Friday, June 26, 2015

Just a Quick Note

So just a quick pop in to say we're alive and kicking.
It's been one week.
Huh.  Sure feels longer than that!  We've been the process of unpacking, and reoraganizing the house.  For some reason, I thought that we would be able to just come home and unpack and be back up to speed, sorta like coming home from a vacation.  That is not how it's panned out, for a lot of reasons. 

We're also doing some major overhaul to our laundry room and building some epic shelves and a shed since our great friend Jamie is with us and she has all sorts of skillz in those areas.

We've also had to take the 4Runner into the shop, and work through the process of renewing our residency, and get the boys enrolled in school again, and, and, and.

There has also been some visiting of volcanos and plans to see the ocean at some point.

We were able to go to a birthday party on Saturday and it was so good to be home with our friends. 

Alright, now that you're all up to speed, it's off unpack and sort and build some more.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Here We Go!

We're off!  By the time you read this, we will have already put in many hours in the airport.  Here's the run down.

2:00 am Wake up
2:30 am Leave for the airport
3:00 am Arrive, check in 12 duffel bags and 1 car seat bag.  Take the 5 roller bags, 5 back packs, 1 stroller and 3 kids through security and get ourselves set up at the gate.

5:30 am Take off from Grand Rapids and fly to Baltimore
8:30 am Take off from Baltimore to San Jose, Costa Rica.

Arrive 11:30 Costa Rican time (which will feel like 1:30 Michigan Time)  Collect all bags, make it through customs and immigration.  Head to our house!!

Would your pray with us about a few things?
  • For easy going kids
  • For our friend Jamie who is coming with us!!  She is a brave woman to decided to help us move!  And we love her!
  • For perfect connections, that our bags would all get to where they need to be
  • For understand folks wherever we are


Friday, June 12, 2015

Moving, Again

Well.  We are just about 6 days away from returning to Costa Rica.  Somehow that went fast and slow all at the same time.  Strange how time works like that.

And 6 months is just a weird amount of time.  On one hand, it's really long.  It is a half a year after all.  But on the other hand, it's only half a year.  Just enough time to start to get to know someone, to start to feel connected to a community, to start to form new friendships.  It's just a weird amount of time.

It's been a good time of reconnecting with family, supporters, and friends, as well as developing new friends and connections.  One of my biggest concerns about this time was a lack of community.  We are living in an area we last lived in 8 years ago.  That's a long time.  People have moved on.  But God has been so faithful.  About 3 weeks before we left for the US He told me "don't worry, I am going before you."  And He did!  I was able to be part of a women's group for the whole 6 months and those ladies took me in and made me a part of them.  We have also been making connections at a new church in the area, and it's been good.  Very good.

 And now we are into the last week and the emotions are all over the place!  With the goodbyes and the see you laters and the excitement of heading back to Costa Rica, and well, it's just a lot.  Quinn asks multiple times a day when we are going to Costa Rica.  Almost everything is packed, except for the clothes we need for the next 6 days.  Monday we move out of the mission house and will stay with my parents for a few days.  The van has sold.  There are just a few things left in the fridge.

While we're sad to be saying the goodbyes, we are oh so excited to say the holas again!  We've so missed our friends, our church family and neighbors while we've been gone!  And ok, I'll say it, we've missed our stuff too.  I am ready to be back in our space, with our things. 

So pray for us as you think of us.  That we would say goodbye well and have a smooth transition back to Costa Rica. Things are different there too, friends have left that we didn't think would, so we weren't able to say goodbye.  Things have changed because we've been gone for half a year.  And things have happened in our lives.  After all we're different than we were 6 months ago too.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May Kamper Update

Check out our newest update and consider how you could be a part of what God is doing in Costa Rica!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

In Memory Of

I want to tell you about Isabella.  I need you to know about her.
I knew her for 7 weeks.  Her name, given by God, means Devoted to God.  And she is.

Because she's with Him now.

6 months ago God told me we were going to have another baby and it would be a girl.   When I found out at the beginning of April that I was pregnant I wasn't surprised at all. In the few short weeks I knew our baby, God gave me the name Isabella for her.  She was suppose to join our family just before Christmas.  In Costa Rica.  We were trilled and excited. 

But.  Two weeks ago I knew something wasn't right.  We had just told our families and the boys that a new baby was coming.  I started spotting and while I wasn't planning on seeing a doctor here in Michigan, I called.  Over the course of the day, we talked back and forth and they finally said they wanted me to come in for an ultrasound.

So we did.  In the office the spotting changed to bleeding and I was hysterical.  God had sweetly put the ultrasound tech in our path that day.  She looked me straight in the eye and said "there is hope." And there was.  On that screen was a little bean with a fluttering beating heart.  We were given a photo and told baby looked good for today and to wait. That same tech prayed with us, really prayed with us.  We went home to wait.

Then the cramping started.  But we had hope and we prayed with hope.  A lot.  We asked people to come pray with us and over us and the baby.  But the bleeding continued, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.  Monday I called the doctor again to tell them how the weekend went.  They reassured me that while it seemed like a lot of blood, it didn't sound like enough to have lost the baby.  We kept speaking Life and Hope.  The nurse told me to come in again on Thursday for another ultrasound.

