Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Yesterday Lynn, Jana and I went to the border to shop for uniforms for several children in the school in Caña Blanca. They have just begun attending this year, and do not have the finances to buy all that they need. We used funds offered by Riverside Ladies’ class, and other funds left by First Day to buy 14 shirts, 8 pair of pants, 8 skirts, and socks (3 pair of socks per child) for all 8 children. It was Jana’s first time in Costa Rica, so it was exciting, but also tiring. It is just too hot down there!
Today, after feeding the animals and ourselves, we began the day by going to the tienda (tiny store) for snacks to take to the children after English class (in Caña Blanca). The trip out was uneventful, but upon arriving, we are always thrilled to spend time with the little ones. Carla, one of the smallest in the class (3 years old) could teach the class on colors! She shouted out each color correctly without a bit of help! During the class time two parents came to speak with me. They have begun a Parent Association and want to include our input in their meetings. We are honored and excited that the school is moving forward after several years of neglect and decay (both physical and academic). We will meet next week with the Territory political leaders and ask for funding for solar power so that the children might have lights to read by. They have other plans as well, and will meet regularly to discuss and work toward improving the school.
Okay, beyond that meeting, which left me giddy with the possibilities of help for these needy children, we found that there were 4 new children in the school. Ranging from 4 to 12, none had ever been in school before yesterday. None can read or write, or color inside the lines, or any other thing we take for granted for our children.
So, there are now 14 children in the school! Last year the school was closed completely at the end of the year, and now the children are pouring in. Our interest (with GREAT help from First Day) has caused others to take interest, and the teacher, who rarely came to classes last year has been told that she will not miss class one more time without prior consent, or she will be replaced!!!! This is tremendous news for all who love those children! So, now that the teacher will be present, the parents are sending their youngsters for an education. It is wonderful to see!
During the class we were asked if we could go pick up a woman who was having a baby and take her into Volcán when we left. So, we carried 9 children (some with new uniforms and shoes)-and one family's dog - about 1½ miles down the road on our way to pick up the lady – who turned out to have a newborn less than 2 days old – and absolutely precious – in her arms. Jana and I shared carrying the baby all the way into town. We dropped off the 9 children and traded for mother and child then went back to the school and picked up 5 more kiddos to carry closer to their home, which was toward Volcán. All five of these were part of the group for which we had bought uniforms. They walk over 2 miles one way to attend classes, and until this week, were doing it barefooted with whatever clothing they could find. Now all five will be dressed like normal school children for the first time in their lives.
I have to tell you about Adelaida. She is 12 years old and had never worn shoes before the tennis shoes First Day brought her last week. She was wearing them today. I asked how they felt. She said “very well”. I asked if she was comfortable she said,”yes, they feel good.” I said, “I am glad. I was afraid they would be too tight”. She said,”Yes, they are tight.” I asked, “Very tight?” She said yes. I said,”Like, so tight you have blisters?” She nodded, smiling brightly. I asked again,” Do you have blisters?” She nodded and said “Yes, I have blisters” but she was beaming. I thought surely she did not understand the question, but she pulled off one shoe and showed me at least 2 huge blisters. I asked of the hurt and she said, “No, not too much because my brother gave me some socks!” She said “The shoes are really pretty, aren’t they?” What could I say? They were absolutely beautiful beneath that wonderful smiling face! Thanks again, Kelly, First Day, and Riverside Ladies’ Class! I know you will be blessed!
An eventful day in the ministry here.
We feel more and more that God is opening doors to share His love in better ways. Last week a man came by the house and asked if we could possibly find a ride for his family to church on Sundays. Come to find out he is the father of two of the children that we bought clothing for this week. It would mean leaving here at 7:00 am to get them to church on time, as they live about 1 ½ - 2 hours from here, and the church is on the other side of us. And we will have to put a rack and seats in the back of the truck, as nothing but a 4 wheel drive can go to their house, but, God always provides a way to do His will, so I know that He will figure it all out and bless it to His glory!
Just thought we would share what is going on in our neck of the woods!!
We love you all!
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Wow! What a blessed couple of weeks! On June 5th dear family from Riverside came to work with the El Valle Elementary School. We had a few extra folks from the church here who helped out, along with Marta and Kirvyn our dear friends and translators. Everything went great!
~We discovered hidden talents in Ana, from the church in David – she was an awesome puppet! Ana Samaniego is Katy’s mom, and a dear friend and sister as well.
~I knew Erica Dexter/Peck was great with kids, and she proved to be a really good translator as well. Erica is a long-time friend from Harding days, a neighbor, and part of the church here in Volcan.
~Jana, our long-time friend from Yellville added (and still is adding) a spirit of joy and sweetness that are her special gifts. She will be staying with us through the last team’s work which begins July 5th.
