Thursday, December 26, 2013

No Immigration Office Story

Our three month visa has expired, and yet, no story about the immigration office. No, we aren't in the country illegally. So what happened?

Well, Monday we found out if we get the extension in Honduras, we will not be allowed to leave the country via El Salvador, Nicaragua, or Guatemala. Considering those are the only ways to drive out of Honduras come March, that posed a slight problem. Combine that with the need to take care of some paperwork back in the States, and Thursday, instead of sleeping in and going to the immigration office after service, we got up at 4 am and caught a bus to the airport. So.... Hello California!

Didn't expect that, did you? Us neither.

So...the whole story. Thursday we had a taxi set up to come get us at 430, so we got up at 4. Literally 3 minutes after the alarm went off, the power went out to the city. Thank goodness it wasn't any earlier, we wouldn't have gotten up! Driving around La Ceiba at that time of the morning was really creepy. So we get to the bus station and take the three hour bus ride to San Pedro, from there we have a layover at the bus station, then take another bus to the airport. Once at the airport we have to go through the confusing process of leaving. This requires checking in for our flight, then going to the bank kiosk and paying an exit fee, realizing the yellow paper that we have to keep in our passport to leave the country has mysteriously disappeared since we checked in, walking around the airport to find it, going back to the check in desk only to find out they took it because Immigration comes by at the end of the day to collect all of them, then going through "Migration" which consisted of one desk to verify....IDK, he only looked at the passport for a minute, then another desk to verify we paid the exit fee, then Security, and finally...the Duty Free Shop! Seriously, that place is like Disneyland. Not just because of the Disney products either.

One nice long flight at the very back of the plane later, we land in Houston. In Houston, we have to go through Customs. Then we pick up our bag, walk a little ways, drop off the bag to be checked into out connecting flight, and then- although we have not walked past a single store in Houston or gone out of the airport at any time since we went through Migration in Honduras- we have to go through Security again. Seriously folks? When exactly was I going to pick up that illicit bottle of water?

Next stop, LAX! Then a car ride home, and our 19 hour trip is finished. We got home shortly before the family and they didn't know we were coming. So we hid in the bedroom and had the kids come in with their eyes closed, Surprise! Of course, they might be a little confused now, since we told them we wouldn't see them for a very long time, and it was only 3 months.

We got to make a surprise visit to Norco to see the RBC friends. That was really nice, plus we were able to see the progress on the construction. Omigoodness, it looks amazing! Pictures!

We got there just in time for lunch, which means we got to hear the afternoon worship program. The brother who was interviewed had such an amazing story. He worked on assembly halls, went to the DR, Bethel, and then ended up in Mozambique. He lives in a tent and builds Halls. Such a great example!

Anyway, time to go home. Genius us, we booked our flight back into Honduras for the 25th. We all know what day that was, right? What does that mean? Apparently, the buses don't run to Ceiba that day. Oops, how will we get home? Short answer, we won't. Yay spending the night in San Pedro Sula! The important thing is we found an amazing mall, had what was possibly the best tacos of our lives, and made it out of the city alive. I'll let you decide what was the bigger accomplishment.

As we were riding the bus home today, it was beautiful out and the sun was shining, there was no rain- just for us, I'm sure- and I was so glad we live here. That said, I think I hear my bed calling my name.

So maybe you'll get an immigration story another time.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mazapan, Not Marzipan

I know you were promised a story about the immigration office, but here we are anyway...

It's not raining anymore. It's actually a bit of a bummer. Everyone we know is having freezing cold, snowy weather, and our winter lasted a week, That said, if you are sick of your winter, now would be a lovely time to come visit.

We have started working on a territory that hasn't been canvassed yet. We weren't sure if there would be many English-speaking people, so we were pleasantly surprised to find a good number of ones to speak to. We haven't even come close to finishing that territory either, so I'm sure we will find more.

