Monday, December 9, 2013

The Countdown Has Begun...

Hello to All!  In only 5 more weeks we will be making our move to Costa Rica.  How these last few months have flown by!  For anyone that doesn't already know how we've gotten to this point in our lives, let me explain...

At the end of May we went on a 2 week vacation to San Ramon, Alejuela, Costa Rica to visit our friends, Leonard and Mitzi Hawken, who had just retired to this beautiful area.  Our trip was two fold... 1. Yes, we needed a vacation but 2. we wanted to see if moving to Costa Rica was something we would be interested in doing.  Ok, let me back up a little bit further... or rather, A LOT further. LOL!

When I (April) was around 14 years old, I had met a young woman that was living in Mexico and volunteering her time to study the bible with people.  I grew up thinking... "that's what I want to do!". 

 Long story short... I got married and the goal to move abroad was put on the back burner.  Oh, I would mention it every once in a while to Ron, but it was never something that either one of us thought would ever actually happen.  Then we got the news that the Hawken's were officially moving to Costa Rica.  They invited anyone that wanted to, to come a stay with them.  Well... we were the first ones to take them up on the offer.  They hadn't even gotten settled into their apartment and we were at the San Jose, Costa Rica Airport waiting for them to pick us up.  Ok, well we did give them about a month before we showed up.  Granted, they hadn't received any of their stuff that they had shipped over yet, but they were more than willing to house us for the next two weeks. LOL!  They were perfect hosts!  We did a little sight-seeing but, mostly we tried to find out as much as possible about what it would be like to move to Costa Rica.  Our conclusion?... "CULTURE SHOCK!".  Yes, we weren't prepared for what a shock it was going to be.  To begin with, we know absolutely NO Spanish.  And imagine this... everything is in Spanish!  LOL!  Well, despite the shock, we enjoyed our time in this beautiful country.  We were able to visit the local English Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and absolutely fell in love with them.  They are a small group of about 23 or so.  And there are several young ones that have learned English in order to help out the congregation.

Fast forwarding a little...  we arrived safely back in Illinois the first part of June.  We did a lot of praying and decided that moving to Costa Rica to help in the English ministry was something that we wanted to do.  There was only one problem... WE WERE IN DEBT!  Yes, we had a house payment, a massive amount of credit card debt, a truck payment, and 2 businesses to sell.  Our feelings?... There's no way were going to ever get to Costa Rica on our own.  So we started praying.  

Our first thing was the our house.  We decided to do some inexpensive updating to the kitchen and then put it on the market.  Our goal was to make enough off of our house to be able to live in Costa Rica for one year.  Was it possible?  Well, listen to this...
In order for us to come close to our goal we needed to be able to sell our house on our own, without a Realtor.  Keep in mind that this is our first home, we've only been in it for 3 1/2 years, and we know absolutely nothing about selling a home.  After much prayer, we decide to list it online for one month.  We were very specific in our prayers... 1. Please help us to sell it on our own.  2.  Please help us to make $XX amount of money.  3. We don't want to have to put any additional money into it to get it to sell.  4. We need it to sell in 1 month or less.   So, were we being to picky on our prayer request?  Were our request to big?  Not for Jehovah God!!!  Every single request was answered.  1.Yes, we sold it on our own!  2. Yes, we walked away with a check in our hands for enough to live on for one year in Costa Rica!  3.No, we didn't have to put anymore money into it to get it to sell!  4. And YES, we sold it in EXACTLY one month from listing it!   The way things worked out were entirely because Jehovah was helping us every step of the way!

Now, what about our businesses and our debt?   Well, one morning about 3:00am, I couldn't sleep.  My mind was racing with 'how in the world am I going to be able to sell our all of our photography props, backgrounds, equipment, etc.?'.  So I got up and got online and decided to list everything I had for sale with regards to our Photography business.  Are you ready for this?!... by 5:30am I had a response from a lady that was just getting into the business and saw my post.  She was interested in EVERYTHING!  I couldn't believe it!  Now the tricky part... was I going to be able to sell it all for the amount that I needed to?  You bet!!  She came to my studio the next week, looked around at everything, asked what I wanted for it all, and wrote me a check!  I started crying right there.  I explained to her that I had been praying that I'd be able to sell it all together and needed a certain amount.  My prayers had just been answered!  Again!!!

Now, what about all of our stuff in the house?  We'd sold the house and still had a whole house full of 'Stuff'.  Well, I started selling things like crazy!  As soon as I listed something for sale, it was sold.  We had two garage sales, and everything sold.  We couldn't believe it!  EVERYTHING was sold!  Jehovah was again showing us that he was answering our prayers.

What about the second business?  We just sold it a few weeks ago.  We prayed that we'd be able to sell it by the end of November and yes, our prayers were answered.
What about our truck and car?  Well, we put a 'For Sale' sign up in the truck window and within a few hours, yes I said 'a few HOURS', we had it sold.  The gentleman put money down for us to hold it until we are able to get the title from our bank.  The car is being sold next weekend to a sister in our congregation.  The elders in the congregation are all chipping in to help her purchase it.  What a loving brotherhood we are a part of .

So, within only 6 - 7 months, we were able to sell our house, 2 businesses, 2 vehicles, and all of our belongings.  We were able to get out of a HUGE amount of debt and still have money to live on for a year in Costa Rica.   But I forgot one thing... A brother from our congregation hired me to work in his office part-time before we leave for Costa Rica.  It was a way for me to make a little extra money to put aside in our savings.  The awesome news?... He decided that I would be able to continue to do my job from Costa Rica!  So yes, I have a part-time job already too!  What a wonderful blessing!!!

Where are we now in the stream of things?  Well, we have shipped a few things off to Costa Rica and are now in the process of packing our suitcases and taking care of a few loose ends.  In only 5 weeks from today we will be saying good-bye to family and friends and boarding our plane for Costa Rica.
We hope you all will continue to follow our journey and, who knows?, maybe we'll be able to convince you to come join us in this beautiful country that we will soon be calling 'Home'.  


  1. I LOVE your story! It is so encouraging to see how Jehovah not only provides for his people, but how he blesses our efforts when we center our lives around him! You are an amazing couple to give up SOOO much & pursue such a self-less goal.. I am proud to call you a friend & sister, and I can't wait to serve side by side with you:) Much Christian Love & hugs, your friend for eternity..Cindy Schult

  2. Hi Ron and April! Very exciting times right? I really like the illustration of a car, you can only turn it on direction or the other if it is already rolling. By your story it's easy to see that once you give Jehovah something to bless his hand is not short. A great start to your foreign assignment. Keep us all posted. ;)

    A Missionary's Life

  3. Wow great story! Looking forward to hearing all your adventures! Kristina