I finally got enough Internet and time to post again, and I have a lot to talk about 🙂
So, we’ve been busy lately meeting new people and seeing new salvations, healings, etc. It was so worth it to come here.
We’ve been on many local adventures lately.
One of the highlights was going to Solingalpa again to visit our good friend Leopoldo (pictured before in another blog).
We went to his house with Nelson (who goes with us just about everywhere) (also pictured before) and German and Dani.
After some good worship with Germano on the guitar and German, Dani, Nelson, and I singing, our Solingalpan friend Evelyn from last February preached some.After which we all had a delicious meal, which was quickly followed by an arm-wrestling match between me and 11-year-old Leopoldo Jr., which I won. (He was pretty strong, too)
I then arm-wrestled Leo Jr.’s 11-year-old friend, who was easy to beat.
After that, I arm-wrestled 13-year-old Nelson. And lost. Miserably lost. You gotta give me that my arm was already tired from wrestling two boys. And riding the bus over and wearing my arm out holding on to the bars.
And I kinda have an injury on my wrist that only allows me to use it so much, like playing my uke or arm-wrestling, after which it gives out and I can’t do anything with it. After a while (anywhere from 12 days to 8 weeks) of babying it, it’ll feel better, so I can return to arm-wrestling and playing uke and typing, etc.
For right now, it’s out of the question, so clapping and shaking hands at church here are, too.
Oh, the buses.
They are a story in themselves.
Getting to Solingalpa was packed. Very, very packed. We were all (my mom, my dad, German, Nelson, and I) holding on to the overhead bars for most of the way. Dani and Lala got a seat because of Lala’s age. I got a seat by Dani maybe halfway through the 30-minute journey. But everybody else (my mom, my dad, German, and Nelson) stayed standing up. The ride back was even funner!
We all managed to snag a seat on the bus this time. German, Dani, Lala, and the stroller managed to get a seat up front. My mom sat down somewhere in the middle of the small RapiBus, and I slid in behind her. Nelson plopped down in the back row with the guitar. This worked perfectly, except for one thing. My dad didn’t have a seat. This is where it got fun. So, my dad attempted to sit on my mom’s lap while both me and Nelson, 12 and 13 respectively, had our own seats. This didn’t seem right. Neither did it seem right that Nelson was almost isolated in the four-seat back row. So we quickly made an adjustment in which I stood up, grabbed the overhead railing, and while the bus was jerking every which way, with me included, I managed to convey to Nelson in Spanglish to move over along with the guitar. And before I knew what had even happened, I let go of the overhead bar and plopped down in the back row at around the same time that my dad plopped in my seat.
Nothing about the whole movement was graceful. But it worked.
It only got worse (funner) from there.
We kinda missed our stop on the way back. And Nelson and I almost knocked each other over on the sharp turns, steep speed bumps, and humps and dips in the road.
I now call them sports bra buses, not the common name of chicken buses.
After a scenic tour of Matagalpa due to missing our stop, we finally arrived back at the main cathedral park and walked the 1-2 miles home.
And that was just our first adventure!
Our second led to a third, which has proved to be amazingly beautiful.
Our second began when Erwin, one of our interpreters, (check past posts) called and invited us to one of his English classes he teaches to talk with the kids and let them practice their English. I said sure, and the next morning we were winding through Matagalpa with Erwin on our way to the school. After climbing several flights of stairs and turning several corners in the open-air building, we stepped through a door and into English Language School. We ducked into one of the classrooms to find 20-something students waiting on us, some as young as 14 or 16 and some as old as 45. After giving our introductions to a room full of students that spoke very good conversational English thanks to being under the tutelage of Erwin, I sat down at a table of about six students, my mom at another table in the same room, and my dad in another classroom with about the same number of people as me and my mom. They began to ask us questions in very good English about us, our lives, etc.
Some of the students began to stand out. One, an eager 16-year-old, said he wanted to become a missionary or translator for missionaries in a foreign country, which is why he was studying English. As a result, he was thrilled to be meeting us, as he got to see our ministry, learn about our lives, and practice English at the same time. Another student was a tall young man about the age of Erwin, 20-something. He said his name was William and he would be interested in our ministry.
After some time answering questions, we said good-bye. The eager 16-year-old told us in very good English that we would all reunite when it was the Lord’s will. William told us he would meet us the next day in the park at midday to meet his pastor. It was this small comment that led to our third adventure.
The next morning, we walked the short 3-5 minute walk to a friend’s house right by the church to get the address for another church we could visit. The older man in the family decided to go with us to the park. We were late getting to the park. Slightly worn out from this walk we make at least two times a day, plus more uneven walking every day, we saw William’s tall head rise above the crowd. He strode over to us and we chatted in English for a while. Right about the time we were really starting to wonder where William’s pastor was, a strangely familiar and panting American family walks up.
