Friday, November 30, 2007

A Personal Request

Wednesday I received a call from my sister letting me know that my mother, in Florida, had fallen. She broke her arm and also cut herself in the fall requiring many stitches. She is mending fine, but it will be difficult for her to be down with a broken arm during the Christmas season.Please pray for her to have as little pain as possible and for my father as he deals with caring for her and the house.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Making Room in my Heart for More Love

I have been trying to comprehend my feelings of love. Emotions of love I have for more than one country. Perhaps you think that I can not love many places equally, or that in loving one, I love the other less. But that is not the case for me.

As a mother, I love each of my four children equally. But differently. Each occupies a place in my heart that no other can fill.

My first born daughter, Jackie, was born a very independent child. She was mature and handled everything easily. She was quickly to become my friend. My best friend. My love for her is shown in that way.

Along came son, Joshua. He was a serious minded child. Content to play alone, but in need of my presence for security. As he as gotten older, it seems our roles have changed. He now cares for me and brings me security. He does his own thing still, but likes to have loved ones nearby for comfort. I show him my love by being available.

Jewel! She quickly revealed a strength of character we had yet seen in any child. Strong willed, independent, and very loyal. The life of any party! My role with her was often to be a boundary setter as she knew no limits and thought she could do anything. She usually could, but at times to the detriment of others or endangerment of herself. She is now a young lady of 17 and still is a strong minded individual but has learned to be considerate of others. I show my love by supporting her in her endeavors.

Then the baby, Jayde. She is the social butterfly. She thrives on attention. She does not like to be left to her own devices and prefers to be part of a group. To show her love, is to look her in the eye and communicate. A lot!!!

I love them all greatly, but differently, just as I love my different countries equally and yet completely.

My home land, the USA, is the land of my birth. The land of my heritage. It is where I feel safe and secure. A refuge. The land of my mother tongue, of my sheltered childhood. I could not love another place more!

Venezuela is my adopted country. A place I chose to love and a people who returned my love, mostly. Just as a young bride leaves the home of her parents to begin a new life with her husband, I chose to begin a new life in Venezuela. I gave Venezuela my unconditional love. Yes, I know her faults and difficulties, but I love her still. I could not love another place more!

Then the Ye'kwana tribe. I love them with a passion! My time with them was the culmination of a life long dream. Our lives were filled with excitement and adventure. Emotionally draining at times, but very fulfilling! I could not love another people more!

Now, I am opening my heart to Paraguay. Just as a young person first in love, tentatively, shyly even, I am reaching out to see if that love is returned or spurned. It is exciting and yet terrifying! It could break my heart! Or , bring great joy!

Yes, I have a great love for more than one place, more than one people. One will never replace the other and all will be part of what makes me feel whole and gives me purpose in this life and the one to come.

1 John4:21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Monday, November 26, 2007

First Impressions of Paraguay

A quick update:

One of my first impressions is that the Paraguayan people are very friendly! Even while waiting for our flight from Brazil to Asuncion, we had already made friends with many of the Paraguayan people on the flight.

The country is very poor, but the people don't seem to complain. I was saddened while in the grocery store to see all the foods available here: sugar, milk, eggs, beans, meats... things that are very scarce in oil rich Venezuela but are abundant here in Paraguay!

Also, the absence of armed soldiers and the fact that the few police I have seen, only carry hand guns and do not need to wear bullet proof vests. Venezuela is so militarized!!! Even though we are nearing an upcoming presidential election here in Paraguay, there are billboards of several different candidates. Not just one RED party! NO billboards of President Nicanor plastered every 100 meters as is the case with Chavez in Venezuela.

The Paraguayans also speak a Spanish very different than what I am used to !!!

"Y vos sos?" What is that!!!!! Add to that all the guarani words sprinkled through out ,and I am often lost! My grand daughter raises her arms to me and says, "UPA!" (oopah!) which means, pick me up!! Whou'ld a known?!?!? My husband went out to buy us a dinner. He came back with "lomitos" which is a cut of meat in Venezuela, but apparently here it is a sandwich. They asked him of he wanted it "completo" so he said, "Sure!" That seems to mean that the sandwich comes with french fries??? Maybe??? The sandwich was delicious. A steak burger with ham, cheese, a fried egg, lettuce and tomato. No complaints!

And of course the terere and mate.

