Sunday, December 13, 2009

In my mind's eye...

My interaction with urban ministries began at Wheaton College when I grabbed a pre-packed sack lunch from SAGA, hopped into a comfortable twelve passenger van  and headed to inner-city Chicago on Saturday mornings to befriend and disciple girls. These mornings integrated Biblical teaching with cool craft projects and games, offered nutritious snacks and impromptu tutoring. Back on campus, my semester’s reading list included Ron Sider’s Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger

Working as an emergency room nurse further introduced me to the plight of the urban poor who were seeking health care in a large hospital in downtown Houston, Texas. Occasional opportunities provided by our local church in Charlotte, NC, took our family from the suburbs to soup kitchens, inner city neighborhoods, and urban ministry centers which facilitated outreach as well.

It took a series of unforeseen events last month, however, for me to walk the streets of San Jose in the footsteps of those who rely on public transportation (and their own feet) and sit shoulder to shoulder with the urban poor on crowded buses. In the early morning light, I walked over the sleeping homeless, inhaling the odor of rotting garbage, diesel fumes, and the fetid breath of beggars. The quiet stillness of my ten-block journey between bus stops allowed me to take it all in, but it has taken much of this holiday season to process this up-close-and-personal urban interaction, yet I still cannot describe the effect it has had on my heart and soul.

 The return walk between distant bus stops was an assault to the senses-- crowded sidewalks bustling with people, street vendors loudly hawking their wares, and even more polluted air and unpleasant odors mingled with the greasy odor of fast food and roasting nuts and coffee. The commercialism of Christmas no longer captivates my attention, and my eyes and heart are open and seeking to love as Christ would love—not by cultivating dependencies, but by showing mercy and offering dignity and the Gospel to the unfortunate, to the urban poor and refugees in the clinical setting, and to the individual sharing the seat on an overcrowded bus. Or wherever my footsteps take me.    

 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Looking on the Bright Side.....

It has been a rough twenty(when I looked on the calendar I couldn’t believe it had only been 20)days but despite some pretty discouraging circumstances, we’ve chosen to look on the bright side, and keep on with our family and ministry responsibilities….here’s a brief summary, not for the faint of heart!

Day 1-Slow leak in tire-no big deal, add air and hope for the best.

Day 2- Hot water heater not acting right, breaker flips whenever in use, must have that looked at

Day 3-Tire checked for screw or other problem—given clean bill of health, still looks low….

Day 4- Hot water heater melted with charred insides—not functional after repairman takes parts out to replace-not a problem, have a showerhead hot water heater in a drafty shower in a non-used maid’s quarters…cost to replace $650

Day 5- Flat tire, found by guard in furniture store parking lot while purchasing mattresses for our newest missionaries arriving Dec. 11thguard points out where tire repair place is, 20 minutes later, tire is fixed-$3.

Day 6-Tropical storm brewing….TONS of rain….inside warm and dry…praying that the now hurricane Ida doesn’t hit New Orleans(we heart New Orleans!)

Day 7- Brian and Ben are almost home…trying to cheer up by making homemade ice cream—expensive large bag of cream into bowl, completely spoiled…roasted broccoli and cauliflower with almonds will have to do tonight…

Day 8-Finished painting Brian’s office (shh, it’s a surprise, Anna and Mommy deserve lunch out—Gate wide open, some animal or vegetation blown by the wind, CLOSES GATE on R side of car, nicks right upper rear window---and GLASS crumbles into a million pieces….no one is hurt, we clean up the mess and eat hummus and crackers for lunch—all that is in the pantry

Day 9-Ben and Brian return home….yes, a little consolation and 20 hours before Brian heads to RG meetings…missionary loans us a car for the weekend, groceries in house, bills paid, happy kids…

Day 10-Borrowed car gets returned. Rain continues off and on—

Day 11- Make effort to take taxi to gymnastics—Anna practices for 30 minutes, then tears up and says she feels like she’s getting sick—after walking several blocks, a taxi eventually picks us up—Anna falls asleep immediately and we get her home and into bed

Day 12-Anna is really sick—high fever, headache, achy body—no other symptoms…but I’m not, and can tell that this is either a tough virus or eeeewww….the flu(whatever type, doesn’t matter—just has to run it’s course)

Day 13- Rain continues and in addition to Anna’s continued fever, there is a flood in the kitchen…Ilsias and I use the rotorooter plumbing tool and try and get the clog—doesn’t completely work, and the additional rain continues to back the sewage into the kitchen—100% sulfuric acid and buckets of hot water eventually work

Day 14- Anna’s still sick, I’m exhausted from no sleep and every 4 hour Tylenol offerings…but fellow missionaries bring provisions and now I get 6 -8 hours sleep

Day 15-Car taken to get measured for possible replacement window, on arrival to driveway, torrents of red transmission fluid spews all over driveway and street in front of house…car to be towed, and transmission not gone, just pieces needed to stop leak?

