Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Today we had our last mobile clinic (last for the students and for us). We went to Jacubo, a town we had been to twice before for clinics. It is the town where Pedro, one of our San Francisco believers, grew up. Seeds of the gospel were planted and took root years later when he moved to San Francisco. It is such a joy to watch Pedro give his testimony and preach to the crowd. There is urgency in his voice, wanting all “his people” to know about the change in his life.

Jeff saw about 15 people and the students were able to do several labs. Three San Francisco believers gave incredible testimonies of God giving them hope and peace after a traumatic childhood. In Jacubo there us a sweet pastor and his wife (she gave me a live chicken today as a thanks). He is willing to do the spiritual follow up of those seen in the clinic. How encouraging to hear that a lady who received Christ the previous time we were there has been faithfully attending church and now her husband has been coming.

After the mobile clinic we came back to our house for lunch. It was a big crowd – 15 adults and 12 kids. The Stirlings, team mates from Villarrica came up last night. They brought with them three short term English teachers. Over dessert, it was wonderful to hear all their testimonies. The TIME students have now met all but one of our colleagues.

Pedro sharing his testimony

David helping the pastor find a pair of glasses

Paul drawing blood


Thursday, June 25, 2009

The church leaders gave us a farewell dinner. I felt very blessed that they wanted to do something like that for us. The meat was great, there was tons of mandioca and sopa, and it was very very cold.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yesterday vaccination campaigns were called off due to rain (which continued all day). The students were over here after lunch for class and then Dave spent the night.

Group A was at the clinic with Jeff and finished early because the weather was still bad. This afternoon the students practiced suturing on pig skins.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Gray clouds threatened rain as we sat outside for church this morning. We were all praying that the rain would hold off for a few more hours, not just so we wouldn’t have to interrupt church, but also so that the mobile clinic wouldn’t be canceled.


After church, the TIME students plus the Terhaars and the Floyds, ate lunch at our place and at 12:15 we all loaded up and headed for Santa Ursula. We’ve had the mobile clinic there twice before and it is always a blessed time. The mother of two San Francisco believers lives there (Na Irma) and has a nice big property with lots of animals. The kids enjoy exploring and trying to capture the animals.

Jeff saw about 10 patients – a fair amount considering that it was Father’s Day and it was either grey skies or raining the entire afternoon. Jeff presented the gospel and challenged the patients to attend the Bible study hosted by Na Irma every other weekend. A couple of the San Francisco believers gave their testimonies, which is always nice to see. As Jeff was treating physical needs inside the van, we were signing, reading the Bible and listening to a Bible study outside the van.

After the last patient, the family fed us a snack of cake, fried meat, mandioca and bread. By the time we left at 4:30, it was pouring rain and we had to slosh our way back home.

I love where they chose to hang the announcement of the mobile clinic

Drinking terere before clinic started

Bible study under the tarp

Hanging out with kids

Our goal has been to start Bible studies (with a believer from San Francisco leading it) in each town where we hold a mobile clinic. Jeff invites all the patients back for a 6 week evangelistic bible study, but (sadly to say) we have seen such little fruit. Although the mobile clinic has been great for the San Francisco believers to grow in their faith, we have learned that “casting the net wide” in this culture isn’t as beneficial as one on one relationships over the years. However, we realize that seeds are being planted and God is orchestrating things behind the scenes. Our job is to be faithful to the task he has set before us.
Two weeks ago when we went to Verakue, a young man was interested in a Bible study. When Jeff and Higinio went back that afternoon he wasn’t there. They left the MP3 player and instructions to listen to the message before the following week’s study. Last week they went back to study not knowing what to expect – would he be conveniently gone again??? – and to their surprise the young man had listened to the message and was ready to share what he learned.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Saturday, June 20, 2009

At 9:00am, a 40 week pregnant lady came to our house and wanted Jeff to check her because she had been in labor (with her 5th kid) since 5:00 that morning. She and her husband were waiting for the 12:00 bus to drive them to Caazapa. After and exam, Jeff was sure that she could not wait 4 hours till she arrived at the hospital. Since they weren’t from San Fransisco, they didn’t know anyone who could drive them, so Jeff offered. He made the mistake of asking our kids, “Who wants to go to Caazapa with me?” I have never seen all five kids get their shoes so quickly. Within seconds they were sitting in the car ready. Having a house all to myself does not happen too often. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I cranked up the music and cooked without interruptions.

