Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I love the Yearbook.  It's truly one of my favorite pieces of literature because every year it's got great stories that make you feel good after reading them.  But ever since I've become a need greater, the Yearbook means even more.  Mainly because I'm reading about many different places in the world with the same struggles as my place and getting ideas on how to help my friends and neighbors.

Reading about Myanmar was like that.  Reading the situation of many congregations when the missionaries came in made me see I'm not alone in my situation here (please see p.161).  It's also really upbuilding to see that a lot of the experiences that make it into the Yearbook are things I'm getting to experience on a daily basis (see p.49 about bus witnessing).  Sometimes, probably because of just the daily grind, I forget to treasure these very unique experiences I'm living.

Favorite quote?  Definitely p.83 of the English Yearbook.  It reminded me soooo much of my current home:

"There are three seasons:  warm, hot, and hot with rain."


By the way, I picked the photo above because it shows a city bus in Myanmar.  However, I swear I see that bus on the carretera every day.  See what I mean about similarities?!

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Sometimes I impress myself what I'm able to make here.  These are...wait for it....blueberry pancakes and breakfast sausage!!!!!!  All thanks to Pricesmart.  Again, I love you, Pricesmart, and your fabulous imported food stuffs.  This is the only breakfast sausage I've been able to find in the country.  And the bag of frozen berries (berries aren't grown here and are CRAZY expensive fresh) is half the price of any other grocery store.
This is what I had for dinner tonight--sliders!  I got a bag of 12 little buns for $.40 and went crazy.  Finally made good use of the crock pot to make shredded bbq chicken and topped it with vinegar slaw (Memphis-style of course).  Guac, homemade tortilla chips, and a cold Victoria Maestro made for a very tasty end to a very long day.

Monday, February 18, 2013


*WARNING* Single complaints to follow....

So let me explain to you how Satan works.  

Last week, we had our circuit assembly, and I, in true single sister fashion, did it all up and (if I don't say so myself) looked super cute.  And then the men in my circuit, in true single brother fashion, completely ignored me.  It shouldn't matter, but you know there's always that little buzz in my head as I get ready saying, "You never know who'll be there.  THIS may be the assembly."  And it's so maddening because then I just come back from the assembly feeling disappointed instead of upbuilt.  Arrrrgggh!

The worst part about it all is what happened AFTER the assembly.   As I exit my bus, I have to wait at the edge of the city for a second bus to take me home.  On that corner is a cheese stand I frequent.  The owner is a not-bad-looking Nica with blue eyes who's always very chatty and helps me catch my bus.  Well, of course, as I'm feeling really down and depressed, what happens?  He asks me out!  And not in a creepy way....actually in a normal, dignified way.  OF COURSE I said no, but it just made me so mad knowing that Satan is always out there just waiting for his chance.  And the worst  part?  Now I can never go back to that cheese stand again...and I really liked his cheese :(

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Breaking news about the current Pope stepping down; a move the Vatican hasn't seen since the Middle Ages as the Pope typically serves until death.  I'm attaching the Yahoo! article here in case you'd like to read it in full.  Anyone else think the caca's about to hit the proverbial fan once this Pope has some time to get himself to a safe place? Hmmmm.

The article was very revealing as to the abilities of this supposed "spiritual leader." The following quote made me think of the Bible reading this past week when Jesus referred to the Pharisees and Sadducees as "blind guides" in Matthew 15: 14.  Check this out:

"He confronted his own country's past when he visited the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.
Calling himself "a son of Germany", he prayed and asked why God was silent when 1.5 million victims, most of them Jews, died there during World War Two.
Ratzinger served in the Hitler Youth during World War Two when membership was compulsory. He was never a member of the Nazi party and his family opposed Adolf Hitler's regime."
To sincere servants of God, the answer to this question is no mystery.  If you would like to learn why there's so much suffering on earth and if God is truly blind to it, please click here.  As a side note, I'd like to add that there were thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses who were affected by the same war but with one large difference from the Pope.  When Germany said military service was compulsory, they refused and preferred a concentration camp rather than compromise their standards.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


I just got back from my circuit assembly, and it was fabulous as always.  I'd actually already been to it in English here, but wanted to hear it in Spanish too.  We went to Ticuantepe to our Assembly Hall there like always.  I wanted to share some of my favorite points, but if you haven't had your assembly yet, and don't want to ruin it, don't keep reading.


