Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Almost There!

The gang had quite an interesting trip home. They were bumped from their flight in Fort Lauderdale in exchange for free tickets to anywhere Spirit flies. Last time I talked to them, they were enjoying the pool on the 5th floor of their hotel!

I can't believe that we only have 2 weeks left here in Costa Rica! Jeff and I took our exams and both came out well. We both scored an Advanced Medium. So, I may have won in the classroom but in conversation, were it really counts, we are essentially even.

I think that I mentioned that I have been studying the Psalms. I discovered something pretty interesting yesterday. David wrote 23 Psalms. Over and over, David is under attack from his enemies. He asks God for help, for refuge, for love, for justice. But there is one thing he doesn't ask for. He doesn't ask for the strength to defend himself. I can find only one time in 73 Psalms where David ask God to raise him up so he can repay his adversaries. Every other time, he asks God to work on his behalf. He asks God to defend his rights. He doesn't ask God to give him the chance to defend himself. In fact, in several places, he says that he is silent before his accusers and asks God to fight for Him. This is very interesting to me because David was a man of courage, a man of war. He was also king. He had the rights of a king. Yet, he doesn't speak of personally fighting his own battles. He asks God to be his defense.

I am sure that you know the verse (Psalm 37:4) Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. I think that I have been looking at it the wrong way. I have always thought A + B = C. If I love God then he will bless me with what I really want. What do I want? What do we all want? Significance, love, importance. If I delight in the Lord, as David did, I don't have to fight for the things I want or the rights that I think I have. God is the one who gives when and how he wants. Instead of focusing on the desires, I can focus on God who fulfills them according to his wisdom. Even more that that, God becomes my significance, God is love, God is my happiness, and God gives me importance.

Are you like me? Do you want to defend yourself in every situation? Do you want to fight for your happiness at work or at home? Even David asked for God's help to repay his enemies once, he was human after all, but most of the time he asks that God fight for him. David had real enemies. My life is tame in comparison, yet I want to fight. Can I let God be my defense? Not without God's help. Of course, Jesus is the ultimate example. He gave up his rights for me. He was silent before his accusers. How can I hold on to my rights, when the Jesus, God's Son, gave up everything for me? Somehow, everyday it is a battle to let go of what I think I am owed. Lord, give us the strength to let go!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

4 Women on a Mission

And now, our guest bloggers....

Buenos dias!

This is our last day in Costa Rica, where did our week go? Our trip was perfect! The Dices were wonderful hosts, a home away from home! Even as we write we cannot come up with the words that could describe our adventures. You will just have to see our pictures, well maybe not all of them! We experienced so much; strong ocean tides, zip-lining through the rainforest, bridge-walks through the treetops, relaxing in hot springs at the base of a volcano during a downpour, a night walk, which we fondly called our snipe walk, and even checked out Clinical Biblica. Our resident nurse, Deb, said that both Kate and the hospital passed with flying colors! As if we weren't pampered enough, we had to have a massage ($15/hour).
While in Costa Rica we traveled by air, boat, bus, taxi and even by horse. We all agree that it was an experience, but a 5 hour city bus ride was not our favorite mode of transportation. Dramamine was our friend, at least mine! A few thousand kilometers left in our journey. We may be stopped at customs, bringing in bananas and pineapples, but if you tasted them you would understand why we risked it! They're much better than a bag full of apples! Amazing fruit, and would you believe that Costa Rica has the best Chinese food!
While in Costa Rica we witnessed unbelievable landscapes, everywhere you looked there were sights to take in, but that can't compare to the people. There are many lessons we need to learn from them. Ticos are such happy people, content. It is their custom to say hello or good morning when they pass by or enter a room. How often do we do that?
Thank you Jeff, April, Camden, Mason, Karris and Ellie for opening up your home and allowing us to experience Costa Rica!

Hasta luego!
Deb, Julia, Kate and Christina

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Final Home Stretch

We have just 8 days of class remaining, so we are all but finished with our Spanish studies here in Costa Rica. Time has really flown by. It seems strange to be preparing to come home. We have some big events coming in the next two weeks, though. We took our ECO exam last Friday, which will tell us which level of oral proficiency we have achieved. We are both a little nervous about it. April also took the 3-hour grammar exam- I'm concerned as she may need see a professional. Then, next weekend Camden makes his Costa Rican stage debut in "Reserve Two For Murder," a play in which he gets killed 2 minutes in and gets dragged around the stage for an hour. And, of course, 4 women showed up at our house last Tuesday. They will appear as "guest bloggers" in the next blog.

During Easter week, we had the privilege of going to Nicaragua for 6 days. We left on Saturday morning at 5:15, got to the border at 10:15, left the border at 3:30 (yes, we spent 5 hours waiting in lines at the border), and arrived in Granada at 5:30. I organized this trip for 33 of my classmates, so it was a little stressful, but it turned out to be a great experience. A few families from Browns, the Carter's and the Kleinhardt's and Jodie Robinson, showed up to get a project started at Pastor Juan Pavon's church. They began to redo the entrance to the church, working with a crew from the church, to make it handicap accessible (there are 2 people in wheelchairs who attend the church) and to make it easier to pull the microbus in. It will look very different when finished. The trip went really well, but we were glad to be back in Costa Rica. We did absolutely nothing Good Friday, Saturday, and Easter Sunday.