Thursday, May 14, 2015

We're alive!!!!

It has been three months since my last post and I know some of you probably have been thinking we died, so you'll be relieved to hear that is not the case.
We have been so so busy lately I just haven't had time,  and now it's been so long I can't remember most of what's happened.  Oops. So, an abbreviated version of events.

We left off with all the visitors coming. Well, they came and it was awesome. Some are planning to come back, we're excited about that. Most have gone home now,  but we will get some more in the next month or so. Right now our congregation is looking a little small again.

A small experience to share.  A family that was visiting was able to come because the husband got a work hiatus, which in itself was totally unexpected.  But he had to be back by a specific date (to keep the job, I think), so they could only stay two months.  Well, two months are coming to an end and they are really enjoying it here and no one wants them to go, so we are all praying if there is a way they can stay. He gets an email from his boss, we don't need you back yet, stay a bit longer. Okay, if you insist. I think Jehovah answers prayers, don't you?

They also said something that I found really interesting and encouraging. They have always wanted to do something like need-greating, but felt they had to wait until the right time. Due to the work situation, they had the opportunity but didn't feel like they were ready and weren't sure if they should. Obviously they did come, and they were definitely blessed for that decision. I think a lot of us can feel that way, we might have a perception of what a (fill in the blank) should be like or what our circumstances should be, and therefore we might not reach out for the experiences and privileges that we could. Even if we don't think we are in the ideal situation or ready, that's okay, try anyway. In this system, you probably won't ever have perfect circumstances, and if you wait, you'll miss out.

You guys know who you are, and come back quickly!

Ok, so in March, we finally made it to Belize. We did our visa run there for a week. A week that was supposed to be super relaxing. It was not. The town was really small and cute and quiet, and we got to see Zach's cousins who live there, so that was nice. But basically everything that could go wrong did, including getting puked on a bit by a total stranger and losing Zach's wallet with all his cards and license in it. You'd be surprised how many shops and policemen are willing to take photocopies of identification here.

The congregation in Placencia is really big for such a small area, they had around 50 at the midweek meeting. There was a number of visitors from Honduras that week, so we got to meet sisters in our country that we might not have met otherwise. Plus, we got to hear our first bit of Kriol, which is just fun.

After that, we had our CO visit and the Memorial. We had about 50 in attendance, which was really impressive considering the timing. In April,  there is a celebration called Semana Santa. It's supposed to be religious, but is basically like Carnival or Marti Gras. On Friday (the day of the Memorial) is a specific holiday, and nobody works, including the busses, which are the main mode of transportation for many. It's generally a crazy day where no one goes out unless they are partaking in the festivities,  so to have that many come out after dark for the Memorial really impressed me.

We then took a road trip where nothing bad happened. That was the first one ever. We loaded up and drove out to Copan for a week and really got to explore this time. If they ever get an English group started, we may have to move.

Recently, the brother who normally goes to the prisons each week went on vacation,  so Zach went to fill in for him. Normally he takes other brothers so Zach hasn't been to the prison for a very long time. Well,  when he gets there,  he sees an old study of his from the first time we came down in 2012. We thought he had been released since before we went back to the States he was expecting to get out soon and go home to the islands, but unfortunately that's not the case. He was very happy to see Zach,  and has started studying again.

Since then, it's been service and work and repeat.

One of my favorite things about being here is all the people you get to meet. People come from all over the world, so you get to see how international the brotherhood is, and you get to meet many missionaries, special pioneers,  bethelites, etc. This week we got a phone call, hey a couple are visiting from the Central America Branch, can you show them around? Okay! We'd never met this couple before, had some language difficulties, and yet now we have new friends in another country, and a new place to visit. Where else can you have that kind of bond after only a few hours?

We have our assembly coming up at the end of the month, and then right after, we are heading back to the States for the summer. I'm a little excited because it's really, really hot here -not as hot as Nicaragua tho, aren't you guys jealous- and this week it snowed in Colorado. Also, Trader Joe's.

I'm sorry for the lack of photos in this post, I know that's what you really wanted, but I'm writing this in an app which doesn't seem to want me to upload pics. So we will have to do a strictly pic post or three later to make up for the last few months of nothing. 

