Saturday, October 15, 2011


I want to share with you all an experience we had yesterday. Tommy and I were walking around Jinotega and decided to go see (the front of) a house we are interested in renting (since it was relatively nearby). Our thought was that it would be good to know how long it would take to walk back to the mission from the house, and it was also good to get more of a feel for the "neighborhood." We had previously seen the inside of this house and really liked it. At that time we had our translator with us while the owner, Oscar, showed us around. Well, when we got to the house yesterday, while we were staring at the outside, the door popped open and, lo and behold, there was Oscar. This was especially awkward at first because 1) he didn't know we were going to be there and 2) we didn't have our translator with us. We tried to explain (in Spanish) that we had just been in the area, and I guess he understood, though he did ask where our translator was. So, we stood there and chatted for a while using what Spanish we knew. At one point Tommy was joking about how he needs to drink more water instead of Coke here in Nicaragua to lessen his gut, and Oscar went and got each of us a glass of water to drink. Normally we wouldn't drink water unless we knew exactly where it came from, but in this situation we really couldn't NOT drink it. But, it was cool and tasted good, and our guts seem to be pretty much fine. After we had stood outside for a solid amount of time, Oscar invited us in to sit in the living room. He ended up turning on the TV, so the three of us sat and watched the news (apparently there are interesting things happening in Venezuela) and chatted. He told us about his family and we about ours. We talked about the weather (it has been very cold and rainy the past few days). He offered us bananas to eat. It was very cool because, even though we didn't have a translator, we felt very comfortable talking with him. Actually, he reminds both of us very much of our friend Jason Knight. Oscar and Jason have the same laid back--though particular about certain things--demeanor. Oscar is an electrician, and, like with Jason, you can look at him and tell that he has been doing hard work. We were able to get our Nica friend (who is also our translator) to call him today and set up a meeting for Monday to see about making arrangements to rent the house. There are things about the house that we would like to see updated, and there are other things we may just have to live with, but "randomly" running into Oscar was confirmation that we should do business with this guy. Interestingly, Oscar's brother owns the house that the Hennigers are in the process of trying to rent, and he is known to be a good Christian guy. I am very thankful that God is making clear paths for us here and that we are forming good relationships with the locals. One of the main things we loved about Nicaragua when we visited in January was the people. I'm very glad to say that is still true.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Making Progress

We have now been here 12 days (Thursday will be 2 weeks), and just today we were able to set up our computers in a spot where we don't constantly have to get them out and put them away. We went to Managua yesterday where we shopped at PriceSmart (Costco) and bought two small folding tables so that we could set up our "office" in our temporary room at the mission. Hopefully it will be easier now to post updates, and we finally have our Magic Jack phone set up to receive calls all the time. For those who may not have seen Tommy's facebook status, our number is 843-647-1626. Calling this number (price-wise) is just like calling Charleston, SC. If we don't answer, you can leave a voice-mail message that gets sent to Tommy's e-mail. Our Internet access is somewhat sketchy (our network tends to drop off periodically and then come right back on), but at least our room is close enough to the wireless router that we can get 2 to 3 bars of service. Tommy finally figured out how to get his videos to load, so be checking facebook and our website for those.

Our Spanish is getting better. We have two ladies who give us personal Spanish lessons, although if we have something significant going on in a particular day--which happens a lot--we end up either skipping our lessons or bringing our teachers with us so that we can ask them questions along the way. I can tell that it is easier to understand what is being said at church and in our morning devotionals. We're learning more of the hymns too. It's starting to get hard at this point, though, because our brains are so exhausted from learning and experiencing so many things. It's also getting tricky to remember correct English (ha!). Overall, communication with Nicaraguans is pretty good, though we certainly have a lot of room for improvement.

Today we saw a house that we are 99% sure we want to rent. Tommy shot video of it, so I won't try to describe it now. The cool thing is that it is on the same block as the house the Hennigers want to rent. We really like that "our" house has a lot of room, plenty of space for friends and family to come visit (*hint*hint*). :) However, the house still needs a lot of work before we could move into it. I'm not sure how muck time that will take. We'll see. It's just exciting to have an image in my mind of what my house will look like.

Well, that's about all my brain can come up with right now. We have been pretty busy doing stuff, and when we aren't doing stuff we're so exhausted that we just sit and don't do anything. Now that I have easier access to my computer, I'll try to post more often and tell you about the things that we have been doing.

Hasta luego,

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Acclimating - Becky

Well, we're here! After a very long day of traveling on Thursday we finally arrived here in Jinotega late that afternoon. After dinner that night and a few phone calls home we went to bed for some much needed sleep. We slept in to about 8 AM on Friday. We ate lunch out at a place called Papa Gayo (sp?) that serves both Mexican and Italian food. (BTW, the food here is not really like Mexican food that you get at a Mexican restaurant in the States. It is much simpler and less spicy, but we can explain more about that another day.) For my drink I ordered a "limonade," which I expected to be a regular lemonade, but we all had an awkward moment when the waitress presented something that looked to be a fancy mixed drink. Upon further inspection, I think they just put regular lemonade stuff (water, lemon juice, sugar) in a blender with some salt to make it all frothy, but as we're definitely in a "no alcohol" situation, it was pretty funny. That afternoon we were supposed to go look at a rental property, but the owner was not available. Instead, we went to a cellular phone store so that David Henniger could get a local cell phone, and then to Pali, one of the grocery store chains here. Along the way we purchased some plastic clothes hangers from a street vendor. That night our team had a devotional. Today we had breakfast at a coffee shop, and then we walked around and checked out various stores. We also got to check out a new grocery store on the other end of town, which we all thought was a little nicer than Pali. For dinner tonight we will be having chicken (purchased at Pali yesterday), and rice and beans and fruit (purchased at the street market this morning). This will be our first chance to have rice and beans here, which is surprising considering how often we had it on our trip here in January. After I finish this post, I hope to organize our "stuff" that is currently haphazardly strewn around our room and in our travel crates.

Time is different here. While the U.S. is still in Daylight Savings Time, there is a 2 hour time difference (after you "Fall Back" the difference will only be 1 hour). However, Sunrise and Sunset are about 2 hours earlier here, so when you are experiencing 7 AM there, our 5 AM feels like your 7 AM. We awake to many birds chirping, buses hoking, and market vendors advertising their wares, as well as random Latin music (and sometimes the odd song from the U.S.). Side Note: I find that certain styles of music here, such as rap and dance music, don't bother me like they would in the U.S. because I can't yet understand what they are saying. Thank the Lord for small blessings. :) Anyway, there is a lot of activity here (on the streets, which we can hear perfectly well here at the mission) in the morning, and it really doesn't stop until around 5 to 5:30 PM when the sun goes down. As for our own activities, we have learned that it is best not to expect too much. It is enough to pick one goal for the day that we're in, and if that goal doesn't work out (which is apt to happen), we just pick another goal and move on. It really is a "one day at a time" culture. Planning too far ahead can lead to disappointment. That is fine, though, as it is good to have time just to get used to things here. The best analogy I can think of is of wood planks you might use to put together a hard wood floor. The planks need a certain amount of time to sit in your house and acclimate before you can install them. So, right now we're just "acclimating" to our new situation. It is a bit of an emotional ride, but overall things have been good. Like I said before, we just have to think about one day at a time (sometimes it's more like one hour at a time). Well, that's about all I've got right now. Feel free to comment with any questions you might have about Nicaragua.

Until later,