Friday, June 29, 2007

Thoughts For This Moment in Time

I will not be online for a few days. Please continue to uplift us in prayers especially today.

In the book "IF" by Amy Carmichael it says:

If I ask to be delivered from trial rather
than for deliverance out of it,
to the praise of His glory;
If I forget that the way of the cross
leads to the cross
and not to a bank of flowers;
If I regulate my life on these lines,
or even unconsciously my thinking,
so that I am surprised when the
way is rough and think it strange,
though the word is,

"Think it not strange,"
"Count it all joy."

I know nothing of Calvary love.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Journaling my Thoughts!

I am not sure if anyone else is interested in my comings and goings during these hectic days, but I want to try and journal my thoughts while they are fresh. I want to remember these bitter sweet days. I also hope that one day I can return to Venezuela and find it that way it used to be... a little laid back, lovely country full of kind people!!! So these are my thoughts and doings. I want to remember them forever!!

God Bless America!

I just realized we will be in The US for the fourth!!! COOL! I have only been stateside once in the last 20 years for the 4th of July!!!

A funny? sad? thing happened as we loaded up our suitcases and drove out of our drive way for the last time. The CD in the car was a compilation of patriotic songs we had been given after 9/11. My husband turned the key and the words to " God Bless the USA" came on. You know the first stanza??

If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I'd worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife.

My husband and I looked at each other and had tears!! We then sang along the entire song and I really meant them. Every word! They were not trite or meaningless to me!! They were true and heartfelt!! We sang to the top of our voices!!!

If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I'd worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife.

I'd thank my lucky stars,
to be livin here today.
Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can't take that away.

And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

From the lakes of Minnesota,
to the hills of Tennessee.
Across the plains of Texas,
From sea to shining sea.

From Detroit down to Houston,
and New York to L.A.
Well there's pride in every American heart,
and its time we stand and say.

That I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

And I'm proud to be and American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,

next to you and defend her still today.

Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,

God bless the USA.

by Lee Greenwood

Still here...

I hope to get a chance to blog later tonight. For now, know we are fine and safe and are not expecting difficulties in our departure. All of our papers are up to date. Our Venezuelan children have legal valid passports.

Some American /Venezuelan children have had problems renewing their Venezuelan passports which means they can not leave the country. Or, may leave as a deported American here with out a visa.

Funny!! No one is up in arms about the undocumented Americans having to be deported from Venezuela!!!

Some of the concerns we have are in regards for the new laws and reforms of the constitution. These will become law in a matter of months. One is the elimination of dual citizenship. And since our children would lose their citizenship, they would then need a Visa to be here. And Americans are not getting visas. So, no one is being forced out, just squeezed out!!

The other concerns involve new laws in regards to education. And a few other things still in the rumor mill. I hope to share more at a later date!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Jungle Mom ... Checking in

Our internet service was disconnected ahead of the planned day and caught me off guard. Sorry to have dropped off the face of the earth, so to speak. We are fine,but very busy. Also without our phone.

On the personal level it has been very emotional these last days. The church had a despedida for us last night with a video tribute to our twenty years here and lots of testimonies from people in regards to their memories of us. I feel very drained emotionally, I cry easily right now.

On the news front, lots of bad news. Some I am not free to share. Some pretty heavy stuff ahead with the new constitution and Education Laws are very frightening for any parent.

Saturday I listened to the nationalized speach of HHH and it was very hateful and immature. Full of anger. Once again we see that he is using the Imperial American invasion to distract people from the student protests. The key note was that the US will try to fight the revolution with their Superman mentality , but Superman will be defeated by the RED Kryptonite he finds here in the revolution!

Yes, we are gointg to invade Venezuela to take the oil!!! Anyday!! Did you not know? Even school children are being taught they are the last line of defense against the evil gringo.