Day 16- Clinic day in Carpio-- Earthquake—5.0, 33 miles as the crow flies from our home—minimal cracks in wall, no reports of loss of life or property—just strange and unnerving after the last week in our home…

Day 17-Last weird symptoms of Anna’s influenza like illness(CDC term, when not tested for swine flu or seasonal flu etc)causes itchy rash…thank goodness Denise Lewis sent me plenty of Children’s Benadryl—not sold in this country

Day 18-Anna is fever-free, still no workable car…Reachglobal missionaries lend us a different car so we can get to church and Ben can serve on the audio-visual team(and I have a BUTTERBALL Thanksgiving turkey—hopefully enough for 14-16 hungry people)!

Day 19- New hot water heater purchased and installed and we have ….HOT WATER, just in time for missionary guests arriving this week and no need for a tow truck…Mechanic in driveway fixing transmission under my portico—with his kids watching and learning! Window on order, not as pretty as the old one, but the car won’t get wet!

Day 20- Even in these difficult circumstances, and our limited budget(especially this month), I take newborn diapers and diaper cream, and various other necessary items to a family of 3 -expecting number 4 this week, living in a corrugated tin home with an outdoor potty(no plumbing) 200 yards up the hill from our home…and in the midst of it all, I know I can be THANKFUL for you, our supporters, our friends and family, and we are resolved to stay and use the gifts and talents God has given our family in serving in Latin America! What a praise—in the midst of hardship, I don’t want to return home(truly not of myself, I’ll tell ya!)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Contrasting Communities

Television has an interesting way of portraying life in other countries. My husband and I are frequently asked about living and retiring in Costa Rica because cable television shows indicate that living abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica is paradise. In fact, it was ranked number one in the Happy Planet Index (2009), and was reported to have a life expectancy second only to Canada, and the highest life satisfaction of all countries. Much of my ministry life in San Jose, however, is spent among the urban poor, in two barrios, Rio Azul and La Carpio, two areas that contrast sharply to the picture painted by world journalists. The average monthly income in this community of 40,000 inhabitants is less than $225 USD, while inflation hovers around 10.9% or more. In these areas, corrugated tin and scrap-metal shanties crowd the pothole-laden streets, and both areas receive tonnage of San Jose garbage daily. Odors mix in the air and one realizes that the needs are great, despite attempts of local government and non-profit organizations in addressing health, nutrition, public safety and societal issues. Last Friday, as I practiced the art of midwifery in a community clinic, I was overwhelmed as a young woman took off a handcrafted beaded necklace and placed it in my hands, covering my hands with her work-worn ones. Giving me this item cost her much. Later, during my long commute, I secretly wept and prayed for the indigent women and children in Costa Rica, and my small role in helping to alleviate their suffering. Despite the public image that La Carpio receives as a crime-ridden squatters’ community, there is heart buried deep in community calloused by social injustice, and the love of Christ can bring forth joy, healing and hope from urban poverty.


Ninety minutes across town, I was invited to a Iadies’ neighborhood Bible study where we spent several hours in a low-income neighborhood studying the Bible and singing praises with women who walk closely with Him despite poverty, diabetes, blindness, and age. Experiencing such joy reminds me that remaining in Christ as in the analogy of the vine and branches, will produce fruit despite the tempests of life. Missionaries in earlier decades( 70’s and 80’s) planted the seeds in this community and firm, unshakable roots have dug deep. My prayer is that wherever my family and I roam, that seeds will be planted, and even though we may not see full branches and beautiful fruit during our time here, that God, the cultivator and Master gardener will reap a plentiful harvest in years to come throughout Latin America and the world.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Common Theme: Connecting

My life in the past month could be summed up by one word: Connecting. Time alone in an empty house during my first “official” personal retreat day allowed me to connect with God meaningfully. An introduction at church allowed me to connect with a doctor who works with the underserved in a Christian clinic in La Carpio, and has provided an opportunity to use my skills to minister to those in need. Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with individuals from high school and college whose lives intersected mine in a specific time and place. My older children attend the college in which Brian and I met over 25 years ago—and I was able to reconnect with them while attending my 25th year class reunion, and with my maid of honor and matron of honor. My spiritual mentors from high school and bubbly blonde Diane shared our lives over pie at Bakers Square, and a late night Christmas shopping spree at Walmart.