Also, I did update the job resources page, so if you are looking for a way to support yourself from a country far, far away, see what's new.

Okay. Hasta luego, buenas noches, see you later, or soon for some of you.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Where to begin?

So Zach's parents visited. They didn't die and I think they had fun, so success! And photos!








Honduran Car Alarm

Guys fishing off the remains of the old pier.


While they were here, we had the Assembly. For a change, it was at a Kingdom Hall. Only the Honduran congregations in the Circuit were assigned here, so we all fit. It was pretty fun, like just being at a long meeting in the States. 



Zach had a soliloquy. I think all those drama classes in school paid off.


So, they left. The family from New Zealand came later that week. Then a couple from Canada came the week after. The brother from LA got here yesterday, and the next family comes on Thursday. I think that's it for a little while. It's been really nice to have so many visitors. We have a very international congregation right now.


This picture was taken just three weeks ago and it's already outdated!

We had a really fun day in service today. The territory was beautiful, very green with great views. We were doing survey work and found a good number of English speakers in the area. My favorite door though was a Spanish one. There were three people sitting outside a house. Zach asked if they spoke English and they said no, but wanted the latest magazines. (This is why we always carry Spanish literature.) So Zach hands the first guy the magazines, the other guy stands up to get a set. Then he hands it to the woman and puts his hand out for another. They talked to us for a minute, and when we went to leave, the one man asked when we could come back. Aww! We told him we would get a brother in a Spanish congregation to come see him.

Then Zach was talking to a woman, with his limited Spanish and she asked how long he has lived here. When she found out how long, she asked why he couldn't speak better Spanish, then proceeded to tell him he needed to go to the Spanish congregation to learn, and listed off the different locations! Obviously, Witnesses are very well known in this area.

Okay, picture time. 









 We could see Roatan from the top of this hill. We waved to all you friends out there, did you see us?








Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Busy Busy

Hello everybody! Thanks for all your concern, I'm all recuperated.
We've been really busy lately. Lots of new people have come to visit and we've had lots of things happening with our studies.

This weekend we have the Assembly, and Zach's parents are coming to visit. Very excited!

We have three sisters that came in this week, one from Germany and two from England. In a few weeks, families from New Zealand, Oregon, and a brother from Los Angeles are coming. I think there might be others, I'm not sure. Everyone is staying between a month and a year. All in our extra bedroom. Ok, maybe not.

The sisters all have return visits or studies already. One didn't even have to go out in service to get it!

We had a funny experience the other day. Zach took me to see a lady he had met before, and she right away says "O I'm sorry,  I haven't read the magazines you gave me, I gave them to my son.  But you can come in and we'll have a little study." Used those actual words. So we went in and indeed had a little study. 

Here's some recent photos. You may have seen them on IG already.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sick

I have been planning to write this long post full of awesome service experiences we have had lately. Only problem....I can't remember most of them anymore. Not that we haven't had any, just that my brain has been all fogged up from being sick for so long, I legitimately can't remember what day it is or the last time I ate or did (insert various other generic activities here).

What do I have? Excellent question, I'm glad you asked. First, I'd like to point out that we have done extremely well when it comes to the whole "catching tropical diseases" thing up til now. Second, we aren't 100% sure what it is cause I never went to the doctor. But when everyone and their sister has had dengue before, you kinda don't need a doctor to tell you what you have. So it's either that or Chikungunya, which is another mosquito-based illness which is basically the same exact thing with the same exact treatment- there is none. Besides acetaminophen anyway. So you don't have to go google the symptoms, it's essentially pain. Lots and lots of super fun pain. And fevers. And that brain fog I mentioned. 

But I'm getting better, and it's not contagious so Zach doesn't have it. Moving on. Here's some service experiences I do remember.

Zach has a really cool study with an older gentleman. He gave him starfruit last week, but that's not the experience. He has done a lot of his own studying in the Bible and talked to people of other religions before, so he has a pretty decent knowledge base. He has asked Zach some questions that he says he asked others and never got a satisfactory answer, but Zach has been able to do research and give him the answers. So one of the last times he was there, they were talking about the last days, and the man says that according to his personal research, all the prophecies in regards to that topic have been fulfilled except one- Matthew 24:14. Well funny you should say that....He made the comment that we can't know when it will be fulfilled, so Zach told him that it would be helpful to associate the with the group that is doing that work. Gave him some food for thought. 