At 2:00 we had girls’ club (I am not really sure what to call it) at my house with both Paraguayans and the TIME girls. First we played spoons (always a favorite) and then we made pancakes. And then we just goofed off – making pyramids, doing camp-like activities and most of all laughing.

During all this, our team mates, the Terhaars, arrived. Bret (a veterinarian), Rachel, and their three kids (16, 14, and 9) just moved 1 ½ from us after completing a year of language school in Asuncion. At 5:00 we had a devo time with all the students. Bret and Rachel shared their testimonies and led us in worship.
After the devo, the students went to another San Juan festival (see previous post) to party.



Silly games

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Friday, June 19, 2009

Today is San Juan Ara, a dual holiday from Spain celebrating the summer solstice (pagan sun worshippers) and St. John the Baptist’s Day (religious). This “holiday” is a big deal here and during a two week window even the smallest of towns will celebrate with a festival. Tonight we joined the festivities at the school. The “events” of the evening were definitely the focus. About 20 high school guys were dressed in white poncho type shirts, sheets/rags wrapped around their legs and their head and face covered with material (holes were made for the eyes and mouth). They reminded me of the KKK. They are called “kambas” which means a black or dark person. Because they were unrecognizable in their costumes, they basically had a license to act crazy and talk in high pitched voices, as per Paraguayan clowning custom. Not just anyone can be a kamba. If someone wanted to dress up on the day of San Juan he approaches a designated guy earlier in the week and submits his name. That person decides if he is “worthy” enough to be a kamba. If you had been rowdy in the past then you cannot do it again. The chosen will receive a secret paper with instructions.

The first game was “pelota tata” (fire ball). A kerosene drenched ball was set on fire and thrown onto the field. The kambas played silly soccer and occasionally kicked the flaming ball into the crowd. One such ball was kicked into the crowd, it bounced off my arm and grazed Julia’s head singing her hair (thankfully not too noticeable). Another time Abby got a chance to kick it.

Those that weren’t playing fire-soccer tried to climb a pole that was covered with soap. One Kamba reached the top and opened the sack which dangled from the top. He threw down his prize, which was candy (I think).

Next, the “toro kandil” (flaming bull) made an appearance. A kamba with tent-like structure over him chased other kambas. Protruding from the tent was a pole with horns. The horns were on fire. Kambas took turn chasing other kambas. Two or three more pelota tatas were thrown into the action.

Everyone gathered around for “Judas kai” (burning Judas). The fire set off firecrackers inside of the stuffed scarecrow. It was very loud.
Mainly people just stood around in small groups and a few attempted to dance to the blasting music. About 10:00pm the party wound down. It was fun to see the students there with their host siblings and friends from the church.

A Kamba

Climbing the greased pole

Fire bull

Hanging out

Monday, June 22, 2009


Friday, June 19, 2009

Today the students came back from vaccination campaigns beaming. They got to stick so many people that they couldn’t keep track of the numbers.

In the afternoon group A was at our house for clinic and had a busy and exciting day. They got to help with a couple minor procedures and they got to throw a couple stitches each.

Group B was able to stitch last week during their clinic hours. A young boy had fallen off his bicycle and something (the pedal? the handlebar?) gouged him in the upper thigh.

One day during clinic two high schoolers came. The boy explained that his girlfriend (who was with him) was pregnant and he wanted to know if there was anything they could do to “reverse” the process. I am so thankful that they came to a Christian physician because Jeff was able to give them Godly counsel.