I do not know when or if I will be able to get to a computer to post next. I do ask for your prayers. Some of the new laws are very scary for those of us with Venezuelan children. Some people are still in what I consider denial. Wait and see...maybe He will not do all he says. I will risk much, but not my children.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Time to Go

Read complete report at:
Venezuela News And ViewsVenezuela News And Views
Jungle mom says;

I have just read the leaked report of the upcoming constitutional changes being planned by this regime. The president has been quietly working on this since his re-election. ( I am using the English translation from Daniel's blog. please go over and reead it for yourself in it's entirety!)

I read some of this in Spanish yesterday and is partly responsible for my depression I was expressing last night. I found it available in English at the above site this morning. I did not have the time and energy to translate it myself. Read it and weep.

No more private property besides your personal belongings.

The air borne media will have rights to emit only if they serve educative purpose. The state decides which are the educative goals.

The autonomy of Universities is done with. The state will be deciding which careers should be offered and which is the right curriculum to follow.

Decentralization will be done with.
Jungle Mom says; of course there is also the means for unlimited re-election. Also, I had heard rumors of the threat to eliminate DUAL CITIZENSHIP. And it is suggested that the government do so because so many people with dual citizenship tend to be opposition. This effects us as we have children of dual citizenship.

The following was added by Daniel.Venezuela News And ViewsVenezuela News And Views

Added later:
meanwhile I got a copy of the International Bar Association report on Venezuela, but in Spanish only (some one can get me the English link?). The report is dire and certainly does not allay the fears raised by the constitutional changes (which the report also addresses, in particular the scandalous secretive nature of the discussion!). When I have more time I will post on this report that documents clearly how Venezuelan liberties have been consistently maimed by the current regime.

A New Day

( We feel like these two guys! Except our Evil Pharaoh wears red!!)

We had people here until after mid night. A "niece" came by. She is the one expecting and I will miss her birth. This is doubly sad because she is due the same week as my daughter in Paraguay and I will not be there for that birth either. Thankfully, both girls are healthy and have had good pregnancies.

Future Plans

Some of the newer readers here are asking what are plans are after leaving Venezuela. We will be spending a year stateside. During the year we will travel to all the churches and individuals who have partnered with us these twenty years togive a report of the ministry we were able to accomplish here in Venezuela. We also will share with them the upcoming plans for our relocation to Paraguay. In July of 2008 we will be moving to Asunción where we hope to be able to serve as missionaries for the rest of our lives!!!

I will be writing more about Paraguay in the upcoming months. There are many opportunities there. We were involved in the starting of th Bible Institute here in Venezuela. Instituto Biblico Bautista de Venezuela and we hope to be able to do the same there in Asunción. We also will be involved in church planting. Our son-in law has been in the country for ten months and is completing his internship. We will be able to work together with them.

The fact that we will be near the family and the two grand children is a balm to our souls!! When things here begin to hurt too much, I try and remember that the Lord is allowing us this special opportunity to be near the kids!!!

Gotta go clean out a fridge!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Very Tired!

My Saturday yard sale became a Thursday yard sale. Everyone had to come by and see stuff first!! So now, not much is left. I guess thats good.

A truck showed up at 7 am. to get some of the furniture we had sold. Another truck came by at 6 pm to get the living room and all the dishes and pans.. Another truck will be here at 7 am in the morning to take my bedroom set. Tomorrow evening the fridge, stove and the girls beds will go.

We are tired and it is hard to say good byes. It's time to just leave.

We are nearly finished with the painting, then we do a last good cleaning and turn the keys over to the owner. We will spend a few days with my in-laws before we leave the country.

We still have to go around and get all of our medical and dental records. Pay a few bills, close accounts, etc.

I am trying to get in to to see the dermatologist and have 8 more skin lesions removed before we go. I had several removed last October, but already have more that appear to be carcinoma...again. Time to take this fair skinned red head away from the equator!

I am feeling very tired and I think it is still from the surgery. Just tire quite easily. Also the emotional drain is tiring. Knowing I am leaving people behind to deal with a life of communism!!! I can't think about it!! I look into the faces of the children and I wonder...what will their lives be like in 10 years??? 20 years??? I wish I could take them with me!! I know they did not vote for HHH!!

Another American family left a few days ago. One family came by today and it seems they will be leaving soon. heard about 2 others planning to finish up some ministry and then leave in a matter of months. I hope they don't wait too long.

