Saturday, November 29, 2008


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Today we had our annual Thanksgiving reunion at our team mates house. This year we had 45 of our missionary family there (only a couple weren’t able to make it). It is always such blessed time of fellowship and a lot of food. Since turkey is hard to find, each year the Floyds kill one of their own turkeys for the occasion.

Visiting with team mates

Visiting with team mates

Always a lot of food when we get together

Micah and Tyler eating turkey

Ginny, Joshua and Ryan enjoying Thanksgiving lunch

For us in the Southern Hemisphere, Thanksgiving and Christmas are associated with the taste of watermelon. Here Micah and his buddy, Caleb enjoy a mid-afternoon snack.

I grew up without extended family or siblings and I envied those who went to family reunions or stayed with grandparents. In my adult years it made me sad to think that my kids wouldn’t have cousins to be silly with. But being here in Paraguay, God has given me all that I longed for and more. It is hard to put into words exactly what my team mates mean to me and unless you have visited us in Paraguay and have seen firsthand who I work with, I cannot expect you to understand the quality of my closest friends.

SIM Paraguay at the moment is made up of 14 family units who work together better than what I imagine blood family could. We pray for each other regularly and talk about the things God is doing in our lives. We cherish time together because sometimes those SIM family reunions are few and far between. Since we don’t live too close together we spend the night at each others’ homes frequently or we share meals as we pass through. God has gifted these men and women in incredible unique ways.

Before we left the states I hoped for a team with lots of young children. Well I got that - as of today we have 20 kids 9 years and under, plus 4 teens. My children count every one of those kids as their best friends and they thank God for them at night. My kids are never happier than when they are together with teammates. I could not ask for better friends for my children to hang out with. My kids have aunts and uncles and many cousins whom they are very silly with. I have relationships with some of my teammates that I think borders on a sister relationship. I am so incredibly thankful!

Pictures of my incredible team mates

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Piques and Children

Wednesday September 10, 2008

I have mentioned before about piques – a flea that burrows under the skin, lays eggs that hatch. The newly hatched piques burrow in the same wound, lay eggs that hatch and…..the cycle continues creating a deeper and larger wound. We get them all the time. They first show as a small black dot under the skin. In the next stage you can see a white bubble surrounding the dot. The infected area is tender and you can feel them burrowing (especially at night when you lay down in bed). If caught early they are easy to remove, just lance the spot and pull out the egg sack.
Last week in the clinic Jeff saw a pregnant 13 year old and her three siblings (2, 4 and 5 years of age) who had hundreds of piques on their feet. Jeff picked countless piques out of the heel of the 13 year old, leaving a raw area 3 inches wide. The clinic cleaning lady who tediously worked on the feet of the children was in tears over the neglect of these kids.

Monday Jeff and I went to follow up with this family. They live in a poor area of town and have no water or electricity. The three small roomed “house” is bare. I saw no furniture, no toys, and no clothes. Ursulina, the 13 year old is extremely shy. She never looked us in the eyes, or invited us in or answered when we asked her questions. The kids huddled in the shadows of a corner, staring at us and giggling among themselves. Ursulina has only a 3rd grade education and cannot read. She had to drop out of school in order to care for her brother and sisters while the mom works.

The kids feet were swollen, caked with brown dirt and were covered with black, necrotic-looking skin. The 2 year old walked on his heels and the 4 year old walked on the side of her feet due to the soreness caused by the piques. Jeff sprayed the yard for piques and I changed the dressing on Ursulina’s heel (actually she had already taken her dressing off and the wound was covered with dirt!)

As we left the house I was in tears. I wanted to come back when the mother was there and see what kind of a person could allow her children to suffer like that. Everyone around here knows about piques and how to take them out. I went home and vented to my house help, Nilsa. It turns out that she knows the family. The mother is a maid for her boyfriend’s mother. Nilsa agreed that since the mother was done with work by 2pm, there should be no reason for the neglect she was showing. The mother has 3 other children who live with a relative outside of town. Nilsa mentioned that the mother is a bit “slow”.

