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Latest February 23, 2009

Posted by thebontragers in Uncategorized.
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Life here in Costa Rica is great. This time around, it’s a bit different than the last. Before, no kids meant much more flexibility. Now, our kids change things around a bit. It’s all good, it’s simply just different. My kids have to be my ministry that comes before our current obvious ministry of VidaNet. The last thing I want to do is put a bitter taste of God and ministry in my children’s hearts due to them being last in my priorities here. So, it’s a challenge that keeps me going. How should I go about it? Comments are appreciated. I love my kids so much. Some times I’ll just start crying while watching Karis play simply because she means the world to me. Thanks, Lord, for my kids.

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First Group February 13, 2009

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A week ago, we said goodbye to the first group to be down here since we’ve arrived.  It was a “humanitarian” project led by Eric Shiffer from Springfield, Ohio.  Eric has a large injection molding business and selected a group of people from the company to come on the trip.  I was thoroughly blessed by Eric’s humble, Christ-like heart in this endeavor to reach his workers like this.  Not all of them were Christians, so it was neat to see the reactions to the outreach that we did.  The main project that the group focused on was helping to build a building for a church down in La Cuenca.  The building will be used for better capacitating the children’s programs during the week and also will be used as a kitchen for the area’s feeding program that is currently one day a week–we would love to see it be more days.  We worked right along with the pastor, Javier, and a number of willing souls.  Mainly people from the church helped, but I was amazed at how many kids that didn’t have anything to do with the church, pitched in and helped without expecting anything in return.  We made a lot of friends, blisters, and sore muscles, but it was a fun time.  the job siteFelix & meKrista was able to go along with Gloria Hoover and the ladies of the group to take four girls from La Cuenca out on a “pampering day”.  Ronald, a Costa Rican who works for Christ for the City here in La Cuenca, chose four girls with heartbreaking lifestyles to go along for the day.  They went to get their nails done, hair done, and they went out to eat.  They also bought the girls uniforms for school which is starting here very shortly.  Needless to say, it was a blast for them–and for Karis as well.  How dreamy.paseo-0281

Zoom-Zoom January 24, 2009

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Wednesday of this week was a bit crazy, back-and-forth, and all around fun for me.  I had a bit to do on my list and at the end of the day, the list was completed.  Of course, we all know, that completing lists is top priority…

Looking over my list, I thought that it wouldn’t be nearly so tightly filled if nice DeLynn hadn’t offered to help another missionary out by going to meet the 3:00 incoming TicaBus to pick up an AC adapter for a keyboard that had been forgotten in another country.  Oh well.  Flexibility right?

We have a number of vehicles for the base here and seeing as how Costa Rica is strict on having “good” vehicles, they have a yearly inspection for every vehicle on the road.  We had already taken one of our vans in for inspection, but failed due to one tire not having quite deep enough tread…good grief.  This is Central America for crying out loud.  To fix this problem, I just switched tires with another one of our vans that had up to code tire tread.  So, now I was ready to take this beast back in for a hopeful pass late on in the afternoon.

Before-hand though, to start the day off, DeLynn and I headed down the mountain to pick up “General Lee” which is the van designated for intern usage.  It’s been sitting at the mechanic’s shop getting work done on it so it too can hopefully pass inspection.  One of the problems with it are its tires but not for the tread.  It’s because they stick out from the body of the van.   Anyway.  The silly heads at the mech. shop ran the thing out of gas so we couldn’t start it and had to go get more and once we got it going we went and dropped it off at another shop to get different tires put on it.

We went back to the base, then, and soon after that, Howard (VidaNet’s financial guru) took DeLynn to the airport to send him off to the States.  I didn’t have much time before I hopped on my bicycle and zipped down the mountain and payed the tire shop guy for switching the tires, loaded my bike inside the van, and headed back to the mech. shop to retrieve the special card that allows me to go to inspection.  Well, he was supposed to have the card, but didn’t.  He found out then that the guy that borrowed it last, still had it and was currently in San Jose.  I kindly asked if it could PLEASE be back by 4:30 when I needed to be heading down there and he said it shouldn’t be a problem.  Okay.  I then raced this bad Nissan Serena down to La Cuenca, jumped out and ran down into the little slum to find our friend Ronald so I could give him a much-needed item.  I stayed for about one minute which is very poor Tico ettiquete, and then ran back to the General Lee and raced back to another shop where I dropped it off to get an alignment done.  The bike stayed in the van while I jumped in a taxi that was so conveniently right there waiting and we caravaned up the mountain back to the base again.  Straight from his car I saddled the “Great White” Ford van and drove Tico style to the airport praying that I wouldn’t miss the TicaBus that I had to meet to pick up that stinking keyboard adapter.  God gave me great pedal action and okayed my “me-first” style of driving all the way there.  I got there with a good ten minutes to spare and the bus pulled up.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” was the answer I got from the bus driver.  Oh boy.  After further explanation, God jogged the dude’s memory and he remembered he did in fact have an adapter.  Whew.  Thanks, God.  So, I got back in the beast and hammered down to get back to the mech. shop that hopefully would have the card that allows me to go to inspection.  Ahhh, he did in fact have it now.  So, I went back home and loaded Karis into the van with me to give Krista a break and to be able to do something “fun” with Karis for the day and we rambled our way to RTV (inspection).  We got there safely and everything went smoothly.  We passed inspection…..aaahhhhhh….and then headed to Hipermas to do some grocery/final home furnishing shopping before we headed home.  I think we got home at about 8:30 then all safe and sound.

