Sunday, May 29, 2011

Farewell for Now

As I was saying my goodbyes to Pastora and her family, I said there might be a possibility I could come back with the women's team and for my birthday. Pastora assured me we'd have a big birthday party with a pinata. It would be pretty amazing to celebrate with the women I shared life with in Los Cedros! I'd like to fly a few folks from up here for that party.

I think it would be very impactful to do
the story ropes with the women who would attend the women's conference in
September. I hear up to 200 women attend the conference. That's a lot of story and a lot of "rope!"

I am praying for direction on my return visit time wise. I love everyone there and wish they could all be my real neighbors.
However, there are so many exciting opportunities for using art with story telling.

The last night I was there, I took Pastora and her family to dinner at Pizza Hut. It was a huge splurge, but the AC and icy drinks cheered everyone - even this slightly wilted Americano. (See Photo)

Saying goodbye to my Nicaraguan family was hard! I have also posted a photo of "Mama" who is Pastor Manuel's mom, but I get to share her. She is on the left. She played a few pranks on me, so I figured out early that she has a great sense of humor. The woman on the right shared her story with me through making art. I am awed that she trusted me, and more importantly, she trusted God - that it would be good and healing to share her story. It was hard to say goodbye to both these special ladies.

For a final activity related to all the collage-making in Nicaragua, after returning
home, Vickie, a dear friend, and I collaged/mixed media Zephaniah 3:17. I just loved making art with Vickie. And it is especially rewarding to incorporate Scripture with the art. Vickie did an awesome job!

I'm off to another couple of countries, and another
couple of art adventures. Email/facebook if you want the link for my next adventure. This one has come to a happy close.

The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
-Zephaniah 3:17

Vickie's is the one with the eagle. I think she got essence beautifully!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Art and Faith

I've tried this once already, the power went out, and I lost it all. I am hesitant to try again, because it is a stormy day here in Nicaragua, so any second it can all be down as far as power is concerned. I'll just publish as I go.

Today, I have written down, in another place, much of what I remember from my time making art with the women here, so I have exhausted most of my writing energy. And, I am packing to head out tomorrow after church, to the Best Western in Managua, and then fly home early Monday morning.

What I want to remember is how powerful the making of the art was in sharing our stories and faith. As my translator said to me in English, "I did not know art could be so powerful in helping someone to share their life story and in healing hearts."

It's amazing, and we both saw it unfold together.

These women were really taking risks in being transparent and in making art because they have very little experience in both areas. One was especially worried that she could not do the art, but she prayed and made a beautiful book she entitled, "Life is Art."

They all wanted a grade on their art! I said they all had A +s because of all they had done. No, they really wanted a grade. That would not do. So, I said Jesus earned them their A+ and just trust all was well with their art.

Women shared stories of sexual abuse, rape, loss of loved ones early in life, infidelity, shunning and shaming. The art helped with getting the stories out and relief for the hearts of the women.

There were many moments of prayer and then more sharing. The time was sacred with these special women. I was undone in my heart several times and wept just like Jesus wept over Lazurus's death.

I hope to share more with you all in the days ahead, but that's a wrap due to power shortages in 3rd world countries. :-)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Final Days in Nicaragua

Today was a day full of activity, beginning with the bird concert from 4:20 am to 5:40 am. Then, it was back to sleep for me followed by a quick shower and a dash over to Pastor and Pastora's house. We had planned a trip to the Masaya market in a town southeast of Los Cedros. There would be one stop at the school where the Bustamonte's had placed their children. I think it was a meeting of heads of school.

The day was stiff and hot, so the air conditioning was amazingly cool. I hadn't had a time with AC in quite a while, so my body was a bit taken aback. And then spoiled. I knew I'd be back to sweating after our adventure, and boy, was I right. When we returned, I sweated buckets...but that's skipping to the end.

We headed into Masaya before I knew it, but closer to lunch than breakfast time.

So, with hunger (hambra) setting in, we headed straight to a lunch joint. It was clean and refreshing, and the fried fish was actually quite tasty. What was even better was all our leftovers were passed right along to 3 young men who sat down quickly next to us. They looked dirty and tired and they thanked us.

I was so happy to have been a part of spontaneous food relief grace moment without food police or paperwork. It was one of the sweetest moments of my time here.

