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February 2022 Update - off to Nicaragua!

It has been quite a busy time since our last update. Here’s what’s been going on…

In December, we (R&H) had our graduation from Spanish School - we both feel like we have come a long way and are able to use our Spanish to navigate all aspects of life in Central America - there’s still learning to be done but we feel equipped for moving into work activities in Nicaragua. We had a wonderful commissioning service where as a family we carried the Nicaraguan flag into the ceremony and got to celebrate with our peers.

A few days after graduation, Rob’s parents and sister arrived to spend Christmas together with us. We are so thankful for the visit they were able to make, especially that it was not disrupted by covid or other unforeseen circumstances. We had a great time with them, we got to see a bit more of the country and they all enjoyed some time to explore independently too. C&J enjoyed time with their grandparents and aunty. We really liked having visitors - if you ever want to come - you’d be most welcome!

In January, school resumed for the children and Helen took some more Spanish clases. Rob was busy preparing for the EMI project we mentioned last time - a fuller update on that below.

In the past 2 weeks, Rob has been to and returned from the project trip, we’ve packed up our house and we are ready to move to Nicaragua on Wednesday.

The EMI project trip…

Rob was co-leading on his first EMI project trip since joining staff. A team of 12 professionals (engineers, architects and surveyors) arrived in Guanacaste from the 20th January and spent 10 days working with the host ministry there. The ministry, Arbol de Vida, is working to develop their site of 94 acres to provide training facilities for local pastors, a marriage counselling centre and a refuge for victims of abuse and human trafficking, a significant issue in Costa Rica. It was incredibly inspiring to work closely with the local ministry and experience first hand the passion they have for the work they do and to be able to help them in developing their site. The team was able to complete a detailed, drone-assisted, survey of the location and run several workshops and meetings, resulting in a comprehensive presentation on the final night. We will now continue to work on the package of drawings and reports over the coming months that will provide Arbol de Vida with the material they need to continue their fundraising and engage in the process of obtaining permissions ahead of starting construction. We look forward to remaining involved in the project for some time to come and will keep you updated on its progress.

"We feel the work that EMI has done to help us in this project is likely to have saved us 3 to 4 years of going in the wrong direction" - Arbol de Vida

Prayer points:

Give thanks for…

- Our time at ILE - the Spanish Language Institute and Sojourn Academy (kids’ school) - we are so grateful for the way we have been equipped with language skills and for the dedication, support and love of the teachers here.

- For time with family over Christmas - it was such a blessing to be with loved ones during the festive season.

- For the success of the project trip amidst the uncertainties of covid, for the experience it provided Rob in leading teams, for the group of professionals who gave up their time to serve the ministry to develop their plans. The project trip very almost didn't happen due to Covid and last minute changes, it was only made posible by some incredible answers to prayer- PTL!

Please pray for…

- Our journey to Nicaragua on Weds 2nd Feb (tomorrow as we write this!) for safe passage and for a smooth crossing at the border.

- The continued follow up work on the Árbol de Vida project.

- C&J as they say goodbye to more friends and start another new school. They have been so resilient in everything so far. They will be going to a Spanish speaking school (this one in Costa Rica was bilingual) so pray too for their language skills to continue to develop.

- Our finances as we continue to fundraise to meet the deficit in our budget.

See our website for more details about what we're up to here in Latin America and click here if you'd like to find out more about our support raising.

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