Sunday, February 27, 2011

Looking for Aslan.

Good gravy.

So much to tell.  First of all, I almost freakin' DIED.

Let me explain.

We had an optional beach weekend trip, so of, course I went.  The hotel we stayed at was really nice, with a swim up bar, pool and everything.  Expect, they only booked two rooms for about 16 girls. That's probably the worst idea ever.  We made it work, though, and I spent the night in between my two favorite European girls, Nina from Austria, and Mareka, from Germany.  So after a very uncomfortable night's sleep, we headed out to the beach.

First of all, HOLY CRAP. It's absolutely beautiful.  And a tourist trap.  But beautiful.  And the water is so warm, it's like magic.

And the currents in the water are also super strong.  A bunch of us Port kids were out swimming, and before we knew it, we were caught in a current.  It was paddling for nearly 20 minutes before I realized I was making no progress. And I kind of started to panic.  I could see the shore, but even if I was swimming as hard as I could, I was too weak to make any progress on my own.

Luckily, a lifeguard noticed how much I was struggling and came out to help me, but even with his help, we weren't making any progress.   A surfer came to help me, and we paddle into shore.

I have never been so tired.  Or embarrassed.

It was now apparent to the whole beach that I was not a good swimmer.  Awesome.  And the surfer that helped me was super good looking.  As they say here in Costa Rica, "Que verguenza!", which roughly translates to, "I think I'm going to borrow that kid's  sand shovel a dig a nice, deep hole and hid there until the tide comes in."

But as a sat on the beach, thankful to be breathing, and probably blushing, I thought about how much that situation translates into my spiritual walk.  It always take me a while to realize I'm struggling, and need help, but it's very obvious to everyone else that I'm practically drowning in my own problems. And no matter how hard I try to sort through them on my own, I get pulled under.

Which is when God in His infinite mercy comes and rescues me, again.

So let that be a lesson to you, kids.  Ask for help when you need it.  It might be embarrassing, but hey, it's better than dying.

God has been using everything, and I mean, EVERYTHING, to teach me something about weakness in my life.  I had my very first experience of feeling socially awkward, and I even learned something from that.

This weekend, as part of our Spanish class, we stayed with Tico families. It was in general, a fantastic experience.  I was able to met a lot of people outside of Port.  And my host mom is super cool and loves art too, so we're having a art museum trip soon.

Last night after church , we went to a get together with some of my families friends.  And let me just clarify, I never feel socially awkward.  Or a least, almost never.  I'm a sociable person, and I can always find something to talk about with anyone.

But after speaking nothing but Spanish for 48 hours straight, my brain imploded. I felt like I couldn't understand or speak.  I felt like there we so many barriers between me and the people-socially, because I didn't know them, culturally, and of course, the language.  I just wanted to leave.  I was homesick.

It was so weird.

The people at the party were so sweet, and I think they recognized that I felt out of place, and busted out a guitar and started singing songs in English for me.  I really appreciated that.

But in those moments, I realized that I would never be able to know these people on a deeper level like I know my friends, if I never fully understand the language.  And now I know it's something I have to do.  So, let the language school hunting begin!

And if any of you feel competed to help me pay for that, well, hey!  Go for it.  Just kidding.  But it is expensive.

I also just finished reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis right before I came, and here's a quote that explain very much how I feel about my time here at Port:

"It isn't Narnia, you know," sobbed Lucy. "It's you. We shan't meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?" 
"But you shall meet me, dear one," said Aslan. 
"Are -are you there too, Sir?" said Edmund. 
"I am," said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there." 

It's like here in Costa Rica, I'm with Aslan.  The terrible, wonderful, and not tame lion, who is so much more than I though Him.  But He's not only here.  He's everywhere, but He doesn't always look the same, or reveal Himself the same twice. 

And when I go back home, it will be up to me to keep looking for Him.  And the day I stop looking  for Him is when I finally go home.  My true home.

I hope you all find yourself being homesick for heaven. It's where we really belong.



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Unexpected Beauty.

All these pictures are from a kid's soup kitchen here, one of the ministry options we can choose from.  If anyone knows how to show love, it's kids.  And I don't think I've know what love was until now.

Beauty shows up in the most unexpected of places.
Go find some.


Sunday, February 13, 2011


Good news, everyone.

They DO have thrift shops in Costa Rica!

My life has just improved a lot.

And since I discovered that they have thrift stores here, my friends Dani and Lauren set off to explore.  There's about four little stores a twenty minute walk away in Coronado. I found some pretty legit things there.

The photo just doesn't do them justice.  They freakin' CHANGE COLORS. Hurrah for obnoxious purple shorts!

 It has newspaper articles on it!  In English, even.

