Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cartago, Costa Rica...Basilica de Nuestra Senora de los Angeles

Here is a great little video showing the Basilica I visited at Christmastime in Cartago. A few interesting things about this church...

-Notice the people 'walking' up the aisle on their knees. This is a sign of reverence to "La Negrita" or "The Black Virgin" (statue is shown in the video). In August there is a festival in Cartago and there is a 22 km pilgrimage to the Basilica. Many people choose to crawl the 22 km on their hands and knees.
-Many people believe that the stone where La Negrita was found in the 1600's has healing powers, as well as the water that flows out near the stone. People collect the water in bottles (which you can buy there, of course) and drink it or apply it to their body. People leave offerings at the stone, in hopes of healing. For instance, many people bring a small silver charm in the shape of a body part (eye, ear, nose, arm, leg etc) and leave the charm at the stone with their prayer for healing of that part of their body. Many people also leave gifts of great value for thanksgiving. There are cases full of these silver charms on display, as well as cases full of items like University diplomas, jewelry, and trophies given to thank La Negrita.

Please remember in your prayers, those in Latin America who worship and put their trust in idols instead of God.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Photos, video, music....what more could you ask for in a blog post?

Click on the box below to view a slideshow of some recent photos, listen to one of my favourite songs, and see a quick glance of the language school I'm attending!

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Road That Leads to.....Somewhere....

Less than 2 months left of language school, the days are slipping away. Although I am nowhere near being fluent in Spanish (FYI, this will take my whole life, I think) I am getting excited to be heading to Venezuela. The wheels are starting to turn for our preparations....preparations for flights and packing, preparations for finding a home in Caracas and what I will need to get set up, preparations for banking (because it will be much different that the convenience we are used to) and preparations for joining a new church family. I should probably be nervous or worked up about everything that needs to be done, but thankfully....I have been tranquila (calm). That is only something that God could provide for me! I hope to stay as tranquila as much as possible over these next few months, because I know that God is in control!

Speaking of tranquila, I just got back from a mini-vacation, we had 5 days off of school so the Hieberts and I took advantage of the extra long weekend and stayed near Playa Manuel Antonio. We all had a great time in the pool, hanging out at the beach, relaxing and going on a "scenic drive". Angela and I often laugh at some of the odd situations we have been in here in Costa Rica, and often remind ourselves "always expect the unexpected". We had booked into a vacation rental and knew that it would be a little more secluded than most other rentals, set back in the tropical forest. Chris was driving and we all had our eyes peeled for our turn-off. We drove by a gravel road and kept driving but Chris quickly realized that was the road we were supposed to turn onto. So he backed up and we began our journey down the road. I need to mention that this was not your ordinary gravel road. In fact, this road drove right through....and I mean right through....a palm tree plantation. This plantation is in use and there is a palm oil processing facility not too far away. It was in a word: beautiful. Oh ya, and bumpy. Ok, two words. We continued on our way, navigating down potholed roads, joking that we were going to drive straight into the jungle. And then we kind of did. We passed a little village. And then an abandoned property development. And then we saw a sign for the development where we were going to stay. There was a picture of a home on that billboard, and we realized it was the house that we were going to stay in! Panic sunk in, as we wondered if the house we were renting was the the only house in the development! When we arrived, we found out that it was not the only house; it was one of 6 or so houses in a development of 200 lots! Because of the economy, many people have had to abandon their plans of building vacation homes in Costa Rica. We followed the property manager up a road, including a few switchbacks and realized that a 4X4 would have been wise....but thanks to Chris's skillful driving of the Corolla, we finally made it up to the home and after deciding it was a good thing the car was a rental....we were able to enjoy a quiet, peaceful holiday in "el bosque" (the forest). Here are some shots of the beautiful palm tree farm (please forgive the quality...they were taken through the window!):