Some Stories and Lessons Learned Thus Far…

            In my most recent newsletter, I mentioned how it seems impossible to truly keep you informed about all the happenings I am getting to be a part of over here in Costa Rica. This blog will feature a small compilation of stories and lessons learned from my time in the country thus far. Hope you enjoy!

 

Never put all your chili in one pot…

            I’ve heard people say that you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in one basket, but I’d never heard someone say you should never put all of your chili in one pot…I mean, I still haven’t heard it really, since it’s a saying I just came up with- I have to remind myself for the future, since… the incident.

           Trying to keep a short story short, but a few weeks ago, I found out where the nearest grocery store was, and I figured out I could walk there on my own. And I figured out I could Google search any recipe I wanted, and just, walk to the store to buy the ingredients, and then make it at home. Super simple, right? Well… I wanted to try making some vegetarian chili, so, as I mentioned, I went to the internet (where all answers are found), looked up several recipes, and found the one with the simplest ingredients. Next, I walked to the store, cloth grocery bag in hand, and took my sweet time locating all the ingredients. Celery, carrots, potatoes, a variety of beans… all makes sense, all is good, right? Until I move on to the spices, and realize I have not yet seen chili powder in Costa Rica…Do they call it something else? Is it hiding on a different shelf? How can I make my own chili powder? Oh, here’s some cayenne pepper! Smells similar, let’s go with it!!! (Said no one ever, except me, apparently.)

           I returned to the house with $40 worth of groceries, all to put in this giant pot of vegetarian chili, and got to work. I added all the ingredients, except when I got to the chili powder, I used the cayenne pepper instead and put only half of the required amount- you can never be too safe, you know, since it might be stronger than I thought. Yep… let it all simmer… 2 hours later… grabbed some Tupperware and started ladling in my beautiful, wonderful smelling, un-tasted chili to save it for lunch that week. While I was putting it away, I spilled a drop on my finger, and licked it off, figuring I maybe should taste it before I bring it to work… and WOWZA that chili had a kick to it…

            This story ends with me crying in the lunchroom, trying to shovel down this ridiculously spicy chili- because that’s all I brought for lunch that day, and I was SO hungry. There might have been a little girl in the lunch room (with her mom) who just watched the silent tears roll down my face… But somehow (luckily?) none of the other teachers noticed. I tried buying a ton of sour cream, cheese, milk, avocadoes- anything to cool the flavor really, but ended up giving the 4 full ziplock bags of my beautiful homemade chili to my host brother who still has not found something too spicy for him. THE END.

 

Smiley meetings

            Pictured above is a little drawing I made during one of our church leadership meetings. I was sitting there listening to the chaplain of the school (that is connected with the church,) share updates from her side of work. She shared about several students she had spoken with, but went into a lot of detail, and very animatedly shared how she had spoken with a student who came from a non-Christian family. The student was asking questions, and admitted that she did not really agree with the religion her family practiced. When I looked up, I noticed that each leader sitting around our table was listening intently, smiles on their faces, and- I don’t know how else to explain it- but with hearts in their eyes. (That’s why I drew each little person with emoji heart eyes, as the quote from the chaplain reads (in English) “And the dad is thinking about becoming a Christian!”) What a joy to be able to serve along people who are so excited and ready to celebrate something as amazing as someone coming to Christ. What a job to have, to be here- a part of this wonderful team.

Game show fun

            Some of you may have seen through social media that just a few weekends ago I helped put on a game night for our teen program, Conexion Vertical. I would definitely call the night a success, especially for having been one of the first events I really helped coordinate. We had donuts, soda, and music for the teens when they arrived, then we made them break into teams, and dress up in some old dress up clothes we found in the closet, to get ready for our Minute to Win It style game show. I had a blast welcoming up our next participants each round and asking if they had anything to say to their families who were obviously watching on live television ;) And I sure would like to think the teens had a blast as well. They did great with their enthusiasm and participation. We ended the evening calming down with some worship music and card games. It was such a night!

Up next: Health Impact Fair!!!

            Our next big event is coming up THIS SATURDAY!! Something we are trying to focus on more as a church is SERVING. A great way to do that is to start with our community. (Isn’t it amazing how God entrusts us with a community that is “ours?” That we get to live in and impact?) One of my coworkers, who works for the church as a children’s ministry director and for the school as a nurse, has been working on planning this Health Impact Fair for many months now! She is such a superwoman to have been able to work on this on top of everything else that she juggles.

           This Saturday, we will be opening the doors of our church almost all day to offer free health care services to anyone who needs them! There will be doctor consultations, dental services, and health related informational sessions, just to name a few. Members of our church are signing up to help, and honestly, I’m not sure where all the volunteer doctors and dentists came from. Every room in the church and school will be taken up by these services being provided to our community! Seriously, I’m working with the kids that day and it looks like we will be outside in the yard with a canopy tent, because that’s the only space left! What a blessing to be able to offer these services to our community, and for the lovely chaos of it all.

            If you could, we would all really love your prayer for this event! Please pray Luke 10:9- our theme for this event! Pray that God’s love be real, and revealed to everyone who hasn’t already seen it. Pray for good weather (us who will be outside with the kids!), that many people would show up to take advantage of these services and find the healing that they need- and that good connections with the community can be made! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

It’s not all peachy

***As a disclaimer- I would like to share that-- it’s not all peachy! Just like through social media, with blogs and newsletters as well, we see only a fraction of what life is really like- a fragmented piece, and in this case, most of the fragments I’m choosing to share with you, are the blessings, and happy highlights- there are many. But there are also days where I don’t want to get out of bed, where I question what I am doing here, or just flat out hear me telling myself, I can’t do it. But the great part of that is- that’s okay! Today, I had an angry morning- I was upset with myself, and every external factor that I don’t have control of! But what a blessing, that I now feel comfortable enough to experience anger! That shows progress of me adjusting to this country- that I’m not just trying to survive anymore. I’m growing! So thank you, for not falling under a delusion that if you answer God’s calling on your life, or move to another country, that everything will just be problem free or easy! It’s work for sure, and I know it’s where I’m supposed to be. I hope you can also find encouragement as well, that even the hard days should be celebrated. Love and blessings to you!! –Rosie :)