Monday, August 31, 2009


As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

Joshua has learned this scripture first hand….

This week a friend taught him how to make farting sounds with his hand nestled into his underarm. I knew this day would come, after all boys will be boys. However, Joshua (like when he learned to snap or whistle) he cannot stop with the discussing sounds, which of course sends all the other boys into laughter. Oh the joys of being outnumbered!

And, to my delight, has already passed on his new found talent to other innocent boys….



Sunday, August 30, 2009
A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17

We are ½ way into our two week time in Harlingen (our home before we moved to Paraguay) and it feels really good to be back. Saturday night we had a fun “Welcome Home” party that our good friends hosted. It was fun (and a bit overwhelming) see everyone at once. We were again reminded at God's incredible gift of friendship...not only that we are called HIS friend, but that he has gifted us with amazing friendships here on this earth. We are so blessed!

Ginny with her girlfreinds

Ryan reconnecting with his buds...they picked up right where they left off...throwing the football

Micah with the always funny Dr Leibert, Jeff's residency director and the doc who delivered Tyler

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

On our way down to Harlingen we stopped in San Antonio to meet and have lunch with the Ortiz family. David was born in Paraguay (it is such a small world) and is now practicing medicine in the states. A mutual friend and physician in Paraguay gave him our name. We had a great time talking about Paraguay and missions and praying together in Chic-Fil-A.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Monday we had lunch with Dick Ackley, our SIM regional rep. He was such a wealth of encouragement.

Thursday we had lunch with the missions pastor at a local church. He took time out of his busy schedule to hear our vision for reaching Paraguayans for Christ.

Thursday evening we ate dinner with some new friends and had a very blessed time.

Saturday we met friends (who we knew from our Lubbock days), who are now living in Waco. They are currently raising support and hope to be able to move to Uganda in January. What a joy it was to hear the ministry vision God has put on their heart. They have four girls (same ages as my kids) who they home school. We hope to see them again before they leave.

The Forester Family (missinaries to Uganda) and us

Last night we were invited to eat dinner at Jeff’s best friend from high school’s parent’s house.

Each time we share about Paraguay I realize how much I love serving there. We feel so honored that God would choose my family to minister in San Francisco, rural Paraguay. He has allowed us to learn from incredible missionaries, to have favor in the eyes of the town, to witness a harvest of godly Paraguayan men and women and to fall in love with Him more each day. To God be the glory!

Today we head to Harlingen (where we used to live). We will be staying in 3 different homes over the two weeks. There’s a “welcome back” party planned, beach trips and zoo trips planned, and several dinner appointments. Jeff will share at 2 churches and once at the residency. He will also share in Mexico one day at a school for Pastors. Pray for us – a safe journey (6 hours) and blessed reunions.


Tyler on his bike

Joshua hot and sweaty, but still oh so cute

Ginny teach Micah how to hold the bat

Ryan loves baseball

tea party with my girl

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Thursday, August 20, 2009

We have been in the states one month today. Some things have been very easy for us to get used to again and other things have been a bit of a challenge.

Here are some of the things we have enjoyed so far:

Taking a bath with bubbles
Playing Uncle Steve’s Guitar Hero and Wii
Snow cones (Tyler got his tongue stuck. It was quite funny!)
Drinking Dr. Pepper
Going to the library
Piano lessons
Splash parks
“Printmaking funshop” at the Bell Country Museum in Belton (Ryan went)
The Waco zoo (Ginny and Joshua went with a church group)
Playing at the lake (Ryan went with a church group)
Eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch, pop tarts, cheddar cheese, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
Spending time with grandparents (Ryan has been walking with grandpa every morning)
Conveniences: Microwave (I forget that it is there), dishwasher (I still like hand-washing better!), and clothes drier (now that is a machine I could get use to)

Joshua/Santa Clause in the bath

Ryan playing Guitar Hero with Uncle Steve

Snow cones

Jeff helping Joshua with piano lessons

Ryan enjoying a Dr. Pepper

Things that have been a bit harder to get used to:
Coming to a complete stop when at a stop sign, being able to turn right on red, and using the turn signal
Throwing toilet paper in the toilet (instead of the trash car)
Feeling rude just saying, “hi” to people instead of greeting them with a kiss on both cheeks
Closing doors in order to keep in the air-conditioning
Always feeling a bit cold due to the air-conditioning
Shopping at Wal-Mart. I love the one-stop shopping but there are so many choices
Answering questions from my children like: “Why does everyone have 2 cars?” (Ginny)


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Friday we drove to Midland to visit the Dokes. Ben and his wife, Leslie, went to high school and church together. We’ve had a lot of fun together over the years…and we had fun laughing about those times.

And now, after 9 days away and sleeping in 7 different cities with 7 different families, it is good to back in Belton. We put 1700 miles on our car and we didn’t even leave Texas! Thanks to everyone who let us crash at their place, who listened to us share about Paraguay and who loved on our kids.

The Doke family and us

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Friday, August 13, 2009

We picked the kids up from camp. They had an incredible time! Ryan thanked me over and over again for letting him go. He made some new friends and participated in some fun activities. His favorite part was canoeing and archery. Ginny said her favorite part was swimming and laughing. We praise God that while at camp, Ginny prayed with her counselor to ask Jesus into her heart.