A man came in for a blood pressure control and Jeff noticed that one of his eyes were weepy and red. The man said that it had been that way for 6 years and he had no idea why. Jeff took a closer look, poked at the lid, and felt something small and hard. With a little pressure, Jeff was able to express a metal sliver much to the surprise of the suffering man.
A lady came to the clinic complaining that her eyesight in her left eye had been blurry for just the past three days. Jeff asked all kinds of questions and did an exam. He found nothing. He decided to ask her just one last question, “Have you ever worn glasses?” “Yes. But they broke three days ago,” was her response. In shock Jeff asked, “Did your eyes have different prescriptions?” “Oh yes, my left eye was really bad.”

Alyssa found a “friend” in her beans and noodles. She sneakily saved the grub worm looking creature for our show and tell time.

Paul was sure that he had eaten cow’s tongue for lunch but on closer inspect of the picture he took we realized it was the cow’s stomach lining (I’m not sure which is worse). Paul said, “I know have a new appreciation for our cafeteria food.”

Julia watched her family kill a pig for a Father’s Day lunch. And then the following days ate fried pork fat, pig liver and cow meat wrapped in pig skin (which was eaten).

Caitlyn made the mistake once asking her host mother where the fourth little chicken was that was following its mother the day before. Her host mom answered,”You ate it for lunch.”

Praise God, no one has been terribly sick.

We’ve an “Indian Summer” in the midst of cold and rain. It has been nice to shed a few layers and actually be hot. I know that the students appreciate the break from the cold. Their houses aren’t insulated very well (if at all), so when it is cold and damp, they are freezing. Alyssa sleeps under 6 blankets!


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Here are some of the hats Jeff wore this week:

Cook. He plucked and gutted a duck for us to eat.
Musician. He played the piano for church.
Doctor. He saw numerous patients at the health outpost and at our house.
Taxi. He drove a laboring pregnant lady to Caazapa as well as the nurses and TIME students to neighboring villages for their vaccination campaign.
Missions teacher. He led a couple classes on missions for the TIME students.
Writer. He has found a love for writing bible study curriculum in Guarani.
Administrator. He planned the next to mobile clinics, talked to appropriate people, made fliers, and got a radio announcement out.
Elementary teacher. He takes an active role in the schooling of our children.
Bible study leader. He traveled just outside of San Francisco to lead a bible study.

And all the while, he was a wonderful husband and a super father. My children are so blessed to have such a wonderful dad. Happy Father’s Day! We love you!


While we were in Asuncion last month, Hermelinda, a Paraguayan friend, visited our team mates with an obvious heavy spirit. Tony and Jean became concern as she mentioned restlessness, lack of appetite, mood swings, and disjointed thoughts. When we got back in town, Jeff went to visit her and found that she fit the clinical definition of depression and anxiety. He could have stopped the exam with that, prescribed pills, told her to come back in a week, and left. But God has called us to be more that just medical professionals in the community and to minister to more than just physical needs.

Last year in June, Hermelinda’s mother, Na Mami, passed away and we were able to witness the first evangelical funeral in San Francisco. Traditions are strong here and mourning rituals are deeply ingrained. The problem is that a lot of the traditions do not line up with the word of God. Na Mami’s children (some believers and some not) had to make difficult decisions about how to honor Na Mami. At the graveside, instead of it being a time of hysterics and wailing, the family wanted a gospel message shared and a time of singing. Instead of praying for her soul for the 9 days following her death, we gathered for 9 days to sing and rejoiced that Na Mami is now in heaven. Changing these traditions made a lot of people talk. One man who had been hosting a bible study was told by his father, “As long as I am alive you will not associate with those evangelicals because when I die, you will honor me and pray for my soul.”

