Thursday, September 23, 2010

¡Bienvenidos y Dios les bendiga!

In our first four weeks here, we have visited 8 of the 10 congregations in the Managua area. Each church has greeted us warmly, and every time we (or any other visitors) are introduced in the service, everyone waves and says together "Bienvenidos y Dios les bendiga!" ("Welcome and may God bless you!") For me, it is a powerful moment of welcome each time. The welcome continues in the many warm handshakes and personal greetings, the delicious home-cooked meals we are served after almost every service, the offer of every pastor that "we are at your service for anything you need while you are settling in," the hopes so many have expressed for our time here.

I told people, before we came here, that I was anticipating that we would be receiving a lot of hospitality. Even though it's not surprising, the experience of this welcome continues to be humbling and amazing. All this love makes the immense adjustment easier, and worthwhile.

I have certainly had moments of doubt -- when my two year old daughter had heat rash for the first week after we arrived. As I continue to struggle to learn Spanish -- we went to a training for Sunday School teachers at one church last weekend, I sat in a group's heated discussion and thought I was following the thread reasonably well until someone clued me in that some members of the group were disagreeing with the methodology being presented -- a detail that I had not previously noticed. As I looked at photos from my nephew's first birthday party and wished I could have been there.

But these small doubts are swept away in the love and faith of the people of the church. They love us and believe in us, without even knowing us. Every time we meet another leader of the church, they tell us how they see our presence here as a blessing. They are convinced that together, we will accomplish a great work in this place. In this hot place where everyone speaks Spanish that is far from our families. This place to which God has called us -- and the place where God has provided us with welcome after welcome. We have been truly welcomed, and truly blessed.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Here are some pictures from our first couple of weeks in Managua.

Aquí están algunas fotos de nuestras primeras semanas en Managua.

Quinn found a fun playground at the vista overlooking the Laguna de Tiscapa in downtown Managua.

Quinn encontró un patio de recreo divertido al mirador de la Laguna de Tiscapa en el centro de Managua.

Our backyard.
Nuestro jardín.

Laundry, drying in the sun.

Ropa, secando al sol.

Amy checking email on our brand-new dining room table.

Amy lee sus correos electrónicos en nuestra nueva mesa del comedor.

Laura Jean and Quinn show off their stylish raincoats after returning from some puddle stomping.

Laura Jean y Quinn muestran sus impermeables (¿Están de moda, no?) después de jugando en los charcos.

Quinn's latest game is to layout clothes for her animals to wear. You can also see a little of our (still sparse) living room.

Ahora, el juego preferido de Quinn es poner la ropa en el piso para sus animales. Puede ver también un poco de nuestra sala de estar - hay todavía pocos muebles.

Dinner at home, including the traditional Nicaraguan dish of gallo pinto (beans and rice).

Cena en la casa, que incluye la comida tipica gallo pinto (frijoles y arroz).

Us at the mirador overlooking the Laguna de Tiscapa.

Tim, Quinn, y Laura Jean en el mirador de la Laguna de Tiscapa.

The laguna has a canopy tour where you can ride along on a zip cord and look at the trees. It looked fun, but we didn't try it.

Hay un "canopy tour" donde se puede andar en "zip line" y mirar los árboles. Parecía divertido, pero no lo tratamos.

The laguna used to be the site of the former dictator Somoza's lavish mansion (and torture chambers). After the revolution they knocked it down and erected this giant statue of Sandino, who now overlooks the city.

La laguna estaba el lugar de la lujosa mansión del ex dictador Somoza (y cámaras de tortura). Después de la revolución, lo tiró al suelo y levantaron esta estatua gigante de Sandino, que ahora domina la ciudad.

A view of downtown Managua and Lago Xolotlán behind.
Una vista del centro de Managua y Lago Xolotlan detrás.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New House

We've been in our new house a little over a week and it is starting to feel like a home. It is a Nica-style home with a barred parking area that faces the street and a lovely garden in the back. Our neighborhood is full of middle-class Nicaraguans and we live within walking distance of a mall. This week, we are taking taxis everywhere -- to school, to the supermarket.

The first thing we noticed about our house is that it is very loud. The windows are open and the street noise comes right in. Our first morning we were awakened early (like 6 a.m.) by vendors walking down the street shouting "tor-ti-llas!" We also hear every car and most of the neighborhood conversations. In addition, we have a tin roof which sounds like a drum performance when it rains. Two nights ago the rain was so heavy we could barely hear each other talk.

Our neighborhood seems very safe, but every house has bars on the front and high walls topped with barbed wire and broken glass. We have seen this layout virtually everywhere in Managua, so we're getting used to it little by little, but it was definitely strange at first.

Yesterday, we were surprised by the department of health, which came down our street fumigating all the houses, the trees and the rain gutters to kill mosquitoes. There were two or three men armed with what looked like giant leaf-blowers spewing grey smoke. They blasted our house, and we all stood outside in the street chatting with our neighbors for a bit. Afterwards we smashed a number of giant cockroaches who had crawled out of their hiding places. Very exciting! I am guessing that this public health measure is the reason Managua doesn't really have malaria (although it is more common outside the city).

Anyway, while we are slowly adjusting to the many differences, big and small, it is extremely nice to have this place to come home to each day. Pictures (and translations) coming soon, promise!


Habiamos estado en nuestra nueva casa un poco mas de una semana, y está empezando a sentir como un hogar. Es una casa de Nica-estilo con un area de parqueano con rejas en la parte delantera del casa y un hermoso jardín en la parte posterior. La calle está lleno de los nicaraguenses de clase media y vivimos a poca distancia de un centro comercial. Esta semana, estamos tomando taxis por todas partes -- a escuela, al supermercado.

La primera cosa que notamos sobre la casa es que es muy ruidoso. Las ventanas están abiertas y el ruido de la calle viene adentro. La primera manana nos despertó muy temprano (como 6 am) por los vendadores caminando por la calle gritando "tor-ti-llas!" También, escuchamos todos los carros y la mayoría de las conversaciones en el barrio. Además, tenemos un techo de metal que suena como un tambor de rendimiento cuando llueve. Hace dos noches, la lluvia era tan fuerte que no pudieramos hablar.

El barrio parece muy seguro, pero cada casa tiene rejas y altos muros con con serpintines y vidrios rotos. Hemos visto este diseño en casi todos los partes de Managua, por lo que nos estamos acostumbrando a ella poco a poco, pero definitivamente fue raro al principio.

Ayer, fuimos sorprendidos por el departamento de salud (MINSA), que entró por nuestra calle fumigando todas las casas, los árboles y las canaletas para matar a los zancudos. Había dos o tres hombres armados con lo que parecía gigante sopladores de hojas escupiendo humo gris.

Se criticó la casa, y todos nos quedamos afuera en la calle conversando con nuestros vecinos un poco. Después nos rompieron una serie de cucarachas gigantes que se había arrastrado fuera de sus escondites. ¡Muy emocionante! Supongo que esta medida de salud pública es la razón de Managua no tiene realmente la malaria (aunque es más común fuera de la ciudad).

De todos modos, mientras poco a poco para adaptarse a las muchas diferencias, grandes y pequeños, es muy bueno tener este lugar para venir a casa cada día. ¡Fotos (y las traducciones) en breve, lo prometo!