Saturday, April 19, 2014

Best Friend

My best Honduran friend is two years old.


Her name is Alison. She is my host sister.

She is usually always happy, always ready to greet me at the door with a big hug and a pico (kiss).

Currently, her favorite game to play is bloques (big legos). We build and build and build, so high, only to have her pull the whole tower down on top of us both. She giggles, a deep giggle which makes me giggle, which makes her giggle even harder. We’re silly together.

Every day she follows me into my room, to stare at my shoes (patos! patos!—zapatos) and clothing (opa! opa!—ropa). She likes to crawl up onto my bed, lie down, and pretend like she is snoring.

Whatever emotions I am feeling about the world around me at that moment in time, and living here in Honduras has filled me with a wide variety of emotions, Ali is always waiting for me at home with a hug and a smile and laughter.

And she reminds me that the world is beautiful—despite its shortcomings.

In fact, despite not being able to fully form words, she’s taught me quite a lot about life.

What we should value, give our time to, the kind of attitude we should have.

She reminds me that when the world’s odds are stacked against you, there’s always someone to reach out and tell you ¡si se puede! (you can do it!).

I can’t imagine leaving my best friend in Honduras. I’ll hate having to miss her growing-up moments, as I have been able to be a part of some significant ones during my time here. I’ll wish I could hug her, or dance around the living room with her, or listen to her learn to talk.


My best friend in Honduras has Down syndrome. 

She’s the most beautiful two-year-old I have ever met.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Un Día Más

“Gracias, Dios, por un día más de vida,” my host mom Juana closes her eyes and prays out loud as she sits down to eat breakfast with me. I’ve become used to hearing her give thanks for blessings as we share the day’s first meal together, but today her prayer strikes me in a more profound way. “Thank you, God, for one more day of life.”

It’s a simple prayer, really, but one that carries a lot of weight. I stop and think of all I am permitted to do within a day, and how often I take for granted the fact that life is fleeting. Scripture tells us, “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow” (Psalm 144: 4). Yet I think we often live as if we have all the time in the world!

The work I am able to participate in here in Honduras reminds me that this is not so.  It is work that stretches me past my limits and challenges me to rely on the strength that God provides, as my own strengths become evidently insufficient.  Here I have found myself strikingly aware of God’s presence with me, taken aback by His continual peace that passes all understanding. Perhaps it is because I live within the context of a country that is struggling to find that peace, torn apart by poverty, injustice, and corruption. Within this environment, God’s presence is an incredible comfort to me, one that I feel I never FULLY appreciated until my time here began.

My host brothers celebrating Honduras' advancement to the World Cup!
Mama Juana’s continual thanks to God for the blessing of a new day strike me as simple, but isn’t that the greatest prayer we could pray? Thank you God for loving me enough to save me from this sin-filled, selfish life I live. I praise you God for the dawning of a new day where I get to experience Your grace and mercy all over again. Thank you Lord for giving me the opportunity of this new day to establish Your kingdom by sharing that Love with everyone I come into contact with, knowing each one of us is a child of the Living God.

ASJ’s work teaches me that we each get to choose which causes we will give our lives to, daily. Sometimes those causes might look as if they have no relation to establishing God’s Kingdom here and now. But I think if we are pursuing the place where our passions and talents align with this broken world’s needs, God is pleased with us. And He comes alongside us in our work. Each new day.
 
Baleadas, my favorite food here! Flour tortillas with bean and cheese!
So what have I been doing with my days of life here in Honduras? I have certainly been kept busy, that is for sure! In the past month I was in charge of planning an investigative journalism conference for students from the public and private universities. The purpose of this one-day conference was to provide journalism students the opportunity to learn from experts about the ins and outs of investigation as a part of journalism, learning how to use their skills and expertise to work towards clearer government transparency.  As Honduras journalism students don’t normally receive a lot of training in this area, we at ASJ felt that it was crucial for them to see how important their work could be to create a more secure, transparent, and prosperous future for Honduras.

