Saturday, March 31, 2007
I have no time today to do any real writing so.... I was wondering if anyone has a question they would like to ask me? Any thing at all! And I will be around the computer and in the house most of the day, so I will check in and try to answer any question you may have. So...nows your chance...ask away...
Thursday, March 29, 2007
If anyone asked me for my opinion ( yeah right! Like I'ld wait to be asked!) on what it takes to be a career missionary, I would answer, "Blood, sweat, and tears!"
It takes years to learn a language and a culture well . A language is picked up long before the culture is truly understood. In most cases, the missionary can attend a language school to learn a rudimentary knowledge of the language, but there is no class room to learn the culture. When dealing with a tribal language it is much more time consuming and the culture of course is totally alien to the western mind.
To learn a tribal language, one must become child like and follow people around and try to imitate sounds with out a clue as to their meaning. Eventually, you will begin to hear the different individual sounds and can transcribe...well, thats another whole blog!
To learn a culture is an important task for the missionary and it takes time, and, as I said, "Blood, sweat and tears!"
BLOOD? Yeah! You have to learn the cultural way of dealing with death. You have to find out their way of mourning and caring for the dead. This can be very different in each culture.
Take the Sanema tribe, I remember the first time I was invited to a "funeral". I walked to the village and found a spot around the huge fire being built. I saw the women screaming and crying and slapping themselves in dispare. I saw them bring out the body wrapped in it's hammock and, I saw them place the body upon the pyre. There is no smell quite like the smell of human flesh being consumed by fire.
At this point, the witch doctor really began to whip it up. I saw the women even more excited. This dancing and crying went on all day...all night... until, at last, the fire was allowed to die.
Not over yet though! Now comes the most important part! The most vital thing one must do for their dead loved ones...the drinking of the bones.
The women scraped through all the cinders, sifting through their fingers every last little bit. Careful to catch each piece of bone left. Then these bits of bone are taken and with a primitive mortal and pestle, are ground to a fine powder. Once this is prepared, it is added to a banana drink and stirred in.
Now, all the immediate family members of the deceased come forward and begin to drink the bones. They pass the gourd around solemnly from one to another. The tiniest baby must swallow some as well. NOW, they can relax and rest in peace! Their departed love one will now be ok!
By drinking the bones, they have guaranteed that their family member will live on in them. Now they will have eternal life by being part of the living. And when the living die, they will be consumed along with them by the next generation.
Why is it important to know this? It might explain to the missionary that the father who refuses to allow you to fly the sick child out to town for medical treatment isn't being a monster. No, he loves his child too much to risk him dying out among the "criollos" and being buried! For who would drink his bones? Who could guarantee the continuation of all the ancestors contained within the child? It is an act of love in his eyes.
We may think it morbid, but...it is actually the nature of man to desire life after death and if no one is there to explain the true path God has set for us to achieve it, this is their feeble attempt to acquire eternal life for themselves.
SWEAT! You bet, sometimes you have to work with them physically to gain their respect. In some cultures, you need to understand why they DONT seem to work at all! It is all part of how you will communicate truth to them in a way they comprehend.
I remember a group of visitors making an observation once about Ye'kwana men.
"They are so lazy! They sleep till noon and then sit around in their hammocks the rest of the day while the women do all the work!"
DUHH.. I thought! So would you if you had been out running through the jungle hunting all night and knew you had to go back out tonight since you weren't able to bring home meat for your family!
TEARS! You need to know what hurts them. You need to be with them in their times of mourning. Sit with them as an old, loved one slowly dies. Or as a newborn infant fades away.
I learned from the Indians, tears are not always visible. The worse hurts stay inside. The pain is for you alone and can not be shared, as this would cheapen it. So, if you don't see tears...thats serious pain!!!
BLOOD! Literally, sometimes. I once flew out to town to donate blood for a dying indian. No one else with his blood type could be bothered. I gave so much blood I nearly passed out. And I gave again in a few days. I wanted to give more but they would not let me. His father placed his sons hand in mine and said, "He's your son now too. He has your blood now."
His father had never wanted to listen to the gospel until that day. He is now a believer!
SWEAT! I have seen my husband work with them. He helped them build the school. He helped them build the dispensary, he helped them cut the airstrips they needed so the plane could get in to take out medical emergency patients. I have seen his shirt soaked as he worked hard in the sauna like environment of the jungle. I have seen him go days without sleep caring for the sick. This speaks volumes.
