Friday, December 18, 2009

I'm off to Peru!

Last Friday, I graduated from the language school. I've spent the week at a Bible-storying conference here in San José.  We storied through the book of Acts.  Now it's time to move on to Perú.  I'll spend a week in Lima and then go to Yanama after Christmas.   It is also the time of the year for the Lottie Moon Christmas offering.  

Here are a few new things to remember:

▸ Transition from Costa Rica to Perú.

▸ Safety in travel (both the flight to Lima and the long drive up to Yanama)

▸ Continual language/cultural acquisition

▸ Lottie Moon Christmas offering

As always, continue to pray:

▸ that the Name of the Lord be great among every tribe, people, nation, and tongue

▸ that I would walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in every respect, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God and His Word

▸ that I would grow in my understanding of my own unworthiness and dependence upon Christ and His grace

▸ that the Lord of the Harvest would raise up more laborers into the harvest fields


One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving.  — Amy Carmichael

Sunday, November 1, 2009

About Six More Weeks in Costa Rica

Time can really go by quickly. It does not seem as though it has been a year since I came to Costa Rica. Thank you to all who have been faithful in partnering with me through prayer.

I only have about six weeks left at the language institute. I will stay in Costa Rica for one more week after that. On Saturday, December 19, I’ll be flying to Lima, Peru where I will be for a few weeks. Then, I will be going to Yanama, Peru which is north of Huaraz.

There is one thing that has changed for me. I was going to go to Chiquián, Peru, south of Huaraz. But now I am going to Yanama instead. God is sovereign, and I trust this change is for the best.

These final weeks here in San José will be quite busy as I finish up at the intitute and prepare for the transition to Peru. Here are a few things to remember:

Please pray . . .

▸ that the Name of the Lord be great among every tribe, people, nation, and tongue

▸ that I would walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in every respect, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God and His Word

▸ that I would grow in my understanding of my own unworthiness and dependence upon Christ and His grace

▸ that God would open my ears to the Spanish language

▸ that my last few weeks in Costa Rica be as fruitful as possible in reguards to langunge study and to the ministry at the House of Restoration

▸ that the transition from Costa Rica go smoothly

▸ that the Lord of the Harvest would raise up more laborers into the harvest fields

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Scripture Quote:
2 Thessalonians 3:1 Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Missionary Quote:
We should always look upon ourselves as God's servants, placed in God's world, to do his work; and accordingly labour faithfully for him; not with a design to grow rich and great, but to glorify God, and do all the good we possibly can. — David Brainerd

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A bird's eye view of where I am

Here is the image of where I live in Costa Rica.  The picture is three years old, so the house in which I live is not in the picture.  But I put the marker where the house is.  The house is in a gaited community of which some of the condominiums are still being constructed.

About six or seven blocks away, is ILE (Instituto de Lengua Española/Spanish Language Institute):

The building just above the red marker is the administration building.  The one just below it is where the classrooms are located.  Just below that is Sojourn Academy for the school-aged kids.  And just below that are the gymnasium and the preschool.

Monday, August 31, 2009


Thank you for your prayers. Prayer is an essential aspect of any ministry. Please continue to pray. Your prayers are great appreciated. Thank you.

Here is an update as to what I'm doing:

I have begun my third and final trimester at the Spanish Language Institute. I'm sure it will be over before I realize it. Time has really flown. I have grammar for an hour a day. I'm the only one in the class, so it should be really helpful with the one on one tutoring. I also have FARO. FARO is a class in which the students have a route consisting of various people within the community and talk with them about various themes. Both should be really helpful in gaining fluidity.

Most of the other guys who have been working with me at the House of Restoration have graduated from the language institute. Right now there are only two of us going. Since the other guys Spanish is still pretty limited, I am the one who teaches every week. Please pray that we can find some other guys to help out.  

The past few weeks for the Bible study we have there I have presented the gospel to them. I spent two weeks on the person and work of Christ, explaining to them who Christ is and what He did at the cross. Most of the men seem eager to study Scripture. For the following weeks, I plan on helping them to read and study Scripture for themselves. Many of them come from Catholic backgrounds and find personal Bible study unattainable apart from some priest or other professional interpreting it for them. I plan to give them a few basics and work through some passages with them. Please pray that God would give me wisdom as I lead these Bible studies and that I will communicate clearly to them in Spanish.

Prayer Concerns: 

• language/culture acquisition during my final trimester 
• ministry at the House of Restoration, particularly for more workers and wisdom as I lead the weekly Bible studies 
• that God would open doors for me to share the gospel 
• that God would open the hearts and minds of those to whom I have the opportunity to witness 
• that I would grow in Christlikeness 
• that the Lord would send out laborers into the harvest 
• that the Name of Christ be great among the nations
• that the Lord would work even now in the hearts of the Quechua people among whom I will be serving as a church planter

For the Glory of His Name and the Furtherance of His Kingdom,

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Here's what happening . . .

The picture above is of me with San Francisco de Dos Ríos behind me. This is the area of San José in which I live. Below, there is a picture of downtown San José. Please pray for this city that the gospel may spread through it and souls should be saved for the glory of God.

