Wednesday, March 15, 2006

 

Who wants to learn English?

Well, these last couple of months have been both hectic and at the same time full of time for reflection and relaxation. One thing about my job is that it is speratic, for example one day I work 15-16 hours and the next day I have a one-hour meeting. I have a very weird schedule, some days I love it because it is not like the normal 9 to 5 job and other days it is hard because I crave structure. It is weird to say that myself but it is true.
These last couple of months I have gotten back to the routine of soccer, started 5 English classes, and gone to Panama for a spiritual youth retreat. With soccer, things have only begun to expand with more and more people on our staff and more publicity. Last Friday we had one of the largest TV stations in Costa Rica visit our Soccer for Life practice and they interviewed many of the staff as well as the youth in the program. These steps are very important for us because we are looking for funding not only in foreign countries, but also those from local sponsors to help support the program. We also had a very important guest come to visit one of our practices in Alajuelita, Franz Beckenbauer, a legend in soccer history. This was big event for soccer fans because it is rare that he would come to such a small country such as Costa Rica, but it is even rarer that he would visit our small non for profit program in the middle of a poor run down neighborhood. Another big event that is about to happen is that 6 youth from our program are going to Germany to see the World Cup and to share their experience with local schools. All of this is thanks to a program called Bread for the World (Pan para el Mundo) and the ELCA Lutheran church that sponsors this program and makes these opportunities possible. The program is expanding every month and I am very proud to be a part of it.
Last year I had led several English classes, one with the help of my fellow missionaries Lara and Lindsay, in the community, La Carpio, and the other continuing what Lara had started in Alajuelita. When I renewed my contract in September I really wanted to keep those classes going. In Alajuelita we kept a group of about 6 children and 4 adults and the classes in La Carpio were on hold because of construction. Once the construction and long Christmas vacation was over, I decided to start them up again. To my amazement, there was an overwhelming population of people who wanted to become part of the class. The first day in mid January I asked everyone to meet that was interested in La Carpio to see what ages would show up, and almost 50 people came that day. I taught a class of 50 the alphabet and their colors. It was rather fun but a little out of control, so for the next week I divided it into 3 classes: children, youth, and adults. I had 40 kids in the children’s class, 25 in the youth class, and 20 in the adult class. It was an exhausting day after soccer and then 3 classes, but I really enjoyed it and was excited to keep this going for the next six months of my contract. Two days later we started the English class in Alajuelita, which followed the music class that teaches the recorder and the guitar. About 10 kids stayed for the English class and about 25 adults showed up for the adult class. It was really cool to see so many faces in this tiny little church building. The church is where everything is held, from the child day care center during the day, the music classes, the youth group, the women’s group, the once a month free dental check ups and women’s health education and advice, to the weekly services and all of the parties. For being so small it is such a blessing that so many people come through and have the opportunity to worship and to learn. Right now we are about in our 5th week of classes and we are keeping the same numbers and having a lot of fun. Two weeks ago, many of the other volunteers and I went to Chiriqui, Panama for a spiritual youth gathering. It was held by my fiancé’s Methodist church. The topic was on how to maintain communion with God. It was a very important time for me because I was feeling like I was in a routine in my faith and in my church and I needed a change. I definitely think that spiritual growth is important while maintaining fellowship with others and with God. This opportunity brought growth because I was able to meet other Christians that were on fire for Christ, which helped renew my passion and motivated me to keep pushing myself to put more focus on God and less on myself. We also spent a lot of time in prayer and in worship, which was something that I had needed to do, but I had just put it off as something that did not need more than 10 minutes of my day. We also did a lot of fun things, like skits and talent shows, which allowed me to get to know more of Randy’s friends as well as the Pastor that is going to perform our wedding ceremony. Once it was all over we went straight home starting work the next day. Leaving the retreat I felt renewed and ready to share what I had learned with the people that I work with in the communities. If you have any questions about my adventures in Costa Rica and Panama please send me an email at
Lizafoo22@yahoo.com and I would love to talk to you. Also if you are interested, the Soccer for Life website (linked below) has a lot of information and if you don´t understand Spanish it also has lots of pictures. Since my contract is almost up, the ELCA along with Soccer for Life are looking for more missionaries/volunteers. If you are interested in serving through this program please check out the ELCA website for more information or send me an email. Thank you for all of the support and prayers that you have given me and please keep in touch. Chow
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www.elca.org
www.futbolporlavida.org

