Thursday, July 30, 2009


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday evening we picked up Jedidiah (my brother) up from the DFW airport. He flew in after spending two weeks at a missionary kid re-entry camp (he is an MK from Bosnia) in California and will be starting college in East Texas. We all spent the night in Arlington with the Bowdens. I was a nanny for this family 12 years ago and hadn’t seen them since. Now the “kids” are all grown up – two in college and two with “real” jobs. We had a fun time Friday evening reminiscing (we didn’t get into bed until 2am). They had so many stories of travels abroad. Mr B looked at me and said, “You started all this traveling.” I was clueless and asked him to explain. “While you lived in our home, you told so many stories of traveling and it really inspired us to let the kids go…and they have.”

Saturday we hung out at the Bowden’s club where Ryan participated in a tennis (or as Tyler says “tennis- see” – like the state) camp wearing flip flops (true Paraguayan style). Then we all hung out by the pool. A high school buddy of Jeff’s, Jason Owens, came to visit with us. At 4:00 Jeff and I went to a wedding of one of his residency classmates, Mandy Dykstra. While at the reception, we were able to visit with two other of his classmates, Heather Harshman and Martha Rodriquez-Ruiz.

Bowden family

Ryan playing tennis

Jeff with high school friend, Jason

At Mandy's wedding with residency friends

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Friday, July 24, 2009

Proverbs 17:17 - A friend loves at all times.

The older I get, the more I cherish my friendships. God has given me 3 best friends since high school (one of those has been my best friend since 6th grade). During and after college we all married, moved to different towns and started our families (I always lived the farthest away!). We tried to get together as often as we could, usually to help celebrate new arrivals. No matter how many months (or years) we spend apart, we always pick up right where we’ve left off. We always bring up the same ridiculous stories of school days and laugh till we cry.
Today we got our families together at Alexis’ house. It was so much fun relaxing by the pool, eating Ashley’s grilled burgers, introducing them to terere, watching the kids play together, and catching up with friends.

This is what Lauren wrote to us before we met:
I have been thinking about how much our lives have changed and the struggles and blessings that we have all been through since we were all together. We have struggled with moves, changes of jobs, financial insecurities, deaths of loved ones, illnesses, hospital stays, premature births, spiritual warfare and cancer (to name a few). We have also been blessed with moves, new jobs, new babes, spiritual warfare, new homes, new brothers and sisters added to our spiritual family, and the blessing of seeing God is action throughout it all (to name a few). I would love if we could have a special time of prayer tomorrow. Nothing super structured or anything. But just a little time set aside to thank God for all we are blessed with and that we can all be together again.
Looking forward to seeing y'all!

And that is exactly what we did. After a day of playing, we prayed together. What a blessing great friends are!

fun in the pool

Showing off

Best friends

Here's the whole gang

Monday, July 27, 2009


July 23 we celebrated Uncle Steve’s birthday with a cookie cake after lunch. Jeff and I took him out to dinner that evening.

July 26 we celebrated Uncle Jedidiah’s 18th birthday and his high school graduation. We had a great time visiting.


What a joy it is to be with good friends! Wednesday morning we had breakfast with the Scott family at Cracker Barrel.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


In the airplane:

Joshua: “I thought I’d be able to see planets and stars while in the airplane, but I am glad that there is a bathroom.”

Micah asked to go potty a lot just so he could flush the airplane toilet and watch the “oooo, blue” liquid flush down.

In the airport in Miami:

Ginny: “What is that?”
Mom: “A water fountain.”
Ginny: “Wow! I’ve never seen one in real life. Can I try it?”

Ryan: “People keep speaking English to me and by the time I realize what language to answer back, I have to go.”

At the Grandparents house:

Ryan: “Grandma and Grandpa must be rich. I see so much carpet here.”

Ginny: “I thought this was a mansion but then I saw that the back yard was small.”

Joshua: “What is this?” (pointing at the microwave).

Ryan: “This will save me tons of time.” (when I explained that when he had dish duty, all he had to do was rinse and load the washer. The dishwasher was a real novelty for all the kids).

None of the kids believed me when I told them that they can now flush the toilet paper down the toilet. Not throwing the paper in the trash will be a hard habit to break.

Around town:

Ginny to Ryan: “Are those mailboxes? I’ve never seen one in real life.”

Ginny in the pool: “Watch me dog peddle.” (doggie paddle)

Ginny: “Mom, what’s a Wal-Mart?”

Thursday Jeff’s mom, Ginny and I were in a car accident. We crashed pretty hard into the person in front of us, but thankfully no one was hurt. After a few second Ginny said, “Why aren’t we moving?” I looked back at her, “Honey we hit the car in front of us. Didn’t you feel that?” Ginny answered, “Oh, that’s what that was? I thought we just went over a big bump.” Ah, my girl is very use to our bumpy dirt roads!

