Friday, December 31, 2010


Took place December 12, 2010
I feel horrible that I haven’t yet written about our incredible Sunday service, especially since I know that many were praying for this day. To be honest, I am having a hard time putting my emotions into words.

At 8:30 about 80 people gathered in a circle under the shade trees. We had all the “regulars” plus several new faces. We also had missionary colleagues from Asuncion and Yuty (5 believers came with him) join us for the big day. We started the service with songs intermixed with the leaders reading scriptures, giving applications and allowing time for others to make comments. I love that each person has an opportunity to be involved in the service. When we first got to know these people, they were scared to even speak up in a small group bible study...and now they are reading the Bible for themselves, internalizing God’s word, and sharing their observations with a large group!


Then we heard the testimonies of the four getting baptized. The first was Hermelinda. She said that she had been a Christian for 7 years, but it wasn’t until a couple years ago when she felt bad for so long after a surgery that she began reading and understanding God’s word more. Her husband, Tetito also gave his testimony. He got real emotional and began to tear up. He thanked his wife for her constant prayers, even when he was unwilling to attend church or Bible study and for her example that lead him to make a decision for Christ and follow His example in baptism.

David’s parents did not permit him to attend the “evangelicals’ church”. They didn’t want him to become a goodie-two-shoes. Instead, they encouraged him to drink and have a girl friend (and all that entails around here) and live like other teenagers. But David enjoyed his time at the youth meetings and gave his life to the Lord. Once he turned 18, his parents said that he could go and do whatever he chose....and he chose church. And, praise God, they recently gave their permission for him to be baptized.

The fourth person baptized was a surprise. We had seen this man only twice before – last week at church and at one Bible study. When he walked in this week, he saw the pool (our baptistry) filling up with water and asked what it was all about. Our missionary colleague explained about baptism and the man replied, “I need to be obedient and do that!” Man, I just love the way God works...4 completely different situations and testimonies.


Next it was time for terere - a time to build friendships while drinking refreshing tea. It is amazing how much terere is a part of this culture.


After terere, we began the elder installation part of the service. Upon coming back from furlough, we were convinced that the church was ready for elders. It is a big step for the missionaries to turn over the life of the church to capable Godly men. It has taken a lot of time (our team mates came to San Francisco 10 years ago) and prayers. It has taken a lot of pouring out of ourselves and reliance upon God (never a bad combo). Over the last couple of years, two wonderful men have naturally stood out as leaders. These two men, Pedro and Higinio, were nominated by the church to be our first elders.
Can I just say (humbly) that I am so very proud of my husband? He has spent months helping these men to understand the responsibility of their new role as elder and he has helped the church members understand and accept the need for this new position of leadership. He put together a wonderful ceremony to honor these men. As he told the story of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet, he began to wash the feet of Pedro and Higinio. After that, Jeff read vows (like wedding vows) and the 2 men repeated the promises that they were making to the church. Next, the church repeated promises to the men. Next, we laid hands on the men and their wives and prayed over them.

The elders and their wives.

lay hands on the elders and praying for them.


A lunch of stew, cooked over an open fire all morning, followed. When everyone was stuffed and the dishes were done, we gathered once more in a circle to partake of communion.

Lunch preparations

The forecast had called for 100% rain the entire day and we got a bit nervous that the service would be canceled or that we’d have to finish early. But, praise God, the storm clouds were held back and 30 minutes after church ended a torrential storm hit.

It was an incredible day! God is moving, he is doing some really wonderful here in San Francisco! Will you keep praying for this field that is ready for harvest?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Christmas Eve in Paraguay means FIREWORKS and around our house FIREWORKS means that Jeff is in his element. He gets a twinkle in his eye and then fruit and plastic toy soldiers and Lincoln logs start making their way from the house to the launching platform. The kids LOVE it and squeal in delight each time a firecracker is set off. This year Jeff did not disappoint.

