- Home schooling - Yvonne and the kids have settled into a nice rhythm and most days work pretty well. There are some occasional rough spots, but overall things are progressing nicely. I am very impressed with Abby's progress in reading and math and Mara and Jonathan have figured out that taking their time the first time through a lesson will yield a good result and they will not have to retake lessons. Elise is plowing along at a great pace and it excelling as usual. She is also helping with Abby as needed!! All of the kids are missing the social aspect of school and we want to have them make friends. Please continue to pray for the whole schooling situation and for discernment on whether we should enroll the kids in public school for February 2015. If we were to enroll the kids we would probably do that in the rural school out near the Children's ranch.
- Children's ranch - It has been a fun couple of months as I have had the privilege of bringing missionary teams out to the ranch site to continue construction of the 2 team houses. Besides 4 or 5 single day trips, I have led 2 week long work teams at the ranch. A crew of 4 guys came down in early August and we laid almost 3,500 square feet of ceramic tile in just 4 days. I just got back this past Friday from a full week with another team of 8 where we installed the ceilings in both houses as well as 7 ceiling fans. We have made several 'staff' only day trips to continue the work as we have entered the slow season for mission teams. All the bathroom fixtures are installed and the electricity is installed and fully functional. The last step is to bring in the gravel for the septic tanks and turn on the water. This will complete the early phase of the ranch and will allow us to host missionary teams of up to 30 people in the two houses.
- I have been researching and working with several architects to come up with the overall layout and function of the ranch. The architecture work is typically a huge expense here in Costa Rica as an architect needs to be involved in most stages of the design and build process. I have discovered that you need to use an architect to pull a permit or even order an inspection. I have also been reminded that we serve a huge and awesome God! Through an uncomfortable situation I was forced to deal with, I was introduced to a gentleman who happens to be on the national board of architects for Costa Rica and he is a professor at a college for architects near San Jose. After I told him about the ranch and he counseled me on how the architectural process typically works, he asked if he could pitch our ranch project to his class at the University. The class is very excited and I will be bringing them out to see the site in the next week or two. I also gave them a write up on what the vision and purpose is for the ranch. From this class we should be getting several full blown options to choose from. This will include site plans, blueprints for the various buildings and full renderings of what the final project could look like. This work would normally cost between $30,000 - $50,000 and we may get it for no charge, as this project would benefit the students who need a project for their graduation. We may also be able to leverage some of these 'new' architects for our future needs (permits, construction over-site, etc.) Or course, I would love to have your prayers for wisdom and direction as I try to keep this project moving along in a quick, affordable, God-honoring way. Please feel free to get creative in asking God to show himself in various ways as all the pieces fall together.
River on East side of ranch.
One of the team houses at the ranch.
The future main road leading to the family houses at the ranch.
Ceramic tiles in the team house.
- Local Ministry - Our family continues to serve at a feeding in Verbena every Saturday morning. We are starting to develop relationships with some of the kids and the ladies that run the center. Elise, Mara, Yvonne and I have also gone to the special needs orphanage several times. The pure joy that comes out of these kids is great. We also got to go to a neighborhood called Juan Pablo about 10 days ago and hand out shoes to the children. It was a really cool afternoon because we read them the story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples and made sure that they understood the story. Then the team brought out a big wash basin and washed the feet of each of the children before they got to pick out their 'new' shoes. It was a special day.
Yvonne holding McKenzie in Verbena
- Good Friends - God has blessed us with a great family that lives in our condo complex. They have a boy Jonathan's age and a girl Abby's age. The kids are best friends and are always playing together either at our house or their's. Yvonne and I also get along well with the parents. Two weekends ago we brought the kids rock climbing with them and this past weekend they invited us to join them at the beach in Guanacaste for the long Independence day weekend. I am looking forward to soon being able to return the favor and invite them to spend a day or two out at the ranch.
- Prayer and Praises -
- Prayer that we would not let 'life' occupy all of our life and that we would be available and willing to get uncomfortable to share the love of Christ with the people here.
- Praise for success in home schooling and prayers for wisdom for the future.
- Praise for such great progress on the ranch and prayer for wisdom and resources to keep moving forward.
- Prayer for more teams to come down between now and early summer.
- Prayer that our ministry puts Christ in everything that we strive to do.
We are so appreciative and thankful for the prayers and the financial support from our friends and family. May God bless you all as you work on your own mission field each day.
Love in Christ,