Friday, November 5, 2010

Flooding, Landslides, and Death in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has been receiving heavy rainfall over the past several days. Thankfully the area where we are living hasn't been effected negatively by it, but the news is reporting that "there are 700,000 people across the country lacking potable water, 20 dead, and many homes and cars swept away by landslides from massive flooding and rainfall." Please pray for those who are suffering tonight. I would also strongly encourage you to read this amazing story. Jed and Jaime are friends of ours from our days at language school and we are so glad that God protected them.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The World's Cutest Baby (At Least We Think So)

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

One Month Old




It's hard to believe that God blessed us with this little bundle of joy one month ago today. Has it really been that long already?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jared's First Doctor's Visit

Dr. Salazar brought me into this world. I couldn't have asked for a better doctor!



Mommy and Daddy felt sorry for poor Dr. Molina, my pediatrician. I "watered" him, his wall, and his floor! He took it very well though.


I didn't like it too much when he checked my spine.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Park

The weather here today was beautiful, so we decided to spend a little time at the park next door. This was Jared's first adventure into the great outdoors, but I doubt that he got much out of it since he slept through the whole thing. The rest of us had fun though!

He's all ready to go.

Devin has been having a ball playing with Uncle Jeffrey (no pun intended)!

Today is Independence Day in Costa Rica. Many children dress up in typical outfits and march in parades. This cute little girl was pretty interested in Jared.


Who has the bigger mouth? Devin...

...or Momall?

Monday, September 13, 2010

He's Here!

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Missy's Baby Shower

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Coming Soon...

WARNING

Not Responsible for Heart Attacks Caused by Post


Yes, it's been a little while since I posted (thus the warning above). Life is moving along as it has a tendency to do, and little Willy (NO, that is NOT his real name) will be here before we know it. We are all getting excited to say the least. Devin even seems to comprehend that he will soon be getting a little brother. He was super excited to go to Missy's last check-up to be able to see the baby. Lord willing our new little one will be arriving in about five weeks. We would appreciate your prayers that everything would go smoothly.



Devin loves to kiss his baby brother.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Devin's First Sleep-over

We enjoyed a very special time with our national church president's family this past weekend. Two weeks ago we moved from the small apartment where we had lived for the past year and a half into a much more adequate house. We thought that it would be nice to invite the Meneses family to spend a night with us in our new place. It is quite common for us to visit with them at their home in Paraiso, but rarely has it worked out for them to visit us. So this past Friday I picked up their family after the boys got out of school and they spent Friday night and Saturday morning with us. Everyone had a great time, especially the boys! It was the first time that Devin had friends come and spend the night with him.



Friday, June 18, 2010

The Dust is Settling

The dust is beginning to settle, life is slowly getting back to "normal," and it's time to get back to blogging. The last three weeks have been BUSY, BUSY, BUSY! Get the picture? We were privileged to have Br. Lee Rickenbach, our regional director, with us from May 29 through June 1. It was a short visit but a profitable one as we sat down for a number of hours and discussed, prayed about, and planned the future of both the work in Costa Rica as well as our personal ministry. Br. Rickenbach is such an amazing listener, and he is so understanding and wise when it comes to giving advice and direction.

The day that I dropped Br. Rickenbach off was also the day that I picked up the group from Pennsylvania (see our previous post). They got here nearly five hours later than scheduled due to a canceled flight out of Washington, D.C. Needless to say they were all very tired upon arrival, but they were still up bright and early the following day, ready to hit the ground running!

Our first destination was the Arenal Volcano, about a four-hour drive from San Jose. Arenal is one of the most beautiful and most active volcanoes in the country. We checked in at an amazing resort that sat at the base of the volcano and spent two days there. God was good enough to move the clouds and allow us to see some lava flowing from the peak of the volcano that night, something that many visitors miss out on. We went ziplining the second day of our stay. For those of you who have never been on a zipline, you basically hang by a little pulley to a cable and go flying across a canyon. We rode 8 cables, some of which were 600 feet above the rainforest floor and close to 2,000 feet long. It was raining when we went, and at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour you get quite an experience! Everyone enjoyed themselves though, even the girls.

Our groups had a whole unit of rooms pretty much to ourselves.


The landscaping at the resort was simply gorgeous!




We saw a lot of wildlife, including this baby iguana.

This picture was taken from the porch of our unit. We only saw the very top of the volcano once or twice because of the clouds, but it is a perfect cone. Notice that the right side of it is burned bare. This volcano spews lava almost constantly.



This was my first time to go ziplining and boy was it a blast! It was raining steadily, which made the rides even faster.


