The last 3 months have been somewhat difficult. We aren’t used to the situations we’ve found ourselves in. We’ve realized that moving to a foreign country is not always what you were told it would be, and it is more difficult to adjust to than you had anticipated.
The life style here is a lot slower paced and the culture has a whole different mind set. Surprisingly, not all people live and think like we in the U.S. do. I guess that is mostly because the living conditions are different and the daily life situations are definitely different as well.
The things we typically take for granted are not the same here. For example, the roads are different, mostly two lanes, and there are many that are not even paved. Many are made of paving stones, and those can be so uneven that they feel like they aren’t paved even if they are. The maximum speed limit is 50 miles per hour, and it isn’t that in many places. Most of the time it is around 30 miles per hour. And on
most of the unpaved roads it is all you can do to go 10 miles per hour. It takes about three times as long to get to most places as it would to go the same distance in the U.S.
Additionally, the utilities here are really spotty with frequent power outages, as well as water outages being quite common. Outages lasting 24 hours aren’t at all uncommon.
Internet and cell phone coverage is available here in the major cities, but as soon as you get a few kilometers out of town, coverage becomes spotty or nonexistent. The internet available is usually slower than the States as well, so we’ve had trouble downloading the updates for computer software on our different devices. There are three major companies offering these services, Claro, Movistar, and for Internet alone, IBW. The quality of service you’ll receive from each varies depending on where you are.
We’ve found that it takes longer to do things here. Sometimes a week or two to do what we’d do in
less than half a day, and sometimes months...
Tribulation Works Patience
But, progress finally seems to be coming our way…
Expectations vs. Reality
We started working to get our resident visas in January, and were assured we could have them if the paperwork was done correctly within three months. We thought that meant by the end of May at the latest. However, in actual fact, we got them October 29th, less than a month ago as of this writing.
We weren’t able to open a bank account until after we had our visas. We were told it would take a couple of days after we had the visas. In actual fact, it took 11 days. The paperwork here is massive, and at times it seems to be never ending.
So, the last three months can be summed up in one word…
There is a lot more that could be said about being here, and we will share some of it with you in the future, I am sure...
Tribulation Works Patience
Today I am writing you from Matagalpa. The temperature is about 80 more or less with partly cloudy skies. We are in the middle range of the mountains about 3,500 feet above sea level. I am sitting on a balcony over looking the city itself about 1000 feet below me. The view is spectacular and I can see for miles. But, the balcony isn’t mine. It is a guest house that Project 14 Global Missions built to house short term mission teams. It is a beautiful place with two stories, and about 4000 square feet of living area. It has five dorm rooms and is designed to sleep about 35 people when needed.
Moving Past Limbo?
For the past three weeks we’ve been staying here for several days out of the week while attempting to explore the possibility of whether the Lord might want us in Matagalpa instead of in Diriamba where we lived last spring, and again since we returned in August. Diriamba is about an hour southwest of Managua the capital city of Nicaragua, and Matagalpa is about two to two and a half
hours to the northeast of Managua. So the trip between the two is about three hours long.
In these weeks I believe we’ve made some good progress in getting settled into our new life. As I mentioned earlier, we were finally able to open a bank account, and we trust we’ve finally found a place to rent here in the Matagalpa area, although we won’t actually be able to sign the rental contract until next Monday.
The real problem here is to find enough space at an affordable price. The majority of the Nicaraguan people do not build like we do in the U.S. They build smaller rooms in smaller houses. Part of this is because they spend a lot less time indoors than we would, and part is because they don’t have the financial resources we do, for the most part.
Additionally, the weather here is nice year round, so it is more pleasant outside than inside without air conditioning, and hardly anyone here has the electronic toys that we have to spend time on.
Instead of having personal computers, laptops, I pads, and other technology we take for granted, they have access to the internet through “internet cafes” or “Cybers” as they are called here. These are small places of business that have ten to twelve public computers available for rent by the hour to whomever would like to use them.
