Thursday, July 31, 2008

July Update

Hello family and friends! I have just safely returned from my month of Language School in Costa Rica. It was definitely time well spent as I learned a lot and feel even more prepared to begin my work in the Dominican Republic. After a month of living once again in a Latin American country, I am even more itchin' to get back to the DR!

My current status is that I am still waiting on my last bit of support. I still need about $400 in monthly pledges and about $7000 in start up costs. My biggest need right now is that last bit of one-time gifts, which will be put toward the purchase of a vehicle in the DR. Used cars usually cost about $10,000 in the DR, a little more expensive than here. Having a reliable vehicle is quite necessary for me as some of the places I could be working are quite remote and not easily accessible. In addition to my own transportation and safety, I will also at times need to use my vehicle as a transport for students who come to serve with SI on short-term outreaches.

I want to thank everyone who has pledged, sent in support and promised to pray for me. My goal is to be back in the Dominican Republic sometime in the month of August but I am unable to go until I am fully funded. I am asking once again that you would consider the possibility of an additional one time gift to put toward the purchase of a vehicle. If you have been thinking about a monthly pledge and/or a one-time gift, please let me know and also notify the SI office as soon as possible as this will make it possible for me to finalize my plans.

Once again, thank you so much for all the prayer and support. I really appreciate it and I feel so blessed to be heading on this adventure with such an amazing body of family and friends supporting me and praying for me.

Love Katie

Students International Home Office
PO Box 2733
Visalia, CA 93279

Thursday, July 17, 2008

please pray

Dear friends,

My time here is Costa Rica is quickly coming to a close. I can´t believe how fast it has flown by. I am enjoying myself here, but truthfully, I am ready to go. It has been very hard for me to be here because this country reminds me so much of the Dominican Republic, yet it is so different. Being here has made me miss my kids and friends in the DR, and I am now even more anxious to get back.

Please pray for me during these next few weeks:

-I have one more week here in Costa Rica. Pray that I end well here, feeling that it was time well spent and taking advantage of my newly refreshed Spanish skils.
-Please pray as I am still lacking a little in support to return to the Dominican Republic. Pray that God would raise up the needed funds and that we would truly see His miraculous hand in this.
-Pray for my ever increasing loneliness that has mounted during this transition time back to the DR. God has brought me through some terribly low times, especially these past few months. Pray that God would show me that HE is my home, especially when I feel lost, alone, and confused.
-And most importantly, please pray for an increase in my faith as I wait and trust in the Lord´s timing. He knows (as many of you do as well) how anxious I am to get back to the DR. Pray that I would trust in His timing.

Thank you for all your support and prayers.

love Katie

Friday, July 4, 2008

Instituto de Lengua Española

The Spanish Language Institute here in San Jose is great. On the first day we all took placement tests and had an oral interview (in Spanish). I got placed in the advanced classes in both grammar and conversation, which is great because I feel like I am really learning a lot. Both of my classes are completely in Spanish, not a single English word spoken. I love it. :-) I feel so much more comfortable speaking after only being here for one week. Some of the hardest assignments I've had so far have been giving my testimony and leading a Bible study. Kind of challenging things to do anyways, but completely in Spanish makes it quite a bit harder.

But I am having a great time and I feel like I am learning a lot. I'm also making friends with some of the other young girls at the school, which is nice.

I still feel a little bit frazzled after a crazy first week, but I am beginning to settle into the swing of things here. I hope to explore the downtown a bit this weekend, and hopefully just rest a bit too.

Gran Aventura (great adventure)

You can tell that I am back in a Spanish speaking country since I am titling my posts in Spanish. :-)

I am finally safe in Costa Rica. But it was no easy feat getting here. After Liz's wedding, I stayed with some friends in Chicago for one night and they took me to the airport on Sunday morning. I flew from Chicago to Houston and prepared myself for the 5 hour layover that awaited me before flying into San Jose, Costa Rica. After a few hours of sitting in the airport, watching the torrential rain pour down outside, and hearing the loud booms of thunder and seeing bright flashes of lightning, an announcement came over the loudspeaker that they were basically shutting down the airport due to the storms. No planes were allowed to land nor take off until further notice. "Great" I thought to myself. "I am already bored out of my mind sitting here in the airport, and now I just have to wait even longer."

The language school had given me a phone number of a man named Rodrigo who was apparently supposed to pick me up at the airport and take me to my host family's home. I tried to get ahold of him to tell him my flight would be delayed, but all attempts at international calling failed. So I began to pray and began to prepare myself that I would be arriving in Costa Rica sometime in the middle of the night, there would most likely not be anybody at the airport to pick me up, and I would need to figure out how to get myself to orientation at the school the next day at 8:30 am.

So, finally we boarded the plane at about 9:30 pm and I arrived in Costa Rica around 2 am. As I suspected, there was nobody at the airport to pick me up. So I had decided that I would just try to sleep a few hours on the floor of the airport, and take a taxi the next morning to the school (which I had the name for, but no address). However, a nice (unofficial) taxi driver began to offer his help. He tried to call the number I had for Rodrigo, to no avail. So he then suggested that he take me to a nice clean hotel and I sleep for a few hours and then try to contact the school in the morning. Great idea.

So after a few hours of sleep at the hotel I woke up early the next morning to get my first taste of Costa Rica. This included dogs barking, horns honking, people talking loudly through thin walls, no hot water, and a cockroach running across my floor. Not the most welcoming, but nothing I haven't experienced before.

So, after a delicious free breakfast of rice, beans, fried bananas, eggs, fruit and cafe con leche, I tried to get ahold of the school to figure out how to get myself there in time for orientation. But, of course, no one answered my phone calls. So, my only other solution was to jump in a taxi and try to make it to the school. With nothing more than the name of the school, the taxi driver and I went on a crazy journey trying to find the school. We found it, eventually, after stopping to ask for directions a few times, and I walked into the orientation 30 minutes late. The director, a Costa Rican (or Tico, as they call themselves) looked at me as I walked in and said, "Ah, right on time. Tico time!" Latinos are notorious for being late, 30 minutes late is usually considered right on time.

So, that's my crazy story of my first day in Costa Rica. I am so thankful that God protected me the way He did, because there could have been all manner of horrible things the could have happened. Praise God for the taxi driver at the airport who was so nice and helpful. Praise God that I already knew Spanish and was able to communicate and get myself around. And praise God that we found the school and I arrived safe.