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Goodbye Costa Rica

HAPPY EASTER !! We expect you’re watching bright yellow daffodils defy the frozen soil  to announce spring and new life.  At our place in Indiana, they always bloomed around Easter, a natural reminder of the death and cold-defying, life-giving resurrection of Christ.

It’s bittersweet to uproot our family again for our move to the Dominican Republic in a couple weeks.  We’re excited to finally start the work we feel called to, but the kids have developed deep friendships here.  We’re trusting God for that to happen again in the DR.

Isaac "helping" pack the house

We're actually going to miss our 2-mile walk to/from church

I read an article recently published in the local Dominican newspaper about one of the ghettos that we plan to serve near Bávaro.  They call the mostly Haitian village “Mata Mosquito” (Kill Mosquito).  The author painted a sobering picture.  Yes, when the gringos arrive with candy and frisbees, the kids are smiling and “seem to be so happy despite having nothing”.  And there’s certainly truth and beauty to that innocent joy.  But there’s also the undeniable reality that child sex slavery, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, murder, and voodoo are all running unbridled in this vulnerable community.  Even the secular news article used words like “dark and dangerous” to describe the situation.   My confession to you all is that I’m insecure about my ability to confront that on a daily basis and continue to spread hope.  My passion never wanes, but my confidence does regularly.  So maybe that’s a prayer request if you’re looking for one !  The next season will be a new kind of step of faith for our family.

This week is “Semana Santa” (Holy Week) and most of Latin America basically down for it.  So we have some extra time to pack the house and study for our final exams.  Erin and I will receive an internationally recognized university diploma for teaching Spanish if we score high enough on the oral and written exams over the next couple weeks.  No pressure !  If we fall short (which more than half do), we’ll receive a certificate that says we’ve received over 900 hours of formal Spanish language education (small print: and still aren’t qualified to teach it)

Having Rod and Nancy in town the last couple months was a true gift.  We spent many Sunday evenings eating, laughing, dreaming and praying about what God has in store for 2nd Mile Missions in the months and years ahead.  It was nice to strengthen our friendship and unity in Christ before heading into a season of ministry that we expect to be rich but also difficult at times.

Although we move in under a month, we still haven’t found the right apartment, which is a little nerve-racking.  This isn’t the first time we’ve waited for God to provide what we need and it won’t be the last. Thankfully, the local pastor in the DR (Pascual) is selling us his old car, so at least we’ll have some wheels when we hit the ground.

I want to briefly share something I’ve been ruminating on, a thought I can’t shake.  My father and I were talking about the goodness of God over Christmas.  He brought my attention to a passage commonly read this week across churches around the world from Luke chapter 23, vs. 33-34 which says:

When they came to the place called The Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals, one on His right, and the other on His left.  Then Jesus said “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  And they divided up His garments…

Have you ever wondered if you’ve done something God couldn’t forgive?  Are feeling disconnected from Him this Easter? Jesus freely gave His divine forgiveness to those who were actively and painfully killing Him.  I challenge you to find anything else like this in your world.  His grace is immeasurable, His kindness has no end, His forgiveness is free, His embrace does not discriminate.

We got some amazing free family photos from some friends starting up a photography business.  Please hold your comments on the goatee.

I found three locos to summit  the highest volcano in Costa Rica with me.  We spoke Spanish all day, which really just added to the suffering of the ascent...

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