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The End Is Near!!!

Hola Amigos and welcome back; I hope you're all in good health and good spirits, especially now that the weather has started to change for the warmer. Lest you think I'm gloating over the fact that I live in a tropical paradise take heart; the weather, within the last week, has made a surprise change on us. We’re now no longer blessed with idyllic temperatures, a light breeze and ne’er a cloud in the sky, on no dear friends we now find ourselves right back in the middle of the rainy season - it’s as if some cruel joke has played upon the entire country. What I mean is…it NEVER rains this early, Flora saw a drizzle back in February and thought the world was coming to an end, now we find ourselves in the middle of rainy season, daily 3-4 hour thunderstorms in the afternoons. This type of weather never occurs this early in the year. Needless to say, Flora has started marking off the days until Christ returns, she’s convinced it’ll be in 2008 “How couldn’t it, it’s raining in March/April?” That’s sound logic in my book. Anyway, much to my distress and discomfort I am once again planning my day around downpours, living in perpetual dampness and really just loving life. Suffice to say that the weather has given me a new earnestness to flee to Honduras.
Speaking of Honduras, I am 2 weeks away and counting and not really sure how to feel, what to feel, etcetera, etcetera. I’m a whirl of emotions…and for someone who hates emotions and feelings (they’re for the birds after all) that’s not fun. I’m ready to go, not even very nervous about going – I am ready to actually begin doing what I’ve been called to do, that’s exciting and exhilarating for me. At the same time I have come to love a large swath of people here…there are fellow missionaries and students here that I have come to rely on, love and view as family, there’s my Tica family that I’ve lived with for 8 months, there are the kids from La Carpio some of whom have become close friends and there are Tico friends that I love dearly. Coming in to this in August I could have never imagined how difficult it would be to leave this place. I had originally thought that I would come here, learn the language and get out…instead I ended up building a whole network of people that mean the world to me. What makes it even more difficult is knowing that there’s a good chance that I will never see some of these people again, at least until we all reach Heaven…and unfortunately since some of these people are Presbyterians there’s a good chance that I won’t see them even then. It’s tough, very sad for me and something I don’t like to think about, I just want to make sure my last two weeks here are spent meaningfully, that I end my time here with purpose and that I say goodbye to certain people in the right way….be praying for me.
So in other news I’m now a regular mountain climber. San Jose is surrounded, encircled as it were, by mountains…big ones. Affixed on the largest of the mountains are three man-made crosses…massive ones. There is a little cow path that leads to each cross, summiting with an amazing view of San Jose and the entire Central Valley; it’s a good 2 ½-3 hour hike up and not for the light of heart. Anyway, for the past two Saturdays my good friend Antonio the Nicaraguan has led a group of students up the mountain and I decided to accompany him…each time regretting it the next day. The first week we went we invited three La Carpio boys along with us, Lapiz, Maycol y Manuel – they literally ran circles around us slow-poke old people, we would no sooner sit down at one of the crosses to rest and they’d be off for the next stage. Needless to say, the next week we left them at home and our self-esteems were the better for it. Ah well, it made for some great exercise and some even greater pictures; I’m thinking of tackling Everest next week.
I took in my first Saprissa futbol game Wednesday….those of you with minds like steel traps will remember that back in January I took in a game but it was just the Costa Rican National Team playing Sweden. Saprissa however is like the Dallas Cowboys of Costa Rican Futbol; they’re really, really good and they know it. Wednesday night they played the Houston Dynamo (yes, as in Houston, Texas) for the semi-finals of a world-wide tournament…don’t ask me the name of it, I’m not that much of a fanatic. I went with a host of Gringos, many of whom felt obligated, out of some twisted sense of patriotism, to root for Houston – never mind the fact that none of them had ever heard of the Dynamo prior to this match – “it just felt like the American thing to do”. Good grief, well since Houston (or Texas for that matter) has never really held a special place in my heart, and since I valued my life (it’s not good to cheer for the opposing team in the midst of fanatical, drunken Saprissistas) I cheered my heart out for Saprissa. Incidentally they won; the U.S. can’t play futbol, big surprise.

So a funny thing happened on the way to San Jose…I was mistaken for a Tico – YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At least until I opened my mouth. I was visiting the Gold Museum downtown and a guard in the museum came up and started making friendly banter with me. I chatted along for a while and eventually he moved away but with a slightly confused look on his face. About 5 mintues later he approached me again and said “you are Tico aren’t you?” I burst out laughing and said “No, no, no Soy Gringo”, he explained that I looked Tico (which is the first time anyone has ever said that, so there was a good chance he was drunk) but that I obviously didn’t talk quite like a Tico. I assured him that while I may look Latin I am in fact quite German – he seemed to be satisfied and shuffled off much less puzzled.
Two quick notes of Mennonite/Pennsylvania Dutch worth. The first is that I was sitting in class with Dixieana the Panther the other day and it came out somehow that I’m Mennonite. Dixieana stared at me for a while, winced her eyes and asked me (en Espanol) “just what is a Mennonite anyway?” I about fell out of my chair – the implied task set before was to explain the subtle doctrinal nuances of the great theological strain that is Anabaptism, tease out the differences between the modern Mennonite Church and the more Old Order Churches and to avoid erupting a debate over nonresistance/nonviolence….AND do it all in Spanish. I looked at her, chuckled and said “you know the Amish?...were a lot like them only less committed.” This seemed to satisfy her because she snapped "Que Feo Mateo" and commenced with the lesson. The other note is that I have nearly all of my friends down here hooked on Dutch Blitz, I’m talking addicted. Every Friday night for the past month we’ve gotten together at a friend’s house and played for hours. I’ve quickly become the most popular kid in school and it’s all because of my Dutch Blitz cards, me and my cards are the life of the party…I only hope the Hondurans like them as much as the dopey Gringo Missionaries do.
Well folks that about does it for this week, I know my entries may seem a mite shorter but that's...and that's because they are. I've been feeling crunched for time and topics, my mind is all a whirl and I having a hard time focusing. Por Favor, Perdoneme...I predict that the entries will begin to grow again once I arrive in Honduras. Blessings to you all this week. Peace!

- Matt


Sonia said…
The Presbyterians...
I will be visiting you in Honduras. So, yea, don't cry about that :)
Zoe said…
You have been officially added to my blog in video and still-frame form. Check it out!

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