Monday, December 4, 2017

Paul's Projects

We and the poinsettia bush like the cool weather.
Heavy rains caused the creek across the river to rise and wiped out one of the banks supporting the footbridge. The neighbors are using alternate routes to come and go. 
Far side of bridge under construction rests on earth bank.
Flash flooding of the creek took out the earth bank.
On the bright side, so much rain has caused our flowers to bloom and the coffee harvest is putting money in people’s pockets. Paul has been harvesting bananas, plantain, mandarin oranges, and tilapia to share with missionary friends and neighbors.  We had some standing dead trees near the buildings at the Emmanuel Center and Paul and his worker, Luis, took them down. They also cleaned out the fish pond, and repaired and moved the spring fed waterlines to the fish ponds. It was a big job and Paul was glad to send fish home with Luis for his dinner.
The red coffee is ready to pick.
Paul and Luis cleaning the fish pond.
Between all of Paul’s work on the farm and maintaining the grounds and the buildings, he found time to paint the pantry so the oatmeal won’t mold. I (Bridget) was so happy I made him chocolate chip cookies. He also built a bench in the corner of the kitchen to provide more seating around the table. It’s a cozy place to have coffee with visitors or dinner on these stormy nights.  The clothes dryer went out in September and was beyond repair. Paul was able to install a new dryer last weekend.
Paul preparing the pantry for paint.
Being without a dryer for three months has given me a new respect for the housewives in our region who dry laundry on their clotheslines, fences, hedges, or porch rails between rain storms.  Their clothes look perfectly clean and pressed, like they just walked off the rack at a department store, and their children have the whitest school uniform shirts! I don’t think I will ever measure up to their standard of gleaming ceramic floors and starched shirts, but they are so kind they never mention it.

2 - 3 days to dry clothes on the porch...
... or 20 - 30 minutes in the new dryer.
My English classes have finished and students are ready for vacation and anticipating graduation in December.  During our last month of classes, the kindergartners built the tower of Babel (Genesis 11), sang “Old McDonald had a Farm,” and begged to “do it again” when we categorized plastic farm animals and sea animals. 
Building the Tower of Babel.
My 4th – 6th grade students learned about Abraham and his complicated family (Genesis 21) and drew their own family tree. We ended each class dividing into groups and playing games. One day the girls played Go Fish while the boys played Jenga and proceeded to build an incredibly creative tower with the Jenga blocks! My older students practiced questions "Who?" "What?" "When?" etc. and ones starting with "do" and "does", along with vocabulary related to the house and its furnishings. Those groups played Banana Grams; my junior high boys were the best at that game.  They also studied Abraham's life and asked me to explain "circumcision" (Genesis 17) and then wondered, like all of us have, "Why do they do that?" 

Paul and I begin our days reading the Bible and thanking the Lord for His mercy and grace to follow Him wherever He leads us.  Abraham is our example, not a perfect man, but one who trusted God Almighty.

Serving Him,
Bridget and Paul

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Greiven’s Garage

Back in our May newsletter I (Paul) talked a little about the Gospel in relation to Easter and its relevance in 364 other days of the year.  I also gave you a little teaser about a mechanic named Greiven (Grey-bin) and will tell more about him in this writing, but first I want to provide a little context.

Cab├ęcar translation of the New Testament
For many of us, over time we have seen missions come in different sizes and functions.  The list is long!  Pioneer (initial contact), Bible translation, church planting, medical, community development, youth, short term, and communications are a few examples.  I'm sure you could add to this list.  There are just as many providing assistance to the above mentioned.  Need help getting to another location?  Need something printed and published?  Need a construction crew?  How about your vehicle or boat repaired? Help with teaching mission kids?  The list goes on.  It's amazing! 

Our organization falls under community development.  Community development is generally seen as helping those, likely living in poverty and often in remote locations, find solutions to the issues or problems of their region.  The goal is sustainable solutions that enable people to meet the needs facing them individually and as a community.

