The Team

November 2013

L to R: Sarah, Allison, Annie, Peter, Will, David
L to R: Sarah, Allison, Annie, Peter, Will, David Continue reading

The Graduates

The group that made it through all of the year.  Minus a few missing, but still appreciated.

The group that made it through all of the year. Minus a few whom are missing, but still appreciated.

After one year of study, laughter, tears, and sweat we made it through a year of language training.  This group went to eat at Chili’s to celebrate the evening of the day of graduation.  It was also the night before we left to come back to the United States (yes, crazy when you are packing everything you own for an early morning departure the next day).  And yes, it does seem a bit crazy to eat at Chili’s the day before returning to the US, but over half of this group was moving on to their field of mission, and not returning home.  We had a great night, and as I have been too busy back in the States to sit down and think through a graduation post, I thought I could share a picture of a group of people that I will not ever forget.  These people have been with us through a lot of ups and downs, and their friendships anchored in the love of God have carried us a great year of learning Spanish.  They have inspired us.  They are headed all over Latin America, and I cannot wait to see how God uses all of them.

Annie is optimistic – like her mother!

Annie's two teachers this year.  Miss McGuckin standing and Allison kneeling on the ground in front of the white marker board.

Annie’s two teachers this year. Miss McGuckin standing and Allison kneeling on the ground in front of the white marker board.

Our daughter Annie likes to encourage others.  She drew this picture for Allison to let her know she liked homeschooling with her over the summer.  Annie attended the Spanish Language Institute missionary kids school, Sojourn.  Her teacher was Miss McGuckin, and Annie loved her.  Over the summer, Allison did some homeschooling in a makeshift classroom with a marker board leaning against the wall, everyone sitting on the floor including Allison.  In general, the kids loved having Allison teach them at home.  I am glad, because depending on how the school in Curahuasi progresses, they may have some years of this in front of them.

La Clase de Traducción


Me, Troy Gentry, Penny Gathright, Ana Meneses (la maestra), Bonnie Kellum

I had a really good class this last trimester that was focused on translation.  I was easily the worst student in the class.  I like to tell myself that I had a disadvantage of Spanish language experience in comparison with the other students, but that is only because I like to hide from the truth of my own inadequacies.  It is always good to be humbled, right?  Ana Meneses was the teacher.  She has a lot of English language experience, has worked as a translator and lived in the U.S. for a period of time.  As a service to God she has come to teach at our missionary language school, and although I am sure the pay is less she consistently talked about how much she loved her work.  Ana is friends with Allison, and her kids enjoy playing with out kids.  She saw me sitting on the Terraza at the school without much to do early in the trimester because of some scheduling conflicts, and she invited me to join them.  I had been wanting to join (I needed more opportunities to practice), so I was glad she was generous to offer to include me although I was not speaking at the same level as the others.  She is a good teacher, and we worked through some really tricky grammar structures that are often used when speaking that helped improve my speaking language skills.  I learned a lot, enjoyed my classmates and my teacher, and improved my Spanish.  There is not much better to say about a class than that.

Last trip to downtown San Jose

We made our final trip downtown last night.  We were close to downtown to finish our rabies vaccination series at the hospital, and since we were so close we decided to walk down to the artisan’s market and buy a few souvenirs.  And then, since we were close, we ate at Rosti Pollos which was one of the very first places at which we ate when we arrived to Costa Rica.  The kids love downtown, especially at night.  So we took a few pictures to remember the nighttime in downtown San Jose.  Good-bye downtown!  I hope we meet again.

Museo Nacional de Costa Rica

On Friday after my final oral exam we made a long promised trip to to the Costa Rica National Museum.  I hate to say it, but even though Allison and I thought it was pretty interesting, the kids were disappointed.  They were expecting something more like the museum in the movie “Night at the Museum”.  They hoped for dinosaur skeletons, lots of displays of life size mannequins displaying scenes from the history of Costa Rica.  But it is a much smaller museum.  Sometimes you can forget that this entire country has fewer people than the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.  So when you go the museum here, you cannot expect the Smithsonian.  There just is not that much money, history, or land from which to accumulate museum pieces.  However, it is a good museum with some incredible photography of the natural beauty of Costa Rica, a great artifact display of some of the indigenous tools and worship items from the original people groups, a really impressive arboretum, and a well kept garden in the courtyard.  The museum is an old military barracks and bullet holes from a civil war in the 1940s are easily seen on one of the main towers.  In fact it was that civil war that lead Costa Rica to become a peaceful nation without a military.  So to sum up, for kids it might be a little bit of a disappointment, but for the adults it is a nice museum that you can visit thoroughly in around two hours.

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!