Now You're Talking My Language!

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hello and Goodbye!

Hi everyone!

How are all of you?  Things are just dandy with me.  I'm still in a state of culture shock, trying to readjust to life here in the States.  I've been gone for so long (3 years) that I feel like a foreigner here!  Some of you have written to find out what's going on with me (how sweet!)  Well, nothing too terribly exciting but I'll catch you up to speed at least :-).

I've settled back in, here in Atlanta.  I've gotten through the major humps of starting over- finding a car, new apartment, new job and new congregation.  I decided to join my parent's congregation (English) and live about 5 minutes away from them.  There is however, a Spanish congregation in our hall which I visit on occasion to get my "Spanish fix" :-).  Whenever I visit, they jokingly tell me that they are still waiting for my cards!  My moved back came at the right time since some friends were moving out of state and practically furnished my whole apartment!  The job search didn't take long, either.  After temping for a month or two, I started at one job which looked doable on paper but, once my commute started adding up to two hours each way, I knew it wasn't going to work with my pioneer schedule.  As always, Jehovah knew what I needed, before I did.  Another job came available about 15 minutes from my apartment and with his help, I was able to begin working there.  I'm remembering the challenges of working full time while regular pioneering but with the support of the friends during the weekends, early mornings and evenings, it's doable.  Atlanta has been chosen as a the site for 3 upcoming international conventions and my congregation has been chosen to host!  I'm looking forward to volunteering as much as my schedule will allow. 

As far as my health, I'm feeling much, much better but am still not as strong as I would like to be (maybe it's just age!).  I've reapplied for RBC though I will probably have to choose a less intense job rather than my beloved roofing.   My main challenge right now is balancing all of the responsibilities of being back in the States and staying on target spiritually.  There are sooooo many distractions here!  I was always die hard anti-social media but I've been so homesick for everyone back in Central America as well as the friends I've met from all around the globe, that I finally gave in to joining Facebook, Instagram etc.  Boy can they be time wasters!  Time that I used to spend just reading and researching for fun seems to have disappeared.  So, I'm trying to find balance with talking to friends and not letting anything else slip.  Giving Bible studies has always been the part of the ministry I enjoy the most so I was elated when Jehovah answered my prayers with two wonderful students!  They both even came to the Memorial.  Having them has been a much needed boost for me.

I love my new congregation!  There are lots of older ones whom have been in the Truth for many decades.  We also have lot of young ones, full of energy.  I had a little arts and crafts party at my apartment for the young ones where they made bookmarks for the whole congregation.  (An idea I took from the friends in Minnesota!)  As much as I love my new congregation, I still miss my old one very, very much.  Many say that I had a great, "experience" in serving where the need is greater.  But, for me, and many others who've served in similar capacities, it's not just an "experience" or a "way of life"-- it IS our life.  All I would do there was eat, sleep, preach and enjoy the friends.  Even in my dreams I was talking to my students and explaining Bible thoughts!  It's truly a spiritual paradise when your biggest worry is how to fit in all of your students!  I left so suddenly due to my illness last year, that I didn't have a chance to say goodbye.  I wasn't too concerned since I had planned to return in December.  When that didn't pan out and I wasn't sure when I'd be able to return, I was truly heartbroken (see "Get Your Tissues for This One :-(" )  But, there is a silver lining!  I was FINALLY able to visit about a month ago!  One of my students called to tell me of her progress and informed me that she was planning to get married so that she could become an unbaptized publisher.  I was elated and asked when the big day would be.  She asked when I would be able to visit.  I told her I was unsure due to having recently started a new job.  So she decided that she would set the date of her wedding-her special day upon when I could come!  I thought I misunderstood in Spanish but no, that's what she said.  I was beyond touched.  So, I started to plan my great escape.  I was only able to go down for the weekend but boy was it ever worth it.  Prior to my coming, she explained that some things beyond her control had occurred and she would not be able to wed that weekend but, she assured me that her dedication to Jehovah had not waned one bit and that very soon, she would not just be my friend but also my sister.  I absolutely believe her!  In the mean time her son (8 years old) is now a VERY zealous unbaptized publisher.  He even got to work with the CO and get some tips!  What a joyous day it will be, when his mom and his grandmom (with whom I also studied) will be able to accompany him in the ministry!! 

