Sunday, December 28, 2014

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

DECEMBER 25, 2014 I TURNED IN MY APPLICATION FOR THE SCHOOL FOR KINGDOM EVANGELIZERS!!!!

Yes, I'm scared to death.  My tummy does little flip flops every time I really start thinking about things.  I have major questions like:

  • Is there a chance I can go in English or will I have to cram major studying in Spanish for 2 months?
  • Will I even get invited?
  • Will I stay in my assignment?
  • Will my roommate and I get separated?
  • What if I end up with a crazy new roommate?
  • What if I hate my new assignment?
  • What if I have to learn another language?


I'm really trying to apply Matthew 6 and not be anxious…especially because it has to do with such an exciting subject!  But the truth is that I could use a few prayers from everyone :)

Overall I just decided that being scared isn't a good reason NOT to do something.  We ladies have been grumbling and begging for an opportunity like this ever since Gilead started taking couples only, so I feel foolish to have the circumstances and the opportunity and NOT take it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES

Readers, I know I haven't posted anything recently, and I apologize.  There's a lot I want to tell and show you, but unfortunately, the motherboard on my laptop blew up and I'm currently computer-less. I have my tablet, but have you ever tried doing a post on those things ugh!

Anyway, a dear friend is bringing me a replacement in about a month.  If you guys will be patient with me, I should have something up and running mid-January.  Thanks!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

LOOKING TO SERVE WHERE THE NEED IS GREATER?

We recently had our circuit overseer's visit, and I explained to him about how I get so many requests from readers about where they should go to serve.  I asked him in our territory, where would he send someone?  Here's what he said.

San Juan de la Concepción a.k.a. La Concha

Why?  Well, this congregation has about 50 publishers but only 2 elders.  These 2 elders are advanced in age and are really having trouble keeping up with shepherding and assignments.  They need help.

Pros...it's in the middle of pineapple country and has a moderate climate.  The congregation has an excellent pioneer spirit.  It sits right on the bus route to many larger towns like Ticuantepe (where the former branch was; shown below) and San Marcos.  Also, if you're not 100% on your Spanish yet, San Marcos has an English group you could support from time to time to boost you up.


Cons...this may all be relative but you'd be the only need greater in that congregation.  Also, because of the size of this pueblito, it may be hard to find a rental,  but C.O. says you should be able to find something easily along the bus route.

Ok, so what if you're a single sister and therefore, unqualified to fill that need...where should you go?

 Here with me!  


Ahem, or at least close.  No, really, our little endeavor in our rural territory of San Francisco is really booming.  The C.O. says that if we continue to have the support there that we have, he'll recommend it to be a congregation the next time he visits.  We have about 19 publishers assigned there but the meeting attendance is regularly 30something.  And it's not just for sisters.  There's only 1 elder and 1 ministerial servant assigned (yes, these are different numbers from before; some Nindirí brothers could no longer afford the transportation costs and came back to the home congregation), so if you're a responsible brother, this is an amazing opportunity to get some hard core training.

Pros...you're close to Nindirí which is adorable, cheap, and right along the PanAmerican highway making travel a breeze.  No trouble finding a rental in Nindirí.  Rural territory i.e. pigs, cows, horses, householders sending you home with melons and tamarind!!!  Nindirí got approval to build a new KH this year so if you come soon, you can support that project as well. Look how much our lovely need greater Jocelyn loved it last April:





Cons...the territory is VAST so you'll spend a bit in transportation every time you go out there.  Figure on almost $2 each day you spend out there especially if you're doing r.v.'s or studies and not just straight preaching.  VERY small congregation so you'll really have to be willing to pull your own weight.  Rural territory--I don't know how but it's not for everyone. Again, you'd be the only need greater in this congregation, but I'd be in Nindirí :)  Wait, is that a pro or con?!

Monday, November 24, 2014

WHAT "BLANK" MEANS TO YOU?

I was walking home from the meeting Saturday night and with what I smelled and heard and felt, it just hit me....THIS is Nicaragua to me.  All those sensations at once just summed it up.  You know how sometimes you have like a deja vu moment with a phrase or smell or sound and immediately, you're transported somewhere? With words, I'm going to try to describe what Nicaragua means to me.