I know this sounds depressing, but I am more tired than anything!!! Still waiting to hear if our container actually made it on to the boat today.

I would never trade my years here, or my years in the jungle. I would never give up the friendships I have made here, but, honestly, if 20 years ago I had known we would be leaving like this, under these circumstances...I don't know if I could have agreed to it!! I guess that is why we as Christians are to live only one day at a time! Enjoying each day, working for the Lord each day!! There are so many blessings I would have missed if I had not given my heart to this land and this people! But, right now... It hurts!! Like someone has died.

But, Joy comes in the morning!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Child's Perspective

I am borrowing this from my youngest daughters blog. She is the "artistic" one and also the "drama queen" of the family. I just wanted to share with you the thoughts of a child as she goes through this hectic time in our life.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Just A Quick Update

I feel like a bomb exploded in my throat. I am sick with Tonsillitis again. I have already had it so many times that I can't remember how many times I have had it!! IS THAT SCARY OR WHAT??
Anyway, I just want to thank everyone for the prayers on my 'goodbye, doggies' situation.
Thank you. They are really helping.
Our house is also very empty, as many of you know, we are moving to the states. Packing is NOT very fun, but it HAS to be done. ( As my Mom, AKA Jungle Mom always says.)
My room is no longer a room. All of my posters have been taken down, and pretty soon, my bed will be gone as well, since it has already been sold.
We are going to be having a yard sale in a few days as well. Boy, are things hectic.
And (as if that's not enough) I have a rehearsal with a friend of mine, this Wednesday as well as a good-bye party that same night.

Let's hope I get better before then. Oh well, at least I get to eat ice cream! (if Dad will ever go out and get that along with my antibiotics.)
The Lord has blessed my whole family, in all the time he gave us to have here.
No one ever say that He doesn't care.
Also, my turtles will be going to their new homes sometime this week. They, too, will have happy homes.
Well, I need to get some rest for another long day tomorrow.
God Bless, and keep praying for little Madeleine McCaan.
Oh, and keep checking Peter's blog. Don't leave him all alone.
He writes poetry like a professional! I feel each of his posts deeply.
BTW, Shane won the Caption Contest.
Soon I will do another caption contest. And I want Tom Blogical to enter, too. He is a humorous genius.
Well, Bye Now!!

Our Motto...OH, WELL!!!

Woke up this morning to water! Joys! I must be getting soft ! I lived for years without running water and now I don't seem to know how to function without it!!! Oh, well!

The electricity was off for a bit this morning as well!!! Venezuela going green!!!! To think I lived for over ten years without electricity and here I am whining!!! Then my Hubby tore my beloved air conditioner out of my room!!! And today was the day I planned to wash all the curtains I need to sell at the sale, and I planned to empty all my closets and drawers of my bedroom in the COOL air conditioning!! Oh well!!! We only have the one air conditioner! Oh, well!!!

Looks like the shipping should go on the boat today. Thanks for your prayers! The boat arrived two days late in port here which gave us more time!!!! Tomorrow, there is a big government function there ,so if it doesn't get loaded today.....oh well!!!

We only have a few things in the smallest possible container. We are sharing it with another American family who is leaving. The two families together only managed to cover the floor of a twenty foot container. Mostly sentimental family things. No furniture!! We did have some pricey air plane parts we needed to ship back to the states as well as two wing tanks we had brought down to install on the Cessna 206 for extra fuel during jungle flights. But then when we were told to leave and so they never were installed. oh, well!!!!

The girls had an evening with friends last night. Pizza and ice cream. And good byes! It is hard on them to leave friends and home again. We just did this 18 months ago when we left the jungle.
I know they will be strong women because of all they have gone through. I know they are tough kids and will come through even stronger. I know the Lord will not require of us more than we can bear!! I rest in that peace and I have seen Jewel, who is 16, get stronger by the day!!! so... oh, well!!!

