Author Archives: Brittney Leigh Evans

India Update 2 (6/15/13)

— You will have to pardon me if I jump around a lot because I am not a natural born writer or blogger like many. The things I blog about are bits and pieces that I take from my journal where I have unlimited freedom —

India was never at the top of my list on places that I wanted to visit.

In fact, I can hardly ever remember having the desire to travel further than Europe or Africa. So the fact that I am here kind of blows my mind. Next week, I will have been in this country for one month, and I can hardly believe it. I have to say that the Lord has been so gracious in the fact that I have not been homesick at all; that is not to say I don’t miss my loved ones because I do, deeply, but I just don’t have this yearning to be back in America as much as I have a yearning to stay here. I am grateful that I get to spend the next two months in India.

            India feels like home now. Traveling around the city, I am reminded by the language barrier, being a minority, and the unreadable street signs that I AM in a different country. But those things don’t bother me; it just feels natural to be here. I have to look at the map of the world, point to India, and say out loud that I am half way across the world for it to really sink in. I have finally settled into a routine here. The kids just started school this past week so I have a natural alarm of kids waking up around 6:00am excited for school. I don’t think I was ever this excited as the kids are about going to school. They do not have to leave for school until 8:45 am, but they are dressed and ready by 6:45!

            The past few weeks have been spent with endless hours laughing, teaching children, and going into the city to see a different side of India (a side that I really love). I have come to the conclusion that no matter how many television programs you watch or how many pictures you see and articles you read of India, you truly have to come here to get the full and accurate experience. Right now, I am sitting outside while two dear Indian women sew and patch holes in clothes that show the results of children’s endless play. Martha and Grace are their names. I can hardly carry a conversation because of the language barrier, but I am slowly learning how to speak Telugu, the language in this region, so for now, hand gestures and smiles will have to do.

            I haven’t touched my makeup in days. My hair is always in a big curly mess, and I begin to sweat as soon as I am done with my shower (which is a bucket bath). I have a cricket that lives in my bathroom, and a gecko that spends every night with me, and as long as he stays on his side of the room then there will be no harm. My food consists of rice and different curries which are arranged differently for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I am the “Auka” (Telugu for Big Sister) to 16 little beautiful brown faces. If I had a quarter for every time I heard the word “Auka” I would be rich. But truly, being here makes me see how rich I truly am…but not in terms of dollars. I feel richly blessed in the fact that I can give love to these kids and receive their love in return.

Kids who have been left alone, abandoned, and violated beyond their rights. Kids who have been unloved and unwanted and who owe it to no on to give out love, but yet they do, so innocently as only a child could.

 SACHIN and SUNIL

            Sachin and Sunil are 8 year old twin brothers. They came, or were rather brought by their father and stepmother several months ago. Their paternal mother passed away; they were left in the care of their father. It turns out that the stuff you see in movies can be real as Sachin and Sunil’s stepmother did not want to have anything to do with them. So like the movies, the father had to choose between his wife and the boys, but unlike the ending in Hollywood, he DID NOT choose the boys. I was dumbfounded. So he brought them to live here at the home. When I arrived, I was told how both the boys had scabies. Scabies is a disease that is caused by poor care of hygiene. Their teeth were also rotting out.

            I cried a lot in my room that night, partly from unbelief and anger, and the other because the Sachin and Sunil that I have come to know are the cutest, kindest, and most loving boys. How could someone not want these two boys when I am fighting the urge to just hug and love on them all the way back to America? It truly floors me. I know the Lord already knew of Sachin and Sunil’s life before the start button was even pressed, so I rest in believing and knowing that the Lord has a special plan for these two boys. Seeing their personalities flourish over the past month has been a true treasure to my heart. They both are so articulate and curious. Sachin can fix anything and has the desire to know how things are made; Sunil is very clean and precise in everything he does, taking great pride in his work. I can just see them being great inventors of their time when they become older.

            I pray that these boys will always know the deep and unwavering love of our Father, in spite of not knowing it from their earthly one. I also pray and hope that Sachin and Sunil will always know and feel what it is to be loved, cared for, and wanted whether it be from afar or near.

