Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Next Book in the Series

Have you ever read a really good book? One where you cannot wait to turn the page to see what happens next? Genevieve and I read one together recently that she really enjoyed. It was a kid detective story. After each chapter, she wanted me to keep going.

Have you ever read a series that good? You finish one book and cannot wait to tackle the next? I was that way with The Lord of the Rings among others. Sometimes, though, the next book in the series can take a little time to get going.

This is where we are right now in our lives. At first I was thinking about how we're turning the page or starting a new chapter. But really I feel like the better comparison is a book series. We're living out The Brown Family Missionary Adventures. We've already lived out the first 2 books: The Prequel: Preparation for the Journey and Pura Vida Costa Rica. Now we're living out the next book: The Transition. This is our first time going through such a transition. It's slow moving in the beginning, but we're still excited to see where the story leads us.

We still haven't moved into our transitional house yet. This is where we'll be living until we move into missionary housing at a church in January. We should be moving within the next couple weeks.

We still don't have a vehicle yet, though the part has been ordered and hopefully will ship in the next day or two. This means that we should have the van by next week.

But while we're continuing to work out these details we've already begun the itineration process, as we've shared at 2 partnering churches. We'll continue visiting and sharing at churches each Sunday with occasional midweek services scattered during our time in the States. Once we have a vehicle, we'll also begin meeting more regularly throughout the week over coffee with pastors and individuals.

We'll feel more settled when we have a more normal routine and schedule, but things are settling. We're beginning a new chapter in our current book.

This is the first of many chapters covering fundraising, the majority of the material that will be covered in this book. The simple fact is that we cannot go to Bolivia until we have all the necessary funds to go. This will take the continued partnership of churches and individuals as well as the new partnership of churches and individuals.

I'm sure there will be plot twists and many moments of conflict and resolution. We don't yet know all of the characters that will enter the storyline in this book. But what we do know with certainty is how the book will end: with a cliffhanger of the Browns ready to go to Bolivia to bring good news to lost and hurting people, anticipating the next book in the series: Browns in Bolivia.

Would you like to be a character in this story? Would you like to invest in the next book through financial partnership in this one? Please contact us for more information on partnership.

We're excited to keep turning the pages, working our way through the chapters. We want to enjoy this book but also eagerly look forward to finishing it in due time so we can begin the next book in the series.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What Do We Actually Do?

We've now been back in the States for 2 weeks, working through this transition. I'm sure some wonder what we actually do during our itineration year (until we leave for Bolivia). So I figured it was worth the effort to share.

1. Logistics

There are many logistical things to work through.

We're still in the process of finalizing details on our temporary apartment until we move into a missionary apartment in January. We need to ensure we will have all the furniture and such we will need there without investing a lot of money since it's only for 4 months.

We're also still in the process of having the necessary work done on the van we will be using in the States. Until then we're using public transit, borrowing vehicles and getting rides. The itinerant life is not easy without a vehicle so we hope to have this finally resolved shortly (a donor has offered to help with this!).

Another big item is emptying the storage locker someone has been keeping for us while we were gone. We need to go through our things, figure out what we still need to keep now that we have a better idea of this life and bring them back to the Boston area. A family from my church has offered up space at their house to store stuff for now.

There are many more logistics including visas and such which will come as well.

2. Partner Building

The logistics keep us busy, but there is an actual purpose of us being back in the States: to build our financial partner base through traveling to churches and getting together with family and friends. We can't go to Bolivia until we have our full budget raised, so this is critical. This means phone calls and emails to churches trying to get services and otherwise connecting with pastors, family and friends to share our hearts.

If you are a pastor or individual and would like to hear more and connect with us over coffee or via Facetime/Skype (if you're not in the area), we would love to meet with you. Please call or text us at 774-262-5554, email us at or Facebook message us.

3. Preparation

We have meetings, interviews and trainings before we can be approved and ultimately go and serve in Bolivia.

There are other conferences and events we may attend relating to the ministries with which we'll be involved.

We also have to study and prepare in other ways for our lives and ministry in Bolivia.

4. Visiting People and Places

We have already mixed a bit of this into our first 2 weeks. The kids are really dealing with this transition and it's important to visit people and the places that are special to us here in the States. We want to help them as best as we can.

It may look like "vacation" to some but work continues. We're just prioritizing our free times to include as many fun, special events, moments and memories as possible. And many of those events are being offered by gifts by family and friends who want to love on us and our kids.

5. School

Polly will be homeschooling the kids during our itineration year. So the Brown Academy will be starting soon. 

So as you see, this is far from a year off. We will be busy, while trying to mix in as many special moments as possible. Thank you for your cares, prayers and financial partnership.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


Well, as we've been posting about we have said goodbye to Costa Rica and our amazing friends there. Some have asked how things are going here in the States. On the one hand, it's been great seeing some family and a little of the things we've missed here but on the other hand we're still pretty unsettled so it's a tough thing to assess.

We have gone through the process of goodbyes and will certainly miss people and things in Costa Rica (I still start a lot of sentences with, "In Costa Rica..." and have found myself eaves-dropping on any Spanish conversation I have heard) but we're already ready to move forward to what life will look like here in the States for the next year (or so). And while this year in the U.S. is a transition year in its own way, in this current moment it's a more intense time of transition.

