Backpacks are packed and pencils are sharpened! It's just like back-to-school time in the states - except for the fall colors :-). Classes at the Spanish Language Institute started back on Tuesday and these teachers mean business! They know we have one trimester under our belts so they are cracking down right from the start. Josh has 2 hours of conversation class followed by 2 hours of grammar. He is definitely feeling challenged, but I think he's up for it. I just hope his teachers give him more homework this trimester so I won't be the only one staying up at night working! I have 2 hours of translation class and then 2 hours of conversation class with a focus on the Bible. The translation class is very intense - from day-one we started translating passages from Spanish to English and from English to Spanish in writing and verbally. The goal is to be able to clearly interpret for someone in either direction. Everyone in the class has definitely had to get over our nervousness and stay on our toes because our teacher will put any one of us on the spot at any moment. Thank goodness it is a loving and encouraging environment! The conversation class is very similar to the one I had last trimester, just with a different emphasis and more complex sentence structures.
Josh and I have also decided to take extra classes to learn medical Spanish. One of the teachers at the school will be tutoring us for an hour two days a week so that we can be as prepared as possible for work in the medical community once we arrive in Ecuador.
We anticipate this trimester being even busier than last. On top of harder classes and extra tutoring, we are involved in volleyball one night a week at the school and I am continuing to perform traditional Costa Rican dances around the community when our group receives an invitation. Additionally I will have a women's Bible study one night a week, Josh and I will meet once a week with a pastor and his wife for mentoring, and we are praying about joining an ESL program for Ticos in our community.
Things are still going very well with our Tica family and we have made some very strong bonds with fellow missionaries at the Institute. Some of them have gone or will be going to live in Ecuador and I can't tell you how nice it is to already have a network - albeit a small network - of friends there when we arrive. A couple that we met here just left yesterday for Quito and they already told us that we can stay with them when we first get there while we are investigating locations for the hospital.
Well, time to get working on homework! We love all of you - thank you for your continued prayers and support!!
Love and God Bless,
Steph and Josh
If anyone would like to send us a letter we would love to hear from everyone back home. Our address is:
Spanish Language Institute
P.O. Box 025240
Miami, FL 33102
Also, we will be back in the USA from mid-December - mid-January and we will be spending time fundraising and sharing about our ministry in Ecuador. If you know of any churches or organizations were we might be able to go and speak please let us know!