I also noticed as we drove to another town, that the Paraguayans keep their patios (yards) very neat! Even the most humble of homes will have a neat patio with inviting chairs to sit at and share drinking terere. Very friendly. I really like that.

Also, the young people call their elders, "Tio" or "Tia" (Uncle or Aunt) this reminds me so much of the Ye'kwana culture where everyone is your Uncle or Aunt as well. I wonder if it is carried over from the Guarani culture?

Also, in stark contrast to Venezuela, here we have seen a few christian schools that even use American curriculum such as aBeka and ACE! Very different then the situation regarding the education laws of Venezuela.

They also LOVE soccer. On the flight from Brazil, the pilot kept us informed of each goal made by Paraguay against Chile. Paraguay won!! I am excited to be able to live in a country with a team that always classifies for the World Cup. Sorry, Vino Tinto:( But, I will miss Venezuelan baseball!!)

Tomorrow we will be driving around the area where we will possibly be planting a church upon our arrival next year. I am very excited about that!

I am enjoying getting to know a little more about my new home!!!

:) The ice cream is really good!!!
:( But I will miss arepas, cachapas,chicha, hallacas,pan de jamon....

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hard Questions!

I have recently been contemplating some of the realities of the contemporary missionary movement. We are in a new era, an era where being a citizen of the USA is no longer an asset in many parts of the world. It is a reality to be considered. We must remember that we, as Americans, are not the only instrument available to God for the furtherance of the gospel. Is it time to step back, evaluate, and perhaps look for new ways to evangelize? There are many places where someone else, someone of another nationality, would be better received. If our purpose is to reach as many souls as possible, perhaps we need to remove ourselves from the situation and uphold other Christians as they can continue to preach and be heard, long after we are denied access to certain people and places.

I am not saying we should not spread the gospel to dangerous places. I have put myself and my family in dangerous places many times, when it seemed necessary for the ministry. I have seen my children suffer with diseases they would never have contracted had we lived in the USA. We have been in shoot outs, walked through tear gas, had tanks on the streets outside our house, all in order to preach and teach a people of the Glory of God. But there comes a time when our presence alone is detrimental to the furtherance of the gospel. Officials in Venezuela told us our white skin and blue eyes made us unwelcome.

There are times when the missionary has to step back and consider the costs. Not just personal cost, but the overall cost to the church.

Is my presence a hindrance?
Is association with me, as a foreigner, going to cause repercussions among the native church people?
Am I staying due to a of a false sense of pride?
Am I harming the ministry of another by remaining too long?

There are places that have not yet heard the good news.

Should the missionary use mission assets to remain where he is not accepted, when perhaps another place is more willing and open at this time?
Remember the disciples "shaking the dust from their feet"?
Remember Paul allowing himself to be lowered over the walls to escape danger in order to continue to preach elsewhere?
The modern day missionary movement is now centuries old, should we not see more mission efforts from other nationalities?
Should not a missionary work himself out of his job and turn the ministry over to the indigenous or national?
Should the missionary then move on to another needy area where his resources are more needed?

Hard questions. Any thoughts?

I am not questioning our personal calling to Latin America. I am thinking of places such as Venezuela where an American missionary was recently deported from an area where perhaps a national would not have been. Could this cause repercussions for the nationals involved with this same ministry? Are some things best left to the national?

The mood here in Paraguay is so open to the American and the people are asking for help, that it has revealed the lack of acceptance to the American missionary the last few years in Venezuela. Put it into perspective! The general mood on the street is totally different here. There is a much more open door for ministry. Being here has shown that to me in a great way. I had forgotten the feeling of such freedom.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

So Much To Be Thankful For !

Our first Thanksgiving in the jungle.

We had officially moved into the village in October and were living in a "borrowed" indian hut while trying to build our own. That was the time we all got our first taste of malaria and, thus, of quinine! It was my first time to hallucinate. First time I saw a corpse burned and then consumed by the family members, first time we built a coffin, first time I slept to the sound of indian drums.

I was reading aloud the Little House on the Prairie books to my children. I recall vividly their excitement when Laura and Pa listened all night to the indian drums! Because we had been doing just that ourselves for over a week.

We were living much the same as Laura Ingalls and her family had over a century ago. We had no floors, no running water, we were using kerosene lanterns for light, and eating what was hunted or grown in the gardens.

