Friday, August 30, 2013


In January when we started a second weekly Bible study, Marta and Marisa were among the 60-80 that attended each week. I found myself sitting by these two ladies often, getting to know them a bit.  They both were glued to Jeff as he presented the Bible story and lesson.  Marissa became bolder and bolder each week answering questions and repeating the memory verse out loud.    


At the finish of the 6 week study, the host, Eva asked if we could continue.  Since 80 is not a manageable group size for us, we asked Eva to invite only her relatives and close neighbors.  What a sweet surprise to attend that first night and see Marta and Marissa there.


A couple weeks later they came to our house together and said that they had asked Jesus to be their savior and wanted to be baptized.  The previous week we had given them a memory card (since they can’t read well) with stories and scriptures about baptism and (without Jeff or me ever mentioning baptism) the Holy Spirit convicted them. 


The Word of God is living and active.....


The following day we held a baptismal service at our house (in our plastic kiddie pool).  We invited friends to partake in worship, Bible study, and snacks as we celebrated these girls’ decision.


The following month, the interns were thrilled to help deliver Marta’s baby.  Her plan was to not to deliver seeing as how the clinic in town is not set up for that.  Most women travel to Caazapa or Yuty, both about an hour away.  However, on this particular day (and three weeks before her due date) Marta walked the mile from her house to ours alone and in labor.  In fact, she was fully dilated when she arrived! 


God had definitely put these two ladies on our hearts and in our path!


Not only does Marisa continue to attend the Wednesday Bible study at her neighbor’s home, she and her boyfriend attend the Sunday study at our house arriving 2 hours before study just to visit.  They are hungry for God’s word!  Last week Marisa and Ceasar said that through the various Bible stories and memory verses, they are convicted of their sin and want to marry. 


The Word of God is sharper than any double edged sword......


What we aren’t doing is giving 3 point sermons, engaging in deep philosophical discussions, pointing fingers or preaching hell, fire, and brimstone.


What we are doing is getting the Word of God in the hands of people – actually we’re getting it into their ears through MP3 players (since many are illiterate).  They listen all week and then at the studies we teach Bible stories straight from God’s Word. 


 The Word of God penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Monday, August 26, 2013


We were invited to a karu guasu (big feast).  Tradition says that one way the deceased earn their way out of purgatory is for family members to hold a feast inviting family and close friends.  The greater the financial sacrifice involved, the lesser the time in purgatory.  A religious leader in town attends, leading the people in specific prayers for the dead.  A karu guasu always takes place following the 9 days of prayer after a death and at the one year anniversary.  This family has given a feast annually for 25 years since the death of our friend’s grandfather.
Even though we have come to help free the Paraguayans from such bondage and misconceptions, we always feel honored to be invited to share in special family times.  It allows us glimpses into the culture, another connection between our friends and away to share Hope during a time when people are thinking about the afterlife. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013


These are a few of her favorite things:

Her pink shoes – she puts them on as soon as she is out of bed or out of the bath

Her green swing – she spends half her day swinging and singing

To sing and dance
To go for a car ride
Potatoes – for her birthday lunch we ate potato soup
Babba – our next door neighbor is a favorite friend of Julia’s (along with Sammy, Silas, and Judah Hough)
Snuggling – beware if you ever sleep with her, she sticks to you like glue through the night!

Walking to the neighbor’s house to get milk in the morning


The ipod (listening to Adventure in Odyssey and music)

Monday, August 19, 2013


Ryan loves hanging with his missionary friends, but living as we do (out in the middle of nowhere – hours from the nearest MK his age), he often longs for a more active social life.  So when the MKs (missionary kids) get together it’s more quality time over quantity of time.  One of the year’s highlights for Ryan (all my kids for that matter) is our mission’s 5 day spiritual life retreat where they can have hours and hours, days and days of pure fun with their closest friends.  This happens in July.

3 days after the retreat Ryan took off to attend Paraguayan youth camp, which he loved.  The camp is run by our mission and several of our team mates attend each year to head up games, worship, devotional thoughts, and just to be of general help.  

After the retreat Ryan didn’t come home.  Instead, he stayed at his friends’ house for a few days.  Our team mates had a household of boys: their own 3 boys, plus a visiting high school student from the states, Ryan and another MK boy.  It was at the end of that week that the boys decided they needed even more guy time and planned a hiking trip.

Ryan was home but a couple of days before we sent him to hike Paraguayan’s highest peak and camp a couple nights with his buddies and two of his missionary mentors.  By the time we finally got Ryan back under our roof, he was full of stories.

While our house was absent of Ryan I really really missed him.  Our missionary, homeschooling lifestyle puts our family together 24/7.  In case you missed that – our family is always together, so to have one gone seemed strange.  However, I am so thankful that we have awesome team mates who are willing to invest in my son.  One of the blessings we have living on the mission field with such a great team mates is that I don’t have to look far to find mighty men of God as mentors to pour into Ryan’s life. 

