Saturday, March 15, 2008

yes, you're right . . .

. . . I am terrible at blogging :) My apologies!!

Let's see, where to begin?? The last few months have been wonderful, exciting, and FULL!!

In December, we made our much anticipated trip home to Ohio & PA. We spent about 2 weeks in Ohio with Bryan's family and our friends, and 1 week in PA with my family. We got to meet our newest nephew, Isaac (Bear) & celebrate his 1st birthday with him. We played lots of trains & cars with Jeremiah. Krystal & I got in loads of shopping & baking!! We spent Christmas with family, instead of on webcam. We had a fun New Year's celebration with friends. We had a nice time visiting some of the churches that have supported us through our time here in CR. It was so refreshing to be home & so great to see everyone . . . in some ways, it felt like we had never left!

In January, we joined 11 students from Palabra de Vida in Chicago for a 3 week student exchange with College Church & Wheaton Academy. It was one of the busiest times of our lives, but also a very rewarding experience!! We were parents to 11 teenagers . . .yikes!! We got to help them teach a Spanish conversational class. We also got to see many parts of Chicago & head up to Wisconsin to ski!! Phew :) It had never felt better to arrive in CR than it did after all those weeks of cold and busyness. We arrived, settled in, and welcomed Bryan's parents & Denny (a member of their church) to CR the next day!! They came to help out at the school with various projects, mainly building cabinets for our High School principal's office. We were also able to enjoy a nice trip to Arenal Volcano!

Well, they went back to the cold, and it was time for us to get back to real life!! We spent a few days at a staff retreat and then the rest of our time preparing for classes to begin. We have now been in classes for 5 weeks!! Bryan is teaching 7th grade English, 7th grade Science, 10th/11th grade English, and helping out every Thursday with 3rd/4th grade English classes. I am teaching 9th grade English, 10th grade English, and doing some sort of group tutoring with three 8th grade students & six 7th grade students! We also continue to help in other ministries with the school - worship for chapel & teacher devotional, basketball, guitar lessons, & girls' Bible study. It's been a good start to the school year & we look forward to what God has to bring in the next few months!

As we continue to put down roots here in CR, we see another season of change on the horizon. We are nearing the end of our committment with the school. It's hard to believe that it's been almost two years since we arrived, not knowing how God was going to use us. It's been amazing to see how He has provided for us and given us purpose here. We've developed fulfilling relationships with the people here. We've seen God at work with the students of Palabra de Vida. And as difficult as it is going to be, we feel that God is giving us the go ahead to move on . . . we're planning on finishing teaching in July and heading back to Ohio, where Bryan will return to East Canton to teach & coach and I will . . . who knows :) We are of course having mixed feelings of sadness, excitement, guilt, hope, uncertainty, and peace.

We ask that you would be praying for us during yet another time of transition. We also ask that you would pray for the future of La Palabra de Vida Christian School. Our friend Kristin, who is also teaching English, plans on leaving right around the same time as us. At this point, they do not have teachers to fill our spots. Please pray that God would complete His direction by providing qualified, excited, Christian teachers that would be able to pick up with the students where we leave off.

Thanks for supporting us with your prayers, gifts, and encouragement! We are forever grateful to all of you! See you soon!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

9th grade!!

Monday was my last class with my 9th graders, so we had to take some pictures!! And you all know that whenever I have pictures, I love to share them!! Anyways, they've been a fun class. Their English levels are really pretty good - 3 of them got 100% on the government exam that they had to take this year!! So since their level is so high, we've been able to do lots of different things this year, like read novels, debate issues, evaluate movies, etc.

The next picture might not allow you to believe what I just finished telling you. We did spend some class time making turkeys . . . but it was partly because it was something totally new to them, and partly because it went along with the Thanksgiving lesson we were doing. So here they are with their colorful turkeys (it's not easy to find fall colored construction paper here)!!

Here's a nice normal picture of them :)This was as close as they got to a pyramid - pretty good for the only one chance I gave them!!

Having fun with the camera!

Hope you enjoyed seeing some faces I had the pleasure of seeing every weekday this year!!

PS - We can't wait to see everyone this Christmas!!!!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

video :)

Friday was my last class with 10th & 11th graders together. Next week, they take exams. The 10th graders will join Bryan's 10th grade class, while the 11th graders (Seniors) will spend a couple of weeks studying for the government exams that decide whether or not they graduate. It's kind of a crazy time for everyone, but I wanted to make sure I got some videos of them before they're gone!!