There were very few believers in the village yet, so the norm was for the tribe to "party" about every two months or so, with dancing, chanting, and drinking. This , of course, led to fighting and abusing of women, and abandoned hungry children.

All day, all night, the drums would BOOM! BOOM!BOOM! As the Ye'kwanas did their slow dancing shuffle, two steps forward, one step back. In a circle around the round house. Over and over until you passed out. This had been going on for 8 days, leading up to Thanksgiving.

The floor of the round house was covered in vomit. A white frothy foam on the ground, a terrible stench in the air, and roaches crawling all over everything! Little babies sitting on the ground crying amidst the vomit.

We had another elderly missionary couple fly out to spend the holiday with us. Dear friends who are like grand parents to my children. We were excited to speak English and to eat all the goodies they brought. One of the pilot's wife, Tracy, sent out home made banana bread! Yummo!

(My kitchen at the time)

We had no turkey, or even chicken. We had fresh tapir!

With yucca and canned corn.

I had brought out some dried apples and we made a pie. We also invited a christian Ye'kwana to come eat with us. The children called him "Squanto" all day! After tasting the pie, Antonio decided that Thanksgiving was a nice tradition!

The best part of that day was that the dancing finally stopped and we could sleep in our hammocks that night without the drums! Peaceful, quiet sleep.

We were truly thankful!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Paraguay!!! Here I Come!!!

Today we are packing. Tomorrow we drive to Miami and are going to see dear friends who also are "ex" missionaries from Venezuela. There are more of us every day, it seems. Wednesday we begin the "TRIP"!

It's not easy to get to Paraguay, you can't really just go to Paraguay. You have to layover , somewhere, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina...then you can finish the trip to Asunción. We leave Miami very early in the morning, arrive in Brazil in the afternoon, and get into Paraguay at nearly mid night.

But, we get to wake up Thursday morning to two beautiful grand daughters, one of whom we have never seen, and share Thanksgiving with them!!! A first for all of us!!!

This is to be our "survey trip" but ,I think I will be surveying the grand babies mostly!!!! My son in law seems to have figured it out already!!!

Can you tell I am excited?!?!?!?!?

Por Fin !!!!

cash advance

Apparently, if you post in are a genius!!!

h/t pen of jen
I had to keep trying!!!

For New Readers

This Had Been Our Home,

This is an article that we had written for our missions magazine last year. I thought it might explain our situation a little better for some of you who do not know us.

by Clint Vernoy

From the window of the Cessna 206 aircraft we took one last, long heart–wrenching look at the jungle village that had been our home. Circumstances beyond our control had forced us to leave a decade of work in the jungles of Venezuela. How do you simply fly away from ten years of working to learn a language…to establish a home, and to build relationships with some of the most precious people on earth? We had shared our lives with theirs, mingling our joys and sadness. We had become family with these Indian tribesmen through the blood of Jesus Christ! Through tear–stained eyes, we said good–bye to our Ye’kwana family, and the village they called Chajuraña.

Read more Here!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Para mis amigos Venezolanos!

* Los derechos humanos de un extranjero son los mismos de un venezolano republicano bolivariense.

* Los supuestos cargos en contra de los Greenwoods no justifican que su esposa, con seis meses de embarazo, dos abortos previos, una niña de un año en brazos y un niño de 4 años, haya sido embarcada en un avión militar Hércules para volar entre San Carlos de Río Negro y Puerto Ayacucho, con claros signos de extrema fatiga y estrés, desoyendo los ruegos de su esposo a desistir de ello por sus antecedentes de aborto. Se les acusó de estar trabajando en San Carlos de Río Negro sin autorización. La verdad es que estaban allí de visita, en casa de amigos, y cándidamente preguntaron a un guardia nacional si habría algún problema en que el se residenciada en la zona y trabajara en ella. Su crimen fue haber expresado un deseo, "crimen" atroz que demandó la movilización de importantes recursos del estado, y de la sumaria expulsión del país de la familia Greenwood. Si la acusación hubiera sido cierta, aun no habría revestido la gravedad como para poner en peligro a una madre gestando y al bebé en su vientre.

* En Puerto Ayacucho no se les permitió ir a su casa, ni siquiera bajo custodia militar. Fueron obligados a pernoctar en edificaciones militares sin conocer cargos ni qué sería de ellos.