Here are two pictures: The first one is Sachin. The second photo is Sunil.

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First Update in India

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

I wanted to take at least a week to settle in India before I wrote an entry. Although it has been a week since I left Atlanta, I still have a couple of more days before I hit my one-week mark in India. It feels as if I have been here a lot longer and I love that. It turns out that I arrived on one of the hottest days in India in over 10 years; it was a record high of 113 degrees and 300 people died that day of heat strokes. I really did not have any expectations of India before I came here, but I only knew of what I had read in National Geographic, books, or seen in pictures and television, but I truly believe that I could not have been fully ready for what I experienced as I navigated through airports and rode through the streets of Visakhapatnam, India.

I have tried to think of a word that could sum up India when it comes to first expressions, and the one that seems to fit the most is the word captivating. As soon as you leave the airport it is almost as if you are thrust into the chaos of cars and people everywhere. I wish I could accurately describe the driving in India; it is like nothing that I have ever seen before. To me, driving can already be a stressful thing, but this takes it to a whole different level. There are cars going in every direction: left, right, cutting in diagonally, backing out into oncoming traffic, horns are beeping non-stop, and cars, auto’s (taxi’s), and motorcycles crammed, packed, and stacked with as many people as possible; I’m talking a whole family of 5 sitting on a motorcycle. (Not to mention, yes, there are cows that are crossing and wandering the roads as well!) The roads are adorned with an uncountable amount of men and women in their beautiful saris, little fruit shops, and big statues signaling that here is a temple.

Sidenote: There are more than 3 million idols that are worshiped in India.

I used the word “captivating” because every aspect and corner of India just grabs at you and holds your attention.

My first night here a wedding celebration took place, and as the kids and I crowded around the door to watch the procession drive by our home, we were all memorized by the music, decorations, lights, and the fireworks that went on for hours and well into the night! One of my favorite parts has been getting to know each child individually and their intricate personalities that go along with each one. I have read through the Psalms for the last month, and a few nights ago I came across some verses that only amplified how much I love getting to know these kids.

“How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion. For there the Lord ordained his blessing, life forevermore.” – Psalm 133
“…My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days of that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.” – Psalm 139

As my weeks go on, I will eventually share more details of the kids and share snippets of their life before they came to the children’s home. Every story that I heard gripped at my heart and left me thinking about each kid with just amazement at what he or she had endured, all of them being under the age of 13. They are much braver kids than I am as an adult now. But as I was reading through those verses, I took so much rest in the fact that the Lord has created each one specifically for Himself. He has created a personality and a story for them, and He has already planned, seen, and been their future before He even created them with all their intricate details. I enjoy so much looking and listening to them all and imagining the kind of person that they will be years from now. Needless to say, I have no doubt that for the next three months this is where the Lord wants me; I love India, I love my Indian family of 15+ , and I love my Indian life.

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What Aroma Will I Be?

How is it that death and loss is what seems to make us realize the importance of our lives, or better yet why we are really here? I don’t really know why, but I am having the hardest time trying to accept, or a better word, UNDERSTAND why the Lord would take a person so loved. I battle every day if I am angry or not and I continually come to realize that I am not angry at God, but rather I am angry that I CANNOT understand fully the ways in which the Lord works.

And it is here where I realize the true and penetrating test of my faith. I know that the Lord does not make mistakes. I have to be honest with myself though, in confessing that there are some moments where I wish He had made mistakes, but only for my selfish heart.

But I know that if I just keep waiting a bit longer I always realize and rest in the fact that I am grateful that He does not make mistakes.

Before Nolan passed away, the couple of weeks before, I had been really thinking about my time here on earth and I started to realize how short my time really is here on earth, whether it is twenty two years or seventy. They both are so short when I compare them to the eternity that awaits me.

What a short time to live and love.

What a short time to laugh and cry.

And one of the most important, what a short time to impact, change, and strive to live for the Lord daily.

The death of Nolan has only made more clear these thoughts in my mind. I am not scared of death, but I am scared of what I leave behind. In 2 Corinthians 2, Paul says,

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing Him, for WE are the aroma of Christ.