Please continue to pray for the legal matter we are dealing with!!! Urgently!! partly, I think God is allowing all this so that we are READY to leave! The hassle makes you just want to GO!!!Pray we keep a good testimony and are able to take the nonsense thrown our way in these last days! I can not share with you all the things we are told and have to just TAKE!! ARGGHH!!! oh, well!!

So.... Pray for God's perfect will in our lives and that we have the grace to go through it as His witnesses without shame.

HEY! At least, I have time to blog!!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

International Moves are Not for the Faint Hearted!

Woke up early yesterday as Hubby received a call from the aduana (customs) agent that the port was needing more money for more rent at the port, now nearing 30 days at 30$ a day. So he had to head to our bank, stand in a long line, then head to another bank, another line ,to make the deposit. This meant he did not make me his usual "wake up coffee". Normally, he brings me a cup of coffee to start the day! He's a sweety!! But , without it, my day seems to get off on the wrong foot!! Sort of like this!!! ( kg, you'll love this one!)

Then, I headed to a doctors appointment while he ran off to pay final utility bills. We both had the normal long waits! Back home for a few minutes, ate arepas, and back out to another doctors appointment, it seems that I am part of the lucky 2% of people whose bodies reject the interior dissolving stitches. So..mine have worked their way out, so to speak! Which is not comfortable! They had to cut out 8 yesterday and I have about 6 more that should need removed in the next week. Of course, my Hubby says he will do it himself.

Go to the notary public office to sign the papers on the car we sold. This was about a two hour wait in a room full of Chavistas, including the young man buying our car. I guess I became a little vocal about my political leanings , because as we left my Hubby said we had better leave the country soon so as to keep me out of jail!!! I just grew tired of listening to all the nonsense and said so!!! The fellow buying the car is a long time friend I have known since his childhood, and it hurts that he is so naive as to believe this regime and has no historical knowledge to understand why communism will never work, So I took it upon myself to give him a a crash course in "Christian World View", then "Capitalism 101", followed by , "The Difference in a Republic and a Democracy", " Why we need division of Power". He said he had never heard the things I was telling him!!!!! ( And I dare say neither had the other 25 people in line, HEHEHE!)

Then when it was my turn to sign the title over to him, I asked how much he was paying my for my signature. He and the Notary, looked at me funny and I said, " Well, anytime I need a government officials signature on any kind of paper work it usually runs about a 1000$". My husband gave me , "The Look!" to be quiet, so I did!!

While there we got a call from the customs agent, saying that our container was ready to load on the ship but....(but, always means more money!) The military, randomly, (yeah, right!) chose our container to be x-rayed! And the truck needed to take the container to the X-ray site was going to cost $$$$ and then the guards opened boxes which she had to repack!! But, hopefully, we will still make it on the boat ! If not we have to wait another week with more port rental!! Lovely!!!!

Also through out the day we were getting calls from another government office concerning another legal issue , and of course, it will cost BIG BUCKS !!! And they want Dollars not Bolivares, but we cant get dollars here!!! So, a lot of calling around trying to come up with that kind of money in cash! Not possible! So dear Hubby was grumpy now and told the official, "You are NUTS!!! " Well in Christian love of course. But the corruption is unbelievable!! It has always been here but never to this extent !!!! It was my turn to give my husband "The Look!" he gave it right back to me!!!!!

Back home, check in with the photographer, price things for garage sale, finish packing up non-essentials, call people to tell them to come get the stuff they have bought or I am giving it away!!!...

I will not be around on the blogasphere much as we are now entering the final days and it is CRUNCH time!!!

I will be posting, but not as much and probably nothing of much interest to you all , just stuff I want to record for myself.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The American Dream !

I found this recently at Joe Gringo site and have found myself returning just to compare things in my own mind!

Check out this map and compare your state to the nations of the world!

Click on map to enlarge.

So, what country is your state comparable to?

Venezuela with all its oil wealth is equal to...Iowa!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Our Favorite Daddy!

Happy Father's Day!

Proverbs 1:8-9 "My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck."

Ephesians 6:2 "Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)"

Thanks for being a great father to our children! You are the best!
Te amo, Topocho!

What does it take to make a good man a great father? Share your thoughts!

