Team Honduras

Friday, December 31, 2010

A Reflection on 2010

As we look back on the year of 2010 God has allowed us to have and see many blessings. First, of all we started out the year living at Hope Children's Home in Tampa Florida where God really laid upon our hearts the ministry of children. We fell in love with all of the kids at Hope and staff that we shared our daily lives with. Not to far into the new year was a time where we needed to pack up our belongings and start to pack and prepare for one of our biggest moves in our lives. In late April, we packed up 13 suitcases and 4 back-packs and headed to the airport. We would begin our new life in just a few short hours in a new country. A country where we had no friends, could not speak the language and had no clue what to really expect. However, with bad weather somewhere in the the Miami airport canceled many flights out of their airport and we had to stay the night in a hotel. But bright and early the next day we made our way to San Jose, Costa Rica. We were greeted at the airport by our "big brother", Carla Ackerman and her daughter Madie. I can honestly say that I do not remember much about the car ride to our new home other than it was raining. The next few days and weeks we would get adjusted to our new home and it's surroundings. Now for us it seems as if we have always been there, and we actually miss our small little world of Costa Rica.

In August, we had the pleasure of guests when our director Pastor Mike and his son Ryan came for a visit. They brought with them some comforts from home and we were so excited to see the contents of the four suitcases that they brought along.  In late September, we took our second VISA trip so that we could renew our 90 day Visa's. We packed up and headed out with the Ragland Family to the country of Nicaragua. It was only a few short days after our return from that trip that we discovered we were expecting BABY # 4.  God has allowed us so many blessings and also allowed us to make many new friends. One of the most important things is that we have been able to pick up the language. We are now more than ever ....ready to hit the ground in Honduras. Due to the arrival of our little one in late May we are leaving Costa Rica in late March instead of late April. We also had a wonderful Christmas gift from a couple that supports us...they purchased airfare for us all to fly back home and spend Christmas with our families. It was a surprise for them all because no-one knew that we were coming home. We were also blessed with many care packages and many special monetary gifts this Christmas. It is such a blessing to know that we have many who not only take the time to pray for us but send our family and our kiddos gifts. They have enjoyed them all.
While in North Carolina we have enjoyed many comforts from home including some Bojangles Chicken and Biscuits, Chick-Fil-A, Max's Pizza and other places. We were even able to see SNOW!!!! Josiah had a blast playing in the snow and did not even want to come back inside. We say goodbye to the year 2010 and welcome 2011 and pray that we are blessed with another great and wonderful year. We want to thank you all for reading our newsletters and updates, supporting our family and most importantly praying for us.
We love you all and WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Sincerely Serving Him,
The Coats Family

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry CHRISTmas To ALL

Well, we are so thankful and happy to be blogging from the great state of North Carolina. A huge "thank you" to a couple that supports us for buying our family tickets to fly back home to N.C. to spend with our families. After much planning and keeping secrets we managed to surprise all of our friends and family with out them ever having a clue that we were here. This is going to be a "Christmas to Remember" for our family. We get to spend time with family and friends and visit our home church "Hilltop" and celebrate the reason why we are doing what we are doing. If it were not for Christ coming on that first Christmas to save a world of lost....we would never have been called..."TO GO"...and "TELL". We hope that you all take time to remember and reflect on what truly makes Christmas..."CHRIST". While being with family and friends is so wonderful without Christ we would not have this season to gather together. So from our family to yours....

Sincerely Serving Him,
Mark, Amy, Taylor, Hunter, Josiah and Baby(BOY)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Visitors, Surprise Care Packages (Doctor Visits) and Sugar Cookies

WOW! It has been a busy time for us here in Costa Rica. We have had fun showing Mark's parents around San Jose and getting their feet ready for all the walking. Then, we had three more guests to arrive. Mark's sister Wendy, her husband Terry and their daughter Alyssa arrived to spend a few days here with us as well. It was so nice to have some family here with us. The kids loved it and already hate that the time was no longer. But with that said we all ventured to downtown San Jose with look a little like the streets of NYC on a normal day. People everywhere.....They got to experience their first ride on public transportation and we ate a 2 story Pizza Hut that I am sure was against Fire Code with all the heads that were inside(LOL). While they all were here we received 2 Christmas Care packages from the States. Josiah received a Thomas the train set that he is in LOVE with.   He plays with it everyday. The kids have been playing "catch phrase" and we have all jumped into to the game for some great laughs. I think that we know every phrase in the game now....b/c we have played so much. Then we received another goodie box....with the ingredients to make HayStacks....the kids have loved eating them. It is the little things that make you feel like home. On Monday of this week it was a bitter sweet day....we had to say goodbye to Wendy and her family....but later that day we discovered that God has Blessed us with ANOTHER BOY!!! WOW 3 boys....whatever will Taylor and I do????? I guess that means we will both always be the "Princesses" of the house. Then on Wednesday night we listened to a wonderful sermon from Brother Jeff (our Pastor in NC) and made wonderful homemade sugar cookies. We searched and searched but could not find cookie cutters so we made ornaments and candy canes by hand. The kids had a blast. Thanks to all of you who have kept supporting our family through this Christmas Season. This is always a time that is difficult as funds become low or people have other obligations. Thank the Lord for how HE always Provides. Until next time...which is only a few days away...I promise...:)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Nanny and Papa come for a Visit

