Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Resurrection of Jesus

Recently in our morning devotions we read Apostle Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. We were struck by how clear he made the gospel and the implications of Jesus resurrection from the dead. Some highlights from 1 Corinthians chapter 15:

The good news is that Christ died for our sins, that after he was buried, he was raised on the third day, and he appeared to many of his followers, including Paul. Through Adam all men die, and death and sin have power over everyone.  But all who believe in Christ will be made alive in Him. Stop sinning! Share your knowledge of God. Because flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, at the last trumpet your mortal bodies will put on immorality. Thank God that Jesus’s resurrection makes all this possible.

We believe this also and by God’s grace we want to share this good news with others.

Saturday English class.
Thanks for praying for my (Bridget’s) English classes. Currently I’m teaching four classes and an additional four will start the first week in April, when school vacation is over. 

Car inspection

Enough repairs were completed on our truck that it passed the Costa Rican car inspection and Paul could drive it home from San Jose.  Our neighbor Greiven will be making more repairs, but for now we can drive it to town for supplies and to my English classes.

The new roof is on the Emmanuel Community Development Center! Paul is pleased with the work the men did and thankful we had good weather every day of the project.

Last week Paul was able to use his Cabécar to talk to some of the other customers at Greiven’s mechanic shop.  We also gave our first presentation to our Cabécar language teacher. We used the vocabulary we learned to tell about some family photos.  Paul breezed through his presentation, but our tutor made lots of corrections on my presentation.  We appreciate your prayers as we continue to learn Cabécar.

Serving Jesus, 
who is risen!
Paul & Bridget

Friday, February 16, 2018

Synthetic Soccer Field

Johan making his plan a reality.

We have been inspired by one of Bridget’s English students, Johan, who is 19 and studied accounting at a technical high school. For one class his teacher divided students into small groups to write business plans.  Johan’s group focused on developing a passion fruit farm. After graduation in 2016 Johan wanted to make the business plan a reality, but his peers lost interest. Johan came up with a new idea - to build a synthetic soccer field so children, youth, men and women could play anytime. A place families could enjoy that was free of drugs and alcohol. A place to foster success, respect, effort, equality and discipline. 

The synthetic soccer field's beautiful view!
With his father’s support Johan researched synthetic fields in Costa Rica, wrote a business proposal, and received financing from some investors.  His father dedicated a piece of his farm land to the project. Johan hired, and worked with, the excavation company that cleared the land and laid the foundation.  Then the synthetic turf was rolled out, the lights and nets went up, bleachers were made, and a concession stand was built where his mother started a business selling refreshments.

Hosting the first of many tournaments.
In August Johan began talking to his father about the soccer field and by December 2017 Sintética Piedra Redonda S&S hosted their first soccer tournament.  Local teams and teams from the surrounding communities participated in the opening event. The soccer field continues to be a popular place for families to gather in the afternoons, evenings, and weekends to watch the fast paced 5-on-5 games or to attend training and conditioning classes. Johan hopes it will be common for people to ask, “When’s the game at the synthetic field?” Seeing such a motivated young person like Johan is inspiring. 

Ron (wearing UTSA shirt) and his students.
We also have been inspired by the talented UTSA finance students that came to help with our Microloan Project. They volunteered to spend their vacation with us and to celebrate New Year’s Day they organized a carnival for the community. Ron Sweet is their professor and the treasurer of ICDI. His assistance with the Microloan Project has been invaluable.

Paul and Bridget in Costa Rica.
If you would like to come and help us with EnglishClasses, Maintaining the Emmanuel Center or other projects in Costa Rica email us. We can always use an extra hand.  We would be glad to give you more information and put you on our 2018-2019 calendar.

Please be praying about:
- English classes starting in Feb and March 
- the new roof for the Emmanuel Center
- strong marriages for us and our friends
- our Cabécar language classes
- the repair of our vehicle

Serving Him,
Paul & Bridget

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.

Cabécar 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