We had a really cute experience too. There were a few young boys that were eager to help us. They didn't speak English, but they knew people who did, so they took us to their houses and stayed there with us. They kept asking us "How are you?" which is likely the only phrase they knew in English, and when we would reply they would laugh and laugh. Then they started playing a game, telling us people spoke English even though they didn't.

We decided to be brave and pull out a camera for a picture, and they posed willingly. It was so adorable!

Saturday we had the maintenance at the Kingdom Hall, both inside and out. There was a lot of work to do, and in the muggy heat that day, it was very tiring. Once again, we got complimented on how well we sweat. At least, I think it's a compliment, not really sure anymore. But we had such a wonderful reward. While the congregation was working, a literature delivery came in. And guess what was in it? Our new Bibles! Now every publisher in our congregation has one. It was very touching, a new publisher in our hall has never had his own copy of the Bible, because they ran out long ago. So he got the very first one of out the box. He was really happy. Today at meeting we all got to use them for the first time. We didn't take a picture though, because y'all already know what they look like. 

Here's a random picture that you might get a kick out of.

Just a reminder, calls, emails, and texts are always welcome. So are visits. Remember, flights are not as expensive as you would think, and we live on the beach. Also, we will feed you breadfruit.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Winter is finally here. I was starting to wonder if it would ever come. But it is here, and it is cold. Very cold. And wet. Don't believe me?

So yeah, that's a flood.

In other news, the election was incredibly unclimactic. I might have just made up a word. Friday night while we were at meeting, there was a lot of noise that we hope was fireworks right down the street, but by the time we got out, it was quiet. We decided to take a taxi all 550m home anyway.
Sunday was the actual election, it was very quiet, which is a good thing. There were a couple of demonstrations in the bigger cities during the week, but nothing here.

In other, totally awesome, amazing, prayer-answering news, we finally sold the car! The paperwork is supposed to be done today and then it will be gone, gone, gone! This is such a relief. We had just been discussing what to do with it Saturday morning, and then Saturday afternoon we got an offer on it.

We have the Circuit Assembly in 5 weeks. It will be exciting to see all the friends again.

Next week we have to go for our visa extension. Hard to believe we have been here three months already. If we don't get the extension we will have to make an emergency trip to...somewhere. So the next post will probably be about that.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Interesting and more interesting....

I really thought that when we came back to Honduras, we wouldn't have much in the way of "new" experiences, since we had been here before and knew what was up. Well, I have been so very wrong.
That may be the only time I will ever admit to that, so you might want to make note of this post, lol.

Of course, with my fabulous memory, I can't remember everything that has happened the last five days that I wanted to share.

We have had a really good time doing the campaign. Many people are interested, and because this is a religious country, many answer that yes, the dead can live again. Many also ask for a tract in Spanish because they want to give it to another person who doesn't read English, and they are disappointed when we don't have one. So we have been making sure to show them the QR code and website, and let them know they can read it in Spanish there. I told one man that he could use it with his copy of the Bible and he kept asking "Really?" "My bible?" "A Catholic Bible?" Yes, this will show you what the Bible actually says.

We enjoy doing business territory here too. People are very friendly, and don't act bothered by us. Often you can have a good conversation with someone, even while they are working!

Of course, not speaking Spanish has caused some problems. One place I went into was a book store of some sort, and when I asked if anyone spoke English, she kept asking me questions I could not understand. Finally one of the brothers came to rescue me, it turns out she thought I was asking for someone to translate the tract and print copies of it! Thank you, but we have a wonderful translation team of our own.

The other exciting news, is we have a new Ministerial Servant! We are all so happy to have this brother appointed.

After the campaign ends, our congregation is going to get to work on those virgin territories. We have a lot to cover, but Jehovah will surely help us find those thirsting for knowledge. To go along with that, I think we might have found a car that will get us to those far to reach territories, now we just have to sell ours!

