Saturday, September 25, 2010

Women's Tea Part II

Last week we hosted our second women's tea for 2010. It was a great success. We had over 40 women with over 10 new faces and 5 ladies responding to the gospel!!!

This year, our hairstylist neighbor donated prizes and we even had a traditional Paraguay Bottle Dance. What a privilege it is for us to be able to share the gospel here in Paraguay! Thank you so much for your prayers and your support. Enjoy the video below (btw - the woman talking on the cell phone during the dance is not a part of the tradition :)


Friday, May 28, 2010

Our First Wedding

Adrian and Miriam first walked into the church (Mi Esperanza) about a year ago. They both recognized their needs for God in their lives and slowly began to surrender their lives to Him. A few months they both recognized their need to honor God by being married. On May 23rd we joined them in celebrating their wedding after the church service! It was an incredible day of sharing, laughing, and enjoying a great time celebrating a Great GOD!

Thank you so much for praying - God is moving! Below are some pictures!


Women's Tea 2010

On May 8, we celebrated our first Women's Tea. Lisa has been hoping to do a tea for a long time and with the help of fellow missionary Joy Brougher, the ladies in our church and a lot of help from the ladies at the San Lorenzo (CMA) church they had great success!!

We don't have many pictures - but there were over 30 women there with 12 first-time visitors. It was so great to see the women of our church inviting all their friends.

Thank you so much for your prayers - below are some pictures.


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Distinguishing the clapping...

One of the most peculiar parts of Paraguay is how to "knock on the door." Some houses have buzzers, which you can press and usually hear ringing in the house. But, this takes away all the fun. The usual way to "knock" is to clap.

I don't believe there is any particular method to the clapping. Some are louder than others. Some people clap three times to announce their presence at the gate and others keep clapping until someone comes out. Usually friends clap a few times, but venders, as you can imagine, clap until you come and talk with them. As you can imagine, when you live near-by to other houses the claps get hard to distinguish. Many times, we will go outside assuming the clap is for us, but only to find that the clap is for our neighbor.

I think by the time we are here for 5 years or more, we will know the distinctive clap of people that are outside our gate and beckoning only our family. Then we will know that we have arrived. Personally, in order to help others with this potentially confusing problem, I (john) like to put a little boogie in my clap and usually try to tap out a "funky beat." :)


Saturday, May 01, 2010

Labor day in Paraguay

Today is May 1st - can you believe it?!?

Today, in Paraguay most businesses are closed and workers are home enjoying time with their family. In our neighborhood kids are playing soccer, loud music is blaring and some men are drinking pretty heavily. Aside from the radios, the day is pretty quite with most people relaxing outside in this beautiful fall day.

One of my favorite parts of Paraguay is the "relaxed" atmosphere. Sometimes, there doesn't need to be a reason to pull out a chair and enjoy the shade. But, on these special days, when most are home from work ... well... on these days, relaxing becomes a true art form!

I am reminded that God said that we should relax (or at least "be still) so that we can hear His voice. I trust that you are enjoying your day - I am going out to find my chair and my spot in the shade!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Making a difference...

Sometimes it is not easy to know how you can make a difference. But, the reality is, sometimes helping out is as simple as seeing a need and being willing to fix it. Usually, as in my case, it requires that you jump in without much idea of what you are doing :)

A few months ago a Short-Term Missions team came here from three churches in New Jersey. They had a wide variety of experiences, gifts, temperaments, abilities, etc... but they all came with the greatest quality of all: Willingness. The C&MA church in San Antonio, Paraguay was in desperate need for a new roof. The old one was falling down and would not repel the heat of the sun, causing it to be way too hot to meet in the church during the day.

In less than a week, the team from New Jersey along with the C&MA Missionaries and some very capable Paraguayans replaced the roof and repainted the church. The difference was astonishing. Well done, my friends.

If you would like to bring a team to help with the ministry here in Paraguay - please send me an email and let's talk. Until then, enjoy the video below.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Would you like gum or matches?

One of the most interesting places in Paraguay is the local Almacen (the little store around the corner). Every neighborhood has at least one - sometimes there are more than one on each block. Sometimes, they are stand alone little stores and sometimes they are simply a room in someone's house where they sell things. The sell everything from fruits and veggies to flour and sugar. They also have all sorts of candy, frozen chicken, milk products, and wine. In fact, they have an impressive stock of wine - really cheap stuff - just enough to get a person drunk (which unfortunately is the reason).

You can buy most everything you need at the Almacen. Every day our neighbors go and buy what they need for the day. 3 eggs. 1/4 cup of flour. 1 bag of milk. Last week a woman came in with a 4 or 5 month old in tow and bought two diapers. That one was a shocker to me. 2 diapers!! What are you going to do with 2 diapers!?! It has been a couple of years that I have had a baby that young in the house, but I remember that 2 diapers would last about 3 hours. Does that mean that she will come back to the store again later and buy two more?

