The work week begins!

Posted on June 30, 2009

6/29/09  —  Monday

Lordy, Lordy! Look who is 40! Oh no, that was the wrong number.  We think she is… uhh… well, we’ll never tell!  Daleen turned one year older today!  Little did she know what the team had in store for her.

We started off our day with another delicious breakfast provided by the women of the hotel and loaded up our van, anxious to start our first day of work.  We were having quite a lovely trip to the church, until our van slid into a washout from the previous night’s storm.  Luckily, our driver remained calm, cool, and collected and was able to maneuver us out before the van became stuck.  It would have been a hard walk on a dirt road with many tools to carry.  Upon our arrival, the women cleaned C-channel steel beams with paint thinner to prep the steel before we could paint it.  After the steel was clean, we coated them with white primer/paint with the help of some of the men of the church.  While part of the crew was keeping busy with the C-channels, a group of guys began building a stage for the church using masonry block.  The digging was not too hard, but the block we used for the base were large, heavy, and very difficult to place.  You will notice in the pics just how much effort it took as evidenced by Wes and his dirt clothes.  We were graciously provided lunch by Aula, the pastor’s wife.  It was a meal of chicken with rice that tasted like something from Bobby Flay.  The thing is, it was prepared at Aula’s home and trekked 30 minutes into the country and served in big metal pots.  Try that move Mr. Flay.  We even got to try fresh guava!  Dawn’s watering eyes and gagging reflexes could not hide her joy in trying this new fruit!

After lunch, the women broke apart from the group and held a mini VBS for the children.  With the help of Sonia’s translation skills, we were able to efficiently communicate the message of Jonah and the Whale.  A few boys volunteered to read the story aloud to the other children and were rewarded with candy, which they enthusiastically accepted.  After the story was read, the children were able to color their own picture of Jonah and the Whale and were given a paper cut-out of the characters in the story.  To add more excitement to the story, the children played a game similar to the game Musical Chairs.  Lindsay and Talia held a blue blanket symbolizing the ocean, and the Pastor’s wife sang a beautiful song while the children pretended to be Jonah and ran under the blanket (or ocean!).  When she stopped singing, the blanket was immediately dropped capturing the children caught underneath it.  We concluded the mini VBS with free time, which included jumping rope and many energetic children running around!

It was evident to us that Wes was itching to play soccer because he brought along his ball from home as well as his turf sneakers.  The children were also eyeing up his soccer ball, so he, Lindsay and Talia decided to get a game started.  Goals were made out of two nearby trees and Wes’s work boots.  The children seemed to have their own rules, and one boy in particular was partial to picking up the ball with his hands, pointing Lindsay and Talia in the direction of the opposing team’s goal and tossing it to them in hopes of scoring.  With each goal scored, high fives were exchanged.  After one of Wes’s goals, he performed a victory dance of lifting his shirt over his head and spreading his arms while circling around the makeshift field.  The women sitting nearby got quite a laugh out of this!  Back at the church the guys working on the stage had finished placing all of the block and even got all the joints mortared.  The hope is to set a row of cement block tomorrow.

At the end of the day we were covered from head to toe in dirt and sweat, which made the ride home even more enjoyable considering our twelve passenger van had 17 people plus tools packed inside.  What a wonderfully aromatic bonding experience!  We were all relieved once we arrived back at the hotel where we didn’t mind not having hot water and enjoyed the cold showers.  We had worked up an appetite from the day’s hard labor and greatly appreciated the hotel’s food which once again hit the spot!  Little did Daleen know that this wasn’t just a normal dinner.  Marshall had arranged to have a Mariachi band perform in honor of her special day. The men sang while guitars, trumpets, and an accordion accompanied them.  Wow!  Were they good!  After a time of devotions, the group was ready for some downtime and enjoyed reading emails from home and comments from yesterday’s post. What an encouragement they were to us all.  We know we are loved.  As a side note, we look forward to getting home to depose the emperor (small e) because “he has no clothes”!

Oh, and by the way, for those of you who know Talia, her camera just spontaneously ejected her first memory card and it laid smoking on the coffee table.  Never fear…she has one for each day!


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10 Responses to “The work week begins!”

  1. Jessica Swanson
    Jun 30, 2009

    So glad to see everyone. It looks like you are clearly making an impression. Wes, you are greatly missed, especially at bedtime. Lillie can’t figure out where you are when you truck is in the driveway. She continues to search daily. We love you and get home safely!

  2. Robert Brody
    Jun 30, 2009

    Church Improvement Update #3

    Things are really moving well here at Pequea under my royal guidance. You’ll hardly recognize the church when you get back. The new drive-thru window is awesome. Get a full Sunday morning service in under 3 minutes! And yes, you can get Fries with that!