Everyone loves a good fragrance, a delightful aroma, but I cannot really declare that I know of anyone who loves smelling something nasty or unpleasant. We tend to turn our face away, or worse we turn our whole self away. And it really makes me think that in my “more than ever real to me now” short time on this earth, am I being an aroma that draws people to Christ, “to keep them going after the sweet aroma” or am I, and my life, the bad and unpleasant fragrance that lets people just “pass by” or worse, turn their whole self and heart away from Christ. 

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Your Heart Isn’t Shattered Anymore – He Is Here

Here 

By: Kari Jobe

Come and rest here
Come and lay your burdens down
Come and rest here
There is refuge for you now

You’ll find His peace
And know you’re not alone anymore
He is near
You’ll find His healing
Your heart isn’t shattered anymore
He is here 

Breathe in
Breathe out
You will
You will find Him here

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But A Passing Moment – Nolan Price

Continue reading

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Easter and Matthew 25:40

Easter Sunday was probably one of the best Sundays I have ever experienced in my life. My Easter Sunday was completely different from any Easter I have experienced. It was quiet. It was still. It was a time to reflect on the Lord. In Costa Rica the town of Guayabo shuts downs for La Semana Santa which translates to Holy Week. Many of the families here leave and travel to larger cities to celebrate Easter with their families. Something interesting that I learned about Easter week was that many deaths happen during this week because of the many parties and many fatalities that come from drinking and driving from parties. How sad. We stayed home this week because Danilo is the pastor of a small little church here in Guayabo. Danilo is a man of the Lord and so genuine and sweet. The night before, we all went to bed early because we were all so tired from the days events. For some reason I was not able to sleep and the wind that night was insanely strong blowing my door open. It was about 2am when I heard Danilo get out of bed and check in every room to make sure we were all asleep. He saw that wind had blown my door open and quietly closed it before heading to the table in the kitchen. Not even 5 minutes after he had closed the door the wind blew it back open again and I was too tired to worry about it. Then I heard Danilo talk and wondered who or what he was talking about until I realized that he had gotten up at 2am to pray for all of us. The truth is I was stunned. I could not understand everything he said and I honestly felt that it would be rude to try to listen to his moment with the Lord but before I tried to fall back asleep I did hear him pray for me and my future, for his kids and their lives, and his wife. I don’t know if this was normal or not for him every night but it was just a humbling experience for me that this man would sacrifice sleep to pray for the ones he loved and for a girl who was only on her second visit to his house.

 

So during church on Sunday Raquel and I went to do the nursery for the 2-4 years old. Now it is one thing to try to understand a Costa Rican when they are speaking spanish but it is a whole different story to try to understand a 2-4 year old trying to speak spanish. It was absolutely adorable and crazy at the same time. Another lesson that I have learned is that a kid is a kid as well no matter what country they may be in. We had 8 little ones in our class that Sunday and I completely fell in love which each one of them. Raquel and I were talking that night because we both want to adopt kids when we are older. We both would like a kid of our own one day but it really is not a big deal to us because we would much rather adopt children. Raquel started laughing at me because I told her I wanted 5 or 6 kids and so she decided to leave me alone with the 8 little ones that only spoke spanish that Sunday for a few minuets. They went crazy. Some were playing with each other, others were fighting, and one was trying to escape. Funny how at 3 a cookie can solve the world’s problems. After Raquel came back, she asked if I still wanted 5 or 6 kids with a smile on her face. She has a good sense of humor like her father. After church Danny, Raquel, and I walked back to the house. No one drives to church unless it rains and still then 90% of them will still walk to church. It is a nice little walk down a dirt road with a view of Miravalles in the background.

After church we all went to this little town behind Miravalles called Aguasclaras to visit Maritiza’s mother. I have found a little piece of Heaven on earth. Aguasclaras is the place I would like to retire to one day. It is absolutely gorgeous where their grandmother lives. You have to cross this little bridge that is over a river and opens up to a huge field of banana trees, tropical flowers, and fruit trees. Oh and the best part is that there is a hammock under banana trees! Maritza’s mother has a disease in her bones that does not allow her to walk so someone has to be with her 24/7. Maritza and her sisters take turns taking care of their mother. As she is bed ridden most of her time they will come in there and dress her, rub lotion all over her, and do her hair. They even do this not so enjoyed things like help her change her linens, giver her shots needed, and baths. I have respect for those women and for the men and women here in America who take care of the elderly. It is truly a humbling job but worth the smiles that will come across some of their faces. I think of the verse in Matthew 25:40: ” THE KING WILL REPLY, TRULY I TELL YOU, WHATEVER YOU DID FOR ONE OF THE LEAST OF THESE BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF MINE, YOU DID FOR ME.” I admire all of you who do this kind of work in the States.

