On October 17 we celebrated our first complete year in Uruguay. It was also fitting that this very same week was the week we finally received our visas to be Uruguayan residents (we have been on tourists visas until this time). It is no exaggeration to say that we have had dozens of appointments at various government offices, plus a few setbacks, to complete all the necessary paperwork. The very last step–picking up our national ID cards–took our large family no less than five appointments to complete. But receiving these visas is an answer to prayer–thank you to everyone who has prayed for this on our behalf! These cards will last us for 2 years. The renewal process, so we have heard, is supposed to be much simpler.
I intended to get this blog post out in October, but here it is December! In October we had two large events–our church plant’s first service and helping to host the second annual Reformation Conference in Montevideo. I am now in my second trimester and am able organize and oversee the household once again. I have spent whatever free time I have had these last 2 months cleaning, organizing and even decorating our house. I am so thankful to my daughter Rebecca, who has postponed going to college by a semester to stay with us as a missionary associate for a few months; and to the Lord, who knew ahead of time that my very sick three months would coincide with her internship with us.
We are in the last week of school for the children. Thank God for the completion of our first school year here. For the ones in private school their Spanish has grown in leaps and bounds. They are not fluent yet, but probably will be in another year.
In addition, Ray has recently developed asthma. We are thankful that he found a good doctor who was able to give him needed medication. He had trouble breathing every time he enters our bedroom (probably caused by the mold; but there is a leak inside the wall that we are waiting on the owners to fix, so merely cleaning the walls has not helped). We ended up moving rooms around to take on a new bedroom that would be better for Rays’ health.
The ministry is going slow but well. We do ask for your prayers as the slow living–things in the house breaking down, the appointments for the visas, the health setbacks–at times feel like an impediment to the mission. But we also trust that even the setbacks give us more and more opportunities–opportunities to meet new people, to learn more Spanish, to learn the culture and most importantly to learn to trust in the Lord who brings us trials to strengthen our faith.
As we reflect on this first year, we are thankful to the Lord for his goodness and faithfulness to us. Our first few months here were crazy with trying to work on visa paperwork, find a house to rent, while staying in a temporary residence that had its challenges. Then we moved into our house, but half of it was under construction, and would be until April. These early months were also times of constantly new experiences–first time at the grocery store, first time shopping for shoes, first time at the doctor, getting braces for a few of our teens, sending a few of our little ones to a local private school, signing the children up for ballet and karate. It is nice to look back and see how much more confident we are in our lives here. We are still learning and making mistakes, but it is nice to see how life has calmed down. What is more, the ministry is getting going now, and we can see how our emphasis has shifted from settling in to ministering. We appreciate the support of our prayer partners as we look ahead to our second year. Only the Lord can see the future, but we hope to see the Him work in us and through us to glorify His name, as we continue to learn and grow in the language and culture, in the ministry, and in our walk with Him.