Such connections are manifestations of God’s grace and goodness, encouraging us to continue on, and to offer hope and love to individuals who are disconnected, discouraged and hopeless. Jesus spoke of connection in John 15- He referred to Himself as the true vine and discussed the importance of abiding in Him—and of the converse, a branch not connected, which withers, dies, and yields no fruit. Are you connected? Am I?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Are busy women, wives or moms ever really alone?

I have made my personal goals (referred to as Key Result Areas(KRAs) by our mission organization) simple, concrete and, until today, have avoided those which I know would be beneficial, although unattainable. One such KRA, the monthly personal retreat day (known henceforth as a PRD) could not occur without sacrifice or intentionality.  How could a busy woman, wife, mom, volunteer, chauffeur, you get the picture- take time away from such duties and focus on God, re-evaluate priorities, goals, and ignore sustenance while seeking God on a normal weekday morning/afternoon? After spending the last five hours intentionally chatting and listening to God, I realized how much more productive and functional each one of us would be if we were to begin by scheduling these half-day portions of solitude.

Although my first actual PRD began with two children, my wonderful spouse, and  a guest in my house, I recognized that even a favorite corner of the house, with the door closed could allow me to focus intently on God until they vacated the premises. Moments after the family left , I realized that the peace was too deafening, so I turned on some soft (ok, maybe for some of you, more than upbeat praise music) for background noise. Time flew faster than I knew possible and I gained insight, was able to pray uninterruptedly (you know how moms pray while driving, and multitasking) while listening intently for God’s voice in the stillness.

Halfway through my time alone with the Lord, the construction noise on the other side of our concrete wall was no longer keeping time with the soft music so I walked up the hill behind our home, inhaled clean crisp air, and gazed at tropical beauty all around me. As I had fasted during lunch, and my attention and mind was fading, I greeted several local pulperia owners before I found my desired pick-me-up…a frosty Coca-Cola Zero.  I headed home, sought several favorite non-fiction Christian books, prayed intentional prayers for my spouse, family, and myself, while listening to the soothing rain on our metal roof ( the construction was rained out!).

And yes, now that the house is teaming with activity, I am thankful for the blessing of time alone with God, and am looking so forward to my next PRD in November. Dear friends, family, and fellow missionaries, take time to do this—it is more that I thought it’d be—and friendlier on the budget than a day at the spa! Guess I’ll add a quarterly PRD to my KRA’s now—and I hope to surpass that timetable!

 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Happy Independence Day, Costa Rican Style!

Tomorrow is the day our Costa Rican brothers and sisters will celebrate Independence Day! Anna wanted to be the first to celebrate, so we finally found her appropriate attire!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Beginning of an Adventure....9/11/01

     I remember the television images of 9/11, the household events of that day, and the eventual call by then President Bush to service( not just those in the military, but everyday Americans). That day was a pivotal day as I sat on a comfortable couch, recalled our year in Pakistan, and realized that, after returning from overseas in 1991, we had accumulated material possessions, dug in roots( a wonderful thing)in the beautiful Southeast, and lived a comfortable American lifestyle.

 

I began  praying that God would use me, a  homeschooling mom,  a nurse, a woman in some way to redeem human suffering in the world. He answered. I explained to my children, as best I could, what was happening many miles away, and we had a fundraiser for the Red Cross on our driveway, and thought we had helped, a little.

 

We became foster parents and loved on infants whose mothers gave them life as they awaited their permanent placements. Our family served together, and learned to love unconditionally, deeply, and sometimes wept as those we loved went to less than optimal situations.

 

We then adopted, and grew our family in a marvelous way, and taught our children that God made us all in His image. But we still lived the American dream, moved to a bigger house, and dug those roots in deeper.