We sat there at her house with aunts, uncles, cousins, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, and grandfathers just drinking coffee, taking walks through the banana trees and fruit trees on her property, sitting on the bank of the river with HUGE cows and bulls literally 20 feet away with no fence, and having our own little Easter celebration. It was one of the best days. After returning home we all became somber because it meant that my trip was coming to an end. I was literally dreading going to sleep because I knew it meant waking up to leave for the airport. That night all 5 of us were in Danny’s room just telling jokes, making fun of my spanish, and literally laughing until we cried. I can’t remember the last time I laughed that long and hard. Have you ever laughed so hard that your abs hurt and you cannot breathe? That was Sunday night. My Easter was blessed and unforgettable as the Lord allowed me to witness His love for His children. He created this family to bring glory to Him and to impact their culture and they do exactly that. Sometimes I think that I get so caught up in America I easily forget the life of other people in the world. I can forget that there is life outside of our American borders. The Lord is so evident in these people here in just the way they love the Lord, people, and foreigners with a genuine heart and love.

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Ay Saturday…

ImageI cannot believe how fast this week has gone. I am by no means any where near ready to come back to the States. It has been one of the best weeks of the year and my life. I feel more content than ever here. It is amazing how fast you can fall in love with people that you have only met one time in your life and the lasting impact that can be made.

Today is Sunday and we are all getting ready for Easter and I can hardly move from all the climbing, walking, and swimming we did yesterday. Yesterday we started off our day by getting up early and heading out by 7am to the waterfalls. In Costa Rica the word for waterfalls is “Cataratas.” This place is about a 45 min drive through the plains of Costa Rica. It is amazing because it is an opportunity to see all the volcanoes and mountains that play important roles in Costa Rica. I think there are about 7 volcanoes that are here and they all are massive. Standing at the base makes you realize how small you truly are.

The “Cataratas” is a local swimming hole with this incredible waterfall where all the locals go. Not many tourists know of this spot because not many travelers come to this part of Costa Rica. I went here last year on my visit to Costa Rica and I was literally the only person there with the exception of the other few that were with me. Walking to the waterfalls you have to basically climb down a mountain and follow a trail under the canopy of trees… with monkeys grunting or whatever sound they make at you the whole time! It is absolutely insane but amazing at the same time. After sitting a while we all decided to climb the falls and the view from the top was stunning. They also had people who were repelling down the side of the falls and I wanted to do that so badly! We then took a swim in the falls after we got back down to the bottom and Danny and Bill took me behind the falls. I don’t think I have ever been behind a falls but it was definitely something I will never forget. I do not feel that writing about it gives the site justice so I will just post pictures. After climbing and swimming all morning we then took naps on the bank of the falls. While there I was able to meet this group of boys that is from the church here in Guayabos. These boys are in what we would call rehab. They are all in their twenties and are recovering from drugs and alcohol. I got to know them all a little bit while I was there and it was amazing to see where there were and what God is doing in their lives now. They are some of the kindest boys I know. They are all involved in the church now and make quite an effort to not ever go back to drugs or alcohol. Keep them in your prayers that God would just make this group of boys into the spiritual leaders of today’s generation and men that crave nothing but to serve Him.

After the falls we drove about an hour and half out of Guayabos and past Liberia to this historic national park of Costa Rica. It sits only 10 miles from Nicaragua! I wanted to cross the border so bad. It was very cool to learn more about the history of Costa Rica and understand why Costa Ricans are so proud of their heritage and nationality. I also saw some crazy animals along the way. We saw this historic house that was a vital part in the freedom of Costa Rica from the Nicaraguans and climbed this tower (on the outside) to this concrete slab that over looks all of Costa Rica and on the other side is Nicaragua! Beautiful. I can’t believe that Sunday is here and tomorrow I will be leaving. My heart sinks as I think about it. It is a relaxing day today after church and full of family and food. It is a perfect day outside fitted for Easter and the day is just getting started! Happy Easter to every in the states. 

