Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Waving the White Flag of Surrender

Christmas is a few days away and in more ways than one, we’ve received the most wonderful gift: a home to live in.  In our December prayer letter, we asked that you would join us in praying for a home in San Jose.  As a result of your prayers, we found a wonderful home three weeks after arriving. While we looked for a home and then waited for our new landlord to make the necessary repairs and improvements, we patiently stayed at a missionary housing unit that allowed us to meet other individuals and couples who were passing through or who were getting some rest from their field assignment. Although it was not easy to have the four of us live with our suitcases in a confined space, we at least met new friends and got to know our immediate area.
Since we arrived a month ago, we’ve begun to painstakingly wave the white flag of surrender.  It became apparent to us early in our arrival that things would not fall neatly into place. The home we are living in became ready to move into later than promised. The Internet provider came three days later than they said they would come. The electrician showed up a week later than scheduled and so it goes…..
We seemed to have been taking it all in stride until our daughters took notice of the kindness shown to us by fellow missionary families who came to our rescue with bedding, towels, pots, pans and even utensils when we moved into the barren house. Our personal belongings that had been packed inside the Rubbermaid Action Packers before we left Idaho have been sitting in a warehouse nearby waiting for Customs to sign off after its full inspection.  As of today, our personal goods have yet to be in our possession. The girls were so touched by the generosity of these families that they hoped one day our family would respond in the same unselfish manner as these families have responded to us.  

Needless to say, the four of us are learning to surrender to the cultural norms of the country as we become transformed by the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit.  We cannot expect to grow in patience if we are not put in situations where we are stretched to become more patient. Our patience quotient feels sky high these days but I also know our present situation has made us more humble as well. Bended knees have replaced the badge of self-reliance as we call upon God to grant us peace during difficult and challenging times. These days, Romans 12:12 comes to mind often, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

As we continue to wave the white flag of surrender, please pray that we may not only get our boxes before Christmas but that we may also be grateful in the midst of waiting.

Saturday at the local park
Our home for three weeks - AMCA House
Our mode of transportation while we wait for our vehicle to arrive
Patiently waiting as they sit in a nearby warehouse

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

No House...No Car...No Problem

Tomorrow marks the granddaddy of all American holidays: Thanksgiving. It is one of the most treasured holidays because it celebrates God’s goodness in our lives as we sit around the dinner table thanking the Lord for His provision and faithfulness.

This year an American family who lives and serves in San Jose has invited our colleagues and friends, the Sanchez family and our family to a Costa Rican style Thanksgiving. They told us they would be serving turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing but they also mentioned that the famous Lizano Sauce (Salsa Lizano) will sit at tableside to flavor our holiday meal. Salsa Lizano is Costa Rica's most beloved sauce; it is not fiery hot but rather salty with a hint of spiciness lent by black pepper and cumin.

Yet with less than a week since we left the States, we find ourselves grateful during this Thanksgiving holiday for friends who voluntarily transport us to and fro and for a place to lay our heads while we find a place to call home.

 It’s times like these when we realize His every provision in our lives: food, shelter, clothes and even transportation. Our Lord and Savior sees our every need and He promises to care for His children according to His goodwill and purpose.

Lastly, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks for the kind words and encouragement we have received from our family and friends since our departure last week. May the Lord bless your time with your loved ones as you gather together on Thanksgiving Day.


And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘”What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?” These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you all you need.   Matthew 6:30-33

A wet Thanksgiving is in the forecast
Xiana showing me a tour of the kitchen in our temporary dwelling
Our faithful friend never wants to leave us
A stroll through the neighborhood
Downtown San Jose
To replace the gravy this year :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Graduation Day- Oct 2012

After spending most of this month listening to fellow MAF missionaries and field experts on life overseas, I feel more excited than ever to leave for Costa Rica with my family in just a few weeks.

