Category: Nicaragua 2013


Busy, Busy, Busy!

We are here in Palacaguina, Nicaragua, teaching English to 150+ adults and another 100 children in four programs per day. We begin at 8 am with breakfast, then drive to the church for our first program with the children at 9:30. Immediately after lunch we teach our first adult session, then another children’s program, then a very quick sandwich dinner, and the final evening adult program until 8:30 pm. When our heads finally hit the pillows, we are out within a minute or so! As usual here, the relationships we form with the students and the other teachers are the most fulfilling part of the work.

Today, we begin the evangelistic presentation, and it is the relationships that will open the door of the heart for each student to receive the moment of choice. Today’s the day the whole program is really about.

On a geographical note, we are very far north in Nicaragua here. We see mountains to the north and east. It is probable that beyond the ridge to the immediate north from our hotel is Honduras. On the map at least – as the crow flies – we are closer to Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, than we are to Managua. Of course, this city lies high in the mountains, so the road to Tegucigalpa may actually be much longer than “as the crow flies.”

We are well, with no little bugs attending our digestive systems, enjoying the mountain air and temperatures, and the occasional shower since this is the very beginning of the rainy season. Within a few weeks the rains will come so hard and so continuously that it will be difficult to work, the roads will be awash, especially the unpaved one, and if you have a tin roof, it will be impossible to hear yourself think, let along talk, for the thunderous beating on the roof of the house. This will last through October. We are glad to miss most of that.

Well, off to my next class…

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Our EFL (English as a Foreign Language) team here in Palacaguina has spent the last two days, Saturday and Sunday, registering students for the English classes which will take place Monday to Friday of this week. We started yesterday with a skeleton team, but the rest of the team arrived last night to the pleasant mountain atmosphere, surprised and edified by the uncharacteristic coolness of our hotel patio, where we eat and have group meetings and training. Our team now numbers twelve Norte Americanos and four Nica’s who are handling support, music, translation, administrative, etc. The little church here, Iglesia Tierra de Canaan Bautista Land of Canaan Baptist Church), is a small congregation but has had an unusually high number of committed helpers alongside us, so we have not lacked for support in any way. The young pastor, Juan Carlos, is very excited to have us here since this will be a major evangelistic event in his town and will increase the spiritual visibility of his church considerably.

The first day we registered 56 students, a variety of teens, young adults, and a smattering of older adults all the way up to 63 years old (one brave soul who has to be brave to come take English classes among all these young folks, bless her heart!) By the end of today we had 128 registered for the adult classes and many more children for the two children’s programs we will hold each day. So our day will be: rise early, teach an early children’s class, return to hotel for lunch (5 minute drive), teach 1st adult class, teach second children’s class, and finally we will teach the second adult class from 6:30- 8:30 p.m., then return to the hotel. So our days will be busy. We are excited to hit the classrooms and meet our students personally tomorrow – those relationships are the best part of what we do here because they provide the open door to share Christ with them.

Here is a picture some of you will appreciate: this little friend shows up every day during lunch, sitting atop his white post opposite our patio, and watches us eat. He’s quite charming. Apparently, Palacaguina is the center of activity for many of his relatives in Nicaragua, and the pastor has already invited us to go hunting with him in the hills. Alas! We will not have time for such sport…not sure I could “hunt” one anyway.

 

Arrived in Nicaragua

Gail and I arrived in Nicaragua at Managua International Airport yesterday around 11:30 a.m. local time. We had gotten up at 12:30 a.m, after about 2 hours sleep, to make our way to the airport and our early morning flight to Houston at 4:50 a.m. Needless to say, we spent most of the flights to Houston and Managua asleep, which was fine, since United Airlines doesn’t provide any entertainment without a charge anymore, and now are not even offering the stray bag of peanuts or pretzels without a charge. We did get one round of drinks, but the boxed meals, which we didn’t try, were only for sale. So, aside from chatting and reading, there really wasn’t anything else to do. High fuel prices and the recent poor economy have sent airline “services” south, I’m afraid.

We spent the night in Managua at the home of the missionaries we work with, Jody and Trisha Kennedy. Then we loaded up the van with supplies and luggage for the week and headed north. This trip to Nicaragua will be in new territory for Gail and me. We are teaching English in a small town about four hours north of Managua called Palacaguina. This beautiful little town nestles in the lush green mountains of northern Nicaragua and is surrounded by peaks, rivers, and corn, coffee and tobacco farms carved literally out of the mountainsides and valley bottoms.

Our small hotel where we are staying feels luxurious, but then the hard work hasn’t started yet. The view is gorgeous, our patio looking directly east into the rising sun through thick morning mists. The hotel even has a pool, though we didn’t bring suits and probably won’t have any time for such pastimes anyway, but it is inviting. So far, we have enjoyed getting up off the sweltering plain around Lake Managua to the refreshing, cool mountain breezes. This is not the temperature we are used to in Nicaragua, and we are enjoying it much-ly!

Attached is a picture of our view from the hotel