For the conference, we brought in:
·       A foreign correspondent for the Associated Press in Honduras (his name is Alberto Arce, you can look up some recent articles he has published in various prominent news sources)
·       A Honduran independent contractor who has done some great investigative work for ASJ
·       A noteworthy Honduran journalist who works for a major TV station
·       A Guatemalan journalist who co-founded an online transparency journal called Plaza Publica
·       A Costa Rican geographer who works with databases and mapping for the CR news source, La Nacion

Since this was the first event I have planned in Honduras, I had a lot to learn and I can honestly say that not everything went smoothly…actually a lot ended up being pretty bumpy. But I feel I learned a lot and I was excited to be a part of a project that I felt was making a direct impact.

The conference was sponsored by one of ASJ’s projects, Revistazo.com, which is an alternative online journal that seeks to investigate topics key to creating a more transparent future for Honduras. My colleagues who write and produce this online communication source have been working hard to gain more publicity in Honduras and this past week, they were able to do so with an article they published about a young boy who lives in the community where I live.

The 14 year old boy and his two younger siblings became orphans six months ago when their mother passed away (their father had long been out of the picture). Cristian has been making and selling tortillas each day since then to raise money for himself and his brothers to attend school. He also has skills as a barber but unfortunately has no funding to buy tools or open up a barbershop. After Revistazo published the article about Cristian, it began to be shared and posted and read by people ALL OVER THE WORLD. Support for Cristian and his brothers came pouring in and currently I have heard that a barbershop is being built for him and his and his brothers’ schooling is completely paid for from now on. It’s amazing what can happen from the sharing of a story! The article is in Spanish, but there are great pictures of Cristian and his tortilla-making business if you would like to look: Cristian's Story

Success stories such as this encourage me, as it is evident that the work ASJ is participating in does create change and instill hope. I am proud to work with such brave and talented Honduran coworkers, committed to fighting for justice for their fellow countrymen and women.

Sometimes this work and this life are hard though, and so it is nice to have a chance to get away from the big city for rest and relaxation. This past week we were able to do so, as Aaron’s parents visited us for the week and we traveled through Honduras to the western side of the country to see the Mayan ruins at Copan. Aaron and I had visited Copan on our study trip during college, but I felt like this time I learned even more about the interesting history and culture of these ancient times. And it was wonderful to show Keith and Pam around life here. One exciting moment was when we drove past the entrance to where I would have begin a 45 min truck climb up into the coffee hills where my one-month Honduran homestay was located three years ago! I knew we would be close to the area where our homestays were, but I didn’t know I would recognize the entrance! It brought back a flood of memories of my first venture into Central America, a trip that truly changed the course of my life. I am grateful Keith and Pam were able to experience Honduras with us for the week and I was sad to see them go.
 
Santa Lucia, overlooking Tegucigalpa
Now we are back to normal work life, finishing up some large projects before we leave in mid-December for a trip home for Christmas to the States. I am currently working on writing up a document which details the process of land titling here, which we hope to present to the newly elected government when they take office in January. The document will hopefully serve to impress upon them the need for land titling, but offer them suggestions for changing the way the process is currently implemented. Speaking of a new government, the elections are tomorrow! So please be praying with us for transparent elections and that the new leaders would be committed to working for the betterment and peace of Honduras.

Thank you for your support and prayers as Aaron and I continue our work here in Honduras. Like I stated before, we are strengthened by the knowledge of God’s continual presence with us as we live and work here. I pray that we may remember in our work, as I encourage you to as well, that each new day is a blessing and brings with it insurmountable opportunities to love and serve those around us. “Gracias, Dios, por un día más de vida.”


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Life in Tegus

                Tomorrow I enter my fourth week of work at the Association for a More Just Society.  I can’t believe how fast time has gone. Although my job still varies a lot, with many different projects asking for my help with things here and there, I do have more of a defined role then when I first arrived. 

                I will be assisting a fellow North American who serves as the Director of Investigations.
This means that for all of the organizations' various projects, he helps organize and hire consultants who do investigations to get the "hard facts" so that the projects can base their policy pushes on valid data, making their pleas to the government even stronger and unveiling corruption.  It appears I will serve as a form of research assistant, doing various technical work for him and yet still getting to interact with the various projects. I have really enjoyed the work I've been able to do so far and can definitely see myself continuing to follow a career path that involves human rights/security (in addition to international affairs and development policy).

I am still in the stage of figuring out everything and learning who does what and how things work in the office. They haven’t let me get bored at all though—there have been lots of tasks for me to work on each day! My coworkers are very friendly and welcoming and I enjoy getting to interact with them on a daily basis.

