Thursday, October 21, 2010

#25 Birthdays, Ladies' Day, and a Death

    As I snapped these pictures the other Sunday morning, the above verse came to mind and it has stuck with me through the last several days. No matter where we are, God still knows where we are and He will still provide us with the strength we need. As I watched this plane come down and spray the field and soar back up in the sky for the next round, I was reminded of the day when we will all leave this earth and be caught up to meet our Lord. The thought brings tears of joy to my eyes as I think of that day. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4" This verse has also been a comfort to me as I think of our Lord's return and as I also reflect on the past 2 weeks. Are we doing all we can to share God's Word with those around us? Do they realize the need to make a decision to serve Christ with their whole heart?
    Sunday morning, the 10th, they decided to spray the field across the road from the house. Poor Nicholas - when he heard the plane, he took off running for the house, crying because he was soooo scared of the plane. I was able to crawl under the fence and get some good pictures of the plane as he was spraying.
    Well so much has happened in the last 2 weeks. The night I sent my last update, the 7th,  we needed to drive to La Paz Centro as the black truck had some issues. Joel & Karen were headed to Managua Thursday morning to pick up Delmar and had some problems with the truck. So they parked it along the road and caught a bus to Managua, Between buses and taxis, they made it to the airport and then back to the truck. We soon had all the men peering under the hood trying to decide what to do about the problem. After putting water into the truck, the Leon folks decided to try driving the truck. However we were not too far down the road till the water started pouring out of the truck. So here comes the job for the El Terrero truck - it needed to pull the black truck to Leon. We arrived in Leon around 6:15 and hurriedly did the things we needed to or wanted to before church. I ran to the Cyber to send my emails and call my mother. When I arrived at church it hadn't yet started, but all the benches were full as you see in the above picture. Virginia & I, as well as a whole string of others sat on chairs behind the last bench till the children were dismissed for classes.
    On Friday, the 8th, we took Larry Bowman (Canadian board member) and his friend Pete to see some of the sights that we country folks have close to our home. We started out be going to Lake Assosoca. It is so beautiful this time of year. Every thing was so nice and green. Randy & Laura walked up to the lookout, while the single staff and the visitors walked down the lake and hiked back up. We then took the scenic route from Assosoca to La Paz Centro where the visitors bought us lunch at the little comedor pictured above. I had a plate with chicken, rice, and beans. It was very good. La Paz Centro has a lot of pottery shops, so we stopped at several shops. There was a few new shops that had opened since the last time I did pottery shopping. A lot of the places have some of the neatest pottery. I bought a nice candle holder for the dresser in my room. It makes it really nice when there is no electricity. On Saturday, we took the Canadian men to Managua to fly home. It was great to have them here and learn another face to the OBMM board.
    On Monday, the 11th, we ladies had a day out. We met in Malpaisillo at 7:30 and headed to Estelí for the day. When we arrived in Estelí, we first stopped at Los Pipitos to see if any of our Spanish teachers were in. Neither of them were there, so we headed for Mocha Nana; however they were not yet opened. We decided to do some walking and window shopping till 10:00. We started making our way back to Mocha Nana, when who should we meet in the street, but my Spanish teacher - Gioconda. We were across the street from Mocha Nana, so we all went in and talked with Gioconda for a little, before ordering our Frozen Mochas. FROZEN MOCHA!! Hurray!! They are so good and hit the spot. We then headed down the street, stopping at different shops along the way. We spent the most time in the fabric store, before heading to the Chinese restaurant for lunch. As usual, the food was wonderful and we had a great time together - sharing our hearts and our thankfulness for each other. After lunch, our next stop was La Casita. It was great to see all the plants there and just enjoy the beauty of the place. It added a wonderful end to the great day. Thank you ladies, for the wonderful day!
    The above pictures are pictures from a Tuesday in La Palmerita. I rode out on Beulah and Virginia was on her bike. She went up 3rd Street for some classes, while I headed for Center Street to do some visiting. My first stop that day was at Leonardo & Marta. I spent about an hour & half there, before riding to Lydia's house. I found her at home with a pile of wash to do. I offered to was some for her, not really knowing what I was getting in for. She does not have a pila like a lot of the other people use to wash their clothing. She has a concrete scrub board setting on top of a barrel. This scrub board is rougher than the pilas and is not nice to hands that are not used to washing clothing by hand. I do wash some of my clothing by hand, but it is not near as dirty as little children's clothing. I proceeded to wash some of the clothing, but it wasn't long till I had rubbed my wrists and fingers raw. I was never so glad to see Virginia and she offered to do some of the washing. The people here have told me time and time again - the reason I have so much trouble washing, frying rice over wood fire, grinding corn...the list goes on, but the reason is because I am left-handed. If I would be right-handed, it wouldn't be so hard for me. When we finished at Lydia's, we headed to Johanna's class and had time with her. Virginia was in charge of the lesson and the lesson gave me a lot to think about. I then went with Virginia to Enma's house for the last class of the day. At Enma's house, we have class with Enma, Sindy, Yesina, and sometimes Yorlenis. By the time that class was finished, it had started thundering so we decided to leave and head for home. Lydia had given us an  iyote (pumpkin) and I was the one elected to carry it home because I was on the horse. I was very glad when I saw the house, because holding a pumpkin and trying to ride horse can be a little difficult. (and the pumpkin was HEAVY!) But it was a great day!
