Wednesday, July 30, 2014

God is moving in Costa Rica

Hello friends.
I am sorry that we have not posted in almost 2 weeks.  Time is moving really fast down here as we are quickly adjusting to our new lives and the changes to the ministry.  The director of operations that was in place when we arrived is moving back to the States with his family on Friday.  After a lot of prayer and discussion, it has been decided that the overwhelming responsibilities of the director role will now be spread over several individuals.  I have been tasked with being the director of finances for the operations based here in Alajuelita Costa Rica.  It is an exciting time for the ministry as I believe we have the right people in the right roles and everyone has the singular desire to glorify God in everything that we do.

Our biggest personal prayer request right now is for the home schooling.  This is a new thing for all of us and we are trying to accelerate the program to give ourselves the most flexibility down the road in case the children have the opportunity to enroll in the local school system which begins the year in February.

Now onto the really exciting news!!  The children's ranch project is moving along better than I would have imagined.  Through some generous donations, several mission teams bringing project money and their labor, and an awesome group of Ticos (Costa Rican people), the project is really starting to take shape.  There are two team houses that are completely framed and under roof.  Each of these houses are 24' x 48'.  One will have a full kitchen and living space for the cooks, as well as a bunk room with a capacity of 10 people. The other house will have 2 bunk rooms that can each accommodate 10 people.


We have another team of 30+ young people going to the ranch property tomorrow to continue work on these two buildings and some paths around the property.  It is the rainy season right now and it can pour for hours at a time, so needless to say, the ground can get pretty soggy and muddy.

Within the next three weeks, there will be at least 2 other teams going to work at the ranch.  Our hope and prayer is that by the end of August, the two buildings will be complete enough to comfortably house the next group of teams that are coming down to start construction on the houses that the children will eventually live in.  Please pray for safety for the teams as they work and for God's protection of the supplies and tools while people are not there.  Another big prayer request is that the money continues to flow in so that we can continue to make progress on this great extension of serving the Costa Rican people.

Again, we thank everyone for their prayers, support and encouragement.  If anyone is interested in coming down to serve, please let me know asap so we can look at availability.  The prime spots for 2015 are almost booked.  A great time to come is between September and April, as that is usually our slower months with the most capacity.

Serving Him,

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Time to get to work!

We arrived in Alajuelita, Costa Rica on July 6, 2014.  For the last 10 days we have been setting up house and adjusting to our new home.  We were blessed by friends and fellow missionaries who greeted us at the airport and brought us to our unfurnished condominium after having already bought us mattresses to sleep on for our first night.  We have spent the last 10 days getting the landlord to put in the appliances he promised, getting our cell phones up and running with Costa Rica cell service, purchasing minimal necessary furniture, and getting the internet installed for the children’s on line schooling.  It has been an adventure grocery shopping and learning the new Spanish names for various products.  God blessed me with meeting a neighbor on our second day in the condo who offered to drive me around town to show me all the best places to find vegetables, meats, gluten free foods (I have to eat gluten free), paper goods and kitchen wares as well as places to pay different bills and where the banks are.  Of course all these things are found in different parts of town.  She gave me an overview of the city and after our day together, I felt that I had a bird’s eye view of the city and would be confident in finding my way around. 
There have been some challenges with communication causing us to become frustrated with ourselves for not learning more Spanish before the move.  We've had to remind ourselves that the purpose of the first 6 months in the city was to learn the language while building relationships so the expectation wasn't for us to be fluent right off the bat.    A funny example of one communication issue was getting our internet installed.  The internet guys were supposed to come out on Monday morning the 14th to install the cable/internet.  We got a phone call stating that they were at the gate so Rob went out to the gate but there were no cable guys.  Turns out that because there really are no addresses in this area, they were at the wrong condo complex.  Not a big surprise.  The only problem is that they needed directions.  We didn't know where they were and we didn't know enough Spanish to be able to communicate with them directions to where to find us.  Sadly, another day went with no internet to begin schooling or to be able to post on our blog.  Miracle of miracles, they showed up first thing on Tuesday morning without us ever having to give directions.   I guess God decided to give us a break.

We have done a lot of waiting around the condo because we were having appliances delivered, internet hookup, etc.  The kids and I were getting stir crazy so today we decided that we were done with this adjustment period of setting up house and wanted to get out and serve.  We joined the team from Atlanta, GA currently here at 6:8 ministries and helped them run a VBS this morning in the very poor and rough neighborhood of Verbena.  Our kids did great.  Almost immediately they adjusted to the surroundings and had fun and local kids.  Jonathan was part of the skit where we told the story of Joseph and his brothers.  Mara, Elise and Abby had a constant stream of little kids (mostly girls) surrounding them for most of the time.  Rob and I were proud of each of them as they stepped out their normal and opened up to the kids of the neighborhood.  The big guy in red in Neil, he is one of the missionaries on staff here.  He brought us through the neighborhood knocking on doors to let the kids know that we were here to play with them.  At the end of the morning, the team handed out about 70 Spanish/English bibles.  They wrote the children's name in each one and told them to bring their bibles back tomorrow when they have another bible lesson.
We are exhausted from the 30 minute walk in each direction and the energy spent playing with kids for  a couple hours.  We appreciate all the prayers and encouragement.
God is good!! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

We made it!!

Hola amigos.
We still do not have internet in our new place (should be set up in the next 2-30 days;-).
Yvonne's cell phone is good enough that we are using it as a mobile hot spot for now.

Here is a quick summary of trip so far:
We got up at 3:30am on Sunday July 6th and left for the airport.  I had packed my brothers pickup and my parents van night before so all we had to do was jump in and head to the airport.  There was absolutely no one in the United line when we got there.  We found a porter to help move our 12 suitcases/crates, our portable keyboard, Yvonne's guitar, our 4 other smaller suitcases and our 6 backpacks.  God blessed us by having a friend from church (Matt M.) working the check in counter and then at the gate.  There were 4 workers at the check in that all jumped in to help process our luggage.
When we got to security screening, they had just opened a new line that we quickly overwhelmed.  We had no issues at all and to our knowledge did not leave anything behind;-)  The flight to Washington DC was uneventful, as was the transfer to the next flight to San Jose Costa Rica.  We landed and easily passed through Immigration.  We then found a porter standing next to our mountain of luggage at the baggage claim area.  He grabbed another porter, we rounded up a couple stray bags and then I looked around for our friend Dan, who was due to arrive 10 minutes after us.  We quickly found Dan, and the 9 of us (Wutka 6, Dan, 2 porters) went through the customs screening and found a place outside to unload all of our luggage.  Within minutes, the bus that I had lined up to transport us arrived, as did 6 of our friends from the ministry (Spencer, Alix, Chipper, Neil, Dan & Karen).  We piled all our stuff into the bus and headed to our new home.
Of course we were very hungry since we arrived at noon (2pm Eastern) so we stopped off at a local eatery on the way to our condo.  (It was a subway;-).
We got to the condo and it took no time for us to unload everything since we had so many helpers.  The condo was completely empty except for 6 mattresses that our friends had delivered a couple days before our arrival.
We have spent the last 5 days exploring the area and setting up house.  I will try to create another post later today or tomorrow with the excitement and adventures of the first week on the ground.

We love you all and appreciate all your prayers and support.

God is GOOD!!