Well, for the first time in 8 months other than seeing family via Skype we got to see family in person. Mark's parents arrived Thursday, December 2nd for a visit. However, not just a short trip, they get to spend an entire month with us. The kids were so excited as we all anxiously waited at the glass window outside the airport. It has been so long since we have seen our families. This is one of the most challenging things about the lives of missionaries. Sure, we have different customs, food, and climates to get use to. But the biggest thing of all is being away from our friends and family back in the States. "Pero Gracias a Dios" (but thanks be to God) they were able to come and see us. We are so excited as Christmas is rapidly approaching and we only have 3 more days of school left in our second trimester. We also, have many other exciting things happening this month. One big item on the agenda...finding out whether or not we will be having a girl or boy...We find out this news next Monday. So, many things to be thankful for and yet some how the Lord continues to find more and more ways to Bless our family. May God Bless you all and until I blog again happy reading.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gracias a Dios por TODAS COSAS.......

Happy Thanksgiving to ALL. We have had a very interesting week. We had all of our things ready for Thanksgiving until we woke up early Tuesday morning to discover that our freezer and fridge were broken. Everything in the freezer EXCEPT for the 16lb turkey we had bought for Christmas had defrosted. So, needless to say we had to cook all of the meat in our freezer on Tuesday. However, it is amazing how everything works out for God's glory. We tried to find another small turkey breast for Thanksgiving but no such luck. We are, however, thankful for the turkey we already had in the freezer.
The Twins from the Children's Home

Early in the month we adopted 5 kids to buy presents for Christmas that are in a local Children's Home here in Costa Rica. This home had over 100 kids living in it. They were all so sweet and there were even a few that had special needs. Seeing those kids made our hearts eager to hit the field in Honduras so that we could care for the same kind of children.....children who need a home, a family, and just to be loved. It made me tear up many times seeing the happiness in their eyes while they played games in the gym and then opened their presents. All but one of the 5 we had adopted were there that night. One of the boys I believe was sick. A quick story if just how the LORD works. We picked a name off the wall...a 5 year old little girl plus 4 others. Mark and I were shopping for our groceries in Pricemart when I saw the cutest little baby. She was like a really nice baby doll you would buy in the States...complete with a diaper, P.J's, booties, dress and a pillow. That day at the party my friend Tricia and I were talking about which little girl could possible be ours. She had chosen a 5 year old as well. Then, she proceeded to tell me that she bought a doll from Pricemart. With a "Really, We bought the same doll for our little girl too". You see Tricia and I are in the same class and we see each other everyday but never discussed the kids we had picked or the gifts we had bought. It was not until later when the kids were opening their gifts that we realized that the little girls were brings tears to my eyes even now.......thinking that God lead us to that doll and we each bought one and the girls are twins and can have playtime together.
We had such a wonderful time sharing our "thanks" with two of our teachers from the Institute Graciela and Lissette and our wonderful empleada Etelvina and her daughter Rachel. I so enjoyed cooking ......a huge reminded me of home. We had a wonderful lunch and it was almost all in Spanish.....Gracias a Dios....we can now talk and carry on a conversation.....who would have every thought that we would have had 4 Ticos(Costa Ricans) at our table for Thanksgiving and we could actually communicate with them. We are so thankful for so many things....our salvation, our family and friends, our ministry, our health, our new baby, our supporters and our list could go on and on for miles. We hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and we love you all....       

I am not
      OKAY Time to announce the WINNERS of our Costa Rican Coffee Give-Away. Josiah was the drawer and we have a picture of him drawing with his eyes closed. We were so thankful that we have many readers, followers and those who read and leave comments that we picked 2 names from each group. We picked 2 from the Followers Group and 2 from the list of Comments. So to the people below I need to get your address so that you can receive your coffee. However, because things don't make it out of here in the mail very will go home with friends back to the States and get mailed from there.
The WINNERS ARE:( In Random Order)
Lalania Hall
George Miser
Stephanie Ulm

Sarah Duke
Thanks for reading and being followers. I may do another one before we leave so be sure to keep reading and leaving your comments.
Sincerely Serving Him in Love,

The Coats Family

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Oh There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays

      You know with the Holiday’s approaching the thought runs through our minds “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holiday’s”. It is not just true of our family but the thousands of missionaries around the world. For us this year has been very different. We really do miss family and friends back home because we have not yet planted our permanent roots in Honduras. Costa Rica is merely just a year in limbo so to speak. While here though we have made some wonderful friends and just like us they are in their year of limbo…not with family and not yet put in the field they will be living and working in for many years to come.
I mentioned a few blogs back about starting new family traditions. We have very few ornaments on our tree this year. We bought a few red and gold colored balls, 3 sets of lights and a matching ribbon. The remainder of empty spaces are occupied with prayer cards from Missionary Friends that we have met through our home church in NC as well as many friends that we have met here in Costa Rica. All of us have the same purpose to reach the world with the Gospel of Christ. While we do not have a prayer card for every one of missionary friends we are going to write their names on slips of paper so that we can remember them just the same. Every night after our family devotion each person in our family will pick a different family to pray for personally. We will do this every night until we put away the tree for the year and then….all the names and cards will return to their home in a photo album that we keep on the coffee table.
Please continue to remember not only our family during this Holiday Season but all of the missionaries around the world who are away from their families as well.
Thank you all for everything and your continued prayers and support. Just a quick update on the baby…all seems to be going well and my baby bump grows a little more each day…lol. I will be 14 weeks this week. Praise the Lord my sickness has now come to an end. We are very excited we found out what the baby is in about 24 more days. We can not wait.
Also, this is your last chance for the current Costa Rican Coffee Give-Away. Be sure to leave a comment or join our Blog Followers for a chance to WIN. It is very possible that I choose 2 winners. 1 from the comments side and 1 from the Followers Side. So be sure to enter.
Sincerely Serving Him in Love,

The Coats Family

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Much Needed Day of Family Fun.....

On Friday the Spanish Institute was closed so that those students in need of getting their VISA's stamped could leave country. Considering, that Mark and I are always studying and the kids have been working super hard to finish up their first 9 weeks we decide to take a "FAMILY DAY".  This was a much needed day for us just to relax and be a family. Our wonderful grammar teacher told us about "El Parque de Diversiones"...or Costa Rican Disney World. Well, it was no Disney World but it was a ton of fun. With no charge to enter the park I was able to walk in since I can not ride any rides anyway. Mark, Taylor, Hunter and Josiah bought the special pass that let them ride everything for as many times as they wanted. . Even better the wrist band was on $13. The above picture of Josiah was of a leaf bug he tried to squish before I saved the little critter. Then I noticed that he only had one back leg so I convinced him to hold it and he loved it. The other picture is of Mark and the kids riding a disk ride. Pretty cool, we have never seen such a ride before. If you look carefully you will notice that there are people with their hands up...Yep...that is all the Americans...a.k.a "Gringos"...seems that holding your hands up is a little much for the locals. We said that some of those kids would leave a ride with wet pants if they rode a giant roller coaster in the states. Some of the little things that we never even think about. Most of the people in the park that day will never venture to another place let alone visit the to them this is a really big deal and a really big and exciting place.

Not bad at all. They had a small roller coaster and the park is set on many acres of land...similar to our state fairs back home without the hassle of "carnies". Plus all the proceeds go to fund the local children's hospital. With the N.C. fair just a few short weeks ago reading all about my family and friends back home eating fair food left a real sweet tooth in my mouth. Searching through the park to see if they would even have anything close to real fair goodies......and to our surprise.....I saw a small booth with two teenage boys making "Cotton Candy". Yes, you read correctly COTTON CANDY.....
and even better I got each bag for $1.20......not the $3-8 in the states. Needless to say we bought 4 bags. We are so thankful that the Lord blessed us with a beautiful day as well as great friends and classmates here at the school that went with us. If you are ever here in Costa Rica check it out but not on  New Year's Day....(expected attendance this day is over 10,000 people). Our family had many laughs and found a new refreshing spirit to get us through until our family arrives on December 2. Thank you for all of your prayers and support.

We love you all.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

When the Flood Waters Rise......

First of all, I would like to say sorry for not posting an update sooner. My morning sickness has shifted from the morning to mid afternoon and the evening. However, tonight I am feeling pretty good so decided to take advantage of this time and give an update on what’s going on here in Costa Rica. For starters, we only have 23 days of school left in our 2nd trimester. Wow! That is so hard to believe. We have been away from family and friends for so long. We are so blessed though to have the wonderful inventions of great whoever invented the computer (for use of internet and FB) as well as the wonderful creator of SKYPE. We have been blessed by many emails and care packages and Skype calls. Things to those things we can keep up with what is going on back home just as you can keep up with our family.