TEARS! How many caskets have we built? I remember one baby we were hand feeding , drop by drop as we could not get in an IV. We were unable to fly our plane out due to government problems and red tape. We called for the health department planes, but they were BUSY flying assembly members to Angel Falls for a vacation. When the baby died, my husband built the tiny casket. Jewel lined it with a blue gingham material and Jayde sang Jesus Loves Me in Ye'kwana at the funeral.
We are by no means, SUPER missionaries. These stories could be repeated over and over again by a number of missionaries. I just feel they need to be put in writing so that others can know of the many things God is doing in Missions today. Often times we act as if the God of the Old Testament is dead and no longer works among us. Or we read of great missionaries of the last century and wonder why God is not doing the same great things today. He still is! I have witnessed it.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
I’d rather see a sermon . . .
then hear one any day.
I’d rather you would walk with me,
than merely tell the way!
The eye’s a better pupil,
and more convincing than the ear.
Your words may be confusing,
but example’s always clear!
I’d rather learn my lessons
by observing how it’s done,
Conversation might be easy,
but your tongue too fast may run!
I may not fully understand
the fine advice you give,
But there’s no misunderstanding
how you act or how you live!
Here is my husband taking care of an asthmatic woman and giving medicine to a sick toddler.
Cooking soup for the village.
Pulling a bad tooth.
Visiting a village to provide needed medical attention and sharing the gospel. Made friends with the chief.
Delivering Bibles in the Ye'kwana language.
Teaching the Old Testament to Indian church leaders and pastors.
Making sure medical emergency patients were flown to town for treatment we could not provide in the village.
Removing stitches from a child's arm.
Hanging out and being part of their lives.
Monday, March 26, 2007
"What majestic trees"! "What powerful rivers"! "What beautiful animals"! He said to himself.
As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look and saw a 8-foot grizzly bear charging straight towards him.
He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing in on him. He looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was even closer. He tripped and fell on the ground.
He rolled over to pick himself up but saw that the bear was right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw and raising his right paw to strike him. At that instant, the atheist cried out, "Oh my God!"
Time stopped. The bear froze. The forest was silent. As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky.
"You deny my existence for all these years, teach others that I don't exist and credit creation to cosmic accident." "Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer"?
The atheist looked directly into the light, "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps you could make the BEAR a Christian"?
"Very well," said the voice. The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. The bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed his head and spoke:
"Lord bless this food, which I am about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen."
When we moved into the village, I had great intentions of planting a vegetable garden. I really did! My grandmother always had a garden and my father would plant one any time he had the space. Not always possible for him as he is a Pastor. Sometimes the church provides a parsonage and there just isn't land for a garden. But whenever possible, he would plant one. My mouth waters remembering his tomatoes!
In the beginning years in the jungle, we only had fresh vegetables once a month. That was when the plane would come with supplies. We would stuff ourselves on fresh veggies for a few days! We did not have any type of refrigeration at first, so we had to eat it all fast. Later, when we had our own plane, we had more frequent flights, and when my husband was able to install solar panels, he converted a small fridge to a 12 volt system to run off batteries, which we charged with the panels! He did the same with a small freezer! We were living good!!!
Back to the garden... I had ordered seeds for things I thought might grow well in the jungle. Although the soil is fertile, it is a very thin layer of top soil as the heavy rains wash it away each rainy season. This is why the Indians have to cut new gardens every year. There are also a lot of insects to combat. The Indians grow, tubers mainly and the best, sweetest, pineapples, and lots of different types of bananas. The main food is casava made from yucca, so the majority of their gardens are given to the yucca plant.
I wanted to try to raise tomatoes, green onions and peppers. I thought that just those three things would "spice" up so many of our plain meals!. As I waited for my seed order to get to the states and then back to me, I tried to prepare a compost. One morning, I found an Indian friend diligently "cleaning" up my compost area for me. Oh well!!!
Finally, the seeds arrived on the flight day! That evening I had sat at the table and sorted them all out into nice little piles, imagining all the good food we would have. I left the room for just a moment ,only to return and find several Indian children enjoying the "snack" they thought I had prepared for them! I often would make popcorn and place it on the table for the visitors to eat and the Indians would eat dried pumpkin seeds as a snack, so they assumed I had left it for them! Oh, well!!!
A few months later, I received my second order of seeds. I was much wiser now. No more sorting at the table. I guarded the seeds as if they were gold. I even managed to get my tomatoe seedlings started. What joy! I would set them out each day for the required sunlight.
