Thursday, May 31, 2012


On our recent camping trip

Tony and Jean (on the far left) with their kids Daniel, Luke and David are the pioneering missionaries here in San Francisco.  They lived here 10 years before recently moving an hour away to start a new church plant.   

Dan and Sarah (in the middle) with their kids Eli, Toby, Sammy, Silas and Judah just moved to San Francisco.  Dan and Sarah will be helping with the youth.  

Monday, May 28, 2012


May 20-22, 2012
We camped last year at the same time – partly for Joshua’s birthday request, partly because it is one of the last times before winter sets in and partly because we know our June and July will be busy with the TIME interns.  This year, two sets of teammates were able to join us. 
 Cooking cabure, sausages and hot dogs for dinner

 Julia loves her buddy, Judah

 Dads and big boys preparing to play air-soft - a new favorite pasttime
 Julia pondering life....
Fun, food, fire and friends
Enjoying the view
Water fun

Rock slide

Thursday, May 24, 2012


The Hough and Floyd Families came over for lunch and helped us celebrate Joshua’s 9th birthday.  At his request we ate my homemade Napolitana empanadas and mandioca bake and for dessert, an alligator cake. 

            I love that you cannot put Joshua in a box.  He is a unique middle child who I just can’t figure out at times.  And just when I think I have, he surprises me.  Joshua was a great baby.  He slept hard, ate well, and cried little.  But as soon as he could walk, he was trouble with a capital T.  He ran away in public, he opened everything, pulled down everything, broke everything, ate everything, and climbed on everything.  With two other preschoolers and a newborn, Joshua was at times way too much for me to handle.  I look back at those years and tremble.  I cried and cried out to God for help, I wrote and wrote in a journal, and I stocked up on bandaids (our Canadian teammates said that Joshua looked like a hockey player always with a fresh black eye, a cut on his face or a busted lip).
            When Joshua was 5 and 6 years old (and should have been way out of that hair-cutting, temper throwing stage, selfish, reckless, leaving a trail of destruction everywhere he went stage), no amount of discipline or reasoning seemed to get through to him.  He’d stick his tongue out at us and do the offense again.  I had never met a child so stubborn and hard-hearted.
            HOWEVER, watching Joshua blow out 9 candles today on top on his alligator cake, I am again reminded of the wonderful boy he has become.  He is a delight to teach; soaking up all I throw at him (he is obsessed with the Presidents and knows that all in order, first and last name, part affiliation and major accomplishments).  He is so helpful.  He asks constantly if there is anything he can do to help, or more often than not, he sees a need and just does it (mom, I noticed the trash was full so I took it out a day early).  His tender heart shines through when caring for Julia.  To say he adores Julia is a HUGE understatement.  He is inquisitive and curious about life, God, and how things work.  He is a hands-on kid – he loves playing in sand, doing experiments, reconstructing magic tricks, working on his loom knitting (he has finished 7 scarves) and making bubble gum (he was delighted to get a refill kit for his birthday). 
            This year he wanted two other missionary families to come to help celebrate his birthday (a change from last year when he wanted just our family).  He played for several hours and now, while kids still are running around, he has reached his “people quota”.  He is tucked away on his bottom bunk with sheets for walls that make up his cave.  Ginny (his best friend, who also has a “people quota”) is next to him.  They are listening to Adventures in Odyssey.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


          We were in Asuncion 9 days longer than expected waiting for a car part that was being sent to the dealership from the US.  The order was placed on Thursday and we were told it would come in the following Thursday.  They’d fix the car Friday and we could leave Saturday.  We waited a week.  Jeff called Friday afternoon to see when he could pick up the car.  But the part didn’t arrive.  And on top of that, when Jeff talked to the boss, he said that his staff knows that the parts from the US take 2 weeks (not just one).  Jeff (strongly) explained that we cannot afford to be in the city a week just waiting – it is costly for us and we waste ministry time.  The boss replied, “So you want our yes to be yes and our no to be no?”  YES! 
This is an out-of-the-box concept for Paraguayans who operate on a “manana” mentality.  Keeping relationships in right standing is so important and their idea of keeping a relationship in right standing is by telling you what (they think) you want to hear.  We run into this all the time in the big city and in our small rural town, with people we call friends and with strangers. This has been a difficult idea for us to embrace since we come from the land of time keeping, schedule making, production oriented and “the customer is always right”.  Aren’t different cultures interesting?
Even though the car wasn’t ready, we were (more than) ready to head home.  The mechanic put the car back together and we drove home.  It is drivable just not 100% reliable.  We are praying that it will make it 3 weeks until we have to head back into the city to pick up the TIME interns. We will have the new parts put on then.    

SOMETHING TO PONDER....The morning we were packing up to leave, our team mates (who had just had a baby) were also packing up to leave.  Jeff looked at their baby (4 days old) and urged them to get a bilirubin level done on the way out of town because she looked very jaundice (yellow).  As they were driving through our town 10 hours later, they received the lab results which showed her levels to be dangerously high.  Jeff urged them to get back to Asuncion ASAP and consult with a pediatrician.  Early that next morning Anna received intense phototherapy.  Praise God, her levels dropped significantly.  Baby Anna will be in the hospital and will continue to receive treatment until her levels are within normal.  

As we were settling into bed last night Jeff asked, “Do you think God had us in Asuncion a week without reason just so I could diagnose Anna’s jaundice?” 

Only God knows.....

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


May 2 – Traveling mercies.  We drive to Asuncion to say good-bye to team mates who have served in Paraguay 20 years.

