Hello friends and family, we have been looking forward to write you all and share with you about our first weeks in Costa Rica and we are sure you have been waiting to hear from us! We made it to Costa Rica and are quickly being reminded of time orientation in the tropics. When we arrived at our house there had been a flea explosion to the point that it was inhabitable. After four days of intense fumigation we were able to move in. The great part about not being able to be in our house was that we were able to spend all our time with friends and family as everyone was on vacation because of Holy Week. We were able to move in just in time to host our first “church” service on Easter Sunday. We invited people over for an “Easter Celebration” with food, a brief message and an Easter egg hunt to top it off. It was such a success that we decided to keep up with Sunday night services and have consistently had an attendance of about 20 people of all ages. We are also looking forward to starting a Friday afternoon preschool mothers group as well as a Christian Surfer style bible study on Fridays.
Dennis has been busy doing repairs on the house as well as reestablishing relationships with people as he surfs, plays soccer or even walks down to get something at the store. God has used a broken deck for His glory. We had anticipated having to replace the front deck of the house soon and in the first week of our arrival it was no longer usable. Laborers are a dime a dozen down here and some have better reputations than others. Two of the more notorious thieves and drug addicts in town grew up playing marbles with Dennis and as soon as they heard that we might need a laborer they came up looking for work as it is hard for them to find work because of their reputations. Dennis was able to hire both of them on different occasions and minister to them as they worked together during the day. If a laborers wants to be paid at the end of the day you can expect them to not show up the next day even if you need them because they have spent the money on whatever vice they have and are out of commission the next day. So you can imagine our delight and surprise when Dennis’ friends came back the next day and the next to work, and with no visible side effects of drug or alcohol use! This is a victory!
In our second week here we had two amazing opportunities to network and see how God is working in Costa Rica. The first was our meeting with the Superintendent and the local board that appoints Free Methodist pastors here in Costa Rica. We have met with them in the past but have never gotten the chance to get to know them. So for our first official meeting they decided to come down and stay with us. We were able to share our vision for the beach communities and offer our house as a place of retreat for the pastors and their churches. We were able to hear about the vision that they have for Costa Rica and see how we can help them accomplish that vision. It was very exciting. That weekend we took two young leaders and drove five hours north for a camping retreat for Christians working in the coastal communities. We were joined by leaders from Calvary Chapel, Christian Surfers, independent churches as well as others. It was a wonderful time to see what is happening along the coast, to network and get to know people who share our passion for this region.
We also have made a temporary addition to our family. Lindsey Walkemeyer from Free Methodist Long Beach is with us for six weeks doing her practicum for a Masters in Intercultural Ministry. She is a fabulous guest and has been incredibly flexible as she shadows us to see what a budding ministry in another culture looks like. Doing things like getting a cell phone and internet service, which takes 2-4 weeks. Being available to visit for four hours with unexpected guests. Waiting for guests who never come and even cleaning the bathroom in preparation for Sunday night!
No newsletter would be complete without some Elias news! Elias has made a smooth transition. He has never asked to “go home” and tells everyone that he lives in Esterillos. He had a hard time with the amount of attention that he got when we first arrived which was aggravated by the fact that he did not understand what people were saying to him. Like a typical Gringo he began repeating things to people in English but in a louder voice if they did not understand him. At this point though he is speaking more Spanish and making new friends everyday. He loves helping his dad work around the house and usually has his tape measure and hammer hanging from his pants. The beach is our park and our preschool so we go almost everyday and he is in the water most of the time swimming, “body surfing”, boogie boarding and surfing. We also take advantage of the sand as our chalk board and practice our numbers, letters and shapes in preparation for Kindergarten in January.
Thank you all for your prayers and support we can not wait to get internet so we can be in contact with you more often. At this point you can reach us by snail mail :
61101, Costa Rica
home phone 011-506-2778-7276 or cell phone 011-506-8339-0309.
Love and blessings, Leon Family
– We are having a GIRL!
– groups (soccer, surfers, moms, Sunday nights)
– timing and waiting (patience and God’s guidance)