    Last week there were 2 people that had birthday parties. Thursday was Karen's birthday. However it believe it was a birthday that she will never forget. Wednesday night her brother, sister, and nephew flew into Managua. Richard's picked them up and they stayed at Richard's place overnight. Thursday morning the Leon staff met for prayer at Nate's house. In the meantime, her family walked to her house and were sitting in the living room when she returned from prayer. After church Thursday night, some of the young girls from Karen's girls class dumped powder on her head. It wasn't sparingly either!! On Friday, Esnayder celebrated his birthday and we were all invited to the birthday party. In the picture above, his mother is Yesina (the girl in the yellow. She is only 16), his grandmother Enma is holding him, and his aunt Sindy is in the orange/white. There was so many ladies at the party that I had not seen in a a long time. It was quite the big party for such a little boy. They had a huge Spiderman piñata for the children.
    The above picture is of my girls' class. These 3 are my regular attendees. From left to right is is Katerin, Magdalena, and Noelia. We are now holding the Saturday classes in La Palmerita at the home of Katerin. We have class 3 Saturdays a month. They have been working on embroidering pillow tops. I decided however the other week to give them a break and let them paint these bags that Christine Nolt sent down. They had a lot of fun painting them and so did I. I enjoy this class very much and it is my heart's desire that this class would bring honor and glory to God. Also that it would be a way of building relationships with each of the girls and they could see their need for a life totally surrendered to God.
    On Sunday, the 17th, 2 young boys arrived at church and asked if we could take Yacadelis(13 years old) to Malpaisillo as she was vomiting blood. We quick went home with our truck load and Randy & I left almost immediately and headed back to La Palmerita. When we arrived, we were informed that they had already left with the tractor to take her to Malpaisillo. We returned the house, only to receive the sad news later that evening that she had died. We have heard so many different stories; however I will try to write what we heard from her mother, Albertina. Saturday evening, Albertina found Yacadelis and a young boy from La Palmerita embracing. She was upset; however Yacadelis and the young boy soon left. Albertina did not know where they had gone. Early Sunday morning she went looking for them, as someone had told her where they where. She found her and brought her home. Some said once she brought her home, she beat Yacadelis; however she says "I punished her for her disobedience." They ate breakfast and around mid-morning Yacadelis said she was dizzy. She soon started vomiting. She had drank poison and died on the way to Malpaisillo. The doctors said she drank so much, so fast there was nothing they could do. (the picture above from left to right is Yacadelis, Juan Carlos [her brother], Albertina[her mother], and Marvin[a cousin] The staff from Leon was here at our house when we received the news, so Rich's offered to stay with Hans & Nick, while we went to the vela(viewing). We spent several hours there - most of it sitting there talking with others from La Palmerita. So many of the people were so giddy and it made me wonder if that was their way of dealing with grief or if the reality had not yet sunk in. Just before we left, they brought the casket out on the porch and the family asked me to take some pictures of her in the casket. Monday morning we left her around 7:00 and headed to La Palmerita. We had been asked to transport the casket and some of the family and friends to Momotombo, where they were planning on burying the body. The funeral procession consisted of the the truck and the tractor & trailer from La Palmerita. We had a few truck problems on the way, but thanks to God, they didn't amount to anything. We were almost at Momotombo when Jason knocked on the truck. We were about to lose our back wheel. The lugs had come loose and were almost out. We tightened the lugs and once again went on our way. When we arrived in Momotombo, we did not go straight to the graveyard, but went to a home there. Some of the mother's family had not arrived and they wanted to wait for them. We sat there for several hours, but at 12:00, the mother's family had not yet arrived, so we offered our condolences and went home. As I sat there watching many of the people, you would have never guessed that you were attending a funeral. It appeared that it was just another party to some of the people. As I thought about the events that had taken place, the thought came to my mind "Did Yacadelis know that the poison would kill her? Or was she just doing to get attention?" I will miss her very much. She was always such a happy, bubbly young girl. Please pray for her family as they adjust to life without Yacadelis and that God would reveal  to them their need to surrender their lives to Him. She left behind her parents and 4 brothers: Juan Carlos-15, Marvin-12, Kevin-8, and Fernando-2.