The village was experimenting with raising sheep. They kept the sheep across the river, usually. No one told me, but they decided to bring the sheep over to the village side because a jaguar was killing them off over there on the other side.
Well, you guessed it, the sheep assumed I had prepared a "snack" for them . They really seemed to enjoy my young tomatoe plants! Oh, well!
A few more months went by, and once again, I received my seeds, set the tomatoes , carefully guarded them from all 2 legged and four legged creatures. I had my husband clear a spot and build a small, low fence. You know, to keep out the sheep. I set out the young plants! I was very excited!
We had to leave the village for a few days and I asked a neighbor boy to water the garden since it was now dry season. He was excited to do it as I promised to bring him a treat from town for his work. And he did! He watered the garden faithfully.
The men of the village decided to burn off some jungle area. They burn off the areas around the village during dry season to keep snakes and critters away. Guess which area they burned? Yep! Bye, Bye garden!
When I returned the poor little neighbor boy was still trying to water the burned garden!
Ok, so I am not a quick study, it takes me awhile to figure stuff out, but after over a year trying to get a garden...I decided, maybe it wasn't going to happen after all!! Oh well!
My garden certainly never procuded any vegetables, but I did cultivate something else. What, you ask?
Patience (Hope deferred maketh the heart sick!) and a good attitude when things don't go as I had hoped and planned !( Put away anger and strife) So I guess it was a success after all!
Monday, March 19, 2007
A is for age: None of you business!
B is for books: Hard to choose...Ilove mysteries!
C is for career: Missionary Wife and Stay At Home Mom
D is for dad's name: Rev. Jack Riffe
E is for essential items to bring to a party: a good sense of humor
F is for favorite song at the moment: Este Dia
H is for hometown: uh...that's a hard one!Right now, Barquisimeto, Lara, Venezuela
I is for instruments you play: I play a keyboard, computer keyboard that is!
J is for jam or jelly you like: Strawberry jelly
K is for kids: Four! Jackie, married and in Paraguay, Joshua in second year at Florida Baptist College, Jewel, 16 home schooled, and Jayde, 12 also home schooled( I also have a grand daughter and one on the way!)
L is for living arrangements: A typical latin home(rented) until June when we leave for a year in the states.
M is for moms name: Loretta Riffe
N is for name of your best friends: Clint (husband)
O is for overnight hospital stays: You dont want to hear them all!!! 4 births,2 back surgeries, 3 other surgeries, 1 miscarriage, # times during pregnancy...
P is for phobia[s]: Being enclosed in small places ( claustrophobia) and MOUSEaphobia!
Q is for quote you like: Just Do it!
R is for relationship that lasted the longest: actually, my friend, Kim Leanard of 20+ years
S is for siblings: middle child. Older sister and younger brother.
U is for unique trait(s): uh...uh...I dont think so.
V is for vegetable you love: broccoli
W is for worst trait: sarcasm , duh?!?!?!
X is for x-rays you've had: angain, you dont want to hear them all!
Y is for yummy food you make: sweet rolls
Z is for favorite animal at the zoo: monkeys
First job: Health Food Store in Cambridge, Ohio
First funeral: Pastor of Faith Baptist Church ( cant remember his name but I do remember the funeral)
First piercing: Ears for my 12 th birthday
First tattoo: No thank you
First credit card: Cato's
First favorite musician/band: Cathedral's WAY back.
LASTS:Last movie watched: Over the Hedge
Last beverage drank: what do you think? Coffee
Last food consumed: Chocolate
Last phone call: to my son in law in Paraguay, after talking to my son in Florida
Last CD played: A Venezuelan Christian group
Last website visited: Happy and Busy Home, my daughters
Single or Taken: Taken!
What do you miss?My kids and grand baby
Hair color: Red with some natural gey high lights, he he.
Natural color: red
Eye color: greenish blue
Makes you sad: The Chavez Regime in power
Here is a beautiful article written by my daughter ,Jackie. She is the one in Paraguay.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Here are some facts about the Ye'kwana tribe, also known as the Maquiritare .
*The Ye'kwana number about 7000.They predominantly live near the headwaters of the mighty Orinoco River. Others are scattered throughout the Amazon jungle in approximately 45 villages. Some are located as far south as Brazil and as far east as the Paragua River which is located in the Venezuelan state of Bolivar.