    The GAP team had been praying regularly for you but I’ve asked them to stop. Every time they would pray that evil influences would not affect you I broke out in a rash. I’m sure it was just coincidence, but I bought some calamine lotion just in case they start praying again.

    I’ve been thinking about our services a lot lately and what we can do to make them friendlier to people who don’t go to church. It occurred to me (as I was dozing off during the sermon) that maybe some people don’t come because the Pastor preaches too long. Maybe we should offer some kind of guarantee like Dominoes Pizza does. So I rented a big billboard along route 272. It has a big picture of Pastor Dale on it and the caption underneath says “If I don’t finish my sermon in 30 minutes or less I’ll eat a bug!” It really does my heart good to see how much our congregation cares about outreach, because many of them have already called in and offered to bring bugs of all sorts. Can’t you just feel the love!

    We’ll team, rest confidently know that as you minister in Nicaragua the church back home is in good hands. ~The Emp

  3. Don Mylin
    Jun 30, 2009

    40 ? I don’t think so, I believe Daleen has had a few anniversaries of
    her 40th. I see Marshall still has the connections, Very cool !
    I pity the person doing Wes’ laundry, maybe he should just throw them out
    and buy new clothes each day. I know Talia can burn threw the pictures, but I never saw her smoke a card!
    We are enjoying the pics, keep up the good work, and make sure the photographers get in the pics each day.
    Don Mylin

  4. Celia Swanson
    Jun 30, 2009

    Hi Team! It looks as though you’re doing a fantastic job! The girls enjoyed the pictures of the children there. Uncle Dubby, Mel thinks you need to get a bath before you come home to Aunt Jess and Lillie:) And Grandpa, Addy wants you to know she misses you! Tyler, they were excited to see you working with children nearby (just like at home). And Addy has been excited seeing “Miss Dawn” working with the children there, too. You all look like you have good reason to be tired at the end of the day. It’s neat to read and see each of you serving those around you in your own talented way. We continue to lift you up in prayer!

  5. Deb Swanson
    Jun 30, 2009

    HiJohn,nice to see your pictures and theguys.Glad things are moving along and everyone is well.I pray for the Lord to bless everyone’s efforts and He will be made known and the church will be encouraged by Pequea’s help.Tell the “boys” hi from me.Love&miss you,Deb

  6. sandy mylin
    Jun 30, 2009

    Hi Everyone! Everyday I look forward to seeing pictures and reading about your day. I’m praying that this experience will have life changing effects on all of you. It’s so nice to see smiles on everyone’s faces especially with all that mud! Happy Birthday Daleen! A dinner party with your own special spanish band – I doubt that you would have gotten that at home! I think Talia and Lindsay need hats – everyone else seems to have one. Talia, I’m glad you didn’t drop my camera down over the scenic overlook the other day – did you run out of batteries yet??? Keep up the good work everyone!

  7. Donna Rineer
    Jun 30, 2009

    Thinking and praying for you’s all! sounds like you’s are having a great time! I am envious!
    the stories and pictures are great!! it only took me 3 days to figure out how to get the computer to work on the church website. (some of us aren’t to smart). Hope Pastor Dale is staying out of trouble!!! John, I guess you didn’t lose your luggage this time!
    Daleen-your such a good sport!

    I’ll try and remember to send steve for you all on the 7th!

  8. Jim and Margaret Farkas
    Jun 30, 2009

    Hi team. Margaret and I are enjoying reading the daily updates as well as enjoying the great pictures. We especially love seeing all the pictures you took of the children. And seeing the pictures of the volcano brought back some memories as well.

    Happy belated birthday wishes to you Daleen.

    Fortunately for all concerned, and Dale, you may rest a little easier knowing that His Royal Highness The Emperor Robert has not displayed any tendencies for a hostile takeover. We just try to humor him.

    And by the way has anyone tried that funny/unusual tasting red soda – if so what is it called. We had some while in Esteli last year.

    You are constantly in our thoughts and prayers.

    Jim and Margaret

  9. Janay Keeport
    Jun 30, 2009

    Hey Everyone!
    It’s so great to see all the pictures and see the great work you are doing in Nicaragua! How awesome to see pictures of our friends in Piedra Menuda and all the beautiful children we grew to love! The children you are working with look just as adorable. I’m glad you are staying at the same hotel we did with the amazing food…enjoy every bite! I haven’t read any mention of the rooster at the hotel that woke us up at 4AM every day…so hopefully you all lucked out on that one. I pray for safety for you all. Soak in every moment and experience and serve with all your heart and strength. Oh… and if they ask you to participate in any sack races…someone please help Sonia. (ha, ha) 🙂 Bendiciones!!!


  10. The Ross Family
    Jun 30, 2009

    Hi Swanson Family,

    We love reading about your work there! It looks like lots of work but tons of fun! The picture’s remind me of my students! We miss you all out in California!


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