Second, I am only a week and few days away from my second trimester with this new baby. Things have been rough with sickness and Mark has been such a blessing. Bless him for being willing to cook. In the last 5 1/2 weeks I have only prepared dinner 3 times. Smells are still hard for me but praying that as the 2nd trimester approaches I will be doing better. I am so thankful for all who have been praying for me and the baby during this time. Believe me there are times in my daily routine that I feel them and have peace that the Lord hears you and gives me peace.

Taylor and Hunter are working hard on their homeschooling and are just about to finish up their 1st 9 weeks. They are both doing well despite the new arrangements. It can be challenging at times but thankful that at least one out of the two really enjoys school and keeping up with their studies and work. (I will not say any names but sure that you can determine who I am talking about).. :) Josiah well he is a ham just as normal. He is such a people person and just loves to talk. He is picking up a good amount of Spanish and really understands alot more than he can speak. It is amazing how much they absorb at this age. He is just the sweetest. He truly has a loving and compassionate heart and I know that God has big things for him.
Well, here in Costa Rica we have had a ton of much rain in fact that it has rained for 36 hours straight. Due to all of this rain we have had floods beyond belief. Our area has not been filled with the rushing waters but areas very close to us have not been so lucky. So far, there are more than 20 dead many missing and more than 1,400 living in shelters. Many have lost all that they owned. Today was so bad that there was no school for children or high school and college students. We were told that more than 750,000 people including ourselves were without water. Mark and the boys made a mad rush to a local store to buy water while Taylor and I ventured to Price mart (similar to SAM'S Club). Mark was only able to buy 15 20 oz bottles of water. Taylor and I were able to buy almost 7 gallons plus a 24 pack of 20 oz bottles. We were afraid for the worst. Not knowing when in fact we would get water again but at the same time we did not want to buy it all for fear that someone might not have the opportunity to purchase any at all. When we returned home we realized that the Tico lady who helps us with our chores and cooks lunch for us 2 days a week did not have water our hearts were heavy. We knew that not would she not have water....but she would not even have the extra money needed to purchase what she would need. Mark filled her bag with bottles...we could not give her as many as we would have liked because she has to travel by bus and she had a long hike to the bus stop. She did say something to Mark about the days events though....that had us both thinking.....she said..(and she is a believer)..I think that this is it....what they talk about in Revelations...the end of times. While yes, she has a might not be the day the Lord comes back...but he is making it known that it is not far away.    You know we can prepare all we want for hurricanes, tornados and earthquakes and such....But are we prepared for what Revelations has to say about the end of times. Do we treat everyday like it could be our last or do we take for granted that the Lord will allow us to wake up and take in a deep breath in the morning. Have we made a witness of ourselves for the cause of Christ? Just like today we prepared ourselves for not having water......are we prepared for the day God makes his return? This is not only to our readers but for total reflection myself included. I want to know that I am doing all I can for the days to come....not just looking at the side...well, I can do it tomorrow. To survive the storms of life, we must be anchored to the Rock of Ages.

The primary reason for living in this world is to reflect the likeness of Christ.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

6 months Down and 6 months to GO.....!!!!!!

Wow! It is so hard to believe that we have been in Costa Rica for 6 months. We have learned so much already and sometimes we feel as though no more information could possibly fit inside our heads.(LOL) However,  we keep pushing on. It is even harder to grasp that it is October.      There are no pretty red, orange and yellow leaves on the trees to signal the season change here. The only season change here is dry to wet. We have been blessed though...the rain has eased up and we have not needed an umbrella everyday. It is so different in that area...because for us...the rain determines what we will wear. Here it is just the norm and the people do not adjust for the rain they simply go with the flow. So, to see ladies wearing heels on slippery, moss covered, and soaking sidewalks blows me away. As for me, not so much I break out the flip-flops or tennis shoes and try not to break my neck walking to school.(LOL)But God has been good and we have had some beautiful days to enjoy rain free weather.  
As in my last post we are expecting Baby #4. I have had to go for blood work twice to make sure all is good and so far everything is going great. I have my share of  "morning sickness" but I know that as long as I am sick I have a healthy baby. We have to go back to the doctor on Thursday so please be in prayer for that appointment.

The kids are doing great in their homeschool and while it has been a difficult adjustment for them Mark has come up with some clever ideas to give them some fun. Last week Mark decided to roast marshmellows and make homemade SMORES while having a devotion outside in our little courtyard. The kids loved it and Josiah ate was the first time he had ever eaten a SMORE before and I am sure he is now addicted.

Those will be memories to last a lifetime....................

