Friday, December 18, 2015

A week in the States....

I have been home for a week now.

I would like to tell you that I feel different being back, but honestly I don't. I think that will hit me when January comes and I realize that I am not going back to Costa Rica. So far I have spent some good time with my family, seen some friends and slept a lot.

I have been encouraged a lot by family and friends. They have encouraged me to have grace with myself as I enter this season of transition. Which is something that I struggle with, giving myself grace. I am not sure why, but I have always been hard on myself. So moving back here, I gave myself a time line of how long it is going to take me to re adapt to life in the states. But lets be real, nobody really knows how long it will take me to feel like myself again. But the beauty about it, is that I don't have to do it alone and honestly, I don't want to. I want to allow people into this journey of transition with me. I want people to stop and ask me how I am really doing, what are my prayer request, what am I feeling and so forth. I want to be able to share my thoughts and feelings even when I don't really know that they are. But most of all I want to be able to share how God used me in Costa Rica and how living there has changed my life.

This last week....
- I have had to give myself pep talks (Okay Rose, you can do this) when shopping for grocery or Christmas gifts. Just feeling a bit overwhelmed by people and commercialism. 
- I have gotten lost in Fresno. New streets, new places that have been built since I have been gone, and not having a phone to help navigate these changes.
- I gotten to drive my car! That is a huge blessing because for over a year I didn't have a car in Costa Rica.

Something to keep in mind. 
-Please be patient with me. I am still processing everything and living in transition chaos right now. There are moments that I feel overwhelmed with people and questions that I don't have answers to.
-I want to share my experience with you but only if you ask. So if you want to know, ask and I would love to share.

Common questions: 
How do you feel being back? Right now I am excited to be back. But ask me on day 30 and it might be a different answer.
Do you know what you are going to do now? Honestly, no. I am not sure what I am going to do for work. I am just trying to adapt to being back in Fresno with family and friends. And when the timing is right, I will start praying and looking for a job.
Did you bring a lot of stuff back with you?  Well I had 4 bags that had some kitchen stuff, paintings, office supplies, some clothes (I donated a lot since the majority of them were summer clothes) and decorations for the house.
Where are you living at? Currently I am living with my parents. Next month, I will be moving into a house with 2 awesome gals!

How can you help??
- Please be pray for me during this season. That I would take the time to truly process everything and give myself the time to do it.
- You can make a one time donation to help with the relocation cost. You can do so here on the SI website.

Merry Christmas! :)

Friday, December 4, 2015

O N E week left....

I am in the midst of transition.
Transition in life, home, future and so many other things.

I am entering the stage of this journey where it is my last... Friday, Girls Group, weekend, Sunday at church, etc.

Which means that I have started to say goodbye to people and places. I have written notes, given gifts and given my last hugs to friends. I have taken pictures to remember those faces and smiles. And  I know that with each goodbye I give, I give a little piece of my heart. And I know that by the time I leave next week, I will be heartbroken. Not from hurt or pain, but from missing the relationships that I was able to be apart of over the last 2 years.

 I am forever grateful that the Lord brought me here to Costa Rica. As I finish my last week in this beautiful country, I pray that God will continue to flourish the seeds that were planted in the relationships that I was able to pour into.

Prayer Request:
- This next week. That I would be able to finish well and continue to say goodbye to SI staff and host family.
- For my travel back to CA.
- Reentry process back to the US culture, family, friends and everything else.

If you would like to make a one time donation help cover moving expenses, you can do so here at the Students International website. All donations need to be in by Dec 28th. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

One Month From Today....

