So I've officially survived my first outdoor assembly....barely. I woke up Friday morning with some creepy bug bite on my leg which has now grown, spread, itches, and turned the skin hard. Alicia says that if it doesn't get better by tomorrow, we're going to the doctor. The problem is that EVERYTHING here bites....ants, mosquitos, worms EVERYTHING! There are no benign animals here in the tropics apparently; most of which I've found out the hard way of course.
Then on Saturday I woke up with a crazy stomach and spent the morning at home. Crazy stomach day 3 and I'm going today for an anti-parasitic drug. Hey, it had to happen at some point and what better time than the convention?!
Also, I learned that in Nica, even if you don't sit anywhere near the sun, you can be sunburnt due to "reflective light" as they told me. Therefore, although we chose seats not in the sun, I'm red as a beet.
On a happy note though, we had a peak attendance of about 5500 and 55 were baptized. It rained all 3 days and you can see in the pix how the friends react when that happens...sea of umbrellas! They would take breaks in the session when it rained really hard b/c no one was paying attention anyway trying to protect themselves, and you couldn't really hear over the rain. The assembly was in the baseball stadium here. It was pretty cramped and half the friends had to sit out in the elements, but we had a great turnout. Some things kinda shocked me like:
1) They start lining up at about 5am even though the doors don't open until 8am for seats
2) They are like cattle in a crowd...there is no "excuse me" or waiting for a group to pass before you cut in. It's just mass pushing and bodies. PS--not my favorite in 90 degree temps
3) If you breast feed here you just pop that baby out...no cover, no nursing room...nada!
4) They could use some work on that suggestion of not talking during the session. People talked on their phones. Or they'd stand in the aisle and yell over to their friend in the middle of the row and have a conversation...all...during...the...session.
Good news! The couple you met from the baby shower Kevin & Maryoly? They got baptized together! She's actually in the hospital today having her surgery. What a happy start for them!
Also, I got to meet the couple in charge of Las Isletas (all the islands in Lake Nicaragua) and the couple in charge of Diamante. I set up appointments with them after the English assembly to come visit. Diamante sounds like they have the most need b/c they have a KH but no cong yet. They're not even an official group. They just do service there and have meetings on Sundays. Las Isletas hosts their work. There's currently no one from Granada supporting the group even though it's only about 5 miles away. The couple gave me some transportation ideas and are very excited to possibly have some help. They said it's basically virgin territory which they haven't covered in full yet and ALREADY have a waiting list for Bible studies! Sounds right up my alley!
Ervin's girlfriend came on Sunday with her Mom and sister for the convention and they're currently here at the house. They invited me to Matagalpa to see the territory there. She said they currently have lost all their foreign help and just have a missionary couple in their cong. Matagalpa is actually larger than Granada but only has 3 congs vs the 11 here. Lots to do!
So in summary, Nicaragua has finally caught up with me :( and we're making progress on finding a "permanent" home.