Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day, Again.

You know me.
It's St. Patrick's Day and I feel the need to make sure everyone everywhere knows it isn't about green beer.  It's about how one guy obeyed God and went back to the people that captured him and held him as a slave to share with them God's love.  That folks, is always worth celebrating!!
So, because you probably don't want to hear me tell you all about it again, check out this video...

Friday, March 6, 2015


So.  February was busy.  That might be obvious from the lack of anything new here.  We traveled, a lot, spend time with dear people, spent time as a family, learned more about how to live well this life God has given us, where our heart longs for both homes.  And because it was so full, I am going to resort to bullet points.

  • We had lots of snow days.  As in 3 plus 2 already scheduled days off of school plus one kid was sick for 2 days.  Yeah, no real school rythm in February.

  • It got cold!!  As in actual temperatures being in the -15 F neighborhood.  But Elliot did find some sun!

  • The boys got to experience a classroom party in the US.  Parties here are so different.  They are parties.  In Costa Rica, it's often just a meal ordered from a local fast food place.

  • Noah and I were able to spend a weekend at Barakel helping out!  It was so fun to be back with those dear folks.  Noah helped drill ice fishing holes, run the tubing hill, teach ski lessons and do announcements.  I helped in the kitchen (which was a much warmer assignment by the way).  It was strange, it felt in some ways like we had never left, although it has been four years!
  • I got to share about what God is doing with a group of amazing women.
  • We were given a gift of a week at Missionary Training International's Debriefing and Renewal program.  What an amazing time!  We have been able to express and share how hard and wonderful the last 4 years have been, had someone to cry with and pray with, people to breath hope and life into us, all the while our kids were given the same kind of care! So very thankful!
  • While in Colorado, we got to spend time with a former student of ours (those teaching years seem like a lifetime ago!) and meet her sweet kids, husband and friends.  We were overwhelmed by the hospitality of strangers as they opened their home to us for 3 days!  

  • We also got to visit the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.  So amazing!

  • And now we are back to Zeeland, still working on finding a normal routine, although I have my doubts about if we'll be successful


Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Ok, after about six weeks back in the United States, we are finding somethings different, or strange, or there is just a "hey!  I remember that!"  sorta moments.  Please understand we are not criticizing or judging, just noticing.

So, in no particular order, here are our observations:
  • You can buy precut burlap instead of finding old coffee bags and cutting them up for projects
  • The roads are so long here you need rest stops
  • Beards are really a thing right now. 
  • Flannel is in, which coupled with the beard makes for a lot of mountain men walking around
  • People are really white and tall in West Michigan
  • We all just want to sit next to people speaking Spanish
  • There is so much variety in United States.  People there are whole isles of peanut butter here!g
  • Thrift store.  A.mazing
  • People are kind, but busy.  In fact, often when you ask how people are, it's "I'm busy" and that is suppose to be a good thing
  • I can understand  conversations in public, and it trips me out a bit. 
  • This  also means that people can understand everything we say...including the kids who are still getting used to the social rules about what is appropriate to say about someone
  • There is so much space on the roads, in the parking lots, and garages!
  • The cars people drive here are completely different.  We all got excited the other day about seeing a 4Runner...it's the first one we've seen in a month!
  • Pick up trucks...everywhere!
  • $3.86 for a tiny head of cauliflower (Amigos Ticos, eso es casí 2100!!)
  • I haven't even looked at the price for things like pineapples and mangos!
  • I have forgotten how to cook here.  The go to things I make in Costa Rica are much more expensive here.  I can't remember how to use chicken in big portions!
  • Ham is nice in soup
  • There are no microwaves in the lunch rooms here.
  • Kids get out on time from school, every day!
  • Libraries!
  • Water can be so cold coming from the tap that it hurts your teeth.
  • You can flush your toliet paper
  • Drinking fountains!
  • I have to get out the car and pump my own gas!  What?  Haven't done that in 4 years!
  • Minivans really are great
  • People need to see what God is doing in your life no matter where you live
  • You can buy anything you don't need or want in the States
  • People really think Central America is just an extension of Mexico.
  • People use the word "American" to describe only people from the United States.  Strange.
  • Banks are everywhere, and none of them have lines!
  • There is an accurate school calendar at the beginning of the year
  •  You have to check the weather at least every day.  There could be a 20 degree difference from one day to the next.
  • Kids loose mittens.  Has always happened...it will always happen.
  • People need Jesus no matter where in the world you live

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

School in the USA

We've been asked a lot about what our boys are doing for school here in the States for our time here.  Well...now that's a story of God going before us!

