24 November, 2007

Does a high dollar turkey taste better?

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. We did.

This was our first American holiday not shared by those in our new home here in Costa Rica. We decided to celebrate with a traditional meal shared by 14 other people in our home.

Since you can hardly have a "traditional" Thanksgiving meal without a turkey, we searched for one of the fabulous flavorful fowls. There are several stores here that cater to the large gringo population in Costa Rica, and they stock frozen whole turkeys for this special day. For a price that is.

I must confess, it has been a while since I "personally" purchased a turkey from a grocery store in the states, so I can't tell you exactly what a turkey normally costs these days at a typical supermarket in Missouri. But I am quite confident they are much more afordable then the gobblers available here. 32 big ones. No, not 32 thousand. Well, in Colones (Costa Rican currency) it was 16,000, but in US dollars it ran us $32.00 for the medium sized bird.

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. I am glad there are turkeys available at all. It was a wonderful treat. Keeley cooked it up wonderfully, moist and juicy. Along with the other usual suspects you find accompanying the turkey, we enjoyed a great meal and great fellowship with some new friends from our Language School, and some new friends from our church here.

To top it all off, our cable company here provides NBC, ABC, and CBS. So we were able to enjoy the traditional American Football games too.

20 November, 2007

Culture or Bible

The Bible is the authority by which we should live our lives as followers of Jesus Christ.

Culture is what largely determines how we behave as a people group.

But what happens when culture goes against Bible teaching?

Sure, the answer is an easy one. We need to obey the Word of God instead of conforming to culture. The reason I bring up this topic is that I have had to really pay attention to the difference between culture and Bible as I seek to adapt to the new culture I am in here in Costa Rica.

Because I was so familiar with "American Culture" (or at least the culture of Kansas City, MO), it was fairly easy to identify elements of that culture that did not line up with the Bible. But here in Costa Rica, I am learning new elements of culture all of the time. With each new part of the culture I am exposed to I must examine it in light of God's Word.

Most of the culture clearly falls on one side or the other, but there are a few things I have had to take a closer look at. I want to give one example, but please understand that I am not trying to complain about the culture, only to make my point.

Driving a car in San Jose, Costa Rica is an adventure. Part of the culture in regards to driving is that in general it is every driver for themselves. It is defensive driving to the extreme. You have to expect people to do the unexpected becuase they will. (Maybe the unexpected needs to become what I learn to expect?). Anyway, it is uncommon to let anyone into traffic ahead of you, even if they are just trying to get onto the road and not "cut" in line. So I was faced with a question. Surely courtesy, putting others before yourself, and kindness are biblical qualities. So these qualities should affect the way I drive here should they not?

Culture or Bible? In this particular case it seems to be one or the other. I want to choose Bible even if it means I make it to my destination 2 minutes later.

Most elements of a culture do not go against the principles of the Word of God. But for those things that do, I must be careful to not go with the flow.

Only dead fish swim with the current. :-)

06 November, 2007

Visit From a Friend

Two weekends ago we had the pleasure of enjoying a visit from our dear friend and pastor, Marco Castro. Marco pastors the Spanish Ministry at the Kansas City Baptist Temple in Kansas City, MO.

Marco was in San Jose to preach at a church for their 5th year anniversary.

We had a great time drinking some Costa Rican coffee and catching up on what is going on. It was fun to practice my Spanish with him and be able to speak much more than when we were in Kansas City. It was encouraging to talk more about our church's vision and how we will fit into that vision in the future. Lot's of exciting things on the horizon!

Marco was kind enough to bring us a bundle of things from the States that are difficult or expensive to get here. A bottle of Advil (there are lots of pain killers here, but not much ibuprofen), some quality umbrellas that have already gotten lots of use, a Franklin electronic translator, and a waterproof baseball hat for me.

The fellowship was great. Getting the items we needed was much appreciated. But even more than those things, having a touch from the familiar was a real blessing. Everything here is new. And although we are adjusting to the newness just fine, it sure was nice to visit face to face with a familiar friend.
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