To me, Nicaragua means...
  • the smell of fried plantain in the air
  • salsa or meringue music transported over the neighborhood Saturday night
  • fritanga with friends
  • "adios" to everyone on the street
  • sweep, sweep, sweep on the sidewalk
  • that handsweep down the face when sweating 
  • polvera on Sundays
  • tropical fruit and palm trees
  • constant motion
Need greater challenge!!!!  What does your assignment mean to you?  Write a post or comment entitled "what (insert name of assignment) means to me."  Can't wait to see your amazing responses!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

D.F. DAYS 4-6


Well, as you can see what came next was the actual Regional Assembly.  We had a peak attendance of 19,000 and over 160 baptized.  Our guest speakers were Mark Sanderson of the G.B. and a helper to the G.B. named Bro. Mavor.  Their talks were translated so we actually heard them in English!!!  What a blessing from Jehovah.

 I took your advice and DID wear traditional garb.  I actually convinced the whole group of us to wear it!  I think we look beautiful :)  We were definitely a hit since there were just a handful of Nica delegates.  Our dresses are called un guipil and the sandals are called caites; the men are in a shirt called a guayabera.

How can I sum up?  One of the most beautiful experiences of my life.  I felt like a princess and learned so much about what true hospitality feels like.  I think the sisters below said it best...


video
Ok so one last funny story.  As you see in the photo montage, Bro. Sanderson was present.  Saturday after the session we decide we're going to stalk him and see if we can meet him.  As we're making our way to the stage, Brett tells me, "Shawn, did you know Sanderson is single?"  I just laughed and laughed.  What single sister under 100 DOESN'T know Sanderson is single?  But how weird would that be to date him?  I can just see us in Family Worship and me being like, "Well, I understood this from the reading" and him being like, "Weeeelllllllllll NO."  :)  I pray he never reads this post.

Monday, November 10, 2014

D.F. DAY 3

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Day 3 was Turibus day.  It was an excursion planned by the Hospitality Committee, and it consisted basically of a double decker bus ride through the city to see the sites...lots and lots of historical buildings dating from Mayan times to Mexican Independence.  It felt so good to be in a place full of history and culture and beauty.  We were able to head back a little early that day and explore around our hotel.  At the end, we located a place called Tacos Beatríz near the Plaza Zócalo who've been perfecting the art of tacos for 100 years.  Funny, because I've almost perfected the art of eating them :)  For about $10 we got a sampling of 8 different tacos with fresh tortillas, toppings, and beans...and of course, a range of chile sauces ranging from pleasantly piquante to omg I can't feel my mouth!  Then depending on what we liked, it was all you could eat.  It also had an amazing chicken and chickpea soup starter.  Super fun!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

D.F. DAYS 1 & 2

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I know you've all been waiting for it (like you wait for a dental cleaning haha), I'm finally back from Mexico City and my 1st International Convention.  It was just as I imagined it.  I included the photos I took from days 1 and 2 here's the general rundown:

The Grand Plaza Zocalo a half block from our hotel.  This church and plaza are built on top of indigenous ruins.  The pavement in front of the church has plexiglass panels you can see the ruins underneath.  Look at the size of that flag!

Day 1: arrive around lunch.  From the moment we landed we were completely taken care of.  Greetings at the airport by traditionally dressed brothers/sisters then bus shuttle to our hotels.  We stayed at Central Zócalo and the brothers had a table set up in the lobby and were there 24/7 to attend to our needs through the duration.  Gave us all a welcome gift, then we went to dinner right over the grand plaza.  Didn't get a picture, but I had an amazing meal of chicken breasts with cheese and zucchini flowers baked inside, covered with poblano chile sauce. Early night since we were up at like 3 a.m. for the plane.  Yes, I stole the shower caps, coffee, and toiletries EVERY day and yes, I moaned a little bit when I got into the hot shower.

video


Day 2:  breakfast at the hotel (amazing! tamales, chilaquiles, bread for days, hot chocolate) then service with the Lagunilla Congregation. I worked with a delightful sister, Ruth, and her teenage daughter.  Those Mexicans meant business...I had to get right to the point when preaching...so I had to brush off some U.S. skills.  I got a nice r.v. I turned over to the local congregation.  Then they provided lunch for us....pozole (the thing that looks like red soup) mmmmmmm with all the fixin's.  Delegates and local brothers gave experiences, and we each got a gift of an engraved pen from the congregation; so sweet!  Then we were bussed off to the Assembly Hall where we were treated to a lively cultural program.  Kids and adults sang Kingdom Melodies, interviews were done with local C.O.'s, and a 4-string quartet interpreted some favorite songs.  Outside was an exhibit from each state in Mexico; in each, we had a gift waiting and a photo op.  Then we had a formal sit-down dinner with ANOTHER show.  Our brothers are soooo talented!  They had traditional mariachi and some beautiful dancing.  Truly a wonderful night.  If the video below doesn't melt you heart, well, I don't think you have one...

