50 Days & Counting

Today marks 50 days until we board a plane and leave our cocoon of preparation.   Since last December our family has been immersed in preparation for our ministry in Ecuador.

Over the past year our kids have had great practice engaging in the Costa Rican culture.  This is an important accomplishment for them because in a few short months they will be expected to assimilate into the Ecuadorian culture.  They have spent an entire year practicing the idea that things may be different but different does not mean better or worse it simply means different.

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We parents are thankful to have had experienced many “firsts” in the safety of our cocoon of preparation.  With a family of six there will be emergencies.  We are glad to have faced some here before we face them while at the same time carrying a full ministry load.

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These minor emergencies have given us the gift of experience.  Now we feel more prepared for what may come.

Our family’s focus over the past year has been to study Spanish.  The older kids have taken an organized approach.  They take classes at school and have learned a certain level of fluency which is admirable.  The two youngest are immersed in Spanish all day long at school.  We are happy with their progress.  They seem to be naturals.  We adults have been drinking out of the firehose of Spanish for three trimesters.  So far we have studied 87 themes in Spanish Grammar, Phonics, and Speech.  According to the index in our grammar book we have 35 more themes to go (only 32 class days left).  We are using Spanish in our daily lives but our older brains struggle to find the right tenses and conjugations consistently.  Overall we do feel like we will make it.  We might need to ask our kids how to  correctly speak from time to time, but we will eventually be proficient on our own.

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What happens after our final 50 days in Costa Rica?  On December 12th we are scheduled to return to the United States to gather some important documents for our Ecuadorian Visas.  After gathering our documents and celebrating Christmas with family we will travel to Ecuador.  In the meantime we are actively searching the Internet for a good house to rent in Quito.  We are speaking to our kids about our second international transition.  We are making lists and remaking lists so that our transition will go smoothly.  And, as always we are praying for God’s clear guidance so we can follow Him closely.

Blessings,imageThe Downings

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