It is funny how things work out...to say the least. So, the last week I had honestly been a bit lonely and it just seemed like people at the office werent free to hang out much (other than my night in Masaya with the girls) so I was really needing some real connection time with people. Also, I hadnt been to church since my first weekend. A couple of weeks before, I had googled Churches of Christ in Nicaragua and had found a congregation in Masaya, that was having VBS this past weekend. I had gotten connected with the preacher, who luckily spoke English also, and was hoping to go. I had really been praying about it.
When the weekend rolled around, I was planning on going with my boss and his family to their weekend house at a volcano. Due to several different events, I ended up not going with them on Saturday and I went instead to VBS in Masaya. I had no idea what I would find or who I would find, but I went anyway.
When I got there, I met about 15 people from Tennessee who were down doing mission work, about 150 Nicaraguan kids who were loving learning about Jesus and playing with the gringos, and about 50'ish members of the local congregation.....talk about an aswered prayer! I spent the afternoon with them at VBS, and then went to eat supper with them. Afterwards, we went back to the church building as they were having a special service to try and reach more members of the community. Before the Spanish service started though, we had about half an hour of English singing....and it was wonderful! I felt so filled up and encouraged and just so thankful, as I sat there with Christians in Masaya, Nicaragua.
Sunday morning I joined my new friends again as we went to church in a small town called Las Flores, and then back to Masaya for VBS in the afternoon. They even let me join in on the skit and dress up! Woohoo! After VBS we played with the kids all afternoon. There was about 10 girls who were playing with myself and a couple of other gringas, and we just loved them to pieces....they were so sweet:) Then we had the evening service again, and after that we went to dinner at a place that looks out over the lake.
At dinner, I was sitting with Brenda, Tiffany, and Alan (Tiffany's husband). I had such a good time with them all weekend as we are all about the same age and just really connected. Anyway, we were talking about where everyone was from, etc. and it turns out the Alan was from Mountain Home, Arkansas and had classes with both Karen and Bill! How crazy is that!?!?
Monday I went to work and spent the morning in supermarkets, etc. I was with Benjamin and Hector, two really nice guys from work. Luckily, I left work a few minutes and headed back to Masaya for the last evening service....despite a minor detour (okay, a few minutes of being lost...including going the wrong way on a 1 way street!) I made it to the church building. I felt like I was seeing friends I had known forever! We enjoyed our last evening of singing together and then they left...this was one sad gringa to see them go, but I was just so thankful for how everything had so perfectly fallen into place. God is good like that!
Today I went to the largest municipal market in all of Central America called El Oriental. If you want, look it up on Google Earth...it is HUGE! Before I went, everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE!) warned me not to take any jewelry or money...because chances were I wouldnt make it out with it. Anway, I was with Benjamin again and a man named Luis also. As I followed them into the center of the market (aka the depths of the dark sea) I had such a terrible urge to grab Benjamin's hand so I wouldnt get lost in the crowd of shouting people...however, I had to remind myself that I am a professional who is self-sufficient and holds no ones hand. Plus, Benjamin kept turning around to make sure I was still there so that made me feel better too:)
Anyway, picture row after row after row of low ceilings, dirty streets, THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE (literally 300,000 people visit this market per day!) and any product you could possibly want to buy from toilets to tires to rat poison to fish....with no separation between the rat poison and the fish. I suppose the highlights was seeing the raw fish (which was who knows how old and caught in the local lake...which is contaminated) laying out on no ice and covered in flies, seeing a table with fish on it with a small boy sitting right next to the fish playing with his toes and a bandaid on his foot (I am not sure if it grossed me out more for the boy or for the people who would eat the fish!), and a 9 year old girl chopping chicken with a machete...wow. The vendors were shouting at each other, there were loaded carts going through the narrow aisle, there was no air or electricity. What an experience for this gringa!
We kept stopping to visit with our clients, and at one place where the product was clearly not kept cold or very clean, the client offered Benjamin a taste of the lowest quality product there...of course, Benjamin could not say no so he ate it...and said he didnt feel too hot the rest of the day:) lol
So things are going well here! I am in week 5 and in full swing with work where I learn more every day. I suppose that is about it and now my timer is beeping at me so I must quit blabbing...but I am sending lots of hugs home!
Oh my memory verse (once again I forget its address) is:
Now to Him who is able to do, immeasurably more, than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.