I continue to relish in the experience of living with a host family. I am so glad I am able to have this experience again, because it really allows immersion into the culture and it also provides a great sense of community. My family is extremely hospitable and their home is a secure, loving space for me to be in. My host siblings provide me lots of joy as well. I also love that I essentially get to have two host families, seeing as Aaron and I end up splitting our time together between our families. His family is awesome to hang out with as well. This weekend Aaron and I were able to be with them as Honduras beat Mexico for the first time EVER in a competitive soccer match as they vied for World Cup standings. They were so overjoyed—there were tears, hugs, and lots of screaming. It was an experience for the books (or the blog!).

I have also been able to start attending church with Aaron here in our community. Since today Honduras celebrated “Día de los Niños”, or Children’s Day, the young adults of the congregation put on a drama about the vowels for all of the kids. Aaron and I participated as “schoolchildren” who were receiving the lesson. Our friend Gary acted as the “O”, eating lots of cookies and food to emphasize his “roundness”. It was a very funny play and it brought many laughs. I hope to continue becoming more involved with the church as I think it is an important part of our community here in our neighborhood. Although, I need to learn the songs we sing because our church doesn’t currently have a projector with words! So I mostly do a lot of clapping and occasionally catch on to words here and there.


Well, I’ll keep the update pretty simple. Life is good, and God is good. He is a faithful companion and has accompanied me each step of this new journey. Thanks for your prayers and thoughts. Love to you all. 

View overlooking my community/ outskirts of Tegus from my rooftop!
Alex, my noisy upstairs friend. Luckily I am getting used to him.

Monday, August 26, 2013

His Mercies



I left on Saturday, August 17, to begin a new chapter in life, leaving my home (which I had only been visiting for a little over a month) to move to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. It was hard to say goodbye yet again, when it felt like I had just arrived. But I felt consoled by the fact that I would be returning, if even for five days, in the beginning of October for my dear friends’ wedding.

My flight, as most to Honduras, was an overnighter that left on Saturday night and arrived Sunday mid-day. As I sat in the Houston airport early Sunday morning waiting for my second flight, I wrote down some thoughts of anticipation, excitement, and nervousness. I was sitting in a corner of the airport by myself, and as I watched the sun rise, I was reminded of a great comfort. “His mercies are new every morning…” I remembered the verse from Lamentations 3. Whether that morning be in my sweet hometown, in the Houston airport, in my new home of Tegucigalpa. As the sun rises each day, so too does God’s mercies—which come to us in all sorts of forms, expected and unexpected.

God has opened some large doors to get me here to Honduras. I am working with the Association for a More Just Society, a Christian human-rights organization. I work alongside passionate and talented Hondurans who come to work each day committed to bringing peace to a country that desperately needs it. Though I have only been there a week, they have welcomed me with open arms. For that, I am extremely grateful.

So what did my first week look like? I moved in with my sweet host family, who go out of their way to care for me. Dona Juanita is my host mom, and her grown daughter Marta lives here with her husband Hector and their three kids: Paolo (8 years), Hector (5 years), and Alison (2 years). From the moment I first walked in the door the children have welcomed me in as a new part of the family and are constantly hanging on me, hugging me, wanting me to play with them, and letting me know they are happy that I am here. The family is extremely kind and I feel safe and loved in their home. My room is very comfortable though humble, and even has its own bathroom! I can’t say I am getting used to the cold showers, but I am grateful to have a way to get clean every night and cool down before I go to bed.

I started work right away last Monday, and by day’s end I had a desk space, a work computer, cell phone, and an AJS badge which reads, “Voluntario”. Throughout the week I worked on various small projects, including translation, which aided me in learning more about the organization while also keeping me busy. This coming week I think I will get a more concrete idea of what sorts of projects I will work on, while continuing to visit with certain teams of AJS that I am interested in to learn more about their projects and if I can help them. No matter what task I am given to work on, I keep reminding myself of how awesome it is that I get to be a part of this awesome organization—there is so much to learn! They truly are working to make a difference in Honduran society, and I know the lessons I learn here are important and part of God’s calling for my life and career.

