Life Before the Field – A Transition from Colorado to the Dominican Republic

Training for the Field

Before our missionaries join the field, they go through a series of trainings.  One is Language school.  Hear from missionary, Jessica Dennis, about what it’s like training for the field.


Costa Rica map


Hello from Costa Rica!

This week has been a good, slow transition into life in Costa Rica.  I have a wonderful home I’m staying in, Mrs. Ligia Sanchez is my “Tico” mom, she’s the mother of two grown daughters, and was a single mom for many years.  Her husband left her 3 months after she became a christian, 23 years ago.  We are getting along well, one of her son’s-in-law speaks a little English, and I think she does as well, but isn’t letting me talk with her in English, only Spanish.  She’s very gracious in her talking with me, speaking slowly to me, repeating, using hand gestures, and not making fun of my toddler Spanish.  She is an amazing cook, and very eager to have me join in on their family events.  I have my own room and bathroom and could not have asked for a better home to stay in.  The school is an 5-8 minute walk from here mostly uphill (I have shin splints right now from all the hill climbing!)  This town is called San Francisco de Dos Rios, and it sure feels like San Francisco, lots and lots of steep hills!

There are about 30 of us in this “1st Tri”, all new students beginning Spanish.  There is a group of about 10 who are here from Mt. Vernon Nazerene University, or “The Naz” as they call it.  They’ll be here for this trimester and go back to the U.S. in April. They are mostly junior and seniors.  The rest of us are all missionaries here to learn Spanish.  Classes officially start on Tuesday, so it’s just us newbies around campus right now.  Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were all orientation, which has been very helpful so far.  Monday we learn how to ride the bus into San Jose and back, and see where some important areas are.

Wednesday we had to take two exams, one written (I didn’t make it past the second page, as I’ve never conjugated Spanish verbs in my life) and the second was oral.  I did better than expected on the oral exam, thank you to those who have worked with me over the last year, and living in Colorado for the last 41 years!   I’m not as anxious about my ability to pick up Spanish as I was.  I think that the grammar portion of the schooling will be my area most needing work!

There are 5 of us single women between the ages of about 27-41.  Several of us are meeting up tomorrow to go shopping and get some lunch.  Three of us are from the states, one is from Canada and one from England.  I’m excited to get to know them more and spend time together!  Wednesday nights they show US movies with Spanish subtitles for about $4, so that’s probably where I’ll be most Wednesday nights!


Jessica headshot

Jessica Dennis

Jessica grew up going to church and knew she wanted to be a missionary and work with children from a young age.  Life got busy and she spent her time raising her son.  Attending a missions trip in February 2017 with her church to the Dominican Republic and working with SCORE, she knew God was calling her at this time to move forward with that dream.  He has continued to make the pathway clear, and she is excited to be moving forward in His direction.

Missionary Page

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