Saturday, January 21, 2006

 

Soccer for Life kids enjoying their End of the Year Party



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Return to the Pura Vida

Well, I know it has been a long time since my last update but things have been really busy. Of course with all this lost time I have a lot of catching up to do. To start off I hope everyone had an amazing holiday break and had a chance to rest and enjoy their families. As the year was winding down right before the break there were more activities than even. With Soccer for Life and the Lutheran church we were gearing up for our end of the year parties and retreats. One thing that the Costa Ricans sure know how to do is party. In every community there was a party and then of course one at the end for everyone. In each of the Soccer for Life communities we were able to have a recreational event. All of the children and adolescents went on a trip that included swimming pool, soccer fields, basketball courts, lunch and ice cream. It was a celebration for all of those who worked hard this year, learning how to work as a team, stay positive, discuss various important issues dealing with youth today, and learn soccer skills that help build confidence and self respect. It was also a great time to congratulate those who finished another year of hard work in school.
To congratulate my hard work this year the ELCA supported me to go home to see my family. It was very special for me for many reasons. First of all last year I stayed here in Costa Rica and I was starting to miss cold weather and family. Second of all I brought a guest along that had never before been out of Central America and had never seen snow or so many Gringos in his whole life. Who was this lucky guest? His name is Randy Aguirre and he is my boyfriend from Panama. We have been together for over a year now and when we got to my home town in St. Louis he asked my mother permission to marry me. Now he is not just my boyfriend but me fiancé and we are setting our wedding date for the 29th of July. (I told you a lot happened while I was away) So now for my future plans, once my missionary contract is up in June, I will be moving to Panama for 6th months until Randy finishes orthopedic school. Then we will move to the US, that is some news huh? So while we were in the States I was really hoping to get the chance to go to Colorado to see last year’s missionary and one of my best friends, Lindsay Martinez. Of course the air fare was too expensive and we didn’t have a car so chances were pretty slim. I prayed a lot about it and sure enough guess what happened… we found a ride from someone else that was praying to have company on her trip to Colorado. God sure is faithful and always answers prayers; you just never know when they are going to happen. Thanks be to God I was able to go to Colorado (14 hour trip) and see Lindsay. While I was there I was able to show Jesus, a Costa Rican, and Randy, a Panamanian, snow for their first time. But I am not talking about city snow; I am talking about Colorado mountain snow!
Another blessing that I was able to experience was that I talked to the youth of my church about my experience as a missionary. I talked to about 30 high school and middle school students. Instead of just talking about my experience, with the help of my mom (a great teacher), I had them play games to demonstrate what I do for the Soccer for Life program. I had them play a quick warm up game and then, to make it a little more realistic, I had them take off their shoes. This was to demonstrate that many of the kids in our program play bear foot or with their school dress shoes and not in tennis shoes or soccer cleats. Then I told all of the girls that they could not play and had them go to the side. This was to show that normally girls are not allowed to play because in a Machista society sports are only for boys. I asked the girls if they thought that was fair, the boys of course said yes, but the girls said no and that they still wanted to play, so I mentioned that our program is very different from other programs in the area because we instruct soccer for girls just as much as boys and help teach them to play together. Once again to make it more realistic I told the girls that in order for them to play they had to find something to do with their imaginary 2 or 3 younger brothers and sisters. This is also very common for the teenage girls that I work