Thursday, June 21, 2012

León, Nicaragua - June 21, 2012

Sitting down to write the blog has been a bit more challenging since we are down to one computer and Pat is using it so much for work on the territories. We've also been a little busier with service since we are Auxiliary Pioneering this month (and July and August).

Last Saturday our congregation conducted a census in La Paz Centro, a small community outside of León. Our day started very early by meeting at the Bus Terminal at 7 am. Once our group was all congregated we headed on the next bus to La Paz Centro which took about 50 minutes. Once there we took a tuktuk to the Kingdom Hall for the service arrangement.  Some of the local brothers and sisters joined us and we were quickly paired up and out we went. Each group had about 4-6 territories to census and our group was able to complete 4 of the territories we were assigned. We personally found quite a few English speakers and made arrangements to return this Friday to hopefully start some bible studies.  We will also take the opportunity to complete a little more of the census work. When 2 pm arrived we were all worn out from all the walking and the heat but the day was a real success. Rather than take the bus home we all piled into a brothers pickup truck. Those of us who were fortunate enough to sit in the cab anxiously watched the "storm clouds" that were on the horizon - but not as much as those who were in the back, after all - they would be the ones to get soaked.  I'm glad to report that the rains held off until we were all safely home.

Living room

Some people have been asking what our house looks like now that we've had some time to settle in. I'm happy to say that we finally have been able to put some pictures up on the wall and the place is looking pretty nice.  We still have some pictures that we need to get framed for the bedroom but since they are odd sizes it may take a while. All in all the place is shaping up!

Bedroom and study area


On the garden front we are still fighting with those pesky ants. The borax treatment didn't help as much as I would have liked, although there seems to be less of them. On a happy note, it seems that most of those little seedlings we were growing were papaya trees and after giving a couple of them away and weeding out the rest we are the proud growers of a papaya tree! We also have found out that we are growing a lime tree and have relocated it to an area where it will have more room to spread it's roots. Our tomato plant is quite large and has a number of blossoms on it already and it looks like we might have a couple of pepper plants. It's amazing how easy it is for seeds to root here.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

León, Nicaragua - June 14, 2012

I know it's been a while since I've posted, but sharing a computer has presented it's difficulties. Pat is often busy on the computer updated the congregation territories or some other related work. Also, since we tend to be out in the ministry at the same time, we are also home at the same time and it is a fight to see who can use the computer.... ok, not really a fight, but let's just say a challenge!

I found this notice on the sidewalk as I was returning from town - my guess is that we aren't the only ones having problems with thieves. I'm not sure of the correct translation but I know that Ladrones = Thieves.

We have had some exciting times in service this week. One big challenge has been working an area that is close to our house. It is a very complicated series of "apartment blocks" and it was decided that we needed to update the census. Pat ended up having to redraw 5 territory maps since we found that at least two maps overlapped and had the same block in both. While out conducting the census yesterday we went to a house and the lady said that she didn't speak English but her niece did. She pulled out her phone and gave her a call. She handed the phone to Pat and he spoke to the niece for a few minutes. We made arrangements to meet Fatima at 3 pm at her aunts house. When we returned later in the afternoon she told us that she has been reading the magazines at her work which is one of the local hostels. She said that she is the manager there and when she has made up the schedule she will let us know when she is available to have a bible study!

Yesterday when we went to the service arrangement one of the Spanish brothers told Pat that someone had been looking for him to have a study. Pat wasn't able to get all the facts from him but this morning one of the young brothers in our congregation was able to find out the contact information. We went to the fellows house right after the arrangement but he had already left for work. This time however (poor Pat has been calling at the house at all hours) the woman gave Pat directions to where the fellow works - so off we go into León centro to find this fellow at work. When we found him he invited us all in (three of us) and we sat down and Pat started the study with him right away. Pat and Sergio will return next Thursday morning to continue.  So, our days are getting filled up with territory, studies and return visit. A good mix for keeping us on our toes.

