Wednesday, December 24, 2014

It's my Dad's Birthday!!

That's right! My dad is a Christmas eve baby! One of the best Christmas gifts ever. Oh how I wish I could completely describe him, but to put it simple. He is one of my biggest heroes and greatest friends! Here's a few pictures into the life of my dad.

A handy man and always finding ways to serve others.
Husband to my beautiful Mum

Hunter - partially because of the hunt, but also because he loves the out doors and spending time with people

Dad of a bunch of awesome children. Haha, jk on the last part. But He is an amazing dad. 

A little whacky sometimes

And loves to make others laugh


Fun and competitive

Great Dad

Leader, encourager, and comforter


...and so so much more

He has taught me sooo much and God has used Him to bless so many people. Some of the favorite things that I have learned from him are...

6. To always be Learning
Dad is a constant learner. He asks questions, researches, and has a huge store of information. He'd pass on neat facts to us kids, explain the why and how behind the what, and would answer all sorts of questions that we asked him. Sometimes we'd stump him, and most of the time he'd wheel over to the computer and say "well let's look." Then once he'd figure it out he'd help us to understand it too. Boy was I especially thankful for his gift of teaching when I'd come home from Anatomy and Physiology confused by something and he would whip out a whiteboard pen to explain it in illustration on the whiteboard.

5. To Work Hard
When my dad does something, he puts in all his effort. If it's worth doing, its worth doing well, and he's always on the look out for things that need to get done. Quicker to jump up to do a job than to sit down and watch a movie.

4. To Serve
Not only is he hard working, but he has blessed so many people by just being aware of how to help others and making a point to step in and serve. Volunteering to move houses, providing rides to church, sending food over to the neighbors, working in the yard....a lot of my memories are of working as a family to serve others. Through example, encouragement, and instruction he taught me the importance of seeing how to serve and sharing love with others through action.

3. To give to others through Leadership
My dad doesn't always like to lead or be the center of attention. But when he see's a need, he steps up to do it. I remember him telling me often, "Don't be the sage on the stage, be the guide on the side" Whether it be hosting an event, leading devotions, directing an Apologetics club, or just guiding a conversation, he steps up to help others. He taught me that leadership isn't about power and prestige, it's about using your gifts and skills to bless, guide, and encourage others. 

2. To Love and Listen
By mom and dad really are two of my best friends. I can't count the number of times that my dad and I have talked for hours about life and everything that comes with it. He's always been there to listen, share his wisdom, and just talk things through with. 

1. To Pursue God
I remember coming home from Awana camp, knowing that my Dad was going to ask me "What did God teach you this week?" When I was younger and not really in a genuine daily relationship with God, I'd come back and cringe when I heard the question. Because I had been so focused on the fun and friends. But as I got older, that question and my parents constant example and encouragement spurred me on to see what a daily relationship with God was really like. 
Mom and Dad would have us get up every morning for devotions, and even though there were multiple times when us kids would fall asleep or not come with the right heart, they were faithful. They would encourage us and would live out the example of spending time with God and digging into His word. The moments when they shared what God was teaching them and how he was humbling their hearts were some of my favorite. My parents weren't and aren't perfect, but they showed me that it alright. Because life isn't about being perfect, it's about having a relationship with God and loving others, a beautiful journey. 

Dad, you'll never know the impact you've made. I love you so so much and am incredibly thankful that I get to be your daughter! I wish I could be there in person to wish you Happy Birthday and give you a hug, but here's a HAPPY BIRTHDAY from Nicaragua!
Thanks for seeking God, loving Him, loving mom, and loving us kids. You're you and I love you that way. Your daughter misses you and is praying for you as you continue to seek to be God's kid, a husband, a dad, a friend, a leader, and a man after God.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A lesson from mud and a young boy in Panama

Walking down the mud trail I looked ahead to where my next foot step should go. Finding a spot I shifted my weight and stepped down, only to have my foot slip right out from underneath me. Falling backwards I barely caught myself above a big mud puddle in a crab walk stance, hands and feet stuck in the mud holding myself up, while the laughter of some of my friends erupted around me.