Here's a quick update:
• My Spanish is coming along. I find myself able to understand more day by day.

• The ministry at the House of Restoration is going well. I bought a Bible for a man there. There is, however, a lot of turn over. Some of the men end up back on drugs and alcohol. Please pray that we may win them with the gospel.

• I have added an item to this site. To the right, you can see a box for an "Unreached People Group of the Day," provided by the Joshua Project. Every day, it gives information on an unreached people group (population, religion, language, etc.). I plan to go to the lowland Quechua of Bolivia, but let us never forget to pray for the thousands of other people groups who have never heard the gospel of Christ.

• Last week at the language institute, we had a culture day. This is a time that the language institute has each trimester in which the students can learn more about Latin culture. This trimester, they had a festival with booths with various typical games that one would find in Costa Rica at such festivals. They also had some typical festival foods. It was a lot of fun

Continue to remember these prayer concerns:
• language/culture acquisition
• ministry at the House of Restoration
• that God would open doors for me to share the gospel
• that God would open the hearts and minds of those to whom I have the opportunity to witness
• that I would grow in Christlikeness
• that I would be grounded in Scripture and dependent upon God in prayer
• that the Lord of the harvest would thrust out laborers into the harvest
• that the Name of Christ be great among the nations

Should I not have compassion on that great city? — Jonah 4:11
Seeing the crowds of people, Jesus felt compassion for them,
for they are distressed and thrown down
like sheep without a shepherd.
— Matthew 9:36

Both picture courtesy of Joshua Murphree, © 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sopa Negra

Do you want another taste of Costa Rica? Here is a recipe for a typical Costa Rican soup. Like the gallo pinto recipe I posted last month, this one also is a beans and rice dish. Enjoy.

Sopa Negra (Black Soup)
six servings


1/2 lb black beans (usually more beans will be cooked and then removed and saved for later for something else like gallo pinto, refried beans, or simply used as a side for another meal).

About 1 lb white rice, cooked.

8 cups chicken broth and/or water. (Water will do fine, but there is so much flavor that chicken stock can add to any savory recipe like this).

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp oregano

6 eggs

10-12 sprigs cilantro, chopped

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small red sweet pepper, chopped


After soaking the beans overnight, drain and put them in a large stew pot with the water and/or chicken broth, salt, and black pepper, and bring it to a boil.

Turn down the heat, cover the pan, and let it simmer for about 2½ hours or until the beans are soft.

[The water/broth will now be black and is called agua negra or black water.]

Sauté the onioin, garlic, and red sweet pepper in the olive oil, then add them to the pot.

Add the cilantro, oregano, and cook an additional 30 minutes or so.

Add the six eggs to the pot to be hard boiled for the final 8 minutes. If you wantt to boil the eggs in a separated pot, that's fine too. It is even possible to poach the eggs in the soup, if you like.

Remove the eggs, and peal them. Then, put the shelled eggs back into the pot whole.

Salt and pepper to taste.

The soup is served in a bowl over some rice with one egg per bowl.

¡Buen provecho!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pictures from Media Vuelta and Arbolitos

This is the group, those of us who came up from San José
and those who live and minister there.

Horseback is a common means of transportation here.

Boats are another means of transportation
in these small farming communities on the Sarapiquí River.
Here we are going up river to Arbolitos from Media Vuelta.

Here is the Baptist church with whom we were working.

This is a house next to the church which we used.

An couple from the community.

Kids from the community.

There were some howler monkeys in a nearby tree.

All pictures courtesy of Joshua Murphree, © 2009.

Pictures from the coffee plantation and the volcano.

Here are some pictures from my day at Doca and Poás:

This is me at Volcán Poás.

Here I am holding Isaac.

Coffee berries.

Spreading the beans drying out in the sun.

Here I am with Isaac and Ella.
The ox cart on which they are climbing
is a national symbol of Costa Rican culture.

All pictures courtesy of Joshua Murphree. © 2009.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Here is an overdue update on my life here in Costa Rica:

• My first trimester has ended. I have two more to go. I did well in my classes and can see an improvement in my Spanish. Thank you for your prayers and, please, continue to do so.

• My second trimester has already begun. As for grammar this trimester, I will be focusing on the 16 uses of the subjunctive mood The subjunctive is used much more often in Spanish then in English, making it difficult for English speakers learning Spanish to incorporate it in their conversation. I know the forms and generally how the subjunctive is used, but I hope that this trimester will really help me to solidify it in my thinking and to use it in converstion more easily.

• During the break in between the trimesters, I went on a short mission trip to a small farming town called Media Vuelta out in the jungle on the Sarapiquí River (with crocodiles and alligators). Our primary task for the trip was to help the church do some survey work throughout the community in order to find out who is there and to make connections with the people for relationship building. On Sunday afternoon, we went up the river in a long moter boat to the next community, Arbolitos, and did the same thing there. Pray that the church there will be able to reach these communities with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

• Also during the break, I went with some other IMB students to visit the Doka coffee plantation and Poás Volcano. It was a good day of fun with friends.

