Pictures Tell The Story

Instead of all the usual, we thought you might enjoy some pictures of special moments over the last two and half months here with our family. So here you go (In no special order). Enjoy!

What an entrance!
Day 1. What an entrance! Meet Fowler #6….Benny!
Coffee fields near our home.
Coffee fields near our home.
The Boys were walking ahead of us and we thought we'd sneak this pic. Love the Steeler Representation Ezra!
The Boys were walking ahead of us at the Fruit market and we thought we’d sneak this pic. Love the Steeler Representation Ezra!
First Day of ANY school for Eli.
First Day of ANY school for Eli and he’s doing better at Spanish than his brothers…so far. (:
Bianca has joined the Language Institute's Worship Team.
Bianca has joined the Language Institute’s Worship Team.
Mom and Sarah got to be the first family to come and visit us!
Mom and Sarah got to be the first family to come and visit!
Meanwhile Benny is growing into a monster dog.  He is 4 months old and we have no idea how big he will get but his paws are big and his skin is floppy. Yikes!
Meanwhile Benny is growing in more ways than one. He is 4 months old with floppy skin and big paws and we love him.

 

Here is our school!
Here is our school!
During our first week of school, our teachers demonstrated the traditional folk dance of Costa Rica!
During our first week of school, our teachers demonstrated the traditional folk dance of Costa Rica!
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This is Ethan’s 4th grade classroom at Sojourn Academy, which is part of our language school. We all go to school together every day!
Ezra is in 2nd grade at Sojourn Academy!
Ezra is in 2nd grade at Sojourn Academy!
We finish school at noon along with Eli.  Then we wait for Ethan and Ezra who finish at 2:30.  Sometimes we get tired ;)
We finish school at noon along with Eli. Then we wait for Ethan and Ezra who finish at 2:30. Sometimes we get tired 😉

 

Boys on the swings at school!
Boys on the swings at school!

Thanks for enjoying our journey with us. Stay tuned for more. God Bless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Day of Language School for all the Boys…and US TOO!

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This morning we left together for school at the Spanish Language Institute in San Jose, Costa Rica. It was Eli’s first day of any school and for all of us it was the first time we all have attended school as a family. Bianca and I go to the adult classes on one side of the campus and the boys go to the Children’s classes on the other side. The school is known as “ILE” around here (Pronounced: Eeee-lay”) and it has been around for over 70 years. This trimester there are 55 new adult students and most of them are missionaries planning to serve all over Latin America.  In fact this school has Missionary DNA all through it!  It was founded by missionaries for missionaries though it serves a lot of different kinds of people in a lot of ways around San Jose.  It is such a blessing to be able to study Spanish here for the next year while also knowing our boys are being trained by such caring and capable people as well!  The next stop is Panama and we are praying that we all get a strong foundation before we get there!

What a Difference a Week Makes!

How much can happen in a week?  It’s more like, how much MORE can happen in a week?  A different home, a different car, a different pet and a whole lot more that I don’t have space to list.  Last Saturday (Nov. 30, 2013) we moved to Costa Rica after 15 months of raising our support and 4 years of seminary before that.  We’ve been talking and praying about ministry as missionaries for over 6 years and the step of crossing cultures has finally begun – Praise the Lord!

When we walked out of the airport that afternoon, ReachGlobal Missionaries from the San Jose team greeted us warmly and introduced our boys to their new puppy!  We could’ve landed on the moon after that and the boys wouldn’t have even noticed.  All they could see was their new puppy!   We named him “Benny”; which is short for “bendicione”, and means “blessing” in Spanish –a theme that I would say clearly summarizes this transition.  Our first stop was our new home, where we met our landlord from Germany and some of our new Costa Rican neighbors.  The whole experience was so surreal.  It felt and still feels a lot like going down the white rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland which other missionaries would readily empathize with.  Several times so far we have said that it feels as if we are living someone else’s life – though we are thankful and excited for every bit of it.

Practically speaking, most of our week has just been about trying to get our furniture and utilities set up.   We have even had a little time to eat meals with other missionaries and do some exploring of the area.  We purchased a used car from some missionaries that were leaving Costa Rica before we came and that has helped tremendously.  They were actually the previous tenants in the place where we now live and have been one of the many blessings God gave us that we didn’t even know enough to ask for.  Over and over again we have thought of how God has cared for his people in the past.  Echoing in our minds has been:

Isaiah 52:12 …“But you will not leave in haste
or go in flight; 
for the Lord will go before you, 
the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”

Overall we have felt like we have seen the hand of the Lord going before us and coming behind us daily – preparing and protecting.  In a new world where you don’t know the dangers or delights you learn pretty quickly to lean on the Lord for all that you know and don’t know. He’s teaching us so much about how faithful He was, is and will be again.  Especially as we pursue our new challenges; the biggest of which being mastering the language of Spanish during our year here in Costa Rica.  After that we will trust Him for the move to Panama and our work there.  In the end we know that He is trustworthy because of who He is, was and will always be.  God is the same God today as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow. We praise Him for whom He is, what He has done and even how He has chosen to do it and that’s where many of you come in because you are part of this too!