with because since their parents are working the older females are responsible for taking care of their younger siblings. Most of the girls in the demonstration just threw their ¨siblings¨ into the air so they could get to play, but normally in this situation the little kids just shadow their older sister or sit on a bench and watch. Once we got teams together and goals set up, we played a real soccer game and I just let them go wild. One person would try to go through 5 others to make a goal and everyone was chasing the ball. This was very realistic to what we work with. After about 5 minutes I stopped them, just like I would in a practice and explained to them basic rules, positions, and team work, and that everyone gets a chance to play, whether they were small or tall or girl or boy. After the quick game there was time for question/answer and by then there were a lot of questions. It was interesting of what concepts they had of Costa Rica. Some of them didn’t even know where the country was let alone the issues that they are facing so it was interesting to talk about what the Lutheran church does in another country.
One thing that was really interesting during this whole trip was to see US from the eyes of an outsider. Randy and I were able to explore a small portion of this country, but since I hadn´t been there for a while and it was his first trip we started to examine different aspects that were very different from Latin America. We as Americans have a lot more space. The streets are bigger, the stores are bigger, the schools and houses are definably bigger. My high school looks about the size of a University and my house looks like a mansion (that is just because it has 2 stories and its own yard). For the US, the normal house probably has a spare bed room in it, right? The reality for some of the communities in Costa Rica that I work in have as many as 9 or 12 people living in a small 2 bed room home. For me probably the biggest shock was the super stores and malls, especially at Christmas time. Costa Rica has them too as well as the commercialization over the holidays, but it is not on such a large scale. About 10 minutes from my house in St. Louis there, in the same area, is a Wal-Mart, a Target, a Hallmark superstore, a Sports Authority, and a Super K-Mart. Why would you go anywhere else? With these stores combined you could find anything you would ever what. But what ever happened to the corner markets, or the family clothing stores? They can’t compete with these low prices so they just die out. I am noticing the same chain of events happening where I live in San Jose. Right now I have about 5 family owned grocery stores with in two blocks of my house, but there is also a super store 5 blocks from my house (looks like a Wal-Mart) called Hiper Mas, which has clothing, shoes, and groceries, it also sells Wal-Mart brand products. I hope this isn’t true but with the way things are going these small businesses will not survive another 5 or 10 years.
Anyway, besides going through a little bit of culture shock, Randy and I had an amazing time, both in Missouri and in Colorado. We arrived back in San Jose on the 8th of January and on the 9th we were back to work. Randy went back to Panama to start his semester and I returned to work with soccer and the church. Our first activity with soccer was we had an evaluation meeting of 2 days in the Manu retreat center, which is out of San Jose and more into the rainforest. It is a beautiful place and with a natural swimming pool, small cabins for housing, and amazing greenery. We talked about what happened in 2005 and all of the changes we have gone through starting with only 1 community to now having 5. We got to know all of the new staff more personally and started planning for 2006. Now we are starting up 3 more communities in San Jose and 3 more long distance soccer schools. I am very excited to have seen this program grow so much and to get started on all of the new projects that we are going to be starting.
Last and but not least I would like to thank the people from my church St. Michael and St. George for their donation of soccer cleats for our Soccer for Life (Futbol por la Vida) program. They arrived and we are already starting to pass them out. Thanks so much to everyone for their support, please email me if you have any questions about our programs or if you would like to contribute to this worthy cause. God Bless