We have also been keeping up with our chores. One new one for Pat is cutting the grass. Now, we didn't see the need to purchase a lawn mower, in fact, I don't think we have seen any for sale. Pat decided to use a kitchen knife for a machete to cut the grass the way we have seen the locals do it. I'm glad to report that he only had a small mishap and still has all his fingers and toes.

Also, in regard to our garden. Our plants have been identified. We have approximately 10 little papaya trees growing! Considering we've only had a few papayas since we moved here it would seem that they are very easy to grow. We also have two tomato plants, a lime tree and what looks to be pepper plants.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

León, Nicaragua - June 10, 2012

Picture of the Day:

You see all kinds of strange combinations on bicycles, but I think this one takes the cake! Check out the glasses on the dog!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

León, Nicaragua - June 5, 2012

The rainy season is in full swing! We have been having amazing thunder and lightning storms - almost daily. They have been starting later in the day - usually after 6 pm. You can see the clouds rolling in and then you start to hear the thunder. The lightning is next and then the rain begins. Sometimes the rain starts off rather gently but then gradually builds and until the rain comes down in buckets. Other times the skies just open up and the downpour is incredible. The streets quickly become rivers and believe me, you don't want to get caught out in one of these storms. You get absolutely soaked to the skin even if you are only steps away from your home! Umbrellas are now part of our attire but sometimes they provide very little protection in the storm.

Karin and Maria Fernanda
We have been very busy getting back into our service routine. Both Frank and Karin had their studies last week and we were able to hold them on the same night rather than stagger them so that someone was home with Maria Fernanda. Since they have moved into their new home they have enough room for me to hold Karin's study in their home and Pat holds Frank's study at our house. It works out very well except when it decides to rain and I have to walk home dodging rivers and trying to stay as dry as possible!

Starting June we will be Auxiliary Pioneering to prepare for September when we plan to go on the Regular Pioneer list. We hope to build up our return visits and studies in the next three months so that the transition to Regular Pioneering should be easier.

Last week we purchased 8.3 yards of mosquito netting and two rolls of duct tape. We decided to use the netting instead of buying screen material because the netting is much easier to apply to our odd shaped window openings. Also, it was a lot less expensive! We just finished applying the covering today and the results have been fantastic. There are hardly any flies or mosquitoes to be seen! Our safety habits have relaxed since we moved to Nicaragua. We weren't able to borrow a ladder and we didn't know where we could rent one so we had to devise our own method of reaching the "hard to reach" spaces. Let's just say that it's a good thing my old Health & Safety Committee didn't see me - they would have fired me on the spot! However, we were very careful and we got the job done with no problems and no scary moments either.

 This past weekend we experienced our first real negative experience here in León, Nicaragua. We were awoken at 3 am with someone in our bedroom - yes - someone had broken in! By the time we woke up the person or persons (we think there was someone waiting on the outside to receive the goods) had already taken our computer and also Pat's wallet. When the man realized we were awake he made a quick get-away. We were in contact with the owners of the house by 7 am and they were able to add a few more security features to the house. In the picture you can see the metal that was added to the top of our door - yes that is the small space that the person squeezed through to get into the house. We knew before we moved to Nicaragua that something like this could possibly happen - although I didn't picture being at home sleeping when it did. Foreigners are often targets for theft but they aren't the only ones. Many Nicaraguans have experienced the same thing - it is a very unfortunate part of this system of things and we look forward to the time when poverty will not drive people to such activities. We have learned some very valuable lessons from this experience and are very grateful that the person that broke in was only interested in taking possessions and had no intention of hurting us.

Friday, June 1, 2012

León, Nicaragua - June 1, 2012

On Monday we held a going away party for a sister who has been serving in the León English congregation for the past two years - helping it to grow from a group to a congregation. We will miss Louise, but wish her all the best as she heads to her new assignment in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico after a short rest period back home in Florida. Here are a few pictures from the evening.

Louise and Ashlee

Louise and Lydia

Louise and Nathan