Tuesday, November 06, 2012

2 Car Family

Skipping over my excuses for not blogging since July (GASP!!), I'm grateful to announce that we Dixons have added a van to our family!  We had long prayed and looked for a second vehicle for our family and ministry and had decided on getting a Hyundai Starex.  Our plan was to look for one seriously after our trip to the states in September.  (By the way, we were in the states in September. . .)  However, while there we received a mass email about one that was for sale.  Long story short: we bought it not long after our return to Costa Rica.  It's a 2001, 12 passenger, was owned by missionaries previously, and was a good price.  It fits in our garage with the Galloper (barely) and even has AC.  Yes, we are feeling spoiled.  There were a few minor things that needed maintenance, but overall it was in good shape.  (It did have a head gasket that went bad on the way back from a beach trip with our staff. . .but, all things considered, it could have been a lot worse, and that's another story.)  We are so thankful for a second vehicle; it will make life less complicated with our kids' schedules/pick-ups/activities, and also help out with transportation when we host groups and other visitors.  Plus, since car maintenance is a regular part of life here, we are hoping our cars will take turns at the mechanic and that we'll always have at least one running!  ; )

A special thank you to those who donated specifically towards us buying a vehicle.  We hope you'll come for a ride sometime!!              


Eye Surgery: Bleh

It seems my extreme near-sightedness is catching up with me.  In August, I finally went to the eye-doctor, which I hadn't done in the 4 years we've lived here (Big mistake.).  I found out that I have 2 thinning spots on my left retina that need to be lasered to my eye to prevent the retina from ripping.  Yikes.  Thankfully, I haven't really had symptoms of any problems, but I always hoped that eye surgery would mean correcting my prescription.  Apparently, I have to take care of this first.  So, Monday, if our insurance gives us pre-authorization to cover the costs, I will go in and have my retina secured.  Please pray for 2 things: insurance coverage and that the surgery and recovery will go smoothly, without complication.  Thank you so much!  I'll keep ya posted. . .   ---Tracey

Saturday, July 28, 2012


This year in SI, we are studying the book of James, which is one of my favorites!  Both Jeff and I have had the privilege of leading different days of the study with our short-term teams this summer, and it has been great to see the wheels turning as the Holy Spirit works in each of our hearts.

While there are MANY wonderful themes that James writes about (poverty and wealth, faith and deeds, taming the tongue, trials, etc.), one that keeps popping out to me is WISDOM.  In James 1 it says that God gives wisdom "generously to all without finding fault."  In the New Living it says to ask for wisdom "expecting an answer," and I love that because I seem to need a lot of wisdom.  I need wisdom in parenting, in marriage, in friendships, in cross-cultural interactions, in teaching, etc. etc.

As I've reflected on wisdom, a couple of questions have come to my mind.  One is: What IS wisdom?  How do I recognize wisdom?  And the other is: Why does God love to give wisdom so much?  I can't say that I have discovered all the answers to these questions, but I have found a few.

First of all, I was delighted to discover in James 3:17 a list of wisdom's characteristics.  "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."  Naturally, I had to ask myself, "How often do I evaluate my moment-by-moment decisions based on these things. . .?"  Not.often.enough.  The opposite of these things are impure, conflictive, inconsiderate, rebellious/non-yielding, judging, bad fruit, showing favoritism (prejudice, unfair), insincere.  These are the "world's wisdom," and I can recognize these things in the motivations of many decisions I've made.  But, I am inspired to use the positive characteristics as a filter for future decisions.

The other question that occurred to me about why God likes to give out wisdom doesn't have a specific verse attached to it, but more something that he's been showing me over time:  He wants me to be dependent on him.  Correction: I AM dependent on him and it's silly to ever think I'm not.  The Bible talks about God opposing the proud, but lifting the humble.  When I think I don't need wisdom because I already know everything, I am being prideful. . . and foolish.  When I admit that I have a need for wisdom (or anything else!), I am telling the truth about the way things are; I am not self-sufficient, I have not arrived, and I need God in my life.  He loves that!  

In our bible studies with the groups, we reflected on the fact that we come from a culture of independence and self-sufficiency and how contrary those things are to our dependence on God.  In fact, if we believe our culture's message about those things, it could make it difficult to ever realize that we need God for anything.  My tendency is to look out for, and depend on "Number 1."  But, I have seen men, women and children with nowhere to turn except God because of their desperate circumstances, and have recognized in them a richness of faith that I may never know.  While I am praying that my child will please eat her fruits and veggies, another mom I know is praying that her child will have the option to eat at all today.  Rather sobering.

