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