Thursday, November 18, 2010

#27 New Experience, Reminders, Birthdays

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    As I stop to reflect over the many things that have passed in the last 2 weeks and look over the pictures that were taken, I am reminded of the difference of each day and the special beauty each day holds. When we arise ach day, we do not know what lies before us; but as we trust on the Lord, he gives us the strength to climb each mountain. As I looked at the above picture, I was reminded of the power and the might that our Lord possesses, but I was also reminded of the power and the might that we as Christians can have if we call on the Lord and daily commit our lives to Him and His directing. So often it is so easy to forget that and we try to plunge on ahead on our own...trying to move mountains without the faith. Oh that we would ever remember the Lord and the might that He gives to them that choose to follow Him each and every day. We are in a warfare as Christians. We have enemies to fight against, a captain to fight for, a banner to fight under, and certain rules of war by which we are to govern ourselves (taken from Matthew Henry’s Commentary). We cannot win a battle on our own. We need the help of the Lord and our Christian brothers.
    Well since my last update. Richard & Andrea Burkholder have flown to the States for a furlough. They are planning to be gone for 2-3 months, as they will not be returning before the new bundle joins their family. Please pray for them as they spend time in the States that it may be a time of refreshment. Lloyd & Faye Zimmerman (Pleasant Valley) have arrived to house-sit and be here with us, while Richard’s are in the States. We are so grateful for their willingness to devote some of their time and spend it here with us. It has been a blessing for me to have them here so far. It is like having my grandparents here. I knew them very well before they came, and it has been great spending time with them once again. Monday evening they came to stay here with us, as Randy’s went to Granada to spend time with Barry & Colleen Zeiset (Laura’s sister & husband) before they returned to the States on Tuesday afternoon. Lloyd’s took us to La Palmerita before heading to Leon on Tuesday morning.
    Once again spending a Tuesday in La Palmerita has been a blessing to me and a reminder to be a willing giver and also the blessings of a willing receiver. SmileSometimes being a willing receiver calls for stepping out of your comfort zone and experience something that perhaps is a first-time experience and may very well be an experience that you may never again experience. Also am I willing to share that which I have with those that truly have needs? When I see some people in La Palmerita who are so willing to give even though they have very little.

    We started out the morning with Lloyd & Faye taking us to La Palmerita and dropping us off at Johanna’s house. We spent a little bit of time at Johanna’s before going our separate ways. I had spent some time in the last 2 weeks sewing a skirt and blouse for Johanna. She fit it on this morning and it fit very good. I was glad to see that it fit well and that it didn’t need any more readjusting. I enjoy sewing and was glad to have the opportunity to sew for her. I left Johanna’s house around 10:30 and headed up the street with my pack of pictures that I had taken for several people. I headed to Center Street where most of the people live that I had pictures for. I also wanted to do a little visiting, but somehow you never get as many people visited as you wanted to. Smile My first stop was at Manuel & Seneida. (pictured above with the little girl). You all may have seen a picture of her before. She is a young lady, age 25, with 2 children and is living with her man. I have come to know her and she has always been a challenge to me. They are a family that doesn’t have much, but I have never heard her complain about her needs. She always has so many other things to talk about and they always want to hear about what I have been doing and what I had planned for the rest of the week. They invited to come in and visit a spell. I hadn’t been there long and she asked me if I like “pipian in caldillo”. I had never had it, so she told me to wait and she will bring me a plate. She soon arrived with a plate of rice, pipian in a ketchup sauce, cooked platino AND................a chicken foot in the midst. Now I have never eaten a chicken foot and had never really planned to eat a chicken foot; however I didn’t know how to politely refuse the chicken foot, but in a way I did kinda want to taste it. I knew it may be my only chance to try it. Once I had finished everything else, I told Seneida that I had never eaten a chicken foot before and don’t know how to eat it. I was instructed to just eat the meat off the bone, so I proceeded to try it. It wasn’t too bad, but it was different. I enjoyed the meal very much, but it might not have been as much as the taste of the meal, as the spirit with which the meal was given. Also in the process of the visit, I had went to move my chair in the shade. I caught my flip-flop on a stick and tore my flip-flop Sad smile What a problem because, I couldn’t get it to stay on my foot. Seneida sent for Manuel to come and sew my flip-flop together and he did just that. Before I left, they gave me a small bag of chile peppers. I left there challenged to have more of a willing spirit to share and not necessarily money, but time and and whatever other resources God has blessed me with.