 

God knew what He was doing. He was using our everyday lives to prepare us for what lay ahead.  Graduate school and homeschooling while taking 24 hour call? Surely not at this time in my life….you guessed it. It was part of the plan, and I was blessed to welcome 43 new babies into the world, to empower women in one of the most intimate experiences in their life, and to personalize each one with a pink or blue birthday cake. But not being able to fully communicate with all of my clients in the same way was frustrating, and left me a little disappointed. Was it possible to cross those language and cultural barriers?

 

And now, as I sit in a foreign country, having faced those first days wondering if I would ever be able to greet someone correctly in another language would be possible, I realize yes, it is.  It is not about perfection, it is able stepping forth and using what God has entrusted to me today. Using my time, my gifting, my life intentionally today. Sure, days happen when I lose that intentionality, and try to do too many things, without focus, and purpose. Monday was one of those days. Try putting a beautiful electric tea kettle with a molded plastic bottom on the glowing eye of an electric stove while making different breakfasts for each member of your household. You get billows of acrid smoke and a reminder to live life with intentionality.  

 

 

 

 

Sunday, August 30, 2009

PRAY FOR DYANA...

     This weekend was a mixture of elation and sorrow—for those who know me, know that I love loving on people and sharing my gift of hospitality—and I got the wonderful chance to love of people from our sending church/home church, CAC last evening and was able to spend time with a dear Tico couple and their children one of whom, Dayana, who has some very serious kidney problems. I had been praying for this child, but hadn’t realized the toll this burden has left on them. With the healthcare system here, one must wait to have exams or arrange to pay for them at private hospitals or clinics(which are costly as they are no longer provided by the government)—and Dyana was offered an appt. in January. But fortunately, these examinations were obtained this week, and another should occur in the next week, hopefully pinpointing the cause of this problem, or with divine intervention, the absence of any problem, whatsoever—a testimony to God’s glory.

 

Please join me in interceding for:

·         The miraculous healing of this precious little one, Dayana, a friend of our Anna

·          My friend Gaby, whose mother‘s heart breaks as her little one endures difficult tests and as she faces uncertainty and whose spirit is so downcast

·         Her husband, Jose, whose face is etched with a father’s concern, and who is bearing the burden of large medical bills

·         Dayana, as she encounters pain in tests and doesn’t understand the reason she must endure such—

·         Our ability to come alongside them during hospital visits as they try to make sense of findings and additional exams needed

My prayer is that this story will have a beautiful ending, and that our God will be exalted!

Monday, August 24, 2009

FULL CIRCLE

     As we head back from putting Keri into college, I can't believe we are starting our third school year(second year of homeschooling) overseas. We miss Costa Rica, things Costa Rican, and appreciate ChikFilA and other things American, but look forward to speaking Spanish, hugging and greeting Tico-style, and welcoming our first family
to language school and San Jose as it begins next Monday. We were blessed during our time in the States and felt loved and cared for. Pray for this new Reachglobal family, the Johnsons, as they adjust to San Jose, immerse themselves in the culture and language prior to relocating to Peru sometime next year. Pray for Brian as he gears up for another intense travel season, and for a new Spanish Womens' Bible study/discipleship group beginning in the panaderia near our home. Pray that God will raise up a Tica leader that can be discipled so that other Latina women may multiply these efforts. Keri and Matthew begin classes at Wheaton this week, and Ben and Anna dive right in to high school and 4th grade, respectively.  Pictures of our Wheaton trek later this week! Just as Brian and I began college 30 years ago, the circle continues- and more missionaries deploy to Latin America as well!
 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Holistic Ministry Team in Hot New Orleans!

     I was so excited that our Latin America Holistic Ministry team is gathering in person in New Orleans in August! The neatest part is that we are scattered throughout Latin America and the US, yet have the same purpose as church planters, yet different giftings/passion which will enable us to use ESL, specific women’s ministries, relief/development, health-related ministries, business as mission platforms for the common purpose of developing, empowering and releasing healthy churches throughout Latin America in a holistic manner.

 

     Yesterday we spent the day in the city(New Orleans)—it was hot(heat index 100+), serving the people there.  Two teams went out—one hung sheetrock and sanded, others did whatever a charter school needed done—working up a sweat—in and out of air-conditioning!

Thanks for praying for us—injury-free and  ready for our last day of meetings and some Cajun food in the Quarter tonight!   

