Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Costa Rica: Week 2

Random things:

*I hate materialism. 

* Two qualities I most admire in other people:  Honesty & Humility.  There are few things more attractive in a friend than a commitment to truth and an honest view of who God is and who they really are in the light of God's character.
The two things I most despise in myself and most react to in other people are Dishonesty and Pride. 
I hate not being able to trust people. 

* Costariccenses are BEAUTIFUL.

* I showed pictures of home to my Tica family, and Tatianna said "...but where are the mountains?!"  She thinks Ohio looks "clean."  :-)

* I miss my nieces a TON.

Quotes for the day:
Zaqueo: "A spoonful of regular verbs helps the irregulars go down.
GinnyBeth: "He's just an artistic man in a hoodie."


Week one is over, and while this is good because it means I survived this far, it's sad because it means I only have 5 weeks left.
I'm not a fan of living in the city, but I think the sight of las montaƱas around the city helps.  It makes me feel a little less trapped.
I do not however enjoy nearly dying every time I have to cross the street.
Pedestrians do NOT have the right of way in Costa Rica.  My Tica family tells me that last year 700 people died trying to cross the street. That number does not include the number of people who were hit and didn't die.  This is not encouraging.
Thankfully, the Lord put me just 4 blocks from the school, and I don't have to cross any main roads to get there.  I clearly don't know how to cross the street, because it is terrifying and I've almost died more than once.  Don't try this without friends to protect you. I've had several people say to me "You don't know how to cross the street, do you?" So I only follow other people now, and never try to cross the Big Scary Road by myself.   

The family I'm staying with is absolutely the sweetest, and they have made me part of the family.  I enjoy trying to converse with them.... and they are good at using easy words I can understand and explaining to me the ones I don't know.   ...and did I mention the food is WONDERFUL?  I.love.RICE!  :-)
I have my own room and my own bathroom, neither of which I have EVER had at home in the States, so I'm very spoiled.  ...and I have a double bed.  Never had one of those either.  I'm telling you, this place is great! lol

School is going well, I think - I'm enjoying my classes, and learning new words and new ways to express things.  I'm still not very good, but am glad my level of understanding surpasses my speaking abilities or I'd really be in trouble.  Tatianna (my host "mom" - she's 32) says I'm already improving (I think she lies) and that I really don't speak Spanish with an accent, so that's good. I've always worried about being one of those people who speaks Spanish like telemarketers speak English.
This week I'm starting to feel a tiny bit overwhelmed with the sheer multitude of things I'm learning.  Like everyone at the school says, the Intensive Course is.... Intense.   I want my brain to be able to retain all of this new knowledge, but I'm scared it won't.  

God has blessed me with amazing fast friends, and I'm so grateful for each of them!  A lot of us in the Intensive Course are single versus the many many married couples in the Regular Courses, so we have banded together.  :-)   It's safe to say that I have already been blessed in a special way by each of these awesome people and I'm looking forward to 5 more weeks of this!  Gracias a Dios!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Airport Blogging

I wrote this in the Detroit airport on my way down here to Costa Rica.  Other updates to follow. Probably. ;-)
A new year, a new outlook:
I’m beginning this year with something I haven’t had in a while:  HOPE. 
I am excited for this new year and what it will bring!  I rest in the unchanging sovereignty of God, knowing that nothing will happen to me without first passing through His loving hands. 
 I will remember 2010 as the year I….
*….surrendered to God’s healing touch – holding every broken, hurting part of me up to Him to made whole, and discovering that He doesn't say no to prayers like these.
*…surrendered to God’s sovereign will for my life – refusing to make my own plans, or sit around wishing for my will to be His instead of allowing His will to be mine.
*…finally made peace with my past when God spoke to me so clearly one Thursday night last Summer and confirmed to me His hand in the difficult decisions I’ve made.  Oh my goodness – His ways are so MUCH HIGHER than mine!  I am blown away by the way He works every.single.circumstance in my life for my good and His glory!  My faith in Him has been strengthened this year.   
…this is why that Gungor song from several blog posts ago remains a theme for me.  He makes Beautiful Things out of us!

The result of these three choices has been joy, and a peace I haven’t felt in about four years.  I LOVE it!
My best friend even noticed the difference in me over the phone!  LOL   I love God, and I love what He is doing in my life.  What? Did I just say that?!  lol.  He’s amazing.

Costa Rica:  For once in my life, I have been 100% sure about a decision!   As someone who admittedly second-guesses nearly every major decision in my life, I have been at complete peace with this one.  I know God wants me to learn Spanish, and while I don’t know where He’s going with all this exactly, I know I’m in His will because He said “Go,” and I said “Yes I will!” 
I don’t know what I’m going to do with Spanish.  I have no plans, and I know some people think that’s crazy.  Why shell out money for this when I’m not immediately planning to head to the mission field?  All I can say is that it’s a step of obedience.   …and so far in my life, God has not been in the habit of showing me His entire plan all at once.  I only ever seem to have light for the very next step.  Or the next half a step.  I guess you could call it walking by faith. ;-) 
I am excited, confident, and peaceful in this decision, and committed to going with God wherever He’s headed with this.  Spanish for me could be anything from a simple tool to be a more effective encouragement to friends I already have in Ecuador to working with the Spanish population in my area to full-blown move-to-the-mission-field kind of work.  I have no idea.  …but I’m trusting, and walking straight ahead, following my most trusted Friend and Guide.  Something tells me that's a good place to be.  :-)