Saturday, January 26, 2013

León, Nicaragua - January 26, 2013

We had some rain today - I know, that's not really spectacular news. However, we are now in the dry season and we haven't had any rain in well over a month, almost two. The winds have picked up which means that the dust is flying. There have been some days that we have to sweep our floor 3 or 4 times a day to try and keep it looking decent. The dust coats everything and sometimes we come home from service all covered in grime - especially if we have been out in some of the more remote areas on the outskirts of town. So - the fact that we've had a little rain is a topic of conversation here!

As was mentioned before, we've had a lot of visitors lately. All of them have acquired many new and useful skills such as.... drinking coca cola from a plastic bag (without a straw) and not spilling it all over the place.....

Rachel learning to drink coca cola from a plastic bag

and learning to dance salsa from an expert.....

Mariela teaching Sean some moves
Some of the visitors have been families with young children and teenagers. It's been a lot of fun to see Natalie interacting with kids close to her own age.

Natalie has some young friends

Josie with her big, bright smile

Thalia, Sean, Hazel, Sergio, Francinette and Levi
Our meetings for field service have been huge - over 30 on a number of occasions! It has been nice to work with so many different ones and share some exciting experiences. This past Tuesday while working some search territory with a visiting sister we found a young man who speaks really good English - in fact he was our first door of the morning. After conversing with him for about 45 minutes we had to leave to join the group. During the conversation we invited him to the meeting on Thursday night - to our surprise both he and his brother showed up for the meeting. They both enjoyed the meeting and arrangements have been made to study with them.
George, Lenin and Juan in the ministry
A while back we had a young girl visit us at the witnessing table and asked if we could continue her study. She had been studying but lost contact with the person who had been studying with her when she moved to a new house. She had moved to a new development and when we asked around if anyone knew where it was we kept drawing a blank. Coming home from La Paz Centro we saw a billboard advertising the development so we were able to get the directions. We went out to visit her last weekend and made arrangements to continue the study today. We are amazed at how good her English is after studying the language for only 4 months - we could only wish our Spanish was so good! Anyhow, Debbie and Hazel went to visit her today and the study went really well.

Of course - it isn't all work! Here are some pictures after a day at the beach.

Tawny and Ryan

Ludwig, Marcus, Mada and Maria in the back row
Tawny, Ryan (Ludwig & Mada's son) and Pat

Tawny and Ryan are visiting for a few months from the Michigan area. Marcus and Maria will be here for about a year and they are from Sweden. Ludwig, Mada  and son are also visiting from Sweden but are only in Nicaragua for a few weeks.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

León, Nicaragua - January 13, 2013

38 in attendance for meeting for field service
On Friday we had an amazing turn-out for field service - there were 38 in attendance. Sergio did a fantastic job in organizing the groups, but even more impressive to me was that he remembered all the visitors names! We had our customary visit to La Paz Centro and were finally able to meet up again with Eric. Like many people, he is really struggling with faith in God because of all the suffering that there is in the world. We pointed out in the Bible Teach book the chapter that discusses that very subject. We read together the first few paragraphs and then made arrangements to return to visit him next week to discuss the next sub-heading.  We were also able to visit with Jose Luis. He mentioned to us that his Pastor has given him an ultimatum to stop studying the bible with Jehovah's Witnesses. We gave him a few scriptures to read over and suggested that he pray to Jehovah for guidance. He will let us know next week if he plans to continue with his study.

When we returned from La Paz Centro we headed to the Campos Medicos where a large group had gathered to play a friendly game of soccer. While many ran around on the field the rest of us sat back and enjoyed getting to know each other.

Lily calling in an update on the scores

Pat on the sidelines

León Inglés playing soccer

León Inglés playing soccer

Yesterday we had our "Sunday Meeting" due to the fact that the Spanish brothers were having their KM meeting at the Kingdom Hall today. We took a picture after the meeting to show the huge attendance made up of León regulars, visitors and bible studies. Unfortunately, some had already left before this picture was taken.
León Inglés - January 12, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

More pictures from Pearl Lagoon

on the dock at Seaside Resort

Yaya, Jean and Camile

Oops, I'm out of toilet paper!

Houdini out of the cage

dinner at Queen Lobster - Pat, Patti, Honorio and Camile

Honorio, Pat, Debbie, Camile, Kata, Patti and Jean

passing through a cattle drive

a sleeping passenger

from the dock in El Rama

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Debbie & Pat in Pearl Lagoon - January 2013

Debbie & Pat - Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua

How do you describe a place like Pearl Lagoon? It is like taking a step backwards in time. There are only a few paved roads, but that's ok because there are hardly any cars - you mostly use well used pathways all over town. Rather than all houses being on a "main" road, you will find houses tucked in behind other houses that you reach by yet another pathway. English is the language of choice here, but you will find it different than that spoken in the US or Canada. It is English Creole. You will also hear a lot of Spanish spoken here too with a little bit of Misquito thrown in for good measure.

new shoes
Service here is door to door English and since there is no Spanish congregation they carry Spanish literature as well as Misquito. They also have a boat so that they can reach small communities that are on the various little rivers that feed into the lagoon. Did I mention that it rains a lot? Well, it sure does. Right now is the "dry" season but it rained everyday that we were there. Did I mention that the "roads" and "pathways" were a killer on shoes? I took two pairs of shoes that should have been sufficient for the time we were there. However, both pairs broke - 1 pair can be fixed but the other pair had to be tossed. No worries though - I bought a new pair of shoes that is more suitable to the situation. Due to the rain the pathways of often muddy and you need to use caution where you walk - not just because of the mud but also because the cows and horses wander about town freely..... People love to talk about the bible. At one door a young girl came out to see what we wanted. She said that they had just got up and weren't able to come out and talk - please stop by again. As we passed by the house on the way home the girl's mother came to the fence and apologized that they hadn't been able to come and speak to us that morning and to please come back another time because they "love" to discuss the bible. When has that ever happened to us before? Never!

cow with Kingdom Hall in the background
I was happy to find out that they do have electricity and running water at most times. We did experience times without both (not at the same time) It is an inconvenience but you just learn to cope. A lot of the houses here are of wood construction and many are built on stilts. There are no large stores for shopping here - only small, family owned stores. You may have to visit quite a few to find the things that you want. Most people buy what they want each day since electricity can be an issue and your fridge may not always be working.

Here are a few pictures from the week.

Pat "street" witnessing while we wait under a tree for the rain to stop.

sisters waiting for the rain to stop

a dog nursing a cat

two types of housing in Pearl Lagoon

fishermen at Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua

Mesenjero III - the boat used for witnessing (white with canopy)
A lot of maintenance is required in keeping the boat in good running order. It frequently needs to be bailed out after it rains. The sides also need to be scraped down in order to remove all of the algae. The brothers also removed the canopy so that the frame could be fixed.
bailing out the boat
even the neighborhood kids helped to move the canopy

somebody's pet monkey - he didn't seem too happy!

waiting under a shelter for the rain to stop

Demonstration during the meeting
a dory used by some locals