Friday, January 29, 2010

My New Dresser

Christie & I headed out yesterday morning in search of a dresser for my room. Since we don’t have a vehicle right now, we had to make sure we found a place that would deliver. So we walked to the closest furniture store. The guy there was pretty young. Christie, who’s excellent at speaking Spanish, couldn’t understand a lot of what he was saying. She said he was speaking a lot of Guarani, the other language spoken here in Paraguay. The furniture was just all stacked in this little room. You couldn’t really tell what you were looking at. We asked about one of the dressers on top. The guy starts climbing over all the furniture, all the way up toward the ceiling, to see how much the dresser is. We ended up getting the one that was already sitting on the floor. The little guy climbed back down all the furniture. We asked (every time I say that, I mean Christie asked) if they would deliver it. He said his uncle would but we would have to go talk to him. He told us he was at a hardware store just down the road and that his name was Damien.

So we walk….and walk….and walk. We ask a few people on the way and they all act like they know where this Damien guy is. So we just walk in the direction they tell us to. We found a hardware store but no one named Damien. We asked a lady across the street from the hardware store. She points us in another direction. We asked the men at the vegetable market and they said, “Yes, Damien. He’ll be back here in a few minutes.” The vegetable market is not a hardware store. The nephew must have been a little confused. The men pull up chairs for us to sit in. So here we are sitting, literally right on the street corner, in front of a ton of onions. We sat there for over an hour, while motorcycles and buses zoomed past us, and a man stood behind us pealing carrots.

One of the men offered to bring us some terere. Christie, being great, as usual, just smiled and said, “Oh gracias!” Then she tells me, “You probably want to pass on this one. It looks like water from the tap. Oh! And he just pulled grass out of the tree and stuck in it!” She sat there drinking her terere, probably looking bad because she wasn’t serving any to me. Occasionally, she would just pretend to pour the water in and drink it.

I know a few people who would do great here because time means nothing. If they say they’ll be right back, it could be hours. If church starts at 6, it could be 7 or later when it actually starts. After sitting there for what seemed like all day, Damien showed up. Right before we left, I looked over at the water pitcher for the terere and a big spider was climbing out of it. I guess it lived in the grass that the man pulled off the tree. I’m very glad I passed on that! We climbed in the huge delivery truck with him and rode back to the furniture store.

During the conversation with the nephew, hours earlier, there was some confusion on the price. When we got back, he had put a sticker on it with a price and had also carved it into the top of the dresser. Nice! Now, across the top of the dresser is “220000,” which is $44. There were also no knobs on it yet. Christie told him, in both Spanish and Guarani, that I wanted the white knobs, as he continued to put the pinkish-maroon ones on. Oh well! Finally, we climbed back into the truck and Damien drove us home, along with my new dresser.

It’s nothing spectacular but I’m very thankful for it! Somehow I was able to fit all my clothes in it, except for my PJs.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Young Ladies Study Group

Sunday afternoon we had a ladies study group here at the house. We had 8 young ladies here. We are reading and studying the book Lies Young Women Believe. Christie decorating the room so pretty, with pink candles and pink rose petals, very feminine and beautiful. We served punch and brownies.

Paola, a little girl who lives across the street, came by as we were getting things ready. She asked Christie what we were doing, if we were having some sort of birthday party. Christie explained to her that it was a study group for young ladies and that there would be a lot of ladies and teenagers there. Paola said, "I'm going to go take a bath." Then she ran home. Awhile later she returned, with wet hair, clean clothes, and glitter all over her face. It was the sweetest thing! She went home and got all cleaned up so she could be part of the young ladies group. She sat right beside Christie the whole time, helped hand out folders, and acted like she was reading along.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I know it’s been a week and a half since my last post. I’m not sure if I should blog about the “everyday things” or if anyone would even want to read about them. I’m still trying to adjust to everything….the time different, the heat, the food, the water. It’s a lot for your body to handle all at once. I’ve had a few days of sickness. But thank God it only last a day or two at a time.

Tuesday morning we rode the bus to Asuncion. That was a two hour trip. Our day was filled with hopping on and off of bus after bus, walking all over the city, and we got caught in a rain storm. It was a very long and interesting day. You can go to Christie’s blog and read about some of the people on the buses.

Monday, January 11, 2010



The church here doesn’t have Sunday morning service. They have Sunday night service and then just about every night of the week, either at church or at someone’s home. Last night we walked to church. Thank God it rained a little before time to leave but it was still pretty hot.

The way people greet each other here is by putting their cheek to yours and doing a little “air kiss” on each side. They are all so friendly. When you enter the room, you have to greet each person, or it is seen as an insult. The people here don’t care about personal space. They get very close to you. Which I don’t mind that at all.