The Winning Foto Is...

After the little poll, it seems that foto #1 will be the one we use for our missionary prayer card.

Foto#2 will be the one we enlarge for family and friends.

Foto #4 will be used on our personalized Thank You Cards!

Thanks so much for your opinions!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Just being a Proud Momma!!!

My children are a blessing to me each and every day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Emotional Days!

Or is it "daze"?

The last few days have been very hectic and emotional. We are closing up the house and the boxes and the suitcases. Trying to get in all our goodbyes. Trying to go and see things and places, "one last time." After awhile the emotional roller coaster wears you out!!

On Monday we were treated to a "despedida", or "going away party" by fellow missionaries here in the city.

We met at my brother -in-laws house and it was sad to see how our little group is diminishing. Every month or two, another family seems to be gone. Yesterday, the other missionaries gave us a gift of a beautiful coffee table picture book of scenery around Venezuela. We looked through it and it seemed we had been to most all of the places pictured. It was a beautiful gift.

We all jokingly asked who would buy the going away gift for the last family out of Venezuela. But it is not really funny.

There was a time of prayer and all prayed for us. My husband was trying to give them an update on the Indian church, but he couldn't do it without crying. It is like we are mourning in a a way. We know God is in control and we are His instruments to use and do as He sees fit. He will always care for us and He will care for the Indians as well.

Then yesterday, we gave our two dogs away. I know it is a simple thing, but we have had Short Stop for 10 years!! She is like family. Some dog! She has lived with Venezuelans, Yanomami,s Sanema, Ye'kwana, Americans, and is now living with Brazilians. The kids really do not remember a time without this dog. And Max has been with us for several years as well. My husband took him for one last walk. He was his walking partner.

Then I went to a Baby Shower for a girl who I have known since she was two. I will not be here to see her child born. She is like a niece to me.

We also became aware of a missionary family, friends, who are having troubles and are not able to get their children/s Venezuelan Passports. They are not allowed to leave the country without them. They have been waiting for 18 months. Then we realized we know three other American families with the same problem. Also a Brazilian family. The regime is not renewing passports of children with dual citizenship. This effectively means the parents can not leave and , as the Brazilian said, " We are trapped here!"

So... Like I say...emotional days! Or is it daze?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Jungle Mom Needs Your Opinion!

It is time for us to print up our missionary prayer cards. These are 3x5 cards with our family photo and pertinent information such as our country of missionary service, areas of ministry, names and address. We give them out to individuals as we visit and give reports to our supporters in the States in hopes that they will keep them near by and remember to uphold us in prayer.

What I need to know is; which of the following pictures do you like the best? Which would be most appropriate for the missionary prayer card?

#1 Seated on the ground

#2, Close up while standing

#3 Standing

#4 Smiling faces

Cast your vote today!!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Jungle Hut Family

June 10, 2007 Barquisimeto, Lara, Venezuela

This and That

Our computers are still dead. One needs a video card. In the mean time, I use it twice a day set up with the video projector as a screen. The internet service will be cut next week. That means I will not be blogging much. I will post short updates but will not be visiting and commenting on your blogs too much...please, don't leave !!! Keep reading and when we get to the states and have the computer again, I will continue to blog. I have a lot of friends here in Venezuela who keep me up on the happenings here, so Venezuelan news will still be a part of my blog.

I was saddened to find out that some other missionary friends who have been here for 13 years are also relocating to Ecuador. Their entire denomination of missionaries are pulling out of Venezuela due to the changes and new laws. Also due to the high cost of legal "fees" . Some new laws could effect the children with dual citizenship. Venezuela only recognizes them as Venezuelans after all. It is a misconception of many Americans that their American citizenship "trumps" the other or protects them in some way. In reality, while here, the children are 100% Venezuelan held to every law any other citizen is.
The same is true while in the USA, they do not recognize the Venezuelan citizenship but the person is expected to comply with all the laws required of an American citizen. This was shown in the recent detention and beating of a dual citizenship student. Last year three school age brothers with Canadian citizenship were also kidnapped and tortured, then killed. The Canadian government could do nothing about it either.