Jeff, the Pied Piper of firecrackers...we had a couple extra kids playing at our house.

I wanted to cook something special for Christmas Eve. First, I thought about duck. Right now we only have one who is big enough to eat, but in the end she was spared because a week before Christmas she began laying eggs for the first time (I hate to kill a good layer). Then a few days ago I saw the “fish man” and he promised to bring us surubi on the 24th. But as of 5:00 Christmas Eve he hadn’t arrived, so I had to think of something fast. So chicken and dumplings and cabbage salad it was.

After dinner we read the Christmas Story from Luke then the kids opened stockings. Next we played a new family game and then headed outside for more fireworks - this time we set off the really big colorful ones (This year we did them away from the house since last Christmas here we caught our thatched porch on fire...remember the story?). At 10:00 we watched a new movie – Toy Story 3 – as part of our family tradition, so at midnight, we can welcome Christmas day and listen to the rest of the Paraguayans set off their fire crackers.

ON A SIDE NOTE: We put up the Christmas tree Dec 1. The lights didn't work and we can't buy any here. 2 weeks later we drove 5 hours to the capital & I bought lights. Got home, opened them & realized they were NET lights. I was determined to make it work & refused to just throw it over the branches & ornaments (as hubby suggested). After the tree fell, the star topper dropped on Ginny's head, & I broke an ornament, I finally gave up & threw them on.

It was fun putting up our Christmas tree and looking at all the ornaments we had collected from our West Coast and East Coast trips while on furlough. We sure went a TON of places.

Julia's first Christmas! here she is with her sweet (and apparently good tasting)stocking from Oma and Opa. Made in bosnia.

Christmas day the kids woke up and we immediately opened under-the-tree-gifts. They kids were delighted. Ryan became a woodcarver with a complete carving set and several pieces of wood, Ginny became a chef with a kid’s cookbook and her very own cooking utensils, Joshua became a scientist with an experiment kit and a bubble gum making kit, and the little boys became Jedi’s with light sabors and robes.

I cannot say enough how blessed we are to have such an awesome SIM family. It makes living in the boon-docks a bit easier and it makes birthdays and holiday times memorable. At noon we traveled to our team mates house (1 ½ hours away) for a yummy Christmas dinner and a short, but sweet visit.

Boy's table

Girl's table

On our way home, we stopped to buy a watermelon because no Christmas in Paraguay is complete without many many slices of fresh juicy watermelon.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Monday, December 20, 2010

Today Ryan had a co-birthday party with one of his best friends, Camden. Camden turned 12 December 9th and Ryan will be 11 December 31. His family came from 1 ½ hours away in one direction and another missionary family came from 1 ½ hours away from another direction. They met up at our house and we partied to a Star Wars theme.

Ryan and Camden and the great Millennium Falcon cake Reene made

Thursday, December 23, 2010


December 5, 2010 (this post is way late....sorry)

Look at all the things that I can do now that I'm 4 months old:

I can go on picnics.

I can read books.

I can play the game boy with Joshua.

I can help Ginny with her harp lesson.

I can do my exercises.

Best of all though, I can just lay around and be cute!


During the 1 ½ hours at bible study, you were passed to 9 different people....and you made not one peep! When you finally made your way back to my lap Micah said, “Welcome back Julia. I missed you.”

Micah still loves to get right in your face and talk to you. You are the first thing he does in the morning....he greets you and lies next to you in the crib. If you begin to cry, he offers you his thumb which you like to suck on.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Wednesday, December 14, 2010

After a busy day of church till 2:00 (which I still am processing and need to get something posted), we piled in the car and headed to Villarrica (1 ½ hours away) to celebrate 2 birthdays. One of Ginny’s best little missionary friends turned 8 that day and Ginny was turning 9 the following day (Monday). The girls wanted to celebrate together with a penguin theme. It actually got pretty cool at night (a nice break from the upper 90 degree weather we were having) which added a nice touch to the arctic animal theme. The decorations (thanks, Rene) and cake/cookie turned out quite cute. It was a bit stressful trying to keep the igloo shaped cake and penguin shaped cookies stable while we traveled for an hour over really rough, dirt roads. I’m thankful that it all arrived (mostly) in one piece.

