Here are some Questions and Answers to help you get to know our family:
Q~ How did you come to the decision to become an overseas missionary? Did it evolve over a period of time? Are there specific growth steps one needs to experience to help one successfully minister in a foreign country and in a culture foreign to one’s own?
A~ Wendy - I sensed God drawing me to be a missionary since I was about 5. As a family, Glenn started looking into possible places where we could learn Spanish for "one" year and do some "mission work". However, that one year turned into a commitment to become career missionaries.
Q~ What specifically broke your heart and led you down the pathway to overseas missions?
A~ For us, following God to the mission field was many little steps of obedience. We were always open to being missionaries, but nothing ever seemed to "fit" until now. We can look back over our lives and ministries and know that God was preparing us our whole lives to be ready to do what he has called us here to do.
Q~ Did you hear God tell you that He wanted you overseas?
A~ For Wendy, yes, as a child. However, for the opportunity to serve in Costa Rica, it was more of a gift than a call. We felt like God was saying, “I have this gift for you to serve me overseas, will you accept it?” And I kept thinking, who am I to say no God? And to tell God that his “gift” is not good enough for me and my family.
Q~ When you are considering overseas missions, is it a good idea to work overseas in one’s field of preparation eg. nursing, teaching, etc..& experience maybe 1 year in cross-cultural work before “going career?”
A~ "Going career" on the mission field is a huge commitment. It was 3 years from the point where Glenn began looking into opportunities until we were actually ready to move. And we didn't leave when we had hoped. We had to move in with Wendy's parents for 6 months until our support was raised. So yes, getting prepared ahead of time and going on short term trips are great ideas. Glenn and I both had our schooling finished and we had both been on short term trips before deciding to go as career missionaries.
Q~ How about learning another language—is it challenging but possible over time?
A~ I have to believe it is possible, or we would be out of here. :) Learning Spanish has been the most difficult thing that I have ever had to learn in my life. Getting my masters degree was "easy" compared to learning Spanish (for Wendy). But it's been amazing at how much Spanish our family has learned in just the first year. Our kids are doing well enough that they are attending a bilingual school. We all still have a long way to go, but looking back at where we've come from, we are doing amazing! Thank your for all of your prayers for us as we continue to learn Spanish.
Q~ Does it take a lot of time staying in touch with your supporters? Has God supplied you enough money to have all your basic needs met and also have enough money for your operating expenses?
A~ God is always faithful. We attempt to keep in contact with our supporters, especially through newsletters and emails, but it's always challenging. We are so thankful for each and every church and person who has committed to be a part of our team. We cannot do this without men, women, teens, and children who are willing to support us though their prayers and financial gifts.
Q~ How often does one need to get away for a vacation to revive their soul & spirit? What do you do for fun & relaxation?
A~ We've enjoyed our vacations when our family has come to visit. We enjoy going to the beaches and the volcanos. We loved going to National Parks in the states when we lived there, and now we are enjoying going to the National Parks in Costa Rica. Our family enjoyed Friday night pizza and movie night in the states, and we have tried to continue that tradition here. I make the pizza, but the pepperoni is not the same. :) We have a large park near our house, and another park near the kids’ school. We spend a lot of time playing in the parks.
Q~ What do you miss most by not living in your home country? What are you giving up?
A~ Ellie and Wendy miss having a bathtub. We all miss Chipotle, family, and our friends. I miss little things like cool whip, diced green chilis, and living in a small town. Both Glenn and Wendy dislike driving in Costa Rica, especially in San José. But what we are “giving up” doesn’t compare to how God has provided for us in amazing ways. He has provided friends, new favorite restaurants, opportunities to get out of the city, and a fantastic youth group for the kids. Just to name a few.
Q~ What does your weekday schedule look like?
A~ Mondays - Spanish tutoring and office work
Tuesdays - Wendy attends 2 Bible studies, one in English and one in Spanish, Glenn works
Wednesdays - Wendy studies Spanish and Glenn spends the connecting with local pastors.
Thursdays - Spanish tutoring and office work
Fridays - Catch up on all of the things that didn't get finished.
Saturdays- Go to the farmers market, play at the park, and the older kids attend youth group.
Sundays - Spend most of the day at the church.
Q~ On Sundays, do you participate in a worship service?
A~ Yes. Last year Glenn was the interim pastor of the church, so he preached when he was not traveling for work. Now that we have a new local pastor, we are evaluating how best to support their work along with the rest of the FM churches in Costa Rica. We are also beginning a small group in our home that may develop into a church over time.
Q~ What is culture shock? How is it best handled? How do you best recover from it?
A~ Culture shock is the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes. For our family, we keep open communication, especially with the children, about our thoughts and feelings. We talk both about what we like about our new culture as well as what is difficult. I'm not sure you ever "recover" from culture shock, it just changes from culture shock to culture stress. We love Costa Rica, it's a wonderful place to live, but there continues to be cultural stress on us just because of living life in a different language, with different expectations, and under different customs.
Q~ Do you like to travel?
A~ We love to travel as a family. When we lived in the states we loved visiting National Park and seeing God’s beautiful creation. Likewise, we enjoy seeing Costa Rica’s beautiful mountains, jungles, beaches, and their many National Parks.
Q~ Tell me anything you think is important that I would benefit hearing, maybe something you wish you had been told before living overseas in a new culture.
A~ In all of life, God wants us to seek him first. Through my struggle of learning a second language God has shown me that He cares more about my heart than my language skills. Wherever you live, God wants you to seek him first.