Well, that's all the interesting congregation news. Feel free to tune out now as I talk about what else we have been up to. But if you do keep reading, I'll reward you with pictures. We're not above bribery.

The latest excitement is the opening of the new shopping plaza. There's only a couple stores, but they are possibly the best stores in the world. One is a department store and the other is a supermarket. This past weekend everyone in a thirty-mile radius and from the islands was at the new mall, taking advantage of all the sales. We didn't quite get crushed to death, but we did come close a few times. It's all worth it though, they have products that we can't get anywhere else, like Pillsbury flaky biscuits. Those are very important to have.

While I'm on the topic of stores, I want to comment on a practice here in Honduras. At the supermarkets, often times there will be a young boy who will bag your groceries, then push your cart to the taxi and load it, and in exchange you give him a couple lempira. It's very nice to have, and it's a good way for them to make money, so everybody's happy. However, these boys are obviously not employees because they are usually around ten and they aren't dressed in a uniform or anything. Now. At this new supermarket today, there were two boys at our check out, and they were bagging the groceries. But this time, they were in uniforms from the store, and the older one was giving the younger instructions on how to bag correctly. So.....are they employees? Are there child labor laws? Do I still tip them? Tipping isn't very common here, except in certain circumstances, so if they are employees, it's probably not expected, but if they aren't employees then we would. My head hurts.

The other excitement is that it is election time in Honduras. In fact, that is the reason for the power outage of my last post. There was some political rally going on, so they cut everyone's power to make sure the rally had it. The election is on Sunday, so all weekend any form of meeting is banned, including religious services. That means on Friday, we are going to meeting an hour earlier than normal so we can do the Watchtower study as well. We can go out in service Saturday, but after that everyone will be staying at home until Tuesday. There isn't really any activity expected, but "the shrewd one sees the danger and conceals himself." (New Bible, yo) So everyone has stocked up on supplies and us foreigners have our "go bags" ready just in case. And, of course, for Zach and I, this also means we went out today and bought several bottles of Coke.

We had a small tragedy the other night. I have been having computer problems and although I have a back up hard drive, the last time I had to factory reset my computer, some files moved from the back up to the computer instead of just copying. What does that mean? Well, when I had to factory reset again, we lost all our documents, videos and photos from the last seven or so years. We maybe maybe maybe have some stored in different areas and jump drives, but the majority of it is gone for good. On the bright side, other than the photos, I can't remember the majority of what we did lose. Unfortunately, we still have our tax documents.

We also had a very unique experience last Friday. This one was so strange, I can't even say it's not something I thought we would ever do, because the thought that this was even a thing that could happen would have never occurred to me. I was getting ready for meeting, and took a shower. The water stopped. And it didn't come back on. Now, I could not just get out of the shower, I was soapy. So I wait...and wait...and it's gonna be time to eat dinner and leave for meeting soon. Usually the water comes back within a few minutes, so we don't have a reserve for that. Because we are used to drinking the water from the tap, we don't even have a spare jug anywhere. Suddenly, Zach knows where we can get water. It's spaghetti night! And dinner's done!
No, I did not smell like spaghetti afterward, but I did get some water in my mouth and it was delicious. Since then, we have used a pot to store water just in case, and we heat it up so we can have a warm shower. It's actually quite nice.

Monday we were bored so we decided in the late afternoon to go to the Cascadas. It's a really pretty river with waterfalls, you pay 10 lempira a person and hike in and spend as long as you want there. That day, Zach and I were the only ones there, so it was very nice. We brought our snorkel equipment and swam around looking at the fish. Well, apparently, the river is also inhabited by little shrimps, and they don't like people. When we first got there, I was sitting on a rock in the water, and felt little animals brushing by my feet and legs. Then I got to learn something about shrimp that I did not know. They have claws. I learned this when I got pinched on the butt. Then they started chasing me. That was awkward. But we did get lots of photos and now you get your reward for reading all of this.