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An Unexpected Blessing

      Well, after a trip to Nicargua for a Visa renewal we came home to find that I was sick. I just assumed that it was from the water that the cook at the Hotel used to make tea. However, after three days of feeling sick we decided to take a home test. To our surprise and an "Unexpected Blessing from God" we will be adding a little one to our family. This little was is in fact a miracle from God. You see after having my tubes reversed in Feb. of 2006 the doctor said that my chances of getting pregnant would decrease drastically. So, the fact that I have been pregnant 4 times prior to this time was amazing and the chances now of having another baby was very slim. However, we are in fact very excited. We are praying for a healthly baby that may in fact be born in Honduras June 2011. Please keep us in your prayers as we have lost threes babies before and this is a critical time. The wonderful news is that we went to the doctor today and saw our little bundle of joy and "she" (I can hope) has a heartbeat already. Praise the Lord for that. I go back in 15 days for another check up. So we again are excited to share this news with you all.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

From Porridge to Homemade Remedies....

Well, this week has been very interesting. Taylor, Josiah and myself have been sick this week with sinus and head colds which I believe turned into sinus infections. Thank goodness we can just go to the pharmacy and ask for an antibiotic here...that's need to go to the doctor. She can even give shots if we needed them.  One more thing that is very different than in the states...but I kinda like it.

This week in class we have had some very interesting homework assignments. Mark has had to go around and ask five of the locals what kind of home remedies do they make in their house and what they use them for. He got all kinds of things from stomach cures to sinus cures. Well, guess what? That is right he tried one out on me because I have been so sick. He was to take fresh ginger root and boil it in water and make a kind of tea out if it. After it is done you add in fresh lemon juice and honey. (I personally do not like ginger other than in a gingersnap cookie but I was willing to give it a try).

So, he brings me this nice and hot cup of ginger tea that does not smell too bad. He made himself a cup as well so he could try it. I take the first sip trying to be grateful for his mouth is tingling and my throat is burning. He swallows a sip...and thinks the same thing. We keep drinking until I have drank almost half the cup and tell him I can not drink anymore or I am going to be sick. He laughs and agrees. The next day at school we ask our teacher if she drinks it and she says," yes it is very good for you." She then explains that you only use a "TINY" piece of ginger and you only drink a tiny amount at a time and then repeat every hour or so.......Mark and I both laughed as I told my teacher he tried to kill me with ginger. It was a sight for sure.  Now time for the porridge.

One of my assignments for the week was to retell a children's story in Spanish. Me of coarse being the K5 teacher that I am needed some visual I thought if I messed up the Spanish least I have the creativity part.( LOL)  That proved to be much harder than I thought. You see you tell a story in past tense and that was the current subject that we are studying. I thought English was many different kind of conjugations.  It is amazing to think though that we are getting closer and closer to be being able to speak and write better in Spanish.  Another, lesson that I had that I really enjoyed this week was to pick a person from the Bible and interview them and then write what you think their answer might be. This is actually a good topic for a devotion time in your house. You can write names on a slip of paper and have everyone draw a name and then they have to study that persons life and ask them 5 questions and give 5 possible responses. I chose Rebecca, for my person. I asked her "what she thought about being the first women to have twins?" (my answer was a little comical but hey we are all human and just because they lived way back then does not mean that they were any less human than us) So my answer was this: "Yes, having two boys at one time was a Crazy Blessing, but THANK GOODNESS for handmaids.....Try this activity in your house and see what you can come up with. I think that you will find in very interesting. We have a special prayer request before we leave you for the day. Our family along with one other family of 4 from the school will leaving at 5am tomorrow to head to Nicaragua. We all have to get our VISA's stamped so that we can stay here and study for another 90 days. Please pray for our safety while traveling as well as a swift and easy move through crossing the border. We have heard that sometimes people have waited at the border as long as 6 hours to get through. Please pray that with a 2 year old we will get through safe and fast. We will not have phone or Internet until we return on Sunday evening so please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.
Thanks to you all....

Saturday, September 18, 2010

School in September......A late start......

I don't think that our kids have ever been happier to start school. We finally received all of the materials for them to start home schooling yesterday.  Thanks to some friends here at school for each taking a box with their name on it...we were able to have all 6 boxes shipped at the same time. They were suppose to arrive in Tampa back when we had a visit from Pastor Mike however, they missed the delivery by like 30 minutes of his departure time at the airport. (Taylor was really bummed). But, then Mr. Dave at Hope had them all placed in different boxes and shipped out. However, the gentleman working at the airport in Tampa did not even prepare the packages correctly and Dave received a call a week or so later saying that the packages were in the Post Office and needed to be pickup....Thankfully he found a man that knew what he was doing and sent our packages out. Taylor and Hunter have both finished 2 days of school so far....YEAH!!!! They are eager to get the ball rolling and catch up their work....Thanks for those of you who prayed for the safe arrival of the boxes.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Feliz Dia de Independencia and a trip to the Dentist....