111810 Update-1 


 The rest of my day was spent having classes with Johanna & Enma. We had Johanna’s class at 12:30. I arrived back at Johanna’s house to find all her boys sitting on the beds and when we started singing, instead of running off to play, they all stayed there and helped sing. They all took turns picking songs; and the songs that they knew well, they sang with all their heart. I was seated on the one bed with Johanna, Juancito, and Yeral. Yeral is in my Sunday morning class and at times is quite a handful. He can try a person’s patience and I try to remember and remind myself that he was not born into a Christian home and his mother is trying all she can to instruct her sons in the ways of the Lord. However today I was reminded of the potential he has. He sat in Johanna’s class right beside me the whole time. It was so special to me because some Sunday mornings he will leave class and refuse to speak to me, because I wouldn’t let him do what he wanted. As we were reading over the chapter that Virginia had picked for today’s study, he sat right there and I could hear him reading along with us. It was so special for me.
    Last Wednesday was Johanna’s birthday. Beings it was Wednesday, we couldn’t really do an afternoon/evening thing with her, so we invited her out to the house for lunch and to spend the afternoon before going to the afternoon service. Laura made & decorated a cake for her. She also had some games for the boys, which they enjoy very much as well as did their mother. It was wonderful to be able to celebrate this joyous time with Johanna. She continues to be an encouragement to me as she strives to serve the Lord and be a Christian witness in La Palmerita.
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Randy & Laura decided to spend a Sunday evening with Richard’s before they left, so we girls decided to take the opportunity and spend some time with the young ladies who live in Leon. Karen and Denise were into doing something together, so we planned the evening. Karen & Denise made soup & sandwiches, which were scrumptious; and Virginia & I took in the salad & dessert. We spent the evening together, which proved to be quite an interesting time. After supper we got out the Rummikub game. I personally had never played that game before till I came to Nicaragua, however I do enjoy it now. We played 9 rounds, and poor Karen didn’t win a single one. I truly felt sorry for her. Thank you ladies for the pleasant evening. We began our trip to El Terrero around 9:00; however we only made it to Malpaisillo till we had to pull of the road and change a flat tire. We ladies sat on the sidewalk and I had fun snapping pictures of the boys as we were waiting. The next morning as we were leaving for Managua, randy informed us that he was unable to get the tire fixed, so we were headed to Managua without a spare tire and with prayers. Praise the Lord! We didn’t any tire problems. 
111810 Update-2

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This past week Denise’s sister Jean was here to visit her. We had spent Friday in Leon, so they invited  us to go along out for supper in the evening. It was another enjoyable evening spent with the other girls. We went to a small, but nice quesillo restaurant in town. For those of you who aren’t familiar with quesillos, they are a native Nicaraguan food. On the bottom is a corn tortilla followed by a piece of cheese and then a creamy sauce. It is thinner than the sour cream that we have down here and has a slightly different flavor. It is then topped with chopped onions. I was first introduced to them in EstelĂ­, when I was in language school. So far I haven’t found 2 places that they taste the same. Each place has their own unique quesillo. It was definitely an evening that I enjoyed and was glad to be able to learn to know Denise’s sister a little better.

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Well before I draw to a close, I would like to introduce you to the elderly couple on 3rd Street. Their names are Sinforteano & Pastora. Pastora attends church pretty regularly at times and then it might go for a while till she comes again. He has never come to church since I have been here. They asked me to take their pictures the other day when I was there. I was kinda glad, because I did not have a good picture of them. I just ask that you might pray for them, as they are both up in age. Just pray that God would work His perfect will in their lives.
Thank you for all your prayers. May God richly bless you as you serve Him where you are. We truly serve an awesome Lord who can do more than we can think or ask.
Have a blessed day in the Lord!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