You know, all these things that happened weren’t terribly important, really.  I mean, realistically, if one thing wouldn’t have been accomplished, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world.  God proved Himself faithful through the whole day.  I kept praying over and over that God would take care of the details, because I couldn’t control everything.  Looking back, everything was crazy-hectic, but it all worked out like clock-work.  Thanks, Lord.  What a day.

Interns January 19, 2009

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Currently, we have a total of three interns with us at VidaNet.  Nate Smith, Nicole Horch, and Raúl (I don’t even know his last name yet…) who is a national.  The intern program runs 15 months.  A “term” includes language training, living with a Costa Rican family part time, weekly ministry in various outreaches taliored to some extent to fit the intern’s passions and skills, and of course, social happy togetherness times as a group each week.  This past week we all went miniature golfing and then to Wendy’s.  It’s a fun, growing and learning experience walking along-side the interns through their day to day happenings.

me - Nate - Nicole

me - Nate - Nicole

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DeLynn - Raúl

Underway January 14, 2009

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Things are getting to the point of being “under way”.  What does that mean exactly?  That means a lot of riding around with DeLynn and meeting people that I’ll be in lots of contact with.  The other day we went to a slum called La Cuenca.  VidaNet helps quite a bit in this incredibly poor community that’s ironically situated on the very back side of a very ritsy mall establishment in a pretty well-to-do part of Heredia.  There are approximately 500 “houses” that are packed in there like sardines.  The city didn’t properly run the drainage from the new mall when it was built several years ago and so all the run-off runs right down and through this community.  There’s no proper drainage system throughout the area and so houses are falling into the main corroding ravine.  Kids don’t have a safe place to play and in the rainy season, all the muck collects in the only open area to play futbol and so tasty fungus plagues the kids feet.  All in all, it’s a very poor and rough area.  When we were walking through, I heard babys crying and little girls playing and now being a dad, I can’t imagine my family living like that.

Some of the ways VidaNet helps out in this community is that we partner with national churches to provide lunch on Tuesdays.  The Mennonite Church in Heredia raises the funds and provides lunches for 120+ kids every Tuesday.  The goal is to find enough national churches and businesses to provide lunch for these kids five days of the week.  VidaNet’s interns also help a national organization, Christ for the City, throughout the week with English classes, passing out lunches, tutoring, and just loving on the kids.  It’s humbling to be a part of it.

Today, we continued painting the inside of a government funded building that provides help to families that can’t afford care for their own.  It was funny how since we were painting the rooms, that surely we could paint some furniture and another office and maybe even the outside yet too.  A while back when the project was started, there had been an agreement as to how much we would contribute.  Well, you give someone a wet rag and it just has to be wrung out to the last drop so-to-say.  It was a good time and we were glad to be of help to the organization.

Oh and some friendly, sticky-fingered person(s) thought it would be fun to break in to our shop at the base and steal a nice little selection of tools.  Ouch.  Our chop saw, two weed eaters, and some cordless tools were taken.  May those tools bless the perpetrators ever so much that the guilt of stealing them will some day be too much to bear and they can come clean.  That’s life though.  They’re just things.  Gotta get used to not being so concerned over material possessions.  Help me, Lord.

The Earthquake January 11, 2009

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It turns out that the earthquake was a little more devastating than I thought.  Different websites say different things, so which one do you believe?  Currently it’s any where from 18-34 deaths.  More than a hundred people are missing as well.  The quake hit about 20 miles north-west of San Jose between Vara Blanca and Cinchona which is about 12 miles north of where we were.  There’s lots of devastation in the epicenter aftermath with people still clinging to the hope of finding their missing loved ones.  It’s humbling.  Why were we so fortunate to not have been in the center of it all?  Only God knows.  One of the best sites I’ve found on the earthquake is here.  http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Strong-earthquake-shakes-Costa-Rica/ss/events/wl/010909costaricaquake

We’re currently brainstorming how we as a mission can help in some form or fashion.  We have lodging, food, transportation and some equipment capacity.  We are very open to what God wants us to do here.  If you’re at all interested, please e-mail us.  bontragers@pvmonline.org

