Hola from Costa Rica! I am finally here in the land of ticos, gallo pinto, and rainforests (i.e. rain). I was nervous getting off the plane, wondering if things would turn out okay. After getting through immigration and customs, I was excited and relieved to see amongst the plethora of signs one that said YWAM. Crazy how nerve-wracking it is to exit the airport and try to find the group that you belong to. Two leaders from YWAM San Jose were there to greet me, and soon the three of us and two other students were taking off in a van for the YWAM base. As we twisted and turned down the streets on the hour-long drive back, I took in the beautiful mountains and forests surrounding us. As we chatted in English and a bit of Spanish, I was absorbed in the Latina music blasting from the stereo, the small supermercados and houses dotting the scenery, and the crazy driving of the ticos (Costa Ricans).
Finally we arrived at the base. It is smaller than I expected, and most of our activities are in one building that used to be a coffee factory. My dormitory room, the kitchen/dining room, our classroom, and the place we have worship are all in this building. It is crazy here right now because many other groups are here as well as our Discipleship Training School (DTS) group of 13. I share a room with the 6 other girls in my DTS. It’s pretty small so there is not much room for each of us (therefore my bed is often full of junk!), but so far it’s been good. There is a really neat little prayer room across the hall from my room and just down the stairs is a small Internet café / snack shop where we can buy Internet hours. I don’t think I’ll be online too much, though, because our daily schedule is pretty busy!
When I arrived Friday afternoon, not everyone was here yet, but people continued trickling in throughout the evening. Now that everyone is here, I feel like we’re getting used to living together. It is truly amazing how close I already feel to the other students in my DTS – since we do practically everything together, it’s like we’re a family. Already the girls in my room and I have had several deep conversations and shared what’s on our hearts. This feeling of community really helps me feel at home here. In fact, I haven’t really felt homesick at all since I’ve been here. I miss family and friends at home, but I’m so happy to be here! We are all connecting so much…even though I have only been here four days I feel comfortable around everyone.
The bilingual aspect of this school has been amazing so far – virtually everything we do (class, meals, activities) is translated from Spanish to English or vice versa. This has been a great opportunity to learn. Even when the speaker says things first in English I find myself listening to the Spanish translation too. About half of the students are from the United States, but most of us know Spanish to some extent. So we try to speak Spanish as much as possible. We have one student from Honduras and one from Costa Rica, so I always talk to them in Spanish. The DTS leaders are bilingual, so it’s good practice to have conversations with them Spanish too. One of the leaders even said he might give me private lessons so that I can reach a level where I will be able to translate when we go on outreach in a few months!
I am definitely being pushed to grow here in many different ways. One of the most evident is the time of our daily schedule. We have breakfast each morning at 6:30am, which is much earlier than I’ve gotten up in the past few years. But amazingly, I have felt rested each morning when I got up. The Lord is definitely giving me strength in this area. I can also feel God breaking down spiritual barriers in my life. I am learning to trust in his divine power, and not put limitations on what God can do. As a class we have already had several powerful times of prayer together. This is really enabling me to see God working here; I’m trying to give him control.
There is so much more I could say now, but it’s time to go do my work duty (cleaning the dining room before dinner), so I will write more later. Despite the rain and heat, I am loving life here in San Jose.
This is a few of the girls I live with in the YWAM base.
Spanish vocabulary trivia: tuanis means cool in Costa Rica. ¡Que tuanis!
Bible verse of the day: Luke 11:9-13