Saturday, April 9, 2011

Going, Coming and our First Weekend

Leaving was really hard. Mostly because I found out I had less time to say goodbye than I had originally thought. I thought my plane was at 10:30, but it was actually at 5:30. I checked in around 2:45, and realized my time was almost up. This story sound familiar? Not to give away the ending, but it ends the same as my Statistics Final: worked out completely in God’s hands…but much more emotional.

When I realized my time was up, I immediately called Steven to come over and help me finish packing and then my dad to tell him the unexpected news. He came racing home while Steven and I made some speedy rounds to so I could say goodbye to my friends. I couldn’t see all of them, of course, but I tried my best. With that, I just wanted to say sorry to all of you who were expecting to see me. So very sorry.

I broke down on the way to see my mom at work, because I thought I wouldn’t have time to see her. Luckily, the rush hour traffic I was dreading hadn’t come to a complete stop, so I was able to give my mom and hug and a kiss before I left. The traffic quickly cleared up and I got to the airport an hour before my departure. Checking my bag was no big deal, and security was a piece of cake.

I had a 10 hour layover in Houston, where I attempted to sleep in a chapel in the terminal next to mine, and finally made it to Costa Rica in the afternoon. I went through customs and was met my team leaders Dan and Val, along with several other YWAM students. They drove us to the YWAM base, which is on the edge of San Jose, and I met the rest of my team.

There are twelve guys and six girls on my team, and only four of those are from the United States. There’s a pair of cousins from Denmark, a guy and a girl from Germany, a guy and a girl from Canada, five Latinos from various countries, one girl from Latvia and one guy from Australia. Most of the Europeans don’t speak Spanish, and most of the Latinos don’t speak English. This language barrier has proved to be quite humorous so far; we’re all constantly laughing at one another’s inability to communicate.

Something that has been communicated, however, is a unanimous state of anxiety beginning this journey. Everyone is really uneasy about being so far away from home, and everyone is kind of wondering why God might have brought us here. I was feeling very lost on Friday night, but by the next morning I was feeling much better. Apparently, our leaders prayed for that specifically on Friday night.

The official program won’t start until Monday, so my new friends and I are mostly just hanging out until then with sporadic orientation pieces thrown in here and there by our leaders. Since Friday, we’ve mostly just been playing games around the base – soccer, volleyball, various card games etc. We went to downtown San Jose on Saturday to explore a little bit, and came back for our Welcome Dinner in the evening. Along with an awesome buffet of arroz con pollo, live Costa Rican music and dancing, there was a flag ceremony to show how many countries were represented.

There’s another group here that just finished up their lecture phase and are about to head out for their outreach on Monday for Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. It’s been really cool to hear from them about their experiences in YWAM so far. They all shared my initial feelings of being overwhelmed and terrified, but assured me that it’s only going to get better from here. That’s literally been everyone’s story.

Prayer Requests
-Peace of mind as I adjust to a very new schedule and lifestyle
-Intimate and authentic relationships between my team mates
-Recollection and continued learning of the Spanish language as I interact with non-English speakers

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