Ginny (when we saw a dog running across the street): “I thought you said there were no animals in American, Mom.” (what I said was that there were no chickens and horses and cows roaming the streets.


Our July newsletter is out, mailed and delivered thanks to the help of kids. We set up an assembly line and got to work assembling, folding, stuffing, stamping, and licking (we are thankful for Jeff’s parents who do this for us while we are in Paraguay). I was the last station. My job was to close the envelope and inspect the final product (stamp right side up, address label straight). What a sweet time it was for me to pray for each of our supporters by name. We are so blessed by each of you who send financial support each month, pray for us regularly, write to encourage us, and send us care packages.

We usually send out our newsletter to those on our e-mail list and to those whom we have physical addresses for. This time we want to send as many as we can via snail mail because we are including a family picture. If you haven’t received our newsletter/picture and would like to please leave your address in the comments section or send us an e-mail.

Our cell numbers while in the states are: 254.760.1554 or 254.760.2860

Thursday, July 23, 2009

LOST (not the TV series)

Joshua's tooth has been really wiggly for a while now but he refused to pull it (or have Jeff pull it) until we reached grandma and grandpa's house. last night Ginny (accidentally?) kicked him and...out it came! He is the first of the McKissick kids to lose a tooth a in the honor he is proud of!

Wiggly tooth

Lost tooth

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We had a sweet (and teary) send off Sunday afternoon from several SIM families who were at the guest house. When it came time to board the plane in Asuncion Joshua dug in his heels and said that he didn’t want to leave Paraguay. I literally had to drag a very sad boy down the ramp.

Apart from a few episodes of vomiting, the kids traveled like pros. We saw ships in the Panama Canal and got to experience the thrill of running in the airport to catch a connecting flight in Atlanta.

After 29 hours and five airplanes, we were so thankful to see grandpa, grandma and Uncle Steve’s smiling faces in Austin. Our bags didn’t arrive with us, but hopefully they will come via Delta Courier today.
By the time we arrived in Belton, about 1:30am we were all ready for a good night’s sleep.

Today the kids are enjoying exploring the house and playing with new toys (Ryan has discovered Guitar Hero, thanks to his uncle). Jeff’s parents have spent long hours getting their house ready for us and it is simply fantastic.

Asuncion airport

Panama airport

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Sunday, July 19, 2009

What do you get when you add up…5 kids…9 bags…5 airplanes…and 29 hours of travel?

The McKissick family coming to America!!!

Please pray for us (we leave at 6:00pm today)…that our flights will be on time, that we will get some rest, and that we will arrive in Austin with all our luggage.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Joshua has his first really wiggly tooth. He is waiting to pull it out in America so the grandparents can see. When I asked the kids what toys they wanted to bring to America with them, the first item Joshua listed off was his cast. He also wanted to bring his x-rays to show grandma and grandpa.

Joshua and his really wiggly tooth

6 months ago we were able to order two large pizzas (thick crust) for dinner and have enough for lunch the following day. But the past two times, we have eaten them both in one setting. How am I going to feed everyone when they are teens!
Saturday, July 18, 2009

Joshua has his first really wiggly tooth. He is waiting to pull it out in America so the grandparents can see. When I asked the kids what toys they wanted to bring to America with them, the first item Joshua listed off was his cast. He also wanted to bring his x-rays to show grandma and grandpa.

Joshua and his really wiggly tooth

6 months ago we were able to order two large pizzas (thick crust) for dinner and have enough for lunch the following day. But the past two times, we have eaten them both in one setting. How am I going to feed everyone when they are teens!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Friday, July 17, 2009

Wow, I cannot think of a better way to end our first missionary term. Our last morning in San Francisco, we spent worshiping with our Paraguayan brothers and sisters…people that, over the last 2 years, we have lived with in the rural area, we have grown to love and respect, care and pray for, mentor and call friends. As I looked around the church circle, I was again blown away by how much God has given to us. People who I saw watched being baptized are now baptizing others. People who sat under others’ teaching in Bible studies are now leading them. And people who were too embarrassed to come to church are now taking a leadership position. During the prayer time together, many of our friends thanked God for us and prayed that we would have a blessed reunion with friends and family during the coming year.

Church Sunday morning

Sunday after lunch we pulled out of town. We drove two hours to Escobar where we spent 5 days with our SIM family at our annual Spiritual Life Retreat. A wonderful group came from Virginia to minister to us – uplifting worship, challenging messages, and a fantastic VBS. The camp site was great for the kids to explore, rope swing, zip line and ride horses. And the last evening – yesterday – we had a camp fire complete with s’mores.

our SIM family

Yesterday we went into Sapukai (shout in Guarani) to join the town as they celebrated their 99th birthday. We climbed on an old wood burning, steam train and then toured the factory dating from the late 1800’s (lots of old, rusty - yet still in use – machinery). We listened to Paraguayan music (blasted very loudly), ate bolos (friend bread), and watched a torrin (bull riding show).