Alekcey Murillo, MD with wife Judith Dunteman, MD
An effective way to begin community development is by going to an area of interest for a period of time and asking and observing “what is needed”.  The people will tell you.  That is exactly what our director Alekcey and his wife Judith did after finishing residency at the Mayo Clinic.  They also took note of what resources were available which generally exist in the social, cultural, physical, spiritual, and intellectual realms. Fast forward to now and look at the ICDI projects … Need safe bridges for crossing rivers ...we do that.  Medical assistance and evacuation … we're there too.  High infant mortality rate … our indigenous health promoters are doing an excellent job with moms and newborns! Microloans (and a little financial tutoring) for producers and sellers.  Rebecca is addressing the need for dental care at our clinic and during her trips into the reservation. Okay, I think you get the picture.

Paul and Greiven Sanchez
This brings me to Greiven, who is an excellent example of the impact of our microloan project. A year ago I was having a conversation with one of the Sanchez brothers, Greiven, who is a mechanic and was living in a city one and a half hours away.  He was working at a car parts store at the time but his heart wasn't really into the parts business.  He loves working on vehicles and is good at it, definitely gifted.  I think it was one of those God inspired moments when we talked about the idea of him setting up a mechanic shop in our area to provide a much-needed service.  He was definitely interested but I could tell he had many questions and wanted to talk it over with his wife Adriana (Always a good thing!). 

I have always liked cars and Greiven and I have that in common.  With the rough and difficult roads in our region it is essential to have a 4x4 vehicle that can handle the abuse, as well as a good mechanic.  Car maintenance is as much a given here as death and taxes. Also, Costa Rica’s annual car inspection is rigorous, but a trustworthy mechanic makes the process easier, and the current sticker on your windshield is needed to satisfy the traffic cops in town.

The doors being hung on Greiven's Garage.
The next time Greiven and I met he was excited to share that the whole family was very interested in relocating to our region where Greiven and his wife had grown up.  We talked about the ICDI microloan program, the need for a secure and weather-proof building to work in, and a place for his family to live.  Just a year ago he met the qualifications and became a partner (recipient of a low interest loan) from ICDI’s microloan project.  Since then he built a mechanic garage with a small house on a piece of property in the community.  He has a well-equipped shop and a steady flow of customers.  His family has adjusted to living in rural Costa Rica and is thriving. A team made a video of Greiven working in his shop and talking about himself.  You can see on his face how happy he is to be doing what he loves – working on vehicles.

In His service,
Paul and Bridget

Saturday, July 1, 2017

English Camp & Woodworking

Celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary!
English Camp - Playing Bingo with Ms Mel.

June started with a team from the US helping me (Bridget) with an English Camp in a nearby community. The team ran stations and students practiced their letters, numbers, parts of the body, fruits and vegetables, and learned the story of Noah in Genesis 6-9. There was a small group of children from K-6th grade who attended and the team showered them with attention.  Everyone had fun and the parents were happy their children learned more English.

Bridget and Rebekah Jones, are English judges.
The Monday after the English Camp, Rebekah Jones (our dentist) and I were invited to judge the local high school English competition.  During the opening ceremony my first adult English student was awarded her high school diploma.  I cried when I saw her receive her diploma because she had worked so hard to pass her English exam. The competition followed and included events for an impromptu speech, a conversation, and a spelling bee. Students from my classes qualified to advance to the district competition in all three events. 

Paul and the wood for the tabel.
When Paul is not working on the grounds or buildings at Emmanuel Center I can find him in his shop working on a table he is building for our friends Greiven and Adriana.  Our son-in-law, Patrick, has passed the “wood working bug” on to Paul.  He has learned so much on his own as he works with the local tropical woods. 

Lance crossing the finish line.
We celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary on June 18th with friends in San Jose. It was a time to relax and rest after a busy first half of the year.  They have good internet so we were able to talk with our kids. Lance told us about his new job, a raft trip down the Rogue River, and his triathlon.  Joy and Patrick were watching friends’ Corgi puppies - so cute! Kelly brought us up to date on her job at the restaurant and a trip to the beach. We also had time to gather information for the ICDI website and hopefully the updated site will be online later this summer.
Corgi puppies are adorable!

Please pray for my English students, a team coming in July, and for parents and friends of a high school student that took her life. It has been a vivid reminder that only the Gospel of Jesus Christ has the message of true hope.

We cannot thank you enough for your prayers and financial support. 
In His service,
Paul and Bridget