Hello from confused Costa Rica. The rainy season is amazing here. It's like the country doesn't know what it wants to be. The mornings are full of incredible sunshine without a cloud in the sky....birds chirping, bees buzzing, etc.
About the time you think, "surely this will be the day that it doesn't storm in the afternoon, it's just to beautiful", the clouds begin to roll in. By 1:30 or 2:00 in the afternoon, the sky is completely dark and the lightning and thunder begin to dominate the sky. Lightning that lights up the windows on both sides of the house and thunder that rattles the windows and sets off car alarms. If you think I'm exaggerating come for a visit and experience it yourself. :)
Since it has been so long, this is a rather lengthy update. Feel free to "skim".
It's been so busy since I last updated, and I'll try to catch up. We had a great time in Nicaragua over the school break catching up with friends and again catching a vision for Christ being glorified in Nicaragua. It's hard to explain the two extremes that I feel....one being how great the need is in Nica. It's immediately noticeable just crossing the border, leaving the green and lush landscape of Costa Rica for the dry and dead Nicaraguan scenery. Many Nicaraguans who were already hurting now feel hopeless and even more helpless with the political developments over the last couple of years. It's a little overwhelming to see so many parts of a culture broken. Fortunately this extreme is opposed by the growth of the church. Seeing so many vibrant ministries and people changed and being discipled by the truth of the Gospel gives hope that all is not lost for the people of Nicaragua!
I've talked before about the vocational/discipleship training that our organization is starting in Managua. We met the couple who are heading up the woodworking/metalworking school and felt a real connection with them, and it looks like we will be starting in this area of ministry when we arrive later this year. Some exciting things are happening, including land being donated for a new, bigger shop in a central location, and plans are in the works to move forward with funding and construction. The old shop has been very serviceable, but has become crowded and is in a location that limits it to one community. It feels like the time is right to move to a location where we can offer training to a wider group or people. We are READY to get to Nicaragua and get started with ministry!
A huge answer to prayer was finding a house. We had been praying for a safe and secure home that would be good for our boys, and we found just the place! The house is in a small development (maybe ten homes) that is very secure with 24 hour security. The landlords are very nice and God seemed to make it happen for us. It's a little cramped as the houses are pretty close. The neighbors say that you can hear everything that goes on in your neighbor's house as well as your neighbor's neighbor's house! Furthermore, for the cherry on top, the exterior color is hot pink. It's really my dream house, hot pink with no privacy. :) I guess it's a fair trade for feeling secure when I leave for work and Kate and the boys stay home. It's also very open outside with great neighbors, beautiful landscaping, room for the boys to run a little bit, and we're looking forward to settling in to a little more permanent place. We are very thankful for God's provision, and feel much peace about this house.
Please continue to pray for Nicaragua. Political tensions are so high, and a few days ago the mayor of Managua, the capitol city, was found dead from a gunshot wound, presumably suicide. So many things are happening down here in central america and only God knows which direction things will go. We are so thankful that we serve a God who is in complete control. Here's a link with some information about the turmoil.
That brings us back to life here in Costa Rica, which is basically study, study, study. This second trimester has contained a much bigger workload and we've been pretty much swamped with school. The boys are doing great and have made so many friendships here, it will be hard to leave. Cohen loves his class and teachers at school, and they just held and art show for the parents last week. Titus loves his teacher Sonia, and she says he spends his days showing off for his lone classmate Avery and constantly asking her to get out the "bombas", which means bubbles. He's saying a couple words now, and I think his Spanish vocabulary is bigger than his English one. "Hola", "ciao", "gracias", "bombas", and "oh my goodness" seem to be the extent of it. Kate and I are doing well, we are very happy we stayed for this extra trimester of Spanish. We'll be far from completely fluent when we leave, but we are finally becoming comfortable that we'll be able to communicate in a real and personal way in Spanish. That being said, it had been ten years since either of us had been in school and we are ready to move on to Nicaragua! :)
I am serving as one of the student body chaplains this trimester(the title is a bit misleading, considering the actual duties), and this week is Spiritual Emphasis Week on campus. This means no homework and no tests, and we've brought in a guest speaker who is sharing and teaching with us all week. We have two chapel services per day, and it's been a great week so far, taking a breather from homework and being spiritually refreshed!
Our schedule after language school is starting to fall in place. We graduate from school on August 15, and will be leaving directly for Nicaragua. We plan to spend a month there furnishing and settling into our house as well as developing relationships. In mid-September we will fly home and Kate and I will then fly to Florida for two weeks of orientation with Missionary Ventures. Once back California we will more permanently pack up the "stuff" we've left and prepare to return to Nicaragua for good in mid-October. We are looking forward to being back in California for a little while and seeing everyone!
We continue to thank God for His providence and faithfulness to us. He's taught us so much in this time at language school; how to depend on Him and others; How to selflessly serve as well as humble ourselves and be served. We've developed strong friendships here, through ups and downs as language learning is fertile ground for spiritual attacks through discouragement. We would love if you would partner with us in praying for a few needs.
1. Dave will be taking a car trip to Nicaragua later this month with a load of house stuff. Dave's brother Mike will be also be bringing a computer in by plane. Please pray for easy border crossings with minimal "fees" having to be paid.
2. Our family as we prepare for another time of transition. There so much to do in a short period of time. Unlike here in CR, the house we'll be renting comes completely unfurnished. That means not even a stove or refrigerator. Tracking these things down are incredibly time consuming compared to in the states.
3. We have been so blessed by God and all of you in providing for our physical needs. We pray this will continue as we make another move from one country to another.
4. For our hearts as well as the individual hearts God places in our path. Pray that we continue to have humble, thankful hearts that reflect His love.....so hurting people's lives can be eternally changed.
With thankfulness to God and much love to you all,
Dave for Kate, Cohen and Titus
PS. If you are reading this by email update, there are a few updated pictures here.