Another tradition for the dead takes place at the year anniversary. Candles are lit, prayers are said, and pleading is done on behalf of the dead. Now, at the year anniversary of her mother’s death, Hermelinda found herself in a state of depression. Jeff asked if she had seen any other medicos (non-licensed physicians) and she admitted that she had. The medico told her that her mother’s spirit had come back and was now trying get into her body. Although Hermelinda has attended a small group Bible study for a couple years, she has had no interest in baptism and is not consistent in coming to Sunday prayer meetings. Jeff asked her if she considered herself a creyente (a believer) and she said yes.
Jeff (and later Jean) confronted her about not following Jesus 100%. Jeff explained that witchcraft has no place in the life of a believer. The following Sunday Hermelinda came to church and before the service even began she blurted out that she wanted prayer for “wrong thinking”. How wonderful it was to see the body of Christ lifting her up before the throne of God. I am so thankful that Jesus calls himself the Prince of Peace and we can now offer that gift to those who are living in fear.

Through medicine, we have and incredible open door to minister to spiritual and physical needs; may we never fail to treat both.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We left Tirol this morning at 9:00 and arrived in Yuty for lunch. Christie and Dan, our teammates, had prepared a great lunch and then after lunch they gave their testimonies. Christie then shared about a paper that she wrote recently for her missiology class entitled: Werewolves and Witchdoctors: Biblical Responses to Animism in Paraguay.

Here are a few paragraphs from her paper:

In the past few months I have counseled a young lady whose mother was putting black magic paraphernalia under her bed to get her to break up with her boyfriend. I’ve listened to a church leader describe being visited at night by a ghost. I’ve prayed for a teary friend on the eve of leaving her husband after her mother in law had cursed her marriage. I’ve studied the Bible with a depressed friend who was visiting a witch doctor. I’ve heard Christians tell me stories of their relatives and friends who were kidnapped by Jasy Jatere and Pombero, creatures that some Paraguayans dismiss as mythical beings. I’ve been given a plant that will ward off evil spirits if you plant it in front of your house. I was asked to pray for a husband who, as a result of a curse, had begun drinking excessively (his wife admitted that she came to our house because the witchdoctor was out of town.) I’ve seen babies with red thread tied around their wrist to ward off the evil eye. I’ve listened to my maid’s description of the werewolf that prowls late at night on her street. I’ve seen the crowds of people on their way to Palm Sunday mass, carrying palm branches that they’ll have blessed by the priest and hang in their house for protection against evil.
When asked what the dominant religion in Paraguay is, we commonly answer, “Roman Catholicism” and occasionally mention doctrines such as purgatory and virgin worship to illustrate some of the primary obstacles encountered. Yet the more we have learned about what most Paraguayans believe, the stronger we have found the trend toward a basically animistic world view and deeply ingrained syncretism rather than Christian monotheism. What does the Bible have to say about these animistic Paraguayan beliefs and traditions? Are they harmless folklore, an integral part of their culture that shouldn’t be changed, or are they tools of Satan used to keep people enslaved to fear and trusting in powers other than God? In this paper I will identify some animistic aspects of Paraguayan folklore, evaluate them according to human theories and biblical principles, and suggest Biblical responses that our church-planting team can use to help Paraguayans develop a Godly worldview.

Gailyn Van Rheenan, a Christian who has worked in animistic contexts, defines animism as
the belief that personal spiritual beings and impersonal spiritual forces have power over human affairs and, consequently, that human beings must discover what beings and forces are influencing them in order to determine future action and, frequently, to manipulate their power.