On a little lighter note, it looks as the Lord has blessed us with finding a vehicle!  We’ve been kinda caught up in the whooplah of moving so it has felt a little panicky when we were wondering what vehicle we would find.  Also, since vehicles cost basically twice as much here as they do in the States, we were starting to wonder if what we got from selling our cars before we left was even going to get us something good…  Details, details.  Why do we have to know the details?!  I guess if God would give us all the details, then why would we have to trust Him?  Faith is believing in something we don’t see.  Yet another test.  Anyway.  We had found what we thought to be exactly what we wanted, but it was quite a distance away from where we live.  We kept it in mind, but found some other possibilities and DeLynn and I went out looking yesterday.  Well, we had a zero-find day doing that.  Nothing came up and we never were able to actually find the vehicle that we were trying to track down from an ad.  So, today the owner of the one we wanted called me (I had previously called him) and said that the person that had wanted to buy it declined and he was currently in the town where we live because he stays with his friend on the weekends.  So, rather than being four hours away, the vehicle was now four minutes away.  Flippin’ sweet.  DeLynn was able to come with us which was great since he knows a bit about cars and knows what to ask much better than I do.  Well, we get there and there was another interested party looking at it and wanting to buy it at the same time.  Good grief.  I said, “Lord, if this is our vehicle, then make it happen.”  We ended up making a great connection with the people who happened to be Christians and were very interested in what we’re doing.  They said they want us to have it and not the other party.  Okay, Lord.  Thanks.  So, I’m going to the bank tomorrow to get 1,375,000.00 out to buy the vehicle.  Yeah, it’s a good deal.  Thankfully the exchange rate is 553 colones to 1 dollar.  Whew.  Who does want to be a millionaire in Costa Rica?  Many people are.  Alas, God is supplying us with a vehicle.  And boy oh boy is it ever my dream bus.  Mr. Hummer, step aside or be crushed.  This 1,000 cc Subaru is gonna get all up in ya’ face. 

In case you’re wondering, yes, it’s small.  The wheel base is about seriously the same as a Ford Festiva.  It’s incredible.  Surprisingly roomy inside too.  I’m not kidding.  So, we’ll see what this seven passenger “microbus” can do.

How firm a foundation… January 9, 2009

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Things are coming along.  Yesterday, I pulled a classic move and broke something.  Imagine that.  For some reason, a buried 1″x4″x36″ board spanning a two foot underground canal protecting our home’s main water line doesn’t hold the weight of a very large and quite cumbersome Ford diesel van.  Yeah, thanks to me, our water broke yesterday.  I veered a little too far to the right while backing up our cliff of a drive and drove over a weaker part of the underground water line reinforcement.  Oops.  Thankfully, we got it fixed and all cleaned up and put back together in a manner that should hold.  It made me feel like I was in Central America. =)

Another incident that happened today that REALLY made us feel like we were in Central America was a nice 6.1 earthquake.  The epicenter was about 12 miles straight north of us.  Costa Rican news says it’s the harshest earthquake the country has felt in thirty years.  My cousins, Chad, Jenny, son Matthew, and son Benjamin yet still in the womb, were in Wenchuan, China when the 7.9 earthquake wreaked havoc, killing more than 70,000 back in May.  Wow.  Praise God my cousins were spared.  Lord knows what they went through.  On the contrary, a total of 3 people were killed in this one here.  Two due to a landslide right at the epicenter and one due to a heart attack.  We are fortunate.  We’ve felt numerous earthquakes in our time in Central America and every time another one hits, it’s a fresh reminder that the ground we stand on is not necessarily solid.  The ONLY thing we can REALLY count on being SOLID is JESUS CHRIST.  He never changes or falters.  He’s as solid as it gets.  I take heart in that.  I serve a REAL  God.

Stepped out January 6, 2009

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Well, the blogging world is now going to be something I’ll be part of.  Is that scary?  I guess it could be.  More for me, maybe, if I know my mom is reading it… Mom, I apologize in advance for anything you might see that makes you say, “Lyndon Marky Beebont”.

So, considering the “if-the-posts-would-be-shorter-I’d-read-them-more-often” kind of people, the plan is conciseity/regularity.  I hope I can keep that up.  Don’t knot your knickers over it if I don’t hold to my end of the deal.

Anyway, bethatasitmay, Krista, Karis, Jeremy, and I are now living in Costa Rica.  We made the move before reaching the originally planned 80% of our support.  We did not do this on our own judgement, but with the Lord’s clear voice telling us that we need to step out in faith and He’ll take care of the rest, and the blessing of the ministry, our church, sending agency, and our parents.  Matthew 6:25-34 is such a simple, yet hard-to-100%ly believe portion of scripture.  Verse 34 sums it up pretty well, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  This kind of stuff is so good.  I have to read it daily to try to wrap my thick skull around it.  Not knowing all the details can be a tidbit of a cumbersomenisity.  God knows though, so why should I worry?

So, here we are in Costa Rica getting settled in along with the help of Krista’s sister Lori until she leaves on the 8th.  Life has changed a lot in the past few days.  Karis is loving every minute of it here–PTL.  We’re currently juggling between setting up our house, taking care of the kids, and jumping into our new assignments.  We’ll be needing to purchase a vehicle as soon as we can.  We’re using ministry vehicles and DeLynn’s sweet Aerostar until we can find something.  Please pray this will all come together.

If you’re wondering why I didn’t tell all the details of the move and settling in and such, that’s because my wife already did.  Click on the “Krista’s blog” link to read her side of the story.  Once again, I’ll try to keep this thing as updated as possible.  We love you all and thank you so much for your love, prayers and support.  God bless.