The dad is a tall man who looked very familiar with some blond hair and bright blue eyes, which means he, like me, stands out like a sore thumb among the short, dark-skinned, brown-eyed, and brown-haired people of Nicaragua. His name is Isaac. We are then all introduced to his wife, a sweet woman named Jessica, who, although she is American, doesn’t stand out as much as her husband does. Although tall, she is not tall enough to flip out the Nicaraguans, nor is she a blonde with bright blue eyes. And her skin does not resemble a flashlight’s, as mine and my father’s do. Her complexion is tan enough to blend her in with Nicaraguans.
I then look over their kids.
The oldest, a boy, looks maybe about my age or a tiny bit younger. He, like his mom, has brown hair and brown eyes, but like his dad, he has whiter skin, also like me. I note that he is quite tall for my age estimate, especially by Nicaraguan standards. I notice his black jacket, in which I would be roasting in this weather, proof he’s from the Southern climate that William said he was. I also note that he is more on the reserved side – but it’s my guess he’s just observant.
The middle, also a boy, is quite a bit shorter than me, and appears to be three or four years younger. He has scattered freckles across the bridge of his nose and cheekbone, which are strangely refreshing to see after being in Nicaragua for three weeks. He has brown hair and a broad smile. I also note he has a personality somewhat similar to mine, one that likes to be reserved, quiet, and observant right when you first meet somebody, but after they meet your approval, which can take anywhere from five minutes to five days, you’re automatically good friends and have a lot to say to them.
The youngest, a girl, is significantly shorter than me and her older brother. She is several inches shorter than her middle brother. After surveying her height and attitude, I guess that she’s maybe a year or two younger than her next oldest brother. She has wavy brown hair and deep brown eyes. I note that she’s very beautiful, but seems to also be somewhat reserved.
The mom, who does not seem to have my observant personality, strikes up a conversation with me while my mom is talking with my dad and her husband and her children are being observant. We go through a routine introduction of kids. Their names are Elisha, Jehoiada, and Jerusalem, respectively. She also calls on Elisha and says, “Look, she’s 12, too!”
After a brief conversation, I let her and my mom get a conversation started while I continue my observant phase. I kind of get closer to the area their kids are standing/sitting in to see if they feel talkative. They do not, as they are watching me as well.
After a while of observing the oldest get up and get ice cream, the middle one try to rub his freckles off, and the youngest one hang on to her mom’s skirt, I was kinda done with my observant phase. As it turned out, Jehoiada was too. So we discussed our progress in learning the Spanish language and compared notes. We practiced our Spanish by talking about our ages. Jerusalem now seems ready to talk and chimes in, “I’m seven!” I learn from Jehoiada, “Yo tengo nueve años,” which means he is nine. Elisha walks over and adds that he is twelve in Spanish.
I now have a full catalog of names and ages. I later learn that Elisha’s birthday is in December, which informs me that he is six months younger than myself.
After our brief conversation, I told the mom that it’s so nice to see freckles again, at which point Jehoiada covers his freckles and moans a no. I then told him that I always wanted bright red hair, bright green eyes, and a face full of freckles. But somehow that didn’t quite genetically happen. So I told him I would be satisfied with my golden brown hair, dark blue eyes, and a face full of freckles. And he informed me that he would any day take his freckles off and give them to me. I appreciate his generosity. Thank you, Jehoiada.
After this meeting, we visited their church on Sunday, which consists of many kids from the surrounding area as the congregation, many of which got touched by God on Sunday.
We plan to meet with our new family many times again soon. Thank you Jesus for like-minded people who speak Southern English in Matagalpa Department, Nicaragua!!!
If you’re interested in their work, check out his blog at http://www.nicaraguarevival.wordpress.com.
Oh, and I have a feeling that we’re distant cousins. They all look very familiar. Jehoiada and Elisha agree.
(Psst! It’s not only because they’re distant cousins – it’s because Jehoiada bears a striking resemblance (personality, smile, speech, looks, etc.) to Opie Taylor – who also happens to be my favorite TV character)
We also got the opportunity to visit Nelson’s house once again and see his beautiful siblings 🙂
But for all the good that’s been coming out of these three weeks, there’s been a big valley lately. We said a sad goodbye to Dani, German, and Lala on the night of 2/13. They booked flights for Brazil on 2/14, and they are now safely in Minas Gerais. Please keep them in prayer.
It’s been so good blogging again, and stay tuned for more updates 🙂