Panama! This was but one of the many fun memories I got to make while there! We had a wonderful three required days out of the country, and came back with renewed visas to be able to stay in Costa Rica till Christmas break.

While there, we stayed at a hostel on one of the small islands. The second day that we were there, we trekked through the muddy trail that I mentioned above, to visit one of the native villages and reach out to the kids there with a man who had been faithfully developing friendships with them. It was an eye opener to see the poverty and very different life style, but also a lot of fun to be able to spend even a bit of time with them.

On the way back, one of the young boys grabbed my hand and started leading me down the muddy trail. You could tell he knew the trail as he walked with confidence and precision, showing me where to step and steadying me any time my feet slipped. A couple times I thought I had found a better spot to put my foot, only to lose my balance and go back to leaning on him and following his lead. We made it back in about half the time it took to walk the trail the first time, and had a good conversation (with the little Spanish that I have been learning).

The whole encounter made me smile and had me thinking about another journey. The one in which I get to walk with my Savior, day by day. There are times when I try to ignore his presence and figure out my own steps. At first I seem ok, safe, but give it a little time and I realize that I’m falling. Sometimes into exhaustion, or self reliance, wasting time, pride, complacency, fear, pursuit for satisfaction, pursuit for success, you name it. Sin. Then I feel the tug, my Lord’s hands pulling me. Showing me how I’ve strayed and promising safety if I but humble myself and follow Him.

I’m thankful for this journey, I’m thankful for my savior, my shepherd, my guide. While being here there have definitely been moments when I try to live in my own strength, when I’ve started idolizing even good things like learning the language, or gotten lost in self. But God is faithful and called me back. I’ve been learning all the more that if you want to walk in the light, you must walk with the LIGHT. That’s been my prayer and praise the last few weeks. That God would continue to humble my heart and help me to follow Him all the better, day by day, moment by moment. That He would open my eyes to His work and give me courage to follow Him and step out in faith that He knows way better than I. That He would be my daily bread, and delighting Him my greatest joy.

How precious is your steadfast love O God. The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life, in your light do we see light. – Psalm 36:7-9

Prayers and Praises:

Praise: Safe Panama trip
Praise: Deconstruction for the construction of our church started!
Praise: I got sick twice in the last couple weeks, but was only out for a couple days each time and am feeling healthy
Praise: We had a 24 hour day of prayer (called a Battle Cry) last week and it was probably one of my favorite days of being here so far. God is at work here and it is soo beautiful to see and be a part of.
Praise: We finished with Spanish exams for the week, which went well!
Prayer: I'm teaching the young kidoes today at ministry, I'd love prayer that God would speak through me and touch the hearts of the kids.
Prayer: This week I've been getting really homesick (only 6 more months till I get to be home in WA). Pray that I'd be able to find full comfort in God, and keep my eyes fixed on Him and His work here.

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement!! It is such a blessing to get to talk with some of you and know you're praying for me. God is definitely working here, in me and in Costa Rica, and I'm so thankful for this opportunity to be a part of it!

God bless!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Almost 2 Months in Costa Rica - Pictures!

Me, Kasey, Bridget, Nancy, and Micaela - The girls of the Tirrases Crew

With the crazy face making dudes of our Tirrases Gap Team - Will and Brandon

Hi Friends and Family!

Thank you all for praying for me. It has been so neat to see God work here. First off, some praises

·         Work on the church is progressing and we’re hoping that the building process will be starting this coming week. They’ve raised about $1000 and but we’re still in need of more funds, so please keep praying in that area, and if you feel led to give financially as well, you can email me ( for more information.

·         God has been working in our Gap group sooo much. To begin with I was disappointed that the only time we would be “in ministry” would be on Saturday and Sunday. But then God opened my eyes to how I was limiting His mission field. Living with 30 people, we all have the opportunity to encourage, challenge, and build one another up in our walk with God. It has been so neat to see that take place, be impacted by others, and see the change and growth in them too. This last Thursday we had a prayer and worship night. At the end we had a time where we just got to share what God had been doing in our lives.