The many mythical beings in Paraguayan folklore come from Guarani Indian legends. One main legend tells of Tau, the evil spirit, who captured and married a beautiful Indian princess, Kerana. Their union produced seven monsters: Teju-Jagua, Mboi-Tui, Moñái, Yasy Jatere, Kurupi, Ao-Ao and Luisón. Several of these creatures are still feared by many Paraguayans today. Yasy Jatere is a small beautiful blond boy who whistles during siesta time to attract children whom he kidnaps. His victims eventually return home, crazy and unable to speak for a time, and are said to have seizures on the anniversary of their kidnapping. If seven consecutive sons are born into one family, the seventh is believed to be Luisón, a werewolf. On Tuesday and Friday nights he changes into creature that resembles a large black dog who “devours the flesh of the dead and the soul of the living.” If he licks a person’s forehead, passes under their legs, or bites them, they too become a Luisón and their family is unable to light a candle in their memory because their soul goes to hell. The Luisón can only be killed with a silver bullet that has been blessed by the priest.
Tau and Kerana’s children are not the only ones still feared by many Paraguayans. The Pombero (or “Man of the Night”) is a hairy, ugly dwarf who terrorizes people, kidnaps and impregnates young ladies, and seeks vengeance on those who do not leave him nightly gifts of whiskey and tobacco. Ghosts (Malavisión / Póra) are souls who haven’t gone to hell yet and are also feared. These ghosts are believed to stay near the place where they died (along the road, for example) or to haunt houses. Many Paraguayans tell of times they have seen ghosts and felt their cold touch in the night.

Of all the people of the world, animists are the most receptive to Christianity. This is good news for those of us working in animistic contexts, because it implies that the gospel directly addresses their felt needs. Animists live with an all-pervasive fear of spirits, magic and witchcraft, and the Bible teaches that “perfect love drives out fear” (I Jn. 4:18) and that Christ has triumphed over the principalities and powers (Col. 2:15). They fear disharmony and Christians show true harmony with God and man. The list goes on, but the point is clear. God offers animists the peace, power, and harmony that animists lack. Rather than laugh at their fears of werewolves, dismiss the effects of their curses, or condone their visits to witchdoctors, we must seek to understand the animistic aspects of their worldview and teach the Bible accordingly. May God use us to bring Paraguayans from the kingdom of darkness into his kingdom of light!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Monday, June 15, 2009

We left immediately from the encuentro for the Hotel Tirol near Encarnacion (3 hours away) for a mid-trip break. This morning we woke up to pouring rain and unfortunately this is our only day to see the Jesuit Ruins. Hoping that the rain would let up, we began our morning with a time of debriefing and prayer. How encouraging to hear the students praying for the Paraguayan leaders, the church in San Francisco and that God’s word would be spread throughout Paraguay. When the students first arrived in Paraguay we gave them a list of about 15 goals that we wanted them to be working through while they were here. How wonderful to look back at the past two weeks and recall God’s faithfulness and be able to look ahead to the next two weeks with a renewed joy.

Unfortunately, it was still raining hard in the afternoon, but we decided to go to the ruins anyway. We splashed through puddles, huddled under 2 umbrellas, got soaked and frozen. However, we came back to hot showers, coffee, room heaters and games. I don’t even want to count how many hours worth of games we played over the past two days. I have never laughed so much in my life! Here are some of the game highlights that will mean nothing to the “outside world”, but have to be included….Potato MopTop virus….white pongo…giant white ape….scattergories…animals developing human characteristics in one day…LeRoy Nash…white meat…Cuban…pool….alien octopus…September 19, 1987…Pretty Mens’ Coloring Club…ping-pong….Pieter Van Loggenberger…clinchpoop (definition: a slob)…take two….Big Boggle…overweight teen working at Dunkin Donuts…occupation…B grade movie….incredible melting man…phase 10….Pilson Mathis Broadcasting Company (PMTV)….

The Reiches and Floyd’s kept our kids which was very nice of them. It was our first chance to get away alone since Ryan was born 9 1/2 years ago! I thought I would miss the kids a little while we were gone (I knew they probably wouldn’t miss us), but honestly I haven’t (is that wrong?). We haven’t even been able to call to check up on them since we get no reception here. We are blessed with a great SIM mission family. The kids have so many “cousins” their age and “aunts” and “uncles” who love them.

Here we all are going STIR CRAZY!
Dave's drinking problem

Abby squatting....why?