You just skipped down to the pictures, didn't you? That's ok, I would too.

So there might be shrimp in the last few photos, they were moving so it was hard to get a pic.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Lights Out

We're getting new neighbors!

A missionary couple in one of the Spanish congregations is going to be moving in to the apartment below us. Right now, the house is getting remodeled to make it ready for them, so they probably won't move in for a month or two, but it will be fun when they do.

Of course, with the remodeling going on, there's been some fun times. Our power in the apartment has been randomly going off, but only half of the apartment at a time. Like, the fans will stop, but my computer keeps charging. It's really weird. Also, the electricity to the washer got turned off for a couple days. I almost had to try to conquer the pila again. Anyway, the point is, we've been having a few more power outages than normal. Then last night...

That's the view from our patio. 

The power went off as far as the eye could see. Considering it never seems to fully get dark here, it was very weird. At night, we usually can see the lights of the soccer stadium, and even those were off. It seemed like the whole city went dark. And it stayed that way for hours. 

Our neighbors had meeting last night, they were actually leaving about the time power went off. Back in the States, usually that sort of thing gets the meeting cancelled. Not here. I'm not exactly sure how they went about their meeting, but they obviously managed. 

A couple weeks ago, the power went out during the sign language meeting. Thankfully that was during the day, because I really don't know how they would conduct a meeting in the dark.

The lights finally came back on around 3 am, and that was a rude awakening. We'd forgotten to turn off all the switches. Oops. 

In other news, I think the rainy season is finally upon us. Every afternoon we get a nice downpour. The other day we were walking to meeting and the water was above my ankles everywhere, deeper in some spots. That was fun. We have meeting tonight and it's raining right now, we might get walk through the flood again. Well, we might call a taxi. 

It's funny though, we have such extremes in weather. Right now it's extremely rainy, and a couple days ago, it was extremely beautiful while we were out in service. We were working right near the beach, so I got a couple shots.

Well, that's all for now. Gotta start getting ready for meeting. I have a talk tonight and still need to figure out where to get it printed.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sick Again

This week we got to experience a few things for the first time. Namely, Honduran medical care and home repairs.

As I've mentioned before, my pink eye has not fully gone away. Well, last week it started getting worse so I decided to go to the doctor Monday. I asked a sister to come with me as translator, cause I wasn't sure I'd be able to describe the problem exactly. Thankfully, she knew of a good doctor to go to as well.

So we met at a farmacia near where the doctor's office was located, and as is my habit, I got there stupid early. So I grabbed a Gatorade and sat outside waiting for her. While I was waiting, a man walks up to me and starts talking and gesturing. I told him "No entiendo" but he kept talking and gesturing. Finally I figured it out. He wanted my Gatorade, which was half empty already. Um, ok. So I gave it to him. Poor guy is probably going to get pink mouth or something now. This actually isn't the first time I've been asked for my drink either.

Anyway, the doctor. She checked me out, ran through everything and even checked my lungs, stomach, glands and all. This will be important to know in a minute. Everything is fine, except my eyes. She writes me a prescription for eye drops, gives me some sort of pill to take for a week, and gives me the bill. 300 lempiras. That's $15 USD. Yeah, I could get used to healthcare here. She also told me no predicar for the next week. Apparently, going out in service and being around flowers and car fumes and the sun is hurting my eyes and I need to rest them. Welp, there goes getting my hour goal for this month.

So. Guess what happens no less than 12 hours later? I come down with the worst sinus infection in the world. Really? She just checked me out and I was fine. On the bright side, I did not need to go back to the doctor, because you can get pretty much anything over the counter here, and I already knew what I needed. I've been in bed since then. Hoping to feel better soon, we've got a campaign to start.