Missionary kids on the train

Bull show

We, as missionaries, live a life full of moves and changes and good-byes….three things that never get easy. Our SIM family gave us a despedida (farewell) where they lavished encouraging words on us, prayed over us, and shed a few (some more than others) tears. We will miss our SIM family very much and am so thankful for being able to spend our last days in the country with them.

Ryan riding

Ginny really wants to get a horse when we get back to Paraguay. She loves them and has really proven to be a good and careful.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Saturday, July 11, 2009

During these last few days in San Francisco we have been overwhelmed. Not only with trying to pack up our house and keep our suitcase under 23 kilos, but also by the love demonstrated to us by our Paraguayan friends.

Two families have invited us over for a meal. With one, Jeff was able to share a bible story with the family. He really had them captivated as he started by asking if any of their animals ever talked. Then he told the story of Balaam and his talking donkey. They laughed at the end.

The town council and the medical staff gave us a dinner on two separate nights. Both groups honored Jeff’s service in the town and presented him with a certificate of appreciation.

When the town realized that we were leaving, they petitioned the district for another doctor and the district delivered! At the town council dinner she asked us why we would come to San Francisco and work without pay. So, with everyone listening, Jeff had the opportunity to share the testimony of God calling us to serve and plant churches in rural Paraguay.

During the day, we’ve been interrupted a few times by friends stopping by to say good-bye and bring gifts.

Jean has kept our kids which has been a blessing since their toys are packed and it has been too cold and raining to play outside. In fact, weather underground actually was predicting snow (it has NEVER snowed here).

So, today we begin our last full day in San Francisco…..

The president and secretary of the town council

the medical staff

Some similarities in all our good-bye dinners:
1. The TV on (Spanish soaps)
2. Even though it was a bit chilly, doors and windows were open.
3. Because the doors were open, the host spent a good part of the time shooing away the animals (dogs, cats, chickens and pigs).
4. Our menu was the same: grill meat (no complaints there!), manioc root, and cold rice salad
5. Every table had a table cloth (very cultural).
6. Our children were so content. Even though none of these house have toys, but always find something to do together, whether it be playing with old tires and scraps (usually very plentiful around houses here) or chasing the animals or exploring.

Friday, July 10, 2009

What I'll Miss About Paraguay...

...The freedom the boys have to do this!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

We got our car back last night and although it cost an arm and a leg to repair it, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel…just a few more days before we can wash our hands of it.

Zulma’s son, Francisco has a winning smile which he flashes often. He comes over to play at least once a week, usually toting 2 or 3 of his siblings behind him. He is always polite and always gives me a hearty hand shake upon entering and leaving my house. I have heard his school teachers brag about how smart he is and I am not surprised. If allowed, I think he would answer every question thrown out for discussion at the Bible studies.

Francisco will finish 5th grade this year and I was saddened to hear that he was not planning to go back to school. Many families do not send their children to school past 5th grade because of the added expenses in Jr. High and High School. Zulma told me, “We’d have to buy a uniform, more notebooks and there are more tests.” (Each kid has to pay for their test to be photocopied.) My first thought: We could just give Zulma the money to keep Francisco in school, I mean, to me, a uniform, notebooks, and photocopies are nothing to pay for an education. But I have lived here long enough and read enough books on missions to know that just to throw money at a situation usually isn’t the best way. So, I began thinking and talking to my Paraguayan friends.

My house help, Nilsa, had a great idea (it is how Nilsa’s mother put her through school). Nilsa and I went to talk to Zulma and her sister, Rosi, who also has a bright son Francisco’s age and explained the idea. We asked them to pray about it (both these families are Christian which makes helping them even more special) and let us know. Days later they visited and said that they were interested.

Yesterday as we headed home we stopped at Granja Kim (Kim’s Farm) and bought 160 chicks. We proposed that if they (Zulma and Rosi) made a chicken coop, we would provide them with chicks to get them started. These chickens are bred to get big (and ready to eat) at 6 months, so the idea is that they can start breeding some and selling others at 20mil ($4) a piece. Unfortunately for us, the timing of our “gift” is bad since we are leaving, but Nilsa has agreed to help them, check in on them and hold them accountable.

On the way home, these chicks provided a lot of entertainment. Ginny and Joshua made a house for their chicks and Tyler and Micah’s chicks were constantly forced into a wrestling match. However, after riding 4 hours, I would have gladly traded the kids’ usual loud noise level for the peeping sound of those chicks!