* Fueron embarcados al siguiente día al Aeropuerto Nacional de Maiquetía, donde permanecieron detenidos hasta el momento de su deportación al día siguiente de su arribo.

* Les fue imposible a su pastor y su abogado tener acceso a ellos. Parece la orden fue de evitar a toda costa cualquier asesoramiento legal. Ellos tenían pleno derecho a un abogado y un ministro religioso a su lado. Ellos tenían derecho a recibir formal notificación de las acusaciones en su contra y apelar cualquier sentencia. Todo esto les fue en todo tiempo negado.

* Les informaron la embajada de su país había sido notificada y que el embajador les esperaría en el aeropuerto. Todo fue falso. Todo esto nos revela lo pronto que querían expulsarlo del país.

* Solo imaginen que un aborto se hubiera iniciado en pleno vuelo, en una cabina no presurizada, y sin asistencia médica a la mano. Hubiera sido la peor de las pesadillas para ellos!



For my English speaking readers:

The seriousness of the Greenwood situation.

*The human rights of a foreigner are the same as a citizen of The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

* The alleged crimes against the Greenwoods does not justify that his wife, being 6 months pregnant, with 2 previous miscarriages, a one year old daughter in arms, and a 4 year old son, to have been forced to board a military plane for a flight between, San Carlos de Rio Negro and Puerto Ayaucho, with obvious signs of fatigue and stress, against the warnings of her husband against the flight, in light of her previous miscarriages. They were accused of "working" in San Carlos without authorization. The truth is, they were there visiting, staying in the home of friends, and candidly asked the National Guard if there would be a problem for them to set up a residence and work in the area. Their crime was only to have expressed a desire, an "atrocious crime" that required the mobilization of important state resources, and the summary expulsion from the country of the Greenwood family. If the accusations had been true, it still would not have justified the seriousness of putting in danger a mother and the baby in her womb.

*In Puerto Ayacucho, they were not allowed to go to their home, even under military guard. They were forced to over night in military premises without knowing the charges or what was to become of them.

*They were flown the following day to the International airport in Maiquetia, where they remained under detention until the moment of their deportation the following day.

*It was impossible for their pastor or lawyer to have access to them. It seems the order was to avoid allowing them any legal aide at all cost. They had every right to a lawyer and a religious minister to be at their side. Neither did they receive a formal notification of the accusations against them or what their sentence would be. All this was denied them the entire time of their detention.

*They were told that the US Embassy had been notified and that the American Ambassador would be waiting for them at the airport. This was false. This reveals to us the desire to quickly deport them from the country.

* Just imagine if she had began to miscarry in flight, in an unpressurized cabin, without medical assistance at hand. It would have been their worse nightmare!



Friday, November 16, 2007

UPDATE:Greenwood Situation

I have just spoken with Sarah Greenwood's father. Gary, Sarah, and the two children, are all being held.They have been flown to Caracas and are still being detained by the authorities.

Sarah is pregnant and she has had miscarriages before. Please pray for her and the unborn child. They are fine but not very comfortable with their situation. They are to be deported from Venezuela, possibly today if there is space on a flight.

Pray for the children, Sarah, and for Gary to be able to be a witness and glorify God in this situation.

The US Embassy is aware of the situation as well.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


A North American missionary, Gary Greenwood, is being held in the town of San Carlos,Venezuela. Charged with violation of his Visa, his wife is 9 months pregnant. He is being threatened with a prison sentence. His Venezuelan pastor and lawyer are working and hope to get the charges dropped, possibly with a deportation. Please pray for the family and also for the repercussions this will have on other missionaries still in Venezuela.

I know this family very well.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Things I Missed

While being very busy in several conferences and not having access to the Internet, several important dates slipped by and I was not able to acknowledge them.

I missed the Marine Corp Birthday!!!

I missed Veterans Day!!!

I missed the first anniversary of my blog!!!!

My first experience of celebrating at the Marine Corp Birthday Ball is one I will never forget! Being the innocent Preacher's Kid and a new wife of a marine, I did not realize the punch was spiked! Enough said!!! I leave the rest to your imaginations!

For Veteran's Day, I was reminded of the first mil blogger I began to follow, Lumberjack in a Desert - A few weeks after I began reading his blog he was wounded. I have prayed daily for him, and his wife also, as they deal with this. I do not know either of them. Now he has gone and won BestOutdoor Sports Athlete! And he looks great, don't you think?