Now, as you know, my favorite feature of our apartment is the air conditioner. The air conditioner that suddenly quit working about two weeks ago. Zach played with it and couldn't find anything wrong, so finally this week, we called someone out to look at it. The problem? Someone decided to steal our meter box. The a/c unit has one of its own, while the rest of the compound is on a different one, and for some reason, when the box got stolen, it cut the power to the unit. That would also explain why we haven't gotten a bill. But that's just such a random thing to steal. What are you going to do with it, hook it up at your house so the electric company can start charging you too?  So, that's fixed, a/c is back on, and it also cost 300 lempira.

As you can see, it's been very exciting around here.

The highlight of this week is that I learned how to make tortillas and I did it without a tortilla press. We've been eating them every day. Yum!

Ok, here's what you've been waiting for. Pictures.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Circuit Overseer Visit

This has been the busiest week of our lives. Even more than that time we decided to move to another country and I couldn't figure out how to pack our stuff. (Yes, I know that was a month ago. No I don't want to relive it.)

So, what have we been up to?

I don't remember Monday. But nothing ever happens on Monday anyway, so no big loss.

Tuesday was the first day of the Circuit Overseer visit. We had meeting at 4:30 that afternoon. So we arrive early and I decide to walk to the pulperia to get a water. As I'm walking out, a sister comes in with a woman who looks like she is from the islands. Great! A study! So I introduce myself, and ask where she is from. She says Belize. Hey, I know people from Belize. Like our new CO. What a coincidence! Also, her English is very good. Turns out that's because she A- is from Dominica (an island), B- is a native English speaker, and C- is the CO's wife. Probably shoulda seen that coming.

So the cool thing about the new CO- they are great friends with Zach's cousin, who has been living in Belize for several years.

We also had some visitors from Canada this week, so we had a nice, large group at meeting. Also, they had copies of the revised Bible so we finally got to see one in person. It is so nice. We can't wait to get ours in January.

Wednesday, lots of service. Thursday, more service. Friday, we continue this pattern. It was a very successful couple of days. We worked a territory that hadn't been done in a while, and I got four new calls in one day. Plus we found the best pulperia in the world. They sell home-made ice cream- basically it's just milk mixed with fruit and frozen. They had so many flavors, including guanabana, so you know what we got. Plus, it was only 10 lempira. The perfect service snack.

Thursday afternoon we took the CO and his wife to the calls we got when working with the Sign Language congregation the week before. Zach's got a really awesome study started. This guy has so many really deep questions. He started right in on the hope for the dead, so the campaign tract and new Watchtower is going to be perfect for him.

Friday we went to try to find a lady we had talked to a couple weeks ago. She wasn't home, but her nephew was, and he said most of the family speaks English and we had a nice conversation with him as well. As we were walking down the street after, a man called out in Spanish "Atalaya, Atalaya." So we stopped to give him a magazine in Spanish. then he asked for something else. I thought maybe he already read that issue, so I pulled out a tract for him. Then he asked for something else. Finally, I realized he wanted as much as I could give him to read. Unfortunately, we didn't have any different materials for him. I'm going to get a BT book and go back, to see if I can find him. He was just sitting on the sidewalk, so I don't know if he actually lives in that area, but it's worth a shot.

Meeting Friday was really good. During his talk, the Circuit Overseer was talking about how those in the congregation are our family. Mother, sister, father, brother and so on. So I was like "Aw, (little girl in our hall) can be my little sister." Then he said, "When we see someone younger than us, we say 'Hello daughter.' " And it occurred to me, I actually am old enough to be her mother. Suddenly I feel so old.

I'm also fuzzy on Saturday, but I know service was involved. In the evening, a sister had a congregation get-together at her home.After a delicious dinner, Zach interviewed the CO and his wife, then we all played a Bible game. I love me an excuse to yell "Mahershalalhashbaz" repeatedly. But most of you know that already. It should come as no surprise that the CO won the game.

Sunday, we had more service and found a young girl to talk to. Then we had our last meeting with the Circuit Overseer. We had 30 in attendance, which is great.