5 years ago God brought me to Costa Rica for the first time. At the time I didn't realize how important that trip would be and how it was just the beginning of a new adventure. 
WSM 2010
Over 2 years ago, God allowed me to move to Costa Rica and make this country my home. What a beautiful country it is. The people are friendly, there are some gorgeous beaches, volcanoes and waterfalls. Driving here is scary but can be done if you dont mind the regular honking or people stopping in the middle of the road. Public transportation is better then in Fresno and seeing a movie is cheap here. But what makes this place feel like home is the relationships that I have built with host families, co-workers and church friends. That is the thing that I am going to miss the most. 
Los Guidos
Futbol 5
Why do I say "miss the most?" Well in a month (from today), I will be moving back to California.
Yup after many months of praying and seeking the Lord, I have felt Him leading me back to California.  I have such a peace about moving back but I am also sad about leaving a place that I have called home for over 2 years. I have enjoyed my time with SICR and I believe in ministry they are doing here in Costa Rica. I know that God is going to continue to use them in Desamparados to further His Kingdom.

So what will I do in California?
Staff Retreat 2015
I have been asked this question a lot lately by my friends and co-workers in Costa Rica. Honestly, I am not sure yet.  However, I am sure I still want to be a part of missions. Whether financially and prayerfully supporting a missionary, encouraging current missionaries, or walking alongside those who are thinking about moving abroad for missions, I want to be involved.  Please continue to pray for me in the role I will have regarding missions over the next several months.  Also, please be in prayer as I prepare to move back and look for a job. 

How can you Help??
First you can be praying for me for my physical health. I am currently sick (again) with a virus or flu. I am not really sure what I have, but I have been sick for over a week and it is not be getting better.  

Friends from IBC
You can also pray for my transition back to California. That I would finish strong these next 4 weeks, say good good-byes to friends here in Costa Rica and also make time to process the change that I will be entering in the next few months. 
Secondly, there is additional support I need to raise for my transition back to California. This will help cover moving expenses, my flight back to the US, enrolling in a re-entry program, and re-settling costs. The additional donations will also help cover expenses for my first month being back in the States as I begin looking for a job and process this significant transition.  Will you prayerfully consider giving a one time gift to help me transition back? 

I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all of you who have prayed, encouraged, sent letters, sent packages and gave financially to me. I am and will forever be grateful for your kindness and generosity. 


Here is a link to give online to my Students International Account. :) 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Finishing the Marathon....

How are we in August tomorrow??? 

It has been a busy fun couple of months for me. As it is the busiest time of the year for me here in Costa Rica. We have had teams from the states (all over the US) working along side our ministry sites since mid-May and we have 1 week left of team season. It is crazy to think that God has allowed over 130 people to come and work with us here in Costa Rica this summer. And what a blessings those teams have been to us here. I have loved getting the chance to connect with people and share with them how God is using me here. BUT that also means longer hours of work, always being on, and less sleep.  I often refer to this season as my marathon season.

 For 12 weeks I am "on" and pouring into people from the states as well and trying to keep up with my "normal" work. There are some days were I am just trying to keep my head above water. Finding moments of quietness and refueling my spirit. But now, we only have 1 more week left in this race, and I find it easy for me to get caught up on all the things that "need to be done" and not on the team that is here. So my prayer has been Act 20:24.
"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace."

I want to finish this marathon season well. That the last team that comes, will feel just as loved as the first team that came in May. Will you join me in praying for us here in CR as well as our other SI countries? (Nicaragua, Guatemala & DR)

Team Season also means that patient levels are running low and that gives the enemy the right opportunity to create conflict. Knowing this, I have been reminded lately to be mindful of how others are doing and how my attitude is. And it does help that we have been going over Ephesians 4 for the last 2 months in our staff meeting. 

"Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift" 
Ephesians 4:1-7

WOW! Even as I reread this, I am reminded again just how important unity is, not just with my SICR co-workers, but with us as a body of Believers!  Daily I am reminded  "to walk in a manner worthy of the calling" (v 1)  and to "diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace"(v 3). I am reminded that it is an action that I am called to protect the unity, not only with my SI family but with believers. That doesn't mean that I need to avoid conflict, but that I need to make sure that when I address a problem, that I do it with love and grace. This has been such a good reminder for me during this team season. That when I feel tired and my patient level is low, to stop and think about my attitude, my heart and to make sure that I keep the unity that I am called to keep. 