Giving herself a shot

A big mouthed crocodile?

rocking out to my air piano

Caitlyn shooting the bad guys with her air bow

Paul as a beaver


TIME 2009 Goals
-To become more Christ-like in my attitudes, motivations, thoughts and actions through what I am learning during this experience
-To more fully understand God’s heart for the lost of all nations and his mission of redemption
-To gain a fuller understanding of my strengths/ gifts and weaknesses as an individual. Where is God working in and through my life and where is He working on me?
-To carefully consider my future role in world missions and how I can promote missions back at my home church
-To be able to articulate what it means to be a health care professional with a Christian worldview
-To humbly accept the role of learner and avoiding the temptation to prematurely judge Paraguayans or missionaries
-To learn flexibility and patience, being relationship-oriented, not task/event-oriented (like latinos)
-To lean on the Lord daily through personal prayer and time in His Word
-To reflect daily on what I am learning (e.g. journaling)
-To appreciate the realities of the missionary calling and daily life, the joys and the triumphs, as well as the costs/ sacrifices, difficulties and struggles they face
-To appreciate and learn about the Paraguayan people, their culture and their languages
-To maintain unity and peace on this team at whatever the cost
-To experience joy in the midst of my daily routine
-To understand the history and present situation of the body of Christ in San Francisco and to commit to praying for the Paraguayan church
-To become more willing and adept at sharing my faith, even with limited language abilities
-To understand how SIM Paraguay works and the value of a mission family/ team
-To seek God’s direction in using my Paraguayan experience to know the next steps to take in my upcoming major life decisions

The Jesuit Ruins...not from the day we visited...

Friday, June 19, 2009


Thursday, June 19, 2009

It’s hard to believe that a month from today we will be on the plane flying to the US. I am excited to see (and hear) the kids reactions as soon much will be new. Ryan is really the only one who remembers anything about the states and he mostly remembers his friends. When I told Ginny the other day that she won’t be seeing pigs or chickens roaming the streets by grandma’s house, she replied, “Only cows walk the streets?” I think she was a bit disappointed at the answer.

A few nights ago, while we were sleeping, a few cows decided to help themselves to our yard. They “took” the lid off the chicken food and ate it all up. They ate the cat food and helped themselves to our passion fruit vine that was growing over lattice. This morning Ryan ran out of the house declaring a game of hide-and-seek. He froze as he stepped off our front porch, staring at a now scrawny bush. “Ah man! The cows ate my favorite hiding spot.” And, of course, they left us many cow pies!

Do you think we will have those problems in the states?

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Sunday, June 14, 2009

At 8:00 we began preparing for the encuentro – our once a month big celebration service. The ladies peeled mandioca, diced a mountain of vegetables, began the cooking fire and hauled water from the well. At 9:30 about 80 people were gathered. Our circle was big and there weren’t enough chairs for everyone. Adults held little ones on their lap, people on benches were shoulder to shoulder, and some sat two to a wooden seat. I am not sure what the ratio of kids to adults was but I can tell you that there were a TON of kids. These fidgeting 3 year olds and toothless 7 year olds and smiling 13 year olds are the next church leaders. Right now, God is rising up an army of boys and girls who will change San Francisco.

It was beautiful to see so many people participate in the service. We encourage everyone to read a Bible verse or share what they have learned about God during the week and sometimes it is a bit awkward when no one says anything. But today several people shared. There was a theme of leaving the traditions made by man and following only the words of Jesus.

After the service we sipped terere and then ate lunch. The Paraguayan youth are having a great time hanging out with the TIME students. They played UNO and threw the Frisbee; they talked and laughed and drank terere together. Julia and Paul even attempted to learn how to ride a motorcycle.

At 1:00 we shared communion (mandioca and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice) together. I love sitting outside under the huge shade trees worshipping God in Guarani. As we sang I have Decided to Follow Jesus in Guarani, I wondered how many tongues and tribes today were declaring those very words.

Peeling mandioca

chopping up veggies for lunch

Singing praises to our God

Eating lunch

Sippin' terere

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Saturday, June 13, 2009

As we headed to Maria Auxiliadora it was disappointing that no Paraguayan believer could join us. However, it was a blessing to have two of the TIME students step up and share their testimony to those waiting to see the doctor. Jeff (and the students) saw about 30 people and the students did numerous blood draws, blood pressure controls, urinalysis and eye glass fittings. God blessed us with beautiful weather (I even got a little hot mid-morning…but not hot enough to shed my three layers!).