 I love this blazer. It's so nifty!
 Note the classy golden buttons :)
This I actually purchased at a flea market thing, but it was so awesome, I just had to show it off.

We also had family night and went to play soccer at a local church.  Okay, well, I was a spectator and took pictures.  But I also had a chance to have a really deep and meaningful conversation with my friend, Kat.  I think it was worth it :)

And being here has started a creative burst I truly hope doesn't stop. Costa Rica is my muse, it seems.  I felt really compeled to draw the other day and here is the result:

It reads, "She didn't look like much, but her roots when deep."  I just sort of stumbled across those words in my head.  I guess it's kind of how I feel about myself sometimes. I don't always feel beautiful, but what's lasting a significantly more important is what I'm (or Who) I'm rooted in.  I am more than my appearances, and my value is not based solely on those.  I have the Spirit that God has put in me, and my life is rooted in Christ. Or I strive for it to be, anyway.

Be encouraged this week.   And don't just talk about how much you God, prove it by loving someone unlovable this week. (Luke 6:32 "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.")

Let's remember who we're rooted in, and change the world.

Supernatural love from the Father,


Monday, February 7, 2011

Happiness hit her like a train on a track.

This is becoming my home, more and more everyday.  And all the students are becoming like an extension of my family.

We played a pretty intense game of capture the flag the other night. And for the record?  Team 1 totally won.  Team 2 are all tramposos. (Which, by the way, does NOT mean tramps.  It means cheaters.)

                                                                 Those crazy Canadians.

And as much as this is becoming home, I really do miss my home. It still haven't quite realized that I'll be here for the next 10 months. I feel like any day, I'll be heading back. But I'm not.  It's such a strange feeling.

Sometimes, life isn't the color you want it to be.

I'm so thankful to my Father for bringing me. It's such a challenge.  The language (which, thanks to my wonderful Spanish teacher, Sr. Campbell, I've already had a pretty solid base in), the culture, and the people are so different.  The same, but different.  How's that for contradictory?

For one thing, you would not  believe how much these Ticos love their shoes.  There's a shoe store within every mile in the cities.  And the women wear high heels EVERYWHERE.  It's crazy.  I would die.  I'll stick to my converse, thank you very much.

And Ticos are much more open with their affection (which is very obvious with their PDA...), but it's also a good thing. Costa Ricans kiss each other on the cheek as a greeting.

There's something so like Jesus in that tradition. It's such an invitation into intimacy with others, a closeness that we as North Americans are sometimes very uncomfortable with. And I  feel when we go to God in prayer, He greets us with a kiss.  He invites us to be vulnerable, and maybe be a bit uncomfortable.  But once we accept His offer, we're rewarded beyond what we deserve. 

 So, I hope your world view changes this week.
And I hope you have the courage to live life differently than you did yesterday.
Grace and peace,

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Mad Tea Party.

I woke up from my nap today to find a sign posted on my dorm's door saying this:

"Girls.  Tea and cookies in the boathouse at 4:00."

YES. Best way to wake up from a nap, ever. Especially because I was just thinking how hungry I was, and that supper wasn't till 6. Perfect timing. 

So, I threw on a sweatshirt and headed down to the boathouse at the lake. Which, by the way, ironically houses no boats. And the lake is actually a pond. Or half a pond, really. The water is being taken over by some rapidly growing plants.  

I digress.

I arrived at the boathouse and grabbed myself some cookies and sat down for some girl time.  It was so cool to see 4 cultures come together, eat cookies, and talk about boys, of course. I love how all the kids here at Portantorchas would have never had the oppurtuinty to meet, and God brought us all together, here, in Costa Rica.  I now have friends from Canada, Germany, Austria, Texas, Maryland and Colorado.

And there we all sat, gabbing over our cookies, and I  realized.  I feel like this is my home.  Like I belong here, for this time in my life. I know for a fact that this was God brining me here, not random circumstances.
So many things fell into, they were placed where they needed to be, at exactly the right time.  God's hand is moving in my life, and I can't wait to see where he'll guide me next.

In other news, my spanish class is awesome.  For the first two days, we went to a medical clinic where we hosted "Kid's Games", which is exactly what it sounds like.  Millions of little ticos came and we played some crazy games. (P.S. Ticos = Costa Ricans)  The people here are all so beautiful. Honestly.  Just look at the pictures of some of the kids.

So kids.
I am loving it here more everyday.  But I still love you all at home.
Sammykins, I'm sorry Skype is stoopid. It will work next time.
Daddy, you need to get on skype so I can talk to you.  I miss you.
To anyone else reading this blog, I hope that you are surprised by God's love this week.
Peace and Blessings,

P.S. If you time, I strongly suggest you look up Jason Mraz's album, Homemade.