• I am continuing my weekly visits to the House of Restoration. There is a lot of turn over there. Every week there are some new people there and others who have left. Often those who leave, do so because they are back on drugs or alcohol. I taught the lesson for the first time this past week, all in Spanish. Please pray that these men would come to know Christ.

For the Glory of His Name and the Furtherance of His Kingdom,


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gallo Pinto

Do you want a little taste of Costa Rica? Here is a recipe for a typical Costa Rican dish. The recipe has been slightly altered due to the availability of the ingredients in the US. You can also play around with my recipe here to suit your own taste.

Typically served for breakfast, Gallo Pinto is a dish usually topped with a dollop of sour cream and served along with eggs and fried sweet plantains. Kids often put ketchup on it. The dish probably originated as a means of using the left over black beans and rice from the previous day. But it is definitely better with fresher ingredients.

1 cup of cooked rice
1 cup of cooked beans, drained
1 small or medium onion, chopped
1 small chopped red sweet pepper
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (typically Lizano sauce, if you have access to it, use it instead)
2 tsp black pepper (Costa Ricans generally don't use black pepper on anything, but I think it adds to the flavor of this dish, so I included it in my recipe)

Sauté the onion, red pepper, garlic, cilantro in the olive oil for a few minutes. Add in the beans, the Worcestershire, and black pepper. Cook for a few more minutes. Next, add in the cooked rice. Stir it all together, and it's ready to serve. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


It’s been a while since my last update. Time can really by. Here is a quick update as to what I have been doing the past few months. Thank you for your prayers. They are needed and appreciated. We serve a God you indeed answers prayers.

• The gash on my head has healed up well from the stitches with barely a scar.

• The first trimester of my language studies at the Spanish Language Institutes has past the half way point. I am enjoying my classes, and my Spanish is coming along. But, there is still a lot more I need to learn. There a lot of Spanish in my head, but it is difficult to get it to my mouth in conversation. I need a lot more practice.

• I have started to go to La Casa de Restauración every Monday afternoon with some other language students here in Costa Rica. La Casa de Restauración is a half-way house for men who are recovering alcoholics and/or drug addicts. We do Bible studies with them and hang out with them. It is a great opportunity to minister and practice Spanish at the same time.

• I have also been to several workshops on church planting as a part of the training and mentoring that the IMB provides for the languages students. Part of the mentoring includes bi-weekly meetings with a missionary who gives assignments and provides accountability. Right now I am memorizing the Romans Road in Spanish.

Prayer Concerns:
• language/culture acquisition
• ministry at La Casa de Restauración
• that God would open doors for me to share the gospel
• that God would open the hearts and minds of those to whom I have the opportunity to witness
• that I would grow in Christlikeness
• that the Lord would send out laborers into the harvest
• that the Name of Christ be great among the nations

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Meetings, quakes, and a bang

I want to thank everyone again for your prayers. Classes begin this week. I am looking forward to learning more Spanish through them. The next few weeks, I’ll be working on my student visa stuff. As for this past week, it has been quite an eventful and ended with a bang. Here are the highlights:

This past week was orientation for the Spanish Language Institute. We had plenty of informative meetings concerning the institute, the language learning process, placement exams to determine the level of each student, and concerning living in Costa Rica. There were comical skits interspersed between the meetings. I got to meet all the other new students and make new friends. On Thursday, a bunch of us got together for some pizza and had a great time.

On Thursday afternoon, at around 1:20, I was reading a book after lunch when all of a sudden the floor beneath me began to shake. I looked up and casually thought, "Hmm, an earthquake." Then, I kept on reading. The shaking lasted a little longer than I expected. Costa Rica averages about 200 earthquakes a month, but most of them are too small to be felt. This earthquake was a 6.1, the strongest one in Costa Rica in over 150 years. Minor tremors resumed throughout the rest of the day. It was the first earthquake I’ve ever felt. In San José, damage was minor. The epicenter for the quake was about 22 northwest of downtown where there was quite a bit of damage and loss of lives. You can find more information about it here.
And a bang:
Saturday evening at about 7:30 I was going to the store to get a few things. On the way, I tripped and fell on the sidewalk. I got up with a few scrapped knees, otherwise I was ok. As I continued to walk, I felt a little dizzy. So I stopped, took a few deep breaths; I felt fine so I continued on my way. While in the check out line, I fainted and banged the back of my head on the way to the floor. After I came to, the manager of the store called for an ambulance. They came and took me to the hospital where I received four stitches. They took head X-rays to make sure there were no skull fractures. Because I had fainted, they tested me with an EKG, looked at my eyes, tested blood pressure and blood sugar, and a few other tests. They didn’t find anything wrong (except for the gash in the noggin). It was after 1 AM when I finally left the hospital. I got plenty of rest on Sunday to recuperate. This afternoon, I spend some time with some friends. I feel fine right now. The stitches come out on January 20.

Please continue to pray:
• language learning
• cultural acquistion
• witnessing/ministry opportunities
• the stitches in my head
• God to be glorified

For the saving grace of God was manifested to all men, teaching us, that denying the impiety and the worldly desires, soberly and righteously and piously we may live in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who did give himself for us, that he might ransom us from all lawlessness, and might purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. — Titus 2:11-14