Ginny at camp

row row row your boat

Ryan with some new buddies

Jeff sharing terere with the campers

Mid-afternoon we arrived in Dimmitt to visit Oma and Uncle Jedidiah and their family. Liz grew up in this town and in the house where we are staying. Aunt Vern made wonderful chicken and dumplings last night and Liz’s sister made delicious homemade ice cream.

To the death!

A duel - Joshua and Oma


Jumping on a wet trampoline - Ginny, Ryan and cousin, Abby

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday we met with a pastor at the church we attended while we lived in Lubbock. It was great to hear how the Lord has blessed it over the years and hear their plans for expansion.

For lunch we met up with Dr Mark Hall. Dr Mark was a part of the Guatemala medical mission trip where Jeff and I met. He had come down to see patients and teach us. When we moved to Lubbock (3 years later), he was preparing to move to Uganda to do mission work, so we rented his house. He is a neat guy and now spends ½ of his time working as a physician, ¼ of his time in Uganda and another fourth preaching.

Mid-afternoon we arrived at the Walkups house. Bob was in medical school with Jeff and we went to the same church. Bob and Debbie are just a treasure trove of encouragement and fun experience. They have 7 children (just one at home now) and have homeschooled 30 years. At mid-night we (with Debbie and her three daughters who were home for the summer) lied under the stars and watched a meteor shower.

Dr. Bob and Debbie Walkup with 4 of their 7 children: Oree, Jeth, Hope and Zoe


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Monday we drove an hour to Dickens where our friends (from Lubbock days) run Crossview Christian Camp. Ryan and Ginny were excited to be able to spend 4 days….well, they had no idea what they would be doing, but they were excited about it. I had to hold back tears as we said good-bye to them.

We drove on to Lubbock and arrived at the Davidson’s house mid-afternoon. I wish Ginny would have been able to see their 3 girls again; she would have had a lot of fun. Joshua was the same age as their son and they got alone great. After watching a kid’s baseball game, we had dinner and then Jenifer and I slipped off to a movie.

Tuesday Jeff and I met with a church and shared about what God is doing in Paraguay. We came back to the house and swam. Tuesday evening two other of our friends joined us for dinner. The four of us were in a home group together. I was fun to see these beautiful, maturing, and independent children running around. It seems like just yesterday we were nursing and changing diapers, and trying to figure out childcare for during our studies. We shared about Paraguay. The kids were great listeners as I showed the flag and some money. I taught them a few phrases in Guarani and we practiced greetings (a kiss on each cheek). Then we introduced terere.

Brad and Jenifer Davidson, Jordan 10y, Abby 9y, AnnaLise 7y, and Benjamin 6y
Todd and Jane Bash, Lauren 10y, Megan 8y, and Kevin 6y
Phil and Tiffany Anderson, Corrie 7y and Hudson 6y

Thursday, August 13, 2009

QUITAQUE, West Texas

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Saturday morning we drove 2 hours and stopped for a picnic lunch in a small West Texas town called Turkey. We had an American chip smorgasbord – Doritos, Cheetohs, and pork skins.

1 hours drive later, we arrived at the Cox’s house in Quitaque. Jamie and Jeff were in medical school together in Lubbock, they were our neighbors and we attended the same church. We were so blessed last year (almost to the date) when their family came to Paraguay to visit us!

That evening we drove (another 2 hours) to Palo Duro Canyon to watch a fabulous outdoor musical theater group present TEXAS. The way they presented the history of the settling of the Texas Panhandle was amazing. The stage was set into the canyon and the props were incredible. There was a fire scene, cannons shooting, a train, wagons, horses galloping, and fireworks. Our kids sat mesmerized. After Ryan said, “Wow! That was way worth sitting on the steps for!” (We had a ticket “incident” and got bumped to step seating).

West Texas


Our kids plus Tiffini, Anna and Will Cox

Jamie and Cheryl Cox and us

Sunday morning arrived way too early (we didn’t get back to Quitaque until 1:30am from watching the musical). But church was great – refreshing praise and worship and a powerful message. Sunday evening we had our first speaking engagement. PJ and Jennifer Schmidt, who we knew from Lubbock, invited us to share at their church in Roaring Springs, Texas. The people were so warm and friendly that it was hard to be nervous. After we joined them for dinner in the fellowship hall.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Friday, August 7, 2009

3 hours on the road Friday afternoon brought us to Abilene where we stretched our legs and let the kids run off some energy at our alma mater, Abilene Christian University. There have been so many new buildings added and others have been redone, that it scarcely resembled the university we remembered. We showed the kids our dorms and mailboxes, where we ate and where we had chapel. Then we stopped at Dairy Queen (the Texas Stop Sign) and the kids enjoyed chocolate dipped cones.

