Saturday, December 21, 2013


I wanted to do a separate section for the animals and modes of transportation frequently seen in our territory.  Last week in the "God's Will" brochure, it mentioned that missionaries will often have to acclimate to rustic forms of transportation.  I'm not a missionary, but I've definitely seen some of that, and wanted to share it with you.  And the animals!  They are both a constant source of worry and joy for me here.  I've seen things done to animals here I could never talk to anyone but Jehovah about, but at the same time, the fact I get to be with them every day makes me so happy.  Here we go!
Rabbits of my student.  She has assured me they are pets not dinner.  Super sweet and love to be held.

My student has a little dog that's like Ollie's twin!  She even has some of her little personality traits.  Her name is Isi, and she makes me remember Mimi 10 years ago

Nindiri doesn't have taxis.  We have caponeras...guys who pedal covered bikes around town.  Poor things are always a sweaty mess when they're done transporting me around.

Horse and cart is still the #1 method of transporting goods in Nicaragua

Can you pick out the pelibuey in this picture?  It's like a cross between a goat and a sheep.

If you are a farmer here, you more than likely till your fields either by hand or with oxen.  They use Brahma bulls here which are big and POWERFUL.  I learned the yoke goes around their massive horns, not their necks.  That way, if they rebel, they can't move their heads around to gore anyone.

I met this woman in service last week.  She wanted me to see her land, and when we went in the backyard this little goat came running up to her bleeting.  She was saying, "Come on, Monchita!"  Soon as Monchita made it to her, she picked her up and gave her a snuggle.  I couldn't resist a picture and a little snuggle of my own :)

The same woman owned the biggest turkey I've ever seen.  Those are medium-sized dogs next to the turkey!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I've gotten some recent requests for territory pictures, so here you go.  My new territory is a lot more rural which I love (my feet do NOT love) because it's shadier and full of farm animals.  Yeah!  You guys have asked how we did last month on our campaign for tract #38?  Really good!  We covered our territory, and most people were very receptive to the tract.  We have a mainly Evangelical territory (similar to Southern Baptist or Pentecostal) so when we asked if the dead will live again, they said, "Yes! To be judged!"  It made for a great opportunity to teach what the Bible means when it says the "unrighteous" will be resurrected and why.
I love this shot!

Me in front of my study Yahaira's house

Clara studying with Miss Heyling.  The next study, she had 3 other relatives join in!  This girl is like 10, 11 years old and every time we come, she's sweeping the yard, burning trash, cleaning up her brother, etc.  She's such a responsible worker already and just LOVES her study.

This is often how my feet look at the end of the morning preaching.  Unfortunately, even after a good wash, they still have permanent sandal lines.  Now you understand why we often use socks in service!

Here's our "large army" out one day in full Nicaraguan service uniform.  Socks with sandals? Check!  Umbrella?  Check!  Winning smiles?  Check!

Monday, December 16, 2013


Yesterday, I'm talking to my friend Jim about how I regularly get sinus infections here because of allergies to all the dust and smoke in the air, but I'm taking a vitamin pack every month and two months have gone by with no sickness.  So to punish me for bragging, about an hour later over lunch I feel a familiar tickling in my throat and itching in my ears.  Sunday I woke up with a swollen, sore throat, didn't go in service, and have spent many glorious hours just rotting on my couch Internet surfing to "rest my body".  I came across a blog I like to follow about a sister in Guinea, West Africa who's also sick and talking about all the crazy remedies and superstitions about medicine in her country.  It made me laugh so hard because it's so similar to here.  My favorite quote?
"You have a stomachache? Oh then you have worms. Well, you probably have malaria and worms. Probably because you ate Mangos before the second rain of the rainy season..."
For instance, if you have a cold here, it's because you:
  • ate pineapple after dark
  • took a shower after dark
  • ironed or straightened your hair and then opened the refrigerator 
  • walked barefoot in your house
  • drank something cold when you were overheated
Here's some quotes Nicaraguan women have told me:
  • Shawn, this meal (of pork ribs) is fat free.  I made it last night, let it sit on the counter overnight, and scraped all the fat off the top just now!  *side note* Yes, I ate it anyway and miraculously, it didn't make me sick.  Hey!  They were ribs!
  • We don't serve drinks when we have soup at a meal because if you mix a cold drink with hot soup you''ll (searching for word)....(Grandma jumps in with the kicker) You'll die!
  • If you want to have children in the future, you shouldn't hold cats.  Their fur makes you sterile.
  • If you go too quickly from hot to cold (see ironing then open fridge above) it will cause face paralysis.  You can, however, go from cold to hot with no problem. 
  • Walking barefoot in your home causes leg arthritis because of the cold, cold tiles in your 90 degree, unair-conditioned home
  • Once I drank water a sister's house and when I was done, she just put the glass back on the shelf.  I reminded her it was dirty because I drank out of it.  Her response?  "No it's not; it was just water." 
Here's some other home remedies I've heard:
  • Your kid has chicken pox?  Bathe him in his own urine.  It'll heal him right up!
  • Feeling pain after giving birth?  Put cotton in your ears.  It's the cold air entering your body causing your pain.  Not, of course, the fact you just pushed a watermelon out of a lime.
  • Anything from a stomachache to an eye itch can be cured with antibiotics. You just buy them from the corner pharmacy with no rx and no dr's appointment

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Our congregation here in Nindiri recently got invited to a Kingdom Hall build in Monte Tabor.  The RBC situation here is quite different than in the U.S. so I was excited to go and see how it's done.  Here, they do have RBC members they invite to builds but not a lot of them.  Basically, every week, they invite a different congregation to participate.  We went with a congregation from Masaya to assist the RBC members and Monte Tabor members.  By the way, Monte Tabor is outside Managua on the way to El Crucero.

Sisters as well as brothers made a big contribution working

From top of the triangle going clockwise:  Johan, Melvin, and me.  Some members from my new congregation

Relaxing in the bus after lunch.  From left to right:  Argentina, Ivan, Melvin, Johan, Oneida, and Bruno
Some differences I noted:
  • no safety training
  • HARD, MANUAL labor.  There were maybe 2 electrical devices on site.  Everything else was done by hand like mixing concrete and separating sand from rocks for the concrete mix
  • because of the labor-intensive work, it takes a lot longer, so these are definitely NOT quick builds.  It usually takes a few months to finish a KH
  • snack girls? water girls? provided lunch?  No, no, and no.  If you didn't pack it, you don't get it.  However, in true Nica fashion everyone packed enough for a family of 5 so there was a lot of sharing

Monte Tabor was really appreciative of the volunteers, and I got to make best friends with a shovel and wheelbarrow.  Thankfully, the climate is a bit cooler in Monte Tabor so we had a nice breeze and a cloudy day, so I only came home a little burnt....but a LOT sore the next day :(