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Patchwork Quilt Summer

     My time in the States began at Winshape Camp for Boys where I reconnected with friends seen only yearly—but what a glorious 12 days of friendships, teamwork and ministry transpire! After several speaking engagements, we literally spread patchwork quilts to watch the laser show at Stone Mountain, a first-time experience for our youngest two, Ben and Anna.

 

     During the past two weeks, we’ve spent time with new friends(High Point small group who’ve loved us from afar),  friends from the remote past(from college days who now pastor in North Carolina),  friends from the distant past(Brian’s childhood church congregation, 3rd grade teacher, and his first pastor), and friends from our recent(Charlotte/Matthews) and newlywed past(Lou and Andrea, you’re the best!)-but the Lord’s kindness on providing such a beautifully woven summer has inspired us and encouraged us. We have the next 36 hours to cocoon as a family (and only that brief time to be altogether), and then we leave for meetings with our newest friends, our Reachglobal missionary Latin America leadership team, and then our newest team, the Holistic Ministry team meeting for the first time live in New Orleans!

 

Join us in praying for special family time before our eldest return to college, for focus and unity during team meetings, and for ministry opportunities that arise during the way!

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's CAMP time again...

To all my blog readers,
I deeply apologize for the time lapse between blogs, but I am working at my children's camp of choice-Winshape Camps! I am privileged to serve along 50+ Christian young men and women who spend their summers serving the Lord and kids here in Rome, Georgia. The heat, bugs and rain have been kept to a minimum, and only one pottery item exploded in the kiln--I teach pottery at Boys' Camp, and that is wonderful news to a potter!
 
Our family will spend the weekend visiting a church from Brian's childhood, and look forward to welcoming Keri and Matt home after their summer jobs in a few weeks(but Matt is doing a great job here at Boys' camp as well)!
 
Many opportunities to share Christ's love with the campers and others have arisen. Please pray for us and them as they still have another session until camp is packed up and the rush to prepare for school begins!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thought for Today

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27

 

 

Sometimes I get all caught up in not doing quite enough for Christ and His Kingdom. “What?”, you say, “you are a missionary and serve in another country.”  Sure, I do, but like many living, breathing Christians, we listen to the subtle whispers of the enemy, and accept some of these whispers as truth.

 

This morning, I began my day in James, a familiar passage, as I had memorized some of it as a new believer. I guess back then(about 30 years ago) I wasn’t mature enough to take care of myself(in the throes of adolescence) to worry about caring for widows, orphans, or the helpless and hopeless.  Yesterday was Anna’s 9th birthday. A little over nine years ago today, God whispered to us and led us to adopt one of his children-our Anna. Every waking moment we love her, encourage her, nurture her and raise her according to the way she is to go  we are fulfilling such counsel.

 

This Tuesday I spent several hours getting a test done that would take less than 20 minutes in the States. Our single,  sixty-something, house-helper(but she is more than that-our kids’ Tica abuelita (grandma)) needed a test that could be performed at the same clinic as she was unable to get an appointment with the free clinic for many months.   Not only did she accompany me to this private clinic, but the time spent with her was sweet Christian fellowship. And no, she doesn’t speak English, at least not in my presence.  Her gratitude in our obedience to providing for the test was evident, but being present in the hours with her did much more for my soul that I could ever imagine.

 

Listen for those whispers, act, and reap more than you’ve sown.  Peterson says it even more beautifully in The Message-

 

Act on what you hear….but whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God – even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it is no scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action…reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight , and guard against corruption from the godless world. James 1:22-27 (The Message)

  

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nearly a month?...it's been busy!

Time flies when you are trying to tie up more than one loose end! Sorry to have been incommunicado for so long, but celebrating our 25th anniversary, getting college forms filled in(still more of those to do), minors permissions to leave Costa Rica(we were traveling separately and have residency visas approved), and figuring out how to navigate the health care system to get the required tests for Keri, Ben and myself, necessary for college and camp and performing ministry duties have kept me busy these last three weeks!

 

We’ve had opportunities to use donated craft supplies in Rio Azul, and look forward to sharing a piƱata and treats with the children there-in celebration of Anna’s ninth birthday (it’s tomorrow as Ben and I will attest to -the countdown is now down to less than 8 hours)!  Happy Birthday, Anna girl!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Resilience in the midst of Life

Some of my friends know that I began this life resilient--born at 28 weeks gestation, weighing two pounds, 13 ounces, and hospitalized for six months-- I amazed the doctors when I survived, actually learned to walk and talk, completed two bachelors' degrees and a master's degree! As Mac Donald explained in his book A Resilient Life, however, the first half of life is the easy part!