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Happy 2 years!!!

Today is my 2nd year anniversary of living in Costa Rica!  

It is hard to imagine that I have lived here for 2 years now. 
I remember boarding the plane 2 years ago and knowing that my life will forever be changed. 
Knowing that living cross-culturally will have its ups and downs. That I would need to give myself some grace with language, learning the Costa Rican cultural and with people. 
BUT the one thing that hasnt changed through these last 2 years, is God. 

It is confronting in knowing that as my world has changed from location, to friendships and what used to be "normal", God has never changed. His joy, peace, love, comfort, promises are still the same. So on the days when I feel as though I cant do anything right, I find comfort that God is on my side. 

Here are a few snap shots from this last year! 

Oh the fun that I have had being able to pour my gifts and talents to my work, church and friends.

I am excited for what this next season will bring. Excited for the teams that are coming these next 2 months, to be able to pour into them and see them leave changed. 
I am excited to go back to Cali for 10 days to spend time with family and friends. 
Excited for the fall for a slower pace of life.

No matter what, I couldnt be here without the support of friends, family and church supporting me financially and through prayers! 

 to all who pray for me on a regularly basis, and those who have given/giving financially, to allow me to be here! 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

It's not always rainbows and butterflies....

It's been awhile since my last blog post.

I just really haven't wanted to write about what is going on here. I dont know about other missionaries, but I feel the pressure of always having to write about all the "good things" that I am doing here. But honesty, being a missionary in a different country is not always rainbows and butterflies. Dont get me wrong, there are plenty of good thing that are going on here in CR. But with the good comes the bad/hard stuff too. 

For the majority of you reading this, you will never experience some of these challenges. But some of you will completely understand what I am talking about.

You see living cross-culturally is a daily thing for me. I am learning new things everyday about Costa Rica. Even though I have been living here for almost 2 years, that doesnt mean that I am an expert on everything Costa Rica.  Everyday I am learning how to adapt my North American/Mexican ways to be a better student, a better learner of Costa Rica. Honestly, I think I do a pretty good job at not comparing US to CR, but were I find most of my conflicts is when my Mexican culture clashes with the CR culture. You would think that it would be opposite, that my Mexican culture would help me to adapt better to the CR culture, and for the most part it has, but there are still come cultural things that I struggle with. (like food, some spanish words, and some customs)

Then there are the everyday basic struggle that I never thought about till I moved here. For example, food. I am so used to having Mexican food as a staple for my meals. Meaning pinto beans and spanish rice. But what happens when the grocery store doesnt sale pinto beans? Or they run out of tomato sauce so you have to use tomato paste instead, or the chicken cost $10 for 2 chicken breast. Then there is the mail. I am lucky if I get the cards or the packages that people have sent. I would love to tell you that I have received everything that has been sent to me, but that is not true. Last year, my parents sent me a small package of birthday cards from the family, that I am still waiting to receive them. Driving here is like playing a video game. The goal is to get from point A to point B without hitting someone or you getting hit. Then you add in language. I am lucky that I came here knowing some spanish. I remember going to the language school and the director saying that I was and interesting case, since I could talk and understand spanish but could not read or write it. But that is more common for a 1st generation language learners. But CR Spanish is still different then Mexico Spanish and since it was not my first language, I still struggle with it everyday. It is worse when teams are here, because I am going back and forth from English to Spanish all day. I often will talk to a Tico (Costa Rican) in English and a North American in Spanish during our team season.