One of the rumors on the street right now is that the military has been told to back off a bit in regards to violence in the student protest because of the upcoming America's Cup Soccer tournament. There are several international games to be played here in Venezuela and the bad PR would mean poor turn out if not cancellation of the games. That would be a BIG embarrassment to the regime. So, they wait their time. After the games, things will most likely heat up once again.

We are leaving Venezuela in a matter of weeks. We will be stateside for a year as we travel through out the USA and report to our many supporting churches who have been involved in our ministries these last 20 years.

We have not spent a full year in the states in over 20 years. We have not been stateside for Christmas in 14 years. We are looking forward to that as well as having Josh able to live at home rather than in the dorms next year. HE is very excited to be out of the dorms!!

After the year furlough, we will be relocating to Paraguay. The best part of that is that our daughter and her family are already there. It takes some of the "sting" out of having to leave Venezuela, knowing we will be near them.

I have not written much about Paraguay. It is hard to say much while still here. As we are stateside I will be able to share more of what we will be doing there.

The next few weeks are very busy ones as we finish up things here. There is still a lot of unfinished legal matters, the container is still in la Guaira, we still have a house to paint, and we are both still involved in ministries.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Preparing for Re-Entry

I was asked about the things that I find difficult whenever I return to the states. The main issue is that after so many years out of one's "passport culture," you begin to identify with your "host culture". This means that when you re-enter your passport culture, you will experience a "reverse culture shock".

The reason reverse culture shock is so depressing is that you do not expect it in your own passport culture. You are also not expected to be different . People see you as an "American" and expect you to act as one. You look like every one else. The problem arises in that you have changed in subtle ways. Many times you feel as an immigrant in a foreign land.

When overseas, you know you are different and you are prepared to be different. But when in your passport culture, you are not emotionally prepared to be different from the culture. takes a short time of re-adaptation. You have to figure out what is expected of you, and act accordingly.

For instance, a small example of this would be ...KISSING! When I leave Venezuela, my friends will be at the airport to see me off. I will touch both cheeks and blow air kisses with all the females. With my male friends, I will only "kiss" one cheek. I will stand close, face to face with people to show that they are near and dear to me. Then I board the plane and in three hours I will disembark into a different set of cultural rules for showing my affection. I will " bear hug" my family. But for my female friends, I will give them a short hug and most males prefer a handshake unless very close. But I have often forgotten. In the excitement of arriving, I may very well grab a female friend and touch my cheek to both of hers as I blow air kisses. I can feel them stiffen in my arms!!!

Also, I have to remember the Americans like their personal SPACE. Latins tend to invade that space. It shows closeness. But to an average American it is ..well, "in your face!"Trying to remember all the tiny details is emotionally tiring and makes you feel out of it! Not normal. Weird!

It is hard to get past the fact that you are not a minority. I am more comfortable now being a minority. That is my "normal".

The thing I find the oddest and most difficult to adapt to in the USA is materialism. It seems that so much time and energy is spent on GETTING things. People work all kinds of hours to get more stuff and sometimes it seems they have no time to even enjoy the things they already have. Or spend time with family. Things often appear to be prioritized over people.
I am always amazed at rich people who think they are poor!

Believe me, after a few months, I slip into the same mind set if not careful to guard myself against it. I will walk into a Wal-mart and discover so many things I NEED!! Only, I was not aware of that need until I saw the item. The first few trips to a store cause me a lot of stress. There are so many options. I can walk up and down the aisle and get overwhelmed. I have left the store without making a purchase was too difficult to make a CHOICE! Just looking at the options for toothpaste can give me a head ache!!!

If I hear a patriotic song... I will cry. No matter where I am. Sitting in church and singing the old hymns in English is guaranteed to make me cry as well. This will last for a few weeks.

Churches buildings leave me shocked. They are so beautiful!!! The restrooms are modern and decorated!!!! And as I admire them I will be informed that they are due for a remodel!!!

Green grass every where. All the yards!! No bars on windows means I will not sleep well for several nights.

New cars! Even the "old" ones would be new here. The highways are so open and amazing!