This is a story about perseverance. A few weeks ago, a couple in a Spanish congregation were doing public witnessing and talked to a young woman who speaks English. She asked for a My Book of Bible Stories in English as she has a child and she was familiar with the book from her youth. So the couple passed her address onto a sister in our hall to visit her. Well, we haven't been to the area that she lives in before, just looked at it on Google Maps a few times, so we didn't really know where it was. And of course there aren't really street names or addresses here, although she did give us a house number- D26. So we went to the barrio and drove up and down the streets, stopping and asking if anyone knew her or the house numbers, no one did. They could tell us which block was D, but not which house was 26, and we couldn't just count 26 houses without knowing where to actually start the count. We weren't able to find her that first time, after probably close to an hour of driving around what was actually a very small area. 
So we went back another week. This time, we thought maybe the letter of the house address was wrong, could it be a B instead of a D? So we tried to find Block B. Then we tried to find house 26. We found someone who sorta spoke English and they told us to try a certain pulperia, because they might know who she was or the numbers. Curtis walks up the street to the pulperia and they don't know, so they holler over to the house across from them- hey that's actually B26. But she doesn't live there, well maybe it was actually 28, so he goes down a few doors. No, she doesn't live there either- but the person who does actually knows her! Apparently, there's two D blocks. What we thought was the furthest edge of the housing area isn't- there's a little creek and some more houses on the other side. So we drive over there, now to figure out which one of these is right. We count what we think is A, B, C, D, but once again, no numbers. So we try to ask someone else- they speak English too! He tells us she lives right next to the creek, it's like the 5th house down the right side. So we go there- the 5th house is a pulperia. Nope, that's not her. 
We are about to give up because we have another appointment and this has taken a long time and it feels like a wild goose chase, everyone tells us to go somewhere else, but maybe he meant the right side, let's try it just to see. We back up and go over there, nope, but hey- could it be? That's an address on the house, now we can count to the right one. So we back up again and count...count....count.....D26! Curtis jumps out of the car, "Are you so-and-so? We've been looking for you!" 
It was kinda sad, after all that, it turned out the book she wanted didn't make it into any of the service bags that day, so the sister had to make arrangements to bring it back the next week. But you know what other arrangement she made at the same time? Starting a Bible study. Was it worth all that time trying to find her? I think so. 



And now for a funny story...as we were leaving, we had to get a picture on this "bridge" just down from her house. What we are standing on in this picture are just nice round logs, there is a thin cable on the one side, but nothing else to hold on to. So we take the picture and I start walking back, at which point I lose my balance. Instead of going into the river, I decide the best option is to lean towards the log Zach is standing on and put my other foot on it. Well, it's a bit further than it looks in the photo and my legs aren't as long as I thought. I got stuck. Couldn't move without risking a swim. And to make it even better, there was an old couple sitting outside their house watching the whole thing. I'm not really sure what they thought about all that, but I think they were laughing. Seems like the appropriate thing to do. 









Thursday, November 6, 2014

Copan

As I mentioned in the last post, we are going to discuss Copan further. Don't worry, this is also mostly pictures.

We planned to take the same bus home from Salvador, and indeed, Monday morning, we did just that. Well, unfortunately Zach decided this would be a good time to get sick, so when the bus stopped for a lunch break in Copan, we decided to hop off and stay at a hotel. This worked out really well because that meant once he felt better the next day, we got to play tourist before coming home.

The actual name of Copan is "Copan Ruinas." I assume this is because of the Mayan ruins just outside the city, but I could be wrong. The three of us had never been to any ruins before that we could remember so we couldn't pass it up. We hopped in a tuk tuk (which for reference of anyone who visits there is totally unnecessary since it's a 10 minute walk if you are awake enough to remember to ask for directions) and then we were there (in about 2 minutes). I do have to say though, tuk tuks are a ton of fun, especially with 3-5 people in them, so you should try that at least once.

