Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tuesday Night Ladies. We had Costa Rican cuisine tonight and they let me download and share many of my experiences from the past two months. Tuesday nights have become a wonderful highlight in my week. I will be writing again, but it is late and I am now a working girl again!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Diego, Alex, and Pablo. These three are part of the worship team at the Los Guidos church.

Caterine, Alex, and I.
Caterine and I at Virginia's. She has a neat story...met a family who was on a work camp a few years ago and they invited her to spend a year in the states with them. She spent her senior year here and is now back in San Jose area. She speaks English fluently and we spent some wonderful time together.
Avenida Central in San Jose...on a quiet day!
Playa Herradura. The "day off" trip to the beach for the Roseburg group...the ladies from the kitchen came along. Off in the distance, a major hotel is going in and this little quiet cove won't be quite so secluded.

Samara Beach from the perspective of a crab! Tons of the little critters ran around, especially after dark.
Volcan Arenal-still very active, as you can see. We did get close enough to hear it rumble, but no luck seeing any lava.
Eloise (Quebec), Damien (California), Anita (Switzerland), Ian (England and now Costa Rica)
Classmates from Heredia...what a fun group!

My friend Eloise...poor girl broke her arm at the beginning of her time in Costa Rica.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

At Virginia's with her daughters.

Kathi and I in Limon.
It really is as peaceful as it looks...sunrise, the dawning of a new day...a new day shall come.
Graduation from language school! What a relief!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Hello family and friends. I have arrived safely home! I will be posting some more pictures soon so check back in a few days! Thanks for following along! Love and blessings to all!!!
(My last Sunday at Los Guidos with Luis)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Well, I am approaching my final days here. I was at Los Guidos church last night and had to say goodbye to those I have followed around for the last month. I stayed two nights with Virginia and her girls. My heart has been open to alot lately...the evidence of having slowed down to listen to the music inside. I have been rereading some of the book Captivating (John & Stasi Eldredge). "And so you´ll see that women are endowed with fierce devotion, an ability to suffer great hardships, a vision to make the world a better place." I am moved when I hear the story of a child sucking on pebbles to relieve hunger, when I sit around the table of a mom with 3 young girls to provide for as she trusts the Lord, when I hold a beautiful little 3 year old girl delighted to sit in my lap and let me hug her as I wonder how mom takes care of all the children. And yet God is faithful to His people. Honestly, something I can´t put my mind around and don´t expect to is dealing with living in the U.S. and knowing only the slightest of the circumstances for the rest of the world and even those at home. Guilt isn´t the answer, I have come to that conclusion. Responsibilty, yes and I am learning my part in that. AAAAHHHHH...welcome to the thoughts of Stephanie!!!:) On a lighter note...I am excited to be returning home and seeing many of you. I can´t express how much I greatly appreciate your support, prayers, concern, encouragement, and following this journey! God has protected me and I know that is an answer to many of your prayers. He has opened new doors and lightened my load, also answers to prayer! I have a CD of Natalie Grant that I listen to in my car often and sing to at the top of my lungs when I drive home to visit my family in Powers. Time in the car to plead with the Lord. One of her songs goes something like, "Awaken my heart, awaken my soul, awaken Your power and take control, awaken my passion to live for You." These past two months have been part of the Lord answering and directing that prayer. I´m smiling! Bless you, God bless you!!! I will be posting some more pictures when I return home, so check back again. (I tried with this computer, but no luck). Hasta mas tarde!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Well, here I am again. Coming to the final days and beginning to look forward to home. In a few hours I will be heading to the Carribean coast, Puerto Limon, with Kathi and Wayne. Kathi is speaking to the women of the church this evening and Wayne is preaching in the morning. I wasn´t planning to go to this side of Costa Rica, not a safe place alone, but am glad to get the chance to see it. I know when I get home I will have many asking about my time here and I am already coming up short of an explanation. :) I didn´t know what to expect coming here and all that has happened has been nothing I expected!!! I know that doesn´t make sense!

This morning I ventured through San Jose all alone. I made my way to the vendors and then to a neat little cafe in the same building as the post office, Cafe del Correo. I realized as I sat there with my journal it was the first time I´ve had coffee alone to read and write in a Costa Rican cafe. Sounds silly to some of you, I´m sure, but one of my favorites is getting alone with a book, pen, and journal at a coffee shop. However, that´s not the point! I came across a story my dear mom sent me in the past years that I recently placed in this particular journal. It goes like this..."The pencil maker took the pencil aside, just before putting it into the box. "There are five things you need to know before I send you out into the world," he said. "Always remember these five things, and you´ll be a great pencil. One: You are capable of many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in someone´s hand. Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but you´ll need it to become a better pencil. Three: You have the ability to correct the mistakes you make. Four: The most important part of you will always be what´s inside. And Five: On every surface where you are used, regardless of its condition, you must leave your mark." -Author Unknown- We leave a mark everywhere we go. I am leaving a mark here and the people I have met have left marks on me. The dangerous part is that it can be either beautiful or destructive. Of course, the desire is the first. I want it to be said of me that my mark was gentle and full of color. That it would draw the same out of others. Maybe the pencil story was one of colored pencils!!! Yes, that would be better!

This next week will be full as two seperate conventions take place. I will be staying with Virginia (in the kitchen photo) and her girls as Kathi and Wayne will be hosting others from the US and Central America. I am looking forward to staying with them...more Spanish immersion before I come home!

Today, one of the vendors I spoke with (in Spanish!!!) said he had spent time in the U.S. last year. His impression was that we are very busy. Rapido, rapido! Yes, I agree. Too busy most of the time. Here, life has slowed down for me and the Lord has loved on my soul. Today, I hope you have time to slow down and watch for Him...maybe in the sunrise, or I guess for those in the NW, the sound of the rain.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Nancy, Virginia's youngest daughter, and I on Sunday at Los Guidos Church of God. They have evening services, very lively and loud, but I have really enjoyed this church. The people are so friendly and many of them are working on the project with the group from Roseburg. Nancy comes to the church many days after school. I enjoy visiting with her...such a sweet spirit.
The best pineapple! I went with Kathi to the market on Saturday to buy fruit and vegetables.

My friends, Damien and Anita, from Intercultura in Heredia. They came to San Jose to buy bus tickets one Friday afternoon and I was able to meet up with them for a good cup of coffee at Hotel Gran Costa Rica. A beautiful hotel! We had a great time visiting, but much too short. They may be visiting in June when Anita is on her way home to Switzerland. Damien lives in California with his wife, so we are hoping to get them to Portland too!

Virginia and I in the kitchen. She is so sweet and I love to laugh with her! Italy is behind us and she was frying these "empinadas con queso y carne" empinadas with cheese and meat. Lots of deep frying! Notice jeans...and today I am in long sleeves!

I took this when Leah and I were in Playa Tamarindo, "Endless Summer."

Mi Familia...hermano-Eric, madre-Jackie, padre-Ed. They took me to lunch the day I left for Costa Rica. AND this Saturday, March 4th is my Mom's birthday...HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! Love you