This afternoon at 4:00, a crowd of teens will be coming to my house to watch a movie.

praying before going out to Maria Auxiliadora

Julia taking blood

Dave giving his testimony

Caitlyn sharing her testimony


Caitlyn and Paul enjoying an empanada lunch

Friday, June 12, 2009

Today the Cameron’s joined us (and the team) for an empanada lunch (Paul's favorite). Vonni is a nutritionist and gave two lectures for the students over Diabetes and The Paraguayan Diet. They were supposed to get to our house at 10:00 but had car troubles (actually a wheel fell off their trailer). Since the students were already at our house, we decided to play Balderdash. I think that is the funniest game ever! At 2:00 half the group began seeing patients with Jeff and the other half hung out at my house until it was time for Bible study at Zulma’s house.

LETRADOITE (sneaky or crafty…a Paraguayan value)

Sunday I learned that it was little Marianna’s 2nd birthday and that the following day was her cousin, Diosnel’s 2nd birthday. Both families have become regulars at church and families that I enjoy talking with. I immediately thought that it would be nice to bless the kids with cup cakes (they had no plans to celebrate the birthdays). On Monday (Tuesday I was planning visit them) I made 20 cupcakes, put them in a rectangular container with a lid and set it on the counter. The TIME students were over Monday afternoon and my time was spent discussing a missions article and watching a video on Catholicism. At 5:00, when the students left I went to the kids’ room. All the kids were outside but in the room was the rectangle container that HAD cupcakes in them. It now had just two cupcakes – one had a bit taken out of it already! I put on my police hat and began interrogating the children. All signs lead to Micah, who never did admit it with his words – just his sheepish actions. It boggles my mind that NONE of the other 4 saw him eat EIGHTEEN cup cakes (I am sure our dog, Lady, helped out too) and leave no trace of crumbs or paper.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

San Antonio Ara (St. Anthony's Day)

Sunday, June 13, 2009

I saw this for sale today.

Perhaps it has something to do with today being Saint Anthony’s holiday. Since he is the saint of animals and, if you lost your pig or your cow is sick, and if you prayed for his help, and if your prayer is answered...then you are supposed to kill that animal on St Anthony's day as a "thanks".

Friday, June 12, 2009


Both groups of students have had the opportunity to visit Pedro and Zulma and sip terere with them. A couple of the students had attending a Bible study at their house last week. Zulma has become a dear friend to me. She visits often and I (try to) visit her

Zulma has such an incredible story (you have probably heard me mention her several times in this blog). Close to 3 years ago, after our teammates wrote about Zulma and her family of 7 living in just one small room, a supporter sent money to improve their living conditions. Two years ago the (Paraguayan) church members spent time sawing, digging, and nailing together a two room house (the old “house” in now her kitchen). It was a delicate situation because Zulma hadn’t ever come to a prayer meeting (she had frequented Jean’s and my house asking for handouts) and we didn’t want her to feel obligated to come. We also weren’t sure of the possible ramifications in this poor barrio. Would everyone expect a home improvement? How can we help just one? What will neighbors think of Zulms’a new found blessing?

Soon after the completion of the house, Zulma asked for a Bible study to be started in her house. A couple of Paraguayan ladies committed to leading the study every Friday evening. Two years later, that study is still going and has grown to include several of her neighbors. In December 2008, at a mobile clinic, she prayed with one of the believers to receive Christ. Whenever Zulma came to the Sunday prayer service, she brought several women from her barrio with her. The men followed several months later and we were rejoicing that we had whole families attending and men were stepping up as the spiritual leader of their house. Of those families several are now baptized (including Zulma and her teen-aged daughter) and two couples have been married (after living together for several years). They are hungry to learn about God.

Only God could have known how building a small house could have led to such great harvest.