Wednesday, February 06, 2013

A Few More Things

1. I never gave a report on my eye surgery last November.  (Oh, for consistent blogging. . .) Praise the Lord!  The surgery was successful and all my follow-up appointments have shown good scar tissue and no new areas of concern.  The doctor ended up sealing up most of the sides in both of my eyes, which was a little spooky, but also good that she caught all the little potential problems.  The other great thing is that our insurance covered most of it!!  Whew.  Thankful on all counts.

2. In December, right before Christmas, my Grandpa Roub (dad's dad) slipped on some ice and broke his hip.  After a successful surgery, he experienced complications that unexpectedly led to his death.  I was able to go to Minnesota to be with everyone for his funeral, for which I was, and am, so very grateful.  These are the things that can make Costa Rica feel really far away.  My grandpa was a wonderful man.  A word several people used to describe him was steady.  He was a steady example of a follower of Christ, of a husband, father, grandpa, friend.  I know he is having a marvellous time in heaven, and am thankful for the hope I have of seeing him again, but for now I miss him.

The 3rd Generation (minus Jeff) at Grandpa's funeral

3. At the beginning of January our 2nd-ever semester program with Fresno Pacific University kicked off.  This spring we are hosting 14 enthusiastic young men and women in our program.  They are living with host families, studying Spanish, and taking courses with us on culture and incarnational ministry.  They will also travel to Nicaragua for a week this month.  We love semester programs for their life-impacting potential, and the chance to mentor students on a longer-term basis.
FPU semester students + some SI staff 

The BEACH!!!
4. Recently, my parents visited with us for about 10 days.  We got to take advantage of a wedding near the beach and an excursion with our semester students from FPU to do some 'touristy' things with them.  It was fun, and I'm pretty sure they were tired out from playing with Olivia, Sawyer and Lynnea by the end!
At the Basilica in Cartago

Grandpa's "surprise" birthday party, planned by Olivia
At the house we rented near Playa Negra

2 Things: School 2013 & Office/House Update

School 2013
We'll start with the good news.  :)  Yesterday and today initiated the start of the 2013 school year here in Costa Rica.  Olivia and Sawyer both had great first days back, as did Lynnea (though she's been going intermittently to daycare since December).  As I dropped the older ones off at their classrooms, met their teachers, listened to the principal share her pep talk and hopes for the new year, and put the students, teachers and facilities in God's hands, I felt confirmed that this is the right place for them again this year.  See, this last year I started thinking about homeschooling.  Gasp.  Yes, I, the teacher who has never had a desire to try teaching her own children at home, opened the door of my heart a little bit to the possibility.  The main reason is finances.  St. Michael has been getting more expensive every year by about 10-15%, and I would rather choose to homeschool before I am  forced to homeschool.  But all the positive reasons that we have them there in the first place were right in front of my eyes the last couple of days.  Caring teachers, good friends, bilingual education, a great playground (I cannot over-emphasize the playground), positive environment, art/music/P.E./computer/extra-curriculars, organized curriculum--St. Michael is a great place.  It's not perfect, but what school is?  And we see it as the closest, most economical, best option for our kids.  Now, I know that the whole rest of the year is ahead of us, and a lot could happen.  But, I am thankful, for now, that we can keep them there.  We're going to drive them ourselves to save expenses on bus service--might end up being a frustrating idea since the entrance/road getting in is narrow and gets backed up like crazy--but since Olivia and Sawyer are on the same schedule this year, at least it's only one drop-off and pick-up per day.  We'll see how it goes.

Office/Home Search
In other news, we are hunting for a new office location, and still looking for a new home for our family as well.  To be honest, while it's been really interesting to look at so many places, we feel like we've turned over every rock and leaf and come up with NOTHING.

There is a possible office location on the same street as the language school we work with, and therefore near our host families and near bus lines, that we think would be perfect.  It has a big-separate-open room for meetings, devotions and team activities, English classes, etc.  And also a small house that we could use for individual offices, storage, a work station for students, cooking/baking for different events, etc.  It even has a little back yard that students, staff, people from our ministry sites, etc. could sit and enjoy.  The only problem is that the rent is at least double what SI-CR is paying now for the current office that is part of our home.  We had the idea of renting one of the rooms to a staff member, but it looks like that won't work out, so the finances are even more limited.  We, and the neighbors, feel that they are asking too much for the space, but that probably they have invested a lot of money into it (they just bought it and are remodelling it) and can't afford to go lower.  So, we're not sure what to do.  In the meantime, we're waiting, I guess.  We don't want to cheat them, but we simply can't afford what they are asking.  We are trusting that God will show us exactly where he wants the next SI office to be, as well as make the finances work out. . .

As far as a home for our family. . . more NOTHING.  We've looked at a lot of mediocre options that are too expensive, a few good options that are even more expensive or too far away, and a few things that just plain would NOT work for a multitude of reasons.  For example, Jeff and I looked at a 1/4 acre lot today that is being sold for about $22,000, only to find out it's located right above the huge stinky dump, and on a steep dirt road that might be impossible to climb in rainy season.  No wonder it's so cheap.  Waste of time.  Sigh.

So, on the plus side, the search has been interesting, and we've also successfully eliminated half (or more) of Desamparados from all the possibilities.  I actually have a notebook that is filling up with big X's.

Please pray for us.  We're really not sure what we're supposed to do, or what God is trying tell us or teach us in all of this--or if he is.  Will he find us 'just the right thing'?  Or will he teach us to adjust our idea of 'just right'?  Should we rent or buy?  Should we try to get a loan here after all, even with high interest rates? (Someone recently told us about a law here that says foreign banks can't hold titles on houses in CR, not that we had much hope in soliciting Wells Fargo anyway. . . )  Should we invest money in something we don't like, even if it's all we can afford?  Should we try to get a personal loan?  From who?  Should we pay a ridiculous rent (or mortgage) to get something with a yard and windows that would have room for guests (our desire)?  Is it too much to ask for a floor plan that makes sense?  Are we asking for too much?  Being too picky?  Is something else going on that we are unaware of??  Maybe we're just being impatient and not trusting the Lord enough.

Maybe we're just plain going crazy running circles like these around in our heads!?!?!   : P

Seriously, please, pray for us.  We're tired of guessing what would be best for us.

P.S.  I have discussed with the Lord that I'd be much more open to homeschooling if we had a great yard for doing recess. . .  I'm sure he loves that.