Friday, January 30, 2009


Friday, January 30, 2009

We arrived home from Asuncion Wednesday evening after being away 10 nights. After clocking in 6 more hours (to make a total of 24 hours) waiting in government offices doing paperwork, praise God, we were able to get everything done. At one place we had to wait in a narrow hall that had just been painted (the fumes were so strong), but there were no “wet paint” signs. Jeff accidentally sat in it and Micah got it in his hair! Plus, there was open paint can laying around (such a temptation for a 2 year old!).

On the way home we stopped at one of our favorite restaurants for hamburgers with ham and egg on top. We drove through a down pour half the way and when we hit the last stretch the roads were incredibly muddy. Praise God we didn’t get stuck but we did help another vehicle.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Last week we went to visit a sweet Christian family in Ňaumby. We only had planned to have terere with them at 10:00 but once we started fellowshiping under the big mango trees we couldn’t pull ourselves away. We ate lunch with them and stayed will 5:00.

While we were there we mentioned our little “burning part of our roof down accident”. Karai Bertez’s neighbor sells the straw we needed, so we piled 10 bushels into our car. During the 40 minute ride home we counted numerous bugs and spiders…all from the bundles of straw.

Beautiful Christian family in Naumby

Buying straw for our roof

Our car stuffed with straw...and all its bugs

co 2009 Amy McKissick

Friday, January 23, 2009


January 24, 2009

We always have a to-do when we come in to Asuncion and we spend most of our days running around the big city. There’s not much that we can do in our little rural community. Here’s what was on our list this time:

Take advantage of high speed internet connection to:
Renew medical license
Renew RN license
Check airline prices, contact travel agent and book tickets
Send out newsletter
Get caught up on our SIM and medical insurance paperwork
Get centrifuge fixed (someone accidently plugged it into a 220v outlet)
Buy t-shirts and scrub tops for upcoming medical intern, get design printed
Buy tennis shoes for Ginny and Tyler (isn’t it amazing how fast kids grow!)
Dental appointment
Ophthalmologist appointment
Buy new contacts and glasses
Pick up new songbooks and prescription pads
Buy medicines for clinic
Get divers license renewed
Pick-up carnets (permanent resident cards)
Start paperwork for our cedula (PY i.d card)
Grocery shop
Pick up pay check
End of year interview with director
Car brakes fixed
Get tires aligned

It is always a bonus to be able to skype with family and hang out with our city missionary friends. We have been able to do both. Some sweet friends of ours even watched our kids last night so Jeff and I could go out on a date (we haven’t been out together since we June).

I think only those who have lived in a foreign country can truly appreciate the amount of paperwork that is involved for us to stay in the country legally. Things move so slow here…we’re talking old fashion type writers, carbon copies, dot matrix printers. Plus, department heads change and therefore requirements change, misprints happen often, papers are just lost, and they’d like to collect bribes to speed things up (which we refuse to pay).

Over three days we have been to 6 different places and have spent 18 hours waiting in lines, signing our names, getting finger printed, picking up and dropping off our thick stack of birth certificates, passport copies, marriage certificates, etc. We had a big hang up and had to redo several steps because some of our paperwork had our last name spelled MCKISSICK and other paperwork MC KISSICK (with a space).

The kids have been as good as can be but they are tired from all the waiting. At one point today Ginny said, “You mean we have to go back to that place where we sat forever and ever and could never never get up to leave?”

Praise God, after 3 ½ years of living in Paraguay, we finally have our permanent resident cards. Now we don’t have to update our visas every 3 months. We are now starting the process for our Paraguayan identification cards.