So....photos.

View from our hotel in the morning

This is a miniature of the layout, we walked around for 2 hours and still didn't see the whole thing!




 They have 26 Scarlet Macaws in residence.
























In case you were wondering, the black cable was *not* part of the original building.





Zach found an old relative.





Capybara











This tree is actually at the top of on of the pyramids. I don't know how it's even possible.




Ok, that's all about Copan.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

2014 Convention in El Salvador *Spoiler Free*

We had the best week in El Salvador. So many good stories, I don't think I can tell them all. Anyway, I'm going to try to keep from posting any spoilers, just in case someone hasn't had their Convention yet.

So we picked up a bus in Ceiba with the friends from Roatan on Wednesday. The original plan was that we would spend the night in Santa Rosa and then cross the Salvador border the next day. Well....earlier that week, there was a lovely little 7.4 earthquake in Salvador that may have completely broke the road we were supposed to take. So instead we got to take a slightly different route, staying in Copan Ruinas and going through Guatemala. 

Copan is really cute, it's built into a steep hill and has cobblestone roads. There are lots of little restaurants and there is a great view. The only taxis are tuk tuks, which are really fun to ride, especially with three people, three large suitcases, the driver and hills you don't believe you can get up.




Copan,we will get back to you.

Early the next morning, we headed to the border at Guatemala. We almost had a slight mishap when Honduras didn't want to let a brother out, but that got worked out.
It turns out Guatemala looks a lot like the States. And we now have passport stamps for a new country.
Now we had to go through the border into Salvador. When you check out of Guatemala, you have to cross a bridge of no-mans-land. Salvador has guards on the other side of the bridge that check your information and have to let you cross before you can even get to the Migracion. Well, now they didn't want to let a sister through. She had a flight leaving San Salvador on Monday, so it was kinda important to get there. I think she was held on the bridge for an hour before they decided she could come through. But thankfully, everyone made it this year.

What I want really to know though, is on that bridge, did we actually exist in physical space since we were neither in Guatemala or El Salvador? Where were we?
I'm over-thinking this again. 

Anyway. When we got to San Salvador, there were friends from a local congregation there to greet us with sandwiches. I was so excited. We stayed with a local friend from Pioneer School- the same one we stayed with back in March. Yay second mom!

And now....Pictures!






There were at least 18 countries represented at our convention- the four in the Circuit: El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua- PLUS: USA, Canada, Scotland, England, Denmark, Austria, Australia, Sweden, France, Belize, Ireland, Italy, Mexico and Malawi- there may have been others as well. So it really was a mini-international. 
These friends are from Sweden and are currently serving in Belize.




One of the best parts of going was that we finally got to see everyone from Pioneer School again. It's been over two years, so a reunion was definitely overdue. 


The auditorium we met in was a bit smaller than we are used to for conventions. The attendance was less than 1000. I liked that though, because you could easily talk to almost everyone. And we all sang so loud, you couldn't tell we were a small group. This picture shows the entire room. 



Julio always plays the difficult character.





This brother is from Colorado too!



On Sunday, many of the friends wore the native dress of their home. This brother is from El Salvador, he matched the sisters we were staying with. I don't know how it happened but I never got a photo of all of them together. As you can see, I am in the native dress of my people. 



Proof that we live in a super small world. I started randomly talking to this one sister, she is visiting from California and going to Nicaragua to spy out the land etc. Hey, what part of California? Northern- in this tiny little town that you would have to live there to know about. Hey, that's where my uncle lives! Great, so picture, talking, how cool is this. We go to exchange info and I tell her my maiden name cause it's in my email. Wait a second...are you so and so's daughter? Turns out when I was super little we were in the same congregation.


My twin!


So, there's the highlights of Convention- spoiler free, which was super hard. We are so glad we *finally* made it to Salvador for this. It was such an incredible experience, all the friends are so awesome. Everyone is either a missionary, graduate of one of the schools, need-greater, learning a foreign language, or considering one of those options. That means that we get to hear amazing experiences both on the platform and off. I'm not saying "best life ever" but....Best Life Ever!