Selah, Pastora's sister, Anna, Pastora's daughter and I slipped off to enjoy the market. We saw all sorts of cool arts and crafts, but I know my boxes in my garage have plenty of knick knacks, so I refrained from buying more. I did find the artist who makes flowers out of corn husks and bought all her flowers. She gave me her phone number - I guess I'm an amiga now:-)

I also bumped into a woman who makes many different items out of paper beads, and I bought a bracelet and asked to have a photograph with her. I couldn't believe she made baskets and picture frames out of beads! I am so happy she is selling her beautiful things.

We ended our stay with freshly squeezed mango juice, and we sat and sipped happily amongst the colorful wares around us. This market was so much cleaner than the Moroccan markets, but filled with little children begging. One mom was begging with her hydrocephalic child who had a very large head. My heart was cut to the quick and Selah quietly recommended I give her some money.

I had yet another chocked-full day in Nicaragua...ending up back at school and overhearing..."IGUANA!!" and then many children screaming. I, quick thinking gal that I am, ran for my camera and dashed toward the screaming. Unfortunately, the screaming must have caused the iguana to slink away rapido as they say here.

I capped off the afternoon with a glance at my light on the porch only to discover a cockroach the size of Texas. may not be an iguana, but I did capture it on film!

Just when I thought my day was winding down, a woman from my art class dropped by and shared all the art she had made. I complemented her on her beautiful family tree made out of butterflies. We had some photos taken by her niece, Ava, and I took some photos of her art. For me, it was sacred.

I think I'll just relax a bit before I head for bed...and get a nap in before the howling starts up! Oh, I think Pastor Manuel is a very frustrated guitarist! (See photo from the market.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Nicaragua Musings

You are probably juggling three or four activities right now, getting ready to drive somewhere, have two or three calls to return, need to check your phone, and you need to make dinner or go to the grocery store or BOTH! Unless you live near the equator. Life is so different there than here in Nicaragua.

Here it's hot or very hot or very, very hot.

That translates to 95, 99, and 105 degrees just about every day. Water for a "gringo" is something to think about a lot. There is much relief when one has a cache of water. Since I have been sipping lemonade at Pastor's house, I think my body is swimming with parasites, but I hope to not overdo it, so I keep buying bottled water.

I spent a large part of my afternoon walking to a place to get water, chatting with different children and moms, and goofing around with Pastor and Pastora and their family. (I haven't driven a car in 6 weeks. If I use my cell phone, it could cost $20 for one message. Thus, no cell phone use.)

Today, I had the privilege of hearing different women's stories as they shared their artwork they had made. We stopped and prayed every so often as the stories spilled out. There was much pain, violation, hidden hatred, abuse and much more. We were careful with each other. I pray these women continue to care for one another deeply in the days ahead. No matter how little or much money one has, these sufferings of the heart and soul are world-wide.

I asked the women to also make at least one page of art telling about times of grace, love, mercy and hope in their lives. The women will be sharing their final art/stories on Friday. I pray for healing, much healing and grace as they share.

And no, I did not get to the market today. Manyana, as they always say. Life is slower, slower, slower here.

I'm off to church, giving another pastor a farewell portrait. It's not perfecto, but it comes from my prayerful heart, and I pray he is blessed and encouraged through the art.

Oh, and hug your kids tonight! Many are without a mom or dad or both in this little town.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Portrait of a Pastor from Guatemala

What a day - I think it was hard because of my lack of sleep last night. I hardly slept with the constant barking, cackling of hens, then early morning bird wake-up calls and the scratching of the two iguanas. Throw in Benjamin's whistling for danger, and the night lights brightly shining in my room, and I become a wee bit cranky by 5:00 a.m. Most nights have not been quite so noisy! It's funny how some nights are just like that.

Tomorrow, I am supposed to give a pastor, one who spoke in Honduras, a portrait. I worked on it all day long, and did more erasing than I have done in a long time. Sweating from head to toe, I'd take photos every so often, trying to document the good ole process. I have stopped for today. I feel I am closer to where I'd like to be for tomorrow, and I am hoping and praying he will be blessed.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Response to a Rooster or Two

Anyone who has spent any time at all in Los Cedros knows there are roosters afoot! This morning, the birds and roosters were unusually boisterous in their praising of the dawning of the new day. I decided to do a quick, acrylic painting of a type or composite of all the roosters I heard this morning. I don't do acrylic paintings, and I don't do quick.