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www.futbolporlavida.org

 

Randy (left) and Jesús (right) and their first sight of big snow



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The Soccer for Life Pool Party!



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Friday, January 20, 2006

 

End of the Year Pool Party for all of the Communities



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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

 
My Buddies from Alajuelita Posted by Picasa

 
Youth Lock-In at the Church in Alajuelita Posted by Picasa

 
Soccer for Life in Quitirrisi Posted by Picasa

 
A walk through the community, La Carpio Posted by Picasa

 
Youth from an indingenous community Quitirrisi Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 20, 2005

 

I´m back home and the rain never stops

I think I am going to call October national visitor month. September was full of soccer and church activities, but once October started the visitors’ just streamed in. (I loved it!) It is an amazing blessing to have friends and family that want to share in this experience and on the 30th one of my best friends, Marin and her husband JJ are coming down to visit as well.
In the month of September, as soon as I returned to Costa Rica from the US, I head right back to work. It was great to arrive "home" and see everything had gone smoothly. It was pretty exciting because literally the day I came back the Alajuelita girls soccer team had a game. It was great to see everybody again since I missed almost 2 months of soccer (with the 2 delegations and then a trip to the US). The game was great, we lost but we still had a great time. The girls were singing on the bus ride home so I don’t think they took it too hard. We also have two new additions to our women’s staff team, which is wonderful, because since I was the only women’s coach if I couldn’t make it there was no practice. One of the coaches is a Tica (Costa Rican female) and the other is originally from the US but lived 8 years in Argentina. This is wonderful news because now the women’s program has more opportunity to grow and continue after my contract is over. The Soccer For Life program is continually progressing and the kids in the program are gaining more respect for the staff and confiding more in us so that we can better understand their situations and help them more with their individual needs. We also are becoming more educated as a staff to better serve the needs of the children and youth. In these past months the leaders and pastors from the Lutheran church and the Soccer for Life program have held several workshops on the education of anger management and boundaries between leaders and youth, sexuality and AIDS prevention, and substance abuse. Overall they were very informative and they were a time to ask questions and share concerns or problems that arise with such difficult issues.
Activities with the church communities are going well and like always it is full of life and energy. However, it has been difficult in the community of La Carpio (the Nicaraguan community on the outskirts of San Jose). The church has been under construction for several months now and it is hard to hold the daily activities because of the lack of space. The planning for the construction has been delayed so far back that I believed that they would be finished when I returned from the states and it still not even close to being finished. It has been hard because there are plenty of workers and enough money to finish the project but the materials are sparse and so the workers have to wait for the materials to slowly arrive before they can start on each project. This has been hard on the church because the activities have been on hold for a long time and many times even the Sunday service is canceled. Gratefully when there are events I am still able to see the same smiling faces of the wonderful people that hold the church together.
This past week two of my friends, Mindi and Tyler from the Mount Cross Lutheran camp in California, came to visit me and we were able to visit some of the communities where I work. One evening we went to La Carpio for a dance performance of the Nicaraguan folkloric dance group. They were able to meet and interact with several people of the community and enjoy the cultural part of the church’s programs. We also visited several other Lutheran programs in the other communities such as the day care center in Alajuelita and a Soccer for Life practice in Quititrrisi. During this time it was a great opportunity to share a little more about my work here and what the church does and its philosophies. I’m sure it is rather difficult to imagine what I do without actually being here and having the experience to meet the amazing people that I work with. During Mindi and Tyler’s visit we also had enough time to play and explore Costa Rica (that was a lot of fun too). Thanks guys!
The other group of visitors that I had were my sister and her 2 friends, and they came down for my birthday (Oct. 2). What an amazing Birthday I had, Anne, her friends, my boyfriend, and I all went White Water Rafting on class 4 rapids. We had a great time during their time here and learned a lot more about the country as we traveled around and got to see some cool wild life. The best part for me was I was able to spend some quality time with my big sis. It was awesome because I hadn’t seen her in a year and we finally had time to catch up. Thanks Anne, Julie, and Rachel for giving me a piece of home (they also brought me a ton of American sweets that I had been craving)!
I would also like to thank the people that are supporting me. I have collected $450 so far this year. I want to remind people that this money will be used for my monthly living expenses only if necessary to supplement the support I am receiving directly from ELCA Global Mission, something new this year. Thankfully, I am receiving significant help from a special Volunteer Assistance Fund which we hope will be enough to cover my projected living expenses for a second year of service in Costa Rica. This arrangement was made for my second year because I was not sure if I could raise enough support on my own. If it turns out that I receive more money than is needed for my actual living expenses, I will make a donation back to the ELCA fund so that other volunteers in similar situations can also receive the support they need to serve overseas as missionaries in the future. In terms of giving options to help the programs of the Lutheran church in Costa Rica, I am still consulting to see where financial support is most needed and will share that information with you as soon as I can. You can continue to support this worthy cause by sending a check to Liza Koerner, PO Box 387, Felton, CA 95018 (this is the Mount Cross Lutheran Camp).

Prayer Requests:
For Lindsay and her daily adventures and for all of my friends and family.
For the soccer cleats that were donated by my home church St. Michael & St. George. Six boxes (65 pairs) were sent through the mail and one arrived a month ago, but the post office said that used cleats are not allowed to enter the country. The box was open in front of me but I could not have it. This rule took all of us by surprise, but we could do nothing about it. Yesterday I received notices that the other 5 boxes arrived, so I am going to hunt them down in the next few days. Please pray for this situation, it seems small but new cleats would be an amazing gift for the kids that we work with who play soccer barefoot.
For the people being effected by natural disasters, like flooding in Central America and all over the world. In Central America the poorest areas, such as indigenous populations, are being effected the most and thousands are dying.

Thanks everyone for your support and please respond if you have any questions (my email is at the very bottom of the web site).
God Bless

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www.futbolporlavida.org

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

 

Back to the Rich Coast

Well, it has been a crazy time since Lindsay and I have last written. Right now Lindsay has moved home with her family to Denver, Colorado for the last 7 weeks. As she is trying to readjust to US living she has found a great job as a women’s parole officer for a non-profit organization, and in this job she was greatly appreciated for her knowledge of Spanish.