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Cooking really is the master teacher of them all…

Cooking really is the master teacher of them all and food really does bring everyone together.

The past day and half have been absolutely aw inspiring and amazing. I never want to leave here. Yesterday the morning started off with just us girls, Maritza, Raquel, and myself. We all woke up early and climbed into Maritza’s bed and just sat there being lazy. Raquel and Maritza were talking away and I could only pick up words here and there but, it was more of the reason behind what we were doing. Raquel then decided that I needed to learn how to cook breakfast. In Costa Rica the typical food for breakfast is “Gallo Pinto” which is rice and beans and maybe avocados, bread, and coffee. It always seems like so much food to me because in America I usually only have time for a cup of coffee for breakfast but they make time to cook together and eat together for EVERY meal. I have come to realize the importance of this for a family.

So yesterday morning Raquel and I made breakfast for Maritza. She is one of the hardest working women I know. From the moment she wakes up to when she goes to sleep she is cleaning, cooking, and washing all day long. It never ends for her. So I don’t blame her when she slept in yesterday morning and left the chores to Raquel and I for the day. Raquel has become like another little sister to me so I enjoy spending time with her and getting to know her. She reminds me of my younger sister, Taylor: funny, outgoing, and quick with responses. She speaks a little bit of broken English so she helps me so much with words or phrases I may not know or understand. So her and I spent quite a few hours together yesterday morning cooking, talking, and then washing all the dishes. I washed while she dried. I felt like a little kid again doing dishes.

After we had everything washed, we all sat down to eat. Since it was just we girls we had girl talk and I absolutely loved it. We talked about God, boys, girl things, and life. This may sound so simple what I am about to say but it has been a profound learning in my mind that a woman is a woman no matter what language she speaks or where she is from. We all have hearts and our hearts our core to who we are as women. And the creator of that core is God. We as women are the passionate, loving, and nurturing side of the Lord that He created.

After spending the morning together we then headed over to la case de abuela (their grandmother’s house) for some more girl time and of course more food and coffee. It wouldn’t be Costa Rica without the coffee and food 24/7. This was a favorite of mine also because there were about 10 of us I think and we all gathered around this little tiny round table to drink coffee and chat. Talk about the heat in that little room. Later, we moved to the living room and we all looked at family photos! Oh it is such a personal moment that I always feel privilege that they include me.

We finally left El Finco Poco Sol which is the name of the farm that their grandmother lives on. Oh I forgot to mention that it literally sits at the base of the volcano Miravalles. It is an incredible sight to see. I never get tired of looking at it. After we got home we all went out side and took naps because it was such a beautiful day. So far this has been my favorite day. All 6 of us were just lying on mattresses and eating fresh mangos from the tree. We made papaya con leche again and enjoyed each other’s company while Danny and Raquel took turns playing the guitar. I have always wanted to learn to play the guitar but every time I try I fail miserably at it because my hands are so small. Needless to say this made for quite a few laughs as they tried to move my hands about the neck of the guitar and stretch my fingers. After many failed attempts I finally learn to play a song… in Spanish of course and only contains 4 chords but I felt quite accomplished.

Today when I woke up it was my job to make the coffee again but without being told. I laugh. So I got up at 6 (which is the normal rising time here) and washed the dishes from last night and began to make the coffee the Costa Rican way. I dearly love the way they make coffee here. It is so pure and rich that I never want to use a coffee maker again. Danny and I made Gallo Pinto again for breakfast and then we all headed out to the river. This place was absolutely incredible. This river is a place where only the locals or ticos go. I was definitely the only American there. It is about a 20 min drive through so many back roads that I honestly would not be able to find my way back if left by myself. After ending up on this one road covered with pot holes and farm land on every side it finally opens up to a clearing of this big pond like river where Ticos are cliff jumping from every side. It is an awesome place to go on a hot day to cool off. It was so much fun to just jump in and enjoy time with the whole family. For lunch, we found a shady spot by the river under a canopy of trees and literally ate and took naps for 2 hours while we dried off. I mean who does that? We definitely need to incorporate this in our crazy life in America. It makes me sad because they ask me so many times why are Americans so busy and why don’t we take time to enjoy our families or rest and I honestly never can give an answer or valid reason that doesn’t sound so selfish. Costa Ricans really make the most of their lives and it is inspirational.