This class has been quite a blessing for me this year. Even though their English level is quite a bit lower than the 9th grade class that I have, they have been enthusiastic, respectful, and just lots of fun. I've always looked forward to teaching them, and I will REALLY miss them!!

A couple of notes about the video: I hope it's not too hard to understand (it might help to use headphones if you have them). Sometimes when they say "college", they really mean high school (not all, but some) because high school in Spanish is "colegio", and it's hard for them to get past. I'm also missing a couple of students, but I plan to get them later and eventually add them in as well. I guess that's all . . . Enjoy!!

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Keeping up with the blog is so much easier when I have fun pictures to share :)

Last night we (Kristin & I) had our second pijamada (sleepover) with girls that have been attending bible study. This time it was the older girls' turn. We actually had a lot show up that had never come to the bible study before, so that was kinda neat!

Last night did, however, reinforce one Costa Rican stereotype . . . let me explain . . . the girls went from saying, "we'll be there after school", to "we'll be there at 4:30", to "we'll be there at 6:00", to actually arriving around 7:30!! We were glad when they did arrive & it was a great night!!

We had 11 Seniors with us and they were a lot of fun. We ordered pizza, made collage frames, made soft pretzels, watched "Fever Pitch" and "The Notebook" (classic sleepover movie here). Kristin & I "went to bed" around 4:30 and most of the girls stayed up til 5ish and took advantage of other sleepers by writing on their faces with eyeliner (oops!). We got up around 8 and made pancakes, eggs, and sausage for the girls. Then they helped us clean up and were on their way. I'm glad it turned out as wonderfully as it did & thank God for the opportunity to have met these girls. They always bring a smile to my face and will be sorely missed next year at Palabra de Vida!! Here are the pictures - enjoy!

Mmmm pizza!

Making Frames


The group between movies -

this is the picture I'll put in the frames they made :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

independence week!

We sure had a busy week/weekend!! Saturday the 15th was Costa Rican Independence Day, so there were a ton of activities going on at the school and all around town! Costa Ricans sure are patriotic!! We thought you might like to see some of the cool things that we witnessed . . .
(You can click the pictures to see them larger)

acto civico (assembly) led by the 10th & 8th graders -
just thought you might like to see the colors!

"yo soy el sol naciente" - everyone say AWWW!

11th grade girls dancing it up!!

the bailes tipicos (traditional dance) group exiting after their performance

us English teachers waiting patiently for the parade to begin . . .

the school banner

josue, are you behind there somewhere??


baton group

the band (drums and liras) about to start

lots of Costa Rican flags!!

all done!! (these are 3 of my amazing senior girls!!)

After the parade on Saturday, we stayed for Natalia's (Matt & Lisa's baby) 1 year old birthday party. It was a lot of fun to watch her as she enjoyed every minute of it . . . plus, good food never hurt anyone!!

lunch with the Befus family - Mrs. Befus, Kristin, us, Uncle Chuck and Aunt Joy & family, and Matt & Lisa's girls

mmmm cake!

i finished! can i have some more??

of course she loved our present the most!!

crazy girls trying to hide from the pouring rain!!

Well, if you made it through all the pictures, I hope you enjoyed them! Things are going well here . . . just trying to finish the school year strong. Thank you so much for your support and please continue to pray for us as we strive to teach our students not only about English, but also about God's unfailing love!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

fun times

we've been pretty busy ever since school started back up . . . but i thought i'd share a few pictures from two recent events . . .

first up, the "pijamada" (sleepover/pj party) that kristin & i had with our 7th/8th grade bible study girls. . . it was a lot of fun . . . tiring, but fun :) . . . we went swimming, ate dinner, had bible study, watched two movies that we projected onto the wall, slept a little, and had a pancake breakfast in the morning . . . the girls were really great & we're planning on doing another one with the 9th/10th/11th grade girls at the end of this month!! here are some pictures:

then, last friday the 10th, we had a mother's day banquet . . . i know what you're thinking . . . "mother's day is in may, weirdos!" well, in CR, as well as in lots of other countries, mother's day is in august. it is like a national holiday here, too! anyways, it was a very nice event - we got to lead some worship, fellowship with some of the moms, and enjoy some good food! check it out:

that's all for now . . . we hope you are all doing well . . . again, thank you so much for supporting our work here at Palabra de Vida High School!!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

i know . . .

