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!




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.