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!




Friday, October 3, 2014

I'm a Terrible Person

Did you miss us? We missed you. I've been horribly lazy about writing lately. Sorry :(

So... what have we been up to in the last month?

When we left off, I was going to Colorado. Well, I did that. It was awesome. I had been a little sad to go in September when it wasn't going to actually be cold, because I miss the snow. Well, somehow there was a freak storm and we actually got a tiny bit of snow. I think it's because my Grandma came out to see me, and every time she comes to Colorado it snows.

So, I came back from Colorado. We moved apartments. Our new place is pretty awesome, we have two bedrooms, so we have room for guests. I'm excited about that. Of course, it felt really silly to be moving literally around the corner, we are still on the same block. And Zach's primo Curtis moved down here. For one of his first service experiences, cows tried to interrupt the call he was on. Also, they may have considered climbing over the truck to get to him, but that's unrelated.






Two weeks ago, Zach's study came to the meeting with his mom and sister. The mom already studies with another sister in the hall, and another son studies with a brother in a Spanish congregation. We didn't even know he was coming, so that was a nice surprise. Then, his sister, who has been on the island for a while, said that she would like a study as well. So last Saturday she sat in on her brother's study and tomorrow I am going to start studying with her.

We also started our invitation campaign for the Convention last week. We have the Convention in El Salvador in two weeks. In the meantime, Zach is currently in California. He had to renew his visa before heading to Salvador so he doesn't get turned away at the border, which actually happened to a lot of friends last year.

So..convention in two weeks, CO visit in November, and we have visitors coming in December and January from Germany, Warwick and New Zealand. It's going to be very busy, I think.



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Surprise!

Hey, another surprise trip! This time... Colorado. And it's just me. Zach is staying here to hold down the fort, and hopefully get us moved into our new apartment.

So.... anyone in Colorado, if you want to hang out, let me know. I'll be there tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Well This Has Never Happened Before....

Today we were doing public witnessing at a local supermarket when we had a new experience.

Although we are in the English congregation, when we have the cart out, the majority of people who are interested and take literature speak/read only Spanish. Even when we are doing the search work in the territory, we start our presentations in Spanish. However, as you all know, Zach and I don't speak much Spanish, and quite obviously are not locals.

Well today, I was practicing reading the Watchtower in Spanish while we sat there and maybe that was part of what this lady picked up on, but she was looking at the cart and starts talking to us in Spanish, Zach replied and told her everything was gratis (free) so she picks up one of the books and notices it's in English. So in perfect English she says "Oh, you speak English too?" in a very surprised voice. Then goes on to ask us where we are from, etc. But her first inclination was to speak to us in Spanish, she didn't think we knew English, and our Spanish wasn't bad enough to give us away.

That totally made my day. Almost a year and we are starting to fit in. Speaking of, we have been back in Honduras for almost a whole year! Time goes by so fast.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Funny Experiences

Two funny things happened this week. One was service related, the other just gives a glimpse into the way things go here. We'll start with that one.

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We went through Wendy's drive-thru for lunch the other day. We ordered a burger meal and a 5 pc. nugget meal. Seems pretty easy, right? So we get the drinks...one is significantly smaller than the other hmmmm. Then we get the bags. That's interesting, there's a pie in here. I don't remember ordering that. So I look at the receipt. Apparently we ordered and paid for: 1 burger meal. 2 pies. 1 3 pc. econo-menu nugget meal. What did we actually receive? 1 burger meal. 1 pie. The drink and fry from the econo-menu, but with a 5 pc. nugget. Ok, well, we already paid and left so not much I can do at this point (plus, don't ever try to return anything or fix anything here, it just makes them shut down and stare blankly) (or they accuse you of stealing even though they gave it to you- did I ever tell the fan story?) So alright, I get an unexpected dessert. And it proclaims itself to be blueberry cheesecake, now I'm super excited. I bite into it....Apple. 

Flexibility is key here. That could have been annoying, but instead, actually made our day. Honduras is always full of surprises. 

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This morning we were out in service, and took a moment to sit in some shade. So there's four of us just sitting on a bench by a pulperia, minding our own, when this guy on a bike rides up to us and stops to talk. Apparently, he fixes umbrellas. His shop is just down the road. A sister was having him fix her umbrella, but she hasn't come back to get it. Do we know her? Can we tell her to come pick up her umbrella?
He didn't even ask us who we were, just came up and said a Testigo de Jehova needed her umbrella. He didn't know who she was either, but did know she was a sister.

It's good to be easily identified.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Not All The Tarantulas I See Are Dead, Part II

Once again, we have come across a tarantula that wasn't quite as squished as Zach would like. Well, specifically, Zach came across it. As in, it fell out of the pile of clothes he had just picked up. In our apartment. We're really hoping it didn't sneak in through the hole in the window by the bed cause between that and the millipede in the sheets, we may never sleep again.






Monday, July 28, 2014

Belize

So we got our passport stamps. We are legal for another 3 months which will get us through the convention- just- and we'll figure it out from there. At least now we know the new rules on visas.

We ended up leaving super early Saturday for Belize and got back Friday. Airline miles are a lifesaver. Plus, we flew Avianca, which has great in-flight service. We had to take two flights each way- San Pedro Sula to San Salvador to Belize and reverse- and each flight was less than 45 minutes, but we still got drinks and food on each leg. I don't mean peanuts either. We got sandwiches with cookies and cake, burritos, all sorts of things. I think I'll fly Avianca from now on.

Belize is nice. We stayed in Belize City and really didn't do much since I was sick (plus our hotel room had a/c and cable which was a treat in of itself) but it basically reminded us of Honduras- the weather, the houses, the shops, the flowers and ocean and all that. Which makes sense since the two countries aren't exactly far from each other. The one main difference is that all the signs were in English and Chinese instead of Spanish. Since we were basically at home, I didn't take a ton of pictures, but here's some anyway.

These guys are loading a tree trunk from inside a bus to the boat.

I don't know why, but I found this sign hysterical.





Belize City's one advantage is that they have a ton of ethnic restaurants that we don't. Indian, Lebanese, good Chinese... We went for Indian one night and I seriously thought I would cry.


This river leads to the ocean. We asked our taxi driver about swimming in it and if the water is clean, because there really isn't any beach in the city. He told us a story about when he used to be a prison guard and they were transferring prisoners by bus. One prisoner managed to get off the bus and swam across the river to escape, where they watched as he was taken by a large crocodile. They found his body down river three days later with a huge bite. So no, they don't swim in the river here. 



BZE airport from the runaway. It's super tiny. You have to walk out across the runaway for every plane. 






Funny story- People in Belize primarily speak English. So I was all excited to get a chance to rest my brain from trying to speak Spanish all the time. Well as soon as we got on the plane to head there, a switch flipped and all I could do was think and speak Spanish. That definitely limited my conversing ability.



That's all for now. This weekend is the Spanish convention in town. We are going to go to part of it, although I don't know how much we will understand. My study asked me to go because she is going. That was a surprise! And of course, we have the campaign coming up in a few days. I'm sure everyone is going to have great experiences with that. Can't wait to hear some of them!