However, times have changed, I am in Nicaragua, and I am a little more relaxed. Enjoy! I'm going to put him in my kitchen one day, and I will think of the bird choral ensemble I heard every morning in Los Cedros.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Good Samaritan

I have been busy here in Los Cedros in a number of ways. First, I have completed the mural, with quite a bit of help from many students and a few adults. Second, I have gone into each classroom, except sixth grade, and I have made art with the students. I go to sixth grade tomorrow.

I also start art book making with 9 women tomorrow. That should be an amazing experience. I am just praying hard for those ladies to tell their stories using art while having some soul searching moments.

I have also been working on art cards to tell the story of the Good Samaritan. These have come more slowly, because I went back and did 3 more cards for the Prodigal Son puzzle for children, and I had the art classes. However, here is what I have so far. I am posting between rolling power outages!

I think you can click on it to enlarge it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Labor Day - No School

Today is a day full of art-making and preparation for the week of art. It is quiet because the children are home due to the Labor Day holiday today. I have added three other pieces to the prodigal sons puzzle. Now, I can do some cutting for tomorrow's artwork and the art books the ladies will be making soon. I am excited about helping women to share their stories in the few remaining days I have here in Los Cedros.

See if you can find the three new pieces!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Added Hearts

I am now busy working on a collage for Psalm 1 and a couple of cards for thank yous for some people here, but I did do a bit of work on the "woman at the well" 9 piece collage. I decided to add hearts. The hearts on all 8 parts, all except the one with living water, have stony hearts locked up. It's a "Where is Waldo?" moment as I have tucked the stony hearts, a picture of when our hearts are set against God, here and there. The new heart is with the living water. I am still working on flattening the piece in all this humidity! It is close to 100 degrees today, again.

The children are off from school today.

And, I have just returned from giving Mama and Carmen their cards. The
Spanish might have been a little off. I think they will forgive me! Please pray for Mama today, she has a sore foot.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Woman At The Well Collage

Since I was called in on a Skype call this morning, I wasn't in the third grade art class for long, but I'll share a photo from their project. It went with the book about the mouse, the red, ripe strawberry and the very hungry bear. I had brought some supplies from the USA for this one, and I had hoped to show them how to draw their own mouse, but the Skype call took up a bit of time. Maybe another day.

Yesterday and this morning, I also worked on a 9 square collage
representing the Biblical narrative of the woman at the well. I think it is close to being finished, but I am still processing it. We'll see what final thoughts I have with it. I usually end up adding a bit more with these collages a day or two after I think I am done.

The houses represent different attempts at living life apart from the "Living Water" or our Maker. Jesus told the woman at the well He provided living water, which is allegory for "real life" and living without the idolatry of our hearts - that is - living with Him. Real Life like fresh, cool water. (I can certainly understand that living here in parched Nicaragua and praying for the removal of the idols of my heart.) Refreshing, hopeful, true life. That LIFE is represented by the square in the center of the collage.

The electricity is wavering today - it is yet another bear of a hot,
humid day, so I think I'll end for now in hopes it will be posted before I loose

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Second Grade Wordless Books

Today was a busy day of prep for 19 second graders to make their own wordless book cards. Using the wordless book cards is a fun and easy way to share the gospel or Good News of Jesus' love for us. It took an hour of prep and an hour and a half of actual class time to complete the project. They now have their own set, hand painted by themselves! I used what Spanish I have at this point and the teacher helped a bit, although she gave me a few puzzled looks here and there:-)

I also acted out the "great exchange", Jesus taking our sin and giving us His righteousness, with a student who played the part of Jesus. I think the class understood what was going on.
The children certainly loved painting. I wish they could have more opportunity, but an endless supply of materials would be needed. I had trouble finding markers for them to decorate their covers for the little cards, and I thought of all the bright, new markers easily attainable back in the United States.

I am fighting a cold, and the rainy season with all its humidity is not helping my feeling of well-being. So, that's all for today.
I am thankful to have the opportunity to serve here in Los Cedros.

Animals Snoring and Art Classes

Tonight, I woke up to a cacophony of animals snoring, crowing and chirping. A cow or pig must be snoring nearby, and it's whistling, snoring awoke me at three. That's in the wee hours of the morning for some, but not for the animals. They can rest or nap anytime they want to, so stirring about now is no big deal.