We knew we wanted to them to have at least a full semester at school.  It just feels like with the transition of everything, at least they could start at a natural starting point instead of halfway though the semester.  We also knew there was a public school very close to the house we stay in. There was also the option of a local Christian school that offers a Spanish Immersion kindergarten program.

So we prayed about what would be best for both Forrest and Elliot.  We thought that maybe it would be best for Elliot to be in the Spanish Immersion kindergarten because it would be a safe environment for him to really dig into Spanish.  But that program is really hard to get accepted into and since it's at a private school there is the tuition thing, and well...

Back in June, someone mentioned to me that the public school district in this area was starting their own Spanish Immersion program.  Huh.  Thanks to the amaziness of the interwebs, I discovered that indeed there was going to be Spanish Immersion, and get this!  The Kindergarten and 2nd grade classes were going to be at the building closest to our house!  I am not kidding!

I emailed the coordinator and explained our situation and she said "yes!  absolutely!  Your kids sound like a great fit for the program!"

So.  Both boys are at the same building, which is literally a 2 minute walk through the church parking lot, in rooms full of other kids who are all non native Spanish speakers, and they are doing great!  It's been so great for Forrest to continue with his Spanish (he's right on target with his class, and in some ways ahead of them language wise)  and for Elliot to start formal schooling and language learning.  While he was in daycare all in Spanish while we in language school, it's been and while and he doesn't get much Spanish at home with me at home.

 Can I just tell you, he is so happy?  He was very ready to start school and is doing great!  And because all the other kids in his class are brand new to Spanish, the whole day is built around teaching them a second language.  We are just thrilled!

Yep, God wasn't kidding with me.  He did go before us!

Monday, January 12, 2015

About a Month

Well.  Where to start?  We've been in the United States now for almost a month and it's just...well, I am really not sure if there is a word or phrase to sum this all up.  It's been...

Strange:  Someone from Brazil recently mentioned to us that when she goes to Brazil the first two days she feels like she is having an out of body experiece.  Both Noah and I said "that's it!"  Those first days are so strange.  Everything is so familiar (like the homes we grew up in) and yet we haven't set foot in them in 2 1/2 years.  The silverware is still in the same drawers, the extra toliet paper is still in the cupboard in the bathroom, and yet, it all seems forgien somehow.  Strange. Just strange.

Amazing:  We were able to spend Christmas with both sides of the family, to just enjoy being together, to spend time talking and laughing and sleeping and eating.  We haven't been able to do that in a very long time and it was amazing!

Confusing: Things have changed here in the US since the last time we were here.  Biggest change we've noticed so far?  EVERYONE has a smart phone now, and they do some amazing things.  Like you can get coupons from a text!  I was at Target and saw a sign next to the clearance section that said "text this code to this number for another 25% off clearnace."  What?  That wasn't a thing when we were here 2 1/3 yeas ago.  We sorta feel like we are playing catch up in this area.  And just with technology in general!  That's why there aren't any photos with this post!

Good: The big boys started school last week.  It has been good!  They are in a Spanish Immersion program here at the local public school that is a block from our house.  The first three days were really good.  They came home each day full of stories and interesting things they have been learning.  They also discovered the joy of a snow day!!  And then another snow day!  When I told them last night that today was school they both said "welllll, maybe there will be another snow day!"  Ha!  They catch on quick!

Uncertain:  We're still trying to figure out what life will look like while we are here.  It's strange having both big boys at school and Noah working from home each day.  We're realizing our more busy times will be the weekends and nights, and that somewhat different from our life in Costa Rica.  So we're trying to find what will work for us. 

Sad:  Not that we are sad to be in in Michigan, but more like we are sad to not be in Costa Rica.  There has been a definate switch in how the boys talk about Costa Rica in the last week.  When we first got to Michigan they said things like "we live in Michigan.  We're from Michigan."  Now they say that Costa Rica is where we live and that is home.  Which is a good thing, but we've all been a bit emotional about being away from home.

So.  It's a mixed bag.  But we're thankful to be in a warm house close to family and friends and the library and school.  And we're thankful for the fact that we will be heading back to Costa Rica and for our time here too.  So yeah, there isn't just one word to sum this all up!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas from the Kampers

As per tradition:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Way Up in the Sky, Part II

And we're on to Day 2 of our trip back to The Mitten for six months. 

Again, today should be straightforward enough, a direct flight from Orlando to Grand Rapids.  We don't take off until about 5:30 pm EST.

Pray with us!
  • For patient and cooperative kids who are on Day 2 of an international move
  • For endurance for their parents
  • For no weather or other delays
  • For all our luggage to travel with us
  • For a good adjustment being around all English speakers (you would be surprised how often I find myself talking to strangers in public in Spanish!)
  • For a smooth transition to the Great White North