Before we can live our lives as normally as possible here while raising the needed funds to go to Bolivia (after being officially approved for that change), we need to get set up to live our lives as normally as possible. Which leaves us with some checklist items including some very big needs, including:

1. A place to live until our missions' housing becomes available in January
2. A car
3. Car insurance
4. Cell phone service

Of course there are a plethora of other needs we have. But these seem to be the biggest. The latter 2 is just a matter of getting it done after finding the best option for us, but the top 2 on this list is something bigger than us just getting done. We need the right situation at the right price and that means we need God's involvement. (We do have a potential option for each but the car one needs work and we're not sure on the house one yet.) Would you please pray with us for those situations and even let us know if you know of any options?

Update: It looks as though both of the options that were in the works for items 1&2 (which was totally God in the first place) will work out for us. Please keep praying that there's no hiccup and for the finances needed for both, but things are looking good.

So, this is the stage we're in right now: transition. This means that life feels unsettling as we live out of suitcases (though we have set up as "normally" as possible at my parent's place for the time being), don't have phones to communicate with people and don't have a way to get around aside from public transportation (which means we can't even get down to visit Polly's family yet).

Thank you for following us through this process and for your prayers.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


If the month of July was one of the craziest, busiest and most hectic of my life (a trip to Bolivia followed by 3 straight missions teams), then August is sure to be one of the most emotional. I shared last week about how we're feeling through this transition in general as we leave Costa Rica and go to the U.S. Today I wanted to share a little more specifically about what the "leaving Costa Rica" piece looks like for us.

In the midst of the practical - paying bills, suspending our residencies, packing - there is one action that has stood out as important and difficult this week: saying goodbye. Polly had read in a book called "Third Culture Kid" that it's important to say goodbye to not only people but also to places. So we have been in goodbye mode. Saying goodbye has got to be the most difficult part of leaving a place. But it's a necessary step in the process.

So if you thought I took a look of photos before, watch out. We're taking photos of everything and everyone as we say goodbye. We've said goodbye to friends. We've said goodbye to some of our favorite spots. I even took pictures during our last trip to the farmers' market, of the last pineapple we bought here. But our toughest goodbyes are still to come (we had friends over yesterday but we'll see them one more time briefly to say goodbye, but the goodbye to spending time with them has now passed). Today I say goodbye to one of my closest friends. And we say goodbye to our mentor missionary (though we'll surely see her again as we will be working with the same ministry and will undoubtedly have meetings in the future). Tomorrow we say goodbye to the kids from Linda Vista (including the chicos and chicas we've worked with). I think there will be tears. Friday we'll say goodbye to other great, life friends. Saturday we'll say one last goodbye to many of our missionary friends here. Sunday will be tough as we say one last goodbye to our church and church family here. Who knows what other goodbyes will come along the way. 

Goodbye is a word we've become accustomed to using a lot during our time here. But I don't think we ever really get used to it. We certainly haven't become numb to it. So we'll continue our goodbyes, trying to work through this process. Just don't be surprised if we're a little extra emotional. We would love your prayers for God's hand and emotional strength as we walk through this step of saying our goodbyes.

Monday, August 1, 2016

An Interview with Genevieve

In our last blog, I shared about how we're feeling as a family as we face this upcoming transition from Costa Rica, to the States. I decided to give Genevieve a chance to speak for herself, which I thought would be easiest in an interview format. I tried to follow her train of thought the best that I could while also trying to ask questions that would give the reader an idea for how our little sweet 5 year old is processing things.

Q. What's your name?
A. Genevieve

Q. How old are you?
A. 5

Q. What's your favorite color?
A. Purple

Q. Why is purple your favorite color?
A. Because it's Saprissa

Q. Where do you live?
A. Curridabat

Q. In which country is Curridabat?
A. Costa Rica

Q. Which languages do you speak?
A. Spanish and English

Q. Which language do you prefer to speak?
A. English

Q. What are we doing next week?
A. Leaving

Q. Leaving where?
A. Costa Rica

Q. Where are we going?
A. To the States

Q. How do you feel about moving?
A. Sad

Q. Why sad?
A. Because I'll miss my friends

Q. Do you have a lot of friends?
A. Yes

Q. Do you have a best friend?
A. I have 2. They are Lucy (another MK here in Costa Rica) and Raeah (also another MK currently here in Costa Rica)

Q. Do you have any tico (Costa Rican) friends?
A. Yes

Q. Do you speak Spanish or English with your tico friends?
A. Both because they want to learn English

Q. Which do you speak more with your tico friends, Spanish or English?
A. Spanish

Q. What are you going to miss most about Costa Rica?
A. The dinosaur room at the Children's Museum

Q. Are you going to miss anything else here?
A. School

Q. What are you most looking forward to in the States?
A. Children's Museum (in Boston) because the climbing part

Q. What is your favorite memory from Costa Rica?
A. Waterfall Garden

Q. Why did you love the Waterfall Garden?
A. Because of the tall waterfall and also the wide one

Q. If you could choose between staying in Costa Rica or moving to the States, which would you choose and why?
A. Staying in Costa Rica because I want to go back to school

Q. How should people pray for you as you go through this transition from Costa Rica to the States?
A. To have a good time

It's also worth sharing a conversation from this morning. She started talking about how we wouldn't be at our own church next week (she meant the Sunday after this coming one) and how she's going to miss all her church friends. Then as Polly was explaining what we will be doing, she took her little pony she was holding and just kept making her say, "boo."

We ask that you please remember Genevieve and Jonah in your prayers as we walk through this transition. It's been especially difficult on Genevieve emotionally as she prepares to say goodbye to friends and loved ones. And even though Jonah is quite young and not really sure about what's going on, he's about to live outside of Costa Rica for the first time in his life and will undoubtedly experience some changes. Thank you!