Sunday, November 23, 2008

In Process!

The words, "In Process," have never sounded so sweet. After our appointment at Immigration on Tuesday, plus a little more work from our lawyer, Juan Edgar, later in the week, to re-authenticate our paperwork and re-submit it (part of the normal procedure--actually we would have had to go back in Feb. for an appointment to re-authenticate if he hadn't done it himself!), we are OFFICIAL!! We will not have our cedulas (like a soc. security card/number) until our paperwork receives final approval, which could take anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years. . .but until then we are free to stay in the country and have residency rights--or at least some; we'll keep you updated. The biggest thing is that we don't have to leave every 3 months on a tourist visa. This will obviously save us lots of time and money!

A few impressions of our experience with La Migración. :) First of all, let me say that I'm sure the immigration office does have a system of organization. It has to. However, I cannot say how it was organized. We basically went into this huge partially-partitioned room with desks lining 2 walls and crowds of people sitting on chairs. Some of the desks had signs above them indicating who could be helped where, but not all. The section we went to (with Juan Edgar) was for lawyers with appointments only. This was the only section that had plexiglass in front of the desks (not sure why). Anyway, it made it a little hard to communicate with the lady behind it, and of course everyone's meeting was public. We waited for about an hour (not too bad, actually) for our appointment. Then J.E. and the Licensiada behind the glass exchanged, stamped, signed and organized all the papers. A couple of times Jeff had to run outside for some timbres, which are stamps that the lawyers stick on your paperwork to make it official (it shows you've paid the right amount, among other things.) The best part about the timbres was the place Jeff bought them. It was a little portable booth outside the gate of the Immigration campus with a hand-painted sign. Besides the timbres, they also sell snacks, drinks and cigarettes! Nothing like government, is there?!

Thank you for praying with us through all of this! Please pray now that nothing will get in the way of our final approval and that it will happen quickly. We also need to figure out the best way to advise our team, as well as future staff, about residency/visas, etc. So much fun. Pray that we would be able to learn the system quickly and be wise in all of this!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Costa Rica has recently changed its residency laws. How does that affect us? Good question! We would like to know as well. We are in the process of applying for temporary residency. Residency would make life easier for us. It would allow us to have cell phones (you are not able to get a cell phone unless you are a resident), make other logistics easier, and would allow us to stay in the country for longer periods of time. Without residency our option is to stay on a tourist visa. Tourist visas are good for 3 months. So each 3 months we would need to leave Costa Rica for 72 hours and then re-enter on another tourist visa. This would not be the end of the world, but would be inconvenient and an unexpected expense. However, we hear Nicaragua and Panama are good places to spend a long weekend :).

We have an appointment with immigration on Tuesday, November 18 at 10am. Please be praying for this appointment. Pray that we would have favor in the eyes of the immigration officials and that our paperwork would be approved. Pray for a clear understanding of the immigration laws and their impact on us and the rest of our team. Pray that God would give us and our lawyer, Juan Edgar, wisdom and the right words to say on Tuesday.

Strategic Planning

strategic |strəˈtējik|
relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them : the company should take strategic actions to cope with fundamental changes in the environment | strategic planning for the organization is the responsibility of top management.
• carefully designed or planned to serve a particular purpose or advantage : alarms are positioned at strategic points around the prison.
(New Oxford Dictionary)

I am sitting at the airport in Dallas Texas on my way to Strategic Planning meetings for Students International. These meetings are significant as we are in the process of developing a strategic plan to continue to carry out the God given mission and vision of Students International over the next several years. Of course these plans will need to be adapted along the way, but this weekend could go a long way towards determing direction for SI in the next few years. Please be praying for these meetings. Pray that we would follow God's agenda and hear His voice. We only want to do what God is calling us to do. No less, no more.

Please also be praying for Tracey, Olivia, and Sawyer while I am away. Pray that this weekend would be an "easy" weekend for them. Both Olivia and Sawyer have been sick at different times this past week, so please pray for health as well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Oasis de Esperanza

I looked over at the clock Sunday morning as the alarm was going off. 5:32! I had overslept! I leapt (okay more of a groggy roll) out of bed and woke Tracey up. We needed to leave in an hour for church. An hour later we walked out the door, found a taxi to one of Tracey's teacher's houses to go to church with her and her family. We walked into church as the worship team was singing the first song just after 7 a.m.

Tracey's teacher, Anna, invited us to go to church with her and her family. They attend the largest church in Costa Rica (Their website says that 10,000 people attend their services). It feels like you are walking into any large church anywhere in the States, except for the language. The church is called Oasis de Esperanza (Oasis of Hope). We enjoyed a powerful time of praise and worship and were encouraged and challenged by a sermon about walking in the Spirit. Olivia and Sawyer enjoyed their classes as well.

Following church we went to Ana's house and enjoyed breakfast and visiting with Ana, her husband Federico, their daughter Gloriana, and their son Federico Jr., who is the same age as Olivia and in her per-school class during the week. We have spent a lot of time praying for various things in preparation of moving and since we have been here. A couple of things that I have overlooked a bit in prayer have been that we would find a church home and for Tico friends. Sunday was a great day of fellowship that we greatly enjoyed as well as a great time of worshiping our King. Please join us in praying for both a church home and Tico friends.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


We have now been back in classes for a week--hard to believe! Our time in MN was a bit of a whirlwind, but we are SO glad that we went. Amid the many blessings were seeing many family members, "Thanksgiving" dinner, and going to Target and Costco (where prices never seemed so reasonable!) The biggest blessing was that we were able to spend a couple of days with my Grandparents at their farm, which was the main purpose in going. Grandma had many good moments, for which we are thankful. Since we left, however, she has been having some hard days--please pray for her. She is not afraid of death, but of pain. Pray for Grandpa, too, as this is, obviously, extremely difficult for him. Also, my Aunt Bonnie is staying up there as a caretaker for the next couple of months and could use prayer as well!

Many have asked if it is hard to be here knowing that Grandma's days are numbered. Of course I say that, yes, it is. (I don't think CA would feel as far away in this situation.) There have been many moments in this past year or so when I have grieved things like this--or the idea of them. When we were at MTI almost a year ago we were encouraged to think about loss and to start grieving all the losses involved with moving to a faraway land. Everything from loss of conveniences, familiar systems of doing things, freedoms (for me, as a woman), proximity to those we love, etc. Our hearts have ached with friends in similar situations, some that live in places much farther away than we do, with more social or religious limitations, higher costs of travel, less access to internet and phone service--they are missing out on births of babies, the lives their friends continue to live back 'home,' funerals for loved ones, birthdays, weddings, etc. These are definitely the hardest things to sacrifice.

So, pray for Grandma and the family, and pray for us, too. Pray that God would provide a community here in Costa Rica--a community that we can call family--and thank him that our team is part of that!! I'll also put in a plug for anyone else you may know living far from home for whatever reason, that God would make up for their losses and the things they sacrifice.

We are so thankful for our families, our heritage. Thank you, Grandma, for the influence you have had on my life, for your prayers, for your faith in, and faithfulness to, God for so many years. Thank you for being someone whose life is worth imitating! And thanks for letting us visit you last week. We know it may have been the last time in this earthly setting, but we know we WILL see you again someday!!