Stay tuned for the rest of the trip!

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IN CASE YOU'RE HUNGRY


Thought you guys would like to watch how our daily tortillas are made.  These women are hard core...soaking corn, drying it, grinding it, cooking on an open fire, and then selling it by walking through the neighborhoods yelling out their wares.  They usually cost about 1 córdoba apiece or about 4 cents.  I ran into this woman in service and she graciously let me film her.

Friday, October 17, 2014

LESSON IN HUMILITY

We had a deaf sister visit from St.Louis about a month ago to "spy out the land."  She, some friends, and Shelina and I went out to a local restaurant before she left.  From left:  me, Shelina (from Masaya Sign Language and roommate extraordinaire), Kelly (from San Marcos Sign Language), and Marquita (the deaf sister).
Here I am trying to informal witness on a local bus.  I say "trying" because I stink at informal witnessing...it makes me soooo nervous!!!!

I know you guys love service anecdotes, so here's a funny one for you.  A few weeks ago, I was working territory Saturday morning and preached to a very friendly older gentleman named Cesar.  Everything was going well, and then suddenly, he started saying all these words that seemed to have nothing to do with the conversation...I soon realized he was quoting something.  When he finished, he revealed he was a poet and had penned said poem years ago.  He really took to me and said he was going to write a poem for me, and I could hear it on my next visit.

Needless to say, I felt pretty fancy after that visit.  Yes, he might've been 80 but I was like, "Yep!  That's right! Stiiiiiilllll got it!" So I rejoined the service group and recounted the story humbly stating how my beauty has inspired poetry.  A 16-year-old brother in my group, Oliver, responded with, "Hmmm.  He must be old AND blind."  Waaa waa waaaaaaaa.

Monday, October 13, 2014

MY NEW BEST FRIEND JUANITA


Meet my new best friend, Juanita, with her two daughters.  She's a Bible student who comes to our congregation, and through word of mouth, I learned she's a seamstress by trade.

Here's a wonderful fact you will LOVE to know about Nicaragua.  Often, if you provide the fabric and a photo, a seamstress can make an outfit RIGHT OFF THE PHOTO!!!  So I tried it out and here are the 2 results from Juanita for a cool $6 apiece + the cost of the fabric I purchased.  She's officially my lifesaver.




What do you think?  Is she a keeper?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

COUNTING MY BLESSINGS

All of my family and friends from the States have already had their Regional Convention for this year, so I've been hearing nonstop about the amazing tie-ins with International Conventions, talks from the Governing Body, missionaries coming home, etc.  It really got me excited for my own convention which took place October 3-5.  I DO realize that this is going to sound 100% ungrateful, but I was intensely disappointed.  Don't get me wrong, the information is great and many of the talks were just what I needed, but once again, I realized all those one-of-a-kind moments my family described to me was not for ALL conventions, it was just for U.S. conventions :(

Since I've moved to Nicaragua in 2011, I personally have often felt cut off from world headquarters.  Momentous changes like Annual Meeting for all, a new Bible version, and your normal assigned convention just so happening to be an international one....well, those are NOT world changes, they are U.S. changes only.  It's made me feel really left out and often, jealous.

So imagine my tears of joy when a friend texts me Monday morning with the simple message, "check out tv.jw.org."   Do you understand how my heart rejoiced to know that I PERSONALLY could be present for a Gilead graduation?  Or enjoy Morning Worship comments from Bethel?  Or receive a Governing Body talk?  This is like having a fat, juicy steak after 3 years of rice and beans.  Thank you, Jehovah!

On that note, I'll share some pix with you from my recent convention.

I had an interview Saturday of the convention before ours all about learning another language and what advice I'd give others.

Fellow pioneer Selene and I gave a demonstration on the Saturday session on how to offer the new tract "What is God's Kingdom" in house-to-house ministry.

Karla, a Nindiri publisher, and I on Sunday.

