Well here is the second installment of the great Nicaragua escapade.

First off thank you all for the wonderful encouraging emails. It means so much to keep in touch.  It was interesting how many of you mentioned how hearing about the friends helped put things in perspective, so I will continue to send realistic emails regarding life down here.  I think about how much we all long for the new system- but I've found myself seeing how imperative it is that it come soon.  Life for the poor in a third world county is not glamorous or romantic like in some Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, it is hard and ugly.  I expected the friends would at least have pleasant if simple homes, especially living in the city.  But they are crude and dark with dirt floors or old tile and unpainted concrete walls and a gap between the roof and the wall - very inviting for mice and rats.  Some of the friends have nice places to live (though not by our standards).  They are all very educated, one of our two elders (Marcio) is a doctor, but few of them can find work, some have to commute 2 hours to Managua to work- including a very pregnant sister.  Our other elder is Louis - a 30 year old mts graduate.  He is amazing (they both are- what self-sacrifice).  He doesn't seem like he be a good public speaker but he sure is.  It is interesting- right before we came Marcio was offered some sort of position in Minnesota, as a Doctor, and was all set to move (which would leave a congregation of 60 with one elder and one servant), but at the last minute he changed his mind and stayed, then we came- from Minnesota....not sure but it seems ironic.  We have told him he made the right decision-he is needed so much here.
Mental illness is so rampant here- it makes the depression we have back home look like Kittens (not that I am down playing depression- had it).  But we are talking "laughing like a rancher" crazy- found out she is schizophrenic, and her sister Florenzia says this is quite common here because of the war and lack of food.  One sister here (looks like an older version of Marta from Brazil- for those of you that know her) has a son with some mental problem- he is so precious  but always trying to plug his ears- also a problem from the war- according to Florenzia.  Celia- his mother is an amazingly good teacher of the Bible.  But once again lives in such dismal surroundings. 

The RAIN- never ending (okay it is not at this moment- but you never know when it will begin again.)  Seriously its torrential.  I walked through massive puddles in the pouring rain on our way home from the meeting last night- only 20-ish in attendance.  I was able to comment in bible highlights (not an exciting one- trust me).  And a few in the ministry school- oh and we were announced- fortunately Illiana got my attention- otherwise I would have missed it! HA!

Oh we had such excitement at the meeting on Sunday!  No lights!  One brother had a head lamp on - but never turned it on - ha ha - he just passed out candles- so we sang acapella by candlelight!  I know all of you want to know what Grady sounds like singing acapella in Spanish.  I'm sure you can imagine.  They had a Coleman lantern for the circuit overseer, but by his second talk the power was back on.    

Oh its pouring again- Told ya!  We tried washing clothes by hand and drying them on our line- you should smell them!  Horrible!  nothing wants to dry.  Can't wait for this month to be over.  It makes service really messy and difficult.

Okay - we went to the BEACH- it was fabulous.  Pacific Ocean- with that typical P.O. smell (Grady thinks I'm crazy- back me up Cindy!) and huge rolling surf, miles of untouched sand for me and Luna to run on (actually Luna running- me walking).  So we went monday with our Canadian friend Junilo.  He has only seen the Pacific from the other side- he is originally from the Philippines.  At the beach Junilo asked us to watch his stuff and he went into this surf rental/restaurant.  He didn't come back for awhile and we got worried so I went to see where he was (it was an Olivia Joules moment- for book club ladies).  He has actually started a bible study with the bartender who was reading his bible.  He said he was afraid of revelation so Junilo told him it was a book of hope and had him read Rev. 21:3-4.  And he appreciated that, so next monday Grady and Junilo have a bible study AT THE BEACH!!!

Today we met with our new Spanish teacher who is actually this really interesting German man named Rudy.  He has been here for 2 years and he teaches at the language academy.  He has a really interesting life story about how he ended up in Nicaragua.  He is going to come to our house 4 times a week for 1 hour, hopefully that helps us learn.  He also wanted one of Luna's  puppies, he thought she was pregnant, nope just fat.  Actually she has lost weight here, lots of binging and purging on street food (garbage).  He lives outside of the city and he is going to bring some plants for us to plant in our courtyard.

Last saturday as we walked the streets of Leon after lunch looking for our fridge with a sister and her son we saw our first "man who walks naked",  apparently they are quite common here (and smart- shower and cool off at the same time!).

Oh we did get the Fridge!  Yeah!  and it came with a free microwave (not that we've used the micro yet)

Things we have:
2 wood rocking chairs
2 hammocks
3 towels
Matching set of coffee tables( actually its Luna's kennel taken apart- the friends get a kick out of it)
2 bowls, 2 plates and a set of silverware
coffee pot
4pots, used saute pan
shower curtain

that might be about it..loving the simple life-
All for now- love to all! and all our love!

Grady-Brandi and Luna