This week has been full of some random, exciting, funny events that we thought we would catch you up on.
Shortly after our last blogpost, we received the news that our visas are officially “in transit.” Basically, the government has all of the paperwork that they need from us and it is now up to them to process it. We’ve heard that actually receiving a visa can take several years, however, with our “in transit” document we are able to legally stay in the country for more than three months. Woo hoo!
We also got a chance to go to FundaVida last weekend, a ministry to some of the poorer communities in the San José area. We were going to check out what all they do and see where we may fit in. What was supposed to be a visit to get information turned into a chance to actually do ministry, as many of the volunteers were unable to come that weekend. We were warned as we walked into to teach a Sunday school lesson to about fifteen 11 and 12 year olds that “they are a tough group.” It was true. In our forty minute lesson with them, we encountered a lot of disrespect, racism, and brokenness. It was a really trying forty minutes. After the lesson, we got to play with the kids for about an hour and it was a lot of fun to get to play a soccer and push swings for a while. After that they were all served a small lunch and then they headed home. The Saturday ministry is a part of several other ministries that FundaVida runs in three different communities, including nutrion classes, English classes, and typing classes. We were excited to explore this opportunity, but we are still praying about whether this will be a long term ministry for us. Because it is structured like a Sunday school, it is very language dependent and these kids did not know a word of English. James was still able to be involved, but we may look into options that are more active ministries (playing soccer, doing crafts, etc.) and less language based. Please join us in praying about this.
On Sunday, James celebrated his 22nd birthday here in Costa Rica. He requested a carrot cake, so I went to work. It way my first cake from scratch and I think it turned out pretty well. We didn’t have any candles so James pretended 🙂 After cake (yes, we did have cake first), we went to a great little pizza place that we found for dinner. Unfortunately, his birthday present is still floating around somewhere in the mail system. Hopefully it will get here soon!
This week was finals week at Palabra de Vida and so it was a break from teaching, but a lot of grading. Since preschool didn’t take finals, I was able to help James with entering grades…and relax a little after 6 hours with 16 four-year-olds. It was a time, though, when a cultural trend became very apparent. There seems to be a tendency towards laziness…doing the very minimum to just barely pass a class and making sure you only fail three classes instead of four so that you can continue the next school year. We talked to some other teachers and apparently this is very common. (Of course, there are many exceptions to the rule. Kids who study hard and truly strive to do their best.) The school’s motto is “Hacía la excelencia con Cristo,” Towards excellence with Christ, and I was very convicted of how we are encouraging our students to live out that motto. Are we teaching them the importance of striving to do their best to bring glory to God? Are we living representations of what it means to strive to be more like Christ each day? I think so often we fail at that. It was a good reminder that in addition to seeing that these children develop academically, we are here to encourage and model christian character – the fruit of faith.
Now back to the randomness. On Thursday evening, we went to go pick up some tilapia from the fish monger in our town. We are trying to make a shift to being more vegetarian/fish-eating people due to the extremely high prices of meat here. We got to the market and they didn’t have any tilapia so we asked what white flakey fish she recommended. A man came to the counter about the same time and told us he’d lived in Hawaii growing up and knew all about fish. Both the man and the monger recommended BABY SHARK. We decided to be bold. We bought baby shark for dinner.
We blackened it and it was awesome. So, we’ve decided we like the fish monger and the nice man and baby shark. We may be able to become fish people after all.
This weekend we got a chance to go to the beach for the first time! Some friends of ours took us to Punta Leona, a beautiful beach only about an hour from where we live. In the morning we went swimming in the ocean and it was so much fun. The sand was white and the ocean was turquoise…it really did feel like paradise. We ate lunch on the beach and then the rains came. There was a pool there as well and we spent the afternoon swimming in the rain. It was so nice to get away from work for the day and relax, even in the rain.
The next day we went on an adventure to pick up our DESKS! (Well…tables, really.) We are so excited to finally have more space to do work at home. It took us almost 3 hours to get to the desks and bring them back, but I think it will be worth it for us.
We are little by little starting to feel more at home here. We are so grateful for friendships that are slowly starting to form and a sense of familiarity. I should be switching back to my old job sometime this week when a new preschool teacher starts, so prayers for yet another transition at work would be much appreciated. We are planning to post about our work at the school next, but here is a little preview. Thank you so much for your support and your prayers. We feel so blessed by each of you.