 Well, we picked Josiah up on Tuesday to find that he had chipped his front tooth. That would be one down fall to a house in Latin carpet. We knew that we would probably not be able to see the dentist until Thursday due to the start of the Independence Day Celebration here in Costa Rica. In the evening of the 14th at exactly 6 pm everyone in the country starts singing the National Anthem. It does not matter where they are; school, store, bus or in a car.

After they finish singing their beautiful song it is time for the children to parade their drums and lanterns. Here the children try to create the most unique and beautiful lantern to earn a prize. I believe our teacher said that prize is like 5,000 colones or $10. Some of them had candles inside while others chose a safer form of light with a flashlight or Christmas lights.

We went to a local public school about a 5 minute walk from our house. It was amazing to see and hear all of the drums beating in tune. There were even fireworks off in the distance. The next morning we left the house to see the children of the entire school parade down the street. This day it reminded me a little of home because almost all of the people here were wearing some form of RED, WHITE, and BLUE. It was nice to see how everyone came out for the parades and show how much they loved their country.
   Well, today was a day of going back to school and also a trip to the dentist for little man. Thank goodness she was able to fix his little tooth. He was not to happy with the process because of the way we had to hold his poor little mouth open. I told him if he would let us finish we would go buy him a that will be the adventure for the weekend. The wonderful thing was that while sometimes you never know what things are going to cost the dentist visit was not that bad only 12,000 colones. (for those of you who don't know the conversion it was $24) Please pray that he does not have any damage to his permenant tooth. Thank you all for the prayers that you send up and have a wonderful day.

Friday, September 10, 2010

It is well with My Soul.......

This has been a very interesting week here in Costa Rica. Classes are going well and the work load has more than doubled from last trimester. However, the assignments are really pushing me to think and use my vocabulary. This week Mark was able to give a 20+ minute devotion in Spanish in his class and discuse the differnce between our church here and our church in the states. As for me this week I had many assignments but 2 of my favorite were describing a famous persons biography and if I could interview someone who would it be.
When thinking of a biography we were told that the person had to be a writer, actor, sports fiquire ect. So, I began to think of who I could write about and Horatio Spafford came to my mind. For those of you who may not know he is the one who wrote the words to the timeless hymnal "It is well with my soul". He was an excellent lawyer who also loved to study the word of God. It was amazing to read the life of Horatio and how those words to that song were born. Here is a man who lost his son, he had  recently purchased real estateand it was destroyed in a large fire in Chicago. First, a son and then all of the property that he had invested in. Two years after the fire he planned a family trip to Europe, however due to a last minute job he was unable to travel with his wife and 4 daughters.

Horatio received word that the boat his family was in had been hit by another and sank and his daughters had drowned. However, he looked to the Lord and never lost his faith.  What a testimony he had. I love the words to the song as well.

When peace like a river attendeth my way
when sorrows like sea billows roll
what ever my lot thou has taught me to say
"it is well, it is well, with my soul"

The other assignment that I had was to interview someone.
I thought about who I would choose. There are so many options people of today and people from the past but I finally concluded on Moses. My three questions for him would be:
1. Describe for me what you saw and how you felt when you crossed the Red Sea.
2. How did you feel when the Lord told you that you could not go to The Promise Land?
3. How does it make you feel to know that the Lord loved you so much that he had Michael the Arch Angel fighting with the Devil over your body?

I was able to study these topics in English and then translate my thoughts and opinions and of course the facts in Spanish. I challenge you this week to think of a song you love or a person that you want to interview and find out some information on them. As for the song, it may just give more meaning behind the words that the writer wrote. Happy learning!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Perspective of Life on the field from a Teen's View

Okay for all you readers this is going to be a little different. We know that alot of you have children so I asked Taylor and Hunter to give you a little view of their perspective of life here in Costa Rica. I hope that you read this with your children and if they have any questions for any of us please list them in the comment section below.

From the heart of Taylor:

Some of my experiences in Costa Rica: The biggest thing would be walking. It is hard getting use to walking everywhere you go. The next thing would be going in the mountains to church.
It is different seeing people going to get water because they are out. Then with all the roads messed up and not knowing how to get out of certain places (because there are no road signs). It is also weird seeing people sleeping all over the place at anytime of the day. It is nice to have parks really close by. I thinik that my favorite thing that we have done was go to La Cumbre. (a camp in the mountains). It was cold but beautiful. It was cool getting to see the mountains and birds. (I dont
remember the name of the type of bird it was) It was really fun being there and seeing all that God's created. I know that this was not in Costa Rica but I really liked our trip to Panama. (We have to leave the country every 90 days to get our Visa's stamped) It was really pretty and a lot of fun. The starfish beach was amazing and weird to see so many starfish in one place. They were also huge and it was amazing seeing how big they can get.

 I really enjoy going downtown  as well. There are also alot of beautiful flowers in Costa Rica as well, as a lot of ugly dogs.