#26 Filling Silo, Perfect Attendance, Fellowship Meal

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    As I snapped the above picture one afternoon as I was riding home from La Palmerita, this song came to my mind. It was a dark,cloudy day; it looked like we might receive a heavy downpour. Amongst the dark clouds, we could see the bright gleam of a rainbow; its colors so beautiful. But this picture and song also reminds us of the ever-present spiritual darkness in the La Palmerita Community. Satan has so many holds on this community and he is always trying to discourage the faithful few. But as the song says – one bright gleam I see. Amidst the darkness, there continues to be one bright gleam from day to day. Please pray for each of us as staff and the native members as we all strive to be the bright gleam to those in darkness.
    We ask you to rejoice with us as another soul has realized their need of the Lord as their Saviour; and we also ask you to join us in lifting him to the throne of grace as he begins to make changes in his life and as he strives to serve the Lord there in La Palmerita. Julio (pictured above with his nephew) has been attending church faithfully for some time and had been thinking of the step that he needed to take. Last week he had got into a fight with another man from La Palmerita and some nasty words were exchanged. However the Lord was working in the heart of Julio and he was convicted of his actions, so he found the other man and asked for forgiveness. The other man called him a coward for not wanting to get into another fight. Julio went home, knowing that he had tried to make restitution. After the Wednesday night Bible Study, Julio came to Ramon with many questions. That evening Ramon had shared on Baptism, Last Supper, & the Feet Washing ceremonies. Ramon told us on the way home that he felt Julio was very close to making a decision. Jason went to Julio’s on Thursday for their weekly Bible Study. While he was there, the fellow who had got in the fight with Julio went past, calling him names once again. Julio said to Jason “Today is my day to be the strong man. I want to be strong in the Lord” He lives with his woman, Mirrna. They are not married, but have expressed their desire to be married as soon as possible. Mirrna attends church quite faithfully as well. He also told us that his mother told him that the day he joins a church that is not Catholic, he is no longer her son. Please pray for Julio as he strive to be a Godly example to those around him and for Mirrna that she might realize her need also to commit her life to the Lord.
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    As you can see in the above picture, Virginia is  washing some clothes. The other Saturday after my morning girls’ class, I headed to Johanna’s house to see how she was doing. After having seen her so sick on Wednesday, I was not sure what to expect. I arrived to find her sleeping and Virginia was out back washing the mountain of clothing & Yeral was taking a bath in the soapy wash water coming out of the pila from the clothing that Virginia was washing. I took my backpack into the house and found Johanna waking up from her nap. I took the opportunity to sit down and spend some time talking with her. She was feeling much better and didn’t have a headache. She received an injection once a day for 5 days to help get vitamins back into her body. When I arrived at Johanna’s house this Tuesday and found her finishing up her laundry and feeling much better. I went and visited Lidia for about an hour before returning to Johanna’s for her afternoon class. Continue to pray for Johanna as she strives to serve the Lord and be a Christian witness in La Palmerita and also as she strives to raise her children for the Lord.
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    Right now some of the corn is just right to make tamales. There is about a week in the growing time of the corn when it is perfect to use it for fresh eating and making tamales. I will tell you it is not like sweet corn, but it is really good. I have helped to make tamales in several different homes now, and each cook has her own different way of making them. When we arrived to help make them at Johanna’s house the other week, we found Maria husking the corn and Johanna was cutting it off the cob. Once it was all cut, they put me to work. I had the privilege of grinding it all. I have come to enjoy grinding corn be hand. Grinding this corn did not take near as long as grinding corn for tortillas. The day we helped make them, we also put some cuajada ( a Nicaraguan cheese that I have finally learned how to make) in each of the tamales to give it a little cheesy flavor. After the corn was ground, it was mixed and a little bit of the juice that we collected as I was grinding it, was added to mixture. You then take the inner leaves of the husk and spoon the mixture in there and wrap it up. It it then put in a kettle to cook for several hours. They are the best eaten right after they come out of the kettle.
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    The 2 little boys in the above pictures are both in my Wednesday night class. I have recently started using attendance charts to see if it will help bring up the attendance in the class. So often there is 3 or 4 children, but the last little bit, I have had at least 6. Both Nicholas & Juancito had perfect attendance. We have just finished the first chart and I am anxious to see what happens with the next several weeks in the attendance. Both of my classes have been quite poorly attended recently, so maybe the attendance charts will serve as a motivator. Right now in my Wednesday night class I have a lot of 2 & 3 year olds, so it takes a little more effort to keep them occupied till the adults are finished with their class. I enjoy spending time with each of these children and pray that my life would leave a positive influence on each of them.
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    Last Sunday, beings it was the 5th Sunday, we did something a little different for the people that came to church. We decided to take lunch to church and spend the noon meal with all the people that showed up.  Laura made Dominican Spaghetti, and we had tortillas & chocolate cake to finish off the the meal. After we finished lunch, we attempted to try and play water balloon volleyball. However we did not have much luck at all. So we gave up and everyone had fun just throwing water balloons at everyone else. It was a fun time to spend with all the children and just have fun. Some of the children are still laughing at who they hit with water balloons.

    The family that I would like to introduce you to lives on 3rd Street. Usually the four pictured above are at church on Wednesday night and sometimes Sunday morning. The girl’s name is Yoconda and she is the only girl. She has 4 brothers, 3 of which are pictured here with her. The little one that she is holding is Juan Carlos. The little guy in the the bib overalls is Maynor and the one in the blue-striped shirt is Memor. Juan Carlos and Maynor are both in my Wednesday night class. They always come to church, so dirty and muddy. Just in looking at them, you can feel their plea to be loved. Just last night, when Yoconda arrived at church, she wouldn’t talk to me; all she would do was stick out her tongue. I could not think of a thing that I had done that would offend her. Who know what it was. This morning we rode to La Palmerita and stopped in for a little at their home.
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Well, I shall bring my email to a close. We are leaving for Leon at 2:00 and we just got back from La Palmerita. I have added a personal picture for you. Right now the morning glories are so beautiful, so one morning we decided to snap a few pictures.
Have a great day in the Lord!