( The Jungle Hut is the house with the palm roof and tin roof add on.
My husband took this on his last flight over the village.)

And then the anniversary of The Jungle Hut!!! It was an accident, I never meant to start a blog! But I have enjoyed sharing my simple stories with you all and have been amazed as I see the new people stopping by to read. It is helping me as I gather my thoughts for the book I hope to write and get feed back from you all as I post short stories from the jungle and my life. Now, all I need is an editor to fix my awful grammar and punctuation and typos...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Quick Update

I know it seems like I have dropped off the edge of the world, but we are involved in a great mission conference at MVBC: Welcome! and it is an 8 day conference, very busy, but a blast!!!

My favorite event was meeting this Adult TCK, "Tim", who was born in Paraguay and true to his MK roots, he showed up at the men's dinner with a thermos of hot "mate " and cup and silver straw. He was willing to share, a friendly Paraguayan custom.

We head back to Florida next Tuesday and I am looking forward to seeing my son and having my internet back!! I also am ready to get warm! It was in the 20's! Not a good thing for me... me and cold are like cats and water!! Something terrible, best avoided at all costs.

I have enjoyed reading all of your comments and miss visiting all your blogs...can't wait to be able to catch up with everyone.

A lot has been happening in the country of Venezuela as well. More violence and clashes between protesters and police. Food shortages continue and the government continues on it's merry way to total and complete tyranny.

My personal analysis is that the country will continue on the downward slope we have been slowly sliding down for ten years, or more if you look at the root causes. Chavez will not leave, the opposition is not united, most people are holding back for fear of being abandoned yet again by a weak opposition.

I do stay in contact with many people in the country and the shortages are worse in some places. This is now normal.

Next week I will try and gather more info on all the latest and visit around to everyones blog...I miss my cyber buddies! I also, have been told by Ye'kwanaman that now I must share one of my own language humiliations!! So...keep a watch out for an upcoming post entitled,

"Jungle Mom, aka Captain Ahab, The Whale killer!"

Friday, November 02, 2007


Learning another language is not always fun or easy, but it is interesting! Spanish is an easy language, linguistically speaking, to learn. It is a phonetic language where, unlike in English, the phonetic rules rarely have exceptions. Grammatically, it is ordered and organized around the verbs, so once you learn the forms, you just begin to add vocabulary and work on accents. The hardest part is of course the subjunctive forms of the verbs. Arrggghh!!!!

I, of course, did not appreciate this aspect of the Spanish language until much later when I would need to learn the Ye'kwana language. The Ye'kwana language is everything the Spanish language is not. Add to that the fact you have no language instructors or anyone around you who even know what a verb is. The grammar is different in that the nouns are possessed and the language is built around the nouns. I used to say that the nouns were possessed alright, DEMON possessed!!!

But back to squirrels... When we first arrived in Venezuela, my husband took the pastorate of Iglesia Bautista la Santa Biblia and immediately had to begin preparing sermons for 4 messages a week. He spoke Spanish fairly well , but still had to put a lot of time and effort into sermon preparation.

One Sunday he stood to deliver the sermon to the congregation. His sermon was well thought out, very well developed, easy three point outline to follow along with good illustrations to emphasize his points. The subject matter of the sermon was "Pride".

For 30 minutes he delivered his sermon on "Pride". He railed on the congregation to search out "pride' where ever it might be found in our lives. God abhors "Pride" and there is no place for "pride" in the christian's life. As I said, it was a challenging message.

The problem was that the congregation was not responsive. Actually, they were responding, but not appropriately! Many people were grinning ear to ear. Others were obviously trying not to laugh out loud. Some chose to look down at their feet for the entire sermon, with their shoulders shaking with silent mirth! The youth of the congregation were outright laughing.

After the service, my husband was disheartened with the spirit of the congregation. He told me he knew he had been led to speak against "Pride" and did not understand the problem with the people. I had to tell him... for 30 minutes he had orated not against "Pride" ( the Spanish word is "Orgullo") but rather against "Squirrels"!!! ( the Spanish word is "Ardilla)

The mental pictures were quite funny! Christians hunting out squirrels and killing them! God hating squirrels! No room for squirrels in the christian's life! A real riot !!!!

The following week my husband did not want to preach!! He was embarrassed about the sermon of the week before, however, being the Pastor, he had to swallow his "squirrels" and preach any way!