I hadn't posted anything yesterday, even though it was a full day of preparing to teach, or spent teaching art. I marveled at the pace however. No one was pressuring me to do more than what was before me, and it felt good. I spent about an hour with the first grade class reading to them (Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar) and making watercolor butterflies. They all seemed to enjoy themselves, and I felt very much at home with them.

I think, making art anywhere in the world is a gift of time that connects us with our Maker. We reflect His creative attributes when we create. I saw students planning, making patterns, making color and line choices as I walked amongst the 29 happy students.

I spent another hour or two mounting all the work and adding the antennae to each butterfly. It will be fun to return these to the students today!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Portrait in Honduras

Honduras.... I have returned safe and sound, and a little different in my thinking, from my trip to Honduras. It was a good, growing experience. It was a time of spending more, special time with some of the ladies from Los Cedros and Pastor & Pastora's family. It was also a time to see how some people worship Jesus in a country far from the United States. Every American Christian should experience at least one cross-cultural expression of worship of Jesus.

Where we were going to church, the hours of worship in singing and dancing were very different from my experience in America. Just when I thought the singing was winding down, it would start up again with greater fury. There was plenty of time to paint a painting as a part of the worship. (I did not have any paint with me, nor was it a part of their worship.....yet.)

I sat in the back during many of the services. There, I found cooler air for
this poor, used to cool air Seattlite! I just couldn't figure out how these folks could stand and dance in the heat without passing out. I imagine some thought I was the skeptic in the back. I, however, solidly a follower of Jesus, was trying to be a little cooler and save my energy for the 4-6 hour services. If they could only know how passionately I was holding onto Jesus in my mind and heart, they would have been well re-assured.

Five women, including me, stayed in a home of a family from the hosting church. The family was very welcoming; they were very hospitable and kind to us. The rainy season was beginning during our stay, and the family tried so hard to keep us comfortable in the rain, humidity and heat. They fed us and asked continually if there was anything we needed. (AC did come to mind, but I kept very quiet.)

I asked if the shower, in broken Spanish, worked, and was assured by all it did.

The son in the family spoke perfect English, so I asked if he could show me how to turn it on. He showed me the bucket and tap above it. He said to fill it up, and then pour water over my head with the included cup. He said the shower head did not work. The cold water DID feel refreshing!

This son, Julian, asked if
I'd do a sketch of him. Of course, I said. I began sketching as he sat quietly. Soon, Julian's mom came and said dinner was ready. Well, I knew I needed to finish the sketch, so I kept going. Basically, the sketch needed to be QUICK! However, portraits, even quick ones for me, take at least 45 minutes. But, I kicked it up a notch, and finished in 20-30 minutes.

Julian carried the drawing around the rest of the evening - yep, back to church we went after dinner. He shared the drawing with all his friends. (Thus, the picture of it in church.)

Today and tomorrow, after a nap or two, I hope to finish the prodigal series. Then, the kiddos come back to school, and I will be teaching art classes for each grade level.

PS The bus ride of 16 hours going to Honduras and 15 hours for the return traveling on non-stop hairpin turns with smoking bus tires (literally) is something one can truly only understand by experience. My back may never be the same, but everyone on the Los Cedros bus knows I endured the same hardship they did, and we are better friends for it. This photo was of the Pastor's daughter. We sat together on the return, and she reminded me of my own precious daughters.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Prodigal Puzzle Continues

I am going to take a short break from art-making so I can pack my bag for Honduras. It should be an interesting trip during several days of this Holy Week. However, I did complete two more squares of the Prodigal Puzzle I'd like to share here. I still have to try to figure out how I will mount the sections. I am hoping this puzzle will be more interactive than a book.

It will be fun to share with the students when they return from vacation.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Prodigal Puzzle

Here are the first three pages of the prodigal puzzle. Hopefully, you can click on it and it will enlarge.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son Puzzle

I have begun making a puzzle working off the story of the parable of the prodigal son. I am going to have a total of nine squares, hopefully, to put together in order to tell the story. I think it will be fun to do with children, and I can review the story by passing out the squares to children and then, the children can retell their part of the story as the puzzle is put back together. I'd like to thank Marge for spurring me on today to continue to make art using collage in this way! It is made completely with painted papers.