May 13 – Kids’ club!  Bad weather (we meet outside) and our traveling (we haven’t figured out a way for it to happen without us), kids’ club unfortunately has been rather hit or miss.  Pray that the ladies who lead it will be refreshed and recharged with a vision for leading the children.

May 16 – Joshua’s 9th birthday! We plan on going camping 2 nights with a couple of our team mates sometime in May to celebrate.

May 20 – Youth group.  One of the church’s deacons has been proactive in beginning regular youth meetings (with the encouragement of our new in-town team mates).  I just cannot help but think that Christian teens meeting together (and inviting non- believers) is a major key to winning San Francisco to the Lord.    

May 26 – Audio Bible Distribution.  We are thrilled that 1,000 Bibles in MP3 format will be distributed in our town and a few surrounding communities.  This is a project our co-corker (there’s a link on the right hand side) has been working on.  It will take a lot of planning, preparation and man power hand all these out in one day. 

May 29 – Traveling mercies again.  We will be traveling back to Asuncion to pick up the TIME interns.

Pray for the 6 students as their finances continue to come in and as they prepare for spending 5 weeks in Paraguay with us.

Intern Housing.  This month we will be securing housing for the 6 interns that will be arriving in June. 

Bible studies.  Pray for the 2 new bible studies that the believers have started up ON THEIR OWN (no missionary input!).  We praise God that the believers are seeing needs and sharing the gospel! 

Elder/Deacons meetings.  Jeff continues to meet regularly with the elders and deacons to create a church constitution.  This has been a huge task and the end is finally in sight (they may be finished by the end of this month). 

Jataity.  Bad weather has no permitted to do a mobile clinic in Jataity a while.  We pray that we will get out there this month a couple time not only to do medical work but also to visit. 

Teammates.  Two sets of team mates had babies this month.  Both little girls started out rocky, but are recovering.  Pray that they recover to full health and for their mommy’s who are recovering as well.  Pray also for a team mate who will be flying back home for an indefinitely amount of time to care for her ailing parents.  It is always sad to see team mates leave.  She has served here 10 years.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Friday, May 11, 1012

We came to Asuncion last Tuesday to say good-bye to team mates (day 1), take the kids to dental appointments, cross off items on our to-do list, and get our car worked on (day 2) and drive home (day 3). However, the car wasn’t ready on day 3 or on day 4 or on day 5.....

We’ve been“stuck” in Asuncion just waiting...

My first thought when I heard we were unexpectedly staying longer was Great, another week of ministry and homeschooling shot. However, as I was sitting on our SIM guest House’s porch sipping terere with teammates, God gently whispered to me, Don’t underestimate time spent among teammates.

Being a people person, folks from the US often ask if I get lonely living in rural Paraguay. My answer always surprises even me, “Not really”. Here’s the secret: I have awesome SIM teammates. Even though we don’t live close, our times together can be described as quality over quantity. After being together (even if it is just an afternoon), I feel encouraged and refreshed, I gain wisdom and tips on parenting, homeschooling, ministry and I feel like a better mom and wife. I figure God has a few “waiting at the guest house” days built into my schedule to help me reach my (English) words quota and to get recharge before going out again “into the trenches”.

And then there is the added blessing of seeing my children getting filled.  They LOVE playing with the missionary kids.  They are their best friends.  They understand each other when no one else will.  These kids will one day be sipping terere together in the U.S. while studying for college finals.  These kids are friends for life. 

Unfortunately Jeff has had to do some of this while we have been waiting...stitching up one of Ryan's MK friend's ankle.
 How many people does it take to watch Jeff remove an ingrown toe nail on our team mate?
And I got to hold a couple of newborn babies – 2 of my team mates had baby girls with a couple weeks of each other and were at the guest house recovering.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


My kids got to go ice skating in Asuncion (of all places) when a traveling ice rink came to town.  They had great fun!

Saturday, May 5, 2012


May 2, 2012

 Almost 20 years ago Paul and Becky, with their 3 small children arrived in Paraguay. 

Today, May 2st, after months of packing and selling and planning and saying good-byes, they boarded a plane for the states in order to begin a new chapter of their lives.

Wanna hear something really cool?  God provided a way for not only their 3 children, but their children’s’ spouses and girlfriend and their grandbaby to be here this last week. 

Our SIM family met in Asuncion for a last dinner, worship time, fellowship and skits, a time of remembering, blessing, and praying over the Dreilings.  They are a very special family and we feel honored that we have been able to serve side-by-side with them.  They will be missed.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

ODDS and ENDS of the WEEK

4-21-12: Kids' club didn't go quite as we'd planned yesterday afternoon. We waited 45 minutes for the church property key, the teachers didn't show up, and our DVD player wouldn't work. The kids had fun playing an extra-long game of baseball. Last night we had 40-50 people over to watch Courageous projected on a wall under the beautiful night sky. There were tears, laughter and a lot of popcorn!

The rain has been a nice reminder to slow down.  Things shut down when it rains – no patients, no school (well, we do still homeschool) and stores are closed.  The roads turn into a muddy mush that makes visiting impossibility.  It’s nice to have an excuse to stay inside.  Over the past few rainy days we worked on puzzles, finished books, watched family movies, played endless games and got catch up on homeschooling.

Two days this week (when it wasn’t raining) we gave 3 PE classes physicals (about 70 jr high and high schoolers).  Ryan weighted them, I did blood pressure and pulse and then Jeff examined them.  There will be more students to come next week.