26 new brothers and sisters!  We have a new one in Nindiri too....Brother Agustin.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

SHHHH IT'S A SECRET

Readers, I'm about to reveal to you the dirty, dark underbelly of life in Nicaragua.  Ok, so maybe that was a little dramatic.  This post does have a lot to deal with dirt, but what I'm trying to say is that there are some keys to surviving here that no one wants to tell you because the topics are a bit *ahem* delicate.  But they're important especially if you're packing to serve here and wondering what definitely NOT to forget.  Let's start:

1.  Chorcitos aka lycra shorts--you will be doing a TON of walking here and if your thighs touch in ANY area, you will be a raw mess by the end of the day.  What no one tells you is that EVERYONE here wears a pair of shorts under their skirts.  Buy enough for a week when you get here, and thank me later.  They cost less than $3 a pair.

2.  Camis--you will also be doing a TON of sweating here.  If you don't want your shirt to look tie-dyed while out in service, put an undershirt or cami under your main shirt.  It will absorb the sweat and save you a lot of embarrassment.

3.  Water--I cannot stress this enough...DRINK...YOUR...WATER!!  At least 2 liters every day.  You are going to have crazy symptoms start showing up and what you don't know is that they're ALL related to dehydration.  Like what you ask?

  • calf or shin cramps
  • UTIs or bladder infections
  • crazy headaches
  • extreme fatigue/just want to sleep all the time
4.  Anti-bacterial soap--I have sensitive skin so was using Ivory here.  I had a rash EVERYWHERE which itched like crazy and would NOT go away.  Turns out it's asco literally means "grossness" and is super common when sweat mixes with the dirt/dust here.  It's a fungus and everyone here has had it at one point or another.  Only after recounting my dermatologist visits and specials creams did someone tell me to always wash with Protex soap.  It's a hospital grade disinfectant soap and has helped us immensely.

5.  Flip-flops--do not go barefoot here.  Anywhere.  Not even in your house.  Not even in your shower.  It's a hot, humid climate that parasites and fungus are in LOVE with.  I think you catch my drift.

6.  Gauze/band-aids--this is not the place to let your burn or cut "air out."  Like I've mentioned before, the dirt here is not just ground up rock.  It has human and animal waste in it, parasites, etc.  You do NOT want that entering any open wound.  Clean them well EVERY DAY and KEEP THEM COVERED.

7.  Outdoor bathrooms--just a few words, ladies...keep your feet well in front of you or you'll have some scrubbing to do on your shoes later :( ew!

8.  Trash--imagine what chicken skin or banana peels smell like 24 hours after being in 90 degrees.  Better yet, don't.  Take your organic trash and freeze it in a small bag until trash day.

9.  Parasites--this is gross but important.  How can you tell the difference between food poisoning and parasites?  Food poisoning can come out either end, be accompanied by fever and stomach cramps, but lasts only as long as the food is in your system.  Parasites, however, "wake up" so to speak only after you eat and will NOT go away on their own.  If you've had bathroom trouble for more than 2 days, get thee to a doctor and do a parasite test!  Here's the other thing no one tells you about...preventative parasite meds.  Everyone here deparasites themselves every 3 months whether they have symptoms or not.  Since I've started doing that, I haven't experienced symptoms.

10.  Yogurt or probiotics--especially when you first get here your stomach will do a lot of adjusting.  Eat a yogurt every day or even better, bring probiotics or kefer with you from your home country.  It will help a lot.

Hope that helps!  If anyone else would like to add tips that are common knowledge in their country but took a while for them to figure out due to it's delicate nature, please add them in the comments section :)

Friday, August 29, 2014

METROPOLITAN WITNESSING

Yeah, Nindirí has finally started participating in metropolitan witnessing!  Granted, it took us about a year to figure it all out but better late than never, right?  We're still working out a few kinks ("no, sister, we do NOT go up to people to informally witness and then bring them back to the cart"), but I think in time we'll figure it out.  I get to do it three times a week.  Sundays from 5-7pm in from of a children's park, Mondays from 6-8am at the bus stop, and then Tuesdays from 5-7pm at the same bus stop.  

So, funny story...first day Shelina and I are all excited and decide to set up in front of a brother's house caddy-corner to a children's park.  So it's getting dark, and we're staking out this children's park behind this pair of two massive trees.  No one could even see us.  No, totally not creepy, right?!  I'm fairly sure I saw some families jump when they finally got around the trees.

Some days are more productive than others, but I'm really enjoying it.  I've included a picture of my first day participating as well as photos of friends around the world doing the same.

Sisters in Chinatown, NYC offering literature in Mandarin Chinese

Brothers at a subway stop NYC.  Very smartly dressed, I might add!