Eight more to follow in the days ahead, Lord willing! I look forward to
these with children here, my grandchildren and many others.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Heat and Headache

It was really, really, really hot today, and I battled a headache all day long. I am hopeful that tomorrow will be cooler. I did quite a bit of cutting (see cut butterflies) in preparation for art classes once I return from Honduras, and then I went to bed for most of the rest of the day. Pastor Manuel and Pastora came in the evening to check on me, and they prayed for me.

I have been blessed with an encouraging Skype call from Judy tonight. We discussed future plans, the need for a translator to do art here, and the benefits of having more than one person ministering in a location such as Los Cedros.
I took some photos of local animals,the goat, birds, the next door neighbor - a horse - after my afternoon siesta. The kind woman who brought me lunch realized the goat tethered near my house was in the sun way too long, and needed to be moved to the shade. I cheered her on while she got him situated with fresh water under a tree.

And now, I am hopeful the house here will finally cool down, but I am taking one last cold shower to start the cooling process! Now I know why I like AC so much.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Church, Children, Butterflies

It is one hot day in Los Cedros today! I tried to take a nap in the hammock after church, but that was even too hot. I finally fell asleep on my bed under a fan, and awoke in a pool of sweat reminiscent of my childhood, hot, summer days without fans in Chicago. I have been sipping on iced coffee and taking cold showers. I totally missed spring this year, and I am looking forward to it when I return to Seattle.

This morning, I went to church with Pastor and Pastora and the family. I sat in the back, and before I knew it, a row of children from the school was surrounding me. They are so sweet, some sharing candy with me and reading my Spanish
dictionary out loud to help me with pronunciation. I took a couple of photos of the kiddos in church.

Later today, actually as the sun was setting, I did a sample butterfly for the kids to see for my art class with the butterflies. I am going to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar with the first graders, and then they are going to paint butterflies. It was fun for me, since I pushed the colors, thinking of Marge's painted papers.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lazy Los Cedros Sabato (Saturday)

I am lazing around mi casa today. I have gotten up leisurely, painted the front and back of an accordion book for my Moroccan archways, and I've had a fun lunch over at Pastor and Pastora's house today. I took some pictures at lunch because Pastor Manuel was attempting to eat a whole chicken in an enormous bowl of soap. Too funny to pass up!

I had come to lunch with several sentences written out in Spanish to share what I had been doing since I had last seen the dynamic duo. So, we had a little bit more of a conversation. I shared some pictures of my daughters, sons-in-laws, grandchildren and my Dad and Janet. They ran to show other family members.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fun Friday at Havila

Today was a relaxing day hanging out with the children in the morning. I had fun playing with them and taking pictures. Many of the kids had made chicken hats or sombreros de gallos. I finally found a chicken hat for myself and was able to hang out with the kiddos with like sombrero. What a relaxing morning.

The kids went home today for a long Holy Week vacation. They do not return until the 26th, I think. I found out today that I don't leave for Honduras until Wednesday. So, I have several days to make art at Havila on my own. I hope to do a couple of watercolors and collage. I also hope to pray through some plans for the future. I am always amazed at our Faithful God, and I am so thankful He has allowed me to make art full time and enjoy His children. He is the one true God who is the lover of my soul, and I trust and enjoy His Presence more and more here in Los Cedros.

Today, I did something I've wanted to do for at least a year. I have made paper beads for a necklace. It was fun and restorative as I listened to Tim Keller on the internet. Mr. Keller has at least one good sermon on the church and the creative arts. I enjoy his talks as I create something new and mull over new ideas.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Moorale Finito!

Yes, that is a wrap of the mural. With the help of a few more students, especially Jennifer once again, the mural is complete. I hope to have a final photo shot as the kids leave classes today. It was a fairly full day of putting in details. I added cats, dogs and Jennifer added flowers. Two students helped me finish the lower half in one solid color of green. I also cleaned up the blue around all the black lettering in the sky. That was fairly tedious, but it looks sharper now.

One woman named Blanca came by and mentioned a word with an "o" should really have an "a", so I got the black paint and made a line by the o so it would be an a. No problemo! This mural has been quite a group effort!

I had lunch at Pastora's house; I've paid for lunch there during my stay to be sure to have one good meal each day. I often take my leftovers and eat them for cena or dinner. I did this today, wrapping my leftover lunch in aluminum foil. I put my wrapped plate in the office, and began working. Suddenly, I heard a crashing sound, and imagined it was my lunch plate. Sure enough, a stray dog had gone into the office and stolen my lunch which was not to be my dinner.