It brings tears to my eyes even now to think that Nilsa went yesterday on her own accord and spend 2 ½ hours picking piques out of the kids feet. Nilsa asked the mother why she doesn’t take care of her kid’s feet. Her only explanation was that Ursulina was the “Senora” now (a derogatory comment probably because Ursulina will soon have a baby of her own) so she can watch the little ones. She also mentioned that the kids cry when she tries to get them out so she stops (Paraguayans do not like to see their kids cry so they give in to them).

Jean and I went today to apply antibiotic cream to the feet and cover them with gauze. We also gave them new shoes and perhaps the first shoes they have ever worn. Remember when the crippled beggar asked Peter and John for money as they were heading into the temple? But they said, “Silver and gold I have none but what I have I give to you.” The man began to jump and praise God. When we gave the 5 year old the shoes she jumped, she ran, she stomped, and all the while her head was down staring at the shoes. It was priceless!

Bandaging pique infected feet

Bandaging pique infected feet

Learning to walk in shoes

A big smile after receiving her new shoes

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Friday, November 21, 2008

It definitely feels like summer around here starting with the rising temperatures outside (our summer is December through March and the school year is February through November). Ryan and Ginny spent their last two weeks of school taking tests. Each day they took one test and then came home about 45 minutes after they left. Thursday was their last day of school. We celebrated by watching a new movie that the grandparents sent, Nim’s Island (very good).

Yesterday Joshua’s Kindergarten class had a graduation ceremony done in typical Paraguayan fashion – informal and chaotic. The class sang a couple songs and then each received a certificate of completion. We ate empanadas and mandioca and cake. Today Ginny, who just finished 1st grade, and Ryan, who just finished 3rd grade, had a little class party with soft drinks and cake.

Our kids plus several neighborhood friends have enjoyed cooling off in our plastic pool (a novelty around here). In the evenings, since it is light till 7:30,the neighborhood kids gather to play soccer and volleyball and ride bikes on the street outside our house. Our kids love to join in.

Since the kitchen is so hot, my incentive to have the oven on in low.
Plus, with the kids playing so late in the evening it has been harder to get us to all sit down for the evening meal. Last summer, and we’ll do this again, we’ll eat our big meal at lunch and a light (salad, popcorn, chips and dip, ect) for dinner. That is what the Paraguayans do all year round.

Joshua and his teacher, Profe Perla

Ginny with her teacher and a classmate, Gisel

Ryan swimming with two of is classmates

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Small Miracle

Paul, our SIM Paraguay director, called to say that our new car part was in customs. We were beginning to worry since it was 3 weeks overdue from the states. The bad news: it was going to cost us $200 to get it out of customs. Paul left discouraged and called us to tell us to pray.

The next day he stood in line at the customs office and happened (as God smiles) to recognize his air-conditioning repair man. They small talked and Paul explained that he was trying to get a car part out for a missionary doctor who works for free in rural Paraguay. The repair man said, “You need to talk to him.” And he pointed to a glassed window. Paul sauntered up to the window and explained the problem and showed the letter about Jeff and the mobile medical van. The person behind the window stamped the paperwork and motions for him to go to a second window to pay. Nervously Paul showed the papers at the second window. The man said something – surely he didn’t hear his right – can you repeat that? – I need to pay just 9mil ($2.00). Praise the Lord!

Paul got the car out of the shop for us and immediately turned back. He then, over the next week, had it in and out of various shops, which chewed up a lot of his time. There was the matter of the brakes being soft and the engine rattling around, the splitting tires and the alignment. Wow! He has done so much for us and that car! Whenever we thank him he says, "It is easier for me because I live in Asuncion. I want to help." He is just one of the amazing missionaries that we have the pleasure to work with.

