Sunday, September 30, 2007

Celebrating 365 days...1 Year on the Walk!!! From Cañas to San Gregor to Chachaguas (still Costa Rica)

back to Our Walk of Faith

Wednesday, September 26th

We worked on the internet first thing this morning for a couple of hours and then started walking--not a cloud in the sky (We had to ask ourselves if we were still in Costa Rica!!) We walked about 2.5 miles and Alexander stopped. He had carried a load down to Cañas in his truck and he was on his way up to Lake Arenal. We chatted with him for about 45 minutes before he let us out just outside of Tilaran.

We were able to walk by the lake for about 3-4 was a beautiful walk, and we were at a higher elevation, so it was cooler too! ICE...the electric company of Costa Rica has invested in generating power through windmills and hydro-electric plants. We saw tons of examples of this along the way today. Over 90% of the population of Costa Rica has running water (that is fit to drink) and electricity...considering what we have seen in other Central American countries, that is an incredible figure.

Again it was just about to rain, so we were praying for protection again from the rain! About 10 minutes after one of our breaks, Geiner and Denis (pronounced Denise) stopped to ask if we wanted a ride. We praised God for His provision and hopped in the back of their truck. About 15 minutes later, sure enough the rain started. I pulled out my poncho and we were doing our best to cover ourselves and the packs. Geiner stopped the truck, and Denis invited me to sit in the cab with them. (Chris did a wonderful job keeping the packs and himself dry under the poncho.) We chatted quite a bit...I learned that they are members of the Methodist Church in La Fortuna. They told me that they had a restuarant near La Fortuna, but it's the off-season right now. So they don't have a ton of work to do.

About 45 minutes later, Geiner and Denis were talking amongst themselves trying to decide if there was time for us to see the restaurant and the finca. (Geiner's family owns a farm.) They decided to show us, so the made a turn off the main road. As God would have it, the finca is partially a rain forest! And it is the home of The Arenal Hanging Bridges. Their restaurant overlooks the active Volcano Arenal!! Chris and I were in shock! They invited us to camp on the grounds so we could see the volcano at night (sometimes you can see the lava flowing) and the wildlife in the early morning! Then Denise fixed us a delicious meal!! We couldn't believe the wonderful gift that God had given us for our year anniversary of walking for Him!

Thursday, September 27th

When we woke up this morning, we chatted for a bit with the night guard! He loves the Lord so much!! He constantly reads the Bible!! This morning when Geiner and Denis arrived, she fixed us another tasty meal, and then she asked if she could take us through the rain forest. (Are you serious, God?!!!) We quickly agreed to take the tour. We saw a Congo (Howler Monkey) yesterday, and we heard them this morning, but we didn't see any today. We did however see more flowers, plants, birds, lizards, ants than you can imagine. Chris even saw a toucan (with binoculars)!! Plus there's a gorgeous waterfall!! We hope you enjoy the pictures down below!!

Then Geiner and Denis invited us to stay the night with them at their cabin. The entire cabin was make from one tree...I guess it was pretty huge!! When we got out there, Geiner had one of the horses brought up to the cabin so that we could ride!! You can't see anything except for nature! You can't hear anything except for the creek that passes by behind the house. It was amazing! Our God will blow your mind if you will just follow Him!! What a relaxing day!!

We aren't posting this until Joe and Ginny get here, because this is where we are going to start. We want it to be a surprise for them! So this week Chris and I are walking and praying over the road we will take with them next week. We'll bring them back on Saturday on the bus and then walk back to the airport to drop them off again. That wasn't our initial plan, but as always God has a plan that is way better than anything that we could dream up! It's pretty much physically impossible to make it that distance in one week, so we are going to get to see God's hand not once, but twice along a similar route!! We are so excited that Geiner and Denis invited us to come back with Ginny and Joe. Isn't God amazing?!

Friday, September 28th
We said a temporary goodbye to Geiner, and Denis and Jinnethe (their daughter) took us down the mountain and dropped us off in La Fortuna. We saw a sign for a waterfall, so we headed in that direction. We soon found that we had to go about 2.5 miles off the main road to see the waterfall. We asked how much is cost before we turned down the road...$1 to get in. We decided that was worth it, so we started walking. We kept asking as we walked, and the price kept going up $3, $7, $ we weren't sure. Plus it looked like it was going to rain at any minute. So we sat down to have some water and pray. We'd walked about a mile, but we decided to turn back. As soon as we made it back to the paved road and underneath the shelter of a store, the bottom fell out! Yet!