The one thing they don't have is change - so, regardless of what you buy you are "supposed" to come with exact change. And you are not supposed to give a large bill (about the equivalent to $10.00). Today, I went to the store and bought a Kilo of sugar. It cost about $.90. He didn't have change for my $1.00 and offered me a box of matches instead.

Alison, who was with me and usually is the one we send to the Almacen to get our groceries told me afterwards. "Dad, your supposed to bring exact change. They do that to me all the time. But, for me they ask, 'Would you like gum or matches?'"

Bummer - I could have had gum!


Monday, April 05, 2010

Red Light, Green Light

One of my favorite parts about living in Asuncion is driving! It reminds me so much like driving in New York City.

One of the fun parts about driving on the Paraguayan streets is how often the traffic lights do not work. Well, they sort of work. For instance, they can be red and then when they change to green the green light doesn't illuminate and therefore there is no signal. Of course, it can also go the other way and so, when the red light should be "on" it isn't.

So, here is the fun part. As you drive down the streets you often come to lights that have no signal on them. It isn't bad when there are other cars ahead of you, because then at least you can go by the assumption that if they go through it must be green. But, when there are no other cars with you - it becomes a dangerous game of Traffic Light Roulette. Is it green or red? Should I go through or should I stop? This, unfortunately is a part of daily life.

Life in Paraguay is never dull :)


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Caleb!

This week we celebrated Caleb's 3rd birthday. We enjoyed a McDonald's lunch and a cook-out dinner. We invited a number of families to help celebrate and Lisa made a very yummy Lemon Frosted Angel Food Cake!

Little Caleb is growing up so quickly. He is starting to really ask intelligent questions and has become very expressive in his love. Many of the Paraguayans will greet each other with a kiss on each cheek. Caleb runs right up to people and throws his arms around them and gives wet, sloppy kisses. He is well appreciated by all!

Below is a quick video that we took early on his birthday. He just woke up and was clearly not in the mood to be serenaded so early in the morning...


Monday, March 08, 2010

Baptizing Juana...

On Sunday (March 7) we had the privilege to see Juana be baptized. Juana accepted Jesus as her Savior and her Lord and has decided to take her step public in Baptism. This is a wonderful way to declare to everyone that you are following Jesus. The old you is buried with Jesus (symbolized by the going under the water) and the new you is now alive triumphantly with Jesus (symbolized by the coming back out of the water).

What a moving experience it was to see the tears of joy wash down Juana's face as she shared her testimony (someone else read her story because she knew she would never be able to get through it) and then was baptized.

My friends, God is building his church in Paraguay. This past Sunday, while we baptized Juana, the Alliance church in Asuncion baptized two young men and the church in San Lorenzo baptized 12. Please keep praying. Specifically for Juana and her family, but also for what God is doing in and through us all!!!


BTW - due to recent health problems, Juana was not able to plunge underneath the water, instead the water was poured over her. The system was different, but the symbol was the same. :)

Here is a short video of Sunday's Baptism at the Mi Esperanza Church.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

I once was blind...

Last fall we received the great news that the students from Nyack College were beginning to raise funds to help with the work in Paraguay. Spurred on with this information we began to dream of practical ways that we could help touch lives and share the gospel. One of the events that we have done is a vision clinic. We are working with a local foundation, whose goal is to make quality eye care affordable to everyone. In November, we held a clinic in Mi Esperanza, then once again February in both the churches in Lambare and in San Antonio and coming soon another clinic in April in the church in Downtown Asuncion. To date, we have seen almost 200 people go through the clinics, each receiving excellent eye care and the good news of Jesus Christ.

One great success story is Alejandra. Alejandra's family could never afford to pay for eye exams and was unaware that her increasing blindness was due to her defective corneas. Since, age 13 she has been led around and has been unable to cross major streets alone for fear of not seeing the cars. Thanks to the generous donation of some excellent supporters Alejandra visited the clinic in Mi Esperanza, her condition was diagnosed and was operated on last month to replace one of her two corneas. The Doctor flew in from the United States with the replacement corneas and did her operation along with 13 others during the week that he was here. Alejandra is recuperating, but doing very well. She has told us that she can now see better out of "that eye" than she has been able for the past 15 years! After she is completely healed, the doctor will return to replace the other cornea. By the way, each operation cost $500.00. So, we are very grateful for Your support!

Here is a video that we made with Alejandra on the day of her surgery (in January). I will soon return to her house and make a follow-up video... Until then, I'd like you to meet Alejandra:

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Where have you been?!?

Every time I send out an email there is a signature line that says to check out blog because we are updating it. Although, that is put their automatically for me - I have been thinking about those words and realized, "man that just isn't happening."

Unfortunately, due to some network problems and some very, very busy weeks, we have not updated our blog in a few months. I am sorry about that - I will try to do better.

Thank you for you continued prayers and support - in the next couple of days I will put on some more pictures and blogs to let you know how things have been going here in Paraguay.

Appreciate your prayers and support!