Saturday was a great day for flying kites!
Sorry for the delay in adding to our blog! We could name any number of excuses but we will just apologize and hope to get better at updating! We arrived here in Quito last Thursday. Aaron started up with training for his job within the Semester Abroad department on Sunday, so he has been out of the house much of the day. I have had the days mostly to myself so I have found a gym that I like, been out running, and mostly taken care of things around the house. God teaches us that rest is important. I am not very good at doing “nothing” so some days have been challenging as I much prefer to have a schedule. However, I know that at some point I will desire this time and so I am trying my best to make the most of it!
We are currently staying in an apartment owned by the Semester Abroad department. We will be moving into the house of another family of missionaries in mid-September in order to care for their house while they are on furlough. We will begin looking for a place of our own that time and we hope to be settled in by the end of the year! We are excited at the opportunity to grow roots (if only for three years) and make a home for ourselves!
Many people have asked us how we are settling in and how we like being back to Quito. The short answer is that we are settling in just fine (there is only so much “settling” to be done in temporary housing) and that we could not be happier to be back in Quito.
The long answer is that there is still another adjustment to be made. I have explained to a number of people that it is as if my world is moving at 100mph and everything around me is moving at 10mph. It is difficult to fully see everything and soak it in. We were told, before returning, that this time would be different than the time before and we should expect that. Relationships will be different, work will be different, settling in will be different, etc. They were right. It is different. It is not good, it is not bad, just different. (This is a common phrase we use down here when adjusting to various cultural aspects that we, in our way of thinking and doing life, just cannot seem to understand). We have loved reconnecting with those that we have missed, going to the grocery store, actually being able to communicate (in Spanish!!) to those that we saw around town last year, getting ridiculously out of breath after climbing a flight of stairs, going to the park, and using the US dollar! We are finding joy in the small things as we try to get our bearings again and figure out what our life and routine here will look like.
#betchadidntthinkwecoulddoit, #tenpounds, #puravida
Today was loco.
This morning we were invited to church by a Costa Rican woman Amanda met randomly at the gym last month. To be perfectly honest, we had kind of put off attending with her for a few weeks, but finally ran out of excuses and showed up this morning. The church is nice, and the people were super friendly and welcoming. We were sitting with Amanda’s friend and her husband, and towards the end of the service, during one of the songs we noticed that the two were using sign language to communicate with each other. Amanda and I looked at each other with with mouths agape.
After the service Amanda asked if her friend spoke sign language, and she said that yes, her whole family did, because their daughter is deaf. Then she said that there was a deaf church just around the corner where her daughter attends, and she asked if we would like to go see it. We quickly accepted, and five minutes later we were standing in front of a dozen deaf congregants while Amanda introduced us in ASL (American Sign Language). About half of the congregants understood ASL, while the others only know Costa Rican Sign Language (LSCR). There was another woman there who understood ASL and LSCR, so she was interpreting from ASL into LSCR for the rest of the group. It was surreal.
After the service, the leader of the congregation came up and introduced herself to us. When she heard we were missionaries, she told us that they currently did not have a pastor, and asked if I would be willing to come back next Sunday and give a sermon to the congregation, while Amanda interpreted. We of course said yes, and walked home in a state of shock. Our minds were blown away by the way God poured out this blessing on us, and potentially opened a huge door for Amanda for the remainder of our time here.
I think it is safe to say that the first two months we have spent here in Costa Rica have been a difficult period of adjustment for us, for various reasons. However, through it all, God has been faithful in showing us all the ways He intends to use this season in our lives to bless us and grow us into the followers He desires. When we pause and reflect and seek His will, He surprises us in ways we never could have predicted.
The lychee, known here in Costa Rica as “el mamon chino.” The fruit with the largest discrepancy between how it looks (terrifying) and how it tastes (sweet and succulent).
"Iguana be left alone," said the lizard to the annoying man with the camera.
It’s hot today in Costa Rica, as usual, but nowhere near as hot as it was in Hastings two years ago…
In some ways it feels like Amanda and I have been together a lot longer than two years. Thinking back of all that we’ve done, all the places we’ve gone, all the joys and struggles we’ve had, all the memories we’ve created, it seems impossible to cram it all into 730 days.
