Language school

Language school

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Nicaragua, here we come!

We're over halfway through our first of 3 trimesters.  Oh, how time flies!  We've been learning things like intransitive verbs, direct and indirect objects, and Jeff's personal favorite, food vocabulary!  We've also found out how Costa Rica solves the low water reserve situation during dry season:  they turn the water off sometime during the day and don't turn it on until sometime during the night!  After a few days of this, we were getting a little worried about how we could work our schedule to get everything that requires water done in the morning before school (dishes, laundry, rinsing and soaking fruits/veggies, etc.), but we're getting that routine figured out. 
We're headed to Nicaragua for our visa renewal trip later this week.  When you come here, the maximum your passport can be stamped is 90 days.  Because of this, students that don't try to get a student visa here in CR have to leave the country for at least 72 hours before their 90 days are up.  When you come back in, you request another 90 day stamp, and hopefully you're able to get it! We've only heard of a few instances of a border patrol officer not wanting to give out a second 90-day stamp, so we're praying for God to provide us with a friendly border patrol officer who's having a good day, as well as safety on the bus ride to/from Nicaragua (about 7 hours each way). 

There are a few things we hope you'll pray about in the coming weeks:

--Several of our fellow students have caught a stomach bug that's being passed around.  Missing a few days of class is difficult, and having a lack of water to flush toilets for most of the day makes having a stomach bug a little more interesting.  Please pray that God would watch over our fellow students (as well as us), that He would bring healing to those who are feeling ill and protection to those who have thus far remained healthy.

--This coming weekend is the most common for students to take their visa renewal trips.  With so many of us traveling, please pray that God would provide protection for us while we're on the road, guidance as we obtain the paperwork needed to leave and re-enter the country, and the blessing of an additional 90-day stamp as we re-enter the country.

Dios lo Bendiga!

Jeff and Leslie

Monday, March 3, 2014


Since we've been here we've noticed the things we think about have changed. Here are some thoughts we never thought we'd think....

"I probably should leave my rings at home today since we're going to church."

"Do we have enough change to make it to church and back?" (we take the bus)

"I'm going to take my purse, but I'm only going to put (the equivalent of) $10 in it in case someone decides to rob me, and I don't really need my cell to go to the store so I'll leave that at home too."

"Yes, you can drink the tap water."  :)

Every morning when I get in the shower (without contacts) I have to remind myself that this spot on the tile is not a cockroach!
"Let's hang our clothes on the line today and save money by not using the dryer (electricity is expensive here)."

"Watch where you step! (There may be dog poo or a "gringo trap"!)"

"We better do the dishes before we go to bed tonight.....we don't want any creepy crawlies!"

"I'll just get in my car and drive to.....wait, no car, do I want to walk, take a taxi or the I really need to go anywhere?"

"I just want to go for a walk.....let me unlock my 3 doors that stand between me and freedom... or is that safety?"

"The bathroom trash needs to be emptied again......because you can't flush toilet paper."

"I am so thankful that the bathroom does not smell like what is in the trash can."

"Fireworks again?"

"It's so nice outside, do I want to wear a skirt or pants?"

"Do I want to look out and see who is tapping on my gate?"

"If I don't have internet, do I really want to use data on my phone to check email/facebook?"

"Another cockroach?"
"Why are there ants on the bathroom counter where there is no food?"

These are just some of the many adventures of living in Costa Rica!  We're so glad you're along for the ride with us, thinking about us and praying for us.  To our friends and family back in the States reading this, we miss you very much!  And to our new friends here who might be reading this, it's been a blast sharing these new thoughts and experiences while serving here with you!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Welcome to Costa Rica!

We're very excited to be here in Costa Rica!  We've had a wonderful start to our adventure here.  God has been blessing us greatly with new friends, fun new experiences, and gifted teachers.  We hope you'll follow along as we follow God's plan of action in our lives to fulfill His Great Commission!

Upon arriving at the airport in San Jose, we were picked up from the airport by our "Big Brothers" and new friends Jesse and Lisa and whisked away to our new home in San Francisco de Dos Rios (just a few miles outside of San Jose, and 4 blocks from the language school).  Below are pictures of the living room and kitchen.  Check out those cabinets!  :)

Our adventure got off to a fast start, as we went on the Three Crosses Hike on our very first weekend!  This hike takes you up into the clouds and gives you an amazing view of San Jose and the surrounding areas.  We're hoping to be able to try this hike again later in the year on a clear day so we can get the full view from the top of the mountain, but being so far up into the clouds was a very fun and unique experience that we'll never forget!

