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...


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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.

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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.