Sunday, July 5, 2009


We had a wonderful time celebrating the 4th of July with several of our teammates in Asuncion (we are here waiting on car repairs). Jeff was put in charge of the fireworks and we were not disappointed.

Jeff with his favorite past time - blowing up fruit

The boys covering their ears

Ginny with her favorite butterfly fire cracker

Fun with sparklers

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Friday, July 3, 2009

This morning we said good-bye to the TIME students. They were a great group and they will definitely be missed.

Thank you, TIME students, for investing 6 weeks of your summer break in the people of San Francisco.

Friday, July 3, 2009


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wednesday we wanted to get an early start, so after we ate breakfast, packed our bags, checked under the hotel beds and in drawers, did last minute potty breaks, filled our water bottles, gave the keys to the front desk, we (Jeff and the guys) loaded our suitcases on top of the car and wrapped it like a Christmas gift with our blue tarp….the hotel worker noticed a puddle under the car. Jeff investigated and found that the car was losing its radiator fluid. There was no way we could drive it like that. So, we unpacked all our things and rechecked into our hotel rooms. Jeff took the car to a mechanic who, once hearing our plight, worked on it all day (‘til 9 that night).

It was raining cats and dogs outside so we sat in the hotel room ALL day …thank God for high speed internet connections, a kids’ game room, pool, Scum, The Office and funny hair styles.

Today, Thursday, we got an even earlier start to make up for the lost day. After 11 hours on the road we arrived at the Asuncion guesthouse. We did take a couple potty breaks, went off-roading because protesters blocked the highway, had a little hang up in customs*, saw inside a church in Caacupe, went shopping for silver and stopped to pick up some Paraguayan souvenirs.

We just got back from a wonderful evening - various harpists (of various ages) serenaded us as we ate tasty Paraguayan food and watched typical Paraguayan dances. We all agreed it was the perfect way to end the trip.

*instead of getting a multi-entry visa, the students had a single entry visa. We realized the error at the Paraguay/Brazil boarder. The officials said, “Don’t worry, we’ll be here when you cross back over and we will work with you.” So we passed on through. Three days later we got to the border and the official told Jeff that we would have to pay $60 per passport to make the situation right. Just then we saw a friend from San Francisco who is a police officer, whose job happens to be protecting tourists. We told him our problem and he signaled to the guys behind the desk that he knew us. Suddenly the price of the visa went down to $30 per passport. We thanked our friend and went on our way. Later he called to ask Jeff’s full name because he was turning those border workers in for being corrupt.

Cultural dinner

Julia getting some lessons on the harp

Cristobol and his son Kike playing together

Famous Paraguayan bottle dance

Alyssa practicing the bottle dance


Yesterday we left San Francisco at 7:00am and arrived in Brazil at 1:00 p.m. We made great time and had fun playing Outburst along the way. Our first stop in Brazil was to McDonalds (American food!) and then on to Iguazu Falls - the Brazil side. After seeing the falls we checked into the hotel and headed out for Pizza Hut (more American food).

Tuesday we went to Iguazu Falls – the Argentina side. The two sides are very different. In Brazil, you get a breath-taking panoramic view. In one location you can walk out over the falls and feel the mist on your face. Man, you feel so small! On the Argentina side you do a lot of walking (with some help from the trains, which the kids love) and you get to see the falls up close and personal and from various angles. You can look down on them or up at them or straight on. We took a little boat over to an island and climbed about a billion stairs (it sure felt that way). In the past 4 years Jeff and I have made the Brazil/Argentina trip 7 times with friends, family and students that have come down. The awesomeness of it all never dulls. God’s creation is MAGNIFICENT!

Our family plus the TIME group

Brazil side

Abby and Caitlin

Boat ride

Boat ride

Argentina side

Devil's throat

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Sunday, June 28, 2009

We had church outdoors this morning and invited everyone back at 3:00 for a despedida ( good-bye) for the TIME students. We also invited each of the host families as a way to thank them for opening up their home. The students each gave a special thanks to their host family and then the families expressed how blessed they were having a student in their home. These students have had a tremendous impact on their host families. David “Gordo” thanked them for helping to jump start the youth group. If that was all the TIME students did while they were here, to me, it was worth their visit. But, they did far more. Some fruit we have already seen and other fruit, I know we will continue to see as the years go on.

Abby with her mom, sister and brother.

Alyssa with her family.

Caitlin with her mom, brother and sister.

Paul "Pablo" and his family, minus an older brother working in a different town.

Julia with her mom and sister.

Dave's family is the only one that I didn't get a complete family photo (hopefully he did). This is his mom, dad and two brothers (sitting down).