* The Ye'kwana boat paddles and most of their handcrafts are made using only a machete.
* The Ye'kwana Indians are best known for their excellent craftsmanship of dug out canoes, which can be as long as 14 meters!(45 feet) Their beautiful handwoven and stained baskets made from jungle vine are known all over the Americas.
* The New Testament and some of the Old Testament are available in their language, thanks to the hard work of New Tribe Missionaries.
* The Yadiwaru fork was used years ago for hand to hand combat. Then two points were designed to put out the eyes of the opponent.
* The small carved animal benches are used to sit on around their fires and children love to play on them.
To follow up on my post, Global Impact, I thought I would expound on the term TCK. TCK stands for Third Culture Kid, but what exactly is a TCK? The definition, taken from the book of the same title, is as follows:
"A third culture kid is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her life outside of their parents' culture. The TCK builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK's life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background."
I wanted to encourage you who are raising your children overseas by the following survey results. The survey was carried out by MK CART/CORE. A group of 10 sending agencies ( Mission agencies) surveyed 608 ATCK's (adult third culture kids) and it is obvious they do well academically.
*30% of the respondents graduated from High School with Honors
*27% were elected to National Honor Society
*73% graduated from university
*25% graduated from university with honors
*3% were Phi Beta Kappas
*11% were listed in Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities
Another survey revealed that a high percentage of TCK's go on to postsecondary school education. And yet another survey, done in 1993, showed that while 21% of the American population as a whole had graduated from a 4 year college or university, 81% of TCK's had earned at least a bachelor's degree. Half of them went on to earn master's or doctorate degrees.
This was written by an Australian ATCK who grew up in India. "Uniquely Me" by Alex Graham James.
a confusion of cultures.
I think this is good
because I can
the traveler, sojourner, foreigner,
I think this is also bad
because I can not
by the person who has sown and grown in one place.
They know not
the real meaning of homesickness
that hits me
now and then.
Sometimes I despair of
I am an island
a United Nations.
Who can recognize either in me
I think what is interesting, is that I find this poem to be quite melancholic, but my children seem to find "comfort" in it. They are glad to see that others feel as they do. A separate group of TCK's that somehow belong together, whether they were raised in Asia, Africa, Europe...matters not. They belong to each other.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
There was an article in Time magazine about the globalization of the world. The internet has made it so that our children can play games with children on the other side of the world! I communicate regularly with people on several continents. The world markets are inter dependent. Cultures have always mingled, but never as intensely and instantly as now. My point is, the globalization is happening! We can accept it, use it to our advantage or deny it...but it is happening.
“TIME” magazine recently ran a cover story on the skills and abilities American students will need in a globalized world. They said that the American student needs to develope certain skills in order to compete globally.
2.Sensitive to foreign cultures
3.Conversant in different languages
I couldn't help but think,"Hey, Mk's(missionary kid) and Tck's(third culture kid) have a great head start!
I have watched my children communicate cross-culturally with great ease. I am often amazed how my children can Instant Message with several people in different languages at the same time, while listening to an Italian opera! Gives me a headache, but they are often unaware that they are going back and forth between languages.
Mk's (Tck's) are able to think out side of the box. Actually they can't stand to be put in a box at all! They are able to think creatively because often growing up in different cultures, they had to, in order to survive being the minority. They are able to accept that another culture may have a better way. They are often able to see how 2 distinct perspectives can be combined to produce an even better method.
I was speaking on the phone with my 18 month old grand daughter today. Well, she was communicating with me anyway. I saw her already exhibiting her multi-cultural upbringing. She would giggle and say, "Hola!" Then she would babble on in a cadence that sounded Spanish. Suddenly, she would convert to an English sounding baby talk.
Back and forth, soft vowels of Spanish, heavy consonants of English.
For you parents raising Mk's (Tck's), don't feel discouraged about the education you may think your children are being deprived of by not living state side. You are actually preparing them for a bright, fruitful future. God needs followers who are not afraid to go beyond the narrow mental and cultural borders so many of us occupy
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Latin America: Contrary to forecasts, President Bush's trip to the region is drawing friendly welcomes. Hugo Chavez, by contrast, is making a laughingstock of himself by shadowing Bush's tour. It'll probably cost him.
Great article! If you are interested in Latin America .
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Sorry, I lost 14 great comments somewhere. So , Sorry, Jackie, Carol, Kim, Pam, Sire, Connie, Rancher, Candy, Penless Thoughts, and Beemoosie.