so, i realize that it's been a while since i've updated. i had kinda figured that our email update would save us. however, i realized that it's not fair for me to get sad when people go a week without updating when i go more than two months! so, here's my attempt . . .

i don't think there's a lot to say about june . . . it was a busy month of teaching, coaching, bible studies, etc. we finished reading the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe in my english class, and a lot of the kids really liked it. some even went on to finish the whole series of Narnia, which we have in the school library! i was very proud. we have so far studied eve and sarah in our 11th grade bible study, and are moving on to rahab on monday. we have a small group, but they really enjoy it, and talk lots!! the 7th and 8th grade study has been going strong, still talking about who Christ says we are vs. what the world tries to tell us. we are going to be having a sleepover with that group on aug 3rd, please pray for our sanity! no really, pray that it would be a time of fellowship and getting to know the girls better.

(me with two of my girls at a school event!)

(basketball game)

july has been a very nice month so far! we started the month with two weeks of vacation (comparable to Christmas vacation without Christmas . . .) it was so nice not to do anything that first week. we were actually able to catch up on sleep and school work. the second week, we had bryan's mom and dad as visitors! it was so great to see them! we were able to show them our life here (minus the students) and then take a nice trip to the beach. it was absolutely beautiful!!

we are now back in school, although we have a lot of random holidays and days off! please pray that we would finish this trimester strong (end of august) and that we would be constant witnesses of God's love. thanks for your support - we miss you all!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

is it truly possible . . .

to sum up these last two months? Doubtful, very doubtful . . . but I will give you my best attempt!

LOTS has happened in this time between posts . . . let's start with early April . . . my good friend Lisa Troyer came down to visit us during Semana Santa (Holy Week/Easter Week). It was so excellent to see her and just to spend time hanging out. She was an easy guest, because she's familiar with Latin America and so easy going!! We showed her our life here and also got to take a couple of short trips to see some new places. We checked out . . .

Arenal Volcano

& Jaco Beach

After that week, it was back to school . . . the month of April is kind of a blur, but I can say that classes have been going well. We're continuing to learn about our students and are trying to make English class as fun and helpful as possible (minus the tests that we kinda have to give). We finished the first trimester in early May. It's hard to believe we're already into the second trimester - I think this year is just going to fly by.

Here are some of Bryan's students doing a Mock Trial (it was free uniform day, so some are in uniform and some aren't).

Bryan & I are continuing to find our niche at the school. In addition to the chapel services we've been helping with, we're finding that God is leading us to new areas. I think I've mentioned that Bryan is working on establishing a basketball team. It is of course a little difficult just because of the de-emphasis on school sports here and the lack of commitment because other things become more important. But if I can say, I think he is enjoying the time with the small groups of high school guys. I've also been given an excellent opportunity to spend time with some of our high school girls. Another English teacher, Kristin, and I are leading a bible study now once a week for the girls. We are divided into 2 groups . . . 7th & 8th grade on Fridays and then 9th, 10th, & 11th grade on Mondays. Kristin normally leads the younger group and I take on the older girls. It has truly been a blessing. To be honest, we often arrive after classes tired and not in the mood to lead anything else, but the girls make it all worthwhile. I think they'll be teaching us more than we end up teaching them. Nevertheless, it is a really great time of sharing and learning. As per the girls' requests, we are going to start studying women of the Bible next week. They have also decided that they will do their part by bringing a song to share at the beginning of the study. Please pray that the Lord will continue to provide opportunities to share with the girls and also that He will lead us as we discuss different themes.

I feel like we've grown a lot since we've gotten here. Other than the obvious like learning how to teach English, learning how to live in CR, making new friends, etc, it's kind of hard to describe. Personally, I can tell you that God continues to work on me in areas of sacrifice, patience, and contentment. I'm learning to trust Him with my whole life and not just little parts at a time. I, however, am a very slow and stubborn learner. I've always thought that trust was easy until I began this new lifestyle. Sometimes I think about the possibility of Him asking us to stay here forever. It can be kinda scary but at the same time I'm learning to live for each day . . . instead of worrying or planning for the future. In the meantime, we have lots of exciting things to look forward to in the near future, like . . .

Seeing family & friends this December (especially these two guys)

(How could you not miss them??)

Helping out with an international exchange trip to Chicago in January (very excited about this!)

Well, I could probably write a lot more, but I'll spare you. We pray that you are all doing well and enjoying your nice warm weather that you've been waiting for!! Thanks for everything!