Yesterday our team mates drove the car out for us. We are so thankful for their willingness to do that and that the car didn’t break down for them. Thanks for all who have been praying for our lemon of a car. The countdown is on - only 8 more months and then we can sell it!

This is Paul, our SIM Paraguay director and his wife Becky who is our administrator and finance person.

Monday, November 17, 2008


A friend gave me lima bean seeds in exchange for some green bean seeds (brought all the way from the states). To be honest I haven't really liked lima beans in the past but I planted them anyway because I knew she'd be asking about them. They have grown beautifully and plentifully. Today the kids helped me pick two bowl full (and there will be more in the coming weeks) and then they helped me shell them. I have such good helpers! I was surprised that even Micah got into the action. He may have been the very best lima bean splitter-aparter....maybe because it appeals to his destructive nature!

I made a soup with beans, green onions (also from our garden), white onions, tomatoes and chicken. They kids loved it. In fact, Ginny said, "Can we have this to eat every day?"

Jeff and our neighbor thinned the tomatoes and peppers last week. They are looking good after the big rains we have had. Our cucumbers, carrots, green beans, squash and melons are growing too.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Paychecks, Futbol, and Rain…No School

Three weeks ago…..
Tuesday kids didn’t have school because the teachers went to another town to get their paycheck. Wednesday school was cancelled do to the Paraguay vs. Peru futbol game (we won!). Thursday it rained (there is never school when it rains) and Friday it was too muddy to go to school.

Last week….
Monday we were out of town so the kids missed the school day. Tuesday school was cancelled because of a teacher’s meeting. Wednesday and Thursday it rained – no school. Friday school was cancelled because the teachers were writing tests.

This week….
Monday it rained. Tuesday the kids went but came right home – “No teachers” they said. Wednesday school was rained out again. Finally, Thursday and Friday they went to school!

School Stats
The average time children spend in the classroom a year:
(recorded in the Asuncion paper, the ABC Color)
700 hours in Paraguay
1600 hours in Korea
1500 hours in Europe
1100 hours in the USA

Another study showed that Paraguay offered the third worst quality of education world-wide.

Kids walking to school

The kids school

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


September 25, 2008

About 10 minutes after the kids left (they walk just around the corner) for school I realized that they had left our gate open and our German Sheppard was gone too. I didn’t think much about it because she loves to be free and I have given up chasing her. Plus, she always returns.

At 4:30 when the kids came home from school they had a story to tell. When their bell rang, all the school kids stood in line to greet the teacher and raise the flag. Well, Lady followed them to school and then proceeded to disrupt the assembly by greeting all the students. After the assembly, Lady visited Ginny in her room. All the kids were screaming and laughing – as you can imagine. She knocked over desks, licked the teacher on the face, and drank out of the kids water bucket. She then made an appearance at Ryan’s class by putting her paws on the sill and peering in. Ryan told her to go home but she just entered his room and began barking. Finally Ryan’s teacher told him to take his dog home.

1. 10 cows being herded out of the school yard
2. A horse running wild in the school yard and a teacher trying to catch it
3. School children playing while dodging 4 burning piles of trash
20 5 and 6 year olds wandering around the school yard asking, “Where’s
our teacher?” The answer – no one knew so they were sent home.
4. 20 first graders waiting in front of their classroom for 30 minutes while
their teacher tries to find the room key. The result – the kids got a day off.
5. Barefoot kids, bookless classrooms, bare walls, chairs stacked to the
6. Outside at our house Ginny says, “I know that dog. He is always at our
school trying to eat our snack.”
7. Teachers sitting outside the classroom drinking terere while students copy
off the board

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Paid in Ducks

In stores here you will frequently get your small change back in candy – I am use to that. Today I got my change back in ducks…. 4 to be exact.