I'll be posting more about the rest of the group's trip over the next little while so keep checking back! Also, my brother Benjamin is continuing to update the groups blog (click here to visit it). In closing, I would like to give a great big "Thank You!" to the group for their excellent attitudes and participation. We had a lot of fun, but we also ministered and worked a lot. They always put themselves wholeheartedly into everything that they did and never complained. The young people even seemed to enjoy the various national foods that they were served. Great job guys!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Visitors from Pennsylvania

For a number of months now we have been looking forward to having a group from Pennsylvania come and visit us. My next younger brother, Benjamin, teaches high school Spanish at Penn View Christian Academy. Toward the beginning of this year he talked to me about the possibility of taking his two classes on a cultural trip to a Latin American country. After weighing different possibilities he decided that Costa Rica would be the best option. TONS of work and planning on both of our ends has gone into this trip and now their arrival is nearly upon us. It is hard to believe, but they will be here a week from tomorrow. Benjamin wanted this trip to be a mixture of cultural experience and ministry opportunities for his students. Lord willing we will be spending about half of the ten-day trip sightseeing and the other half ministering out at Paraiso where we will be holding a special weekend (June 4-6) for the family. Rev. Frank Heidler and his wife, chaperones for the group, will be holding a marriage seminar. Benjamin will hold special sessions for the young people and several of the students will be in charge of activities for the children.

Click here to visit the group's trip blog; my brother is doing a great job of keeping it updated!

The Heidlers are former pastors and currently work at Penn View.

My brother Benjamin (the one with the orange shirt and tie) poses with seven of the nine students who will be coming. Benjamin's fiancée will be a chap as well, so the total group will number thirteen.


I would ask you to pray for several specific prayer requests concerning this trip.
  • -Pray for traveling mercies for the group. Flying internationally with this many people can be challenging, and we will be doing a lot of driving once the group gets here.
  • -Pray for our young people here in Costa Rica. I am really wanting the group to be a major positive influence on their lives.
  • -Pray especially for the marriage seminar. Pastor Rolando and I are trusting that this will be a way of getting a number of un-churched people from the community to visit our church, opening doors for us to reach them after the group leaves.
  • -We will have a special evangelistic service the Sunday morning that the group is here. Often a group from the States draws people who would not normally come to church, so this will be an important service.
  • -I would appreciate your prayers as I do my best to interpret for the Heidlers.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What Can Wash Away My Sins?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus!


video

Costa Rica is predominately a Catholic nation. My heart is stirred every time I see a Costa Rican doing something to try to earn their way into Heaven. We recently took some friends to see the largest Catholic church in the country and I recorded this video. How can these people believe that crawling hundreds of feet on a hard tile floor will improve their chances in eternity? Lord, help me to be able to do something to reach them with the truth!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Church Picnic

A number of our people from the Paraiso church recently got together at a beautiful park for a church picnic. The park is actually an overlook where one can get an outstanding view of the river valley far below. Everyone had a great time playing games, eating, and fellowshipping. I even jumped rope and didn't break a leg.

I wish that I could capture the beauty of the Orosi Valley with a camera, but a picture just doesn't do it justice.

Costa Rica is a soccer country. We played a lively game of "futbol" before lunch.

This was Devin's first time on roller skates. I'm not sure whether he was impressed or not.

Carmen might be a pastor's wife but she enjoys a good time as much as anyone else.

Pastor Rolando (red shirt, black hat) was our grill-master and I must say that he did an outstanding job.


Jumping Rope

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Help Has Arrived



A week ago today we were blessed to able to hire a maid. Domestic help is quite inexpensive down here and we had been wanting to find someone dependable to help Missy a couple of days a week. Gina has worked with language school students for a number of years and one of the administrators at the language school where Missy and I studied last year highly recommended her. We have been very happy with our decision to hire Gina; she is a hard worker with a sweet personality. Gina will be working for us on Tuesdays and Saturdays, seven hours a day. This will be a huge blessing to Missy who is continuing to fight a lot of sickness because of her pregnancy. Gina will help with cooking and cleaning, but we also want her to be able to just talk to Missy and help Missy keep up with her Spanish. Missy hasn't been able to get out much because of how sick she has been, so it is important for her to get this practice (last Tuesday Gina and Missy spent a whole hour after lunch just talking). Welcome, Gina!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Strictly for Devin's Grandmas (But You May Peek)

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Haiti

This is an excerpt from an e-mail that my mother sent us concerning her time it Haiti. It is a little long, but you will find it very interesting.

I see the trembling lips… of the woman who came seeking help for her spinning head, heart palpitations and stomach pain. We treated so many persons with these symptoms, understandable after all the emotional trauma that has been suffered, not only in the initial quake, but in the dozens of aftershocks since. Already-damaged buildings are continuing to collapse as the shaking continues. Knowing the pure terror I felt the morning after my first arrival when a 6.2 quake jolted me awake and sent me flying from my bed for the door, I can’t imagine what it must be like for the multitude of those who lost homes and family in the 7.0 quake. Any sizable aftershock causes a few heart-stopping moments as everyone pauses to wonder if THIS ONE will be even worse than the first. She stared straight ahead as she tonelessly related to me the horror of searching for her infant daughter for three days before finally finding and digging her bloody, lifeless body from the wreckage. It was another two days before her nine year old son, trapped in the crumbled ruins of their home the entire time but miraculously still alive, was freed from his prison and rushed to a hospital in another part of the country. She has not been able to visit him since.