I am getting used to the typical 9-5 working world! I actually have been waking up every morning at 5:30 am thanks to a noisy bird my family has named Alex. I seriously don’t even need an alarm, Alex would suffice. So this means that when 8:30 at night rolls around, I am ready to start getting ready for bed. This schedule is a bit different from what I have been living!! Additionally, Aaron and I along with other coworkers are planning to work out each week. This past week we went running at a big track near the university where tons of people go after work to run and walk. It was a nice place and I enjoyed it! This weekend we went with Aaron’s host family to visit a little town about half an hour outside of the city. It was more rural, quite, and peaceful. It was extremely relaxing and I enjoyed getting to meet more of his host family’s family members. We also got to talk to both of our families in the U.S. via Skype there, which was wonderful!

I don’t think my first week here could have gone better. I am already learning so much and am so grateful to be in Honduras. I am also extremely grateful for the presence of my best friend and companion, Aaron, who has made the transition to living here extremely smooth. I am happy we are in this journey together.

I am grateful for all the mercies God has provided in this first week, to make me feel comfortable and cared for. I know that He will continue to guide me and lead me, and I can’t wait for all that is in store. Thank you for your continued prayers and love.

1 Corinthians 15: 58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Thirty Days

Today marks the start of the 30-day countdown until I leave Costa Rica.

This last month will be filled with many things. The CRC is currently working with a group of 25 Wheaton students and three professors who will be here for the summer. Next Saturday, a group of 15 more students (a mixture of Whitworth, Westmont, and Hope) arrive to begin their summer session with us. At the end of June we have a faculty retreat, when different Whitworth departments send faculty to come and learn about our program (in the hopes that they will promote it intra-department and encourage students to come for semesters!).

On a personal level I have, as usual, filled my schedule up as well. I am taking an online microeconomics course through my local community college and am planning on retaking the GRE to raise my math score (which means lots of studying!). The graduate school process is officially underway as both of the above steps are intended to help increase the quality of my applications. I am hoping to apply this fall to begin studies in fall of 2014.  Schools I am looking into include various East Coast universities (there might be someone drawing me near to Connecticut…) and the University of Denver (an obvious win for my parents & family!). 

This next month will also be filled with last moments and goodbyes. This will be the hardest part of these thirty days. I have been incredibly blessed to work alongside amazing friends (both Costa Ricans and estadounidenses). Lindy and Dinorah have been wonderful leadership for me, always pushing me to consider all sides of an issue, pursue the “tortas” (the name we fondly use for “uncomfortable issues that need to be resolved”), and bring everything to God in prayer.  Hollie and Travis, my fellow assistants, have taught me so much about living out your gifts and calling on a daily basis. They have had incredible grace with me as I have learned each day more about my own leadership style and how to best communicate and work with a team. The Costa Rican staff here have been one of my favorite parts of this job. This past month has been speckled with bouts of homesickness for me, and they have been my strength. Getting up each morning and having the opportunity to work, joke, and live alongside them has reminded me daily of God’s presence in my life in the form of others. They have each been dear, dear blessings to me.

So, it appears this month will be filled with tears. That is for certain—I tend to be a crier when it comes to goodbyes. Just ask Mom, Dad, and Grammy. But it will also be filled with lots of hugs and “Hasta Luegos”. Because I refuse to believe that I will never see these people again. They have changed me for the better and my life cannot move on without them.

Okay, I’m finished with the sappy part. I mentioned this month will be filled with “last moments”. Here are some examples.

Pictures for me are a reminder of good moments we have had in life. I am currently in the beginner stage of learning how to use my DSLR, but I usually carry around my little point-and-shoot in case there are ever any unexpected moments on my journey through Costa Rica.

This entire year I have intended on snapping a photo of two special memories I regularly encounter.  This last week I had the opportunity to catch both.

The first is this painting of Aslan (or that’s what I have named him) which I saw on a house during my first ever trip to the airport last July. I thought it was absolutely beautiful, and of course Aslan has a Biblical meaning for me now (thanks to the Chronicles of Narnia), so it was a good reminder of the ever constant presence of Jesus. I stop to look at it every time I make a trip to the airport (which is a lot in this job!). 


The second is this dog, which I like referring to as a small horse (he is one of the largest dogs I have ever seen-this picture doesn't do him justice). He belongs to the owners of a mechanic shop that sits on a corner we pass each time we leave our little town of San Rafael and head into the bigger city of Heredia. Which means I point him out to students and visiting guests EVERY TIME we drive past him.  What is extremely funny is that while he is so large and intimidating, it is obvious after watching many encounters with him and his owners that he is one of the most lovable creatures ever. Usually he is lying around in the sun with some big piece of car piping in his mouth, but sometimes he is leisurely following his owners around the car shop. I am glad I was finally able to snap a photo of him because he has brought joy to me many days during my time here.