So that was the week. It went by so fast, and we are so tired. But we made it out every day, and we are really happy about that.

We learned this week that we have 173 territories, and over 100 of them haven't been canvassed yet. A reason for this is that many of the territories are very far away. My understanding is that we go almost all the way to Tela, which could be a three hour bus ride away. I don't know how far west we go, but it gets really rural, and the bus system leaves a lot to be desired. There are only two cars in our congregation, (one is always busy with studies, and one is only supposed to be used in town) so getting to the territories is difficult.
Because of this, Zach and I are thinking about trying to get a car. We enjoy walking, but there's some places that are just a bit out of the way. Looking online has certainly produced some interesting results. I don't know that we need an armored 4x4, but I can see where it would come in handy. And of course, we still have to sell our car first. But if a car is what this congregation needs to complete our territories, I'm sure Jehovah will provide.

Anyway...I'm gonna go take a nap and not wake until til next week.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Honduras By The Numbers

Here's an infographic on our time in Honduras. Without, you know, the graphic part.

$18.55- How much we have spent on transportation so far this month

14- The average attendance at meetings

8:15- What time the field service meeting starts

$2.10- How much we spent on three sodas and two ice cream bars for service break

0- The number of parasites we have had to deal with so far

$1.25- How much we have spent on our two (2) cell phone bills this month. Yes, that’s combined. Also, we probably won’t have to refill for another month.

2- The number of hot showers I have taken. (This is by choice. Based on previous posts, who woulda thunk?)

$18- How much we spent for dinner and Cokes for four (4) people

196,856- Population of La Ceiba as of 2010

$250- Monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment, including utilites, trash and water

88- The temperature today

504- Country Code for phone numbers. In case you are wondering, the US equivalent is 1

Speaking of 1- The number of eyes I can currently see out of. Thank you Pink Eye re-occurrence. 

.25- The price for 5 plantains from the guy with the horse cart in the territory. 

393- The price of a roundtrip ticket from Los Angeles to San Pedro Sula in December

7988- The elevation in ft. of Pico Bonito mountain

.15- The smallest purchase I have made

20.4250- The number of Lempiras in a US Dollar

4- Minutes taken to walk to the Kingdom Hall

.34- The miles to walk to the Kingdom Hall

9092336284- Our phone number. (Hint, hint)

Any numbers you're interested in? 

Ok, you've been patient with me long enough. Here's a picture as a reward. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Selling the Car....Still

Howdy y'all

(That's my impression of a Texan. Good, right?)
((I actually do say y'all tho.)

So... our car still hasn't sold. *insert frowny face*

We have it posted on Auto Trader, and I'm sharing the link here, in hopes of getting the word out.

It's very pretty.

The car is currently in Southern California. If you don't live in Southern California, that's ok. This car knows how to do road trips. In fact, most of its miles are from road trips. (We get around a lot.) Also, since it has a mini fridge, and the back seats recline, and it has a wall-type plug for your electronics, this is pretty much the perfect road trip/long service day car.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Translation Center

Today we went to work at the new Translation Center. It's in this cute neighborhood on the other side of town. It's right up the hill from a missionary home. They referred to it as an "ex-missionary home" so although there are brothers in it right now, I don't know if they are just renting the place while the Translation Center is built, or if it used to be a missionary home but won't be used anymore. The brother I was talking to wasn't sure what would happen to it once the Center was finished.

The place is absolutely beautiful! It has a great location, where you can see Pico Bonito and the mountain range, and the ocean on the other side. The Center is comprised of two buildings, one is a three story residence and the other is a two story office.
The brothers are so skilled too. The work they did was really nice. There's tile floor, big showers, a granite countertop in the kitchen, I could go on.

We got to meet two brothers from the Mexican Branch who are here to work on the building. They were really nice, of course. They said that they haven't gotten to see the city yet, so we might take them out and about one afternoon.

CO Visit next week!