Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Vamos a Nicaragua!

Hi everyone! 
We are finished with our first trimester of Spanish!  Woohoo!
It's been tough, much harder than we thought it would be. It's not the intake that is such a slow process, but the output!  Nevertheless, God has been gracious to us and we are very pleased with our Spanish progress. 

We have a break from school this week as graduating students leave and new ones arrive, and we have to leave Costa Rica for a minimum of three days to renew our visas. This means a road trip up to Managua, Nicaragua to visit our team leaders, the Loftsgards!  It has been two years since I have been there, four years for Katie, and the boys have never been.  We are very excited to spend several days catching up with old friends and seeing again firsthand what God is doing!  I'm planning a current update after we return about Missionary Ventures Nicaragua and the areas of ministry there. 

Please pray for safety on the drive to and back from Nicaragua!  My research tells me the drive can be anywhere from 7 to 12 hours, depending on how long you are stuck at the border.  So if you want more specifics, pray for honest and ungreedy border officials, sleepy boys, and that our 15 year old, Korean engineered and manufactured fine specimen of an automobile will chug it's way up and down the mountains without a hitch. 

 God bless and we love you all!
 Dave for Kate, Cohen and Titus

Monday, April 6, 2009

Gracias a Dios!

Hey everybody, hola once again from the land of coffee and tourism!

Another month has came and went since our last post, and it's hard for us to believe that Easter is almost here.  Our family is finally healthy, and we praise God and thank you for praying with us! I think we've finally gotten through the initial time of illness, building up our immune systems against all the new "bugs" in this place.  

As I write this, Katie's parents should be enroute to Costa Rica, and we go to pick them up at the airport early in the morning.  Needless to say, we are extremely excited to see them!  This week is Semana Santa (holy week), and a huge catholic holiday in Latin America. Nearly the entire country shuts down on thursday and friday. We have the rest of the week off of school, and Kate's parents have been so kind to rent us a house near the beach and we are driving with them tomorrow to the coast to spend some much needed family time together.
After a months long search for some shoes for Cohen, we finally found some last week that seemed like they would last and were the right price. Clothes items can be expensive here and quality is seemingly an unknown quality(did that make sense? That's why I'm glad I'm learning Spanish instead of English!). Anyway, Cohen is extremely excited about showing his shoes to his grandparents. He woke up early the morning after receiving his new shoes, and by the time I got up at 5:30 am he was already traipsing around the house with his shoes on the wrong feet.  As I was helping him get them switched around he said, "Dad, I really want to take my new shoes to heaven. I'd sure like to show these shoes to Jesus!"
I can't remember what my reply was, being that it was 5:30 in the morning, but I think I assured him that Jesus would be delighted to see his shoes. You can't argue with 3 year old theology!

If anyone is wondering how are Spanish is coming, I'll update you in a minute on where my grammar class is. For now, I have a quick lesson. While Harina(flour), and Orina (urine) are pronounced much the same, they have very different meanings.  Earlier this trimester, Kate announced in her class that she had plastic canisters of Orina in her kitchen. By her teacher's reaction, this is as highly irregular in Costa Rica as it is in the States.  In interest of full disclosure, at around the same time I announced in my class that I cut my wrists every two weeks, instead of my fingernails.  Thanks to ourselves, we do get to laugh a bit in school.
Back to the update,  my grammar class just finished direct and indirect complement pronouns, reflexive verbs, and most recently special intransitive verbs. All of these require removing your brain from your head, flipping it around backwards, then replacing it.  After Semana Santa, we will be starting on Preterit verb conjugation.  While sometimes learning Spanish is difficult and can be as fun as watching nails rust, we have really turned a corner over the past few weeks. I'm excited for the next trimester, because I'm signing up for a little different academic program involving developing relationships with people around town and spending time every week going on a "route", speaking with them about various subjects. It will be a welcome change from the classroom setting and I hope to get better at hearing native speakers speaking Spanish.  God has been good to us in learning Spanish!

On a personal note, there have been some rough times as well as good, and one of these has been with Seth and Renee and baby Travis.  Having to grieve with them from far away has been very difficult, and we were very homesick for them and our church family at BCF on the day Travis was laid to rest.  We are incredibly grateful for a God who holds and sustains us.  In the midst of this and some other experiences here with people living with so many needs it feels hopeless,  a passage in John jumped out at me one morning. It's from the beginning of chapter nine, when Jesus and his disciples happened upon a man who was blind from birth. His followers wondered whose fault it was that he was born blind, his or his parents. Jesus replied that neither was at fault, but he was born blind so that God's works could be made manifest in him.  I love the comfort we can find in this, that Jesus with his compassion feels our pain when we go through seemingly unbearable things, and yet it is not for nothing, God does have a plan for it.  Even though it doesn't take the grieving and the pain away, it can make it bearable, and we know that someday all things will be made right. I long for the day when our eyes are opened, and all the things we can't understand, like a baby going home before we get a chance to hold or know him or children living in conditions we can't fathom, are finally fully understandable.  

If you are still with me in the rather long update, thanks for taking the time. :)  We love and miss everyone at home, and God has been so gracious to us with a strong network of support.

May God bless you richly, 
Dave for Kate, Cohen and Titus.