Wednesday, September 25, 2013

We've found Pancho!

We had given up looking for Pancho and didn't think that we would ever see him again. I had pictured him with a new family (either bird or human) and hoped that he was happy. So.... you will never believe where we found him - at one of my bible studies in Awas! Where is Awas? It is a 30 minute walk away - one of the Miskito communities along the lagoon.

It appears that when Pancho made his big getaway he ended up in the "savannah" which is a swampy area between Pearl Lagoon and Raitipura (another Miskito community). Miss Hazel's grandson was in the rice field at the savannah and found this little bird (Pancho) sitting on the ground. He was afraid that the bird couldn't take care of itself so he picked it up and took it to Miss Hazel's daughter Ildelia to look after it. So... the crazy part of this story is that both Miss Hazel and Miss Ildelia are my bible studies!

Last week when I went to study with Miss Ildelia I heard Pancho in her house chirping and asked her if she had a chocoyo. She told me that her nephew had brought her the bird and that she had had it for about a month. My partner and I went in to see the bird and had a good laugh because it acted "just like Pancho" - we didn't really get a good look at it because the room was dark and so we didn't know that it really was Pancho.

Today when I went for the bible study I saw the bird was outside. I commented about how our bird had done the same thing - plucked out it's chest feathers. Then I took a closer look at the bird and could see the "bald spot" on the bird's head and I knew it was Pancho! I think he was actually happy to see me!

Our next step in this saga is to try and find a "replacement" for Pancho so that we can bring him home!

Debbie with Pancho

Mr Orlando and Miss Ildelia with Pancho (notice her bible?)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua - September 21, 2013

Pat, Jean, Kathy, Jamie, Debbie, Hayley and Amy

So, we are a couple of weeks into the new service year and we are happy to say that there are a few new faces in Pearl Lagoon. The first to arrive were Amy Salton and Hayley McKleaine fresh from Australia. They are here for 6 months and are quickly settling in. The next arrivals were Jamie and Randy Hendershot from Texas, USA. Jamie and Randy have sold everything back home and plan to be here in Nicaragua indefinitely.

Changes are coming for us - we are moving again! This time we aren't moving to far - in fact, we probably can move most of our things with a wheelbarrow. Shortly after October 1st we will be moving into the house where the Kingdom Hall is. The house will never win any beauty contests but, since the Blake family (they are currently living there) is only weeks away from finishing building their house and will be moving out, the Kingdom Hall needs new tenants. We volunteered to move in so that there would be no problems for the congregation to continue holding their meetings there. I may be looking for ideas to "spruce" the place up a bit - so put your thinking caps on! (remember though, we are on a tight budget) I'll post pictures of the house when we are settled.

Amy and Hayley on the way to Raitipura

Amy and Hayley enjoying their first coconut

Saturday, September 7, 2013

San Salvador District Convention 2013: Pat's Interview

Pat had the privilege of being interviewed on Sunday morning for the part: Help your Children "Go On Walking in the Truth" (3 John 4; 2 Peter 1:5:11). He explained how his parents helped him to remain strong in the truth. Knowing that many of you back home that follow our blog would be interested in what he said, here is the printed version:

1. When did your parents start helping you to develop "fire resistant Qualities?  
My Mom started studying when I was three, I have very foggy memories of sitting under the table, and I have been told that is where I was when she was studying. My Dad came into the truth three to four years later. From my youth  the things that I remember are that Mom and my sister and I read a portion of the Bible at lunch. Dad did the family study when he came in the truth. While growing up my parents supported the circuit Overseer by inviting him to stay at our home. They also had a pioneer couple over on occasion for a meal and to play cards. We enjoyed trips to conventions as a family. And during the 9 day conventions Mom and Dad took a day off in the middle to give us kids a bit of a break. Service on Saturday was a must as well as all of the meetings.

2. What do you mean when you say meetings were a must..?
We were expected to  pay attention look up the scriptures and we were encouraged to have at least 1 comment each meeting.

3. What did your parents do when you were in your Teens ?
I was encouraged in my early teens to get baptized and dedicate my life to Jehovah, which I did in 1969. I was also encouraged to continue my education till grade 12 so that I could at least secure a reasonable job. During the school year there was a young pioneer brother that came and picked a few of us up after school and took us in service, which I am sure was encouraged by my parents.

4. How did the training from your parents help you going into your adult years?
Mom and Dad thought they would like to serve where the need was great, so they bought Spanish records and we all got into them. So they wrote a letter to the Bethel and asked where they would be needed. The answer we got back took us by surprise because we were directed to Halifax, Nova Scotia. So, off Mom and Dad went to Halifax to spy out the land. Soon thereafter I was pioneering in Halifax for two years.

I must say at this point I have never been a ball of fire in the truth. But for 44 years I have been steady and determined to stay with Gods Organization I have not once deviated from the truth. There have been times that problems have entered into our lives, both as a family with Mom and Dad and with my wife and kids. The scripture that keeps me holding it together is found at John 6:68 where Peter replied to Jesus after many disciples had left him."Simon Peter answered him: “Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life"

Thanks to Rachel Matthews for the  following picture:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

English District Convention in San Salvador, El Salvador - 2013

Where do I even start to describe what an amazing experience this was? I guess the best way is to start from the beginning.....