I let him clean up the mess, and he did a really good job. The school secretary
was out, thus the dog had free reign of the office. Gosh, I Carumba! (Great Scott!) No dinner tonight.....well, there is always cheese and crackers:-) So, the mural is finished, and so is my lunch/dinner.

All in a day's work in Nicaragua!

When I get home, I want a really tall glass of iced lemonade......right by my amoka. (Hammock)

I see a collage in the making with this photo!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mural Almost Terminado!

I am getting close to finishing the mural. I think I side-swiped myself by having so many involved, but I sensed it was a really good thing to include as many as possible in the painting process. I am so very tired tonight because I went to church, a nearly 3 hour situation. Don't get me wrong; I love going to my church. The servitsio tonight was solo espanole or however one spells it. I am too tired to look it up:-)

At one point, a young artist named David decided to take over. He was having fun, so I let him have at it. Later, I down-sized some of the shoes he put on some of the children.

I finally got the command chair back and had 5 boys trying to paint. Yikes! I was laughing when one girl gave a boy a paintbrush with pink paint because she had to go do something. I caught him working with the pink. For some odd reason, this artist thought a yellow dressed girl needed pink shoes. I'm going to leave it because they painted it! It's just too cute to change.

So, enjoy the art!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Lettering Terminado!

Boy, does it feel good to have the lettering done on the mural. I am excited to think the whole thing can be wrapped up by tomorrow afternoon! Then, I will begin cutting out papers in preparation for several art projects in the classrooms. Since the students are in exams this week, and next week is Easter vacation, I assume I will make the art with the kids the week after vacation.
I am going, with 15 other, to Honduras, to celebrate Holy week and go to a conference. I'll be bringing some art along with me to share at the conference.

I hope you are enjoying seeing the unfolding of the moorale, as they say here. I have to remember to moo like a cow if I am going to say the word correcto.

I enjoyed playing with the students this morning, and I think I'll go see
who I can play with now. It is the afternoon recesso time!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Down To Brass Tacks

Writing with paint is not a career path I wish to go down anytime soon. However, while in Los Cedros, I have thrown myself into the mural with all its ups and downs. That means I even paint small words on bumpy stucco! I have to stand the whole time I am painting, so small breaks are totally in order. I get the blood flowing again while sitting during my poco siesta, then pop up again and begin painting anew.

The kids love seeing the progress. They also enjoy teaching me Spanish; they correct my pronunciation and we all laugh.

It is either hot or really hot or really, really hot here. Today it was really, really hot, so I have a headache. I'm going to go drink mochas aqua!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Early Morning Baptisms

Hoy es un lindo dia que Dios izzo! (Today is a beautiful day that God made with apologies for any mistakes.) I started the day by walking with a small troupe of new friends who were coming down to the river to get baptized or cheer on, with beautiful singing, those being baptized. It was a lovely, joy-filled experience.

I joined up with a small group of women, and one in the group was keen on helping me with my Spanish diction. I finally told her she was my personal Spanish professor! She wouldn't let me get away with any sloshing around with the verbs. And when I mis-pronounced the Spanish word for "birds" (flying over our heads) the women laughed hilariously. I had said soccer instead of birds. Whoops! :-)

The woman who is my professor was carrying her daughter who had been badly
burned. Her scars looked so painful, I kissed the little baby's leg a few times out of compassion. I guess she is doing better; it is a miracle she is alive. My understanding is the little one was in the hospital for a while.

After the baptism at the river, I headed to church and sat with Ena. Ena is a sweetheart who knows some English. She helped me prepare for when each person in the congregation shares a verse. I had John 6:29 in mind, and she found the Spanish for me. When it was my turn, after I said it in Spanish, everyone clapped. That sure encourages me to keep trying, poor diction and all!

I was invited to a yummy bar-be-que at Pastor Manuel and Pastora's house after church. Pastor's brother and whole family was there along with Pastor Hilario from Northshore Baptist, my home church. I tried to keep up with the Spanish, but I was lost half the time. I enjoyed Pastor's Mom and Carmen along with Pastor's daughters. We are becoming friends.

Now, it is Siesta time for me in Nicaragua!