Food!!! It is easy to get food. Fast food. At every cash register, you can grab a candy bar or chips!! You can go through drive through windows. At restaurants the portions are HUGE! One plate is a family size serving. I remember my son, when he was about 10, went grocery shopping with me and was reading all the box labels. He asked me a profound question. "Mom, how come everything in America is fat free, except for the people?"

Banking! Here, a trip to the bank will take several hours. It is also a time when one is vulnerable and must be on alert for robbery. Many friends have been robbed on their way home from the bank. In the USA, you can go through the drive through window and do all your transactions in less time than it would take to just get your "number" for which window you will use here.

Mailing in checks to pay utility bills! That is incredible!! No need to spend half a day in line!!!

Neighbors who do not make an effort to know each other seems so strange to me, but seems to be normal in most cities in the USA. It is weird that you never seem to see children outdoors playing! Where are they?

It is not that one way is better than the other, it is just that they are different.

I love the USA!! I truly believe it to be the best country on earth. I would not change my citizenship for anything! But, I love Venezuela as well. Sometimes, I feel guilty putting one over the other. Like a mother who can not love one child more than another.

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 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.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

More Computer Problems.

I am trying to not think I am involved in a conspiracy or anything, but every computer I use...Crashes!!! Suddenly! Weird.

I am at an internet cafe trying to check e amil and post to let you all know why I have not been on line. Lest see if this computer crashes!!! LOL!!!

I have some good news! We just found some beef and chicken! Of course, it is available at a special price. But we are excited. I think, with care it will be enough to see us through until our departure.

Thre is FOOD here in Venezuela. Just shortages at different times and one never knows what or where or when... Some have asked what we eat.

So, we are not going hungry, it is just depressing to think what is happening here in country for no reason.

The real issue here now is certain meds are no longer available. Very hard for diabetics, asthmatics,and some blood pressure patients to find their medications.

We do appreciate everyones prayers.

We have a legal matter that reeally needs to be dealt with and we ask prayer that the "fees" will not be outrageous. Last time the request was for over $50,000 US dollars.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Regime Shopping!

Where's the Beef ?

I just returned from a trip to try and get groceries. It was actually a pretty successful trip. The big BONANZA of the day was that we found mayonnaise. And not just any mayonnaise, but real KRAFT mayonnaise!!! There was a limit on the amount you could buy, of course.

The disappointments were, no cooking oil, margarine or butter. Still no white sugar or beans. And as usual,no chicken or beef.

Here is a peek into the butcher's department at one store.

Smoked Bones!

Pig's feet!

Turkey necks!

Or, Nothing at All!!
(Very Low Calorie!! Good for the Diet!)

Now...anyone have any recipes to recommend?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Tech Support

Two weeks ago, my son arrived from the states and brought me my brand new, very own laptop! It was a combined anniversary, Mother's Day gift from Hubby and an offering from our home church in New Hampshire! I love it!

Unfortunately, Saturday afternoon, it crashed!

Fortunately, It came with a tech support number to call. I managed to respond correctly to all the recorded computer questions and was eventually connected with a real live person!!

Unfortunately, He was in India.

Fortunately, Once I got used to his accent, he walked me through some steps to try and re boot the computer.

Unfortunately, I had already tried them all and...nothing worked!

Fortunately, I have a warranty!

Unfortunately, It took me ten minutes to get him to figure out why I could not go to the local dealer and pick up new discs!

Fortunately, There is a store on Caracas!

Unfortunately, I don't live in Caracas! "OH! And wait ,one moment ma'am! That store closed down a few months ago"!

Fortunately, He can send me new discs!

Unfortunately, " seems the courier service is not working at this time to Venezuela. Are you aware that there are "violent riots" in the streets of Caracas"?!?!?!

So...I have to wait 3 weeks until I get back to the states to take care of the problem.

Oh, well! Back to 6 people sharing one computer!

Computer Problems!

I have had computer problems, with my brand new laptop!