Tuesday came and I just felt worse.  By the evening, the pain was more intense and I just felt like I couldn't keep doing this, whatever this was.  Noah put me to bed around 6 and about an hour later we were pretty sure I had miscarried.  But we still thought God is bigger than what seems to be the reality, so we waited.

I went to the doctor on Thursday and the same ultrasound tech kindly took me in and confirmed what we had thought.  The baby was gone.  Everyone at the office was so so kind.  They didn't make me sit back out in the waiting room, they all did what they could to make the rest of my time at the office as peaceful and calm as they could. 

So now, we're sad.  Sometimes the sadness seems so overwhelming.  Almost like it's pushing down and into me.  And then Quinn will say something hysterical and I'll burst out laughing with tears still in my eyes. I am not sure how people go through this without other kids around to make them laugh.

It's a strange thing to lose someone you've never really known.  But I did know her.  Every second of her life I was with her.  That's a sweet thought.

God not only let us see her alive, but gave us a photo and and a name. Its' still hard for me to call her by name, I think because it makes it that much more real that we are grieving a baby.  But I need to. Isabella.

It's also strange that she has changed our family so much and yet almost no one knew of her while she was here.  That bothers me.  I want something tangible to mark her time here. A friend who has walked this road suggested adding Isabella's name to my mama's necklace.  That came yesterday, which I was thankful for, but I cried.  A lot.

I've been part of a women's group at a church here in MI since we've been here.  Last week they surrounded me, embraced me, cried with me and prayed for us.  It was incredibly sad and healing all at the same time.  Almost like a funeral.

Last weekend Noah and I were able to go away over night.  It was such a gift, to just sleep, laugh, cry and be together. 

A lot of this is ramblings a verbal scrape book of sorts  of those gifts the God of all kinds of comforts has given us in the midst of something so horrid.  It's also a marker that Isabella is part of our family's story.  A memorial of sorts to her time with us.

" Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

By the Numbers


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Monday, April 20, 2015

An Epic Spring Break

So, we wanted to do something uniquely American over spring break with the boys.  As we thought about it, what is more American than a road trip?  Hours upon hours in the car, construction, stopping at strange road side attractions.  Nothing I tell you.

Oh sure, the boys had road tripped it to Panama and Nicaragua, but those weren't quite the same.

So we started to plan.  We have friends from language school in Memphis and in Kentucky and some friends from college in Southern Indiana.  And then we found out about the City Museum in St. Louis, and a route began to form...

A great big oval.  The first day our goal was to hit the City Museum by about lunch time, which meant leaving MI at 4:30 am.  Early, but doable.   We got on the road right on time, but the kids didn't follow the plan of falling back to sleep once in the car.  At least they were in that zombie like state for a couple of hours.  Well, except for when one started throwing up.  Poor kid, 6 times.  We thought he had out grown the car sickness.  But we made it.

Boy, we weren't prepared for what the City Museum really was!  It's an old warehouse with a series of holes and passages and tunnels and all sorts of things to climb on in and out of the building.  We initially thought we would bring the stroller in, and then we quickly realized that was a really really bad idea.  There were a million people there that day (the walls of the building were sorta pulsing with noise when we waked by on the outside!), but once we figured out the best plan was for Noah to take the big boys and I take Quinn it actually was fun from almost everyone.

Quinn's favorite was by far the piano which I let him bang on as hard as he wanted. The big boys loved the skateboard room where you just run and jump and slide.

Then it was back in the car for another 5 hours on our way to Memphis.  We were sooooo excited to see our friends the Savells.  They have been back in the US for about two years now and are doing great!  We kinda feel like war buddies with these folks.  You know, because Language School is like war!  Or maybe I've been watching too much M*A*S*H lately.  Anyway.

It was great to have personal tour guides of Memphis and boy did we hit all the high points, Graceland, The Peabody Hotel, Beale Street, A. Schwab, Lorrane Motel, and BBQ.  And when I say we hit them, there was some driving by, and some visiting.  Either way, it was a lot to pack in.  There was a lot of laughing, and amazing food!

After a couple of days with the Savells, it was on to Kentucky, to visit more friends from language school.  The Steeles are back in the US as their ministry focus has shifted and Tony is doing a lot of traveling.  We had a great time with them, more good food, learning about their area of Kentucky, seeing the Tennessee and Ohio rivers and laughing.    Somehow we never got a picture with them!

After another few days, we hit the road again and headed to Southern Indiana to see friends from college, the Mains. 

They were amazing!  More great food (as you can tell, this was an eating vacation!), playing outside, porch lunches and exploring caves! The boys even got to pan for semi precious stones at the caves.  Elliot was in love with that whole process!  That kid is a hunter gatherer for sure!

The Mains also threw an fabulous party for their small group so we could share about what God is doing in Costa Rica.  Their church also wanted to hear more, so we were able to share on Sunday morning as well.  Amazing!

After one last lunch on the porch, we hit the road again for the Mitten and made it back by about 9pm Sunday night.  What an Epic Spring Break!