We were hoping to be done with it all today, but we’ll have to come back Monday and finish.

co 2009 Amy McKissick


January 22, 2009

There aren’t a lot of options for fun in Paraguay – no aquariums, zoos, museums, libraries, theme parks, etc. Last year we were thrilled when a water park opened just outside of Asuncion. We went as part of our Christmas gift to the kids and we had a blast. We couldn’t resist going there again this year too.
We had an awesome day yesterday relaxing in the water. The younger kids loved the kiddie slides, Jeff and Ryan couldn’t get enough of the huge water slides, and we all (except Micah) enjoyed dodging waves at the wave pool. We spent all day there and of course weren’t ready to go home in the evening, but we were all a bit tired and a little sunburned.

co 2009 Amy McKissick

Monday, January 19, 2009


January 19, 2009

We prefer to travel the five hours to Asuncion very 6-8 weeks to food shop and get business things done, but sometimes it is more frequent depending on meetings and the arrival of company. I remember the first time we drove through the campo (country); my eyes were wide as I saw things that I had never seen on my state-side drives. Over the last year and a half the drive through the campo has become very familiar and less exciting. However, as we drove to Asuncion last week I decided to look out the window and again see our journey with wide eyes.

Cows blocking the road…do you honk or swerve?
A lady carrying 5 kilos of ground corn on her head…does she ever have a crick in her neck?
Men peeing of the side of the road…really, men have it easier than women in this regard
A crowd gathering at a house for a funeral
A house burning down (we’ve actually seen this three times)
Cart and ox carrying sugar cane
Multiple burning trash piles
A field being burn
A mother pig nursing her 6 little babies in the middle of the road
Women washing clothes in a stream…definitely more fun with other women
Family of five on a motorcycle, no one with helmets
Boys playing volleyball using a bamboo pole set up on sticks as a “net”
Men fishing with bamboo poles….bamboo poles are quite useful – we use one for our phone antenna
ATVs….on the highway…not too safe
4 feet tall termite mounds

Cows on the road

There are many bridges like this on the way to our house

co 2009 Amy McKissick

Friday, January 16, 2009

Water, Water Everywhere...but not a drop to drink

January 16, 2009

The rapidly changing temperatures in Paraguay never cease to amaze me. Yesterday it was hot with 95 degree temperatures; we wore tank tops, drank slushies, had our floor fans on high blast, and watered our thirsty garden. This morning as I hung the clothes on the line I marveled at the beautiful hot sun that would dry the clothes in no time – maybe I could even get a second load washed, hung and dried before evening. One hour later dark clouds rolled in and the wind began howling.

Sporadic rain drops fell at first and then the heavens let loose and a torrent of wetness fell down. I grabbed my sweatshirt and the kids feeling the dropping temperature asked for some hot chocolate.

We have been trained to react quickly when it rains – get the clothes from the line, unplug the computer, pick toys and anything else up of the floor, shut the windows, and put towels in strategic positions. Even with closed windows the rain seeps in and runs down the wall to the floor. We have had several storms when all three window-leaking rooms took on so much water that it spilled over into the hall to create a giant mess. I have learned not to keep things stored under the beds or position my sofa completely against the wall.

Our kitchen has a few annoying leaks too. It is always the same routine - we set out bowls to catch the drips and then Micah steals the half full bowl dumping its contents on himself or we trip over the bowls in the middle of the kitchen and soak our legs. Rain pours under our kitchen door, runs between the wall and the stove and gravitates into the kid’s room. I am so thankful for a non-carpeted house because no room is safe when it rains at our house.

When it rains the electricity almost always goes out followed by the water. “Quick kids, go to the bathroom while we can still flush the toilets.” “Get the flashlights and candles ready.” “Don’t get anything out of the refrigerator unless you ask first.” Yes, we’ve been trained well.
Rain does insure family time together. Fewer patients come looking for Jeff and school closes, buses don’t run, stores shut down and folk just stay at home. Everyone just knows that Bible studies and girls club and church are all cancelled. I sit by a flickering candle in our kitchen feeling the ricocheting splash from the roof and I wondered if the early American settlers felt like this. Of course their kids weren’t saying, “Can we watch a movie?” “No, the electricity is out.” “Well, then can we play on the computer?” “No, the electricity is out.” “Put some music in then and we’ll dance.” “The electricity is still out.” Time to pull out the books and the craft supplies and use imagination….and that is never time wasted.

Playing in the rain

co 2009 Amy McKissick

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


1. A teenage girl came with blood dripping from her left ear. For two days she had felt (and seen) maggots in her ear and had desperately tried to get them out. She was successful with a couple but the others were persistently holding on. Jeff tediously picked out the remaining three while the girl squirmed and moaned in pain.

