It has been a very busy three months since our Christmas update.
It was a very enjoyable Christmas time without a lot of the hustle and bustle that we are used to in the States. Simple presents, time relaxing with our family, and remembering why we are here and who we are serving.
In early January we had the privilege of hosting our home church Valley Brook Community church from Connecticut. It was a special time, connecting with some old friends and making new ones. It was great to be able to actually show them what we are doing here and let them experience it for themselves. They spent 3 days serving seniors and children in the community of Alajuelita and 4 days working hard at the Children's ranch. We even got to catch a soccer game at the national stadium during their visit. We mixed 50 bags of concrete and poured a large cement pad and erected the wall and roof frame for our new team chapel and dining area.
On the day before Valley Brook went home, my sister Sue and two of her boys came down for a week long visit. Elise and Yvonne knew about the trip but is was a complete surprise for Mara, Jonathan & Abby. It was an awesome week watching the cousins play together out here in the beautiful nature. It was also neat to have them experience one of our feeding centers and meet the staff.
In mid February, another of our favorite churches came for visit. This time it was Copiague Christian church from Long Island. Yvonne's uncle Paul is the pastor and they brought a great crew for their second year in a row. They also brought a special surprise guest with them......Brenda Ryan!! Yvonne's sister was able to fill in at the last minute for someone that could not make the trip. We had no clue. As the team was unloading from the bus and we were saying hello to everyone, all of a sudden Brenda was standing there. It took a couple seconds for this to register with me but Yvonne's face lit up immediately. It was such a beautiful occasion and we really enjoyed having her stay with us for the week. The team worked so hard as we laid tile in the new chapel and dining area, processed so much lumber into finished wood, and installed aluminum studs and cement boards in the walls of a new cabin.
As soon as Copiague left, we had two back to back teams from Jacksonville Florida. These two teams were part of the J1:9 group. This is a group of churches coming together to be Strong and Courageous, as instructed in Joshua 1:9. This group had a fund raiser and was able to fund the construction of a three bedroom cabin that we built right next to Miriam's cabin. We worked non stop for two weeks trying to complete this build. Finished wall studs and cement board exterior, stucco, paint, insulation, drywall, mud, ceramic tile, electric, plumbing. At the end of their two weeks, we were in a great position. Mauricio and I have spend the past two weeks continuing the finishing touches and my family is set to move into this new cabin by Tuesday March 22nd.
The whole family is excited about the move but also a little sad. It will be great to move from one 400 square foot open room into a place with three bedrooms, a living/dining room, and our own kitchen. But in a surprising way, we have rather enjoyed our cramped living space for the past 13 months.
If anyone is interested in more details on the projects we have worked on at the ranch over the past year, please check out the ranch page on our ministries website, which I just updated this week. Here is the link:
We also have some exciting news about our future after this summer. I will write another blog entry soon giving more details on those changes.
Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us and also for those that have been supporting us financially. We cannot do this without all of you. As always, if you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.