We've been spending our time studying, enjoying the many parks within walking distance of our house, and eating lots of healthy food from the "feria" (similar to a farmer's market where local farmers come to sell fruits and veggies for cheap!).  Leslie and some of the other students have also been having a fun time doing Zumba at the park with the locals!  

Thank you to all who have been praying for us and supporting us.  God has blessed us richly with wonderful friends and family, and we know your prayers are helping us daily as we go through this transition into full-time ministry!  Please join with us in praying for:

-Our ability to learn Spanish.  We can't share the Gospel without being able to speak the language.  Please pray that God would bless our teachers, our time studying, and the opportunities we have to practice with local Costa Ricans so that we can learn the Spanish language as quickly as possible this year.

-Our safety.  We're blessed to be spending this year in an area of Latin America with a very low violent crime rate. However, things like pick-pocketing and robberies are very frequent here, and have already occurred with a few of our classmates.  Please pray that God would provide us with a keen awareness of our surroundings, sound judgment in choosing the places we go, and wisdom for any situation we may find ourselves in.

-Our encounters with others.  We have many opportunities to speak with and spend time with both Costa Ricans and English-speakers.  Please pray that we would use these opportunities effectively, encouraging those who know Christ and sharing with those who don't!

If you're on Facebook and aren't friends with us on there yet, we hope you'll "Friend" us!  We post small updates most days there, as well as occasional pictures of our time here.  Thank you for your prayers and encouragement!  

In Christ,

Jeff and Leslie

Friday, January 3, 2014

Bienvenidos a Costa Rica!

We are here safe in San Jose, Costa Rica!! At this time we still do not have internet, so we are sitting in the gazebo at the school to send you this update! Once we have internet we will post much more informative updates and pictures! :)
We are so humbled and blessed by all those who are supporting us whether it be through prayer, encouragement, financial or all three!! We are excited to begin language school and hope that once we finish, we will also have the rest of our support raised as well so that we may go straight to Honduras!!
We have enjoyed all of the encouragment we have received via Facebook. If you would like to send letters or care packages here is our mailing address (please make sure you put our names on it, as this is the mailing address for all the students here, also if you have questions on what can be mailed please ask!):

Jeff and Leslie Vanvactor
Instituto de Lengua Espanola
Apartado 100-2350
San Jose, Costa Rica
America Central

We look forward to hearing from you!!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Language School in January!

It's language school time!  (Well, almost.)  God has continued to bless us with a growing base of support, and because of this, we'll be heading to language school in Costa Rica this January!  As you can see from the graphs on the right, we're not quite to our fundraising goals, but we are confident in God's call for us to begin in January and trust in Him to provide.

We've put our house on the market, and we both have already told our respective bosses to expect our two week notices come early December. We ask that you please be in prayer for us:
-that we would be patient
-that God would provide the right buyer for our house, at the right time
-that our relationship with God will continue to grow stronger through this period of waiting
-that God would continue to grow our team of supporters and prayer partners
-that God will continue to prepare our hearts to learn a new culture, a new language, and to continue to grow our love for the Honduran people

Thank you all for your prayers, support, and encouragement!  If you would like to know more about us or our call to Honduras, or if you think your church would be interested in hearing about us, please email us at!  God Bless!

Jeff and Leslie

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New Video!

A big thank you goes out to our good friend Jeremy for putting together an awesome video for us!  You can watch it by clicking below or by going to

If you would like to know more about Forgotten Children Ministries and the ministry God has called us to in Honduras, you can find us on Facebook or email us at


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Thank you, Alcoa Chick-fil-a!

We owe a HUGE thank you to the Chick-fil-a here in Alcoa!  Our fundraiser there on Thursday the 7th was a great success!  Hundreds of our friends and family members turned out to eat and fellowship with us, and 10% of their purchases went towards our fundraising efforts, bringing in $266!  The donation jars they sat out for us brought in almost $200 more for a total of over $450!  Thank you, Chick-fil-a! 

We had a great finish to 2012 and a fast start to 2013, bringing our total amount raised up over $12,000 and our monthly pledged amounts over $600.  Please continue to pray for us as we raise funds and prepare ourselves for the ministry that God has put in front of us.  Please also pray that God would continue to give us patience and joy as we spend our (hopefully) last few months here in the States before we leave.  Please also pray for Pat and Michelle Corley, who are brand new missionaries in the field with Forgotten Children Ministries as of January!  We're so excited for them, and we can't wait to join them!