2. One evening Pedro was driving home on his motorcycle and nearly fell off when a bug flew in his ear. He came to our house and began explaining the situation. Every couple of seconds his entire face would contort, his head would thrust to one side and his whole body would shake like he was being electrocuted. It would have been a rather humorous site if the poor man hadn’t been in so much pain. It is a funny sight to see a cricket appear larger than life through the otoscope. Pedro’s “enemy” had found the ear drum and was nibbling happily. After Lidocaine (for the ear), oil (to kill the bug), and tweezers, the wings, legs, and body were finally pulled out. Pedro took the bug home to show his family.

3. Another man came to the house with a bug in his ear. Jeff worked and worked and pulled out only a few bug parts. It took a long while since Jeff had to work around 25 years of wax build-up and a day’s worth of dried blood. Jeff gave up and told the man to come back the following day. When he didn’t show up Jeff said, “I am not surprised. Bugs in the ear will make a grown man cry. He had had enough.”

4. A lady came to the health clinic complaining of a red, raised, irritated sore on her bottom. Two weeks earlier while working in her garden, she felt something burrow under her skin. When Jeff looked closer he could see the tail of a plump parasite. He grabbed it with surgical instruments and the wiggly beast was
slowly extracted intact.

Jeff draining an abscess

co 2009 Amy McKissick

Monday, January 12, 2009

SUMMER CAMP...Paraguayan Style

January 11, 2009

SIM organizes two youth camps a year. Jeff and Tony, as they have done before, were planning to take kids from San Francisco to summer camp in Iturbe January 8-10. The day before, we realized that 8 of the 9 youth who were going were girls that I have been spending time with on Saturdays. We decided that Jean and I should be the ones to take them to camp instead of the guys.

Thursday we packed 2 cars full of kids (we also took some kids from Yuty), mattresses and luggage, and headed 2 hours down the bumpy dirt road. We arrived just before lunch to a camp full of teens…..100 campers to be exact, plus 30 staff. This was the biggest SIM camp to date. It exceeded the expectations of the directors who expected/planned on 90 people maximum.

As one of the campers put it, “This camp was the most rustic but we had the best time.” The girls crammed into two small 14x14ft cabins (thatched roof, concrete floor, walls which didn’t go to the top). There wasn’t enough room for all the mattresses so we just shared. I thought to myself I don’t what to share my mattress, I don’t even let my kids share with me! But I too had a camper each night snuggled next to me. And the bathroom situation….one toilet and one working shower (all in the same small room) for ALL of the girls! The girls literally waited in line for two hours for the shower which only let out only a trickle of cold water. The first night, we didn’t even have a light in the bathroom (it got gross pretty quickly). There were five 8 foot tables for everyone to cram around at meal times. We ran out of food the first meal (because we had so many more than expected) and the last breakfast. During all this the kids didn’t complain at all. They all were so happy to be with each other.

It was a wonderful three days. The kids were divided into 5 groups and competed in various games and challenges, including an obstacle course called Rambo. They played in the river and fellowshipped over terere in the late afternoons. George, a Paraguayan from Yuty and Dan, an SIM missionary spoke on the theme was No Avergonzado (not ashamed) from Romans 1:16. . They were very well received and said some very challenging things to the teens. A youth band from Asuncion lead worship and the kids really enjoyed it. I even got all our girls, minus one, to jump around and get excited about worshipping the Lord.
On Saturday the kids were sadly exchanging good-byes and cell phone numbers as we left. Our kids rarely leave San Francisco (I wouldn’t have been surprised if a couple of them had never left), so I was especially thankful that they were able to meet other Christian teens who were excited about their faith. They are already looking forward to the winter camp in July. I was very thankful for the opportunity to be involved (Jean and I didn’t have a specific job – we ran the cantina, helped serve food, did other various odd jobs, and were mainly a support for our group) and a chance to bond more with the girls.

It was good to be back home. The little ones had done great for Jeff and they were excited to see me back. I lost so much energy when my teen years were up! I was exhausted after two nights of little sleep. First I ate (remember the food storage), the showered (remember the shower situation) and then I took a nap on a mattress by myself.