Very sweet sisters at another subway stop NYC

Yo! Sweating with my carrito in front of the children's park

My beautiful friends Jamie and Irina in Rio Cuarto, Argentina

Monday, August 25, 2014

PIONEER SCHOOL TIME!

Congratulations to all you regular pioneers enjoying class this summer!  I both envy and pity you :)

Our congregation was invited a couple weeks back to provide lunch and two snacks for one of the schools in Masaya.  As one of our brothers owns a restaurant, he was in charge and wanted to present a very "elegant" (he used that word with me about 400 times) appearance; *warning* you'll see what that entailed when you view the pictures below.  I was in charge of the snacks and helped served lunch.  I just made sandwiches for the first break and then different breads for the second break...carrot/raisin bread, carrot/almond bread, banana bread, etc.  I think I did ok because one of the brothers took a bite, groaned,  and said, "Me mata, Shawn!"  (you're killing me).  I had such a good time and was thrilled to be able to help!

A fellow pioneer, Johan, (his Dad owns the restaurant) and I right before serving.  I do not want to read a single comment about my outfit.  I wore it under duress!!!!

We had a pioneer in attendance--Argentina!  I can't wait to have her over and pick her brain.

If you went to class this year, drop me a line.  Let me know your favorite part!

Monday, August 11, 2014

TIPS TO LEARN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE

Almost all the messages I receive from those wishing to serve where the need for Kingdom publishers is greater express the same worries...can I learn a foreign language?  I've been learning Spanish now for about 6 years.  I am fluent so wanted to share a few tips that helped me along the way.


  • Invest in a basic audio/visual program in the beginning.  That way you can see and hear the basics like the alphabet, colors, numbers, etc.  I had a CD set I used to play on my 30 minute commute to/from work.  It would say the word or sentence, and I would repeat it.
  • Label EVERYTHING in your house with its foreign equivalent.  I put stickies EVERYWHERE and every time I saw the sticky, I said the word out loud.  The more senses you can involve in learning, the better.  With this method, you see, speak, and hear at the same time.
  • As soon as possible, start associating with your foreign language congregation.  Even if you know just a little bit.  It will start training your ear and get you associated with our "spiritual vocabulary" which won't be found in books.
  • Start preparing for meetings in your foreign language.  Do foreign first, English second.  This will take you FOREVER and you will have a massive headache at the end, but it's worth it.  When you study English first, your brain is already trained to be looking for words with a certain theme or context in mind, so it doesn't have to work as hard.  You want your brain to try and work out words on its own.  Try to study the whole paragraph before looking up any unknown vocab words.  You may find the context itself explains them.  Highlight new words in the lesson.  You'll feel good when in time, you see yourself highlighting less and less.
  • Start associating with native speakers.  When you go to the KH, DO NOT immediately gravitate towards others learning the language or native speakers who know English.  If you're like me, you are naturally lazy and if given the option to speak English, you will.  Find friends with little to no English and MAKE YOURSELF WORK!
  • That being said, DO find someone with a firm grasp on grammar in both languages.  That way, when you start noticing differences in how a book tells you to express something and how native speakers actually express it, you have someone reliable to consult.
  • Prepare to be humbled.  There will be 3-year-old children vying with you for the same comments, and they will express themselves better.  Take it in stride.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  Every so often, self assess on how you did a month before, 6 months before, etc.  Any progress is good progress, so pat yourself on the back!
  • Get involved in the culture.  Ask a family to teach you how to cook a native dish or how to do a native dance.  The more you love the people and their culture, the more motivated you'll become.
  • There will come a point in your learning process where you understand more than you can speak.  The ONLY solution to get past that is to start speaking. This was probably the most frustrating part of my language learning process, and it took a frank talk from a very loving brother (thanks, Kevin H.) to give me the confidence to get past it.
  • Ask those in the KH to pass children Bible students to you.  They're great to start with.  They usually know both languages and could care less when you mess up.  Plus, the vocab in children's literature is a lot easier to understand when you prepare for your study.

I guess my main point is, if you're not prepared to work EVERY DAY on your language skills, a foreign language may not be for you.  It is a COMMITMENT and VERY HARD WORK but totally worth it.  I truly do not know who I would be without Spanish.

If you're currently learning a foreign language, and have other tips that have worked for you, let me know.  Oh, and tell me what language...I'm fascinated by them!

