Saturday, September 28, 2013

Casa de Samuel


As I said before, I've moved into a new house! Simon and I wanted to change houses mainly because where we were living before was very loud, extremely hot, bat-infested, and too expensive. Then, in April, our friends Kyle and Melessa (from New York) decided that they were going to move further south from Chinandega to a town called San Marcos to help form a new English group. They offered us to take over their house once they left. After looking it over and weighing all the pros & cons, we decided to take it!

Sidenote: When I went outside to take these photos, I accidentally locked myself out of my house. I had to round up a bunch of kids in the neighborhood to help me break in. And people say Americans are stupid!

This house has everything we were looking for and more. It's in a quieter neighborhood that's closer to the center of town, closer to many other Witnesses, and closer to Ojo's territory. It's cooler, it's bigger, and it's cheaper! And the best part: no bats! Overall, it's just nicer! Our landlady is also a Witness, my friend Eduardo's grandmother Gladys. She's had some work done on the place for us, which turned out really nice. It's been very different with Simon not being around, but I've at least been able to fix up the place and make it my own. I'm really happy with how it's turned out! Here's a virtual tour...

This is the gated front porch. Sometimes, stray dogs enjoy urinating on the corner of it, but other than that, it's a nice little spot. Gladys had some mesh put up around the gate for added security and shading, which came out great! I've put a couple of rocking chairs out there to make it a nice spot for coffee in the morning.

Here's the livingroom! I just need a little coffee table, but other than that, it's fully furnished. I've gotten various pictures from Ojo and from back home framed so that it feels a little more like a home. The new futon has been an excellent addition. It provides some good lounging space and more room for guests!

Over to the left of the livingroom is the dining area. Our table fits perfectly in that spot! And yes, the curtains mismatch.

My bedroom. It's great for me. I've got plenty of space for clothes and other supplies. I'll be getting a bigger bed next month as well. Also, whoever designed this house thought it would be a good idea to put windows from the bedrooms into the livingroom for some reason. It can be rather awkward if you're changing, hence the curtains. And now, the pièce de résistance...

...I got an air conditioner!! I bought it off Kyle and Melessa - they decided they didn't need it anymore because San Marcos is a lot cooler than Chinandega. It has been a LIFESAVER. It makes it much easier to wake up in the morning - not waking up in a pool of sweat! I actually haven't had to use it a lot because it's been a lot cooler these days. Still, it's my favorite part of this room. Plus, it's energy-efficient! Best purchase to date.

This is the kitchen. I just got a bigger fridge, which is serving me well. Gladys also had the counter retiled, which looks nice! It's got plenty of space. 

Here's the bathroom. I can't really think of anything interesting to say about it other than the water pressure of the shower is really good.

This is an added bonus: a garage! It's very convenient. Renting a garage space here can be such a hassle. This works out really well for parking my scooter - I'll have more on that another time! (The motorcycle belongs to a friend of mine.) My washing machine also fits nicely out here.

Although I don't have a permanent roommate anymore, I at least have a guest room! I've decided to rent it out to brothers who come down to visit. My friend Bridget from Esteli did that for visiting sisters, and my friend Dominic did that for visiting brothers, myself included. It's a good situation - when you come down here for the first time, you feel much better knowing that you have a connection with a brother and have stable lodgings. You're much better off doing that than trying to find your own house, which is really hard to do here in Chinandega and even worse if you don't speak the language. So not only does it help me out financially, but it gives me a chance to help people who come to visit and make them feel welcome.

Once I get my bigger bed next month, I'll be putting my current bed in this room as well, so that room can fit two people. With the futon, I have room for three people total. So to anybody who wants to come visit and rent a room at Casa de Samuel, please contact me and I'd be happy to have you! I've got good Internet, a washing machine, and plenty to offer. I've rented out to four brothers so far, and it's been working out pretty well. Here's my e-mail:

Overall, this place is just right for me. After long, exhausting days in Ojo, it makes a big difference having a nice place to come home to. I feel very much at home here, and I think it's all gonna work out! Let me know if you'd be up for a visit!

Take care,


Friday, September 13, 2013

Back in Ojo

Hello there,

After over a week of being back in Chinandega and getting resettled in, I finally made it out to Ojo for the ministry today. For now, I'm afraid I have to cycle out there once again. Of course, I picked the day where we meet at the outmost service group to go out. I forgot how long that bike ride is! At one point, a dog started chasing me and wanted to bite me. As I was trying to maneuver away from him, I slid and fell forward, landing on my wrist! It's still fairly sore, but hopefully it's nothing serious. On the bright side, there was a nice cool breeze out in Ojo today! Here are a few pictures from the day's activity.

Vilma and Yorleni making their way to the next house.

I was concerned that my Spanish was still rusty, but I ended up placing a brochure and picking up a good call! We preached in one of our territories that doesn't get covered very often, so studies are ripe for the picking.

I love the rainy season here. Not only is it noticeably cooler, but everything is so green right now!

