be like this every day!)
7. Cooked on the worlds smallest stove
8. Called on my Vonage phone back home (it's a local call afterall :-)
9. Made my first blog from Blogger - but it's all in Spanish!!! Don't know how to change it!! Luckily I have most of the locations memorized - I can't read Spanish yet! (HELP!! Anyone out there know how to change it back to English?!)

Anyway - I'm sure there will be many more first tomorrow, but wanted to share a few today.

Adios California, Hola Costa Rica!

The incredible signature quilt that Annette made for us

Saying goodbye to friends.

We are sitting in the airport waiting for our 0100 flight to Costa Rica. It's almost midnight, and we are excited, waiting to see what the future holds for us, and completely exhausted! It has been an incredible journey, these last 2 1/2 years. The last 8 months have been a whirlwind of training, travel, and selling/throwing away a life time of "stuff" that we have collected. Having completed all of that, and checking in our bags to the airport staff, we say goodbye to an incredible life of church family, home family, and California. I want to personally thank everyone for the incredible blessing I have felt during this time, and the support from people all around! From ordering pizza so we don't have to cook - to borrowing cars when we didn't have any, to storing all of our ministry stuff in their garage (thanks Hertzell's), to the smiles, love, tears and hugs. I have a heart overflowing with the love of friends and family that will not be emptied as we continue on this endeavor. Lots of promises from people to come visit and I hope that they will be followed up. The Pettengill's doors are ALWAYS open!

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Today we went to a luncheon at Aunt Jeri's. It was a final farewell to the Pettengill family. Mike's nephew, Lucas was able to be there. It was a great time!

Okay - so let's get this straight...We sold our house a year ago, in 5 weeks, in a market that wasn't supposed to sell. We raised 100% of our support for missions in a record 8 months - even though they told us that wasn't possible. And then...the day before we leave out of country - the car sells - for our asking would almost think this was a plan! Imagine that! God is good!

one day and counting

All our worldly possessions - from a two story house down to this :-) has come at last. Two years of training, 8 months of support raising, and a lifetime worth of preparation has come down to the last day of being in the States for quite awhile. Looking back it's easy to see how God has prepared our family every day of our lives to prepare us for this moment. How easy and peaceful it was for us to sell our house, and most of our worldly possessions. When it comes down to what's important - what do you keep and what do you give away? What do you sell and what do you throw in the trash (we won't go into specifics of what may have accidentally made its way into the dump...). What is worth selling on e-bay and on Craig's list. What do you no longer have an emotional attachment to? It's interesting looking at things you DO have an attachment to. All the photo albums, and baby stuff for Madison. That's a keeper. But that coffee mug?! Yep! My honey purchased it for me, and it's perfect! It's coming! Those kind of decisions are very insightful. So, here we are - a picture of our worldly possessions - and it's sure not much to look at! Going-away party with the family today, church tomorrow with going-away's there - then off to the airport! It's finally come! More later from Central America! Adios!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

3 days and counting

The Dwyers

The Roops

Goodbyes continue. We have been blessed by having the opportunity to visit more friends for dinner, desert, and fellowship. The Dwyers are fellow missionaries on their way to Australia. They are with the Navigators, and will be doing ministry work in Sydney. The Roops are a great family we have known for a long time. Their children are home schooled, and we have done some field trips and other fun stuff with them. Madison and Linnea have been in AWANA's together for 7 years. Both families have been very encouraging in our trials during our itineration, and it is with mixed emotions that we leave them. However, we know for a fact that we will be seeing them in Honduras in the future. We look forward to that time.

Madison has been diligently packing and her room is almost complete. I'll probably finish it up while she is at grandmothers house. She will be over at her house getting wonderfully spoiled until Saturday where we have a family going-away party. Sunday, church, and a fellowship going-away party, then leave Sunday evening to San Francisco where we will catch the red-eye and arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica around 9:30 in the morning. Well refreshed I'm sure. I should have an opportunity to write again, but if there is a few days delay, you will all know why. It will also take a few days to set up Internet, so there may be as much as a week delay from this and my next blog. Patience please, but we will have some wonderful pictures to share by that time, so the wait will be worth it. God Bless to all.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

6 more days

Kelsey and Madison

Chad and Mindy

Emily and Madison sleeping over

With only 6 more days, the spending time with friends and last minute tasks are being done. I'm thinking this is really like preparing for a wedding. Making a list of friends, packing, prepping the house, getting the license (Visas), bachelorette parties (movies/dinner with friends), and being stressed out and in a mild state of panic at all times. Okay - maybe I'm stretching it a bit with the analogy, but the stress level is definitely high. I just don't feel like there is enough time in one day. Plus the fact that we have live Typhoid virus in my refrigerator! I'm getting us all immunized before we go - so we are taking oral live viruses. will soon be over, and on to our next adventure...but for now we continue with meeting up with friends. Were at our friends Mindy and Chad Hertzell's. Long time friends, and their kids Kelsey, Emily and Sam. Emily came over for a sleep-over, and Min and I went out for a movie. The boys just hung out.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

7 days and counting!

Three generations (Madison, my mom and me)

My two favorite men...hmm...I'm thinking they look alike! (Mike and my dad)

AARRGGHH!!!! Only 7 days left before we leave!!! Today Mike had to go speak at our last church, but Madison and I had the chance to be at service at Soaring Oaks - our home church. And, the best news yet - my parents were able to join us! It was an awesome service, and my parents felt very welcome. "No wonder you go to this church. It's so alive!" This from my dad :-) We felt very blessed to be able to share our church family with our own family :-) We then took a quick jaunt home, spent a few hours showing the car off (trying to sell the truck), then met back up with my parents for dinner. Had a nice time of chatting, eating, and just spending time together. It was the last time we will be seeing them for awhile - other than through pictures and through the Internet. A tearful farewell, but one with good tidings and love!!!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Saying goodbyes!

