Hey everyone, this is somewhat of a parenthesis in between my “Marriage, Cars and Music” posts. But Nicole and I wanted to share a bit of what has been going on in our lives more recently in the past couple of weeks.
As many of you know, we have been serving in Central America for the past 3 1/2 years. Throughout that whole time we have never actually been “legally” living in the country. Now when I say legal, what I mean is that, in the eyes of Costa Rica, we are just tourists. Now before you judge us and call us illegal immigrants, please let me explain a bit more. Although getting residency in Costa Rica is required for us to live here, we have not had residency. Every time we enter the country, we get a stamp on our passport that says “90”. This number indicates the amount of days that we are allowed to stay within the country. Any number of days spent within the country exceeding those 90 days results in heavy fines, and possible permanent expulsion from the country.
That being said, the entire time that Nicole and I have been in Central America, we have always left the country before those 90 days were up, whether it was traveling with our documentary, leading outreaches, or visiting home. Only twice in the past 3 1/2 years have we actually left the country with the purpose of “renewing” our visa. Usually this consisted of a 5 hour bus ride to the Costa Rican border, entering into Nicaragua for a few hours, and then coming back into Costa Rica receiving a new stamp for another 90 days. Doing this on a regular basis is actually illegal, and has a legal term called “perpetual tourism”. If you are caught doing this you are risking fines, and not being allowed to re-enter the country again.
Nicole and I have been praying for the past 6 months or so about our calling here, and what kind of a commitment God is calling us to make. We believe that this is where God wants us to be, and we have seen time and time again how His favor has been with us in this country, and has used us to bring people closer to him.
Central America has stolen our hearts.
Our passion is to see God’s love restore the lives of the broken through
discipleship and training
media and the arts
This is our longing, and this is our mission.
We have seen the need for discipleship in this country, as well as the potential. We have seen God do so much in and through us, thanks to all the people who have been behind us to support and encourage us to keep going. Our prayer is for greater impact and multiplication of the seeds we have been planting here over the past 4 years.
As I have been praying about what our commitment and life in Costa Rica looks like, I feel this rhetorical question from God asking me “I called you here didn’t I, so what are you waiting for?” Making big commitments really freak me out, and after getting married (pretty big commitment BTW) God has taken away a lot of that fear. Now as we look to what our legal status in Costa Rica is, we both feel that God is asking us to trust Him, and actually step into a place of greater permanency in Costa Rica.
For that reason we have decided to begin the process of getting residency. This is not just about abiding by the laws of Costa Rica, although that is a big part; it is also an act that I believe God will use to give us a greater authority and influence in the spiritual/physical realm. Now we aren’t just a couple of kids who like to work in Costa Rica. We will be full blown residents, without need of leaving on the heels of the 89th day of our visas. Missionaries, who are committed to seeing a change in their community, and seeing the lost reached. This makes things harder for the enemy to get us out of here, and gives us greater freedom to pursue God’s purposes and plans for this country and region of the world.
We are so excited for this new season, and very excited to be actual residents of this beautiful country….. and get local discounts at national parks 😉
All that being said, we cannot do this alone and need your help! We want to invite you to be a part of making our work here in Costa Rica legal, to continue the work that we have already begun. We thank those of you for the support you’ve given thus far, and we love being able to see God’s faithfulness in both our lives and yours.
The full cost of our residency process is around $900 per person. This is spread out over a 4-6 month period. We have already paid $550 to start the process, so we are still in need of $1350.
If you want to be a part of making our residency a reality, then please let us know! Even $10 can go a long way when we work together! If you want to know more on how to donate or get involved then go to the “Join Us” page at the top of the screen.
Our desire is for you to be a part of this with us, and our prayer is that you would allow us to be your hands and feet in this part of the world.
Thank you, and may God richly bless you with the great joy of your salvation, and revelation of His deep love for you!
with much love,
Ryan and Nicole