Saturday, June 30, 2012

Blah blah blah....

Wooooord? WHAAATTT UPPPPP?! WADDUP WADDUP WADDUP?!??! I'm allliiiivvveeeee!!!! It's been a few days but, here I am! Tired and sore... but I'm here :D

I've laid ALL the floor in the church. Whew.  I'm pooped.  Theres still the face of the stage to do and there's an entryway they want tiled but we ran out of time.  I laid ~2,000 sq ft in a week with minimal help. I think I did pretty well! Feel free to pat me on the back:P

Grouting in Nica is as much of an art as it is a pain in the butt.  I got half of their stage grouted and it took FOREVER. Just nuts. It's like the grout is on steroids and has to harden as soon as you put it on the tile. Actually, all of the concrete here is that way. The tiles I laid were no joke dried in 30 seconds. That coupled with a floor that has 3 inch humps and dips in it and you've got a tile guys worst nightmare.   The pastor is very appreciative and I am SO glad I had this opportunity. It's really something special to be able to take a church from bare concrete to glossy white tile. Quite the transformation, indeed.

On a more spiratual note...

We had a full blown worship service outside the Lopez house last night!  Some of the guys from the Lakeland group just started jamming and it turned into us all passing around the guitar and singing for a while.  We ended with Amazing Grace and a big prayer circle. It was an awesome experience to just have worship in the streets of Nagarote! 

The Lakeland group flew out this morning and we carted a new group in. Well, Steve and Angela carted them in... I was laying floor. They did a VBS in Managua and things as such that I'll never know about because I was laying floor. I'm not bitter about laying the floor. At all. I'm just saying.

ANYWHATZIT! I'm living at the hotel this week so my roomie can split the cost and not have a hefty bill at the end of the week.  It was heart breaking to leave the Lopez family because they ARE my family here. They told me their doors are always open for me to come stay. I'm so glad that God put them in our path and I'm sure they're getting their blessing for their courtesy and generousity to our groups and especially toward me.  They are all angels in my opinion :)

Welllllp. That's all I have for tonight.  Hope all is well back in the states!



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More personal-ish kinda blog.

I know you guys have missed the blog dearly the last few days, so... Im baaaack!

We've been sooo busy here.  There's a team building a wall over at a small church in town, another team building a small living quarters for the pastor's son and his family at Alfa y Omega, and I'm tiling the Tribe of Isreal church! That's a lot of irons in the fire, yeah?

I've been so encased in my tiling that I hadn't taken much time to get to know the group from Lakeland that we're hosting this week.  That's not the kind of southern hospitality momma taught me!  So, today I only worked on the floor til noon, took a quick shower, ate, and headed to Leon with the group.

 Not TOO sure what Leon is in relation to capital cities and I don't want to google it right now... but it's kind of a big deal.  There's market places there we browsed around and I talked with some of the younger people in the group on the drive there and back.  All in all today was a good day!

OH! For those of you that knew about my leg wound that happened last month sometime...

It turned into some kind of blister type thing! Crazy right? Well one of the people who came over is a doctor and he looked at it and said to not worry unless it gets infected. Well, then it popped. YUCK. So gross. Beyond nasty.  It's now been leaking, closing up, leaking, etc. for 3 days. All of my sisters at the Lopez house have taken an interest in seeing if itll ever heal. If they don't love me for just being Todd, at least they thing my scars are cool!

The Lopez family saw my tattoos, too.  I knew this day would come, and I was prepared for it.  I proudly displayed my ink and took their critisism in stride.  I tried to explain the different cultures views on tattoos and how I view it as an art.  It's like an expression of my inward self on an outward medium. Both of my tattoos are faith based. They didn't shun me so... I guess I'm still in their good graces. :D

I realize I'm terrible at organizing story lines. Sorry. :P   Warning: the next part is icky.

The lady of the house, my Nica momma, wanted my dirty clothes to wash. She washed them last year no problem... buttttt this year is different.  I'm POURING sweat alllll day. I can literally wring my shirt, shorts, and socks out at any time. I'm not trying to be gross, just honest. 

The thought of this sweet lady who cooks, cleans, and sews all day having to wash my icky laundry BY HAND... I couldn't let that happen! But out of the kindness of her heart she let my clothes soak in soapy water allll night and hand washed them all today.  I wish I knew enough spanish or had enough money to let her know how much I appreciate her doing that!

I guess that's enough rambling for tonight.  All in all, we're doing great. Only a few people have gotten sick and that was only for one night. God's moving through our hard work and I'm excited to be a part of it. 

 Thank you all for reading and supporting!!!

Your momma,


Saturday, June 23, 2012

And It Begins!

Welp.  We're here!! All the way from Alva, to Orlando, to Miami, to Managua, to Nagarote. I'm sure that sentence will make an English teacher FLIP.