I know that I will have many more pictures to snap and hugs to give and receive in these next thirty days. I am also extremely looking forward to the hugs and reunions to come as I journey back to the States. While this time is very bittersweet (goodbye & hellos), it is a strong reminder of how thankful I should be for all that has been provided in my past 23 years. I am so grateful.

Peace & blessings.



Friday, May 3, 2013

Loving Our Neighbors


Last Sunday night I returned from a week-long trip to Havana, Cuba. It was my second time there, the last being in November.
The Havana harbor line and the lighthouse we climbed.
There’s so much to say about Cuban life and society and the effects of the embargo. The average Cuban receives $20 a month as a government salary. That is the below the poverty line. They scrape around to find odd and end jobs to earn more money and bring their monthly salary up. But there aren’t many other jobs to be had.

I left with more questions in my heart than I had the first time. So many questions that I can’t even tell you really what the questions are. I can tell you it’s incredible to visit a country that has no political or economic contact with the most powerful country in the world (a country that only sits 90 miles away from Havana). Whatever your feelings on the embargo might be, I can tell you it manifests itself in variations of poverty throughout Cuban society. I never knew this. Not until traveling there.
Walking the streets of Old Havana
Why is it that we are so uninformed about the world we live in? I have come to care greatly about places only once I have stepped foot on foreign land. I must see the places in order to believe that human beings just like me and you live and breathe and work there. Do we really have to see to believe? I guess so, perhaps that is just intrinsic to our human nature. I mean, Doubting Thomas embodies all of us in his questioning of Jesus’ resurrection. Possibly I too must truly touch and feel to believe in the existence of something so foreign to me. My experiences of Uganda, Central America, and Cuba have all shown me that by traveling to a place I become so much more invested.

But God calls us to a greater witness. He says that we are one family in Christ and that I must love my neighbor in China, Burkina Faso, India, Iran, and France. He says that His people must join together as one to live in a world that is broken yet redeemed. Yet I know so little of this world.

I might have spent months living here in Costa Rica, but still there are so many cultural niches that I don’t understand and probably never will. And yet I know virtually nothing about my neighbor in Kazakhstan. Or Thailand. Or Greece. How can I become more invested in knowing about the happenings of the world? I feel we are called to read more, to seek more, to ask more questions.

And that’s what I left Cuba with. Much more to seek, to know, to question.
La Catedral, Havana, Cuba
My friend Olivia and I in front of one of the old cars (taxis) we rode in.

I feel very blessed by the opportunity this job has given me to travel—to Nicaragua, Cuba, and various places around Costa Rica. I have learned much about this small part of the world, and a great deal about who I am and where I come from. It has given me a thirst for wanting to see more of the world. I know that sometime in life I would love to have the chance to travel to the places my ancestors come from—Germany, Italy, Ireland…

…I am getting ahead of myself. I think I have the travel bug. But I also am very ready to return home to my beautiful Colorado at the end of June. I can’t wait to see my family and just be home for a bit.  For a bit, you might ask? Which leads me to an exciting announcement:

After many months of discernment, I can now say with confidence that I will be living in Honduras starting in mid-August to work for the Association for a More Just Society! Aaron received notice last week that Yale Law will permit him to defer until fall 2014. So his work with AJS will continue and they have offered me a position as well. I will be working on investigating corruption in various sectors of Honduran society including education and health care.  I feel I cannot pass up such an important opportunity, where I will have the chance to learn from an incredible NGO as well as discern more about the next steps for my career. There are still many unknowns about my time there, but I am very happy to have made a decision and to at least know which city I will be living in come August! Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers during the decision process. If you would like to read more about the work of AJS in Honduras, click here: http://www.ajs-us.org/