The girls enjoyed the cookout that night, the cake, treat bags and tons of candy, and crepes the following morning. The highlight for the kids was just being able to be together. We stayed the night which gave them even more time together (oh how we love our mission family). Monday morning as we were getting ready to leave, we received the call that our car (that was shipped from the US) was ready to be picked up in Asuncion. Jeff and I drove back to San Francisco, packed more clothes, secured our house better, got the trailer and headed back to Villarrica – a 4 hour round trip. We stayed Tuesday night in Villarrica (so thankful for team mates who allow for spur-of-the-moment-guests) and today (Wednesday) we headed to Asuncion. Shortly after arriving Jeff drove to the port and came back in our big black car! We all had fun seeing all the things we had packed inside.

This is what the roads looked like as we drove to the party 1 1/2 hours away. I felt a little ridiculous praying so hard for a cake to stay together. I kept thinking...well, God cares about the sparrows, surely he cares about my penguins.

Celebrating with friends

The birthday girls

The igloo cake and penguin cookies I made

Girls! Karis, Ginny and Cora

Monday, December 20, 2010


Click on the picture below to read our Christmas newsletter. God is sure doing a lot in our little neck of the woods!

PS. We've already received an answered prayer....our car has been released! It should be another month before the needed paperwork is done, making it legal to drive. As for now, it sits at our mission's guest house in Asuncion. Thanks for the prayers!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


December 1, 2010

Christmas time in Paraguay is....HOT! Nobody is wearing coats or gloves or scarves; we wear tank tops and flip-flops. There are no turkeys or cranberry sauce for sale; instead you see tons of watermelon. In our town, you’d be pretty hard pressed to find evidence of Christmas as we are use to in North lights, few (small) trees, no ads galore displaying children’s toys, no Christmas music. It is different and it took a couple years to get use to.

The same weekend we put up our tree, we put up the pool.

We had some fact; I think there are more non-McKissick kids in this photo.

It’s hard to want to cook bunches of Christmas cookies when my indoor thermometer read 97 degrees in the kitchen (BEFORE turning the oven on!). But we did them anyways. (please ignore Micah's incredibly dirty face....he washed his hands though).

Ginny and some friends making Christmas ornaments out of wire and beads. They turned out cute.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Pedro, one of our church’s elders, remembers the day his home town (not too far from San Francisco) saw their first airplane. The year was 1967 and the skies were clear. A big “thing” flew across the sky and the people were terrified. People began running into the nearest shelter, hiding under tables and beds. They seriously though that the world was coming to an end since this “thing” looked like a white cross with smoke coming out of one end. One man in the community had actually seen a picture of a plane before and reassured everyone that it was OK to leave their houses.

The first radio bought in his town cost 3 cows.

Pedro remembers the novelty of the first flashlight he ever saw. A friend of his went to Buenos Aires to work and brought one back. Everyone lined up to see this new kind of light. One day while the man was at his field working, his wife got the flashlight down and began playing with it. She accidentally turned it on and then couldn’t figure out how to turn it off. She was so worried that her husband would be mad at her for touching his prized possession that she just had to find a way to turn it off. So she grabbed a chicken (for payment) and went to a local handy-man and asked for help. He looked at the end where the light was shining and he began blowing on it. That didn’t work. Next, he began shaking it violently, but that didn’t work either. Finally he decided that the only way to turn the thing off was to submerge it in water, which he did until it turned off....forever.

Pedro remembers his first pair of shoes. He was 18 years old.


Pedro with his grandson

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Aren't these children precious!

Jesus said, "Let the little chidren come unto me....." Matt 19:14