Anyway.  We got here Friday around 11 Nica time.  I was STARVING! Never been that hungry before I'm sure of it. We had the usual drive from Managua to Nagarote. Beautiful views and lots of mountains!  We even had the pleasure of seeing a guy go #1 off the back of a moving truck!!! How's that for a welcome back?

We came into town, dropped our bags off and went in search of food.  We usually eat at the hotel we stay at but recently the mission leaders have been eating out at local restaurants and say its just as cost effective and there's more variety.  We had a choice of beef, chicken, or pork. I went with the beef and I expected beef.  I got:  Chicken noodle soup, salad, fried plantains, some kinda squash/zuchinni amazing concoction, and steak with a creamy onion sauce on it.  DEAR SWEET MOMMA, IM IN HEAVEN! Best Nica meal I've had yet.

After that we went to the finca(farm) that Steve and Angela(mission leaders) purchased and scouted out their land and buildings that are being erected.  I picked the exact spot I want my house.  Its on the highest point of the land overlooking 2 volcanos and a lake.  How epic of a view can you get? I think thats pretty high up on the list.

I went back to the Lopez house and we all went to bed. Got a HARRRRD HAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRDDDDDD rain around 4 a.m. I've got a tin roof and decorative blocks for a window, so... I heard every drop. 

Then I had this strange dream that someone was disrupting the church service by crowing like a rooster.  I, of course, asked him to stop and when he refused I challenged him to a drum-off.  I somehow managed to pull off an OK solo and he failed miserably yet continued to crow.  It was at that moment I woke up, realized the sun was out, and there was an actual rooster in my window crowing.   Gotta love Nicaragua, right?

But all that craziness aside, it's been a nice first two days.  I'm sneezing up a storm from all of the plants in bloom but I'm going to the pharmacy Monday to remedy that.  The meals that the Lopez family cook are delicious, I have a warm... WARM bed to sleep in, and I have the favor of God for this trip. I can't think of anything better to do over the summer :)

Tomorrow is a church/pick up the first group day then Monday I start my tiling project!  Keep those prayers coming! I love and miss you all. 



Thursday, June 7, 2012

Does anyone read this line?

Hey everybody! Long time no blog!

  We're all geared up for another riveting trip to Nagarote, Nicaragua! WOOO! Can you smell the excitement?!  It's been too long since I've seen my brothers, sisters, and friends/family in Christ. I'm more than ready to go sow more seeds in Jesus name.

     We have a very diverse group going this year.  Ranging from toddler to elder our group has a lot to offer this year! With our wealth of spunk and wisdom, plus the connections we've made over the past few years, we will be able to do works in Gods name that many of us never dreamed of! With such a vast array of talents ranging from music, art, construction, and tons more we will make use of every day and show the love of Christ to the great people of Nagarote.

     I'm no writing guru...believe me.  If you'll be so kind as to wade through my wandering thoughts and hard to follow plots I'll do my best to transcript our experiences in Nicaragua.  The blog was a huge hit with my home church of Alva, FL for the last trip so, God willing, I'll be able to continue to muster up the courage to share my deep thoughts about rocks in the middle of lakes and planking volcanoes.

     Jokes aside,  I'm SUPER excited and unbelievably blessed to be able to be going to Nicaragua for the FOURTH year in a row! It's an honor to be carrying out the Great Commission in such a hands on fashion. I stumbled on a verse at a company I worked for in Ft. Myers that spoke to me:

                      " For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you
                       have worked for him and how you have shown your love to
                   him by caring for other believers, as you still do."
        Hebrews 6:10 NLT

        The owner of the company has done missions work for YEARS and is very serious about his walk with God. He's built his life, business, and ministry around doing God's will.  I found that verse on a little plaque that was given to him by one of the local churches in recognition of his missions work and outreach in his own community. That verse has been eating away at me so much I can't WAIT to leave for Nagarote! I'm talkin' bout BRING. IT. ON!!!!

        I'm sure my laptop is hating me for typing so furiously and your eyes hate me for typing such a long blog.  You're probably grumbling and asking yourself why you're still reading. But, that's alright because I'm done. :) 

         In conclusion:   I'm excited about going on this trip. Each year is a fresh opportunity to share the love of God to people who are in need of some good loving.  I hope you will all pray for me, our group, and the people we will be ministering to. We need all the support we can get!

         I'll be keeping you guys posted, so be looking for the blogs! :D

         I don't know how I want to close out my blogs this year though.


        T-t-t-t-that's all, folks!   Yeah, that'll do!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hey all!

Again with the long time, no post. My bad.  I'm more "involved" this year living with Josue so I don't have as much internet time as I did in previous years.