Soccer for Life
Right after Lindsay left, I (Liza) still had a lot to do. Since the schools were going into vacation time, the soccer for life program got more involved with our practices. Each day we were in the communities longer and were doing more specialized programming. In Alajuelita, (a community in San Jose) we set up tournaments against other teams in the area including other communities that we work with. And in Quitirrisi (an indigenous community 45 min. outside of San Jose) we ran clinics for the older kids and games, rely races, and prizes for the younger participants. These extra activities are geared to not only heighten the soccer abilities of the youth, but also to use the vacation time to keep kids active and motivated in our program. In these poor communities there is a high drug problem which heavily exists among teenagers, as well, during school time physical fitness classes are not offered, so our program gives them a safe place to learn and escape from the daily pressures. After this short time of “vacation” with soccer I left San Jose to work with a group from the US while they went on a mission trip. I was sad to leave soccer knowing I would miss almost 2 months, but I knew it was in great hands.

US Delegations (What is a delegation?)
One great thing about the Costa Rican Lutheran Church is that it is always open to visitors. We consistently have visitors from Central American countries as well as our sister churches in Germany, Sweden, Brazil, and the US. With all visitors, the church sets up local guides so that our guests are able to see more than one community and feel safe and welcome in unknown territory. This summer we had the pleasure of working with 2 US church groups and I was elected to help guide/translate for both of them lasting about 2 weeks each. Unfortunately I was sick for a large portion of the time, but we still had a great time and we made life long friendships.
The first group came from Mount Vernon, WA with 17 high school students and 9 adults. For the first couple of days we traveled through San Jose and learned more about what the Costa Rican Lutheran church does. We walked through the Alajuelita community and saw where the Lutheran church has set up their child care center called Casa Abierta (Open House). We were all astonished of their living conditions and were inspired by how the church helps and serves these needy areas. Later that day, we also played a game of soccer, the Salem Lutheran church vs. Soccer for Life from Alajuelita (the locals won surprise surprise). For most of the rest of the trip we were in the northern region of Costa Rica in an indigenous community called Guatuso. There the group did a work project, starting a road giving access to the church from the highway, lead VBS for the children, and learned about the Maleku culture and difficulties, through art, discussions, and theater. For the Costa Rican church relationships are everything, and when we left the community with tears rolling down our cheeks as well as the Maleku peoples, I knew we had achieved our goal. It is really a great experience to see how much both of the groups bonded with such little verbal communication. With a difficult good bye we went on our way to see another side of Costa Rica, the tourist side. They saw both an active volcano, the beach on the Pacific side, and then they left for home. This was also a difficult good bye for me after seeing them grow through our time with the communities and our time in devotions. I saw how they had learned and experienced more then they could have ever imagined. Thanks guys for a great trip!
After going through all of that, I had 5 days to rest and prepare for the second group to visit our church, so I went to Panama to escape for a little while and to get rid of my cold. The next group came from Chicago, IL with 3 youth and 8 adults. This group was very different than the previous and also very special. For the orientation days in San Jose we visited almost everything, the Sunday service in La Carpio (the primarily Nicaraguan community), the afternoon in Quitirrisi, and the next day seeing the Open House (Casa Abierta) program in Alajuelita. It was clearly too much to take in but the group took it in stride. After that we set out for the banana plantation community, Sarapiqui, to do our service work and VBS. We also added something special, which were health talks to women from several US nurses and dental care education for the children. We learned a lot about the struggles of the banana and pineapple workers, and the community also opened up their homes so that we could see how they lived. For many people this had the most impact because they were able to get to know the families on a deeper and more individual level. Yet again this was a difficult good bye and many people cried.
I really enjoy being a part of these experiences because I meet so many different kinds of people and learn so much more about Costa Rica as a whole. When we finally left after the hour long individual goodbyes we were off to the vacation part of their trip, were we went to the volcano and the beach. This part is also fun because I get to go along with them. After it was all over I was sad to see them go, but I was also very excited for my next adventure. The following day after I took the group to the airport I returned home to St. Louis, MO for a 2 week break. It was nice to be home after being in Costa Rica for a full year and it was great to see a lot of my friends again. I will return to Costa Rica on the 26 of Aug. for my second year contract which is over next July. While I was home my church rounded up about 60 pairs of soccer cleats for the soccer for life program and is going to be very exciting to put them to use. It was great to be back, but I am still very excited to return and start things up again. I would like to thank everyone for their great support in what I am doing. It is a true honor to come home and share my experiences with others either in person or over the phone. Thank you for keeping me in your prayers and thoughts and for the wonderful donations for the kids that I work with.

