Otto Apuy and La Iglesia de Cañas

Otto Apuy is one of the most recognized artists in Costa Rica.  He participates in what seems to be almost every medium of art (sculpture, painting, drawing, and as you will see below mosaics) and he has also published several books of literature and poetry.  We visited La Iglesia de Cañas several months ago as we were traveling north through the country to see Allison’s family and my brother in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica.  Below the pics see a small excerpt from this link regarding Otto Apuy.

One of his most spectacular works is the Iglesia de Cañas, (Cañas Church).  Apuy designed and directed the envelopment of the entire church in colorful mosaic tile, which has put Cañas, on the map as a place to visit.  In a country of many beautiful and impressive churches, this one has to be at the top of almost every list.  Apuy has used both whole and broken tiles in glossy, vibrant colors to depict both religious and abstract themes. The church’s central tower, which is entirely covered in mosaic, is nearly 30m (100 ft.) tall.  Estimates indicate that more than a million pieces of ceramic were employed  in the work.

The Motsingers Came and Conquered Costa Rica

The Motsingers are good friends from our time in Corpus Christi, TX.  We have been repeatedly blessed by their faithful friendship to our family.  Not only are they good friends, but they live as an example to many by their compassion and service to others.  They have two sons from Ethiopia who are blessed to have these two capable Christian parents.  As I watched them serve their children, I could not help but think about how blessed those kids are to have the parents God has given them.  I am confident that Jon and Joy are the perfect parents for Seth and Oliver.  I am challenged by the idea of adoption, how it is a symbol of God’s love for us, and I am blessed by how the Motsinger family is living this reality.  I also am encouraged by their generosity to support us by visiting us in San Jose.  I know it was both a blessing and a sacrifice for them to come, and again it reminds me of how it so often works out like that in the kingdom of God.  Thanks for coming Jon, Joy, Seth, and Oliver!

Publicity for Diospi Suyana

Some news from Diospi Suyana.

Federico Romero (left) and Karen Espejo (right) eating dinner at the John's house.

Federico Romero (left) and Karen Espejo (right) eating dinner at the John’s house.

Journalists Ask Many Questions

Two reporters visiting from Lima

They arrived yesterday at 11am and will be leaving this morning. This means journalist Karen Espejo and photographer Federico Romero have 23 hours to produce their story about the Diospi Suyana hospital. About what will they talk, what about the missionary hospital do they consider relevant to the readers of their weekly magazine? Maybe their audience would be moved by the stories of our patients, who come to Curahuasi, often times from far away, in the hope to be healed. Or will they talk about the missionaries? Almost all of the hospital volunteers can contribute their very own chapter to the story about Diospi Suyana. Most likely, the journalists will mention the hospitals’ modern equipment – the “high tech hospital for the poor” aspect. We do hope that they will talk about the essential role that God’s will plays in the story of the hospital, especially since the Peruvian mass media called Diospi Suyana, “the hospital of faith”.

Let she who boasts, boast in the Lord (and His work in her husband)

Let’s suppose that you were going to sponsor someone to, say, learn a language.  What if that person turned out to be the number one go-getter of the language learning school?  What if he did every homework assignment and even more to make sure he understood a concept?  What if he took every class he could, even the most advanced translation class, and recently translated seven pages from his mother tongue to the target language?  What if he went to optional tutoring three times a week?  What if he increased his workload by also doing a language speaking route through the neighborhood, guided by and accountable to his tutor but without a grade, trudging through the rain to practice his memorized texts?  What if at night, he spoke to his spouse in the goal language and before bed he read a fiction book in the new language to improve his vocabulary?

Wouldn’t you be pleased with your investment?  Wouldn’t you love to know that he is one of the most improved students at the school?  Wouldn’t you feel that you had gotten your money’s worth out of this language learner?  Wouldn’t you smile to think that he will be the same kind of doctor, with diligence helping many people who have nothing?  Wouldn’t it please you to imagine him using his new language every day to change people’s lives and show them the love of Jesus?  If he were your spouse instead of the person you sponsored, wouldn’t you want to tell everyone about him in a blog post with too many rhetorical questions?  Well, I would.


Three Weeks From Today . . . What is a “Home Assignment” or “Furlough” . . . Prayer Requests

UnknownWe are heading home to Dallas, TX in three weeks.  We will be at the airport at 6:45 AM with our approximately 20 bags ready to board the airplane for the 4 hour flight home.  It has been a good helpful, hard, challenging, year in Costa Rica learning Spanish.  However, I can feel the pressure starting to grow as we think about the things we need to do before we leave, and also as I think about the things we want to do when we are home.  One thing that we are realizing we cannot do when we are home is see everyone that we want to see (and we truly really want to see everyone.)  This trip is a short stay in the States to visit with our family, pack for the cooler climate of Peru, purchase things we will need there, do Visa work, and then last of all hopefully to rest just a bit.  It is not a true “Furlough” or “Home Assignment” if you are familiar with either of those terms.  Often (usually) families come home from the mission field for a minimum of three months and sometimes for a year to visit again with their supporters, raise new support if needed, rest, retrain (especially those who are in a professional field like medicine where being up to date is very important), and to process what they need to do in the upcoming years in their field of service.  There is a good article on a missionary furlough or home assignment at this link titled Why do Missionaries go on Furlough?.   It is likely that our first true Home Assignment will be during either the winter months of 2014 or 2015.  We will have to work our scheduling with the other missionaries who are serving at the hospital to be sure that the hospital remains well-staffed when we leave.  If you think to pray for us we have these prayer requests regarding this next transition.