Josiah, Jonathan, and Madison

Madison has made it her endeavor to try and set up play dates galore for her final week. The first was with Josiah, her good buddy from church. They have so many things in common from Bionicles, to being homeschooled, to just laughing and having a blast. Tomorrow she will be spending time with another friend from church, Linnea, another engagement on Monday, and a sleep-over coming up. Whew! What a busy social calendar this girl has. We are also taking this opportunity to say goodbye. We met with some friends today, Shane and Sarah, who are moving to the Bay Area on Monday. We have another dinner tomorrow, and more in the near future. Oh yeah - and we are packing, throwing things away, giving stuff to Goodwill, trying to sell the car, and Mike has another speaking engagement on Sunday...Yikes!!! Will it never end?!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Packing and goodbyes

AHHHH!!!! Just looking around our place, I don't even know where to start! Our final packing of our 10 duffel bags has begun! Although - the more I look the more I realize that there is no way we are going to get our stuff into 10 duffel bags - which means time to throw away, Goodwill, or hand off to someone else. Of course we've already done that, but more to come! Please pray for this last few days as we pack and say goodbye to everyone! I'm excited that Madison will be able to have some play dates with her friends to have an official goodbye for her as well. No tears yet, and I don't think they will come. She's so ready to get out of dodge, that I don't think the reality will hit until she is in Costa Rica.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Arizona - Good bye!

It was a crazy, busy final farewell to Arizona. We met with two incredible churches on Sunday. Mike preached in the morning, then we went out to lunch. We then gave a 45 minute presentation in the evening to another church. We were so well received at both churches! It is incredible to meet with such Godly people who have a heart for missions. We received some incredible gifts both spiritually, emotionally, and financially from these folks. What a blessing that Arizona has such great Christian men and women! There are already promises of short term teams coming down next year! Woohoo!

It was also a sad, final farewell with our dearest friends the McKeown's. It has been such a blessing to have this incredible family in our lives, and that each of us have become as much friends to every member in the household shows how amazing they all are! We went out to breakfast at Mimi's Cafe, and had prayer time in the 110 degree weather in the parking lot. A lot of tears were shed, and some wonderful fellowship time. With a tearful final hug all around, we headed out. We are crossing the desert of Arizona on our way to Southern California to spend the night with Mike's brother, then finally home to Elk Grove tomorrow morning, where the final preparations will be made to leave in 14 days! Yikes! Please pray for our peace of mind, for final preparations, and for all the small details to happen.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Arizona - Friday

Madison on Gus with Lobo by her side.

Is it okay to have fun while you are on itineration?! Well, we sure did last night. We had the opportunity to have a fellowship dinner at one of the elders houses from one of our supporting churches. They are on a 2000 steer head dairy farm. In the almost 6 hours we were there, Madison and I had the opportunity to ride Gus (see picture), went frog hunting, found 2 huge bull frogs, Madison held a chicken, jumped on a trampoline, went swimming, played on a huge playhouse, saw a newly born calf (born 3 minutes before we got there), and had a great BBQ meal. There were tons of kids for Madison to play with, and we had the opportunity to talk with a lot of great people. Tonight we have another dinner with a supporting church.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Arizona - Thursday

My "little" friend Dannie (she's only 5' 2 1/2" tall after all - Madison already is looking down at her)

My happy friend Jeff - makes some awesome latte's

Madison and her dear friend Liam

Nick - Jr. in High School

And we can't forget Daisy!

We took this day to enjoy a little that Phoenix has to offer - the 108 degree weather, and the nice cool theaters! We enjoyed Rescue Dawn at the movies, and the kids had fun playing. We are going to a dinner tonight with some folks from a church we are being financially supported by. Our time in Arizona is more than half over, and is coming to a quicker ending then we would have thought. We are sleeping on air mattresses, and miss our beds, but enjoy our time here so much. The pictures above are friends Jeff, Dannie, Liam, Nick, and Daisy.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Arizona - Tuesday

Mike on yellow, Jeff on red

Well...we have an opportunity to catch our breath, relax (a bit) and recover before we are busy for the remaining time here. Mike took the opportunity to go riding with our friend Jeff. Madison took the opportunity to play some video games, play outside (in the sweltering heat), and I took some time to read and watch some movies on TV. A nice time of refreshment, and much needed as the remaining time in the US is going to be busy, busy, busy.

Monday, August 6, 2007


We have arrived in Arizona, and are running! Got in late Saturday night, and attended a morning church that supports us, lunch with some people from the congregation, back to our friends house for about 2 hours - then off to an evening service of another supporting church - stayed for evening pot-luck, back to our friends by 9:30pm. Whew! Tomorrow is a day of rest, and we plan on trying to take it easy as the rest of our week is crazy! No cool pics today - we will see what the next few days bring. Maybe a big cactus! Plenty to choose from.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Home at last

We have been home for 3 days now from our whirlwind training of New York. The first day home we still had things to do, folks to catch up with, so we took yesterday off as a day of rest - and boy did we take advantage! Sat around watching movies, eating junk food, and washing clothes. Now, we are back to running around :-) We are leaving to Arizona early tomorrow morning, so we have to prepare to be gone for a week and a half. We will be visiting our friends in Arizona, and going to supporting churches in Arizona to say thanks to everyone! we go. The count-down has begun! We are leaving to Costa Rica in 24 days! Yikes!