In Nica culture, they don't hold back in describing people based on how they look.  For example they might say, "Hey, skinny man!  Yeah you...come here!" and it's just the norm.  Well, when I left, I was quite thin and frail.  But after  10 months of my momma's cooking....let's just say I'm looking a bit, "healthier" lol.  Realizing this is the first thing they would notice about me, I let them know in advance, "Hey!  I'm FAT ok so don't be shocked!"  When I arrived they were all thrilled that I had put on weight and didn't make a big deal out of it since I had given them a heads up.  But one former student of mine, an older lady didn't get the memo, and couldn't hold back her excitement.  We had a gathering at her house and when every guest arrived she exclaimed,  "Have you seen Kim?? She's FAT!!! No really.... KIM COME HERE!  See!  Look how FAT she is!!!! Praise Jah!!"  She was so elated that I didn't look like I was gonna fall over when the wind blew, that she didn't know what to do with herself!

So, for my whirlwind "Hello and goodbye" weekend, I spent one day visiting old friends in Granada and one day in Miramontes.  Granada English continues to grow with leaps and bounds!  It was good seeing old friends and making new ones.  I was finally able to take all of the donations that the friends in the States wanted to give to the friends-almost 200 pounds of spiritual gifts, clothes, shoes, chocolates and other items.  I had so much in fact, that I could only fit toiletries and underclothes for myself and had to borrow clothes while I was there (TMI, I know)!  In Miramontes, I had the chance to see how the friends are progressing, more pioneers and many older ones still zealously preaching along with ones who kept their promise of symbolizing their dedication through water baptism.  We had lunch at the home of one of my former students (the one whom I mentioned earlier).  She lives in a modest one room home with an attached outside kitchen.  The brothers arranged to work in her area during the morning so that we could meet there for lunch.  She was beaming with pride at the opportunity to host lunch for everyone.  It is VERY important for them to feel like a part of the congregation.  Sidebar-  Awhile back our congregation had several meetings for just the publishers to discuss donating money so that we could build a floor and a bathroom.  These two loving students decided to stay after the Watchtower study to find out what we were discussing.  As the local publishers tried to figure how much each family could sell to donate to the cause, my student and her mom boldly raised their hands from the back row.  They said with much conviction, " We too are apart of this congregation and we want to donate to the floor and bathroom!  We will find the money no matter what!"  The brother conducting the meeting barely knew what to say as we were really struggling to come up with the money.  So, that just shows how committed they are to Jehovah and the furthering of his Divine will.  Back to the story at hand...friends brought donations of plantains and other items from their homes.  And best of all, they knocked down a whole slew of mangoes from the tree out front and made me a huge coffee canister (used as a cup) full of mango juice.  During mango season, they would always send me home with a sack of mangos and a pitcher of mango juice for our family.  Everyone would wait for me to come home from that study with all of our sweet goodies!  I had a great time seeing everyone.  Lots of laughs and lots of heart to hearts.  It was definitely the closure I needed in order to focus more fully on what lies ahead for me.  Although there were tears shed, I relish in the promise that if we stay busy in this work in our varying parts of the world now, we'll have all of eternity to enjoy each others company :-).  This will probably be my last real post although I may occasionally share other things up building experiences with you.  My personal email is for any of you who have more questions about need greating, Nicaragua or, if you just want to say hi!  I'm also on Instagram (Kim51480) and Facebook (Kim Murphy, Atlanta).  I'm so glad to have been able to share this journey with all of you.  Adios!  Luke 17:10  1 Corinthians 10:31

Home sweet home, back in my old bedroom!
Sisters walking home from the territory.
Breakfast!  Gallo pinto (beans and rice) cheese, plantains and tomato salad

My two roommates came from different sides of the country to come see me!  They are both now serving in foreign language congregations-English and Nicaraguan Sign Language

With my Nica mom and our elder.  Armed and ready with my Gatorade but squinting like a mole person without my sunglasses, lol.
Caught in rush hour traffic trying to get to the territory.....