The ducks names: Pinky (Ginny's), John (Joshua's), Diver (Ryan's) and Soldier Jack (Tyler's)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Gospel Presentation and Pigs

Yes, Another Pig Story
Saturday 13, 2008

The same day that our pigs ran away and, much to the amusement of our neighbors, we chased them for 20 minutes, I had girls over to my house. These are pre-teens and teens that God has placed in my path and that I enjoy spending time with. My prayer is that during our Saturday afternoon meetings, their hearts will be softened to hear the gospel and they will desire to study His word. As I looked at the 9 girls, I was encouraged to see 4 new faces. I made popcorn and we watched the movie Magdalena which told the story to Jesus through the eyes of Mary Magdalene. The movie highlights the miracles that Jesus did for women and the women who followed his ministry.

At the end I asked the girls what they thought and if they had learned anything new about Jesus. Paraguayans are not use to discussing things so we sat with an awkward silence for what seemed like forever. Then I began to share what I felt God impressing upon my heart. All the women mentioned had three things in common: 1. They all had a need 2. Jesus met that need and 3. They were changed big time. People today still have needs. Their lives are disasters. We need something. Whether they realize it or not we need Jesus. Because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, Jesus still longs to touch people, restore their lives, to give them peace, and to make them brand new.

Before I could ask what the girls thought I heard clapping at the front gate. Our neighbor was holding our new pig. I heard squeals from the second pig and saw a man running back and forth, back and forth, back and forth in this yard trying to capture the other pig (so that is what I looked like this morning). By the time he caught it, brought it to the house, and I (again) mended the fence, the girls were saying good-bye and heading out the gate. I guess satan will use whatever tactic to distract from the gospel being preached – even my own pigs!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pigs that run....FAST!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ever since our pig froze to death in May I had promised Ginny another one but only after we had the proper shelter for it. Well that day was today. Ginny, Joshua and I went to a Lili’s house and inquired about the little piglets I had seen running around. “Are they for sale? Are they old enough to leave their mother?” I asked. I was glad the answer was “yes” to both questions. We stood in her yard of dirt and chose two pigs (Joshua wanted one too…why not?) who are now affectionately called Wilbur and Spot. We put them in the back of the Suburban (have you ever put pigs in the back of your car?). The cost was 70 Guaranies ($18). I had 80 Guaranies and she had no change…well, no change in cash, but she offered me change in ducks! In two weeks I will go back to her place and collect the baby ducks.

At home we carried the squealing pigs to their new fenced in home which they apparently did not like and immediately found a whole in the fence and took off running down the road, Wilbur in one direction and Spot in the other. Jeff ran after one with our dog barking and nipping at the pigs heels which only made him run faster. Over the pigs shrieking squeals I can hear Ryan yelling, “Lady, stop! Come here, Lady!” Lady settled down and Jeff corralled Wilbur back home. I, on the other hand, was having a heck of a time with Spot (the things we do for our kids). Now, I use to be a track runner and although I have not raced in a very long time I still like to think that I have some natural quickness. I was proven wrong. That pig ran like it was in the Olympic 200 meter dash and I could not catch up to it. I chased him over the bridge, through a pasture and finally had him cornered at our neighbor’s fence. Ginny and the other kids caught up and we tried to corner him but he was not going to give up that easily. Instead we chased him across that field and back the other way…then across the field and back again and….I don’t know how many times we doubled back. I was so out of breath - chest heaving, legs burning, sides aching - that I was so glad that our house-help finally came out and practically jumped on the pig to catch it (I’ll have to try that next time).

I walked back to our house with 4 chattering kids, a squealing pig, and a crying Micah. (I forgot to mention that in the heat of the chase he had stepped in a mud pit up to his knees and then he proceeded to fall getting muddy from hair to sock.) I noticed several neighbors standing in their front yard watching the “gringo” make a fool of herself. My only consolation was that they already knew what a fool I was and probably remember an incident several months ago that looked very similar to this one but involving two chickens (like I said – the things we do for our children). At least Ginny was actually helping this time instead of crying in front of our house, “My pets are running away! My pets are running away!”

Now our piggies are home and the fence holes stuffed with wood and bricks. And I am going to lie down – that run wore me out!