We waited out the rain and started was a beautiful hike!! The trees, the flowers, the wildlife, etc. it was awesome--mostly uphill, but worth it! We even finally got to see liches growing on a tree! In Chachaguas, we stopped for a break...we'd gone about 10 miles. Honestly, I was tired. I wanted to find somewhere to stay the weekend and take Saturday and Sunday off from walking. We've walked 7 of the last 9 days. We were sitting in front of the grocery store, and Carlos came up to us. He asked where we were from in English. We chatted with him, and he told us that he had a couple of cabins at his house...we should check them out. Then a taxi driver stopped and talked to us...he suggested that we stay there too. Finally some boys in front of the store explained that Xinia (Carlos's wife) went to church...we would like her.

So off we went to find the cabins. Xinia was really nice and accomodating...she gave us the room for half price. Then she invited us to supper with their family. We were really surprised!! We met their daughters, Wendy, Karol, and Carla, as they came home from practice and work. Don Olman and Don Orlando stopped by for supper...they are working on a clinic in town on the weekends when there are no patients. Don Orlando is from Colombia, so he gave us a little more insight into his country. After supper, we prayed with the family, and decided to head to bed. (We didn't meet their other daughter Angie yet...we went to bed early...we were both tired.)

Saturday, September 29th--Happy Birthday, Grandma!!

We've been journeying for ONE YEAR today!!

Karol invited us to go to La Fortuna with her because her fiancé, Gustavo, has an internet cafe we could work in. So we worked all morning. He wouldn't let us pay a dime when Karol came back to pick us up!! Again we saw God's hand of provision!!

This afternoon we had lunch and finished up our journalling. Tonight we went to church with Xinia and Carla!! It's a small Iglesia de Dios Evangelio Completo (Full-Gospel Church of God) Church. When we got there Xinia introduced us to several members of the church and to the pastor. We talked to the pastor about 5 minutes before the service, and he asked us to share testimony with the congregation--our first opportunity to share with a church since we arrived in Costa Rica. AND just what we give testimony of how great God is on our one year walk anniversary!! A ton of brothers and sisters talked with us after the service. They were so sister, Nisia, even invited us to her house for lunch on Sunday!! They also are celebrating Children's Day at the church tomorrow, so the pastor asked us to prepare a lesson to share with the kids. (Remember in Latin America they celebrate children just like Mother's Day and Father's Day. In Costa Rica, September 9th is Children's Day. The church just decided to celebrate at the end of the month.)

Sunday, September 30th
We woke up to pray and work on a lesson for the kids. By the time we finished up, it was time to head to lunch! Wow...what a sweet family. Marino and Nisia had 8 children...2 still live at home, but the rest are married and have kids. They didn't go far from home though...their houses are all along the same street. We met Mainor, Maria Isabel, Patricia and her daughters--Anayanci and Mayling, Katia and her daughter--Kenbli, Noylin and her daughter--Evoni, and one of the grandsons.

From there, we hurried back to Carlos and Xinia's house to go get our stuff for the
Children's Day celebration. We walked over to the new church. (They are almost ready to start worshipping there.) We sang songs with the kids, taught a lesson, played games, and had cake and ice cream. Each child who was invited also recieved a gift! Everyone had a great time!!

From there, Fulbio, Olga, and Camila (a family from the church...dear friends of Xinia) invited the 4 of us to go to watch a soccer game at the Luna family's house. Chris was excited to see a soccer game!! We fellowshipped with them for awhile and had a snack...Costa Rica has delicious fresh baked bread!! Before we left, we took a picture of the whole crew.

Then they wanted us to visit the family who leads praise and worship. They are just getting ready to open a restaurant as well. It will be called Linda Vista (because there's a great view)! Chris and I smiled because we had seen the restuarant when we walked to Chachaguas. We really enjoyed the view of the country side and even thought about waiting the storm out in the restaurant...but then we realized that they hadn't opened yet. (Praise God that He held the rain!!) They fixed us a snack too--tortilla with cream, carmel popcorn and 3 Leches cake with fresh lemonade to drink. We had an awesome time of sharing. Chris and I prayed for the restuarant and we also were able to give counsel to the family who will probably be running the restaurant (Adonis, Vilma, Jonathan, Bayron, and John). What a great way to end the day!!

It looks like we may stay one more day in Chachaguas, and then we'll head on a little further south! God bless you and keep you! We love y'all a ton! Seize every opportunity to be God's hands, feet, and mouth where God has planted you!

a) Lake Arenal b) one of the many rivers we crossed while walking to Chachaguas

Pictures from the Children's Day Celebration

Real live pineapples growing!!! Who knew?!

a) Xinia and RE working on a puzzle b) Denis showing us some of the clay that's found on their's used for making pottery

Ahhhh....the flowers are gorgeous around these parts!!

a) Geiner and Denis's Cabin b) dining room table...made from a cross-section of a tree that was on their property

A little horseback riding...

We were amazed at how hard the ants worked!!

Here's what we saw while we walked through the Hanging Bridges of Arenal...