From the Heart of Hunter

I have gone to two countries. First is Costa Rica and second is Panama. We go to church up in the mountains in Los Guidos. Since we have been here I have fallen in love with soccer or here they call it futbol. I have eaten some weird stuff that I would not have eaten in the states. 

    Everything here   (fruits and veggies) are really cheap.     On Saturdays we go to a market at the park. We have been able to go to many parks and meet new people and kids. We even went to a beach in Panama and got to visit an island called Starfish Island.   

 It was so cool because we got to pick them up and hold them.    Soon we might even be able to visit a volcano. We can not do much right now because it is the rainy season and it is boring because it rains from like 12 noon to 6.

We hope that you have enjoyed reading about our lives. It is not alot but just the point of view from a teen. If you have questions about our lives please feel free to leave it in a comment below.      Also, we are trying to see how many followers we have so be sure to leave a comment and join our family blog for a chance to win some yummy Costa Rican Coffee. (you can read the last blog for more details on chances to win)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Starting a New Family Tradition

  Over the last year or so we have adopted a few new family traditions. We moved from North Carolina to Florida and then to our home now in Costa Rica. We will again have a new home next May in Honduras as we prepare the start of Hope of Honduras Children's Home. The holiday season is a big one for starting or carrying on family traditions.  Since we have been on the field we have learned that things in other countries are not always like they are in the states. We have already started to think about Christmas as this will be the first Christmas that we will be completly away from our families. When we moved there were things that we of coarse did not bring and one of those things were Christmas deorations. I have been talking to some friends and they gave me a few great ideas on starting "new traditions". I know that our family is not the only missionary family that you know and just like you all we have friends that are missionaries that we pray for and suppport. So, I have listed a few new ideas that I think would be a great new start for you all and know that we are starting the same ones. I am doing this blog early I know but it gives you plenty of time to prepare....:)

1. Decorate your Christmas Tree with prayers cards of missionaries that have been to your church or that you know and support.

2. Place prayer cards in your napkin holder on your table and each night pull out one to pray for as you pray for your meal.

3. Have a prayer board (we use a whiteboard) and write down prayer requests and praises

4. Place prayer cards in a 4x6 photo album and use as a reminder for birthdays, anniversaries and simply praying  for their families.

5. Include your whole family in prayer there are five of us and all 5 pray including our 2 yr old little Josiah.

6. We have also started a tradition that we as parents only buy 3 gifts for our children for Christmas. Seems fitting Jesus received 3 gifts so that is the number we will buy for our kids. We usually buy 1 really nice gift and 2 smaller ones.

I hope that this helps to start some new traditions in your homes since the Holiday Season (meaning Thanksgiving and Christmas) is really just right around the corner. I would love to hear your family traditions so please post a comment and share. I also want to see how many readers I do have and so I am going to do a drawing. You can get your name in the drawing by doing the following:
              1. post and leave a comment
              2. Become a follower
              3. Suggest my blog to a friend (have them leave a comment w/your name)
              (saying that you suggested they follow and learn more about H.O.H.)

At the end of  November the winner will be picked and a bag of wonderful Costa Rican Coffee will be mailed to you. **Those who are already followers have their name in the pot already. So keep reading and good luck to you all...
Thanks to you all who already pray and support our family and is because of you we can carry out the Lord's Plans.(BE SURE TO CLICK ON THE FOLLOWERS LINK) and add yourself as a follower.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Trying to be Light for the Lord......

Since we have been living here in Costa Rica our lives as we knew them in the states have been turned upside down. When we lived in North Carolina we were all very active in our church. Mark and I sung in the choir, attended Sunday School, helped in our Wednesday night Awana program Mark was an usher and I served as a nursery captain we also went out on Soul Winning Visitation. Taylor and Hunter were also active in church activities as well and went out on Teen Soul Winning. When we moved to Tampa we jumped right in to the minitries there and went on Soul Winning on Saturdays when we were home and not out on deputation. It is so amazing that others do not take advantage of sharing the Gospel in our native tongue.  It is so easy to hand a track out or ask a person where they will spend eternity when they day in English if we only step out of our comfort zone.