  • We will finish our process of learning Spanish well. (Actually this will not be a finished product here.  The request is that we will make the most of the opportunities we have here at the school in this structured learning environment as “Senioritis” kicks in.)
  • That there will be peace and efficiency as we pack.
  • Good closure as we say goodbye to Costa Rica and our friends here.
  • That the kids will adjust well to two big changes in the next two months.
  • We will make all the connections we need to make when we are home.
  • That our friends and family who are supporting us for whom we are so thankful, especially those that we may not be able to see when we are home, will have merciful understanding of the short, business nature of this trip home.
  • That we could be a true blessing and encouragement to the friends and family we will get to see.
  • That we will process the guilt and regret we already feel in regards to how short this trip home is and how it limits our ability to visit with people we want to see.
  • That we are psychologically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually ready for the adjustment of living in the rural, isolated, mountains of Peru.

Thank you for praying and thinking of us here in Costa Rica.  I hope we see you soon!

Continuing School Construction

We are looking forward more and more to what may be to come in Curahuasi.  Some missionaries we met very briefly in Costa Rica arrived at the hospital in late June.  A dentist from the states will be arriving this month.  Another family is arriving to Costa Rica for language school in August.  A young physician and his wife are already in a different city in Peru going to language school.  There are lots of changes coming, and all of us will be new to the work in Curahuasi.  I pray that we can all help each other through the transition of living and working there.

Read below for another update on how the school is progressing from the Diospi Suyana website.

Does our construction engineer deserve a short break?


Answer: Yes!

Dear Friends of Diospi Suyana, There will be no building report in the forthcoming two weeks as we too need to take a rest occasionally. At the end of July, Peru is going to celebrate the “Fiestas patrias” (on the occasion of the country’s independence gained in 1821) and we would like to use that time for a brief holiday by the sea.  Thus work on the building site is going to stop for a week, followed by a few days in which construction workers will need to make do without their boss. We’ll be picking up again on 5 August, fully refreshed we hope.

We managed to make new progress last week. The ceiling of the administrative building’s attic floor has been set and bar benders laid the reinforcement. This allows us to concrete the ceiling before going on holiday. On 22 July, the subcontractor may then fully on time start building the roof construction.

The screed work of  the walkways in buildings 3 -5  has been completed and preparations for screed work in building 2 are underway. In his workshop, the local window-maker has begun producing windows for house no. 5.

The work needed to establish the sports hall goes on unabated. Meanwhile, 35 individual fundaments have been concreted.  In terms of reinforcement, however, progress is also being achieved with the time-intensive ground beams. New capacity for the sports hall will free up once the roof ceiling of the administrative building has been finished.

The container with roof material for the sports hall arrived on Monday and was quickly unloaded at the hospital’s ramp.

Many of you will also be going on holiday now. May you all enjoy a blessed time and the Lord’s protection. Back again with the latest news for you in early August!

Regards from Curahuasi. Udo

Pedro tiene nueve años hoy!

Our son Peter is turning 9 years of age today.  He has been looking forward to this day all month, and finally it has arrived.  I am so glad that God placed Peter in our family.  He is funny and interesting.  He has a thoughtfulness and sensitivity that we all appreciate.  He is a good friend to his siblings, and he brings joy to all of us.

The Diospi Suyana Book

Allison is reading this in Spanish.  I am trying, but the vocabulary is a little bit too much for me at this point.  It is an interesting story of regarding the history of the John family and how the hospital came to exist.  The following is from the Diospi Suyana Hospital website.

The Diospi Suyana Book


What Readers All Over The World Say About It

The story about Diospi Suyana is available in a German and a Spanish edition, published by Brunnen Verlag and Editorial Vida, Miami, respectively.  About 32 000 copies have been sold so far.

The book has moved and excited me while making me think. I took in and enjoyed every single page.  A. H. (Switzerland)

Last night, my wife gave me your book. As soon as I had started this story of faith, I was hooked…I finished the book at 4:10am this morning!  L. M. (Peru)

I read your book about the hospital last week. I am impressed by your dedication, your love of people and the fact that you were able to realize the vision you had for your life. The book became more interesting with every chapter.  N. B. (Germany)

I am a  resident doctor at Oklahoma State University Medical Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. … My mother gave me your book  “Dios es visible”. I just finished it and was wondering whether Dr. John would be willing to share his story at our hospital.  W. B. (USA)

I finished your book within two days and I am impressed by the incredible dedication, courage and faith that you, your family amd your team have shown each and every day in order to carry out such an enormous endeavor.  L. E. (Germany)

I have read the book “Dios es visible”. It was incredibly moving. Sometimes it made me cry, sometimes it made me laugh! C. C. (Peru)

You didn’t make it easy to put down your book at night 🙂 It arrived by mail on Wednesday, and I had finished it by Friday evening! D. B. (Germany)

My wife and i want to congratulate you: every page of this book wonderfully motivated me to think.  C. A. (Venezuela)

I read the book “Dios es visible”. It totally moved me. it was like an injection of faith. T. G. (Paraguay)

I just finished “DIOS ES VISIBLE”. I must tell you, I am simply speechless! D. A. (Mexico)