Monday, March 12, 2007
We had weddings all last week and still have three more to go. Jewel was a Bride's Maid in the wedding Friday night.
Clint preached twice at one of the newer churches. We had a dinner last night. An interesting tid bit is that we met one of the Venezuelan President's personal body guards.
The meat and chicken situation is better. Not quite back to normal, but much better. The government refused to raise the prices, but as of March 1st, the value added tax was eliminated. So the price is the same for the consumer, but a little more profit for those in the food distribution chain. At my local store, they are only selling chickens whole, and the meat in big 5-10 kilo chunks. If you want the butchers to clean up, that is now an extra fee. I just wonder how the poor manage?
Still have not seen beans and except for the one time, no white sugar either. We are using brown sugar on everything but thats ok( because we shared our white sugar). We are glad to have the sugar at all.
Lots of anti-Bush protests going on in South America this week, but actually they were not well attended. It never ceases to amaze me how the US media portray things! There were only 6000 or so protesters in Brazil, and in Argentina, the protesters were paid and bussed in. One surprise was that even Evo Morales abstained from taking part. I am sure Chavez will not be happy about a lot of things that took place with the Bush visit. Here is a photo I know he will hate!
It was also announced that in order to fight inflation, we will be taking three zeros off. This has been done before and it will not help. It only makes the math easier! Not dealing with millions and billions. The new currency will be called the STRONG BOLIVAR.
AND YET ANOTHER WARDEN MESSAGE FOR TODAY
This warden message is being issued to alert American citizens traveling to and residing in Caracas, Venezuela, of a demonstration called by a pro-Venezuelan government organization for today, Monday, March 12, which may disrupt traffic around the U.S. Embassy in Caracas. Media reports indicate that the group is urging supporters to congregate in La Plaza Brion de Chacaito at 10:00 a.m. Marchers are expected to arrive at the U.S. Embassy in Urbanizacion Colinas de Valle Arriba by early or mid-afternoon.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Here she is with husband, Brian and daughter , Elena, in Costa Rica.
Today is my oldest daughter, Jackie's, birthday! I am asking everyone to wish her a Happy Birthday! Here is a collage of her many facets! She is quite the young, Christian lady! please leave comments for her to read! Thank you.
With newborn Elena in Indian baby sling.
At a youth meeting at the church in Paraguay.
With sister Jewel.
Well rounded education, ready for anything Asunción can throw at her!
And a loved daughter of the family! Happy Birthday!!!!!
Friday, March 09, 2007
It is from a young Venezuelan girl's view point. Her English is not perfect, but that some how adds to it! I am posting, with her permission, some of her previous posts. My blog is from a "gringas" view point, I can leave, I have some protection in being an American. She has neither.
I know the feelings she described. When I see what has happened to the Indians, and
see how things are being set up for the same here, I feel as if all the air has left my lungs. Like when you get hit hard. You feel like you cant breath, you know you can, but that is what it feels like!
I have the confidence that God is in control and that spares me so much!
Her blog is titled,"The end of Venezuela as I Knew it.
So do we (in Venezuela)
I wish it didn't but this is hard: seeing my country like this, now more than ever, seeing this things that I cannot stand and I don't have other choice but shut up about it, and pray that I can finish my major and I can get out of here... cause I cannot live, I cannot breathe in such a situation. It kills me inside in a way I never thought possible. And its killing everyone inside.... Sometimes we are having dinner and there's like two seconds of silence... like a funeral or something and you feel so empty and you know the table where you are eating, the people who's eating with you and that you love and you will give your life for them, are not going to be forever, maybe, they are not going to be there tomorrow or not in the same way.
How can I push all that aside and keep studing? Sometimes I make it, sometimes I dont, sometimes I stay in this space of nothing, this black hole that only make you wish that this nightmare ends soon.
A few days ago in class.... Democracy and Society.... what a name for a class in this days.... the proffesor entered the class and said: "I'm not going to wish you guys a Happy New Year, I'm only going to wish that the things you guys are learning here be usual for the times to come".
Then he told us things like the societies dont just survive..... react.... and I wonder how long are we going to survive.... and then he told us about Hannah Arendt, a political thinker, she was a german jewish during the nazi regime and managed to get out of that h--l....accourding to my professor, without the existence of Hitler, she was ment for be an outstanding philosopher of the german intelectuality of the 30's, but she had to live her years with more urgent things to solve.. like politics, and became a representation of her time. She just had to live that... and then he said... "So do we"... I felt a deep cold inside. So do we.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
His age? 45
How tall is he? Perfect for me! 5'8"
How long did you know each other before you got together? We wrote letters for years! Back in the day!