I enjoyed skyping with my church family tonight.  It's always good to hear from home:)  I have been doing so much recently I don't know where to begin!

I spent Thursday and Friday at the Barcelo Resort at Montelimar Beach.  Wow!  I've never been to a resort and I have to say, I might return.  Totally worth the $65 I paid for 2 days, 1 night, and unlimited food/drinks. I know we're here for missions work, but it was really nice to relax.    Plus the Pacific > Atlantic.  I boogie boarded my heart out!  I can def explain more later :)

As for VBS's ... We had one today, 2 tomorrow, 2 Tuesday, and 1 Thursday.  We have a BUSY week ahead of us.  It's good to be busy though, it helps the time pass.  Before I kow it I'll be landing in Miami and on my way home.

Short- winded tonight, sorry!  All the chaos in town from the local holiday is making it hard to focus.  I'll be able to express thoughts much more clearly in the United States back on my home turf.

Thanks for reading/praying


Thursday, July 7, 2011

My apologies!

I´ve been very lazy with blogging, mainly due to not having internet!  I´ve been doing great lately and living with Josue is going MUCH better than I ever could have anticipated.  We finished the floor yesterday before lunch and it looks amazing.  All the church people are very grateful. 

Right now I´m at a resort in Nicaragua. thus I´m typing on a Spanish keyboard.  Weird!  It´s called Montelimar Beach Resort.  Look it up!  I know I want to come back for a vacation some year. I mean, we´re steps from the AMAZING pacific ocean.  BEAUTIFUL. Absolutely amazing. At the resort there is horseback riding on the beach, ATV´s pools(like...3?) unlimited food and drinks, and a bunch more I can´t think of.  All of this is so new to me...and if it´s new to me I know Josue and his three sisters are thinking this is a dream.  We spent the afternoon in the pool, looking at animals in the zoo on the premises, I played ping pong with Steve, then Josue, his sisters, and a few others went down to the beach where there are these huge boulders.  We were digging up these palm sized crabs and chasing them down when they´d run away.  Those things are fast!

Needless to say, this is amazing.  Nicaragua at it´s finest.  I´d love to tell you guys other things I´ve been doing but other than laying tile... I took a nap yesterday.  I know we have 6 more VBS´s before we leave.  Thats 6 in a week. AHHH!  We´re going to be busy busy busy!

That´s about it for tonight, everyone.  Stay in touch!  I check facebook as often as possible so send me a message if you need anything:D

Thanks for reading/praying


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Longest, greatest blog yet.

Here I am, sitting on the front patio/stoop of Josue's house writing my blog.  Life doesn't get much better!  I didn't have the chance to write my blog yesterday and thus some memories have since left me, so I'll combine today's and yesterdays blog to make a SUPER POST!

Ok, let's start with yesterday. First off, happy 4th of July!!!  I woke up at 7, as everyone said they did, but found everyone was still asleep.  I kind of wandered around the house a minute and returned to my room.  I heard people up outside so I went to see what was going on and sure enough they were all up.  They asked if I was hungry and, of course, I we went across the street to a house that sells food items but they hadn't opened yet.  Same story with a lot of houses!  I was very confused how they couldn't be open before breakfast so people could buy food.  Later on I was pondering this and realized I watched the sun come up.  Steve said something last week about the sun rising at 5.  I had made a CRITICAL error.  My phone is set to Eastern time still! So what I thought was 7 was really 5 here.  Man I felt bad for the family! I made sure to adjust my alarm accordingly:)

After breakfast(which I ate alone because it was so early nobody else was hungry) I was off to the church to lay tile. FINALLY!  We dove right into sweeping, measuring, prepping the floor, snapping lines, and mixing mud.  I layed the first tile smack dab in the center and then we were off! I layed one side, the men helping were laying the other side. Angela, Blanca, her daughter, and a boy who tagged along were busy handing me tiles while Steve was scooping mud out of a wheel barrow onto the floor for me.  One thing we discovered quite fast that the cement here is NOT the quality that it is in the US.  Also, with the intense heat, dry concrete, and ceiling fans, the cement dried quite fast.  Too fast! We began to soak the floor with water and sweep it around to help with the bonding a little more, sooo, my shoes were completely soaked!

We broke off for lunch break and there is a new store right across from the church and the lady who owns it offered to cook me lunch.  Her and Karina, Josue's sister, worked on cooking my meal while I waited up in the front.  It was SO funny watching people come into the store, say, "Buena!", and look over and see me.  The look on their face was priceless.  Like they've never seen a white boy! Haha.  Lunch was especially delicious today.  I had rice, fried plantain chips, and chicken and a Coke to wash it all down. God bless those hands that prepared that meal! 

