This is gonna be a multi-post week (even if we can't actually post this yet for a few days, and even if you'll actually get to read all these posts in succession).
Yesterday, June 19, we received part 3 of The Phone Call from headquarters. We are officially cleared for language school! We've been given permission to broadcast the news (believe me, it has been so hard not to hit that "publish" button! Once, I accidentally did, so I had to quickly go back and delete the post), but we wanted to wait until after we'd had a chance to announce our news to our home church on Sunday. In the mean time, we've told our family, a few of our closest friends, and several of our fellow field missionaries and other missionaries who have been in our shoes and know what this week means to us.
Yesterday afternoon, we were formally invited to Costa Rica to attend language school, and today I submitted an information form for the school admissions office to review. After it's been approved, and headquarters sends the check for our registration, we'll be officially enrolled in The Spanish Institute in San Jose, Costa Rica! Then, our airline tickets will be booked. The next big legal issues we have to take care of are our passports (an expensive proposition, especially since we're expediting them), and applying for student visas. Having a student visa as opposed to a tourist visa will enable us to remain in the country the full year without having to leave and return every 90 days. They are a bit more expensive than tourist visas, but well worth the extra cost when the convenience is factored in. In order to obtain these visas, we have to have copies of our birth certificates and our marriage license notarized (not the word, but I can't remember what the actual word is) by the Costa Rican embassy here in the States. Well, this is what I've heard we have to do. I fully intend to contact the language school for help with this one.
Some of our missionary friends, particularly those who have served/are serving on our Mexican field, have already given us some great advice about packing, what to take, what not to take, what kinds of things to do, etc. The Queen of Lists certainly is in her element! (Well, okay. My mom is probably the Queen of Lists....which would then make me the Princess of Lists.)
It's starting to sink in that this is actually happening. Wow! Yesterday we were shocked and excited. Mostly excited. Today, knowing the up-hill battle I'm facing as I struggle to learn a language with sounds that frustrate my tongue (thank You, Jesus, that it's not Mandarin Chinese), I am freaking out. Scared out of my mind! Aack! How can I leave all that is familiar and go to a place where they don't speak my language??!! And beyond that, how in the world can I live in the 3rd largest city in the world???? The thought of driving in Mexico City has always terrified me. It's one thing, however, to know that somewhere, off in a very vague future, I'll be driving in the World's Largest Parking lot. But knowing I'm a mere YEAR away from that reality..... Well, this is the stuff of nightmares.
On the other hand, I know full well that fear is not of God. It's! Not! Of! God! Fear is a tool of the enemy to keep us from doing what God has called us to do. And I'd rather die than let that happen. Seriously. I have the deepest conviction that the next two years are going to really stretch me as a woman, as a mom, a wife, and as a Christian. They are going to be the hardest two years of my life. But I have a feeling they are also going to be the most rewarding. When I come out on the other side, I'll be able to look back and see all that God has brought me through. The fear of driving. The struggles with learning Spanish. The shyness in meeting new people. The nervousness for my kids. The homesickness. All of it.
And I can honestly say that I'm excited to experience every minute of it knowing that God has something amazing planned for our family as we minister to those He has called us to. And as they minister to us in return.