Romans 11:36

"For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever! Amen."

Jun 29, 2008

Pink names and Jesus

Week 1 Funny moments

I’m declaring it right now: by no means do I guarantee that you will be amused by reading about my funny moments. They are and/or were humorous to me at one point in time, and I simply want to share them with you. I hope you enjoy.

(1) Dreaming in Pink

So the first 5 nights of my stay in Costa Rica were spent in Ray’s oldest daughter’s bedroom. She’s 8. “My” bedroom consisted of a white dresser that was home to 40 variations of princesses--ceramic, plastic, tile, you name it. “My” white nightstand was home to a Disney princess jewelry/music box. “My” bed was covered in an all-pink comforter with an all-pink decorative pillow and a Disney princess pillow case (Snow White on one side, Cinderella on the other). And, above “my” bed was “my” pink, flowing, princess curtain/drape/net thing embroidered with stars. It was under the protection of that pink, flowing thing that I often sat up in bed to read or send emails. I hope the visual imagery tickles your senses.

(2) Hey . . . you

In Costa Rica, I have a privilege that doesn’t accompany most royalty: I am known by 4 names. Whether it’s Will, Weel, Weely, or Weelian, I answer to all. The latter three are the Spanish variations of my name, spelled phonetically for all English speakers to enjoy reading the Spanish accent, without having actually heard it. The one they use most often: Weely. Just imagine three young girls (daughters of the orphanage’s host family) sneaking up behind me while I’m working, rapid-firing that name and then taunting me to chase them. And then their mother yelling at me by that name to see if I want coffee while I’m working. I’ve told them that some of my “friends” used to call me Casper. I think they understood right away.

(3) Night of the Living Dead, or Jesus

Driving through the mountains of Costa Rica, I saw a sign for a funeral home. The name of the funeral home: “El Retorno,” or, in English, “The Return.” That’s right, “The Return” Funeral Home. I figured it’s either a demented joke or a beautiful sign of faith. I’ll let y’all decide.

Americans can speak Spanish, sometimes

Week 1 God moment

It’s tough to describe a conversation and communicate the grandeur of God, but it's worth an effort:

Picture this: I’m whitewater rafting in the middle of the Costa Rican rainforest. I’m with one high school graduate from Tennessee, three 20-something year-old women from Mexico, and one whitewater guide from Costa Rica.

The high school grad and I are not the centerpiece of any conversation, as the other four are certain that we don’t really speak Spanish, regardless of our countless attempts to show our proficiency in the language. However, 45 minutes into our trip, I ask the three women if they’re on vacation in Costa Rica. And, out of politeness, they’re forced to ask the question back.

I tried to answer with, “Well, we’re here doing mission work.” Instead, in my can’t-speak-it-too-quickly-or-else-I’ll-mess-up grasp of the Spanish language, I answered with, “We’re here doing missionary work.”

“Oh, are you a missionary?” One of them politely questioned.

“Well, actually, yes.” I stumbled upon that answer, kicking myself for not speaking correctly in the first place.

“How long have you been a missionary?”

I pause, think about how ridiculous I’m about to sound, and respond with, “About one week.”

Everyone in the boat got a good laugh about that one, but then I had them. For some reason, the Spanish-speaking American in the front of the raft became the most interesting aspect of the whitewater rafting tour through roaring rapids and lush rainforest. All four of the true Spanish-speaking boat riders were leaning in as I began to explain my story of why I am in Costa Rica and what kind of work I am doing. But it didn’t stop with me just talking. They started asking.

“What church are you with?”
“What have you been doing this past week?”
“Have you been a missionary anywhere else?”
“Why didn’t you stick with accounting?”

The questions just kept on coming, and we had a great conversation. In the end, I said that there was a lot of work to be done here in Costa Rica, and that it will be hard to accomplish. So one of them replied, “Yeah, but that’s why you have the power of the Spirit.”

I was blown away. After 45 minutes of near silence on our raft, God appeared in the conversation. And, the worst, or best, part about it was that I had to stumble into his presence, because I didn’t have the fortitude to directly tell the rafters that I am a missionary (partly because I’m still coming to grips with that fact myself).

I got off that raft with a smile as wide as the country of Costa Rica itself. I was beaming that I was able to share my story, and the story of the mission team I was with. And this is just week 1.

God provided me with the perfect opportunity to share his heart for the Costa Rican people, and to share his undeniable truth. I now wait in anticipation to see how many marvelous and spontaneous God moments await me in Costa Rica.

Jun 19, 2008

Why a blog?

On June 21st, I will begin a year of mission work in San Jose, Costa Rica, and I received many requests to keep my loved ones informed of my happenings. So, in addition to writing monthly or semi-monthly email updates, I will blog.

There will be 3 purposes for my blog:

To update everyone on funny moments during my time in Costa Rica,

To update everyone on the God moments* during my time in Costa Rica, and

To share pictures of Costa Rica!

*I know that we actually have God moments 24/7, because He’s always with us, but I find that many times I don’t recognize God’s hand at work, so this is my attempt to see Him in all things