Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Reflection

Christmas was a bit different for us this year. Obviously! It was the first Christmas where I could look out my front door and see palm trees. It was also my first Christmas since I left home for college 12 1/2 years ago that did not involve some sort of travel to see family. It felt strange not to be packing up to go some where. It was also the first Christmas in which I did virtually no Christmas shopping. When we were in MN seeing Tracey's grandma we purchased the kid's Christmas presents. For some reason shopping in October does not seem like Christmas shopping. Yet while we were thousands of miles away from most of our friends and family Christmas was still special. We had a great time both Christmas Eve and Christmas with our good friends and teammates the Janzens. We had a fun celebration with just the four of us Christmas morning and enjoyed visiting with family via the phone (We love our Magic Jack!).

I think what makes Christmas so special is stopping to reflect on the fact that we are celebrating Jesus moving into our neighborhood as Eugene Peterson translates John 1 in The Message. When I stop to reflect on the God of the universe choosing to move into our stinky, smelly neighborhood it is pretty overwhelming. It makes our moving to Costa Rica no big deal. We moved across a border, Jesus moved across the universe! He moved so that we might have abundant life and so that we would be able to have a close, intimate relationship with him. It is amazing that God would pursue you and I so intently.

So while Christmas is different this year it is no less special. We have enjoyed and continue to enjoy the celebrations here in San José (I can hear fireworks going off as I type). There will be celebrations through the 4th or 5th of January here. What makes Christmas special is remembering that God reached out to you and me in the form of a baby. Unfortunately it takes a holiday to remind us of this. May we live every day of the new year remembering what God did for us and allowing that to drive how we live. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"I do it myself"

From December 2008

From December 2008

At first glance these photos are pictures of a two-year old sitting at a messy desk. However, the other day when I was in the shower I heard podcasts begin to play on the computer. I thought, "Tracey must have gotten up with the kids." When I got out of the shower I discovered Tracey and Olivia still sound asleep and Sawyer at the computer. When he heard me coming he turned around and said, "I do it myself!" He had grabbed the remote for our iMac and found the "Blue's Clues" podcasts and was watching one after another. Not bad for a two-year old. If you are reading this and wondering what a podcast is just ask Sawyer, he would be happy to explain it to you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Exciting Times!!

We are super-excited to announce that we have signed papers to rent a HOUSE in Desamparados!!!! We actually have the keys and will start moving stuff in during the next couple of weeks! It is a beautiful house that we consider a blessing straight from heaven! It has plenty of space for guests, a big garage, even an ample office/potential-future-semester-program-classroom space! The only thing it lacks is a yard, but there is still plenty of room for the kids to play--actually it'll be a killer hide-n-seek house! The location is perfect, the rent is great--the Lord has provided. Thank you for praying with us in this!

We will also be getting a vehicle on Thursday, assuming everything goes as planned. We are buying a 1995 Hyundai Galloper in great condition, with very few miles on it. It's diesel and manual (cheaper to run and insure), and holds up to 7 passengers. So, we can haul around people that might want to visit us. . .hint, hint! We've negotiated a good price, and we are praying that this car lasts a very, very long time! I'm also praying for the courage and ability to drive stick again. . .in San José!

One other bit of exciting news is that Jeff and I have finished ("graduated from") language school! We will very likely find a tutor to work with us on polishing our Spanish in the future, but for now we're done. And it feels good.

Here's a picture of us at graduation.

From December 2008

We'll get pictures up of the house and car soon. Thanks again for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Programs

Here are some videos from the kids' school Christmas programs. Sawyer's is on top and Olivia's is on the bottom. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Thank you to everyone who has been praying for my grandma, and for our family. Grandma Rosell went to be with Jesus yesterday a little before 4p.m. It was a peaceful passing, with Grandpa, my mom and all her siblings surrounding her bedside. You can read about it at

I've said before that it is hard to be in Costa Rica knowing that all of this is going on 'back home.' Even more so at this point. We have been praying that God would be merciful and end Grandma's suffering. He has, even if not in the way we initially hoped. She is now completely healed and worshiping Jesus, and we are so happy for her. However, those of us who are left behind are suffering because of her absence, especially Grandpa. Please pray for him. Almost 60 years of marriage is a long, blessed time. Pray that God would wrap his arms around Grandpa in a very close and special way during this next season. Grandma was an amazing lady, whose influence has been felt far and wide. We pray that her legacy of obedience to and love for Jesus touch many, many generations to come! We are thankful that her suffering is over, and that we have the hope of being reunited with her again. But, we will all grieve as well. It will be a hard Christmas, among many other hard things.

God, help us; we were not meant for this.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

December Newsletter +

We recently sent out our latest prayer and update letter, so be watching for it in the mail, complete with Costa Rican stamp! If, however, you'd like a sneak peak, click on this link (bonus: it's the color version). December Newsletter We will also be emailing it to those of you whose home addresses we do not have.

A couple of quick things:

*I forgot to mention our health in the newsletter. Our immune systems seem to be fighting every new germ they meet, and we have been sick a lot here. PLEASE pray for health!

*We are scurrying to find a vehicle and a new home! We've seen a few of each. . .so far nothing has panned out. PLEASE PRAY that God will provide 'just the right' of each. We need a car that will fit our family, be versatile for guests, reliable, good price (HA!), etc., etc.. And we need a house that is close to our ministry area, that fits our family and possibly holds space for an SI office, is in a safe and convenient area, and has a yard (is that too much to ask??? I'm asking anyway!!) Also, the quicker the better. . .Olivia keeps asking about a Christmas tree. . . Please pray as the Lord leads you for these things! Thank you so much!

Thursday, December 04, 2008


We had a great thanksgiving celebration with our teammates. Of course we went to school in the morning and then celebrated in the afternoon. We looked for the traditional turkey, but the best we found was a 15lb bird for about $40. So we decided to pass and Erin Janzen roasted two lovely chickens instead. Following dinner the kids all made pilgrim hats out of cookies and peanut butter cups. Below is a slide show of our Thanksgiving festivities: