Tuesday, March 26, 2013


In November the kids began conspiring (it’s never good when that many kids conspire against just 2).  They wanted to go to the beach again this year.  They were even willing for the trip (to Brazil) to replace Christmas gifts.  Oh, how I have longed for my kids to see that spending time together as a family is more valuable than things.  Truth be told, they didn’t have to twist our arms very hard; Jeff and I were just as ready for a vacation as they were. 

Last year we were able to vacation with Jeff’s parents in Florianopolis, Brazil on the beach.  It was such a wonderful relaxing time that, frankly, we had to pry ourselves from the island once the week was over.  We decided to go back again to the same spot.  Unfortunately Jeff’s parents were not able to make it this year.

God blessed us with an incredible place to rent.  It was bigger and nicer than our current house (although I am not sure that’s saying much since a step down would be camping).  Three bedrooms, three baths, a spacious living room and kitchen area and a pool.  Mornings we slept in, then swam till lunch in the pool, ate lunch and headed for the beach.  We’d get back for dinner and chilling till late with games or movies.  We had so much fun and again had to pry ourselves from the island when the week was over.


Another highlight was getting to do this:

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Ginny and Tyler were especially excited to drive the go carts – their first time behind the wheel.  However when we got to the course, Tyler’s legs weren’t long enough to reach the peddles.  In South America where rules and regulations are mere suggestions and North American safety standards don’t apply, we were able to make it work with a little Southern ingenuity.  Jeff found a block of wood and fastened it with rope to the bottom of Tyler’s shoe to make him longer.  We found three extra go cart seats and added them as booster seats in Tyler’s cart and stuffed a tire in between so he’d be closer to the wheel.  The two guys in charge just sat back and laughed at us. 

            Off everyone went round and round the track with huge smiles on their faces.  Each go cart had its own personality.  Ryan’s, for example, had no brakes.  Jeff’s cart either went at full speed or not at all.  Several times as Tyler came around the track and saw us cheering, he’d start veering our way and we had to jump out of his way.  Ginny’s helmet had a mind of its own and kept slipping over her eyes.  It was a very fun and funny experience.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Day #3 of vacation


After our rocky start to our vacation (see post), we were all so tired and slept hard in the little chalet inside the water park.  Jeff and I did wake up several times in the wee hours of the morning due to a loud rooster and we wondered why on earth anyone would keep animals at a water park (we later found two horses helping themselves to the diapers in the trash can outside our room and we had to dodge cow pies on the walk ways).  We really had no idea what we were getting into since it had been completely dark and raining the evening before and we saw nothing of the park.       

When all of us were awake, we opened our front door and bracing for the worse.....we instead saw a beautiful sight.  The sun was up and shining brightly over countless pools of varying shapes and sizes full of clear blue water.  Each pool had a different “degree of difficulty” slide that emptied into it.  The park was huge – built to accommodate hundreds of swimmers at the same time and we had to place all to ourselves.       

Now don’t be thinking of a North American water park.  All these slides were concrete, albeit made smoother by coats and coats of paint, but still a little rough on the rump.  There seemed to be no architectural forethought when designing the various slides judging by the angles and lengths and the way they spit you out at the end.  Steps leading up to the slides were made of broken bricks where earth and weeds now grew up in between.  The walkways around the pools had holes and cracks a small child could fall through.  No hand rails, no depth postings, no life guard stands in sight.  So don’t be thinking Schlitterbaum or Wet and Wild, after all, we are still in a developing part of the world.  But the water park was perfect for our kids who do not know yet that those other places exist.  It was perfect for us.


Friday, March 15, 2013


Monday our family passed out a dozen audio Bibles in a (new to us) barrio.  Pray for these families that will be able to hear the gospel for the first time perhaps.  And as Ginny prayed that night, pray that those families will come to our house to ask questions about how they can be saved.

I love that we can minister as a family.

Jeff demonstrating how the audio Bible works.

We drank some heavy “medicated” terere.


And was given cheese made from buffalo milk.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Please join us in prayer for the following ministries during the month of March:


1.        Higinio, Pedro and Alcides, three leaders from the  Forest Door Bible Church in San Francisco (Paraguay) will be travelling next Thursday through Saturday to another state called Itapua.  They have been invited by the chief of an indigenous group called the Mbya Guarani to come and teach a small group of men what they have been learning in Timothy Training- how to preach and teach God’s Word to oral learners through memorized Bible stories and verses and group discussion.  This will be their first ever cross-cultural, missionary endeavor.  They will be working together with an IMB missionary and a Mbya evangelist who are hopeful that this would open doors for the first church to eventually be planted among the Mbya Guarani in this area.  They will be teaching six stories from Adam and Eve to the Philippian Jailor.  Pray that the Mbya hear and understand God’s plan of salvation through these studies.

We had the men and their families over for dinner and a time of praying over the men before they go out.