~ Meredith was an added blessing! Meredith Woodell came from Searcy to help out, and she did that very well! She just graduated from high school, with 4 years of Spanish under her belt. She and Yari became great friends, as the each practiced their new language skills, music, swimming, and free time together. A great breath of youthful energy was just what this gang needed to be complete!
~Extra special for me was to have Holly, Lisa, Harry, Roger, Gwynna & Curtis from ‘Riverside Stateside’ here with us for the week, sharing, laughing (snoring) and encouraging. We have been renewed by their spirit and love through Christ. Thanks so much for coming down! If there is one thing I have learned, it is how much we need the encouragement of those of you who love and support us. Without you, the work becomes so difficult at times, and I thank God daily for His use of you all to give us courage and strength.
Along with our personal blessings, the children of El Valle were shown what God’s love looks like in person. They learned more about His desires for each of us, and were entertained, hugged, and played with throughout the week. Curtis was amazing – though he never got the hang of the pong type game the boys tried so hard to teach him. He still got out there every day trying! The kids loved it! Even though I think he cost them all quite a few of their playing discs! We look forward to next year when Kathy, Curtis’ wife can join us, and we continue to pray for her and loss of her mother.
So, two days after they left, we had the house prepared for my favorite singing group in the world to stay two nights with us!!! First Day arrived Sunday, June 13th in time to grab a bite and perform a free concert at our local Lion’s Club. They did an awesome job, complete with translated words projected onto the wall so that all could understand the message they came to share. They even sang one song in Spanish – and the whole crowd was super appreciative. Me too! I listen regularly to their CDs, and am blessed and encouraged by them, but seeing their faces while they sing, and being face to face was very moving for me, and very much appreciated! You guys are the best!
On Monday the whole gang – Tim, Matt (and his fantastic wife Carolyn), Bruce, Gary, Kyle, Jeff, along with our ever-faithful translator, Kirvyn, Larry Brady, Medic Baudilio & wife, Erica, plus our entire household, headed out to Caña Blanca Arriba for a day of medical assistance. This was financed almost entirely by donations given to First Day toward that purpose. The dear folks of this small village were offered check-ups, medicines (including the much needed parasite medicine), reading glasses, vitamins, and bags of food staples like rice, beans, salt, sugar and oil. We saw between 80 and 100 people with a huge majority being children.
Along with this effort, Kelly Martin sent new shoes for each school child after hearing that many were coming to school without any footwear. Now every student has a sharp looking pare of tennis shoes! Thanks Kelly!
First Day’s tour of Panama is being assisted by Larry Brady of Panama Missions. While we have known of, and met Larry before, this was our first opportunity to work with him and his organization, and we look forward to doing that more often! You can check out their work at www.panamamissions.org. This group generally works in the Darien Province, but Larry is travelling with First Day throughout this week of concerts and other projects.
First Day rolled out of here early Tuesday morning. They were a hoot the whole brief visit. They were also a huge blessing to our household, and our community. Thanks guys!!!
Okay, there is so much more I could tell you, but this is already long, and yes, I am happily exhausted. My back is nudging me toward my zero gravity chair, and so I will close by saying “Thank You, Lord! We are truly blessed!”
May God grant each of you His Peace and
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
The guys from Harding Center for Advanced Ministry Training just left. What a great group of young (and some older) men! They spent the past week constructing a basketball court for the small school in Las Perlas. The Oxford Church of Christ youth group donated the funding last winter, and the Harding guys came down and did the manual labor.
There are 147 children in Las Perlas elementary school; mostly indigenous, all needy in so many ways, and all very grateful for our attention and love.
It was a difficult task, as the school is located in a field of lava rocks, and they only had a week to complete the project, but thanks to God for holding off the rains, and for youthful muscles and stamina, those children are now playing on a concrete floor with a real goal, rim and net!
The Harding gang was our first group of the ‘summer’. Now we are busy preparing for group 2 – Our ever-faithful family from Riverside. They will arrive this coming Sunday morning around 6 am, and we are super excited to see them all!
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Yamileth has been patiently waiting for her 12th birthday. Not in the way most children do; there were no presents or cake and ice cream. No parties or new clothes, but there was one great gift she received. She was baptized into Christ. Talk about a new wardrobe! She has asked to be baptized for over a year now, but her parents said she must be 12 years old before they would allow it. She turned 12 on Monday and asked us to take her to the river on Tuesday. We were happy to oblige!
Lynn was the baptizer and I was the translator as we helped this young, dear friend offer God her life in obedience to His command. What pure joy!
The life of this young lady is difficult – 9 sisters and brothers, a father who often drinks away his meager paycheck before the family is fed, an Indian in a place where Indians are seen as lower class, and unworthy of even a greeting. The road is and will be difficult for her, and now, praise God! She has a helper with her in every moment! Please say a prayer when you think of it for Yamileth, our sister in Christ.