The only song I recognized was Here I am to Worship. I had a paper with the words in Spanish but I couldn’t read them fast enough. So I sang in English very softly so no one would hear. The message was on Ephesians 5:15-20. I’m so thankful for Christie! She sat beside me and whispered everything to me in English.

There were a few people who got up and testified and one who sang a beautiful song (though I have no idea what the words were.) Saul testified and then read something that maybe he had written. It was like what God was speaking to him. He said something like, “When you feel alone, then you will find me.” I found that so encouraging! It spoke exactly to how my heart feels. I feel very alone in my journey and my ministry (as far as not having another person to walk with me.) But I know it is in this “alone” time that I will find more and more of God!

After church four of the youth came over and hung out for awhile and ate with us. At first, I was extremely uncomfortable but I finally was able to relax and just enjoy the company, though I couldn’t join in for much of the conversation.

The other day I was watching some of a Spanish DVD. The guy on the DVD quoted Philippians 4:13. He said that if you ask God to help you learn another language, He will help you. I know that doesn’t mean I don’t have to work at it and try. It means that I have God’s help and strength.

It’s funny. The bugs haven’t bothered me as much as you’d think they would. I’m sitting on my bed in the dark with my laptop open and there are little bugs all over it, even a tiny grasshopper was on my keyboard earlier. And I’m ok with that :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My First Few Days....

My first few days here have been amazing and overwhelming, all at the same time. I arrived in Paraguay on the 7th. When I checked in at the first airport, I was told my luggage was checked all the way to Paraguay. For some reason, it only made it to Argentina. The airline took care of it and got it to me the next day. Ken, Christie, Camille, and Caroline were waiting at the airport when I got here. They took me to the mall in Asuncion for lunch. My first Paraguayan meal was a four-cheese empanada and an orange soda. It was very good.

It was a two hour drive from Asuncion to Carapegua. I saw many interesting things. Cows walking along the side of the road with no fence. People at every traffic light with something to sell, bread, kites, you name it. Or little kids wanting to wash your windshield.

I was so exhausted from the trip when we got to Carapegua. They gave me a tour of the house. Then I took a cool shower and laid down for a few hours. I woke up just in time for supper - rice, beans, sliced cucumbers, and cantaloupe. So far, I am really enjoying the food here. The girls wanted me to watch Nacho Libre with them. I had never seen it before.

On Friday, Ken and Christie went to Asuncion to pick up my luggage. They didn’t make it back until around 10:30. It started raining on them and the roads here flood when it rains. It took them a long time to drive through all the rain. When they got to the next town over, the car broke down. So it was a very long day for them. But they made it home safely and had stories to tell. They also saw where a bus hit a cow in the road. She said that was pretty gross.

Friday was a long day for me too. Lots of walking and meeting new people. Thank God for Camille, who enjoys translating for me. The people here are so nice and I can’t wait until I can communicate with them on my own. The youth pastor of the church makes and sells ice cream. When we walked to her house, she gave us a cup of ice cream. I believe it was the best I’ve ever had.

At one point during the day, I was sitting on the porch with Camille and a group of others drinking terere. I thought, "Wow! How on earth did I get here?" I can't even begin to express how thankful I am to get to live this adventure!

Saturday was pancake day. Ken makes homemade pancakes and syrup every Saturday. Very yummy! We walked to the grocery store and then stopped to get ice cream. Everyone at home is freezing and I'm eating ice cream. Seems a little strange. Saturday night I sat out on the porch with everyone. There were kids coming up playing and talking. I had another one of those "WOW moments." I helped Camille & Caroline make cool-aid and popcorn. We showed Narnia in the youth center. It was my first time seeing it and I had to read the subtitles the whole time. But I still really enjoyed it. There were a lot of guys that came but no girls. Apparently that's how it normally is.

I was trying to post a picture but so far I haven't been able to load one on here, Facebook, or by email.

Tonight I went to my first church service here in Paraguay. I will try to post more on that later.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Only two more full days before I leave. The hardest part has been saying goodbye to people. Sometimes we take for granted the people we see everyday or every week. I'd like to say, oh it's not a big deal, we can email and chat online. But we all know that's not the same. It's not the same as seeing them face to face and giving them hugs. I can't just rush over whenever they need me or I need them. I can't sit with them for hours talking, laughing and crying. I know I will be meeting a lot of new people, forming new friendships. But I know I'll be missing everyone so much!!

I guess I say all of that to say that this is the hard part. So far, everything else has gone smoothly. This is the part I wasn't prepared for. The other night, I sat at a friends house and said, "I know I have to get up and leave. I just don't know how to do this."

And we haven't even gotten to the "big goodbye" yet. April, Matt & Seth have decided to go to the airport with us on Wednesday. So I will have them and my parents there to see me off. I don't even want to think about how that will go.