I remember why I love coming here because I always feel like I can find God here a lot easier than I can in America. Here in Costa Rica I actually can find meaning in the verse “Be Still And Know That I Am God.”

There is so much more I want to write and share but I know this is already 2 days crammed into one post but I will write more later because so many adventures have happened and it is not even Easter Sunday yet! Please continue to keep them in your prayers. Happy Good Friday.

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Que Lindo Dia

Today is Wednesday and the best part is that I do not even know the date. Yesterday, to be honest with you I did not even know what day of the week it was, I had to ask Maritza (the mother) who just thought it was the funniest thing that I could not remember. That is what it is like here in Costa Rica. We don’t keep up with the days or time. It is a lovely thing.

Today I woke up at 5am with the gallo (the rooster) crowing outside my window. Annoying, as it can be to wake up that early, I will admit that having the rooster every morning becomes almost a comfort. I come to expect him every morning outside my window. A favorite thing of mine while I am in Costa Rica is the nights and mornings when I am by myself in bed and I listen to Mami y Papi (Maritza y Danillo) wind down for the night and tell each other of the day’s events or getting ready for the day to start. Now this is all in Spanish so I only pick up bits and pieces but it is not so much the understanding part that is my favorite but just the kindness of how they speak to each other and just falling asleep to the Spanish language.

This morning has been a lazy and relaxing one. Raquel, Danny, y yo started the morning off by watching la pelicula (the movie) TANGLED in Spanish on the laptap. No DVD or TV. Sonrisa (smile) Maritza made us my favorite drink here in Costa Rica. It is called: Papaya con leche, which translates to Papaya with milk. Oh it is so delicious. It has the texture of a milk shake or smoothie and when you put ice with it is the best refreshment for a hot day. Then came my favorite part so far: making jugo de naranja y zanahorias! (Orange and carrot juice) and I got to help this time! First we had to go pick the oranges from the tree in the backyard and then come inside to peel them. Now there are a select few that know of my orange peeling skills… I am horrible at it. So horrible my friends are always kind enough to peel the orange for me. So Maritza handed me a knife and told me to “peel” and I just had to laugh because I knew I could not peel with my hands and I definitely knew I would be horrible with a knife. Raquel and I did it together but I definitely gave her quite a few reasons to laugh as I tried to peel the orange with the knife.  After one little cut, missed attempts at my fingers, and laughs non stop I finally got it down on my 4th orange. We then had to hand squeeze all the oranges in the strainer to get the juice and then precede to cut the carrots and finally mix it all together in the blender. I love all the juice mixtures here. Definitely will be making them at home now that I know how.

After lunch Danny, Raquel y yo headed to El Banco (bank) and walked around Guayabo a bit. Last year when I was here the town was so busy and loud with kids coming and going to school and shop owners busy trying to sell their merchandise but this year it is completely quiet. Almost an eerie quiet because it is La Semana Santa (Holy Week) so everyone is on break and resting till Easter! Danny and I decided since everyone else was resting we would too. So we got a mattress and went to the backyard and put it on the ground overlooking the volcano Miravalles and took a nap with the breeze and sun acting as our blankets! It was so nice because I was able just to talk and learn more about Danny. He is 11. We spent the hour exchanging words in Spanish and English and telling each other what we wanted to do when we grew up… one day. Danny wants to be a veterinarian because he loves animals so much.

