It has been TWO whole months since I put out our last blog post, so I think it is safe to say I missed the window of opportunity for the June update! As always, so much has happened: My parents came for a visit, the long task of finishing our floors has been completed (Hooray!), our house is nearly completely sealed (Yay!), the dryer is fully installed and operational(Yes!), we have a hot water heater(Awesme!), our garden is happy and growing, we renewed our visas by traveling to Panama for a week, we've encountered lots more wildlife, cleaned our water tank, had the truck worked on several times, and we have continued to be blessed by opportunities that the Lord brings us to minister and serve.
I will start with my parents visit; it was so good to see them! We spent 3 of the days visiting Manuel Antonio Park which is located about 3 hours South of us. We saw lots of fun wildlife, swam at an amazing beach, walked allot, and ate allot! The highlight of our visit was seeing a sloth up close and personal for about 15 minutes! He was climbing across a patch of trees and vines working his way down to the ground. We couldn't understand why he was putting on such a great show and hanging around for us, but we were later told that sloths only come down to the ground when they have to poo: an event that happens only once every EIGHT days! They also do this deed at the base of the same tree every time. I realize this sounds funny, but I felt so blessed that we happened to be walking by at the very moment he "needed to go," not for the poo aspect but for the amount of time we got to see him in action. Not too long after this event, Matt and Agustin saw a big sloth here on the mountain traveling along the telephone wire; we were so happy to know that the sloths live near us too. Not only did we have a great time just visiting with my parents, we also put them work. Mom nearly finished sealing up the inside of our house with silicone which is a project we have been working on since we arrived. Dad attached some outriggers on our roof to hold the flashing down; before the flashing was just free flying and would make a crazy racket with the wind. He also attached our corner siding and bought and installed a hot water heater in our home! We have been trying to get an electric shower-head-heater to work with our set up since October, and after frying a few more, Dad decided to bless us with hot water in our whole house by installing a hot water heater. We have been doing allot of work on our house and both of our parents visits really gave us a boost on the home-work and in our spirits too. ❤
Because we only had home-made ladders, Dad had to get creative to get the job done! He bought us an extension ladder before the end 😉
We also traveled to Panama for our last visa renewal, which turned out to be an awesome trip for us. It seemed that God had so many divine appointments for us as we encountered many believers during our travels. We first met a group of Costa Rican missionaries on our plane flight heading to Panama to do a week of ministry there. We were able to get their contact info to maybe meet up in Costa Rica later. Our first taxi cab driver was listening to a Spanish worship song that I recognized and I said, "Hey! I know this song!" He replied that it was from the church and a conversation about church naturally flowed from there. After learning that he believed in Jesus, Matt asked what the hardships for the people of Panama are and what was heavy on his heart to pray for. Not only did he share about the people in general but he opened up about what his struggles are and we were able to pray for and encourage him. With our second taxi cab driver almost the exact same thing happened resulting in great conversation as well as prayer and encouragement. Matt asked him if many people are Christians in Panama since we had met so many. He replied that no, not many people are Christians at all. We were really greatfull that God had brought so many believers into our path. Later that evening Matt stayed up talking with the host where we were staying; Matt then told me that our host is a Christian as well! Not only did we find fellowship on our trip, we also really enjoyed the sites and the relaxation. Our trip to Panama was refreshing in so many ways.
A boat going through the Miraflores locks at the Panama CanalIn front of our hostelold town
With our bumpy roads we have had to repair our truck quite a few times. Thankfully it has all been very affordable as labor is inexpensive here. The time for the Riteve on our truck was also due (Riteve is like our smog and registration but with a few more requirements) so after failing on our first try, we had to have a couple of things worked on. After our second attempt we passed! We are so grateful to have that done and only have to try twice. Many things seem to have this same process for us here; we are always certain that there will be some sort of road block, but eventually it usually all works out in the end. Matt's description of this phenomenon is, "roughly smooth." This description really fits so many of our daily circumstances and projects; I especially like it because it makes me laugh as well as be grateful for the part that is going smoothly.
With all of the work we have been doing on our home, we hadn't really been able to officially move in yet. This past week we finally got to a stage where we could truly begin to make it our home! While there is still work to be done, the things that are left don't have to be done now and for the most part can be done around our things. It has only been a few days, but we already really notice how nice it is to have a home where we can relax apart from the building where we minister at. It is truly great!
Finishing the floors was a HUGE milestone and celebration for us
Matt has had many more opportunities to minister to people through service. His relationships have been growing with the people he helps. He is also learning more Spanish every day. Sometimes Matt talks in his sleep; two nights ago he was saying everything once in English and then in Spanish! I was so excited to hear this as it is a sign that he is learning allot. Matt has also begun to play games with the kids during the Bible studies 1-2 times a month. This has been helpful to me for rest, but also going forward so that I can be involved in the adult study and fellowship sometimes. He started filling in for me when I had a migraine, but we've also realized that through this I could also participate with the adults. A prayer request for me is that my migraines would become less debilitating and that I would be diligent to do everything I can to help prevent them.
We also have some exciting news: for our next visa renewal in October we will be visiting home (California)! We are very excited to see friends and family on this visit. This trip will also enable us to acquire our police reports (something that needs to be applied for in person) so that we can move forward with our non-residency. Non-residency is basically like an extended visa which would make it so that we did not have to leave every three months to renew our visa. We also hope to get all of our official documents notarized there, which should save us a little bit of money instead of having them notarized in Costa Rica at the US embassy. We hope you enjoy the update and pictures! We love and miss you all!