Saturday there was a large Chavista march in Caracas. It was not very well attended. I heard one official say there were 4 million at the march...well, if so, Chavez was using his Super Powers again, ( remember, the National Assembly here has given him 18 months of Poderes Especiales,which translate as Special Powers!) because at least 3.5 million were invisible!

On Sunday there was a spontaneous march in support of RCTV. This was not a student march, but a general march. It brought tears to my eyes to see even elderly people marching. These are the same people who were children and watched the Generation of '28, who fought tyranny and gained freedom for Venezuela from the last dictator. Now they are marching again. One elderly lady was crying, she said she had to see it done all over again, this time for her grandchildren.

The good news was that there was no violence over the week end. His Highness did threaten to take away the license of Globovision, even though it is not expiring for several years, to stop, "Media Terrorism".

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Let's Lighten Things Up a Bit!

What is HE? WHO is He?

WARNING!!! This seems to only be funny if you are here in Venezuela !!

  • Is he a Chavista GOON? Is He a CIA plant (Doesn't look like a bush tho!) Is he a member of PUS? (Partido Unido Socialista) (After Chavez realized his mistake in naming the official party PUS he changed it to PSUV)
or is he a card carrying Red Republican Bush'ista'
Or is he just a mild mannered Portuguese bread maker!

Or is he just a Bible teacher?

You decide!!!!

Clint's Blog and Yekwana Man

Friday, June 01, 2007

Love It! Love it! Love It!

Silenced Venezuelan TV station moves to you tube

CARACAS, Venezuela (CNN) -- Radio Caracas Television, the station silenced by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, has found a way to continue its daily broadcasts -- on YouTube, the popular video Web site.

Although the station is officially off the air, CNN's Harris Whitbeck said its news department continues to operate on reduced staffing, and the three daily hour-long installments of the newscast "El Observador" are uploaded onto YouTube by RCTV's Web department.

In addition, RCTV's Colombia-based affiliate, Caracol, has agreed to transmit the evening installment of "El Observador" over its international signal. The program, which will run at midnight, could reach about 800,000 people in Venezuela.

Although this is drastically reduced from RCTV's previous audience, its continued presence is a sign of hope for the staff.

"We're just doing our job as journalists," said an employee of RCTV. "As long as somebody is seeing us, we consider what we are doing to be valid."

Watch it here!

My Thoughts

I just returned from my doctor's office. We had to take a back way as the barricades are only one block from our house. There were HUNDREDS of soldiers with painted faces and the military jets were buzzing over head for a few hours earlier this morning.

I am calm, but there is a tension in the air. It is not something you think about every moment, but it is an underlying reality. You plan your day around where you think there will be demonstrations. You don't always get it right.

I am resigned, because the government will just wait it out! The students are trying, but, the power is all with the other side.

I am angry, because I just saw a NY councilman, Charles Barron, saying Chavez is great! He was on fox news, Cavuto's World, and it hurts me to think someone so ignorant could be elected in my country to any position of government.

I have been following Adam Housley of Fox news as he actually is at the demonstrations. When he tried to cover a Chavista demonstration he was threatened.

Our car was painted on by the opposition in support of free speech, then my husband had to get out and clean it off before we headed into a Chavista barrio to avoid confrontation. It is nice that we have very dark tinted windows on the car so as not to show our gringo faces.

It is a balancing act one must use daily, careful where you go, careful what you say, careful who you talk with... it becomes emotionally tiring.

We are fine. We are having problems getting our stuff shipped out of Caracas due to all the riots, we have not been able to get to all the offices to acquire the needed paperwork.

I am a little depressed by it all as these are not how I wish to spend my final days in this country. However, I understand the frustration and impotence felt by the people.

I found this poem and it has been an encouragement.

I was regretting the past
And fearing the future.
Suddenly my Lord was speaking:
"My name is I AM"

He paused. I waited.
He continued,
"When you live in the past
With its mistakes and regrets,
It is hard. I am not there.
My name is not I WAS.

When you live in the future,
With its problems and fears,
It is hard. I am not there.
My name is not I WILL BE.

When you live in this moment
It is not hard. I am here,
My name is I AM."

Helen Mallicoat