Friday, August 29, 2014


Yeah, NindirĂ­ 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


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


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


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 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


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