It is only Wednesday and I know I am going to have a hard time leaving them all but I am looking forward to the next several days I get to spend here and with the family. Everyone is so nice here. Have you ever seen such hospitality or such kindness that you literally can’t take it? I don’t mean this in a negative way but it is true. Costa Ricans are absolutely some of the kindest people I have ever met in my life that the level of generosity and hospitality they show puts me to shame and almost makes me feel guilty of how selfish I can be. I love them so much and wish the absolute best for them. To all my friends and family who read this I ask that you continue to keep them in your prayers and the country of Costa Rica. Just pray that God will continue to bless this family and that they will continue to be a light for the Lord in the community they live in because this village is mostly Catholic. It is time to start making dinner! Bendiciones a todos. (Blessings to all)

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17 hours in an airport, 4 hours of sleep, 5 hour bus ride, 2 days & the time of my life

I am currently sitting in the living room of Familia Mejias Elizondo watching siblings, Raquel y Danny make fun of each other and it is seriously one of the funniest things that I have seen. You should see them imitating musicians (in spanish of course), they remind me of my brother and sister together. I am finally in Guayabos, Costa Rica and it feels like I came home. It has been worth the long wait of a year and 2 extra days of unexpected events! God is so sovereign and it feels as if He has been proving that to me this whole year.

The past 2 days have been so crazy bu so worth it. I think I might still be sleep deprived and delirious because I cannot believe I am actually here in Costa Rica. I had the time of my life and 90% of it was spent in America. Me rio. (I laugh) I arrived in Tampa at 6am on Monday morning to begin my trip to Costa Rica but God had different plans and thank goodness He did because it was one of the most amazing days I have ever had. There were 6 of us who were suppose to be on a flight to Ft. Lauderdale but unfortunately (or perhaps I should say fortunately) the plane had a cracked windshield and therefore we 6 were held in Tampa till 3pm. There we would be able to take a flight to Houston, Texas and enjoy a 2 hour layover and then finally depart to San Jose!

So instead of spending the day in Costa Rica, I had the amazing privilege of getting to know 5 absolutely incredible people that now have become like a family to my heart. One girl, Jackie, was from Tampa and my age and we both found out quickly that we are kindred spirits and might as well have been best friends for the past 15 years we had that much in common. The other four were guys from Costa Rica ranging from 22 to 48 that helped Jackie and I with our spanish and always made sure we were okay. It is amazing how we all bonded yesterday and it was definitely God ordained. The six of us had this ¨no man gets left behind¨ thing going on yesterday and it was so hard to say goodbye to each other last night. I mean I spent 17 hours with them all. But how cool is it that we all 6 know each other on a whole different level now and have made connections and friends all over.

At 11:45 pm (EST) I finally made it to San Jose! Because I had arrived so late it was just better if I stayed in San Jose that night instead of  making the 5 hour trip to Guayabos. Another way that I saw that God was protecting me and just mapping out every step of this trip for me was the way He provided for me. He provided this insanely generous and nice family that lived in San Jose to board me up for the night! Even though this family had never met me and were friends of friends there was a little nervousness in me because I had never met them before but after spending 17 hours with strangers that became my family I figured why stop now? So after 17 hours of being in airports, I finally at 1am was able to lay my head down… only to be woken up 3 hours later by a rooster. I LOVE IT!!!!!! 4 am comes so quick. Once again I packed my things and headed out the door to the bus station but not before the family was kind enough to say a prayer over me before I left. I arrived at the bus station at 5:30am and boarded at 6am. Now in Costa Rica when the seats are all taken the bus is NOT considered FULL like it would be in America. No, if there are no seats you stand… even if it is for 5 hours. I will not lie, there were plenty times I wanted to complain but then I figured these TICOS do this every day for work and a life and if they can stand there with smiles and kindness then so can I. The ride was breathtaking and worth the 5 hours. I wish I could just take everyone I love with me on this bus ride through the countryside of Costa Rica.

But here I am again finally to my destination and loving every step that brought me here. The power is out so right now this is just a draft but hopefully I will be able to post it soon. I am just sitting here listening to the wind and rain and just so thankful that there is a God who ordains every step of my path and knows these steps before I take them because that is definitely how I have felt the past few days. You learn not to stress or worry and just take life as it comes. You learn to let go of what is not in your control. And thank goodness we have a God who has everything in control yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

I apologize if there are any errors… keyboard is in spanish.

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