Wednesday, March 24, 2010

We Have to Leave Again!

After the Christmas break, we arrived in Costa Rica on January 5. Since we only have a "tourist" visa, we are only allowed to stay for 90 days at a time. Although we could have applied for a "student" visa, that is a costly and timely process, so we opted to keep just the "tourist" visa... besides, it makes it necessary for us to visit other countries! Last fall we were "forced" to visit Panamá!

Catholicism is the national religion in Costa Rica and Thursday and Friday of Holy Week (Semana Santa) are national holidays; many people take Monday-Wednesday off and vacation the whole week. Our school will not have classes next week.

One of our classmates works with a church in Nicaragua. He has organized a trip to Granada, Nicaragua during Semana Santa, allowing us to visit this city and interact with the people in his mission. We will leave Saturday morning, March 27, bright-and-early at 5:00 AM, endure the 6-hour bus ride to the border, deal with immigration and customs, and drive another hour to Granada. He has arranged for us to stay in homes of people from the mission for 5 days, and then we will return to Costa Rica on Thursday, April 1.

When we return to Costa Rica, we will have another 90 days before we have to leave again. We plan to return to the US, however, at the end of this trimester at the end of April.

Don't you just love international rules?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Back to Normal?

If you’ve been following our blog, you know that Sandy just reached a milestone where she no longer has the Hep-C virus yet must stay on the medication for another 40+ weeks. Once again, however, God arranged for someone to bring the medicine to us from the US (thank you Susan from Asbury Church in Madison, AL!). So, we now have a supply of medicine and we can get back to normal.

But then I step back and think: since when does having a 90-day supply of interferon in the refrigerator, an extremely potent and dangerous drug, and well over 500 pills to be taken 3 at a time twice-a-day, that cause tremendous headaches, become “normal?” What’s wrong with this picture?

Thursday morning in chapel, a fellow missionary and piano player was sharing an appropriate message. It is dealing with the ordinary things in life, day after day, that shape who we become: obvious and profound. She gave a great object lesson by playing a song on the piano metronome-perfect. She then played it again with feeling and expression and it sounded like a different song. She played the exact same notes, but she played with another motivation and the song was completely different. She also talked about how the smallest acts we do every day, the smallest decisions we make, all add up to place us where we are at any given time: simple yet insightful (and from C.S. Lewis!).

What is “normal” in your life? Do you go day-by-day thinking there is no point? Do your circumstances dictate who you are or how you feel? Or do you know who God made you to be? Do you spend time with Him everyday, not only in your devotions but with all other activities in your life? Are you living your life “metronome-perfect” or do you live every moment as if it had meaning, and thereby give yourself a new life?

No, we’re not happy about what has become “normal” for us, but we don’t let it determine who we are or how we look at life. We don’t ask God: Why has this happened, or why does Sandy have so much pain? Rather, we ask God to help us bear it, to help us remain faithful, and to be a witness to others.

Dios les bendiga!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

NEGATIVE Is a Positive

We got Sandy's blood test results yesterday - she is NEGATIVE for Hep-C, which is a POSITIVE for us! Praise God for this act.

As we have learned so many times before, God is always on-time, and seldom early. One of our classmates has a team coming here from the US on Saturday. We now have just enough time to schedule a delivery for them to arrive on Thursday and they can bring to us on Saturday.

Please pray:
1) nothing goes wrong with the shipment to Asbury United Methodist Church in Madison, AL
2) the storage for two days, and delivery to us on Saturday are uneventful
3) Sandy's endurance remains high - she has another 46 weeks of treatment!
4) thanks that God has so well provided for us!

Bill & Sandy