What physical features attracted you to him first? His eyes
Eye color? Hazel, but they change with what he wears
Hair color? Mostly brown, a little gray coming in tho!
Hair style? He was a marine!! High and Tight.
Normal outfit? Blue jeans and pull over
How did you meet? My friend ,Kim, invited him to a church skating party! Then she met her husband at our wedding!
How serious is it? Couldn't get much more serious! 23 going on 24 years and 4 children, soon to be 2 grandchildren...
Are you "in love"? More and more each day!
Do your parents like him? Yes
Do his parents like you? Of course!
Do you trust him? With my very life. Actually, I have had to trust him on several occasions for my life and my children's lives! He has never let me down!
Would you share a toothbrush with him? uh..yeah!!! I share gourds with an entire tribe!! So why not his toothbrush!
Would he let you wear his pants? We are talking figuratively, right? NO WAY!!!
Do you have a shirt of his that you sleep in? Thats for me to know and you to find out!
Do you like the way he smells? Yes, well...usually!!
Can you picture having kids with him? Yes, but not again, please!
What bothers you the most about him? hmm...that he can pick up languages so easily while I have to study and stutter!!
Does he have a temper? He does, but he rarely lets it show.
Are you happy to be with him? I would follow him to the deepest, darkest jungle....oh wait! I already did that!!!
Does he embarrass you in public? No. Well, sometimes, only because I am shyer than he is.
Does he smoke or do drugs? No
Does he have any piercings? No Too funny to imagine!!
Any tattoos? No.
Does he have any scars that you know of? Where shall I begin...to many to tell about here. ther's the canoe one, the surgery one, the drill in the hand one....
Is he a party dude or stay at home? He loves to party...in the Christian sense!
Is he outgoing or shy? ROTFLOL!!!Never shy!!!!Never!!!
Does he love his mama? Yes. She has gone on to be with the Lord.
Would he hang out with you and your friends? Yes. Our friends are mainly couples, but he even blogs with some of my friends!
Sing? Yes, changes keys a little too often, but it doesn't stop him
We have 3 weddings this week and one for each week for the month of March. Either Jewel is a bride's maid, Clint is officiating, Jayde is singing, or I am helping prepare the food or hosting the bridal party here at the house as the all get "made up" for the wedding. So, no real blogging for the next few days.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
The Story of My Life
Here are is a jungle story I jotted down a couple of weeks ago. I decided to post it today for some laughs!
In my family there is always something in any given conversation that will spark a memory. Many memories, memories of trees, mud huts, rivers, monkeys, illness, rainbows and Indians. Pretty soon you’ll here the infamous words, “Remember when…?” followed by a story. “Remember when Mom got stuck in the outhouse for three hours and we didn’t think to look for her till lunchtime?” “Remember when Jewel started drifting off down river on the washboard and Mom had doggie paddle out to get her?” “Remember when the fridge lit on fire and Dad bounced around in front of it before he went to turn off the gas?” Memory after memory will come pouring out of our mouths and hearts, before long it’s late at night (or early in the morning) and we all trudge off to bed with weary bodies but busy minds. Even more memories are still bouncing around in our heads as we lay down to sleep. Many times as I’ve laid down to rest I feel as if I could still hear them. I can still hear the drums, the toads, the birds, the motors, the dogs, the crickets, the children. The sounds of the Amazon still echo in my head. Why, I ask myself, should they stay in my head? Why not spill them onto paper? These memories are too adventurous, too exciting, too funny, to precious to be just memories. They should be stories, told to many people, for all to enjoy. So here goes, the stories of the Vernoy Family living in a small Ye’Kuana Indian village in the Venezuelan rainforest.
The baby of the family, Jayde Louise, better known by her Indian nickname Tudiacama or Tudiaca, loves animals. No, she LOVES, adores, reveres, and relates to animals. Life for Tudiaca would not be worth living without animals. That is why when my mother decided to raise chickens Tudiaca was ecstatic. The day the chickens arrived, the way everything else arrived by MAF plane of course, was a day she awaited anxiously. We could here the plane buzzing in the distance. As soon as you could hear the plane that was the signal to make the slippery muddy trip down the trail to the river. We used our toes as grappling hooks to ease (or should I say, slip with style) down to the wobbly canoe that awaited in the glistening river. Going to the airstrip was a treat. Mom really loved it because it meant all the kids would be gone for at least two hours and the house would be hers!! Down into the canoe we went, Dad, Josh, me, Jewel and Jayde, along with what seemed to be about 200 giggling Ye’Kuana children. There were also the things we were to send out like a bag of mail full of letters to Grandma, an empty gas bombona, and maybe a Tupperware of brownies we made for the “uncle” flying the plane.