·         Another praise is that so far I haven’t gotten sick yet. Which is a huge blessing. Almost everyone has gotten sick at least once though, so please keep praying that we all stay healthy.

·         Our Tirrases group has grown so much and it’s been so neat to see how we’ve all connected as family. Praise God for it all. Saturdays are one of our favorite days and at least every time at least one person says how thankful they are for our team.

·         I am incredibly thankful for my roommates. We’ve known each other for less than two months but they already feel like my sisters away from home. God has worked so much in our already and it’s been a joy to laugh, joke, pray, and just do life together. 

The picture at the top of this post, is of me and my ministry team that I go with to Tirrases every Saturday. With the encouragement of Jairo and Noelia (the couple that started and lead the ministry) we’ve been working on interacting on the kid’s level to connect with them better. So I’ve been learning to joke around like and have the imagination of a 7 year old. It’s fun, sometimes out of my comfort zone, but totally worth it to see their smiles as we seek to love them in their own way. When we come up to the area near their houses, a lot of them will come running out with faces lighted up, to give us a hug and climb up on our backs. Please keep praying for us all. For my team, that we would continue to be able to sacrifice our own comfort, energy, and tendencies to love on the kids levels.

And please pray for the kids and families in Tirasses. To get a picture of the type of area that we’re in, we see drug deals happen almost every time we’re there and two weeks ago one of the people in our team witnessed someone get stabbed with a crowbar. Stray dogs are everywhere and houses are made out of a combination of concrete and various pieces of metal nailed together. The families are in turmoil, with most of the kids living with only one parent and multiple half siblings from multiple different parents. That’s their life, and they don’t know much else. To them we’re the light in the week. But it’s also tough because the truth and encouragement that we share with them is opposite of what they hear and experience throughout the week. Pray for the kids, that their curiosity for and desire to serve God would continue to endure and grow. A couple weeks ago the lesson was on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and their experience with the fiery furnace. Now that I’m here, that story has even more significance. Pray that they would continue to see how great God is, and what that means in their life. Pray that they would come to understand what it means to serve only Him no matter what the pressure is, and pray that they would understand all the deeper of God’s great love for them.

Also, this coming Tuesday morning everyone in the Gap program is loading up for a trip to Panama because we have to leave the country every 90 days to renew our visas. While there, we’ll be doing some ministry and taking some time to relax and recharge. Please pray that the trip goes well and we can get over and back with no troubles. I have to go get my bus ticket today for heading to Nicaragua in December, pray that we're able to figure out all the details for that too!

I wish you all could be here to see everyday life, but here is the rest of the update in photos, so you can get a picture (cheesy pun intended) of what life here is like. I love it and am so thankful to be where I am. God is good. Thank you all for praying for and encouraging me, it is such a blessing, and anytime I start to feel discouraged I try to think back to how I got here and the many people God used to enable me to be here and give. You all are such a blessing.

Also, if you'd like to hear more about Tirrases. Here is a link to really neat video explaining more about what we do.

The rest of the update, in photos.

Headed to Costa Rica. Over the ocean.

The beautiful world above land. If heaven is even better than this...I want to tell everyone!

Headed home after a trip to town. The green fence is to our villa where we live.

A group of us decided to throw a surprise for one of the girls and made birthday cakes for Rachel!!!

Tire got a nail in it, so the guys put all their efforts together and changed the tire.



Tirrases - Jairo and Jefet leading the lesson.

Tirasses - They love jump roping here!!

Danielaita and I. She's so precious

Tirasses - A few of the boys playing soccer.

One of the houses

Part of our room!
Bridget and Josue

Lining up for snack time. This is also the location where we're going to set up the church. It's small but will work for now, Current project is putting a full and proper roof on, then next up is putting in a floor.

Our teachers are so fun, and this Friday for half the Spanish classes they split us into teams and had a competition. This is a pic of me and my awesome team!! Called ourselves the yellow jackets, and we won! :-)
Monday is our free day at GAP! So last Monday they set up a trip and took all of us to the beach for the day (two hours away). Most of us got sunburned, but it was sooo much fun! 
My amazing roommates - Peyton, Macie, and Kailen. I couldn't have asked for a better room. These young ladies are such a blessing and I can't help but smile everytime I walk into our room at night. 

