Tuesday, May 28, 2013

And then there were two..... and a bird

Ready to go.....

Camille has headed home to work for the summer - a common situation for many needgreaters here in Nicaragua. We're going to miss her smiling face and delicious cinnamon rolls and Pancho will miss spending time with her as she plays guitar.

As the old song says, "See you in September...."

A rainy goodbye at 5 am

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua - May 22, 2013

Pat studying with Justin a 12 year old boy

It has been hard to settle back down into a routine because it has become very hot and humid. The rainy season has already begun - or it at least is right around the corner. It's a good thing that we have quite a few studies on the go so that it keeps us motivated.

Speaking of studies, today I conducted my first study in Miskito - well, my householder read the brochure in Miskito and then we discussed it in English. Miss Adelia lives in a small community called Awas which is about a 30 minute walk away. She was so thrilled to have the Good News brochure in her own language and  because Annette, the sister I was working with, brought a bible in Miskito she was also able to read the bible in Miskito too. It was touching to see the way she caressed the bible as if it was the most precious thing she had seen.  We have heard through the grapevine that there will be a Miskito language course next month in Bluefields. We are trying to decide if one or both of us can attend since we have so many who speak Miskito in our area. There is no charge for the language course but we would have to feed and house ourselves for 7 or 8 days - a lot to think about because we have a lot of expenses coming up with the SAD in June and our District Convention in El Salvador at the end of August.

Another development for us is that we have been invited to the Pioneer School in August - the class will be held in Granada. We are really looking forward to attending the school together.

Last Monday we had a congregation picnic in Awas as a going away party for Camille. She will be returning to the US soon for about 3 months. She is hoping to find some work online that will enable her to stay in Nicaragua for longer periods of time. We all will miss her sunny smile very much. When she leaves she will be dividing up all of her studies between the pioneers - so our already busy schedule will be even busier. Anyone want to come and take over her 13 studies until she returns?

In regard to the picnic. When we left the Kingdom Hall on Sunday I was told that we would gather the following morning to leave for Awas at 7 am - hummmm - I've been told that before. We knew that nobody could possibly be ready for 7 am. The next thing I was told was to bring some chips (aka junk food) since people would get hungry from swimming. OK - I can do that. On Sunday evening Camille decided to make cinnamon rolls to take along so that everyone could have a sweet treat - they were delicious.  So, on Monday morning about 8:30 am we all finally arrive at the Blake's home (which is also the Kingdom Hall). When we arrived we found out that the simple picnic had turned into a serious eating event - there was: rice and beans, marinated chicken, cassava, watermelon, mango salad, roasted crab (fresh caught that morning) and finally roasted cashew! We can't wait to see what they bring when they truly plan a picnic!

Here's some pictures from the day.......

 There was so much fun that some of the little ones needed a nap right there on the beach.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A visit from a friend and Visa renewal in Costa Rica

The morning after the Zone Visit we were of to Managua to wait for the arrival of our good friend Chizu Wasa. After traveling 48 hours to get here we were thrilled to see her walk through the secure area at the Managua airport. Chizu had timed her visit so that she could accompany us on our visa renewal to Costa Rica. Since her arrival was at noon our first stop was for some food and then we headed for a night in Granada. We spent the night at our favorite spot in Granada - Casa Silas. The rooms are a good size, have air conditioning and there is also a small plunge pool for cooling off. We were able to give Chizu a quick tour of the downtown area before we introduced her to some typical Nicaraguan food. Since she had been traveling so long and we had a bus to catch in the morning we made an early night of it.

Pat and Chizu at the Nicaragua border
The next morning we boarded the Tica Bus to Costa Rica. The line through Immigration wasn't very long and before we knew it we were in Liberia looking for our transportation to the Riu Guanacaste. This was our first time staying in an all-inclusive - and boy did we enjoy ourselves! After a year of living in Nicaragua with very few luxuries it was so nice to feel "pampered". Everywhere was nice and clean and the property was beautifully landscaped. We could eat or drink anything we wanted at almost anytime. The food choices were almost overwhelming and it was nice to have an alcoholic beverage without wondering what the neighbours will say (in Pearl Lagoon the drinking of alcohol is looked down upon by some of the churches). We took the Eco-Tour that was offered by the hotel and were thrilled to find a large troupe of Howler monkeys - some of the females had some very small babies with them. We enjoyed eating at two of the specialty restaurants - especially the Steakhouse which had a beautiful view of the ocean.

Decorations at one of the buffet tables
Of course, all good things must come to an end and before we knew it we were  back in Nicaragua looking forward to showing Chizu Pearl Lagoon. We had a small hiccup when we went to the Ivan Montenegro bus station to purchase our tickets for El Rama - the bus was sold out! We ended up staying two nights in Managua so that we could drive to Pearl Lagoon with Chad and Paula Pampu - the special pioneer couple that have been assigned to Pearl Lagoon (fellow Canadians from Alberta). It was good to be home and back in our own beds.