Some of the bigger things are more of the relational aspects of living in a different country. I always thought I was more of a direct person then some of my friends in the U.S. But moving here, I have realized that the majority of all North Americans are direct. If we have a problem with someone, usually we go to them to clear it up. Or if we make a coffee date or a lunch date, we dont miss it unless an emergency comes up. We wouldn't even think about being late to work, or yet leaving early from it. CR is known for being a country of peace. Conflict is not direct here but instead brought to your attention through another people(s). Coffee dates/Lunch dates are not really happening until you confirm with that person the day before or day of and if you are late to it, that is ok. ( I mean you can be up to an hour late and still be ok). Everyday, I am learning to let go more and more of my North American ways to be more and more sensitive to the CR culture, because the last thing I want to do is offend someone and be a hindrance to what God is doing here. (but it is hard at times)

Poverty is another issue that I see on a regular basis. The minimum wage for CR is 9,504.34 colones a day. Today (5/5/15) exchange rate is 527 = $1. That means that a person making minimum wage here makes $18.03 a day (9,504.34 / 527 = $18.034...) That means that they are making $1.80 an hour for a 10hr work day, $360 a month IF they work 5 days a week. Of course that is only the gross pay and not net, so they are bringing less home. Then you add up the rent, utilities and food, and you start to understand why families dont have a car, cell phone or take showers with hot water because it is all extra expenses that they dont have.

But the hardest thing for me, has been the loneliness that I feel sometimes. Being a single female living cross-culturally can be hard. Really hard. You dont have family nearby to hangout with on the weekends, birthdays or holidays. You miss your friends and church family. Skype and Facetime are amazing but you start to realize that they can only go so far. You "like" pictures on instagram or facebook because you want to be still apart of your friends world. And the reality is that I am still apart of their lives, but it is different now.  I have ate more dinners alone in the last 2 years, then in my entire life. And marriage seems like a distance hope, because the idea of dating cross-culturally seems like so much work when you are just trying to live cross-culturally.

So why did I just word vomit all this????

Trust me it is not to complain, even though some of you are thinking that is all I am doing. But I wanted to educate you.

Living cross-culturally is hard! It takes work, LOTS of prayer and LOTS of laying yourself down for the greater good! 

On a bad day, all of these things can make a person quit the ministry, pack up and leave the country. All of this adds so much stress to marriages and relationships. All of this can make a person so overwhelmed to the point of a mental, physical and spiritual break down. 

BUT on a good day (which are most), none of these things, none of these factor matter. On a good day, God reminds you why you are here. He gives you glimpses of the kingdom of heaven. He reminds that you are not forgotten. You see lives being changed in the communities you work in. You see children working on their homework and dreaming for the first time of what they want to be when they grow up. You see those around you, through God's eyes and not your own. And those are the best days!

So now what?
  • Pray! Pray for those preaching the gospel. Pray for those who are living in a different country. Pray for us here in CR, pray for me! 
  • Then after you pray, write them an encouraging email, a card or send a package. Let them know that they are not forgotten but are missed. 
  • Send a team to work along side them for a week or two. I LOVE the fact that my sending churches sends teams to come and work alone side me every year. It is like having a little piece of home with me.
  • If you are friends or families of those doing mission work in another country, GO VISIT THEM! We (missionaries) need a vacation too and the best vacations with friends who have come to visit me. Being able to have good conversations, laugh and see a different part of the country is so refreshing.
  • And when we (missionaries) come home to visit family and friends, DO NOT be upset that you only got to spend a short time with them or didnt get to see them at all. Trust me there are so many people that we (missionaries) want to see, but family is priority. 
  • Financially support them. We (missionaries) live off support and we are so blessed by those who give monthly or even yearly. And honesty we cant do what God is calling us to do without your support. It doesnt have to be much, but every little bit helps and it also encourages us as well. 

I promise the next post will be uplifting, I just wanted to share what was/has been on my heart. 

If you are living overseas or cross-culturally or thinking about it, here are some of the blogs and books that I recommend.