While I know that many of you were hoping I would finally return to the U.S. (can’t that girl just come home?!), I truly feel called to be working with Aaron in Honduras and I think it is an important next step for my vocational calling. I feel strengthened by one of AJS’ foundational Bible verses: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). God calls us to serve our neighbor in love. His perfect love, which we must emulate, does not discriminate based on how close we are to the people we are loving. For example, I would do anything for my family because I love them. But God calls us to give that same level of loving to our neighbors. This is why he tells to, “Seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17).  The oppressed, the fatherless, the widow: they are all our neighbor. We must serve them as we serve our family. We must love them as God loves us. So it is through the call of 1 John 4:18 that I step out in faith for this new journey in Honduras. It will be difficult at times, but I am grateful for the opportunity to learn how to better love my neighbor and trust in God’s great provisions of grace. Thank you so much for all of your support and prayers. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Lo Bueno Cuesta


A month ago we returned from Nicaragua. We took the students there for a week to learn about history, politics, culture, and development efforts. It was my first time being back since my own study abroad trip there two years ago. By the end of the week, I had the same sentiment as my first trip. I didn’t want to leave.
                                          One of many Nicaraguan volcanoes, on our way to Leon.
                   
Nicaragua is the second poorest Latin American county, following Haiti. Its history is wrought with violence and oppression.  The basics are this. There were 50 years of one family ruling with a heavy-handed dictatorship. In 1979, a revolution triumphed, led by a group called the FSLN (the Sandinistas). After they took power, contra-revolutionary rebel groups violently fought against the new government.  Serious human rights abuses were committed by the Contras against civilian groups such as healthcare workers and teachers. These contras were illegally funded through the Iran-Contra Affair.  

This war “ended” after the first woman president was elected. Two of her children were Contras and two from the FSLN, so she was looked to as a mediator. Various presidents have served since then, but currently Daniel Ortega of the FSLN is in power. While there are accuses of corruption, Ortega has favored the poor in his policy. With over 40% of the population living below $1 a day, poverty is a stark reality that needs to be addressed.
                                          The largest cathedral in Central America in Leon. 

Despite a violent past and a reality of poverty, Nicaragua has made crucial steps forward. One area I think is fascinating is their police force. The most popular public figure in Nicaragua is National Police Chief Aminta Granera.  Once a novitiate, she decided to not take her vows as a nun but rather join the Sandinistas during the revolution.  Since her election as chief in 2006, she has targeted corruption and organized crime. Her work in the country has allowed the Nicaraguan people to place trust in their police force, a trust that does not exist between security forces and civilians in neighboring countries such as Honduras.

I have titled this blog, “Lo bueno cuesta”. This quote was shared with us by a Nicaraguan who works for a mission home to girls coming from the neighborhood of Managua’s largest dump.  His message was that working for what is good is costly, but worth it. And this is the message of life, of the journey that we are all on. Our circumstances, our histories, our stories—they are not perfect. But it was not designed this way. Pursuing the good in life is hard. Especially when all we can see is pain, violence, and oppression. 
                                              Pottery lesson from a famous craftsman.

Several of you mentioned to me that it had been awhile since I wrote for my blog. It’s true. It took me awhile to put together my thoughts about my time in Nicaragua. It is a country I really love and feel at home at. And to be honest, I can’t tell you exactly why. Perhaps it’s the relationships that I have been able to form there. Perhaps it’s the culture, the language. I can definitely say I am drawn to the daily work of reconciliation that is demanded in a country with a past so ravished by violence and injustice. Life is still hard for Nicaraguans, but amidst it all there is so much good. I cling to these pieces of good as truths placed by God to show that in a world that is so rough, there is hope. I truly believe that.

My time in Nicaragua re-instilled in me a desire to continue work related to the Central American region. It re-affirmed that I need to continue to seek what I am most passionate about, the people and places and jobs where God most calls me to serve. I should take this moment to share that I have decided to not stay here at the Costa Rica Center for another year. My decision was extremely difficult. My time here has been full of many wonderful experiences, yet I believe I am ready to move to the next stage. I am currently in the process of applying for various jobs and internships in both Washington, D.C. and here in Central America. I hope to find new experiences that will help me discern more what type of further schooling I would like to complete. Until then, I am enjoying beautiful Costa Rica and the awesome staff I am blessed to work with! I return home to Colorado at the end of June, and from there—only God knows!

May God richly bless you in the weeks to come, and may you pursue the good, though it may be costly. 
         Seeing my dear friend Laura, who is working for the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Nicaragua!
           I also saw my dear friend Kacie, who is working for the Peace Corps in Nicaragua!