Today Tommy and I were able to get inside our house and start painting (well, priming). We are still not "in" our house, but we are at the point where we are willing to do whatever we need to do just to get it finished. We have to be out of the mission before it is completely filled up with groups from the States at the end of this month, so we are in "let's get this done" mode, though it is frustrating because most of the situation is currently out of our hands. Needless to say, we could really use some prayers.
A few weekends ago, our team had to go down to the Costa Rican border to renew our visas. We were able to complete the whole process at the border in 3 hours (it is supposed to take 3 days), and we spent the rest of our time in San Juan del Sur, which is about 45 minutes from the border on the Nicaraguan side. (It was cheaper than actually staying in Costa Rica.) It was a much needed vacation for all of us. When we got back, most of that week was a vacation week for the workers at the mission, so we had some down time then too. However, Chris (with some team help) spent some of the time building another version of the "rocket stove" over at his house. It was interesting witnessing the construction process (and good to enjoy the fruits of it later!).
Right now our team is still in a "research and development" phase. Our current focus is fleshing out the location of one of our goat houses (in Yankee) with all of the different aspects of what we want to do--like raised-bed gardens, compost piles, etc.--to serve as an example. We want to get it to the point where groups that come down from the States can help with and possibly reproduce these things in other locations here (and, of course, Nicaraguans can reproduce it themselves).
On May 1 we had a huge "ladies' day" here at the mission. Women from congregations all over the North came to sing, pray, hear encouraging lessons, and eat lunch together. I led singing for part of it, and Caryn, Jill, and I were put on the spot to sing a song for everyone (which was awkward--in a humorous way--but we were able to pull it off). Other things here--like church, the Casa Materna, etc.--are pretty much status quo. We are still learning Spanish, and it seems like we have had many random opportunities to use it lately (mostly successfully), which is really good. In general we are gearing up for groups coming down this Summer. (It has been slow for a time now, but it's about to get really crazy.)
Well, that's all I can think of to tell you right now. (Sorry I don't have a spiritual thought for you this time. We have actually had lots of spiritual thoughts in our brains lately, but because a lot of them are connected to personal situations with other people, it is tricky to figure out exactly what to say.)
We love and miss you guys,