2.       SIM and the  Forest Door Bible Church are now forming a partnership to make San Francisco the home base for future Timothy training workshops for men and women.  We are working out the details of our Memorandum of Agreement before construction begins on any structures.  Pray that we would all be good stewards and sharers of God’s resources over the next few years.  Pray that we communicate well all of our expectations so that we minimize any painful miscommunications and misunderstandings in the future.  Pray against spiritual attacks from the evil one who would seek to come between us as partners in the gospel and impede the growth of God’s Kingdom.  Pray that they would contribute generously of time and energy even when finances are scarce.  Pray for wisdom as they decide what type of structure would best meet the needs of future Timothy trainings.
Men at the Timothy Training in Januaray

the new church sign

For more information about the Timothy Training Project and its needs click on the following link:  http://simusa.org/projects/project/18


3.        Please pray for a very exciting Bible study meeting every Saturday night in our community of Jataity.  80 people showed up the first week!  In our years of experience, that kind of interest in hearing God’s Word is unheard of in this area!  Pray for an unprecedented harvest!  We are using the same evangelistic stories we teach in the Timothy Training workshops.  Pray that each man, woman, youth and child would learn each story and be convicted by the Holy Spirit of sin, righteousness and judgment and know what it means to have the assurance of salvation by faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  Pray for deep changes at their worldview level as these stories replace long held religious beliefs and nominal Christianity.


4.        Pray for the Bible study that meets at our home every Sunday night.  Pray for the adults and youth who come to be more faithful in attending as we dig deeper into God’s plan of salvation.  We have been studying with some of these people for 15 months and we have seen much fruit in their lives.  Pray specifically for Rene and Lida’s perseverance in the face of ridicule from family and friends for their decision to follow Christ.


5.       Pray for Amy’s continued health and for baby #7 as the due date is fast approaching- April  11 !

6. Monday our family passed out a dozen audio Bibles in a (new to us) barrio.  Pray for these families that will be able to hear the gospel for the first time perhaps.  And as Ginny prayed that night, pray that those families will come to our house to ask questions about how they can be saved.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


February 18, 2013


We knew it was going to be a long day in the car – 12 hours – so we began our journey at 7AM.  The border crossing between Paraguay and Brazil went quickly, praise God.  For a family of 8 that is no easy feat.  We carry a suitcase full of all our documents: birth certificates, marriage certificate, Paraguayan identification cards, US passports plus Paraguayan passports for some of the kids, car registration and license, plus our last fast food receipt.  

Once in Brazil we were flying down the highway....or so it seemed to us.  The smooth roads with brightly painted lines allowed us to travel at speeds we never could attempt in Paraguay for fear of hitting a cow or running over an ox cart.  Adventures in Odyssey, books, games, and lunch in the car allowed us to pass the time without hearing too many, “Are we there yet?”

At 7PM the end was in sight if we only stayed on the loop around Curitiba.  Instead, we found ourselves thrust in the middle of downtown.  Partly due to poor road planning and partly due to our complete ignorance of the town, we drove and drove and drove in circles going every which direction but the one we so desperately needed.  We went wrong way do one way avenues ran red lights (because our eyes were on street names) and drove through a pretty shady neighborhood as the sky was getting darker and darker.   An hour and a half later we finally were back on the loop heading out of town.

At 9:00 we exited the highway and drove 2 kilometers down a narrow road overgrown with trees and vines, not a life form or light in site.  This time we were following signs to a location we found on the internet: a water park with chalets to rent.  Now I have travelled in a developing country long enough to not get hopes set too high when we start off on adventures such as these.  In the car we tried to prepare our kids for a possible let down – the waterpark may not be open, there could be no water in the pool, a waterpark in South America may consist of just one tiny slide into a 3 foot pool.  And when the advertisement said “chalets” available, even though my mind envisioned scenes of Switzerland, I tried to be prepared for anything. 

We reached the front gate; it was closed and frankly looked like no one had entered in a year, but then again it was completely dark.  Jeff clapped and clapped, honked our horn and yelled and still no one came to let us in.  There was no plan B.  Well, I guess technically plan B was to sleep in our car – a very real possibility and one that we had to resort to last year.  No one was in favor of that, so Jeff clapped, honked and yelled some more.  After 30 minutes the care take opened the gates.  The park closed at 6, but he let us in anyway and showed us to a chalet. 

Remember the thing about not getting hopes up, because you really don’t know what to expect in a foreign country?  Well, let’s just say that even though my expectations were low, I was in shock as I looked at the prospect for the evening.  The opening of the door sent 5 big, black tarantula-like spiders scurrying to all corners of the room.  The thin sheetless mattresses were set upon rotting plywood and precariously balanced on the metal bunk bed frame.  Ants covered the walls encircling their prey.  Dirt and grime screamed out from every surface. 

Regardless of dirt, first thing is first when you are 8 months pregnant – the bathroom.  Nothing could have prepared us for this bathroom.  The smell was horrible.  The sewage which abounded in and around the toilet had obviously been stagnant a while.  I immediately had to rush outside to wretch in the bushes.  The kids, catching a whiff of the smell that was now hovering over the entire chalet, began making gagging sounds as well. 

If we were willing to sleep among dirt and ants and spiders, we drew the line at sewage.  Jeff immediately set off on foot in the pitch darkness (why does this place have no lights?) to find the man who had checked us in.  Did I mention that it is pouring down rain?  Jeff has no umbrella and the kids and I have no shelter.  We were standing outside getting absolutely drenched because it was better than being inside with “the smell”.  It took a while for Jeff to find the man and for him to declare our place unlivable. 

We loaded all our bags back into the car (which got drenched in the processes) and drove to the next chalet.  Praise God, this one was better (not good, just better), but we were all willing to stay the night knowing what the alternative was.  We stood in the little room wet, shivering, hungry and very tired.  It was the beginning of a wonderful vacation....after all, it could only get better.


Working hard or hardly working?
 Playing Go Fish with Julia.  I love how they include her in so many things.

My kids dressed up Julia and our neighbor girl (Julia's little friend who she calls Bubba).

Take a look at this bug we found on our front door!