Wednesday, September 29, 2010


September 29, 2010

I can’t believe Micah is already 4 years old! He is such a funny little guy. We are constantly laughing at the things he comes up with, the crazy things he does and the way he expresses himself. He is very animated! He loves his rain boots (he wears them ALL the time, EVERYDAY) and goggles. He loves catching frogs and caterpillars (plenty of both around here). He runs, jumps, or slides everywhere.

I found something constructive Micah can do with scissors - helping to cut green onions for soup.

He is a typical little boy with lots of energy, a curious mind, and a love for testing (and pushing) the limits. I asked Micah to pick up the Legos and he told me “no”. I said that he may not leave the room until they were all picked up. He began to cry. After about 10 minutes I realized it had gotten quiet and I prided myself on winning the battle. However, when I went to check on him, I first noticed that the Legos were not picked up at all. I then noticed that Micah had fallen asleep in the toy box!

Micah LOVES baby Julia and never passes up an opportunity to get right in her face to say, “Hello”.

The kids love making hammocks. Micah loves to sleep in his (looks terribly uncomfortable to me).

A tradition we have in our house is decorating the bed of the birthday kid once they fall asleep.

I made a dinosaur cake and today we just celebrated as a family. Sunday we will be in Asuncion and celebrate Micah and Tyler’s birthday (which is 10-10) together with a Star Wars themed party.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Sunday, September 19, 2010

After our first few days back, I’m finally feeling less overwhelmed as I head for bed. We have accomplished a lot and I can finally see my floor. We’ve found a place for most things, cleaned a lot, and ran 10 loads of laundry (and our baskets are still filled to the brim). It is coming along though. We are getting back into the swing of things – buying fresh milk, being awakened to fireworks at 5am (that’s how Paraguayans celebrate), burning trash, listening to neighbors blare their music, and chasing cows out of the yard.

The kids are enjoying being back. They love their house and yard and pets (Ginny’s anxiously awaiting chicken to hatch any day now). They definitely have more freedom here than in the states. They can ride their bikes in the “street” and even walk to the store for me. We made the front bedroom into Ryan’s room/home school room/guest room. He is enjoying having his own space. The other kids are still sharing a room. Julia is a hit with everyone, of course. She has been a good sport being passed around from person to person (pray for her health). They all comments on how white she is!

One bummer is that our refrigerator is not working. Thankfully the deep freeze was plugged in, so my food isn’t going bad – it’s just frozen solid. The second bummer is that we had an unwelcomed guest. I’ve heard that tarantulas are every common here, but had never seen one at my house….until today. Well, at least God waited till our 2nd term when I can handle bugs and critters a little better. I hope this photo hasn’t freaked out our guests coming in October (or anyone else planning to come and visit).

On the plus side, we have had several home improvements made. My favorite is the hot water heater in the bathroom. Yeah, we can finally take hot showers! We also had the tank plumbed into the kitchen, so I have hot water in my kitchen sink. However, both the sink and the shower are now leaking, so we’ll be calling to get that fixed. Jeff’s favorite addition is the outhouse in back. Last term, patients had to come into our house to use the restroom. Too many times I found them stumbling around the house looking for the way out (our house is not that big). So, this bathroom is really for the patients that come to clinic at our house.

Speaking of bathrooms…. There is an outhouse on the church property. Last week Ginny needed to use it. She opened the door, took one look and said, “I’ll wait.” An hour later she decided to it try again. This time she went in, promptly came back out and said she could hold it longer. The third time – an hour later – I gave her some tips and she went in and stayed. However, she managed to get her shorts all wet! Guys have it so much easier than us ladies.

Speaking of church….We are very encouraged by the believers and the way they are leading the church. Everyone brings something to share and the older believers are so encouraging to the younger. Since we’ve been gone they have purchased land. There’s a small building on the property where they store their chairs. We meet outside under the covered porch.

Pray for us as we settle back. Although we’re thrilled to be here, life is very different than in the US and there are a lot of things to get used to again. Pray for us as we visit our friends and as we make new relationships. Pray for wisdom as Jeff sets up clinic hours at home and at the health outpost. Pray for our continued language and cultural learning. Pray for the kids too. They too are straining to remember their lost Spanish and miss friends from the states. The team mates we served with last term are now in the US for a year, so we are by ourselves. We all miss being able to walk over to their place.

Ginny and our Cat, Boots

Tyler in the tire swing

our unwelcomed guest

Sunday, September 19, 2010


September 15, 2010

Being 40 days old may not sound that significant but in the culture in which we live, it is a milestone. There are several things that a mother and baby are not supposed to do for the first 40 days. Here are a few:

You cannot leave the house because a drunk might see the baby or the baby may hear something or see someone that would bring the evil eye upon her.

You cannot let a dog or pig in the baby’s room. This can also cause the evil eye. Receiving the evil eye means it is cursed and this can manifest in various ways: sickness, deformities, or death.

You aren’t permitted to squat or run because your already loose ligaments need 40 days to tighten up.
You may not wash your hair because this will cause fever in the mother and may kill her.

You need to be very careful who holds the baby. Someone with ill-standing in the community cannot be allowed to hold the baby or the baby will be cursed.

You shouldn’t pass a baby under a fence.

You can’t hold a baby so it’s looking over your shoulder. This will make the belly button herniate.

Wednesday Julia was 40 days old. She has such a sweet demeanor and is very tranquilo. The kids are a big help and will do almost anything for baby Julia. She is sleeping and eating well. Now we are waiting for her fist smiles.