I completed my Master's degree at age 43, simply because I wanted to do more for Christ and His Kingdom (and secretly I want to complete a Ph.D in Public Health whenever it fits into our life). However, living here in Costa Rica, is where that intentionally sought-after resilience has been most tested--and where a hint of quitter's gene appeared. Why? Because we've experienced things never even on the radar in the US--learning a new language and culture after 40, two car accidents in the first year(never had one in the first 24 yrs of marriage), robbery, vandalism, theft, declining economy and rock bottom support and the list could probably include a few more!

But the final laps of the laps are still ahead and I want to make my most valuable contributions to the Kingdom in midlife and following. God has brought people to our front gate who not only need their next meal, but the love of Jesus Christ, and the assurance of eternal life. He has met our every need in His exact time, and provided our daily bread in some interesting ways- from our panaderia (without cost) since October '08 and the opportunity to share Christ, a Bible and daily conversation with my Tica friend Ruth, the shop’s owner.

Right now, in this weary state, I want to trust God to instill this resiliency, enabling me to pursue personal growth, intentionally desiring to know God and His purposes more personally each day--to live life in such a way that the indelible impression /fragrance of Christ is imprinted on other missionaries, , our children(and our future grandchildren) our colleagues in the secular and the Christian workforce, and the Ruth's and Ana's of Latin America, so that my resilience may be multiplied in others in their first half of life, so that they too may finish the race resilient!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rainy Season, again...


Posted by Picasa

It's official....Keri's a Class of 2009 graduate!



Keri is officially graduated! It's been a month since the official countdown, which began with "Keri Duggan Day" followed by a graduation party in Costa Rica, recognition at church, several dinners, and culminated in a cap and gown ceremony last Sunday! Of course, one of the most significant events was the North Carolina DMV giving our grad her NC driver's license! Way to go, Keriboo!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bethany...


Bethany is our newest missionary on the field here in Latin America, and the first we were privileged to welcome to Costa Rica for a trimester of language school. Today she leaves to visit with family for a few days, repack her suitcases, and to drink a Starbucks in our honor. Next week she will join her teammates in Tarma, Peru, and adapt to both a new culture, Spanish with a different cadence and vocabulary, and start the adventure many American twenty-somethings never envision-- The bittersweet tears I shed with goodbye, were worth loving this precious one well . Fortunately, Skype and Communicator keep her as close as a cell phone or land line. Missing you, but praying for you now and in the days and months ahead.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Similar stories, different countries....God's tapestry woven together....

Last month we were invited to cafecito ( share coffee) with a Costa Rican couple who are leaders in ministry here in Tres Rios. We ended up listening and talking for hours. Sharing our stories, in Spanish. Although our married lives began a continent apart, in the same year (we are both celebrating our 25th anniversary) there were similarities, common stories and the unusual ways the Lord showed us he carried us through different routes, careers and life circumstances but in His wisdom brought us alongside one another here in Costa Rica in 2009. How encouraging and how humbling to know that the exact thing I needed to hear was impressed upon my heart by fellow believers who spoke in Spanish, not English. My next few posts will be word “snapshots” like this of the people we encounter in Costa Rica. I’ll try and post a photo of this dear couple sometime soon!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

LeadTeam in Thailand!

We arrived in Hong Kong, rested and breakfasted in the club which we were comp’d by the airline! Imagine our surprise when our Reachglobal colleagues Bob and Joyce showed up when we boarded the plane to Thailand…and where were they seated? Directly in front of us!  This morning after a full 12 hours or so of sleep, we worked out, showered and enjoyed fresh raspberries and sushi(Cathi) for breakfast!  Brian has meetings, but I’ll be checking out the shopping so I can buy some things at a lower price than in Costa Rica! Pics to follow later, and join me in praying for our day of fasting and prayer, Sunday( Saturday the 28th for those of you in the US and Latin America)March 29th.

 

 

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hospitality for a Houseful

Matt and his Wheaton buddies have worked, played and eaten this Spring Break! We are so thankful that they chose to visit Costa Rica! Here they are after a day of demolition at the Prometa office. Now some other teams can come and build what Prometa envisions! Just the thing to erase some mid-semester stress, frustration and get those endorphins and those appetites invigorated!

