So, to continue my strings of much needed updates, I once again begin again.
Back at the beginning of May I had to renew my visa. I was thinking about not worrying about it, but my visa has to be valid for me to drive here and my parents were coming the second week of May. I decided to go to Bocas del Toro, Panama to enjoy the clear waters and to study up for my talk I was giving that Thursday. After taking a bus to the border, I crossed took a taxi to the water taxi. Took the water taxi to another boat and took that to another Isla Carneros Carneros Island.
There I spent half of the days on the beach and the other half in Colossians 1:15-20. The time there was very relaxing and I had some good food, which is essential to any good vacation. Really good food is essential to a good day, but...
So Wednesday rolls around and it's time for me to head back across. I began by catching the wrong boat, so I had to pay extra for the taxi to the border. I get to the Panama border, no problems. I go to the Costa Rican authorities and they ask me if I have a plane ticket. I do, but not on my person. But I can show my itinerary online. No need, they won't let me in anyway. WHAT? Something to the fact of I had overstayed my visas twice in 12 months and can't come back in to Costa Rica for a year! Umm. There has to be a mistake. We "discuss" back and forth. Nothing. They show me a sheet that has the "law" on it, but I'm not even sure anything was actually printed on it. So after trying my luck a few times, asking to talk to a higher up, and talking to Kellie back in San José, I decide the best thing for me to do is to try another means. Heading back to Bocas was the second half of the day, hoping that I could catch a flight from there to San José directly. Not till Thursday.
I ate well that night and just relaxed. Nothing that I can do to change the situation. In the morning I'm able to get the flight. One hour, minus the time change. We actually landed before we took off. Now I just have to see what immigration is going to do. STAMP STAMP. STAMP STAMP. "Bienvenidos a Costa Rica." YES! But wait, who's this guy asking me to come with him now? Taking my passport, he goes to a back room. Then coming back out asks me if I have a flight reservation. He cuts me off. No, with us, NatureAir. AH, here's my receipt. A few more moments pass and then he lets me go. He was an employee with NatureAir, just making sure I had actually paid for the flight, since I wasn't on his original flight plan. No worries, I had.
Back in Costa Rica, I had two days to settle myself before my parents came. They flew in on Saturday. We spent a day in San José visiting old friends, before heading out to Monteverde, the cloud forest and eventually Playa Junquillal, the beach. Both were great. I had a great time with my family. They were very refreshing to be with and to enjoy some of CR on someone else's dime! They were only here a week though and left on Mother's Day. At least I got to be around my mother for that day.
I spoke that next Thursday. The Wednesday night I sat down to write out my outline and had a really difficult time doing it, so I went to bed still not knowing exactly how it would go. In the shower the next morning, I decided I'd do it in a Bible study format, the group as a whole going through the passage. I started that way, but then changed back to preaching. I talked about how we work in these areas that are called Christ the King and Sacred Family, but were drugs are ruining peoples lives. So how are we different in going in there than other social organizations? We offer these people Christ, through whom these places were created, by whom they are governed and through whom they are reconciled. I felt like it went pretty well and most of the feedback was the same. A recent preacher I heard, analogized preaching with driving a clutch. You just do it till you learn. I finally feeling like I'm driving with semi-confidence I know which gear to go into now.
I'm now preparing for a team to come on Thursday. We'll be working in Guararí with the Transformations ministry, which Ronald runs. So be praying for us. It's a pretty tough neighborhood, so pray for our safety and that the power of Christ would be upon us in all that we do.
Continued thanks for all your support and prayers.