One of my favorite points was brought out at the Pioneer Meeting the Friday before the assembly.  They read to us Heb 6:10 pointing out that Jehovah never forgets our service and love for Him.  Sometimes we feel that our service could never be enough in comparison with everything Jehovah's done for us; and it's not!  But that doesn't mean he looks down on our service.  They used the illustration of a child giving a gift to her mother.  When Mom opens the box and sees a Cheerios necklace, she's probably not turning cartwheels.  But when she reads the note how her daughter spent all her savings for the materials and made it to show how much she loves her Mom....well, not Mom sees the necklace in a whole new light.  Jehovah understands our motives and circumstances, and that's how he can add value to our service to Him.  Beautiful, right?

I've also been struggling here to find a good illustration to use about why we shouldn't be afraid to dedicate our lives to Jehovah.  In the US, I always used the illustration about getting your license at age 16--we might be afraid of accidents or traffic, but that doesn't stop us from taking the plunge.  Well, that illustration doesn't work here because very few people have autos.  So at the assembly, I finally heard my Nica illustration for this.  They said it would be like a child explaining to his mother that he knows school is good for him and the teachers are nice and all, but he doesn't want to go because he's afraid of not passing at the end of the year.  Mom would NEVER accept that excuse.  So why would we expect Jehovah to?

The last point was another great Nica illustration.  Here, it's common for street vendors to walk around with heavy baskets or canastas on their head.  Sometimes, the canasta weighs as much as the person and they have to ask for help to lift it on their head, but they're walking around hands-free!  How do they keep things balanced?  They roll up a little towel and set it on top of their head with the canasta on top of that.  The Bible is our towel helping us balance the heavy load of life.  

I can't wait to use these new illustrations in service!

Monday, February 4, 2013


This past week I've had some very enlightening conversations for which I wanted to discuss in an open forum and get responses or suggestions from other need greaters.  It has to do with some common questions or rather, lack thereof, that we get here.

For instance, I serve in a very large congregation.  We have 100 publishers and about 30 regular children/studies attending.  And yet, in the year and a half I've been here, only one family has ever asked, "Why are you here?"  Do you find that as strange as I do?  Well, this week I was talking with the family that asked me that, and they explained why it's not a common question.  When Nicaraguans speak among themselves about why foreigners are here, they assume it's because *wait for it* Nicaragua has so many things our home countries don't.  The problem is that Nicaraguans can be very uneducated when it comes to life outside their country.  I'm not saying that in a mean way, I'm stating it as a fact.  They are not required to study much of outside geography or world history, and they were a closed, communist nation for some time.  Their opinions are most often shaped of what they see on t.v.  So when I and all my need greater friends came here, they just assumed it's because we wanted to BETTER our life by moving to Nicaragua.  And the main problem really comes down to how they see their own territories.  They do not feel they live in need territories so would never imagine someone would change their lives to serve here.  I can't tell you how many times I hear in my congregation that we have an apathetic territory.  I usually take the opportunity to describe how preaching is in the U.S. so they understand what a truly apathetic territory is, but I'm not sure it's sinking in.  The truth is, we have a territory where you can have as many Bible studies as you want, householders ask YOU about studying, and you can join groups of kids in a house or neighborhood and have a Bible lesson.

The other common question I get when people find out how long I've been here is either "Wow, so you must really like it?" or "Are you there because you WANT to be there or because you HAVE to be there?"  Both are valid questions, but sometimes I have trouble answering them.  To the first question I would say...yes, I like parts of it.  I can honestly say I'm having service experiences I could only dream about and which have often been featured in Yearbooks and Society videos.  But obviously, there's a lot I'm still getting used to and other things that I just don't like period.  As to the second question....well, that's the hardest for me to answer.  I'm going to write something and I don't want it to come out like I'm trying to compare us to Jesus, I'm just trying to use a good example.  But it would be like asking him if he died for us because he WANTED to or because he HAD to.  It was a little of both, right?  Who wants to die?  Who wants to make massive daily sacrifices?  Who wants to be misunderstood on a constant basis?  But we do it because in suffering all that, we're able to accomplish something good.  And that's what makes it all worth it.

I'm not sure if I've explained myself well, but I'd love if you guys weighed in.