 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Happy Birthday, Brian!

I have so much to blog about and so little time… but today was Brian’s birthday so we celebrated! Instead of a birthday cake, he wished for an apple pie like dessert, so Keri whipped up Apple Crumble with vanilla ice cream! He received lots of well wishes, but in the Duggan household we have birthday weeks so keep those birthday greetings coming!

Matthew and his college buddies arrive in a little over 24 hours, so planning meals for 15 takes some doing! They’ll be doing some mission work, we’ll keep you posted!  

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

With Women ...

Some of my blog readers know that I attended graduate school a few years ago to become a nurse midwife.  Countless clinical hours(actually each type of visit and number of hours was calculated monthly), coursework, exams, and board certification occurred while the family and I kept up the housework, homeschooling, and mundane tasks every household faces, in addition to seeking the perfect job. God in His infinite wisdom already had a job for Brian and Cathi, unbeknownst to us, serving with Reachglobal in Latin America.

 

Many days, I thought my role here could have been just as easily accomplished in the Carolinas, in the comfortable surroundings we had grown accustomed to.  But living here has taught me that sometimes it is not about me or my plans, but a plan far bigger than we can imagine. And yes, I am in my sweet spot, using the dreams, skills, and passion to connect with women-of all ages, varied nationalities, from different backgrounds, in English and in Spanish, and in settings I’d never have imagined.

 

From rural clinics on the Caribbean coast, to pockets of urban poverty and right in my own backyard. This past week I was able to reach out to women at a clinic in a beautiful valley not far from our home, especially enjoying a conversation with a  delightful 95 year old woman. She had been seen in our clinic, and we were monitoring her before sending her home. Her sparkling eyes told the story, and she insisted she had better places to be, in her heavenly home with Jesus-so why not send her home?  Spending time with  Reachglobal women based here in Costa Rica is fun and comfortable. Walking along a sidewalk while a beaming four year old  girl chattered animatedly in Spanish as she held my hand, directing me towards her neighborhood preschool.  Months of interaction turned into opportunity today, when a spur- of- the-moment sharing  of coffee and banana bread with a Tica shopkeeper who runs a tiny panadería shared her heart as I willingly helped her mix a batch of donuts in the workroom in the back of her store.    I am here, right where I am supposed to be, with women for a lifetime.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today was a picture perfect day in Costa Rica. I had invited my husband to a sushi grill for lunch and my darling daughters, did my hair, my nails, my makeup, yes, and even picked my clothes. In fact, Keri told me with straight hair I didn’t look a day over 40(is that a complement). We’ve been playing catch-up from January and I am now involved in two Women’s Bible study groups, so I will be having some profound thoughts if I ever get a few minutes to collect my thoughts….after I finish the mile-long to do list!

 

On this weekend though, I took time to love on hubby and kids(and even Oreo the dog) more, to chat and surprise my local bakery friend with some Valentine treats, and plan to have another valentine’s date with hubby—next time coffee and dessert as time didn’t permit….take the time to love on the special people in your life! And to our faraway(and Costa Rican  and Latin American)family, friends, and supporters, we thank you and pray for you often!

Feliz Dia de Amor y Amistad!(Happy Day of Love and Friendship!)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A LITTLE DOWNTIME????



















Brian and I have been privileged to attend a working conference on Healthy Teams with some Reachglobal leaders from around the globe. Since it has been a very busy January, we were able to spend awesome time as a couple traveling to the conference, in addition to spending time with others during meals and brainstorming sessions, and playing games as a group in the evenings. Join us in praying that by being true-faced and loving well, ministry teams, marriages and families will be healthy and will be the aroma of Christ to the unsaved world.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 19, 2009

AREA CONFERENCE

Thanks to all of you who are praying for us as we are at Area Conference. Reachglobal missionaries from six residential fields, leadership from Minneapolis and teams from Nebraska and Tennessee have all experienced God’s grace during this week. We only had a minute to check email but will post updates soon!

AREA CONFERENCE

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Pray fervently....URGENT!

Our Executive Director, TJ, was attending meetings in Bangkok and is hospitalized. His condition has deteriorated rapidly, one of his sons is with him, although that has been difficult to make decisions for an ill parent.

Sincere thank yous!