    Please pray for Johanna. She has been fighting a severe headache for several days and Tuesday night Randy & Jason took her to Malpaisillo as she had been throwing up. She has been struggling financially as well. We spent several hours with her yesterday and she talked to Virginia for a little bit; however she did not get up at all. She stayed in her bed the whole time we were there. Please pray for the boys that they would sense God's arms around them and protecting them.
    Here are a couple common day pictures. The neighbors here visiting, giving advice...this so often reminds me of evenings at home when the neighbors and friends would stop to visit. And of course, all the children waiting in the waterway for us, so they can jump on the back of the truck and get a ride to church.
Please pray for:
  • La Palmerita - Satan has such a strong hold on the community.
  • Johanna - that she could sense God and His presence through this time of trial
  • Yacadelis' family - that they would feel God's presence amidst the grief
  • Us as staff, as we relate to the people from day to day.
Thank you so much for you prayers. Blessings to each of you as you serve the Lord in your respective places.
In His Service in Nicaragua, Andrea
PS. I would love to hear from you as well :) :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

#24 Rain, Making Rugs, and Parties....

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. Psalms 19:14 
    Greetings to each of you once again from Nicaragua. Time keeps stepping right along and each day is passed and gone before you have time to think twice. As I spend time reflecting in each day that has passed, the above verse is my desire - that all I might have done that day brought honor and glory to my Father in heaven. Each morning we arise, we don't have the promise of the entire day and going to bed that night. God gives us each moment and it is only through Him that we have the breath to live out each moment. I just would like to leave this as a challenge to each of you. Serve Him with your whole heart. Speak slowly, so that when each moment and day is passed, you will not have any regrets. I came across a small phrase the other day - Lord, please keep your arms around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth. May all that we think and do today bring honor & glory to our Father.
    On Friday night, September 24th, it started raining and rained heavy. It rained for almost a whole week and not just a little. It came in downpours some of the time. By Sunday morning, we had doubts of being able to get to church. However we decided we would try, but the truck refused to start and it was rain heavy at the time. So Randy tried calling Jason; however he did not answer his phone. The only option was to push the truck, but with pouring rain, we could not get motivated to push. Even if we would push-start it, we might not even be able to get to church. The river bed that we usually drive to get to church was full of water and the only other option would be to go the whole way around. We decided to just stay home, so Randy went and talked to the neighbors and told them we would not be going to church. We spent the morning here in our house listening to a sermon on Virginia's computer till the computer battery died. Laura, Virginia, and I played Rummikub for a while in the afternoon. In the evening Ramon, Lucia, and Rosibel came up for soft pretzels and we played several rounds of Memory.
    Due to all the rain we received in the last 2 weeks the yard once again started looking like a field instead of a yard. We had to wade through knee-high weeds. We hired some young guys from La Palmerita to come chop grass. They spent several mornings and afternoons here cutting grass. One day it started pouring while they were cutting but that did not stop them. They kept right on chopping as you can see in the above picture. Thanx to each of the boys, we now have a nice green yard, that looks like it has been freshly mowed. They also chopped some of the grass/weeds in the pasture, which now makes it easier to get to and from the back pasture. I now can get back to the pasture to bring my horse in for water without having to wade through high weeds. I enjoy walking back to the back pasture at least 2 times a day and each time I bring my horse front for some water before taking her back and tying her in the grass.
    And then off course with all the rain, it would not be normal if we didn't find Nick playing in the puddles during the day. The puddles just seem to call him there as soon as he steps outside. Whether he is riding through them with his bike, running through them, or sitting in them - there is soon a muddy boy to clean up.
    We ladies finally started the project that was so long in coming. For the longest time we were cutting up our old dresses in strips and rolling them into balls and sticking them in a suitcase. With all the rain that we had, we got the suitcase and Virginia taught Laura & I how to crochet rugs. I knew how to crochet so it was just a matter of Virginia telling me what to do. I have completed one rug so far, which we put in the laundry, and have been sewing quite a number of strips together to make another one. It is amazing how little time it takes to actually crochet the rug. The thing that takes the most time is cutting apart the dress and them sewing all the strips from the one dress together so that you have one big strip. Virginia finished the rug that she had started for my room, so I have it laying along my bed. I am hoping to make another one to put in front of my armoire, so I need to start sewing strips together. Laura has made one and is almost finished with her 2nd one. If it is a rainy afternoon or evening, you will be sure to find us getting apart dresses or crocheting.