The weather has been particularly hot lately so service has been a challenge. For Chizu though, it was a thrill to be able to user her bible so freely in the ministry. She was amazed that people already knew so much about the bible and were willing to talk about it. Service here has convinced her that she needs to come back to visit next year. It was thrilling to see Nicaragua through her eyes - so foreign to her (she kept saying - that would never happen in Japan).

Chizu, Debbie, Camille, Annette and Honorio
After a two week visit it was time to take Chizu back to the airport. Since we came in by road it was decided that we would exit by boat. Early Sunday morning we took the 6:30 panga to Bluefields where we made a connecting panga to El Rama. We finally arrived in Managua at 5:30 pm - a long day but another "adventure" for Chizu - I guess it's all becoming familiar to us now. Chizu's flight was at noon on the 13th so we were able to enjoy a few more relaxing hours with her before she had to start the long journey home.

For us - we too had a long journey ahead of us. We spent Monday at Las GalerĂ­as Mall and caught the 9 pm bus to El Rama. The next morning we took the pangas back home to Pearl Lagoon rather than waiting until 4 pm for the bus to Pearl Lagoon. Our two week vacation with Chizu was wonderful - now back to work!

Here are a few more pictures from the week:

Howler monkey - Costa Rica

Chizu and Pancho

Chizu enjoying some coconut juice after a hot morning in service

The group after lunch with the Blake family

A well appreciated gift - Thanks Chizu!

Saying goodbye to Pearl Lagoon

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Zone Meeting - Pearl Lagoon, April 28, 2013

Zone Meeting - Pearl Lagoon
Our congregation here in Pearl Lagoon were very excited to hear that we were invited to listen to the Zone Meeting broadcast from Mexico on April 28, 2013. A lot of thought and preparation was needed in order for us to listen to the program.

Due to the fact that we have a television (a small one but with a bigger screen than a laptop) it was decided that if it was possible to watch the program it would be held at our home.

First of all the brothers had to ascertain whether or not the internet strength was good enough to tune into the program. Unfortunately, the first "trial run" failed because the internet strength was too low for the bandwidth that the program was initially transmitted. Once we realized this we had a week to "keep the pressure on" our internet provider to provide better service. We are supposed to get 5 mbps but are usually receiving less than 1 mbps. This was a huge stumbling block because the first test was only high quality video which we would not be able to access. Pat was preparing to deliver a talk just in case we couldn't get the internet issue resolved.

The second test for the program was on the Saturday prior to the meeting and Byron and Pat worked with Rodney (our internet provider) to install a cable that was supposed to improve the signal. When it came time to perform the test they were able to log into the test with the low quality video - sufficient for us to view the program - we were all very excited!

On April 28th Byron transferred all of the chairs and the battery backup from the Kingdom Hall to our house along with a few fans to keep the living room cool. Pancho was really upset up us because in order to accommodate all of the chairs we had to move his cage into the kitchen - he hates it when we move his cage. Therefore, he spent the whole time supervising what we were doing.
Pancho making sure the rows are straight

The hour arrived for the program to start and what do you think happened?? The power went out - which means that the internet cable was useless! Thankfully, our forward thinking brothers had decided it would be a good idea to put some time on our "mobile modem" just in case this happened. So, although we all sweated through the program (because the fans didn't work) we all enjoyed the spiritual highlights that were delivered in Spanish and English for our enjoyment.

So, what was the attendance? Well, officially the brothers reported 20 attendees. However, unofficially there were 20 people and 1 very small parrot! Pancho would not stay on his cage and insisted on joining the audience. Thankfully he behaved very well the entire time.

waiting for everyone to arrive

Doni, Camille and Annette before the program

Doni, Camille, Annette(front row), Pancho, Debbie and Jean (back row)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Kennie's Visit

Kennie Gathuru stayed with us for a week and he sure was put to good use - in our house as well as in the congregation. Not only did he give the public talk on Sunday but he also gave the exciting part in the Kingdom Ministry School about "Cell Phone Use" - who knew the Question Box could be so fun!

Who knew that he was great at rolling out flour tortillas - I hate to say it but he actually was better at it than me - his were all the right shape and thickness.

Rolling out flour tortillas
Monday is cleaning day and even Kennie couldn't escape the routine. Before Pat took him to Awas swimming he was given the chore of washing the floor - I don't think I have ever done it with a smile......
Washing the floor
Our front porch became "bike fixing central" with tires needing to be fixed (the roads are murder on the tires). What should have been a simple patching job turned into a marathon with new tubes being purchased as well as having to replace the "borrowed" hand pump that broke while we were using it.....

Kennie supervising Pat's work
The night before Kennie left we invited some friends over to enjoy some music and to play "Pass the Pigs".

Kennie and Camille singing

Kennie strumming a few chords

Playing "Pass the Pigs"
We thoroughly enjoyed Kennie's visit and hope he did too!