Beth Moore: Believing God: Day by Day
Max Lucado: On Calvary's Hill

Jennie Allen: Anything 
Francis Chan: Crazy Love
James Bryan Smith: The Good and Beautiful God 
David G. Benner: The Gift of Being Yourself 
David A. Livermore: Serving with Eyes Wide Open 
Brad Bell: Walking With A Limp
Dr. Rick Taylor: The Anatomy of a Disciple
Matt Chandler: To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain

Blogs I Follow: 
Melissa Danisi:
Velvet Ashes:
A Life Overseas: /
Rocky Re-Entry:
Self Talk the Gospel:
Reaching for the Robe:
The Steidingers:
Myers Mission:

Monday, February 2, 2015

Weekend of Rest.....

Have you ever felt like you needed a vacation from the vacation that you were just on? Or gone out of the country for a mission trip and wished you had taken that extra day off or you just realized that you have worked 19 days straight and just need a break???

 R E S T

Such a simply word, such a simple thing that has so much benefits if you do it.

I didnt realize how important this word would be to me, until I moved to Costa Rica. You see when I lived in California, I would get caught up on the American norm of the busier you are, the better. I was always planning ahead, filling in my calendar with coffee dates and etc. I didnt want anyone to think I was" lazy" or " wasnt working hard enough because I had too much free time". So if I was tired, I would push through it.

But, once I moved here (CR) I realized just how important it is to REST. I mean truly putting aside work, social media, alarm clocks and anything else that you cant live without. And just sitting, hiking, reading, playing music or whatever else that helps you to unwind. I can probably count on my hand of how many times I have truly just rested. And honestly, those times of rest have been while I have been here in Costa Rica.

This last weekend, I was able to turn off my phone, turn off social media, and my life in Costa Rica. And I was able to focus on my relationship with God. For the last 2 months, I have been going and going. From my trip to California (which was a blessing) that was filled with seeing friends and family that I havent seen all year. To coming back to work and coming back to a busy month of cafecito with host families, welcoming semester students and preparing for the first team of the year. By the time January had ended, I was exhausted. And it was just the first month of 2015!

Since it was my first weekend off in about a month, I took advantage of it. I went to one of my favorite places in this country. All weekend long I sat, read my bible, listen to the new Bethel album, journal and read some more. I laughed with friends when we were hanging out or having dinner. And each night when the sun would go down I stood in AWE of God's art work. I prayed a lot about some big decisions I will soon need to make, and I prayed for all my friends who are also working and doing ministry in other countries.

And then I came back home.

I am thankful for sometime away. I know that this year will be a busy year for me and I need to remember that it is ok to stop and take of myself in the midst of the business. That as a follower of Christ, I am called to rest, to take a sabbath and focus on my Maker.

"So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience." Hebrews 4:9-11 

This is my favorite song from the new Bethel Album We Will Not Be Shaken. Make sure you buy it if you haven't yet! It is SO GOOD!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Dear 2014......

Dear 2014,

I know that I am a few days late writing this to you, but my theory is, better late then never.
You see, I needed sometime to stop and think about all that you held for me this year. I just couldn't say good-bye right away. So here I am writing you a farewell letter.

Thank you 2014 for the good times and the hard times that you held. From celebrating a friends, to laughing so hard that I cried and for all the dances and singing that were done on the way to the beach. Thank you for making this year, a year of learning, seeking and understanding those around me but more about myself and my relationship with God. There were moments that I didn't want it to  end, moments were I couldn't believe I live here. Then there were moments were it seemed as though it couldn't end fast enough. I cried, laughed, felt joy, felt peace and was reminded of God's love.
There were dreams that I had hoped would come true this year, but never came. There were changes that were hard for me and fears that I had to overcome. There were days were life seemed so hard but through it all, I still had hope. Hope in what was to come and hope that through it all, God will continue to walk with me. Overall 2014, you were good!

Now that you are over, I now welcome 2015!
I welcome new dreams and old ones. I welcome the things to come and the things that I will learn. I know that there will be hard times, but I pray for more good times that the hard. I pray for strength when I need it, for love that abounds and for joy through it all!