My nose pricks… with the acrid, sour stench of vomit. My stomach recoiled as my flashlight beam picked out the unconscious form of the man lying on the ground in a pool of slimy, partially digested food. Don Mobley, our GMC resident missionary in Carrefour, tapped on our door that night at 10:30 p.m., saying that one of the night guards had just called to tell him that a man was very sick. What an understatement! We moved him to a table in the clinic where, for the next three hours, another team member and I fought desperately to save the life of the diabetic man who had inadvertently taken a double dose of his long-acting insulin, bottoming out his sugar and putting himself into a coma. He’s still alive today because God put us in the right place at the right time.

I taste the raindrops on my lips… and remember the welcome coolness two nights before we left, of fresh washed night air from the first rain since the earthquake. My shoes sloshed through the water and mud as I walked the short distance from the clinic to my room. I ducked under the tarp that had been stretched over the area closest to the door I needed to enter, where several dozen of the hundreds of people still living in the yard were trying to sleep. The bright moonlight played over bodies lying on soaked blankets on the muddy ground. My heart was wrung at the sight. I felt guilty lying down on my dry mattress covered with a dry sheet sitting on a dry cement floor with a waterproof tin roof overhead…

***********************************************************

All the teams are home as I sit at my computer and record memories of my few days in a world so vastly different than that which we here in the heartland of America casually take for granted. I flipped a switch on the wall this evening as it grew dark and did not waste a second’s thought in wondering if the light would come on. The candle flickering on the table is burning solely for the luxury of its scent and romantic touch, not because it is our only means of illumination. In a few minutes I will open my refrigerator and from its abundantly stocked shelves collect the makings of a warm, well-balanced supper, to be added to stomachs that have already this day digested two other adequate meals. This morning I ironed a week’s supply of shirts for my husband, and that didn’t begin to exhaust the number of them still hanging in his closet. A pile of laundry in the hall needs transferred to my washer downstairs, where the touch of a button is all that I need do for the load to be washed and rinsed with no further effort on my part. I hear the sound of my son taking a shower as I write. He didn’t need to stand in line with a five-gallon bucket this morning to get our family’s water ration for the day from a well, or worry that there will be none left for the person who follows him if he uses more than a small basin full…


I am so blessed! I pray that God will keep fresh on my mind how truly trivial are the petty things that so easily irritate me. May my life be one that He can use, wherever He chooses, to show His love to as many as possible, in whatever way He sees best.

I wonder if it is raining in Haiti tonight…

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Special Visitor

We had a very special visitor this past week. Br. Steven Manley, our mission president, was with us for several days to hold some meetings, preach, observe the state of the national work, and just be an encouragement to us as missionaries. Pastor Rolando called me the day after Br. Manley left and said that he had really appreciated Br. Manley's spirit, advice, and leadership. Br. Manley, thank you for being a blessing; we enjoyed having you very much.

We didn't have much time to do much sightseeing but we did stop by the Basillica, the biggest Catholic church in Costa Rica and one of the biggest in all of Central America.

Lunch with the Meneses Family

Devin enjoyed having a special visitor as much as the rest of us.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A New Look

The Sunday school rooms at Paraiso are looking much better these days. They have received a fresh coat of paint, and better yet the brethren from the church did the project completely on their own. They wanted to do it, they donated all the labor, and they provided all the supplies. A missionary loves to see that!


The new color is much better than the old green that you can see in the background!


Br. Carlos


Br. Juan donated more time than anyone else.


Sis. Carmen looks like she is having too much fun!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Our Family is Growing

Yes, a picture like this usually means that a baby is on the way! Lord willing the Rex McDowell II family will grow to four sometime in September. Missy and I are very excited about being parents to our second child, although Devin just looks at us when we tell him that Mommy has a baby in her tummy.

We plan on having our baby at the same hospital where my two younger brothers, Benjamin and Jeffrey, were born. Missy had her first prenatal appointment this past Thursday and we were very happy with the experience and with her doctor. Doctor Ronny Salazar, recommended to us by some missionaries from the language school, is very nice and very qualified. The technology at the hospital is cutting edge, and for the first time we were able to watch our baby's heart beating! I borrowed an idea from the Mason's blog and added a little "baby ticker" above our profile picture so that you will be able to see how the baby is developing. Pray for us over the next number of months and we will keep you posted!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Graduation from The Spanish Language Institute, December 11, 2009

We graduated from language school just a couple of days before we went to the States for Christmas and I never posted any pictures of the ceremony. Here are a few snapshots.

Gabi, the academic director, gives a little speech before handing out the diplomas.

Teachers and fellow students pray with the graduates at the end of the ceremony.

Ana was more than just Missy's teacher; she was her friend.