Monday, August 4, 2014

INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION HELP

I've finally decided on my gift for Mexico City's International Convention October 31-November 3.  What do you guys think?


It's a postcard where the front highlights the beauty of Nicaragua and *ahem* yours truly :) and the back gives a Nica recipe and my contact info.

Now here's my dilemma...as you all can see from my picture, I am pretty white with strawberry blonde hair and very obviously NOT Nicaraguan.  However, my congregation REALLY wants me to dress up in a traditional Nica outfit the Sunday of the convention.  What's the consensus on this?  Will I look ridiculous and will all the attendees just think "crazy gringa!"?  Or will I be a proud representative of my adoptive country?  If it helps you make a decision, this is what traditional Nicaraguan dress looks like...just add sandals:


Saturday, August 2, 2014

AUGUST TRACT CAMPAIGN

Here we are the first day getting started!!!  We've got 20 publishers (20% of the congregation) auxiliary pioneering this month.


Friday, July 11, 2014

AND THEN THERE WAS ONE

My friends and loyal blog followers, you all know about my beautiful fur child, Ollie, aka Mimi or Mi Niña.  Well, unfortunately, she left us this morning at approximately 10am.  My sweet baby held on for me to come back from the U.S. and we had 1 last good night together.  Yesterday around noon, she started having trouble breathing.  The vet came last night and felt her heart/lungs were failing.  She had labored breathing all last night and then this morning started making her way out to the patio.  She often likes to sit in the sun out there so I put her pillow out and laid her on top.  Shelina and I sat by her and within about 5 minutes she was gone ending almost 11 years together.

Maybe it sounds stupid, but through the years I've often thanked Jehovah for bringing her to me.  The Bible says every gift and perfect present comes from above, and I really can't think of words that could better describe her...gift and perfect present.  There've been times in my life when I truly thought she was the only thing that loved me and that she was my only friend.  I feel so satisfied that for her short life she had it good...bones, walks, and lots and lots of love.  What else could a dog want?  I'll miss my little cheese burrito.  If you're a pet parent, hug your fur child today and thank Jehovah for the chance to be their Mommy or Daddy.








Monday, July 7, 2014

HOW I KNOW I'VE SPENT TOO MUCH TIME IN NICARAGUA

I'm here in the U.S. on another visit and from the time I stepped on the plane, I've been comparing my behaviors and figuring out Nicaragua has weaseled its way further into me than I'd like to admit.  Here are some proofs:

  • I thought the airline turkey and cheese sandwich was pretty tasty.  
  • I came this close to saving the plastic bag the turkey sandwich was delivered in.  It was such thick plastic and came with a drawstring too!
  • It took about a week to stop the automatic action of trying to throw my toilet paper in a bin instead of the bowl.
  • I tried the tssst tssst hand wave thing to catch shop owners' and family members' attention...it didn't work.
  • I accidentally sat on my sister's remote control so the t.v. went off....I automatically assumed the electricity was out.


AND HERE'S HOW I KNOW I'M STILL NOT COMPLETELY CONVERTED:

  • That hot water in the shower?  Ahhhhhhhhhh
  • U.S. desserts are life-changing 
  • Berries!!!  Oh how I've missed thee!
  • I wore high wedges and non-cotton clothing to run errands, did my hair and wore makeup almost every day, and LOVED every minute of it :)     (that's shallow me talking.  I want to be ashamed of her but I'm just not)
  • Whoever's shower I used meant I used absolutely every bottle I found in the bathroom...masks, oils, conditioners...everything. twice.
  • I felt like a moviestar with that Starbucks mug in my hand.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

THINGS I THOUGHT I'D NEVER SAY


  • I thought I was really sick but it turned out it was just parasites...again
  • Can you crawl up on the roof and throw me down the mangoes?
  • I only reported 8 studies this month :(
  • So-and-so is looking to study twice a week now, and I just don't know where I'm going to fit her in!
  • I'm so sorry your pig died! (I really said this to a student; pigs are big money here! One piglet costs about $30 and a full-size farm pig costs about $150)
  • I'm really craving beans for lunch
  • The broom and mop have rubbed a blister on my fingers
  • Hold on, I gotta wash the feathers off this egg before I can crack it
  • It's the road past the volcano.  No, the OTHER volcano
  • I know it could save us money, but I'm NOT going to turn the refrigerator off at night
  • Well poop! I'll just have to wash tomorrow because we've run out of water!
  • Shelina, I woke up with a cockroach on my stomach
  • Look at this perfectly good lime/orange/avocado I found in the gutter!

