Three Down, One to Go

Matt was giving the message at devotions this morning, and we were both choked up as he summarized that we have been at Hogar de Vida for three weeks now and only have one left before we return to the States. It struck me as far too soon to be leaving. We are only just opening up the potential of our relationships here and the Spanish language. We have begun to share more, understand more, and laugh more in our conversations with the people here. They are amazing. We litterally just opened up the Jenga game that we brought to play here with the kids on Wednesday night. Matt and I executed the moves of the game as Eliana and Elijah rolled the colored die for us, and told us to hurry up. After two games, one of which I toppled after building the tower to 26 full levels (which is 10 higher than the starting setup), our nerves were shot. So Matt made the kids their own small towers to pull pieces from. Here are some pictures of them at work. Elijah has my signature sign of intense concentration–sticking out the tip of his tongue. Unfortunately, it seemed to be camera shy.

It is amazing that we have managed to exist for three weeks with only a few coloring supplies, a handful of toys, two games, some craft projects, and NO TELEVISION! It has been terrific! Although I admit that it takes a major effort to coerce Eliana and Elijah to exit one of the kid’s homes while the television is on. Spanish or no, they are mesmerized when they see a tv on after their three week fast. We’ll be seriously re-thinking the kid’s screen time when we go back to the states. Oscar told Matt and I that there is a tv in one of the other cabins that we could use, and we both said “no gracias” without even looking at each other.
Elijah’s favorite activity has to be pushing a small tricycle or infant push toy, most often shorter than his knee is above the ground when standing, to the top of the maze of sidewalks here. He then rides down the hill at top speed with a delighted and slightly scared look on his face. The look on my face is totally scared and yet also proud as I watch and pray for the Lord’s protection over my boy that he wouldn’t wipe out. . .again. All wounds to this point have been superficial and non-emotionally scarring. I hope to capture it on camera soon.
Eliana loves to color with the older girls here at the home. They will sit for an hour working on pictures, with an occasional request for a cookie. She has been flourishing in her time off of school and has devoted herself to writing small reports about animals in a journal that we bought her, complete with a drawing of each animal. She calls it spending time with God, and thought it up all by herself. We are often answering questions about how to spell new words, mostly by asking her what sounds she hears in them.
I spent another afternoon baking yesterday and taking plates of Chocolate Chip Scones to each of the homes. Today I received one of the ultimate compliments one woman can give another: I was asked how to make them. Full of joy, I quickly volunteered to translate the recipe. Then I picked up my Spanish-English dictionary, and with frequent references to the packages in the pantry, not-so-quickly wrote out what I hope will make sense to a Central American woman in the kitchen. I had to carry my cookie sheet out to another lady and ask her what to call it in Spanish. It was a good exercise for me, but I need to run the resulting “receta” by Dena first to see if I’m anywhere near the mark. Here as well as in the states, nothing warms a woman’s heart quite like being told her cooking is “muy rica.”
Matt had another day of therapy today, and is trying to teach a lady tia here about therapeutic massage. Many people are saying that they feel better. Perhaps worse at first, but then better. Olga joked that the first few hours after the session on her shoulder, Noemy asked her how she felt. She hitched one shoulder up to her ear and lowered the other towards the floor and deadpanned “Mas o menos.” That translates to “Okay.” We roared with laughter. She said the next day she felt much better and would like to do another session. More people are asking him to work on their shoulders, backs, etc. The Lord has done one clear healing already. A wonderful matriarch here that we call Ma hurt her foot many years ago. Matt worked on her foot a little bit but mostly prayed over it because he wasn’t sure what the problem was. Her Spanish is a bit harder for us to understand than some of the others here. She was telling Tim the other day that she needed to tell the Lord she was sorry because He had healed her foot, and she had forgotten to thank Him. Tim passed the good news to Matt, and we are thanking the Lord as well. In our least spiritual moments, his power can work miracles.

Hugs in Christ, with a warm Costa Rican kiss to the side of your cheek!

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