Our family and five other families made up this year’s orientation class for fall 2012. At times, Tony and I felt a bit old, as several of the couples were half our age. However, their maturity and love for the Great Commission surpassed many of their peers. After openly discussing their personal stories and listening to their devotion as they persevered through adversity, our hearts became knitted together as they also heard us share the struggles and challenges we’ve faced since joining MAF.

Some of the topics and issues that were addressed during our 8-5 schedule were: Spiritual Warfare, Serving in a Multi Cultural Team, Embracing Your Adopted Culture, Helping Your Missionary Child Thrive, Grief & Loss, Coping with Stress, and many other valuable themes worthy of discussion. My favorite seminar was when MAF invited, Nate Hamlin, a licensed marriage and family counselor, to teach the couples how to solve conflict successfully and respectfully.  The rich discussion and honest discourse that took place during the two days made husbands as well as wives feel more confident in serving together in a foreign culture.

As a result of concluding training and cross-cultural orientation, MAF commissioned all of us last week. It was a day I will soon not forget as it felt like a graduation day of sorts. All the families were introduced during chapel and Vice President, Dave Fyock, gave a moving speech on Proverbs 4:23, Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.  The special ceremony ended with a prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude to the Lord for His love and faithfulness in all the He has been able to do in us and through us.  

Tony and I would like to thank so many of you for sustaining us through prayer and support. We could not have reached this important milestone if it were not for our family and friends who have stood by us every step of the way.

-For for Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.  Romans 11:36
Melissa, Laura, Tony and Dave Fyock at Commissioning Ceremony
Prayer Dedication 
Marriage Seminar in Boise, ID
Orientation- Fall 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Day at Mt Home AFB

We took a pause from posting on our blog these past two months as the months of June and July were set aside to reunite with family, friends, and churches before our scheduled departure to Costa Rica this fall. Although our whirlwind tour took us to California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Florida and Oregon, it was a blessing to share what the Lord has been doing in our lives the last twelve months.

One of our summer highlights was visiting the men and women of our military at Mountain Home AFB. The Air Force Base is located seventy-five miles east of Nampa with a population of over 3,200.  Our friend and Protestant Parish Coordinator, Laura Bondurant, invited us to share at Liberty Chapel and spend the day with those who faithfully serve our country. Although the base’s primary mission is to provide airpower and combat support capabilities in worldwide operations, our own mission that Sunday morning was to strengthen and build up the Christian community through prayer and words of encouragement. As we spoke on the subject of being “like a good soldier of Christ Jesus...”  from 2 Timothy Chapter 2, we reminded the Airmen the privilege of serving like our Lord Jesus Christ as we submit to His will and not ours.

A young married couple from Texas came to us and told us about the challenges facing those who serve in active duty. The wife held their tender, little baby in her arms as her husband spoke of the toll separation takes on families in the military. As we asked how we could pray for them, they asked us to pray for their family and all the families who serve at the base. Hearing the burdens and listening to their hearts, caused us to bond with those who we had just met. Our entire day was spent listening, encouraging, praying and learning from them what it’s like to wear the United States uniform. 

As the evening came to an end, Tony and I felt humbled to have had the opportunity to spend the day with those who sacrifice so much in order that we may enjoy the freedom we easily take for granted.

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this you fulfill the law of Christ, " - Galatians 6:2

Chaplain Candidate, Seth DeBartolo & Senior Airman, Andrew Keating

Protestant Parish Coordinator and friend, Laura Bondurant
Stephanie Higgins, wife of Capt Christopher Higgins
Mountain Home Air Force Base, ID
Holt Park, Mt Home AFB

Friday, May 11, 2012

Worshipping God Together Through Music and Dance

Here is a one minute video of Simon and Juanita worshipping God after participating in a Bible storytelling workshop in Laurel, Costa Rica.

-Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.  Philippians 2:2 

                                           Juanita and Simon sharing in front of the group

Juanita and Simon
Griselda, Laura, Juanita, & Yolanda

Monday, April 9, 2012

Walking by Faith

“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.” -Psalm 9:10
As the family and I embark on preparing for our relocation to San Jose, Costa Rica, the amount of details and planning involved can make anyone’s head spin. Before I had traveled to Costa Rica this past February, Laura and I had to address the single biggest challenge/detail to serving overseas, my diabetes. As many of you know, I am a type 1 insulin dependent diabetic. To control my blood sugar levels, I use an insulin pump. It is an amazing piece of technology that makes life so much easier for me. Without access to the supplies that keep my pump going, serving in Costa Rica or anywhere that MAF serves would be impossible. 
Laura and I had been in prayer well before my scheduled February trip for the Lord’s provision concerning my healthcare needs. There were so many questions we needed answers to and we were praying that my time in Costa Rica would bring answers to some very difficult questions. 
When I finally arrived in San Jose, the Lord began to reveal His answers to many of the pressing questions that Laura and I had. Medical specialist were there, the necessary medical tests were available, and many of the medical supplies that I need were there as well. However, the biggest barrier was not yet taken down. I had no answer concerning the supplies that my insulin pump required. Throughout the week, I had been leaving messages with the gentleman who would be my primary physician and my messages were not being returned. I had also heard that given the high price of insulin pumps, they were not common devices in Costa Rica, so supplies for them could be very difficult to acquire. 
By Friday, I still had not heard from the doctor and since I was leaving for home on Monday, I was praying for answers by the end of the day. By two o’clock in the afternoon, all was still silent. I continued to pray and have faith that God would move through circumstances that I had no control over. Without answers, everything else would have to remain on hold.
Around two-thirty that afternoon, the Lord began to move. Dr. Longworth, my future physician, was around the corner from the office where our ministry is located. He was bringing in to a local mechanic shop  that a friend had loaned him since the car he would normally drive was not allowed to be driven on this particular Friday. (Costa Rica has laws in place for trying to control the number of cars on city streets on given days.) On the phone he stated that he would take the five minute walk from the mechanic to the office where I was so we could talk about my medical needs. 
As Dr. Longworth and I spoke, the conversation was going well until the issue of the insulin pump supplies came up. He was not aware of the insulin pump company nor of any Costa Rican diabetic patients that he has ever had who were on an insulin pump. He made some phone calls to local doctor friends and to diabetic specialists. The answers they gave were disheartening. None of the doctors had experience or knowledge with patients on insulin pumps or where to get supplies for them. 
Maureen, Me, and Dr. Longworth
About this time, one of my teammates, Maureen, walked into the room and mentioned that she had just seen on the local news a story of a Costa Rican girl who had just received an insulin pump that looked just like mine. She also mentioned that the girl lived in San Jose. Using my computer, Maureen was able to find the news segment and play it for both the doctor and I. (Here is the segment, if you want to see it: Insulin pump.) As the video clip played, the pump was, in fact, the one that I use. The only difference was in the name. When the doctor of the little girl came on, Dr. Longworth recognized him. At the end of the clip there was a phone number that was given for those interested in getting further information about the pump. Dr. Longworth called the phone number on my behalf and being a doctor, there was little red tape to go through to get the answers that I needed. God was on the move.
The company, called Meditek, was located in downtown San Jose; about thirty minutes from where we were at. The girl on the phone told Dr. Longworth that everything that I needed was available there!! Just to make sure, I had Mauricio, another one of my teammates, drive me down to the company so I could be sure that what I needed was in fact there. When we arrived, I spoke with Grettel from Meditek and what she said on the phone was true. Everything was there! 
Our ever faithful Lord, made all of these events come together on the last weekday I had in Costa Rica. Furthermore, all of this was orchestrated by Him (through individuals that did not know each other until this particular week) in about twenty minutes. I marveled and gave thanks to what only He could do. What seemed an impossibility to me was not an impossibility to Him. Praise be to God!