Monday, October 8, 2012

A Re-post Worth Reading!

Today I am re-posting my new friend April Amiot's blog post from today. April and her husband, Josh, are missionaries to Costa Rica working with college students. She usually keeps me laughing, but today she hit me right between the eyes.

What a great description of what God is calling us to in this life. It is not an easy journey, but IT IS SO WORTH IT!!

 “For some people their apprehension about stepping out in faith is really a fear of failure.  They do not do what God has called them to because they are afraid they may not succeed.  Listen carefully.  When God calls you to something, He is not always calling you to succeed, He’s calling you to obey!  The success of the calling is up to Him; the obedience is up to you.” ~David Wilkerson
The Kingdom of God has been rightfully called “The Upside-Down Kingdom”.  It’s like stepping through Alice’s Looking Glass into a place where the first are las,t and the meek inherit the land, and to be the greatest you must be the servant.  Everything we know in the world is turned on its head… including the standard of Success.
Would it shock you to learn that God is not at all interested in your personal success?  Joel Osteen has it all wrong.  In this Upside-Down place, God is more interested in the Process of making you who he wants you to be than in making you a successful person.  He’s more interested in crushing and squeezing you to make you into sweet wine.  He may call you to do something which will look like failure in the eyes of the world.  He sent Joseph to Egypt as a slave.  He sent Paul to Rome in chains.  He banished John to a remote island.  Why?  Because He had a purpose which required this kind of process.
Joseph was to be the source of rescue for his family years later when a drought ravaged the land.  Paul was chained to a Roman guard so he would settle down and write the letters of the New Testament.  And John was sitting quietly in a cave when the Revelation was given to him.  All of these men had to accept what looked like failure in order to achieve the calling.
“[The call of God] has nothing to do with personal sanctification, but with being made broken bread and poured-out wine.  Yet God can never make us into wine if we object to the fingers He chooses to use to crush us.  We say, ‘If God would only use His own fingers, and make me broken bread and poured-out wine in a special way, then I wouldn’t object!’  But when He uses someone we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, to crush us, then we object.  Yet we must never try to choose the place of our own martyrdom.  If we are ever going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed—you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed.”  ~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.
If you would like to read more from April, click here for the link to her blog.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Strange adjustments & beautiful pictures

WOW! We have had a crazy two weeks here. After a week of missiology training in cultural issues from conflict management to culture shock, etc. taught by missionary teachers from AGTS (Assemblies Of God Theological Seminary), to moving back into our Spanish language studies after a week of only English. 

We were way out of practice and our teachers made sure we worked double-time this week for the week we lost, along with a Spanish chapel service dedicated to teaching us cultural nuances that nobody tells you.

We live in a crazy mixed-up world where everything is backwards and upside down, like my daughters are here.

But it doesn't mean that the people here are crazy or mixed-up or backwards and upside down, but I definitely feel that I am all of the above. 

For example, if you meet someone on the street and are going to greet them and keep going, then you don't say, "Hola." You say "Adios." If you say "Hola" to them, they think that you are going to stop because it is an introductory greeting that implies you are going to have a conversation with them. But "Adios" means you are greeting them and going on your way.

Who knew? I surely didn't and I have made numerous greeting faux pas since our arrival. Oops!

We are also considered "loud Americans." I didn't realize how loud I was until people around me kept looking at me while I was having a conversation with my English-speaking friends and even they were shushing me. Oops! Apparently, I am louder than your average "loud" American. ;D (I know there are many out there agreeing with me about my being overly loud!)

There is also a thing called "taxi etiquette." If you are a male and alone, then you sit in the front with the driver. If you are female and alone, then you sit in the back. If you are with your spouse, you can both sit in the back together, but don't slam the door, because that would be rude.

Oh, and you wear shoes in the house here, and you definitely don't answer your door barefooted! That would be very disrespectful.

These are just a few of the odd and different things we are learning.

But what makes me feel so different is that I don't "yet" understand the language and it makes me feel a little ill at ease when I can't communicate with anyone around me. 

Trust me, I am using all of my non-verbals, but they don't work for everything.

It is coming and I have a little victory party in my head and heart when I understand or "get it" in class. I know my classmates probably think I am crazy, but I really don't care, because these minor victories are the the very things that will lead to the major ones as we learn "poco a poco" or "little by little" as our Maestra Mecbel says.

So I will close with some of the beautiful things we see each day in our little area of the world.

These are the decorative bananas that you don't eat that are beside the stairs to our house.
A big brown bird seems to be the only thing eating them.

Coffee beans that haven't quite ripened
and these below which are just beginning to ripen.

These flowered blooms are on trees and bushes right outside of CINCEL.

This bird was in the community park where the kids play outside of CINCEL.

Finally, I have to leave you with pictures of some of our favorite made from scratch foods, like pico de gallo, guacamole, and fried plantains (with sugar & vanilla).

Let me just tell you, cooking everything from scratch is not always fun, especially when you are used to boxed cake mixes and other such easy recipes. But it definitely gets complicated when your oven doesn't list 350* or 400*, but instead lists 266* or 482*.

Finally, these days of waking at 5am will take their toll on you, as you can see Merci gave in and made her own little bed right at the table during our Spanish study group.

Today marks our one month arrival in Costa Rica! We are adjusting well and loving this new adventure even though we are tired and worn out at the end of each week. 

Boy do we look forward to the weekends and exploring more of this beautiful place.

Happy Friday to you all!