Tribulation Works Patience
This last week I was able to work on my first church project since arriving back in August. Burt Durham, Omar, and myself were able to put a roof an the bathroom at a church the Durhams attend in Jinotepe. While there I also looked at wiring the bathrooms, two Sunday School classrooms and the main sanctuary, all of which need doing at some point in the future.
Work Projects Accomplished and Pending
I also looked at Pastor Ramon’s church in Diriamba. They are planning to start a remodeling job within the next two weeks and have asked me to help with the rewiring part of it.
I also need to rewire some lights in Braxton Baker’s home at the EMI compound where we’ve been staying since August. Mr. Baker is the head of the EMI mission.
Finally, the church we’re planning to attend in Matagalpa also needs some of its outside lights fixed. So there are plenty of pending projects for me to start on when I can finally get things out of customs and start working.
Tribulation Works Patience
We still need your prayer support in so many ways. Today is Wednesday, and it is possible, although not likely, that our stuff will be coming out of customs Friday, so we really need to get a contract signed for a house to stay in, here in Matagalpa. Please pray:
Effectual Fervent Prayers Needed
- there will be no further expenses or long delays in getting our things out of customs
- we’ll be able to get things moved to Matagalpa without further damage or undue expenses
- we’ll be able to get the truck permanently registered (Something we can’t do until we have a rental contract signed, we found out when we tried to register it last Friday. At least they were kind enough to give us another month’s extension since the first month was over this past Monday.)
- we’ll be able to get reasonable rates for language study for me.
- when and where to schedule coming work projects
- ability to finish getting settled, and involved in a good local church
ability to get good Spanish tracts we can pass out to people as the Lord provides opportunities. People here are much more interested in written literature than they are in the States.
Tribulation Works Patience
I’ll never forget the first time the Lord impressed the scripture of this month’s theme to my heart. (By the way this is Sherilyn writing for the first time, up until now I’ve only been typing what Dennis wrote, although I did come up with the theme thought as well, from what he had written.) The whole passage states…
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulation also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts…”
Only By God’s Power
I read it, and I said right out loud…”No we don’t… we get frustrated in tribulation! And then I realized that if I got frustrated by tribulation instead of glorying in it, then the tribulations would never end up working patience in my life, nor could the patience result in Godly experience, or any of the other results Paul said tribulations should accomplish in our lives. So just as God purposes good in every tribulation he allows to
come into our lives, Satan purposes evil. The results really depend on how I react to those things God allows. I can’t control my circumstances, but I am responsible for my reactions to them.
Nonetheless, only as I die to myself and allow the Spirit of God to bring Christ’s life out of me can I react and live in ways that are pleasing to God. Your prayers for us unleash the Spirit’s power in our lives and enable us to have His power on our lives and ministries here. Thank you for the vital part you play in our lives through your prayers.
And for those of you the Lord has led to send us financial gifts as well, please know that we will try to write and send personal thank you notes as soon as we have access to our personal things. We’ve not been able to find thank you notes here to buy so we could send them. Yet we do greatly appreciate your support.
Electrifying for Eternity,
Dennis & Sherilyn (Nutting) Thompson
P.S. As I type this into the computer two things come to mind...
First this letter will go out 2 days before Thanksgiving, and we haven't mentioned it. Since it isn't a Nicaraguan holiday, they won't be celebrating, but believe me we will. We are very thankful for the Lord's protection and provision during this past year of transition.
And, for those of you who haven't heard via Facebook, we're very thankful that we did receive those residency Visas as promised on October 29th. That should have been the banner headline for this letter, but so much has been going on, it slipped by us.
Secondly, the Lord is already answering our prayer requests.
- We signed a year's rental agreement for a nice house in Matagalpa yesterday afternoon.
- This morning we were able to finish permanently registering the truck.
- The realtor was able to locate someone who promises to give Dennis Spanish
lessons for less than half the amount we'd previously been quoted.
I'm reminded of the scripture "Before they call, I will answer and while they are yet speaking I will hear" We are so thankful we serve a prayer answering God who over rules even in tribulation for our good, and His glory! Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Central Baptist Church
c/o Pastor David Simpson
483 County Road 300 North
Sullivan, IN 47882
The church accepts tax deductible contributions for us.