Off we were to the airstrip to pick up the chickens. The canoe ride is always fun, especially if there is a motor on the end of it. We would sit on the edge and dangle our feet over the sides while we skimmed along over the great Chajura. This of course was only allowed because Mom wasn’t there! Once we arrived the unloading of the canoe was the same as the loading, just backwards of course. It always gave us white folks great pleasure when an Indian slipped on the muddy banks for we finally had a chance to laugh at them for a change. We would run up to the airstrip hoping to get there before the plane landed so that we could wave at it as it landed. The plane would arrive, we chat with the pilot, get the bag mail and clutch to our bodies as if it were gold, or better yet a package from Grandma in Florida! That the day the chickens came to us. Poor things, they should have run for their lives. Jayde loved them from the first time she laid eyes on them. They were promptly named, Rosie, Pepper, Annie, Louisa, etc. One of the Indian men carried it down to the canoe and we huddled around them on the trip back. Jayde was of course telling us the whole time, “That one is shy, this one over here likes me a lot, but the black one looks scared!” and things of the sort. We believed her, for if anyone could understand a chicken it would be Jayde.
The canoe bumped back into our port and we rushed up to the house excitedly yelling things out for Mom to hear. “Mom, the chickens are here! One is named Rosie!” “Aunt Tracy sent out zuchinni bread!” “The mail is here!” Plane days were always a thrill.
The chickens were taken out to the chicken coop where Jayde showed them their new house and took them for a tour of the area.
The chickens lasted for several weeks. Long enough for Jayde to fall madly in love with each and every one. Every morning after breakfast and before school, she would rush out with her bucket of chicken food and feed her lovely pets. “Here Rosie you can have some extra for sharing, Louisa don’t peck at Pepper it isn’t nice!” You get the picture. Those were the Glory Days for the chickens.
One dark night, when there was no moon a visitor came to “visit” the chickens. This visitor was a vampire bat. Now the chickens were small egg laying chickens (although only one laid eggs and she only laid one a day, it was a week before we could all have one egg apiece for breakfast) and the vampire bats of the amazon are quite vicious. While we all laid asleep in our hammocks the chickens (bless their hearts) were, well, attacked. We did not hear anything and had no idea what had happened.
The next morning, as usual, after breakfast but before school, Mom sent Jayde out with her bucket of food to feed the chickens. Jayde skipped off to the coop, bucket swinging on one arm and blonde curls bouncing off her neck. She was quite…devastated to see what she saw. All her dear little friends laying on the ground shriveled up (the bat had sucked out their blood) and the heads laying on the ground next to their bodies. With a blood curtling scream Jayde threw her bucket on the ground and ran as fast her chubby toddler legs could carry her. Throwing herself into my mother’s arms we all gathered around to try and decipher her sobs. Upon further examination of the ‘crime scene’ Dad told us all what had happened. Poor little Jayde not knowing what a bat was asked, “what would do such a thing?” My brother answered, as any decent brother would, “Whatever it was it’s coming after YOU!”
This may seem as a very sad story, but trust me, it’s hilarious.
One is a request I had mentioned before. It involves friends in a dangerous situation here in country.
The other involves a request for a certain permit. I still cant give details. We had expected the permit this week, but now a new "situation" arose and... not sure if it will go through.
My son's Venezuelan passport is about to expire. We have been trying to get it renewed since last June. It is becoming more and more difficult to get passports here.
Also, another BIG request involving yet another branch of the government. We are desperately awaiting word on this one and hopefully will know more tomorrow. I can't share much more than that.
A missionary friend of mine here in Venezuela had some great news to share with us last week. Her husband is starting a new work in the city of La Victoria.
The reason I am so excited about this new work...well, there are actually several reasons,the main reason, is of course that it is always great to see the gospel being proclaimed in new places. Also, with the deteriorating situation in this country, it is good to see the good news has not been stopped.