When lunch break was over I headed back to the church and kept on chuggin along. By now I had worked a pretty good blister on the palm of my right hand from my trowel.  Oh yeah, I also broke a trowel handle off that morning...guess I go a little rough for Nicaraguan trowels:P  Blisters aside, it was time to boogey.  We layed and layed and layed til......WE RAN OUT! OH NO! I couldn't believe we ran out of tile.  We weren't even close to being done at all!  I was sitting here flipping my lid on the inside but keeping calm on the indide, Steve and I measured the room again to check their measurements.  It was then that our translator told us the tile place didn't have all of the tile in stock and were delivering the rest that night.  Whew!  Relief never felt so good.  With nothing else left to do we all packed it up and headed home.

Josue and I went to the hostel to hang out with everyone else, watched a movie in Spanish with English subtitles, and went to Pali(Walmart haha).  It was about 8 when I realized maybe Josue was ready to go so we headed off to his house where Karina cooked us a meal and we watched a little TV.  I went to bed at 9 since I woke up at 5 and believe me when I say, I fell asleep instantly.

July 5th, 2011

Have you ever woken up soaked?  Not from being hot or wetting the  I'm talking humidity. Gross right?!  I just laughed and told myself, "Welcome to Nicaragua!!!"  I walked out and everyone except Josue was awake too.  I actually woke up at 7 this time:)   I had an omelette for breakfast skillfully prepared by Karina and her sisters. They asked if I was sick which puzzled me.  They told me since it was so humid last night and I had the fan running I coughed all night.  I did have a cough and running nose so I figured they weren't lying.  I told them I'd drop by the pharmacy later and get something to knock it out before it even started.  Shortly thereafter we were off again to the church to finish up the tile job.

Remember how I said I had a blister on the palm of my hand?  How about 4 next to each other? And remember my soaking wet shoes?  I rubbed a blister on 2 of the toes on my right foot.  The right side of my body is just taking a beating this trip!  Either way I had work to do so I put the pain in the back of my mind and was off to the church.  I wrapped a rag around my hand to shield my blisters from the wood of the trowel but it was so annoying I decided the pain was well worth not using the rag.  As for my toes, they weren't really a bother.  A few times I'd tweat just the right way to agitate them pretty good, but nothing horrible.  I was just worried about finishing the floor today!  Nothing was going to stand in my way but God himself.

We were laying tile at a rate never before seen by man.  I owe this all to the helpers who tag along and help out each day.  You guys are worth your weight in gold!  We put down all the whole tiles while one man worked on the peninsula that came out of the stage.  Cutting the tile around curves is much harder than it looks!  We finally got to where we needed to make cuts along the walls and to my surprise they said, 'Well just make the tiles all the same cut and when the wall gets un-square the grout line can get bigger.' I just said 'OK:D' and did as I was told. Much more surprising they would cut a tile put it down then use another piece from that tile, cut another piece, cut another piece...  All of the side tiles are jagged and crooked!  I'm not a fan of this at all but I wasn't about to argue something at a charity install. OH! The design in the tile is very beautiful, right? Forget it!  They said the design won't apply to the sides.  So I suggested we broke the tile up and make a mosaic out of the sides, that would give a very uniform look and hide the unsquareness of the room.  They said that would mess up the design.  As if their method wouldn't. 

All that aside we finished today.  BOOM! It was only 3 o'clock so I figured they'd be ready to grout and call it done.  With so many people it would only take an hour to grout the place.  Everyone was ready to call it quits though. Sigh. We put up all the tools and called it quits. 

One thing I forgot to mention is that the last tile I layed, a corner cut piece, I wrote on the back of it and asked the pastor to write his name on one side while my name was on the other.  I told him later that on the tile I wrote, "From dust we came, And to dust we shall return" and explained that's my favorite verse in the Bible.  I can't call the verse right not but it's part of a passage in Genesis that says thorns and thistels will work against you. Sure enough, we had things work against us but we overcame odds like cultural differences, language barriers, horrible cement, and blisters to put that floor in.  It was then that pastor Juan told me that people in the church have gotten on their knees and called to God for 4 years to give them a tile floor.  FOUR YEARS. To think, I, Todd Daniels, from a little town in Florida, was part of the answer to their prayers.  I'm getting choked up in Josue's living room this is getting awkward...

I can't believe God used my talent and passion all the way in Nicaragua to benefit a church carrying out his word. What a story!  This has got to be the most meaningful thing to happen to me in my life past being born. Thank you God and everyone who made this trip possible.  I couldn't have done it without your love and support.

That's basically it for today.  It's Steve's 40th birthday so we're about to head to the hostel to celebrate. I'm eating a cup of ramen and wiping tears from my eyes, thinking about how great our God is.  If I died tonight, I would die the happiest man in the world.  Right now I feel like I could lay a floor on all 2.5 million square miles of heaven. :D

Thanks for reading/praying!