When we arrived in January of 2014, Genevieve was just a couple weeks shy of her 3rd birthday and still an only child. Before coming to Costa Rica, Polly was a stay-at-home mom and Genevieve had never gone to day care and had barely ever been to school (she spent some time in a kindergarten class on occasion at the school where Polly taught gym and computer class, but never for a full day).
Don't get me wrong, she had already had an opportunity to meet so many people and have great experiences during our itineration (going to different churches each week to raise funds) and did not have separation anxiety when going to kids classes at those random churches during that time.
It was only our 2nd day here in Costa Rica when that all began to change. Genevieve spent her first day at school. She was still so little even though I know at the time I couldn't help but think about how big she was.
And that really was only the beginning. She would go to school Monday-Friday with a Spanish-speaking teacher. Soon she was speaking Spanish like it was no big deal. And in just a little over a month, she was a big sister. Her life was constantly changing. And while she went through culture shock in her own way, in short time she had embraced and even thrived in this new world.
I'll never forget when we were in Panama on a visa trip and she went with me to see if the hotel still had a blanket we had left during a previous trip there. On the way it occurred to me that I had never learned the word for blanket. So I turned to Genevieve and asked her. Without hesitation she responded, "Cobijita." What a humbling moment! (And she still teaches me new words sometimes.)
There have been cool personal, cultural experiences for her along the way, like meeting the president of Costa Rica on 2 separate occasions and even ending up in the national newspaper with him once.
But mostly I've been impressed by her ministry involvement. We always say that MKs are not missionary's kids but missionary kids. They are missionaries who just happen to be kids. In April 2015 at 4 years old was asked to share the story of David and Goliath in Spanish in front of a church full of people. She excitedly accepted the offer and did a great job.
She loves when teams come to work with us from the States, always making friends. And she loves hanging out with the chicas from Chicas de Promesa as well as other kids we work with. And let's not forget about how much she helped me with the OneHope book deliveries last year.
This week is exam week at the school where we do ministry 2 days a week. But since Genevieve goes to kindergarten at the school (all Spanish-speaking) when she goes with me, I decided to still let her go to class this week. At first I didn't know if it was a good plan since I am not doing ministry here this week and don't want to create more work for the teachers. But then it dawned on me that even though I'm doing work on my computer rather than normal ministry at the school these 2 days, she can still do ministry by showing the love of Jesus to her friends at school. These are her days of ministry. I guess I just forget sometimes that God wants to use her too. So while I type this, she's hanging out in school with her friends and I'm praying that God empowers her by the Holy Spirit to be a brightly shining light.