Yet is also feels like we’re just getting started. That two years are nothing compared to the time we will spend together, and the memories we have yet to create. If these two years are but a preview to the life we will live together… wow. I am a blessed man.
Anniversaries are a great time to look back, but today I can’t help but to look forward. With anticipation, with excitement, with hope.
I did, I do, I always will, take you, Amanda.
A two year-old tan line…
I (Amanda) was running at the track near our house a couple of weeks ago and was in the middle of a workout when I was approached by a running coach. He mentioned that he had watched me run and wondered if I would be interested in joining the team. The name of the team is “Energia Humana” (Literally translated as human energy). I (and all of you at home) have been praying about opportunities for us to meet people within the community and for opportunities to engage in Spanish conversation outside of school. I was excited about the opportunity from the start, but decided to give it a few days to see how it went. The first few training runs went well and were within the standards that I expected of a coach. We had our first race (a 10k) on Sunday and it went well. It was nice to be able to connect with the other runners on the team and to see their love for one another in action. The coach even gathered us for prayer before the race! I am lucky to be running with a group of people, but a christian group of people! I am so blessed! I really feel that I can develop lasting friendships with some of these women!
The coach also mentioned that he is available to support me beyond my running needs and asked what my goals were for language development. He knows running is important to me but wants to support us in areas outside of running. I have been so blessed by this group already and cannot wait to discover the ways in which this community and interactions with this team will further be a blessing to our time here in Costa Rica. It is powerful to see the hand of God at work, especially when we call out to him. Thank you for your love, your support, your prayers, and your faithfulness!
I was able to convince Aaron to go out to one of the places that I love to run the most. I don’t like seeing and enjoying views that he doesn’t get to see simply because he doesn’t run. I want to share those experiences! So…I convinced him to take the long walk with me to see my favorite 7(ish) mile route here in San Jose. (It has always been the 7 mile routes that have been my favorites!) The route starts by winding through the city and then begins to climb…something. It’s not a mountain, but it is not a hill, but it is tough! The street winds up for a mile or so when you turn off onto a trail that starts with stairs (about 150…I counted today) and then becomes a wooded trail surrounded by a coffee plantation. The views of the city are amazing.
This is the route that was referenced in our most recent newsletter as the one I run with a couple of other students in the wee hours of the morning. If you are not receiving our newsletter but would like to, e-mail us at email@example.com
The process of returning to Ecuador (by way of Costa Rica) has caused me to ponder a lot about what it means to be “called” and to be “sent.” Aaron and I have been sent from Woodbury Lutheran Church. In its nature, being sent from a congregation implies that the congregation has a responsibility to support you-financially, prayerfully, and by other means while on the field. While at home it means that the church is to help the missionaries, whether it be by providing resources such as housing arrangements, transportation, phones, as well as the opportunity for sharing their stories with congregants. It is important to me that people understand the value and importance of a sending, and of taking responsibility for sent missionaries. However, another thought has been at the forefront of my mind for the last several weeks. We proclaim the importance of the support of our congregation and the extent to which we need each member as a part of our team. We strongly desire to help each individual feel a part of our team in whatever way we are able. We are following a call to Ecuador, confident that God has made it possible for us to go there and equally confident of His desire for us to be there. However, each individual in the church is also following a call. Whether that be a call to participate in the ministry work God is doing in Ecuador, or otherwise in the United States and around the world. I truly feel that each member deserves the same level of support for the work that they do, wherever they are. I want members to each feel valued for the work they are doing and not that foreign work is any more important or glamorous than the work here in the United States. While we are away, we are intentional about staying in touch with our church and supporters, but I wish there were a way to stay just as connected with each supporter. God has brought us into a relationship in order to further his purposes both here and in the United States. One can never predict where He has chosen that we bear fruit. I believe we have been placed into a relationship to support one another and to balance out one another’s strengths and weaknesses. I want each of you to know that I support you in prayer and in spirit just as much as you support us and we would love to hear about the work that God is doing in your lives.