We finished our Guarani refresher course today and are excited about FINALLY moving to San Francisco and settling into our house. We have been living like gypsies out of suitcases for 9 weeks!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


September 13, 1010

Friday, after our Guarani class, we traveled to San Francisco for the weekend. Our main goal was to set up our house before moving in for good Wednesday of next week. For the year that we were on furlough we piled all our possessions into a back bedroom and locked the door. Saturday we had the daunting task of unpacking, uncluttering, and reorganizing our house. I was amazed at how dirty, dusty and grimy things were – even things that had been packed in Rubbermaid containers. Everything had to be scrubbed or dusted before being put in place. We didn’t set up the washer, so we have all our towels, sheets, and kids dress-up clothes and stuffed animals waiting to be washed when we return. Jeff thought we actually got more accomplished than what he expected. I was a little too optimistic and thought we could get the house 100% in order, but we still have a bunch of odds and ends to put away.

We had a tragedy on the way down to San Francisco. It was one of the hottest days as of yet and well, it got a bit too hot for Ginny’s two hamsters who were traveling with us in our Non-air-conditioned car. Ginny picked up Spot and said, “Mom, what’s wrong with her?” I looked back and was surprised to see a stiff hamster. I said, “Its dead, Ginny.” Poor Ginny replied, “No it isn’t. Her eyes are still open.” Micah said, “Hyper is frozen too!” So Saturday we took a break from unpacking and had a little burial service for our loyal hamsters. Jeff gave us time to say a few words and then he prayed. The kids took turns each throwing a pile of dirt into the grave. Ginny made a twig cross to set on top.

Sunday we had a wonderful time fellowshipping with the believers. It feels good to be singing in Guarani again and hearing what God is teaching the leaders. We all ate lunch together afterward. Everyone was thankful that we had come back.

Traveling back to Escobar (where we are finishing up language class), the tire of the trailer blew off. A Paraguayan walking on the road saw it happen and offered to help us by leading us to a mechanic. Since it was Sunday afternoon (siesta time), the first two mechanics were away at soccer games. Thankfully the third one was at home. And once again, to the Paraguayan, necessity is the mother of invention (see photo below).

Ginny was glad to see that her favorite chicken "Birdie" was still there and hadn't been eaten whike we were gone.

hamster funeral


little girls fascinated with Julia

break time - enjoying terere

Lunch time!

We reattached the trailer to our car and the mechanic chained the non-wheel side to this bumper and we went in tandum to his shop.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


September 5, 2010

I can't believe Julia is already a month old! She is doing great.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


After being in the capital 5 weeks, we have now moved to another town called Escobar for the next 4 weeks. Jeff and I have begun a Guarani (the language we speak here) refresher course. As you can imagine, we lost a lot of vocabulary while we were in the states (not too many people there to practice with).

Paraguay is a unique country in the fact that it has two national languages: Spanish and Guarani. Spanish is used by government officials and in schools, but Guarani is used in the home. It is the language mothers use to soothe their children, the language men use to tell jokes, and the language used to convey deep emotion. The farther out from Asuncion you go, the more Guarani is spoken.

When we moved to Paraguay 5 years ago, our plan was to learn Spanish during first term and then Guarani our second term. But after our first trip to the rural area (where we wanted to minister) we were easily convinced that we needed to learn Guarani in our first term in order to teach God’s word in the Paraguayans heart language. And so after studying Spanish for 9 months, we embarked on Guarani.
Learning a language is the most humbling experience I have ever had! Upon moving to Paraguay, I quickly learned that hearing the language and speaking it does not come easily for me. Seems a little unfair, that God would call me to be a missionary and not give me the gift of learning languages. So as a child, I stumble through grammar, get odd expressions from those I am communicating with and try to laugh at myself.

Language learning is (as our co-work says) like trying to drink from a gushing fire hydrant. Words and phrases come at full blast and we’re lucky to retain a small fraction of them. It is a slow process and for months and months we’re stuck talking about the weather and children and praying for the day we can move on to more important matters – like salvation.

Thankfully God has allowed us to learn with Andy, a fellow missionary and the same one we studied with 4 years ago. We go up to his house for 4 hours every week day. He has employed a Paraguayan 3 of those days to be our language helper. In each of his Guarani classes since the very first, Andy has had at least one student begin class with a brand new baby or a baby has been delivered during class (not literally). 4 years ago in our class, Micah was born (Andy’s wife and our language helper had babies too). I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised when I found out I was pregnant just after making arrangements for this refresher course….we are the only students after all. Julia was 2 weeks when we began class and has done great. She mostly just sleeps and I nurse her during the break. For lunch, we stay at Andy’s place and eat a wonderful lunch prepared by his wife.

We are staying in the next town over from Andy’s at a seminary (it has no students yet). It is a beautiful place with plenty of room for the kids to run around outside. We will continue to live out of suitcases and lugging around our clothes, toys, bedding, towels, food and baby gear until mid-September. We then plan to move out to San Francisco and get settled back into our church planting and medical ministry.

While Jeff and I are in class our two younger boys play with Andy and Lizet’s boys. The often took walks to Abuela’s house to buy milk. One day Micah and Tyler were arguing whether it was “umbrella’s house” or “gorilla’s house”. That reminds me – please be praying for our children as they too reacquaint themselves with Spanish and Guarani.

Our class: Jeff and I, Andy (our teacher) and Norma (our language helper)

This is what Julia does most of the time through class.

The best part of language class is the lunch afterward that's prepared by Lizet!

Where we are staying

The kids enjoy the horses

We've been playing a lot of games in the afternoon

Ginny helping cook empanadas for dinner