This has been such a challenge for us since we have been in Costa Rica. Not only could we not speak the language when we arrived but we did not even have the material to hand to someone so that they could read it for themselves. Mark and I knew that even here we could be doing more to reach the people of Costa Rica for Christ. We began to pray that God would put people in our path to witness too. You know that God does answer prayers if you only ask, it may not always be the answer that we want or expect but he always answers. I told you a few weeks back about a lady named Ms. Anna. Well, after meeting and talking in Spanish for over 2 hours and comforting her with God's love and mercy while she witnessed a loss right before our eyes we knew that God had placed us there. The very next day we were getting ready for school just like any other day and had Josiah ready and everything and at the last minute decided to let him stay home with Taylor and Hunter.
Later that afternoon when classes were over we walked down to pick him up from class....forgetting that we had broken our daily pattern and left him home. Instead of walking out of the bottom gate which we were standing about 20 ft from we decided to walk all the way back up to the top of the hill to the main gate. Once we were at the top of the gate we saw an older lady sitting on the ground with a few bags and a man standing over top of her. The man helped her to her feet and handed her the bags. I looked and Mark and we both agreed that we should go over to help her for we could tell that she was having difficulty caring the bags and she was not using her left arm at all. When we approached her she began to tell us with pain in her eyes that she thought she had broken her arm. Mark understood alot of what she said because of all of his training in the fire service. We helped her to her house and as she pulled out her keys Mark noticed that during her fall she broke all of her eggs in her purse. We helped her inside and asked her name "Alisa" (we think.... she gave another name but this was the short version) We told her that we would be praying for her and she was so thankful. We walked home and grabbed a bag of eggs that we had in the fridge and quickly ran them back to her house. Her son had called the ambulance and asked "how much for the eggs" we told them they were a gift. They seemed very surprised and thankful.
We have tried many times to go and see her but she has not been home. We did found out though that she in fact broke her arm and look each day to see if she is home so we can visit.  During both of these encounters we would have loved to had a track to hand out so that they could read about the Roman's Road or The Plan of Salvation. That all changed though this past week when our director Pastor Mike Higgins brought us some Spanish Gospel Tracts. What a praise item for us. Even though we are still not fluent enough in Spanish to present the plan of Salvation we can hand out a track and plant the seed for someone to water. We make it a habit now for all of us to take 2-3 tracks with us where ever we go and hand them out. Whether we are in a cab, grocery store or passing someone on the street we try to hand them out.
Today we were walking back from a visit out for breakfast and the park and went a different route than normal. Again, God will direct your paths if you let HIM...and he let us to an older man sitting on his front step reading the paper. Mark greeted the man with "?Como esta?" The man jumped to his feet and began a conversation with us. We began to talk and he started to tell us that he had lived in the US for 5 years and traveled all over the world. After talking to him for a while we told him that we must be heading home and handed him a track. Mark asked him if he could read it when he had time and he happily excepted and began to talk some more. He looked at us and asked if we were Ticos? We giggled and said no...he said your Spanish is so good and we laughed again. What a nice thing to say...but we still have much work and learning ahead. He continues to talk to us and say the he was a boxer in his younger days and that he is a member of the World Boxer Org. how cool was that. As we concluded our conversation he said You and I are now friends and I want you to come inside for coffee. We had to turn him down but promised to return. It is so amazing at how God opens the doors and leads you down the path that he has paved. We now have 3 open doors not only to plant the seed for the Lord but great ways to help improve our Spanish.  Please help us by praying that the Lord will continue to give us opportunities to reach the people of Costa Rica with the Gospel.
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts to give light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:4-6 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

God's Blessings

Well, we have finished our first trimester in language school and are now on our 2 week break. It has gone by so fast. I am happy though for the amount of language we have picked up in those three months. We have adapted to the culture and are fairing well. Last week was a busy week for us but very exciting! Our director Pastor Mike Higgins and his son Ryan flew from Tampa for a two day visit with us. It was so nice to have some faces from home here to talk with.

 We were also able to look at the plans for the future cottage that we will be living in.We just had a great time of fellowship with people from home.  Pastor Mike was here last year for the intensive coarse of study and stayed with a local family here. We were able to go and visit with them and have lunch. Then we headed down town where Ryan got to experience his first out of country bus ride. We had a lot of fun showing them around San Jose. We hate that they were only able to stay for a short time but pray that they will be able to visit again at Christmas. 

The Lord has truly blessed us during the past 4 months and he has used you all as our readers to do so. Thank you to Hilltop our home church in NC for the wonderful love offering that you sent. That helped take a huge chunk out of our language school expenses for the year. We have about $7,000 more to raise for the year to be paid for. We know that God is in control and will supply all of our needs. It is so awesome to think that the amount we needed was around $32K and now we only need that small about of $7. God is so good. Our funds are continuing to grow and we all have been healthy and well. Please pray for us as the kids are going to start home school this month. So please pray for that transition and that it will not hurt our studies. We just felt that home schooling was the best for our family and it will be the same studies that they will do in Honduras. We also have a dear family The Tatum's that delivered their baby girl Emma today by emergency C-section. Please pray for Emma she weighs 2.5 lbs and was due in October. I know that our God is the ultimate physician but I am asking that all of our friends, family and readers take five minutes of their time to pray for her and her family. Thank you to you all for your prayers and support. We could not do what we have been called to do without you all.