What a busy month we've had!! Josh and I are very involved both inside and outside the school and we are so thankful for the opportunities that God has provided. As an update from our last blog, the prayer cards that we ordered came in and we are so excited to be able to mail them to everyone when we get back to the states in December!
We had our mid-term evaluations from our teachers today and both of us received A's in all of our classes. :) Knowing that we only have 7 weeks left does add some pressure to our learning though. We are so thrilled with our progress over the past 6 months - it really is amazing - but we don't want to lose a moment of the time we have left here with these great teachers and our Tica family. This week is Spiritual Emphasis week at the Institute which means that they bring in a pastor/missionary to share with the students twice a day to "refill our spiritual tanks" since language learning can definitely be draining. To encourage everyone in the institute to attend the after-school sessions, the teachers cannot assign homework or give tests this week. It is undoubtedly refreshing and I trust that it will give everyone the break that they need to push through to the end of the trimester.
The past month has provided some challenges that are par for the course when living in another country and probably foreshadow issues that Josh and I will have in Ecuador. We have made some very close friends living here, two of whom are Jessica and Tim who are a couple who will be staying in Costa Rica and starting a business in the construction industry while sharing the gospel. Since they will be living here, they have purchased a car and we have made plans on about 3 different Saturdays now to take a day-trip to the coast (about 2 hours away) and see the beach. About a month ago on a Wednesday we decided that the next Saturday we would go to the coast in their car. Well, after huge downpours at the end of the week, all three of the routes to the beach were washed out. In place of the beach, we headed into the mountains to explore and ended up having a really nice day! Well, two weeks later, the roads were all fixed and we packed up the car at 7am Saturday morning and hit the road. We made it to the gas station on the corner and the attendant accidentally put diesel in their car instead of gasoline. Needless to say that put a kink in the plans and we had to get their poor car towed to the mechanic's shop so that the engine could be flushed. Again, that day we ended up visiting the market and cooking a great dinner together and had a great time even though we weren't at the beach. Finally last weekend we were bound and determined to make it to the coast and it turns out the fuel pump on the car has to be replaced. I feel so badly for Tim and Jess as they have had to make so many repairs to their only mode of transportation, and I am trying to mentally prepare myself for issues such as these to arise in Ecuador. Just as Tim and Jessica did we will be sure to purchase our car from a reliable source, but used cars in Latin America just aren't as reliable as in the states, not to mention that cars cost about twice as much in Latin America than in the US. But, as Teo Beato one of our MMI mentors famously says, "if you aren't flexible, you will break," so you just have to keep a sense of humor about it all. God willing, we will make it to the beach before we head back to the states. ;-)
We are continuing to teach English as a Second Language and it is such a wonderful experience. We have the beginners' class so we are trying hard to balance teaching them a lot of material but not going too fast. As the leaders of this ministry remind us though, the real point is to take advantage of opportunities to share God's word. We teach for 50 minutes, have a 20 minute time of sharing and Bible study, and then teach for 50 more minutes. We are so glad to have gotten involved in this ministry and feel like a lot of times we are learning just as much or more than the students are!
As we get closer to January when we head to Ecuador, we ask for your prayers about every aspect of the upcoming transition. We are beginning the process of obtaining our missionary visas and of course thinking much more concretely about our first steps once we get on the ground. God is putting some amazing contacts in our path including the head of the board of directors of Clinica Biblica, the largest private hospital in Costa Rica. He works with Latin American Missions in addition to his work with the hospital and we were able to meet with him this week. We spoke for about 2 hours and we are very excited about the insight that he can provide about the healthcare industry in Latin America. He will definitely be a valuable resource as we move forward.
It's hard to believe that after about a year and a half of preparation, we are almost there!!
As always, thank you so much for your love, support and prayers. We'll be sending out our quarterly update in November so keep an eye on the mailbox!
Love and God Bless,
Stephanie and Josh