God has chosen to do so much of this through His people and we’re aware that we wouldn’t be here without God’s people believing enough to get behind us.  I’ve heard it said, “It takes a village to raise a child”.  I’d like to add that it takes more than that to raise a missionary family.  In our case, it has taken 8 churches and over 100 households to be precise.  Surely God could have done it with far less if He had wanted it that way which only leads me to conclude that He wanted particular people connected to this particular work for His particular purposes.  That gives us great joy to know that God is so sovereignly working in all of our lives that way every day even when we can’t see or detect it. Thank You Lord for EVERYTHING!!!

Ezra's Face Captures It All!
Ezra’s Face Captures It All!
The View From Above
The View From Above Our Neighborhood
Driving Downtown in San Jose on Avenida Central
Driving in San Jose on Avenida Central
Hiking in the jungle an hour away. (Braulio Carrillo National Park)
Hiking in the jungle an hour away. (Braulio Carrillo National Park)
Boys on a Rock with Benny after our Hike.
Boys on a Rock with Benny after our Hike.

Goodbye USA

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Hello everyone!  This is Bianca checking in here.  So sorry for not posting for a while, as I know you all have probably been waiting on the edge of your seats! 😉  Seriously, though, I just want to give you a quick update on how things are going!

To say that things have been crazy lately would be a HUGE understatement!  Today is officially our last day in the States and we have packed all of our remaining belongings into 50lb bags.  We are doing our best to say good goodbyes to our friends and family and tie up all of the loose ends associated with moving.  Did I mention that I really don’t like moving? Thankfully we should only have one more move after language school and then we can stay put for a while!

We are emotional, exhausted, excited and grateful all at once!  We have seen the Lord do so much!  His attention to our family is humbling and astounding.  He has poured out his love on us through so many of you and we are just overwhelmed by His grace and the generosity of all of you!  

Once we get to Costa Rica we will be able to update all of our contact information but for now the best way to stay in touch is to email us at followingthefowlers@gmail.com

Stay tuned and we will check in again once we get to Costa Rica! 

3-2-1 Days to Launch!

We’re praising God for all that He has done on this journey so far. This is His thing and always has been and our only desire is to “remain in Him” from beginning to end. To God Be The Glory for all that results.

Special Thanks as well to Pathway Church and Andy Bartlomain for creating this video. What a great way to share this.

More Mountains Ahead

Mountains In Panama
Mountains In Panama

So our Journey of Support Raising has reached an unforgettable benchmark. By God’s grace we have officially climbed up and over the mountain of support that once seemed impossible to gather.  Now we have 100% of what we needed to be able to launch for the mission field on November 30th and all we can say is a huge “Amen” with an exhale.  Though a thought occurred to me almost as soon as we hit that mark.  “I wonder if we are trusting God for big enough things?”

I know it sounds crazy but I remember thinking often about how God was actually going to marshall all that we needed to be able to leave and now that seems like it was nothing to Him.  I mean, I know that we say that God can do impossible things but when it comes down to it, what we actually believe is sometimes so different from what we say.

I have to tell you, I am scared-excited. I am not sure if anyone reading right now knows that feeling and how you could possibly feel those two things together but that’s how I feel.  It’s clear to me that the God I worship is so mighty that the mountains that overwhelm me are nothing to Him and that is wild to me.  In a little over a years time, God raised all that we needed financially to go to the mission field and He even gathered a team to come with us.  WHOA!

So now, next month we leave for language school in Costa Rica with our three boys and we will have one main goal for the  year–to learn Spanish.  It seems hard to imagine truly learning another language, let alone learning it well enough to be effective in ministry.  However, if there is any apparent lesson right now, it’s that God is a God that specializes in the impossible things. He loves showing us (and the world) that He is still the God that trumps our mountains. Furthermore, He loves when his children intentiionally  trust Him for those impossible things.  So that is what we are praying for him to give us; mastery over the Spanish language. God is the God that can unlock all knowledge to us if He so chooses (See Daniel 1:17) so that is our next prayer …but we’re not stopping at that this time.

I’ve had another nagging thought; that I could someday get to heaven and realize just how great and powerful our Heavenly Father truly is and simultaneously be disappointed that I didn’t ask Him and trust Him for bigger things, so here it is.

I am also praying for God to bring about 100’s, maybe even 1000’s of churches as a result of our ministry in Panama and I am inviting others to pray this with me.  I know that some will scoff at this but I don’t care. I only know that God wants to see the church explode across the world and so do I.  I also know that God will never fault me for trusting in Him too much and I will only be embarrassed in Heaven for trusting in Him too little.   Therefore I am going big this time.  Though I am leaving the results in His hands and I cannot control what God decides to do.  I am still going to pray this over and over in the hopes of watching God carry us over many more mountains in the future that once seemed impossible to us and may He be glorified by all that happens in the end.