A few months ago it was decided that the Pearl Lagoon Congregation would travel to the convention with the León English Congregation on a rented bus. That meant that the brothers and sisters from Pearl Lagoon had to leave town on Monday on the 5:30 a.m. bus. They spent the night in El Rama and then continued on to León the next day arriving about 5:00 p.m. Pat and I met them at the bus terminal and we all hopped into taxi's to Guadalupe Park. We took them to Guadalupe Park because that is where we were to meet the bus the next morning. We walked the short distance to their accommodations for the night and once they were settled in Pat and I returned to Michelle and Miguel's for a delicious dinner of Spaghetti Carbonara.

We were up the next morning by 4:30 and jumped in Miguel's car for the trip to meet the bus. Hummm - change of plans. Instead of meeting us at Guadalupe Park we had to trek up to the cemetery and meet the bus there. In short order everyone was accounted for and we were on the way by 6:30 a.m. Next stop the border with Honduras.

group at Cebollinas Restaurant
Both the border with Honduras and El Salvador were a breeze - no problems what so ever! Yay! That put us into San Salvador by just after 5:15 p.m. - almost a full hour early. Since we were there earlier than expected the Rooming Department wasn't there to meet us - but no fear, within minutes there was a Welcoming Committee with sandwiches and water to refresh us from the journey. We were all quickly introduced to our host families and whisked away by our accommodations. Pat, me and two other members of our congregation were hosted together with Maritza Asencion and her mother. Sister Asencion (senior) is a ball of fire and still applies for the pioneer route. She loves it even though it is physically challenging for her with a lot of walking. Unfortunately, for us and her she got quite sick with asthma while we were there and spent a night in hospital which resulted in us not being able to get to know her very much - perhaps next year.

yard of steak

On Wednesday evening, after we arrived, we were invited out to a Mexican restaurant called Cebollinas for a delish meal. We haven't seen that much meat in ages! They served the steak on a long plank with different sauces and vegetables. We enjoyed chatting and getting to know our host family and their extended family from the US. 

What a feast!

Chicken and pork at Cebollinas Restaurant

We made plans with Sister Asencion to spend a short time in the ministry the next morning. However, those plans had to change when we got up in the morning and found out that she was feeling quite sick. This was very distressing for her because they had arranged to have a couple that was arriving from Granada to come for lunch - she was obviously not well enough to prepare the meal. So, we all chipped in and under her supervision prepared a nice lunch for Lewis and Dana. It was at this time though that I started to feel really sick to my stomach - Pat did too! We must have picked up some type of bug either in León or on the trip to El Salvador. Rather than visit our hosting congregation we spent the night at home and went to bed early.

The next morning we were up early to get ready for the assembly. The arrangement was that we were picked up after breakfast and taken to the local Kingdom Hall where we met with the Spanish brothers that were also enjoying hospitality with the congregation (both English and Spanish conventions were on the same weekend). Once everyone had arrived we were taken by bus to the convention site. Pat and I were still feeling rather bad and so there are no pictures from the first day of the assembly. You will be happy to note though that as the day progressed we revived and were feeling pretty good by the end of the program - just in time for dinner! Tonight we were taken to a restaurant that was owned by a local brother and sister and treated to what El Salvador is famous for - PUPUSAS!

(On an unhappy note - we were not able to meet up with our good friends, Peter and Monica Stroud. They were denied entry into El Salvador due to some paperwork issues. We were looking forward to seeing them again but will have to wait until another time. It was a big disappointment for them to - partly because they had been preparing a part on Friday's program for months and were unable to give it.)

Every morning of the convention we would wake up and find out that Maritza had prepared a delicious lunch for us - no sandwiches for us! Here is an example:

Chicken with a delicious onion sauce, rice and salad

All washed down with a delicious, natural fruit drink - in a bag! I had to be very careful that I didn't spill it all over myself..... I guess I have learned the technique since nothing spilled!

Fruit drink with pieces of fruit in it
 Saturday night for dinner we were taken up one of the mountains surrounding San Salvador to a small village with a mirador overlooking the city. There were many small restaurants that cater to the hungry, pupusa loving crowd. After stuffing ourselves - with what else but pupusas - we headed for a look at the city lights of San Salvador.

View of San Salvador at night
The group at the Mirador

Of course, the main reason we were in San Salvador was for the spiritual food - and what a feast that was! We found that it was a very emotional convention for us - the information provided was just what we needed - and the new releases are a real blessing!

Here are some pictures from the convention site:

Sergio, Fanny and Miguel

Yadira and her sisters

 It's funny who you run into down here in Central America!
Mike and Cassandra Koschuk from Ontario (we knew them when they were kids and before they were married)


Hazel, Fanny, Mariela, Thalia (León Congregation)

Yaya, Debby and Kathy (Pearl Lagoon Congregation)

Calli, Skye, Debbie and Pat

Debby putting her hair braiding skills to work

Jean helping to prepare lunch

Pat, Maritza and Kathy enjoying a crepe

 Even though we were all tired come the return trip on Monday..... some of us were able to catch a few zzzz's


We were one happy bunch

I think the smiles tell it all.....

Mariela, Fanny and Sergio