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. 


Liz Crittenden said...

So sad -- both for Ginny & the culture. Sorry we never got to meet Cuzco. Hugs from Oma & Opa.

Johnstone Family said...

I'm so sorry for Ginny! Please tell her that I remember how amazed I was watching him go through the obstacle at Thanksgiving last year. He will be missed but most importantly...he will always be remembered because she loved him and made him one of the family.

Abbie said...

Oh my goodness that is terrible. I love your attitude about it. One more example about our need for the Lord. I will pray for healing for Ginny's sweet heart.