Saturday, October 20, 2012

Time Flies

We've been in Costa Rica exactly two months today. It's very strange to think that in just another couple weeks, we'll be into the month of November. With Thanksgiving staring down our throats and Christmas not far behind. And all of this while in another country.

Since our last blog post, life has fallen into a comfortable--and certainly busy!--routine. School 5 days a week, tests every two weeks (eep! So far so good, however), the fresh produce market on Saturdays, church on Sundays with pizza afterward. Our world has shrunk to the space of several blocks. But despite that, God has allowed us to touch the peoples' lives around us. The banana vender at the feria that always gives the kids a free banana each week. Our elderly "watchiman" who patrols our neighborhood streets each day. The young woman who meets with me each Wednesday to practice Spanish (and English for her). I pray that God gives us more opportunities to witness for Him.

Before you feel too sorry for us never leaving the city, we have had a couple opportunities to visit some of the surrounding areas. Last month, we went with almost the entire first trimester group to visit a nearby waterfall in the mountains outside of the city. The drive to the park was breathtaking, as were the falls. Then last week, we spent a weekend away at Arenal Volcano, about four hours away by bus. Located on the eastern side of the mountain range, the weather was far more typical of the heat and humidity we're used to, but it was gorgeous nonetheless. We all did something that none of us had ever dreamed of doing before--we zip-lined through the jungle canopy. Me! Despite my intense fear of heights! It was so freeing. The whole weekend was so refreshing for all of us--just what the doctor ordered.

I wish I could tell you that everything is wonderful and that we've experienced nothing but joy here in Costa Rica, but I can't honestly say that. We all have our moments of soul-crushing homesickness. Frustrations with learning Spanish (these, thankfully, have been fairly rare). We've met wonderful and forthright individuals who went out of their way to help us. And we've been taken advantage of as well by more unscrupulous individuals. But through it all, God has proven Himself sufficient. More than sufficient. Time and time again. I'm still in awe at the many ways He's blessed us in the last six months.

When I look back at where I was upon our arrival, and where I am today... I can conjugate present-tense verbs. My Spanish vocabulary is so much bigger than it was. I can give the "Tico" directions to our home. And I can carry on a basic conversation in Spanish. The thought of my professors teaching entirely in Spanish no longer terrifies me. Indeed, I can understand most of what they are saying. In just two months! I know I have a long way to go before anyone would ever consider me "fluent". But I'm still amazed at the progress made in such a short time. God truly has been good.

Definitely please keep praying for us as we learn Spanish. Pray for the kids as they are still adjusting to a different type of school than they've been accustomed to. Pray that the Lord will bring opportunities for evangelism to us. And finally, please pray for protection against the enemy. He'd like nothing better than to distract and discourage us at this time. We've heard so many stories of attacks on families while they're in language school preparing for full-time ministry. Please pray he won't gain any footing in our lives or the lives of the other students studying with us.

Thank you again! We could not do this without your prayers!