1 hour further down the road we reached Hamlin and were welcomed by a “Welcome to West Texas” poster made and signed by Jennifer and Chad’s 5 beautiful children. Chad and Jeff were together in Harlingen for residency and Jennifer and I participated in several of the wives and mommy activities together. They now have 5 kids (and one on the way) all about our children’s ages. And, like us, they have 4 boys and 1 girl. We had fun also visiting with a high school friend of mine, Zack, his wife Kara, and their twin 2 year old boys. We then proceeded to stay up way too late talking, laughing and being encouraged by each other.

Welcome to West Texas!

The White's with their 5 kids, the Sheets with their twin boys and us

Learning about Paraguay


Friday, August 7, 2009


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

We’ve been able to see two families that were with us a part of the Family Practice Residency with us in Harlingen and now living in Waco. Sunday (Aug 2) we had dinner with the Mindy and Burrit Hess and their 4 children. Burrit and Jeff overlapped one year in the residency and they lived in our neighborhood. Mindy and I would often hang out together and let our kids play (her oldest is just 2 weeks younger than Ryan). They kept Ryan when I went to the hospital to have Ginny. Sunday we enjoyed our time with them. The kids loved the trampoline and Ginny had fun playing with girls (there is shortness in her life).

The Hess Family and us

Tuesday (August 4) we spent time with the Martins. Nelson and Jeff graduated from medical school and residency together. Nelson married Laura just before residency and had their first born was born just a month after Joshua. Jeff and Nelson went to Mexico often together for mission work and they spent many nights playing games at our house during residency. They now have 5 children (like us – 5 kids in 6 years!) who were a joy to get to know. Their backyard is crazy-fun and the kids had a blast while the parents caught on the past 4 years.

The Martin Family and us

Monday, August 3, 2009


You have probably read the word “tereré” many times in my blog and wondered what I am talking about. Well, here’s the low down on a very cultural thing….

Tereré is a cold bitter tea made from the leaves of a yerba mata tree that is passed around in small groups. The server (traditionally the youngest) pours water from his termo (pitcher or thermos) into a guampa (receptacle to hold water - sometimes a hollowed cow’s horn) packed with ground up yerba leaves. He passes it to the person on his right. That person drinks from a communal bombilla (metal straw with a filter on the end) and immediately passes it back. The server refills the guampa and passes it to the next person. Paraguayans carry their equipo (terere gear) wherever they go.

When temperatures stay in the upper 90’s for weeks at a time, tereré is a must. Very few Paraguayans drink plain water, so tereré is a necessity for hydration in this humid heat. Everyone takes a break at 10:00 and 3:00 to socialize over the refreshing drink. Paraguayans add various herbs and poha (medicines) picked from their yard to the water. The herbs are for different ailments: high blood pressure, low blood pressure, gall bladder problems, prostate problems, etc...
We have made many friends while sipping tereré, have had spiritual conversations while passing the guampa, and have yellowed our teeth on the bitter weeds….all for the sake of bringing Paraguayans to Christ. But really we don’t mind – we’re addicted to it now.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Tuesday, July 29, 2009

God is faithful - not that I have ever doubted that - but he has been overwhelmingly faithful in such visible ways since we’ve arrived in America just one week ago.

He has provided housing for us and cell pones.

We’ve been given toys, kids bikes, books, books on CD, travel activity books…..

He has blessed us with a car to use for the entire year.

Ryan was given a tennis racket.

The boys were given several shirts (the best kind – hand-me-downs from their Uncle).

Ginny was given several sacks of clothes and shoes.

Someone bought me several shirts and shoes.

The kids have already been able to do and see some fun things.

AND we have been blessed with so many warm welcomes (I know that sounds silly but when you have been gone 4 years, you wonder if people remember who you are!). We’ve loved catching up with friends and sharing what doing is doing in Paraguay.

We truly feel blessed!

Ginny riding

Ryan driving the golf cart

Joshua and his Oma


Sunday, July 26, 2009

What a warm welcome we received this morning at Belton Church of Christ this morning!

As we walked into the sanctuary Ryan and Ginny’s eyes got big. Ginny said, “This is so big.” Ryan said, “There are so many people at this church.” In Paraguay we have 30 believers who worship outside.

I noticed that all the moms brought cheerios, coloring book and toys to help entertain their kids. In Paraguay when our kids get antsy, they climb a tree, play in the sandbox or watch the ducks.

During worship, I could barely get through the song How Great is our God. I wanted to shout out, “You have no idea how great our God is! These past few days he has overwhelmed me with his blessings.”

While we were singing How Great Though Art, I looked at Ryan. He was singing the song in Spanish (he doesn’t know it in English).

After church we had a wonderful meal at the Taliafero’s house. We got to visit with Liz (the grandkids call her Oma) who is in town to help Jed get started in college. It had been two years since we last saw her. At 3:00 people started arriving at their house to help celebrate Jedidiah’s birthday/graduation party. At one point, I realized that I hadn’t seen Jeff in a while. As I began to look around the house for him, I saw him sitting on the back porch…drinking terere alone. I guess no one wanted to leave the air-conditioning inside!

We started our home assignment running….visiting and traveling, although we wouldn’t have done it any other way, we are all tired and the two little ones have been sick since arriving in the states.

Lunch with Taliaferos and Womacks

Our family with Oma and Uncle Diah