So, Lord, give me WISDOM from heaven, please!  Show me how to live, how to depend on you, how to hear you when you speak, and how to recognize your voice!  Help me to filter my choices, words, and interactions with peace, mercy, consideration, and sincerity.  Please, because on my own I am nothing.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Online Giving!

Students International now offers onling giving.  So if you would like to give toward our support simply click here!  (Or past this link in the address bar of your browser: https://www.stint.com/donate.php?id=s45)

Spring Newsletter

This past season has been a bit hectic and our blog neglected.  Here is a link to our latest newsletter:
Spring 2012 Newsletter.  If that doesn't open just paste this in your browser: http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=07e585fce0a834383b0c55622&id=fe2e660286

There has been much more going on than we could possibly cram into a newsletter, so we will try to blog soon with more of an update.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Almost Normal

For the most part yesterday was a normal day. I spent the day doing many normal things such as: running errands, making phone calls, planning an outreach, paying bills, talking with our staff, various logistical tasks, picking Sawyer up after soccer, picking Olivia up from ballet etc. However there was about a half hour of my day that was a bit abnormal and also indicative of the season we currently find ourselves in. Yesterday morning at a little before six I pulled into the bus station with one of our staff members, Maria. Maria has been in Costa Rica for a little under two years. She, along with Cindy, launched a women's social work/micro-business ministry site that has been (and continues to be) tremendous. Maria is Nicaraguan and came with the idea of learning more about Students International and ministry in Costa Rica and then one day returning to help Students International get started in Nicaragua. The "one day" turned out to be yesterday. So yesterday morning at about six we said, "Hasta Luego" in the TransNica bus terminal and she returned to Nicaragua. Maria thank you for all your hard work and friendship. You will be missed.

Maria hanging out with Olivia and Sawyer

I then got in the car to drive to the airport to pick up Tara Frantz, a new staff member who arrived yesterday. There is nothing abnormal about picking up someone at the airport, but it is not often I get to pick up a new staff member. Tara was hired last August with the hopes that all the fundraising and training could be completed and that she could arrive sometime this spring. Well that sometime was yesterday! Tara will be working on fine-tuning her Spanish over the next couple of months and then will be working at the tutoring center in Los Guido. Yesterday morning at a little after six I said, "Welcome to Costa Rica." Tara, welcome to Costa Rica and to our staff family! We are excited you are here!

Tara Working at the Tutoring Center during an outreach last year.

As you may have guessed we have some transition going on among our staff. Part of it is due to most of the North Americans arriving at almost the same time a few years ago, and thus the initial commitments to be here are coming to an end at about the same time. Part of it is due to growth (We hired José and Jehudi last fall as new national staff members. They are incredible additions!) and some appears to be the reality of life and ministry. Throughout the course of this year we will have at least one other staff member who will be leaving, there are two ladies currently raising support who we hope will be here in the next several months, there are three North Americans who will be coming to interview in the next month or so, and we would like to hire another national staff member or two.

Part of our role here is to care for our staff family and to foster a healthy, unified community to carry out what we have been called to do. After all Jesus' missional strategy was for people to know him because of our love for each other (John 13:34). Will you please pray for us and our staff family through this season of transition. As people come and go it affects what goes on at the ministry sites and it affects the dynamics among our staff family. Please pray that we will be able to love people well as they come and go and that God will continue to form just the team and family that he desires for Students International Costa Rica. Pray that through us and the other ministries and churches here that God's kingdom would continue to invade Costa Rica.

-- Jeff

Sunday, March 04, 2012

After almost 4 months of silence, this is how I re-enter the blogging world. . .

So, yes, it's been, ahem, a while since our last blog post. And, while I have a multitude of things to catch up on here (like our trip to the States, the beginning of the first SI-CR semester program, the men's trip, the kids starting school, the Girl's Club that I have inherited, changes that are, or will be, taking place, etc. etc. etc.) I choose to offer this simple slice of our Sunday afternoon at home: the kids playing "outside." We may not have a yard, but we have a killer sidewalk for scooters! (Grandmas, please, close your eyes.)

P.S. Sawyer may or may not have suffered a cut and goose egg on his forehead sometime during the last 2 weeks doing this very same thing. . .

Um, so the videos I'm trying to post are having technical difficulties. Aka, I apparently have no idea how to upload them here. Stay tuned!

-- Tracey