This is the building that has four of the girls rooms.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

One Month in Costa Rica

Me with five of the girls that I get to spend to spend every Saturday with, unfortunately we were facing the sun. :-)

Hi everyone!

First off, I apologize for taking so long to post my second update! I've gotten so caught up in life here that I've slacked on keeping you all up to date. I'm trying to improve, but if you have any questions or specific areas of curiosity, feel free to comment or email and I will try to answer them in the next post.

I can’t believe I have been here in Costa Rica for a month now! The time has flown by so fast, and each day I am more and more grateful to be here.

So here's a glimpse of what a typical week looks like! It tends to go by fairly quickly as we are in Bible and Spanish classes for most of the day Tuesday-Friday. On Saturday we have an all-day ministry (I mentioned in my last post)  and Sunday we have morning and evening church. Monday is our Sabbath and time to be able to relax, go to town, and catch up on sleep.

I love how God works. Leading up to leaving the states, I struggled with having to say good bye-for nine months-to everyone at home. But God is faithful, and He used those moments to really challenge me in where I was finding my comfort and security. Did I really trust God enough to follow Him when He called? My prayer was that I could say "yes" with both my mind and my heart. As I surrendered, He worked.

Now that I’m here, I realize yet again how there was no need to fear. Each Saturday, I fall more in love with the kids that we visit...And as I get to know their story, I get even more excited to have this opportunity to love on them and be a part of sharing a life transforming story.

My Spanish classes have been going really well also! People are so great about listening and trying to give us more "Spanish speaking practice'. The kids at our ministry only speak a couple of English words, if any, so it is really fun to pull in what we've learned to communicate with them. When I came, we were all evaluated on our Spanish skills and placed into four different classes. I was put in the second one. The teachers are fantastic and I’ve been working hard, trying to practice as much as I can. This last week they bumped me up to class three. It is such a blessing to be able to learn this way, and I get even more excited about the opportunities speaking Spanish will open up.

A Few Prayer Requests
  • I’ve been reading through Mark and have fallen more in love with Jesus’ life. His loving character demonstrated through His words and actions continues to challenge me in how I am seeking to love God and love others. My prayer is that He would keep working in my heart, drawing me closer to Him and showing me how I can share His tremendous love more with others. I would love prayer for wisdom in that area.
  • Pray that God would provide a floor and roof for a new Church plant in our ministry. Praise God we have already found a place, and we know that He can provide a way for us to get the floor and roof up too.
  • Pray for all of us students, that we would be open to God working in our hearts and eager to reach out to the people that He has placed in our life.
  • I’d also love prayer concerning decisions for the future. The director of the Gap program here asked me to pray about interning for the program next year. Week before last we had a teacher from the DR. He is a church planter out in the boonies with his wife who is a nurse and runs a clinic. He asked if I would consider coming to intern in their village. The doors keep opening. I’m so excited to be able to be used by God and am willing to follow wherever He leads me, I’d just love prayer for clear direction in what step to take next.
I wish I had more time to share with you what has been going on here. But for now I better sign off. Thank you all so much for your prayer, support, and encouragement. You have no idea how much it means to me and I thank God for all of you!

Till next time, Hosanna

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Costa Rica Adventure – Update 1

Hi Everyone,

My Favorite Experience So Far
Seven people with a heart for God and sharing His love, gathered in an apartment living room at 9:30pm, singing praise to our Lord and Savior. Praying that He would continue to soften our hearts, fill us with His love, and use us that night to share with others this same life transforming love.

Last night, I had one of my favorite experiences so far. Two young ladies and I got to go out at night to work with a ministry called Light Force. Costa Rica has the largest brothel in Central America and is known for its rampant prostitution and sex tourism, especially in San Jose, where we are located. Light Force works with the girls and guys that work on the streets by building relationships with them, showing them God’s love, and providing an avenue for them to get out of the sex industry.

