Friday, June 08, 2007
20 Years in Venezuela
This week marked our 20th anniversary of living in Venezuela. I remember arriving here as a young woman, 7 months pregnant with my son, holding the hand of my 18 month old daughter, walking beside my husband through the airport in Maiquetia.
We were so excited to be here. We had just spent a year in Queretaro, Mexico, learning Español only to find out that here in Venezuela they speak Castellano! And the accent is very different!
I remember my first arepa! I thought it tasted a bit like a paper napkin!! And now, I want one every day!
I remember my frustration when my 2 year old daughter was already easily speaking Spanish as I continued to struggle! She even learned a few "bad" words and we were unaware of the meaning !!!
My son was born 2 months to the day of our arrival in the country. The nurses thought he was deathly ill...he had no color and his blood veins showed though his skin!!! It was in the clinic that I ate my first Venezuelan breakfast. I remember looking at my plate and wondering what it was. It was all white. Atol, milk, white cheese, arepa...all white!!
We moved into our first Venezuelan house a few weeks before my son was born. We were quickly introduced to the neighbors weekly Saturday night domino game. They played on their roof top, right next to our second story bedroom window! We of course get up early every Sunday to prepare for church...Once, we complained to them, they looked confused and asked us why we did not just join the game. They even made room for us at the table...how can you stay angry with people like that!?!?!
My husband took the pastorate of La Iglesia Bautista La Santa Biblia while their missionary pastor was away on furlough in the states.We grew to love the people...most of the time! When the year was up and we were turning the church back over to the Pastor, the church gave us a great despedida and a parilla (BBQ)! My first chinchurria!!! ( Don't ask!!)
20 years later, this church is running 800 every Sunday. The Institute we helped to start has graduted over 100 and now has 22 pastors out starting Baptist churches!!
In that short year, we grew to love this country and the people. I remember being told that Venezuela had the strongest democracy in South America! I hope people in the USA will realize how quickly a democracy can be lost.
I rememebr returning to the states for a short visit and being surprised to find that I did not feel at home there any more!
These are just random thoughts as I contemplate our departure from his land.