When I first came to Venezuela in 1987, I remember driving back and forth to Caracas every three months to renew our visas, which was the procedure at the time. I am not a city girl and was having a hard time adjusting to life in the metropolis of Barquisimeto, each time we drove through the smaller town of La Victoria, I remember thinking that it would be a great place to live and work. It has grown a lot since those days!
I liked the looks of it so much, I began praying that a work would be started there with the secret hope that we would end up being the ones to go. The Lord in His wisdom had other plans for us and I am so grateful for the ministry He did give us elsewhere, but, the place has always had an attraction to me.
I am excited to see that a new church was just started , two weeks ago. Here are the words of my friend;
"Sunday was a big, exciting day for us! It was the inaugural service of the "Cristo Jehova" Baptist Church in La Victoria, Venezuela. Our small "room" was packed, with over 70 there! It was a wonderful day, after so long waiting... Pray for this new work. We don't know how long the Lord will permit us to stay, but we know that He is in the founding of this new work!"
Monday, March 05, 2007
Aprons - Y/N? If, Y, what does your favorite look like?
Yes, It is from Costa Rica
Baking - Favorite thing to bake?
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Clothesline - Y/N?
Yes, After not having one for so long in the jungle, I am really enjoying it.
Donuts - Have you ever made them?
Yes, but Clint's are better.
Every day - One homemaking thing you do every day:
Freezer - Do you have a separate deep freeze?
Garbage Disposal - Y/N?
No, unless the dogs count?
Handbook - What is your favorite homemaking resource?
My New Tribes of Venezuela Cook book
Ironing - Love it or hate it?
I love to have my daughters do it!!
Junk drawer - Y/N? Where is it?
Yes, in the kitchen, but my husbands office is his catch all.
Kitchen - Color and decorating scheme.
Love - What is your favorite part of homemaking?
Mop - Y/N?
Yes. But here we use a coleta. Its a big squeegee with a rag
Nylons - Wash by hand or in the washing machine?
Only wear them in the states. Its too hot here. But I wash by hand
Oven - Do you use the window or open the oven door to check?
I have to open the door
Pizza - What do you put on yours?
Lots of cheese and Italian sausage. Home made is best. I put cheese in the edges and roll them up and baste them with Italian dressing.Makes a great crust.
Quiet - What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
Read, and check the news, I am a news junkie! And, blog, of course!
Recipe card box?
No, a zip lock baggie
Style of house?
We are in a rented two story typical Venezuelan house. cement with tile roof.
Tablecloths and napkins -
I use tablecloths everyday.But not cloth napkins.
Under the kitchen sink - Organized or toxic wasteland?
Depends on what day of the week it is! HE HE
Vacuum - How many times per week?
No carpet , all tile floors.
Wash - How many loads of laundry do you do per week?
I do mine and my husbands twice a week, about 3 or 4 loads. Each of my girls do their own, usually once a week.
X's - Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off?
Not regular daily stuff, but I do for major projects or when I am involving others.
Yard - Y/N? Who does what?
My husband does all the mowing and Jewel keeps up the flower beds.
Zzz's - What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?
Tidying up the kitchen. I cant stand to wake up to a messy kitchen
Friday, March 02, 2007
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord...
My oldest daughter, Jackie, is the wife of Missionary Brian McCobb. They are in Paraguay. Right now they are recovering from dengue. I thank all of you who have prayed for them. Jackie is the mother of my first grand baby, Elena, LeLe for short. She is expecting our second and is due in July.
Next, is my one and only son, Joshua. He is in his second year at Florida baptist College where he is majoring in Pastoral Studies. He plans to be a missionary. He had hoped to be a missionary here in Venezuela. He is a Venezuelan citizen, which could be helpful. He is waiting on the Lord for direction. You can hear him preach a short, 10 minute message at, www.Westgateministries.org. Click on the Pulpit of West gate and find,"Getting your Feet Wet" by Josh Vernoy. He loves to preach.
Then comes 16 year old Jewel. She is my right hand here in the home. She is very active in our church here. Singing in 3 choirs, doing nursery, and helping in a Saturday Bible study. This is a picture she took of herself with a rose from one of her rose bushes.She is very hands on and loves sewing and gardening.
Then the baby, Jayde. Well shes 12 going on 16! She is the animal lover. We have 9 pets to prove it. She is quite an artist and also has a gifted voice. She also sings in the children's choir at church. This picture is a couple of years old but is one of my favorites of her. She was enjoying her pet turtle in the jungle.