The week started on Sunday with a long bus ride from San José, across the border and ending in Managua. I was so thankful to have Ella to continue this part of the journey with me for so many reasons and I cannot wait until she is back in Nica to stay too. We were greeted by some of the amazing Vida Joven leaders and our teammates Pratt & Ashley Butler. After a quick snack at a local fried chicken restaurant with them, the Butlers, Ella and me went to dinner with the family I am currently living with, the Izzos. The Izzos are a great family of 3 kids - 2 in high school and one in elementary school - that have graciously opened their home to me until I find a more permanent place. When thinking about looking for housing (while I was still in Costa Rica) Pratt made a comment along the lines of, "God seems to form a special place in people's hearts for you Jen in the way they open their house to you" so he wasn't too concerned about housing and he was right! This makes my 5th home stay in as many years.
The week is somewhat of a blur because I was trying to get my bearings but it has been filled with Cabin Time (aka Campaigners aka Bible study), a girl's birthday party, contact work (meeting new kids) and the first Club of the year! The turn out for the first club was great and Ella and I got to be a part of the games and even made a video (to be posted soon!) of our tour of Managua.
I also was able to take care of a few administrative things on Thursday after taking Ella to the airport. Pratt and I went to the bank for two hours then made our way to a car lot where I had found a car online and he had checked out before I got here. It's a 2001 Pathfinder and we got it for a really good price. After a few hours at the lot (since I need a few more lessons on my stick-shift driving) one of the guys at the lot drove me home in my new car and we headed off to Cabin Time. It was a new day for CT and we had already met on Monday to catch up so no one showed up but we used that time to set up my phone. At this point, I was feeling pretty accomplished for such a productive day. Well it turned into a classic "Welcome to Nicaragua" day when my car broke down as Pratt was taking me home. We took it to a mechanic (who is also a Vida Joven leader) and found out there wasn't any oil in the engine, a simple fix thankfully. As we were getting in a taxi to go home, an "aguacero" - downpour - came out of nowhere and made me even more thankful we weren't stuck on the road then. The day ended with family dinner and watching The Sandlot. Overall a productive day and ended on a note of thankfulness for this family, my car and the friends around me who can laugh with me.
If there's one thing I take from this week is that I've got a lot to learn. A lot to learn about ministry. A lot to learn about Spanish. A lot to learn about driving. A lot to learn about cross cultural friendships. A lot to learn about Jesus and the work he has started in me. A lot to learn about grace with myself and with others. A. Lot. To. Learn.
But I am here and I am willing.