Paraguayan Youth Camp

2013 MK Adventure

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Julia celebrated her birthday with a Gruffalo theme (inspired by a super cute children’s book).  We ate scrambled snake, Gruffalo crumble, roasted fox, and owl ice cream (this all makes perfect sense if you’ve read the book).  I attempted a two-tiered cake staring the book’s characters.


This is the second year that Julia and Ben have celebrated their birthdays together.

Does every kid have one party where they act like this for the camera??????

The cake

the making of Owl Ice Cream

Ben's daddy reading the Gruffalo story to the kids

 The food

The party goers

 Daddy and the birthday girl
make a wish

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Around here, the early bird gets a medical consult.  Jeff has been swamped with patients this past week.  Jeff sees 15 patients each day – handing out numbers to those who arrive first.  Each day he has had to turn many people away and each day, it seems, people arrive earlier and earlier to receive a number.  Three times this week the person who received #15 arrived at 5:30.  That means that 14 patients arrived before 5:30AM!  It isn’t unheard of for someone to arrive at 4:30 and wait till Jeff opens the gates at 8.

JOSIAH at 4 months

What a fun stage Josiah is in! 

He has the biggest smile.

He laughs and talks back to us when we get in his face.

He growls like a tiger.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


We came back from our mission’s annual Spiritual Life Conference and found our goat missing.  This wasn’t just any goat; this was my daughter’s pet.  This is the animal over which she once exclaimed, “Cuzco is the best thing that has even happened to me!”  This goat, Cuzco, slept in hammocks with Ginny, sat on Ginny’s lap as she rocked in the rocking chair, wrested with Ginny, followed Ginny around, and was trained by Ginny to go through an obstacle course.  This goat was quite possibly the most loved goat of all times.

And to honest, that goat had wormed her way into many of our hearts.  She had personality.  On warm evenings, she slept on the grill.  On cooler evenings, she cuddled next to the dogs.  Cuzco never seemed to mind getting hugs from Julia, dressed up by the kids, getting wrapped in a blanket or giving “fist bumps”.  Her favorite game (according to Ginny) was Marco Polo.  She was a pretty cool goat. 

This goat never leaves our yard (with that kind of love and attention I don’t blame her).  So when we arrived home and she wasn’t around to greet us (by that I mean jump into the car to greet Ginny) we knew there was a big problem.

After a few days of talking with the neighbors, our landlord, the guy who feed the animals in our absence, knocking on houses and showing pictures of Cuzco, we had to face the fact that Cuzco wasn’t going to be found.  Everyone says the goat was stolen and eaten.  As you can imagine, we were all saddened; Ginny was heartbroken.  She wanted to print every picture we had of Cuzco so she could hang them up.  One morning I noticed a little glass bottle by her pillow.  She said that she cried so much for Cuzco that she decided to catch the tears in a bottle.  One afternoon she came to me and said, “Mom, can we talk together about all our Cuzco memories?”  


This situation brings out some interesting points about the culture we live in.  For one, it is rare to see an entire family at a Bible study.  Someone has to stay home as “care taker” because animals get stolen when no one is home.  This is a bit frustrating ministry-wise and I never really knew how valid of an excuse it was until people related stories after Cuzco’s disappearance.  Paraguayans don’t trust other Paraguayans (and they certainly don’t trust outsiders).  I had to stop asking people about Cuzco because I was getting “dirt” on everyone.  Everyone suspects everyone and has some story about how they were wronged by their neighbor or children.  Yes, even family!  One young adult said that when she and her brother were teens, multiple times they stole chickens from their own mother.  They’d take them into the woods, kill, defeather, roast them and have a little party.  Why?  “Just because,” was the answer.  That’s what happens here.  That’s what people do. 

This culture needs Jesus.  It shouldn’t be a surprise that stealing, lying, cheating (and other sins) is commonplace in a culture that doesn’t teach, know, or follow Jesus.  That’s why we’re here – to show Jesus to people - not only so it’ll change their lives, but also that it may change their entire family and one day (as the Holy Spirit moves) it will change the culture. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013


As mission team, we sat in a circle as each family shared their praise reports.  Jeff leaned over to me and said, “Do we want to mention our new addition?”  My heart stopped, “Are we pregnant?”  With a smile he said, “Do we want to mention the new additional room to our house?”

            So without sweaty palms and rapid breathing I can safely announce we have a new addition to our house – a boys’ room.  It could not have come at a better time.  When the temperature dropped to 32 degrees, all 9 of us sequestered ourselves in that one room playing games, watching movies, eating meals, reading and sleeping (we’ve now been in here about 5 days).  The new room, unlike the rest of the house actually has brick walls that reach the roof and is dramatically warmer than the other rooms.  In the other part of the house I can stand in the middle of a room and feel the wind blowing on me from the cracks in the plank walls.  Jeff said, “When people in the states talk about drafty house they mean that the doors creak.  In our house, a draft will slam your door shut!”

            Hot water bottles, heaters, long underwear, fuzzy blankets, hats and wool socks have been our best friends this past week.  Thankfully this is Paraguay and it won’t stay cold for long.