We soon found a little broken bridge, which Maddie and Stephan just couldn't resist...
What they say about Central America is true: it's highly dangerous!

The Frenchman and the English girl.

Maddie has been studying with a sister in our hall who was reinstated about a year ago. She had a very encouraging study with her today - this sister has been doing so well ever since she was reinstated. She comments at all the meetings, is conducting a study of her own, and - get this - cannot wait for this week's in-depth Watchtower Study! She's so excited about all the new information and said she's looking forward to discussing it. Very refreshing to hear!

You know you're back in the third world when your shoes get ruined after just one morning of preaching.

Although it is exhausting, it feels good to be preaching again in Ojo. Always productive, and always a fun time!

Take care everyone,


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tu Palabra es la Verdad

Well, fancy meeting you here!

Summer in Maine sure flew by. It feels like just yesterday that I was preparing to leave Nicaragua to come home for the summer. Yet, here we are again - back in Chinandega and it feels like I never left at all. 

We have some things to catch up on, don't we? Let's get some of the major stuff out of the way.

First off, sadly, Simon won't be returning to Nicaragua. Circumstances haven't really been in his favor, so he'll be remaining in Scotland for a while. We're definitely going to miss having him here! Hopefully he'll come around to visit eventually. But that means that I'm officially living alone! It's kind of weird, but I'm making the most of it. We moved into a new house before we left in April, and I've been doing some work on it since I've been back. I absolutely love it! I'll post another entry with more pictures, but for now, here is a photo of the outside.

In other news, Ojo de Agua will be losing its elder and his wife. Yes, Maddie and Stephan will be leaving Ojo as well, most likely moving to Matagalpa. It's very sad, but completely understandable - they're ready for a change. Although I'm going to miss them a lot, I am sure that the change will be just what they need. They've helped me so much, and I'm always going to remember that. Thankfully, our C.O. is making finding an elder for us his top priority! In the meantime, that means that Roberto, Domingo, and I are going to be the only servants in the congregation...taking care of everything! It's daunting, but I feel well prepared and I'm looking forward to the work that lies ahead.

Okay, that's it for big news. Now on to happy topics!

I arrived in Chinandega last week and was very pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't nearly as hot as I was expecting it to be! I stayed over at Josh and Cassie's the night I arrived, and I was able to wear a sweatshirt all night! My last memories of Chinandega were from April, the absolute worst and hottest month of them all, so it was very refreshing to return to cooler temperatures. I'm so glad I get to be here for the rainy season and the coolest months this time around. It's been really nice catching up with everyone and getting back into the swing of things as well. There are so many good friends down here, and I truly feel like I've come home again.

Out to eat with my buddies (left to right) Eduardo, Jefte, Zach, Moises, and Josue. The boys are back in town. 

I was also able to start off this stint in Nicaragua with Ojo's convention in Managua this past weekend! 

We had a great weekend. They once again arranged a bus to commute each day, as did many other congregations. The bus left Chinandega each day around 5:00 AM, which was thoroughly enjoyable...
(Roberto is gonna kill me for posting that.)

The convention was very refreshing. On Sunday, we had over 1,700 in attendance, and on Saturday, 32 people were baptized! 

The brothers also set up a projector facing the stage with a video feed of the speaker so that the people sitting way up back could have a good view. A nice provision indeed!

Everyone in Ojo is doing very well. There are some new studies attending the meetings regularly. Yorleni also just finished Pioneer School, and is on a spiritual high from it! Lunches were arranged all three days for each of us - only 40 cordobas each! (Not even two dollars.)
Awesome lunch! (Sidenote: feel free to comment on my weight. Everyone else has!)

I also received my first convention assignment down here: adjusting the microphone for each speaker! It felt good to help out, although on the first day, I had to stop early because I thought I was about to pass out - it felt hotter there than it was in Chinandega! Thankfully I received assistance from a good friend to survive the heat and humidity.

Stephan also gave his first talk for a convention - two, actually - and he did a phenomenal job! So proud of him.

For those of who you haven't had your convention yet, you may want to stop reading here. :)

On Sunday, the La Florida congregation put on the Esther drama, and they did a fantastic job. The costumes were so well put together and the actors did an awesome job.

And of course, everyone was excited to receive the new releases!

Me with Zach, an Aussie brother serving in Chinandega English. He's actually learned quite a bit of Spanish now and has been helping out in Ojo! He stayed in my house while I was away. He's heading home for a bit but plans on coming back and switching to Spanish. Maybe he'll come to Ojo permanently?! We definitely hope so. He's awesome.

We had a really fun bus ride home to Chinandega Sunday night. We watched the new Prodigal video. It still made me cry like a baby, even in Spanish!
Me, Maddie, Ashlee, Roberto, and Kimmy with the rest of Ojo, having a blast.

All-in-all, it's been a busy but really good first week back. I was nervous about coming back alone, but I think everything is gonna go just fine these next few months. Jehovah always has ways of calming your nerves! 

Thank you all for your support. I miss you all, but please stay in touch!