Our group of seven met to get a run-down on what would happen, then pray and worship together. Afterwards, we piled into a van with coffee and cookies and hit the streets. As we drove around and found young women at various corners we would get out, offer the coffee and cookies, and hear more about their story. Street prostitution is the lowest level of prostitution here, so many of them are treated like scum, spit on and abused. Our goal was simply to love on them, show them that they are valued - that they are people worth talking to - cast them some hope, and show them that we’re there to help them and provide a way of escape. My favorite part of the night was seeing their eyes light up as we pulled next to the curb and jumped out to give them a hug and start talking to them, like carriers of hope. Please pray for these men and women, that they would see and come to understand the hope and life transforming love that our God can provide. Pray for the Light Force ministry that faithfully works with these people. Their top two needs are funds and labor. Also, please pray for guidance as they continue to learn better ways to reach out.

The Light Force Ministry Team for Saturday Night

Life at the Villa

During the last four days, I've been settling into the villa where I am staying, and getting to know the Costa Rican culture. I live at a villa, or ranch house, with 25 other students around my age and place in life. I have three really fantastic roommates (their names are Kailen, Macie, and Peyton) who I’ll be staying with while I’m here. The whole group will be taking Spanish and Bible classes together Tuesday-Friday, and then split into smaller teams to help in various ministries on the weekends. I’ve been here since Tuesday night and the last few days have been focused on orientation, settling in, becoming familiar with the area, and getting to know each other. We have an awesome group of four interns (students from last year that were asked to come back to help) who have been really kind, encouraging, and helpful as we have settled in. They are such a blessing. We also have a student life director, as well as a missionary couple (and their four kids) who runs the Gap ministry. God’s work in their life is evident already, and I’m really thankful for the opportunity to be friends with and serve under them.


I found out yesterday that the main ministry I will be helping with is located in a shanty town about a 20 minute drive away from our villa. I’ll be going with a small team every Saturday to play with the local kids and reach out to them with God's love. We’ll be working with the youngsters in the morning, and then hosting a form of youth group with the teenagers in the afternoon. Today we got to go for a short trip to the area for the first time. We arrived during the youth group portion and had fun playing games with the teenagers, listening to a bible lesson, and then touring the area. I am so excited for this opportunity. The kids live in very impoverished area where many of the bigger gangs reside (witnessed our first Costa Rican drug deal). We’re there to cast light and hope amidst the turmoil and be faithful friends to the kids

We already have one girl, an out-going fourteen year old Tico (local), who has assumed the position of our Spanish teacher. She went around telling us names of various objects as she pointed to them. Learning Spanish has been going well. The Ticos are really sweet and patient, and they love to have us practice. We speak in Spanish when we can. When we don't know how to say something in Spanish, there is usually someone around who knows enough English to interpret for us, so we can communicate pretty well.

Catholicism and Christianity are pretty common here in Costa Rica, but there is a deficit in understanding what it means to really have a relationship with God. So our focus here will be to create faithful friendships through which we can share more about God’s character, His life transforming love, and how both of those impact not only our eternity but also our daily life as we take up the cross and seek to follow Him. I am really looking forward to my time here.

My Tirrases Ministry Team Eating Lunch Together

Prayer Requests
·         Light Force Ministry
·       The kids at Tirrases - Tirrases is the ministry that my team and I will be working with
·       The Gap Leadership Team - Pray for the Lord's wisdom, strength, and guidance as they lead us and make decisions regarding the Gap program
·       Healing - I've come down with a cold, and am fighting a sore throat and congestion. My amazing mom sent me with some cold medicine, which has been really helpful.
·       An adept mind and good memory - to help in learning the language here. Our classes start Tuesday!

Thank you all so so much for your prayer, encouragement, and support. You have been a huge blessing to me already and I thank God for each of you. I am so excited for this opportunity to serve, love on others, grow, and become better equipped. God has been working in my heart a ton already and really confirming the passion he has placed in my heart for ministry. Thank you for making this a possibility, encouraging me in this call, and praying for me as I seek to serve Him here in Costa Rica.