    While Jason's parents were here visiting, his mother had invited Ramon & Rosibel to supper one evening. She had made a big pot of chicken pot-pie. Rosibel really liked it and kept asking me when we could make it again. I got the recipe from Phyllis and finally we set a date to make it. We decided on a Monday evening and I attempted to make it. It turned out pretty well and they all liked it. It hit the spot that evening, because it was rainy and cold. I made Cappuccino Mouse trifle. Sir Nicholas was so tired, he couldn't even finish his dessert. After we cleaned the supper, once again out came the all-famous Memory game. The young people around just love to play that game.
    On Friday October 1st was Angel's birthday. Angel is the father of Ramon, Lucia, and Rosibel. Mariana, their mother, had asked us to help with the meal preparation. Randy gave a turkey and a chicken to prepare for the birthday feast. Friday morning started quite early. The first task was to catch and kill the turkey. However, we ran into a few problems - 1st one was that we did not have keys for the tool shed or Randy's house. Well, we decided to chase the turkey and catch it. Then we would worry about how to get into the house. However till we got the turkey & chicken killed, Jason arrived with keys for the house & tool shed. Ramon killed the birds and Virginia, Rosibel, & I cut them up in pieces. We then cut up potatoes, chayote, carrots, and bread to make filling to put with the meat. We baked 2 oatmeal cakes. Around 1:00, I went down to Angel & Mariana's to help with food preparation there. About 2 weeks ago, Mariana had cut her finger tip and it still isn't totally healed, so they asked me if I could come down and help make cow tongue. Angel had bought a tongue that morning and it had been cooking all morning. I cleaned the skin off and cut it in small chunks. I then fried it in a little oil and added potatoes, chayote, and carrots. We left that simmer for a little before we added ketchup, mustard, salt, and vinegar. After that had cooked and all the vegetables were soft, we took it off the stove and made a big pot of rice. I left around 5:00 to go up to the house. We had youth night that night as well, so after the Palmerita young people left, we all headed down to Angel's for the party. Virginia and I had the privilege of dishing up the food for the crowd of about 30 people. I got enough of food and I think everyone else did as well.
    On Tuesday October 5th was another day of food preparation. This time found us preparing food in the Johanna's house. On Tuesday, the men started putting sides on the church building, so we asked Johanna to make lunch for the men on Tuesday & Wednesday. Tuesday morning I saddled up Beulah around 8:30 and rode out to church, where I got my backpack out of the truck and headed Johanna's house. We started by frying rice for lunch. This can be quite a task, but I am starting to learn how to do it like they do and I am enjoying it. After that, she had me grind the corn for the tortillas and then mix in some water before grinding it a 2nd time. Once that was ground twice, we set it aside and starting cooking the pasta for the salad. Once that was soft, we set it on back of the stove and put the chicken over to cook. Once the chicken was cooking good, we added potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and onions. At the end we added some ketchup. Just before the men arrived, we fried some tomatoes, peppers, and onions and tossed the pasta with that and added some cream. To top off the meal, we had fresh tortillas and soda. Around 10:00 am I rode out to the church and took some pictures and also around 2:00 I took some more pictures. After class, I helped Johanna clean up her house before riding out to church for a few more pictures. I then rode home, tired from a long, but enjoyable day.
    I was in charge of Johanna's class on Tuesday and it went better than I thought, but I was spited that Laura & Virginia could not be sitting in the class. We have started taking turns leading out in Johanna's class. It has stretched me once again as I study and teach in Spanish. It is getting a little easier to study, but it still takes time. I just asked that you would continue to remember the young girls' class that I teach. At times it can be discouraging when only a few girls come. Right now the attendance has been really poor, but I am determined to put my whole heart into it, no matter if it is 2 girls, or if it 6. Just pray that God would reveal to them their need for a life committed to Him.
    Featured Young Girls: The young girls in this picture are 4 sisters. ranging from 21 to 15. From left to right; Adelys, Yamilet, Noelia, & Esther. Adelys & Esther, the 2 oldest girls each have a little boy. They come from a very sad home situation. Virginia is having class with Adelys on Tuesdays. Noelia, the youngest, comes very faithfully to church. Yamilet had lived up north for a while and has come back just recently. Please pray for these girls, that they might see that there is truly a better life out there - a life that surrendered to God. Pastora is the grandmother to all these girls and is a dear sweet lady. She comes to church quite often as well. As long as anyone has known her, she has had a terrible cough, but she still comes to church. If it is a little rainy, she still comes with her plastic to put around her.
    And here are some little faces from La Palmerita. The boys on the the left are Juancito and Wilbur, Johanna's boys. On the right, the little boy in orange is Alexander, Adelys' son and the one in the red is a brother to the featured girls.
    This is all for today and I hope I have not been too boring.
    Thank you for all your prayers! I would love to hear from some of you and what has been going on in your life.
    Serving Our Lord in Nicaragua, Andrea