Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November update (Residency, parental visit, Children's Ranch)

Hello friends. 
Here is my November summary.  It has been a busy and productive month.  We have been blessed by so many people and my prayer is that we would pay that blessing forward in huge ways.

Application for Residency:
Back in September I met with a local immigration lawyer to determine what it would take for our family to get temporary residency status in Costa Rica.  Getting this status would allow us to stay in the country and not have to leave every 90 days to reset our tourist visas.  It will also allow us to open a local bank account, which will give us more flexibility with paying bills as we will not have to do everything in cash.
After talking with the lawyer I discovered why no other missionaries from 6:8 had ever followed through and applied for residency.  The cost is prohibitive and gathering the necessary paperwork is difficult, if not impossible, to do from here.  I am blessed to have the mother that I do.  Ginny/Nana/Mom offered to do all the leg work and get new copies of most of our birth certificates and a new copy of our marriage license.  She then had to bring all of these to the CT secretary of state’s office to have them ‘Apostilled’.  This certification is required by Costa Rica in order for them to accept our documentation.  We also had to get our fingerprints taken and sent to the FBI for a background check.  Assuming that comes back clean ;-) then my mom will have to get those papers Apostilled and sent down here.
The lawyer’s usual fee + the Costa Rican application fee is usually close to $2000 per person for this process.  The lawyer is familiar with what our ministry does in Costa Rica, so he cut his fee almost in half.  That still left us with $1,050 per person to come up with.  We prayed about it and decided that should God want us to stay here long term then it was something that we needed to do.  I had never heard specifically of GoFundMe.com until about 1 week before we made the decision to go for residency.  I wrote up the details describing why we needed help with this funding and created a campaign.  I really thought that we might get a small portion of the money in which would help as we tried to come up with the rest.  Did I mention how blessed we are by family and friends who are supporting us in many ways?  In exactly 1 week we surpassed the goal of $6,300!!  Thank you to everyone who donated, wrote an encouraging word, prayed for or shared our cause.  I met with the lawyer last week and gave him the bulk of the paperwork and he is confident that we will not have to leave in January to once again reset our visa.  Praise God!!

Visit from my mom and dad:
My folks came down on November 1st for a week-long visit.  It was great to have them here and to have them experience a little of what we have been called to do down here.  They also brought 6 suit cases full of great stuff.  2 of the cases were for other missionary friends from Hartland and Simsbury CT, who are also serving in Costa Rica.  The other 4 contained treasures for us.  Some Christmas presents, some personal items that we did not have room for back in July, and 4 puzzles!  I have really missed my puzzle collection so it was great to have a chance to work on several of them during the week with my dad.  We got to bring my parents out to Campamento Roblealto in Heredia, where Yvonne and I first heard God’s calling back in 2011.  We also got to travel out to the Children’s Ranch and stay overnight in one of the ‘almost finished’ team houses.  It was really cool to show them the property and let them see first-hand what I have been focusing on for the last 4 months and where my family will move in 2015.  Their visit ended all too quickly, but we know there will be more in the future and we hope to visit the Estados Unidos in spring or summer of 2015.

Children's Ranch:
We are making steady progress on this project every week.  I have been coming out with 3 or 4 Ticos every week for a day or two at a time to work.  I am actually sitting on the front porch of the first team house writing this blog.  Victor and I spent the day crawling under the 2 houses installing all the drain pipes to complete the plumbing in the 7 bathrooms.  Tomorrow we will install the water line and the drain to the new kitchen sink.  There are 3 other guys with us this week working on the drywall.  We have our first team of the new year coming to stay and work at the ranch in January.  This group is from Copiague Christian Church in Long Island.  We are super excited about this team because it contains Yvonne’s Uncle and Aunt and 2 of her cousins.  This will be the first missionary group that will fully use the new team houses.
I have also met with a professor of architecture and 22 of his students and they are in the process of creating a master plan for the ranch.  This process has been going slower than I would have liked, but that is normal for down here. 

We are also very close to actually getting 2 shipping containers delivered out to the ranch.  These were purchased back in April but they could not get over the river until the dry season.  We are in that season now, so we will try again.  If/when we get these containers delivered we will turn them into 2 secure storage rooms with a large covered area between them.  This space will be used to park our tractor and any other equipment we acquire.  We have held off on purchasing a much needed tractor due to the fact that we currently do not have a secure place to park it.  Please keep this project in prayer as we are relying on God for everything.  (funding, construction, house families and ultimately the children).

We love and appreciate you all.

Humbly His,