Saturday, August 18, 2018

Isuzu Motor

My last newsletter talked mainly about the resources (I received a lot of fun feedback about the fish I raise and give away.) here at the Emmanuel Center and how we use them to benefit people in this region. Bridget and I are often inspired by our hardworking neighbors and are blessed to be part of God’s equation to provide where He directs. The majority of them work in agriculture, with a smaller percentage of folks providing goods and services to the region. Remember my mechanic friend, Greiven, who established a shop here? Much of his work is keeping trucks functioning safely, so people can bring their produce to market. Check the label on your next banana. Greiven has been in business here almost two years and two enthusiastic assistants are often working alongside him. Greiven is a good teacher and mentor. So, I would say, the mechanic shop is a success in relation to our community development efforts.

Another area I would like to mention, that is an important part of what we do, is to provide English as a second language and I will be attaching an “ask”. The learning of a second language is understood and perceived in different ways throughout the world. Here, it means being able to earn a high school diploma and provides more job opportunities for people.

Bridget is a talented teacher who really loves what she does and is in her “sweet spot” as far as her gifting is concerned. She spends a lot of time preparing for her classes so that the students, Latino or Indigenous (Cabecar), learn proper English and also the Bible. The Bible has good grammar! Right?Bridget’s opportunities to teach out here have grown to the point where she could literally teach every day of the week. We are grateful for the wisdom and guidance the Lord provides for this.

Now, here is the “ask” I mentioned earlier:
There is a four wheel drive Isuzu that our association (APROE) owns. It is in Greiven’s shop with a blown gas engine that is not serviceable. It had a lot of miles on it! The rest of the car is in good shape. I would like to install a diesel engine so that Bridget would have a vehicle to use as she travels to the four communities where she holds classes. Our director thought this would be a good use for the Isuzu and our organization would continue to cover the cost of the maintenance and Costa Rica’s licensing and registration requirements.

The price of a diesel for the Isuzu is three thousand dollars ($3000.00). I would help Greiven install it to keep the labor costs down. Isuzu diesels are considered among the best in the world and this install would be a good investment, serve many miles/kilometers, and is good stewardship of our resources. We would ask you to pray about helping with the cost of a motor for this vehicle and if directed then make a generous donation towards the “Isuzu motor”. A check can be mailed to ICDI, P.O. Box 1045

Helotes, TX 78023 or funds can be donated online to the “area of most need” with a memo for “Isuzu motor”.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Farming and Fishing

Greetings from the interior of Costa Rica! The rainy season has arrived with sunny mornings that transition mid-day into something quite a bit wetter. This month I (Paul) want to tell you about the farm at our mission center and next time I will explain about the facilities and the events we have hosted. It is exciting for me to see how our little farm is responding to the rain this year. Even though much of the land is very steep it produces banana, plantain, coffee, and yucca. There are also a variety of citrus trees – mandarin, orange, lemon, grapefruit and a sweet lemon tree. This last one I think is an acquired taste. I have one caimito (kie-mee-toe) tree with purple fruit that resembles a plum.

 The flavor is excellent and our visitors like to pick the fruit and take a bag of them home to enjoy. The juice from the caimito is like glue so there’s a certain technique to eating one, but it is no problem for the locals. One of them showed me that the leaf of the caimito tree is more effective than soap and water to remove the stickiness from lips and fingers. I have a new farm worker and he’s from this region and an experienced farmer. I am blessed to have such a knowledgeable helper to teach me the finer points about what grows here. Years ago, I took a Master Gardner course from the OSU Extension and it’s interesting to now be farming in the tropics. God has got a sense of humor! It’s a lot of work, so I depend on the Lord for the increase.

Providence, for sure, is one of God’s specialties. I think I wanted to explain a little about the above because the produce from the farm is something we can share with our neighbors as needs arise. Bridget and I have been at the mission center 3 1/2 years now and we have seen how difficult it is to make a living for both the indigenous and non-indigenous families in this area. There isn’t a lot of financial margin in their lives and it doesn't take much of an unfavorable event (a small coffee harvest, an illness in the family, etc.) and, what might have been gained is suddenly depleted. A large extended family can pitch in and help at a time like this, and so can we.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the tilapia fish that I raise on the farm. Honestly, I don’t eat much fish so our friends are surprised to see our fish ponds. The center is on river-front property and not long ago three little girls and a boy came down to the river to fish with some line and a hook. They were a little disheartened when they saw that the river was high and too dangerous to go fishing. So, not wanting them to go away empty handed I got out my new casting net and we went fishing. At first, they thought this gringo was a little loco when I waded into my tilapia pond. But it didn’t take long before we were working together. They were squealing, giggling and yelling, “PULL! PULL!” They were so excited to each have a big fish. A 4-pound fish is pretty exciting and will fill a plate! 

Watching the children help each other pull in a net of wiggly fish reminded me of the fisherman Jesus made into his disciples. It started to rain and they began to organize their bounty. But before they trooped off I got a hug. My day was complete.

I’ll end by saying just how grateful I am for your support that allows us to be here to have an opportunity to point others to our Lord and Savior.

Jesus is the hero!
Paul and Bridget

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