We live in Costa Rica. I never thought I would ever say that. Or even think that we could or would ever be missionaries.
Pablo arranged a ride for us from the airport to Florencia, which took about three hours. All of us stared in amazement at the luscious beauty of the landscape on the way, our hair blowing wildly in the wind, as we descended the mountain to a new home we’d never seen before.
Pablo and Yalile are local missionary associates with FMC, and just with their family and friends have a thriving community that we stepped into the night we arrived. After we saw the new home we are renting, we enjoyed a prayer meeting along with a wonderful supper of crepes and salad at the creperie their son owns. We then walked to our home to collapse on our mattresses after a long and exhausting travel day. The next day, first order of business was to find mosquito netting. Poor Kateri got hit the worst.
Today is day five! Mostly the kids are adjusting beautifully, but it has been difficult for us to adjust to the heat. All that we do feels heavy. We were told it takes a while to adapt, though, so we were expecting this. It’s so cool to me that when we got here it felt like home so quickly. Just like our first days in Haiti and Big Woods. I am so grateful to God for that grace during such a great transition.
The insects and birds have been so fun to discover. Today was our first Sunday mass here and we looked up only to see an owl sitting in the rafters staring down at us! It was beautiful, and every time the music began the owl looked as if it were dancing, it’s cute face in the shape of a heart. At the end of the mass, all of a sudden we heard the priest saying things like “no hable ingles” and “misiones” and “Estados Unidos” and we’re like, hey they’re talking about us. Finally, one of Pablo and Yalile’s daughters who was standing in a pew at the front motioned for us to stand up. Pablo had told us that he was a new priest and very much on board with lay missionaries. Still, we had no idea he was going to introduce us! We haven’t even met him yet. So, after mass parishioners were coming up to us to introduce themselves and it was fun to meet people despite the language barrier.
Later on, Brad suggested to the kids that they go on a bird-watching walk. After walking about a block, Zach said “Woah, I just saw a giant colorful bird fly up into the tree up there!” They went closer and saw two scarlet macaws hanging out, eating in a tree. Even the locals were stopping by to take pictures. We’ve also had the pleasure of seeing and hearing all sorts of little colored birds in our yard.
Speaking of our yard, we have a tree house! It’s little, but it even has a trap door. And our yard is gated completely all around, which is what I have been wanting for a long, long time. The house we are renting is quaint and charming, although we have two iguanas living in our rafters that our renter said he could bring to the forest if we don’t want them there, however they help with the cockroaches and mosquitos. We live with lots of bugs, so we figured they can stay for now. Our landlord and neighbors have been amazing and super helpful at helping us cook our first meals here, getting groceries in another language and other odds and ends.
We have all been enjoying the fresh fruits and vegetables. Pablo and Yalile had us out to their house to celebrate Luke’s third birthday and he cut some coconuts out of his tree and we drank the coconut water from straws. We have a lot of fresh things growing in our small yard as well. A coconut tree, a coffee bean plant, a small tart fruit I can’t pronounce, a sour sap tree, a starfruit tree, a mandarin tree, red beans and ginger.
We are working at getting settled and getting what we need to function in a different country and learning the way they do things. Like putting your fruit in covered bags on the countertop to keep away the fruit flies and that here you can store your eggs on the counter and not the fridge (that one’s tough to wrap my mind around).
This week we will be joining in on a short-term mission trip of about 16 people. It will be kind of like an orientation of sorts where we’ll get to see some of the existing ministries they already have going on. We have been praying about where God would like to lead us here. We are excited to meet our team leaders (they live about two hours away in Coopevaga), and to speak English with them for a bit! We are working on our Spanish and I’m surprised at the vocab that’s coming back to me from my Spanish in high school. It’s super frustrating not to be able to speak it yet, but we’ve also had lots of humorous conversations with the neighbors. Luckily, I’m okay looking muy estupido until we figure it out. For now, anyway. Praise God!
Some more pictures of our house… we are working on making this a good home for our family before we dive into our work. FMC recommends we go slow so we can learn the culture and the language, and figure out how to buy food and cook in a new way, all the while making new friends as we go. Please keep praying for us! We are missing our family and friends, and familiar things. Love from Costa Rica!
Dios te bendiga!