So now what? None of the girls have made a public decision to follow Christ, but I know that seeds were watered a bit more through this experience. We will keep meeting every weekend and talking about what it means to have fellowship with Jesus.

All campers

Youth from San Francisco

After the obstacle course "Rambo"

Fun at the river

the shower line


co 2009 Amy McKissick

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


January 5, 2009

Jeff and I went to visit Ryan’s teacher and her family today. New Year’s Eve her house and store burned down due to either a firecracker on the thatched roof or from the stove sending sparks up their wooden kitchen wall. The wind aided in the spreading of the flames, and with only a well to draw up water, the fire spread too fast. There was nothing for them to do but to try and pull all their possessions out before the house collapsed. Neighbors joined the effort, sawing wooden planks from the house to be used in the future. It took just one hour for their entire house to crumble (it has been extremely dry here).

They are now living in the barn where their cows and sheep once slept. The salvaged planks were put up for walls. Profesora Sonia was optimistic despite losing her house and the $600 that she was planning on using end of January to build her own house. She says, “We can only be blessed in the New Year.”

The remains....

Our 16 year old neighbor, Laura and her uncle were crossing a bridge headed to another town for the holiday when a man holding a gun intended to rob them. The uncle accelerated by the robber as the robber began shooting multiple times. Laura was hit 4 times in the right leg and the uncle was hit 3 times in the back. Thankfully he was able to get them into town where a man drove them to a health outpost. From there they took an ambulance to Villarrica where they are now.

Laura, her mother and me

co 2009 Amy McKissick

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


January 6, 2009
Today, along with other Paraguayans, we celebrate the wise men arriving to see baby Jesus. Last night the kids set out their shoes with a picture drawn for Jesus, straw and water. The camels, who are passing through on their way to Bethlehem, stop by, drink and eat and in return leave a little gift for the kids.

co 2009 Amy McKissick

Friday, January 2, 2009


January 1, 2009

December 29th the SIM missionary guys and their older boys went on a 3 day/2 night camping trip. Ryan was looking forward to this maybe even more than he was to Christmas Day. I have heard stories about cliff jumping, rope swinging over the river, waffle ball, pork over the camp fire, a chicken hooked in the fishing pole, sleeping in the car, volleyball, back flips, and something about a mooning….to which Jeff quickly mentioned that he didn’t have to share about everything that happened at camp.

Yesterday was Ryan’s 9th birthday and I am sure he couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend it – at the river exploring with his best friends. Before lunch the guys loaded up their gear and said their good-byes. At home that morning, the other kids and I had been busy wrapping gifts, blowing up balloons and making cards and a cake for Ryan’s homecoming. Around 4:30 they arrived home (looking really worn out) with another missionary family. We sang “Happy Birthday”, eat cake and drank coke, and Ryan opened his gifts (all of which were along the Spiderman theme…thanks Grandma and Grandpa).

Since we didn’t get to do our “watch a new movie till midnight” tradition Christmas Eve due to the fire, we watched Prince Caspian last night till. Then we listened to the fireworks ringing in 2009…..we decided not to do anything of our own this time.

Today we had Ryan’s birthday party. He wanted a few of his Paraguayan friends to come over and swim. He also asked for a pool cake. I worked all morning on the cake…round cake with a hole in the middle for a pool (blue jello), a couple gummy bears were playing volley ball (part of my mosquito net and toothpicks), others were lounging in chairs (shaped gum) under umbrellas (wrapping paper and popsicle sticks), and still others were floating on air mattresses (shaped gum) in the water or sliding down the slide (gum). I am looking forward to making a few cakes in the states where we have all the ingredients I need and the decorations. When Ryan saw the cake he said, “Mom, you are so creative.”

At 5:00 the families showed up and the kids immediately went swimming. The water was out all afternoon (thankfully I filled the pool in the morning) and finally came back on for a half hour at 6:00 - just enough time to fill the water balloons. The kids played water balloon bowling and then did a relay race. Jeff grilled delicious pork and potatoes for dinner. Our company left around 10:00. Ryan told me that it was the best birthday he had ever had and the best he’d ever seen!

Water balloon bowling

water balloon bowling

Micah was very interested in the cake

Ryan's pool cake

co 2009 Amy McKissick