Skype Me!

Okay guys... we have been living in Central America for over 3 months now... and we need a little more communication with the outside world!!!

Shortly after moving here, we discovered Skype. It is a free download that allows us to communicate via instant messaging, web cam, and like a phone- but through the computers! Anyone can sign up (they don't ask for any cards or payment) and once you sign in, you can see others in your 'contacts' who are online! If I click on a contact, I can IM or call their computer... although you do need a headset to do this.

Eric and I both spend a lot of time on the computer each day... doing projects, studying, etc. It would so awesome if we could IM with our friends back home, or even place a web cam call! If you're interested in getting Skype, go to www.skype.com . When you have a user name, email it to us (I don't want to post our email, but you all have it!) Then we can add you to our contacts!

Look forward to Skyping you!

New Addition to the Family!

A furry addition, that is! This is our new puppy, Dewey.
You are probably wondering why in the world we would name a beautiful dalmation puppy "Dewey", right? Well, Eric has always loved the name Dewey (which is beyond me) and has repeatedly declared his desire to name his first son Dewey. Since there is no way that is ever going to happen, we settled for this compromise- the dog is named Dewey, and not the kid!
Dewey's mom and dad are the sweetest dalmations you could ever encounter. Both are mellow (*fingers crossed*), loving and affectionate. I know this new addition to the family is going to make Scarlet VERY unhappy... but I think they'll grow to be good friends (again *fingers crossed*).


Very Exciting News!!!

We have a new baby in the family! Kayla Renee was born on April 7, weighing 6.5 oz and almost 21" long! Yay! Her much anticipated birth is a wonderful blessing to our entire family, and I can't wait to meet my new cousin (well, second cousin, I think). This baby girl is an answer to many prayers!
Congrats Ken, Steph & Austin!


Costa Rica

WHEW! We did it! It was a LONG four days, but we managed to make our way to the border, cross into Costa Rica with no problem and find a guy to take us to the Esquinas Rainforest Lodge in the Piedras Blancas national forest. We had decided awhile back, that if we had to spend 3 nights in Costa Rica, we might as well make a little vacation out of it! It was a lot of work to get to the lodge, but once we settled in, it was truly a wonderful time of refreshment and relaxation!
The lodge itself is truly remote... as you can see from the pic below. The bungalow accomodations were VERY modest and included free giant cockroaches in the bathroom. But, hey, it's the rainforest! The main building was a huge thatched-roof hut with lots of places to relax and a cozy little dining room where we ate 3 traditional Costa Rican meals each day.
Due to the location of the lodge, plopped in the middle of secondary rainforest, we saw LOTS of creatures. I took this picture while walking from our bungalow to the lodge... these guys were all over the place! Eric was able to see even more, as he went on a horseback riding tour along the river and also a night hike! On the night hike he saw brightly colored frogs, snakes, and bugs. He also ventured off by himself to explore the nearby trails a few times... and on one of those fateful adventures he was stalked and nearly killed by a monkey! (I'm not kidding... he came running out of the trail, dripping with sweat and scared to death! Ha ha!!!)
The lodge had a freshwater swimming pool just steps from our bungalow. The pool is fed by water from the river that runs through the property! And as a bonus, human guests aren't the only ones to enjoy the cool waters of the pool! Lots and lots of creatures hung out around the edges... look closely at Anna's head!
Another highlight of the lodge was the resident Caiman! He has a name, but I can't remember it at the moment. The caiman pond has only a 12" tall chicken wire fence on ONE side~ but on the other sides, there is absolutely nothing keeping this handsome boy from cruising right onto our porch... but he stayed put! Thank God!
Because the lodge accomodates mostly serious ecoadventure seekers (without babies!), we spent most of our time playing with Anna and taking turns relaxing! We made friends with the staff and the maintenance man even made me a bird out of some kind of leaf. The ladies in the kitchen were fabulous, always coming out to play with Anna... and take her back in the kitchen to oo and ah over her blue eyes. According to the bartender, the lodge doesn't get many "mini" guests, and so everyone loved having Anna around for a few days! (Well, the staff loved it... I don't think the European tourists appreciated it very much though!)
All in all, it was a great trip! We made it home safe and sound after another LONG day of traveling! But it was a great feeling to cross back into Panama and be headed back to our home. After all, there's no place like home!


pray for us...

Tonight we leave for Costa Rica. Our tourist visas expire next week, so we must leave the country for 72 hours. We have rented a car and Eric, Anna, and I- along with Pastor Bert & Vero, will begin the drive to the border around midnight tonight. It will take between 6-7 hours to reach the frontera. Once at the border, Bert & Vero will drop us off, and the three of us will cross into Costa Rica. Once inside Costa Rica, we will take a taxi or bus to the coast (about a 2 hour drive). We will then take a water taxi across the Osa Bay to a little hotel with a few cabanas. We will be at the cabana for 3 nights, and then return to the border where Bert & Vero will pick us up, and we will all return to Chorrera. Please pray for our safety as we drive and travel in Costa Rica. And especially pray that Anna would be content and comfortable and that this trip be smooth and successful! Thanks everyone!


One of my favorite things...

...about Panama is pineapples! They're everywhere! They're fresh! They're delicious!!!


The Outreach

The outreach in Los Mortales yesterday was AWESOME!!! When we rolled into the field where the outreach would take place, the kids began making their way to us! By the time the outreach started at 3pm, there were nearly 200 people there!!! Lots of adults and tons of kiddos! The day was fairly organized... about as organized as it could be. Carmen and Rafael took the kids and began doing songs and games. Eric led small groups in sack races. Vero organized the food... prepared hotdogs and juice. I painted the kids faces and Pastor Bert gave a message to the adults. After the message and the crazy pinata fiasco, we served everyone hotdogs and juice. It was a terrific day, and we made many new friends and were extremely welcomed in the sweet little community. We feel strongly that the Lord is leading us to serve in this village... and I personally can't wait to go back next Sunday!!!

We were blessed to use this awesome shelter with permission from the owner!

Eric leads one group of kids in "Padre Abraham"... (he's the one in the middle wearing the green shirt in case you couldn't tell)

Pastor Bert shares the good news of salvation through our Savior Christ Jesus!
What a sweet face...
Anna was a total hit... the kids couldn't get over her blue eyes! And she loved every minute of the attention!

The pinatas were a great success! Even the adults dove for candy :) Boys will be boys...
We also had balloon animals (and hats) made by a new friend of ours- an American who lives in our neighborhood! She and her husband joined us for the outreach and were a real blessing!
Look at that face!



Tomorrow we will put on our first official outreach! After church, we will be loading up a truck with food and games and heading to Los Mortales. We will serve hotdogs and juice, and Eric has planned several games for the kids including a sack race, egg relay and "telephone". Carmen purchased and filled 3 pinatas and I will make balloon animals (I can make a giraffe, a weaner dog, and a sword... and that's about it!) Pastor Bertin will give a message and invite the people to come study the Bible with us every Sunday at 4pm in their village. The people in the town told us to expect about 200 kids to show up for the festivities! Please pray for God's blessing and guidance as we reach out to the people of this beautiful but impoverished community.



My parent's left last night after a whirlwind 10 day trip! We tried to squeeze in as much as possible... including a 3 night stay at the beach!
Here's my dad making friends at the meat market!
On the way home from a day at the river, the bus stoped at some roadside stands for fresh coconut!

A few days of R & R at Las Sirenas Cabanas! This place is PARADISE!

Eating dinner at a little restaurant just down the beach from our cabana.

Grammy & Poppy's last night in Panama...