Prayer Requests:
For Lindsay and all that she encounters.
For the groups in the US that came to Costa Rica and are able to share what they have learned with others.
For the communities of the Costa Rican church that have shared their lives with others
For the decisions that we make as a country that effect other countries negatively
That we can learn to serve Christ in all parts of our lives

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www.elca.org
www.futbolporlavida.org

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

 

A Time of Change (Lindsay`s Last Entry From Costa Rica)

How does one start her last entry? As some of you may or may not know, this is my last month in Costa Rica. I will be leaving the 3rd of July for home. HOME. It is still so weird to me, I feel like I have made a home here. Liza, on the other hand, will be staying for another whole year. She felt her calling was to stay and work on the soccer program we have put so much into. That is why she let me do the last entry for us. Here we go.

This last month and a half has been fairly hectic. I still work with the kids in La Carpio Wednesdays and Fridays, and they are so excited to see Lara and me, because they expect us now. They really depend on us and it will be really hard to leave. The new hit is bingo, and we can spend hours out of the rain playing bingo, usually with some kind of prize. With all the construction we literally have no room to play in the church, because the moms are sewing and doing work in the chapel area (which is still no bigger than a regular-sized living room). We end up in the tiny house next to it, only allowed in the living room (about the size of a walk-in closet). We make due, and they are very creative. I will miss them.

In soccer, the women’s team from Alajuelita (Liza’s team) has already played against another team, and each Saturday practice has brought about 12-15 girls each time. Lately though, our field has been one big puddle because of the rain, and so we have to find an open court (like basketball but they are made to play soccer) in order to practice. It is harder but it works. The team (men and women) has been doing evaluations through individual interview with each kid, and have found that some really need help, and are taking measures to get them the help they need.

I have really seen a change in many of the kids that used to be angry all the time at practice, and now are leading others to calm down and just play, play by the rules, not complain, etc. Even the women have difficulty respecting the men coaches and talk vulgar to anyone that listens. Slowly but surely they are learning respect for not only their elders, but their peers. It is amazing. The men and women are learning what respect truly means. But like I said, it is a SLOW process.

The CAFTA/TLC is still huge here (Central American Free Trade Agreement). I never wanted to get involved with politics, but it is part of life. The bill is going to Congress soon to vote on, and from what I have seen I really hope it does not pass. We have the money and we have the control. I just hope our congressmen have looked through the eyes of the businesses here, and not just from a North American point of view. Please see the last entry for more details on how to get involved.

When all is said and done, I will be taking back a souvenir with me……my boyfriend Jesus Antonio Salazar Vargas. We have done all the necessary paperwork to get him a work visa, and the appointment at the embassy is on Friday the 1st of July. I never meant to fall in love, I guess God had a different plan. It is one of the most difficult things to get a visa from the U.S., but with the Big Man on our side anything is possible. So, though I will be leaving a lot behind, it won’t be everything.


Prayer Requests
- that this huge change coming up will be as smooth as possible; that Liza can focus on her upcoming work and that Lara (other volunteer) and I can return with as little reverse culture shock as possible and share our amazing experience with others (and catch up at home)
- that the rich will not continue to get richer and the poor poorer. That the bill in congress will not pass and make life harder than it already is here
- that the visa appointment goes over well to give Jesus a new opportunity to get to know a different side of the world
- that the missionaries around the world could know their work is not in vein and that God does a lot of work unseen
- that friends and families could begin to understand the experience of working in another culture and the huge change that takes place
What they said in orientation is true: I learned way more than I taught (I believe). The line that I live on is not so much a line anymore with rules about how faith should be or how people should live. It is a bubble that grows with every experience. It is still a bubble, because no matter how much I learn there is still so much out there. Everyone is unique and has their own way about them. God didn’t make us all the same, how should we expect to conduct our lives equally? I am truly grateful for this opportunity, and I would like to thank each and every one of you who supported me, whether it was with funds, moral support or both. I could never express in a small website the profound change that has taken place, nor do I know exactly what God has used me for in my time here. But, as a famous song here goes, everything changes, including me. That which changed yesterday will change again tomorrow, and that is life. I am ready for my change back home, simply because I know I have a Guide that doesn’t fail me, even when I fail myself. Thank you for everything, thank God for working through you all to make me feel loved.

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