Monday, June 2, 2014

SPECIAL BRANCH MEETING

I just realized I forgot to write about an amazing meeting we had hosted by Central American branch in Mexico back in April.  Now that we don't have a local branch these kind of meetings have been done annually and are really important to us.  It helps us feel connected to our international brotherhood, and the fact Bro.Losch from the Governing Body was a guest speaker really made us feel cared for.
A quick shot right beforehand in the backyard. Shelina went to 1 location in Masaya while Jocelyn and I went to another to listen to the tie-in of the meeting.

Not sure if you can see it, but here's us in the entrance to the high school looking at a projector screen up on the platform. The picture was not great and the video went in and out quite a few times, but I think we got the highlights at least :)

One of the most interesting things Bro.Losch mentioned had to do with our associates.  Here in Nicaragua, kids have the exact same class from kindergarten until they finish, so they become VERY close with their schoolmates often considering them lifelong friends.  Also, it's no big deal to let your kids loose with all the other neighborhood kids to play everyday...it's just part of being "neighborly."  Anyway, Bro.Losch mentioned that we have "classmates, workmates, and neighbors, but they are just that; they are NOT our friends."  He also mentioned that since we would never have "intimate friendship" with someone who was not Jehovah's friends, we wouldn't promote that in our children either by sending them out to make friends with neighborhood children.  I felt those were points that could really help us here.

In total, we had almost a million in attendance between Mexico and all the Central American tie-in locations.  I'm hoping we get another meeting next year :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO GROUP

I have exciting news!  The rural group we have been trying to start for a long time is now going strong with their very own Kingdom Hall!  A few weeks ago, I blogged about the construction they were frantically doing to get ready for their Memorial.  Well, now I have some shots of the finished product.  It's very simple, but very beautiful.




It's not an official group yet, but has 23 publishers including 3 ministerial servants, 4 pioneers, and for now, the elders are taking turns attending to the needs of the group.  The brothers there have told me that they usually have close to double the publishers in attendance!  We're hoping that during our next circuit overseer's visit, they'll be named as an official group.  They now have all of their meetings separate from us, although we'll continue to all share the same territory.

If you are looking for a place to serve where the need for Kingdom publishers is greater, do you think this could be the place for you?  If so, feel free to send a private note using the new "contact me" box to the right of this blog post. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

SNAPSHOTS OF FIELD SERVICE

I know you guys love these so I wanted to share some recent field service shots...

Here's the Sunday group for service in front of our (newly painted) KH.  We don't have cars for service here...we have motos!
Sometimes on Fridays I accompany my roommate, Shelina, to the Laguna de Apoyo where she gives a Bible study to 3 of our newly baptized deaf sisters.  These girls (from left to right: Maria, Karla, and Celsa) are 3 of 7 deaf children of 13 children in total whew!  They are lovely girls and it's always a pleasure to visit them.  They really struggle to put Jehovah first often having to choose between bus money to go to meetings and food money for the day.  Their parents are not JWs and don't even know sign language so the congregation really cares for these precious gems.

Who else gets their territory directions like this: "Work the highway both sides until you get to the volcano.  Then take the bus back." On a side note, this is a really difficult territory for me.  It's about a 2.5 mile walk UPhill, next to the PANAMERICAN HIGHWAY, completely SHADELESS, and DUSTY.  Jehovah feels my pain :(

The service group in front of one of our territory vistas.  Beautiful, isn't it?

Introducing Don Silvio!  What an enchanting student!  When he was in his 20's he had contact with JWs and heard the ring of truth but through moving and the earthquake of '72 and the war, he lost contact.  A few months ago, he retired so was home during the day when we came a-knocking and immediately started his study back up and regularly attends meetings.  He always talks about how he's so thankful to Jehovah that he found the Witnesses again.  He lives about 2 blocks from my house, and any time you pass by, THIS is what he's doing...reading his Bible Teach book.  He's also reads the Reasoning Book "for fun" as he puts it.  I had the pleasure of attending one of his studies when I first came to Nindiri and he had a ton of questions about how he could qualify for baptism.  Then we started the study and I saw he was just in Chapter 2.  Hey, when you know, you know.

Three hardworking pioneers finishing the Memorial invitation work in our neighborhood at about 7:30pm

One of our rural service groups during the Memorial campaign