With some of the friends in the territory.  We brought plantains for our lunch.
My two roomies with more of our friends from the congregation.

My little nephew Marvincito :-)  Such a cutie!!
I wasn't able to get a flight for Marvin's first talk in December but the brothers were loving enough to send me a photo.  Future CO, right there!

A few months ago, Marvin's mom Aby saved up to get a cellphone so that she could stay in contact with me.  I wasn't sure if she had gotten my messages but Marvin scrolled through the phone and told me how they read the messages over and over together like I'm there <3.  Now, if I don't get a message out at least every week, she saves up just enough coins for them to call me for a 2 minute conversation to make sure I am ok!  It never fails that I get those calls right when I'm feeling sad or discouraged.  Jehovah really makes me smile at how he works :-).
Marvincito with his Bible and new bookmarks.  I had a gathering with the younger ones in my hall where we made colorful bookmarks for the congregation.  We sent the rest to the friends in Nicaragua.  When I gave Marvin his, he immediately said, "I'm going use this to hold my favorite scriptures.  For example, here at Psalm 83:18."  And he turns right to it!  Then, he looks me in the eye with the seriousness of a 30 year old and begins reading the scripture with incredible sense stress and poise.  Half way through, he starts speaking from memory staring at me like he believes it with every part of his being and wants to be sure his listeners do, too.  He went on to explain the necessity of knowing and using God's name regularly, with such conviction that I was left speechless.  Out of the mouths of babes.

Mango juice!
Whipping up food in the kitchen.

Rice and mango juice
The morning's preaching group on the front porch.
Upbuilding conversations....The brother in the glasses is from Mexico and has been serving in Nicaragua for about a year as a part of a special campaign.  Just as his assignment is ending, he was just accepted to both Mexico Bethel AND Evangelizers school!  He will be sorely missed in Miramontes but will surely be an asset wherever he goes!
Keeping the flies at bay...
View from the front yard.
All the mango juice I could drink!
Come and get it!!!

Photo op!!
Bridge to my students' house
The brothers sending their love!!
My Nica mom photo bombing the picture :-)
"Helping" in the kitchen, lol
My old roommate (who has since re-joined sign language) is having a good time with one of our new pioneers.  Never a dull moment!!
Sharpening a knife with water and a rock for use in the kitchen.
Shredding cabbage for slaw.
Many hands make the load light!  These sisters know how to get food ready for a party, fast!
Breading chicken to fry....
Peeling plantains......
Frying plantains....
Store bought chicken!!!!  They were so excited to show me this!  I was excited to eat it :-)
Chicken on the stove...before and after frying.
These are sooooo good!  They slice them paper thin and we eat them like potato chips.  I think all of us kitchen crew at most of them before they even made it out to the rest of the people!
Party time!!

These two take over the floor at every party!  This brother and I have a joke between us; the only English word he knows is, "dance."  I've been gone almost a year but when I first saw him I just said, "DANCE!!!"  he paused for a second, then broke out dancing all over the place, lol.
Dressed in party finest!

Our DJs

This mother and daughter pioneer team surprised me with gifts!  So hospitable and loving!!!

 Selfie with Cindy
The sister kept asking me, "Are you really going to eat ALL of that??"  Uh YEAH!!! lol
So good!
These fleshly sisters came from the capital to serve where the need is greater for a week with their family.  They make absolutely stunning jewelry to help support themselves and their family.  I brought a bunch of it to the States to sell for them and it sold immediately!  If anyone out there would be interested in importing some of their items to sell in the States, I can put you in contact with them.  If you would like to see pictures of their jewelry, you can go to my Instagram account Kim51480 and scroll all the way to the bottom.
Always check your shoes before you slide your foot in!  Can you see the frog in the left shoe? :-)  Not a good start to the day if you don't look first!!
Well that's all folks! Adios and feel free to keep in touch!
Nica Chica ;-)