Monday, February 16, 2015


On this blog, we've talked before about the challenges of learning a foreign language.  I know them well as Spanish is the 2nd foreign language I've learned.  I actually studied French all through high school and college, lived in France for a time, and used to be fluent believe it or not.  My Spanish journey started in February 2008 when I moved into my first Spanish congregation.  It's been a long journey but enjoyable mainly because I have always been fascinated with languages.

For about 6 months now I've actually been teaching one!!  Yep, I am now officially a Spanish teacher with 6 students, and that's how I've been supporting my need greater activities.  Every so often I do piece work or translation through but mainly everything is classes now.

I mention it because I have room (and need, quite frankly) for a couple more students *hint hint*.  I charge $15/hour, recommend 1 hour/week, teach both children and adults, and it's all online.  I'd be happy to provide references if you so require.  My specialty is listening to you converse and read in Spanish and being able to tell exactly where you need to focus your efforts.  However, I have other students who started from square one and can fill that need too.

If you're interested, just send me a message via the private email form on the right side of the screen.  Thank you in advance for your consideration and recommendations.

Friday, February 13, 2015


For all you potential need greaters thinking about Nicaragua, check out the new page "Nica FAQs".  It's located between the title and this blog post.  Just click on the title and you'll see the page.  I'm open to suggestions if any burning questions have been left out.

Monday, February 9, 2015


I get a lot of questions about what gifts or special needs does a need greater have, so I thought I'd do a post to try to help.  First of all, let me just say we are so blessed to have an organization where we treat each other like family.  I personally have been the recipient of extreme generosity both inside and out of my family so.....THANK YOU!!!

But let's say you're on a tight budget and see a need greater has come home for a bit.  You want to help, but how?  Anything still practical but more subtle than an envelope of cash?  Here's some ideas:

  • Work!  Need greaters are typically home to earn money to keep their dream going.  Is there something you were already going to pay someone to do that you could offer to a need greater instead?  You may think the money's so small, it doesn't matter, but remember, they're returning to a country where a few US dollars goes a long way.  There's now even a website where you can offer that work...
  • Lodging.  Sometimes need greaters end up in an area where there's no family because they have more earning potential there.  Could you offer your extra bedroom or a few meals to help with their daily expenses while they're in the States?  It's temporary and a HUGE financial help.  Many come back for Regional you have room in your vehicle or hotel room for them?

Family and friends with whom I know I ALWAYS have a place with when I go home :)
  • Transportation.  Most need greaters sold their vehicles already and used the money in their assignment.  As you know, unless you're in a huge metro area in the U.S. where public transportation is available, you NEED a vehicle.  Do you have an extra one that could be loaned on a short term basis?  Check with your insurance, but typically, as long as you've given them permission to drive, they are covered under your policy for any accidents that may occur.
  • Direct Order.  Lately I've seen a lot of need greaters bring products back from their assignment and sell them in the States for a little profit.  They then use that money towards the saving they bring back to serve.  For instance, from Nicaragua I've seen exotic jewelry made from coconuts or tortoise shell, organic coffee, leather goods, publication covers, etc.  Could you communicate with a need greater before they come and put in an order?  You'll often spend much less than buying the same item in the States and the product can often be custom made.  Remember, the more the need greater buys, the better discount they receive.
  • Buy Skype credit for them.  Some have given me gift cards when I go home, but it's often not very practical because I have only a month to use it!  However, Skype is soooo important to us!  It's often how we work and keep in contact with home.  Could you put $5-10 on their account for an emergency call home?
  • Need greaters are often in very primitive conditions and on a tight budget.  Luxury goods don't exist for us either because we have no access or can't afford it.  A small gesture can often mean soooo much for us.  For example, a fancy coffee or cocktail out, a nail polish, a very American dessert, a museum visit, etc.  It doesn't cost much and represents everything we can no longer do.
Some NY friends treated by roommate and I to some fine chocolate during my last trip home.  It was heaven!  And greatly appreciated :)
  • Finally...good association!  Have us over!  Let us show some pictures or tell experiences! Better yet, let us know what's new with you!  We cherish our friends back home and time together is so precious, so take advantage!

Just a few shots of the amazing hospitality I receive every time I go home...these form some of my fondest memories!

If any other need greaters want to chime in, please do so!  Everyone's circumstances are different so you may have identified a need I overlooked.   Thanks again!

Monday, February 2, 2015


And she's gonna make some trouble...

Do you guys remember Andrea?  She served here two years ago with my roommate, Shelina, in sign language.  She's Canadian and can't properly pronounce the word "about", but we still love her ;)  She is gracing us with a ten day visit, and we couldn't be more pleased.  Here's some of the antics we've already gotten into with her...
Andrea and I at the English Circuit Assembly.  Can you tell who is whom?  Well, Nicas can't.  When she was here everyone thought we were the same person.  You know what they say....we all look alike anyway hahaha.

Andrea making fun of my food and drink pictures

Funday Monday at a restaurant by our house called El Bucanero.  If you eat there, you can use the pool for $2 all day.  We got there early and took advantage!!  Great views of Masaya Volcano and the Masaya Lagoon.

Now THIS is how a food/drink pose is to be done, and learn!

And like THIS!  Shelina ate this and I was jealous.  Best seafood soup EVER!  Lobster, mussels, crab, shrimp, and a whole fried fish in an amazing broth.  $13 or $11 without the lobster.

Our view for the day

Shawn and a volcano!!