Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Happy New Years!

What was the biggest blessing for you in the year of 2008?

Mine was the wedding of my son , Joshua, to his beautiful bride, Naomy!

A little bit of Christmas at our house

Christmas smiles!

Elena helps 'Coco' (grand pa) put the angel on top.

Jewel does lots of baking.
This is the beginnings of Pan de Jamon.

Jayde all dressed up to attend a formal 15 Birthday Party.

Christmas Eve.

Our kitten likes to climb up and hide in the tree.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Totally Believable!

I just read this,

The combined weight of ants in the Brazilian Amazon is thought to be four times greater than the combined mass of all of the mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians there."

Did I ever tell you about the time I was bit by a '24' ant?

It is a large, black ant measuring a up to 2 inches or so. It not only bites with pincers but stings with its wasp like tail. It feels as if it tears skin away while biting and does cause slight bleeding. The toxin it injects with its stinger is like liquid fire and quickly causes the entire muscle area where bitten to burn for several hours, thus ,called the 24 ant, or sometimes , the bullet ant. It wont kill you, but for 24 hours you will wish it had!

I know this from personal experience as I have been bitten by one. Jewel has been bitten several times and Josh was bitten twice in one night.

So, did I ever tell you about the time I was bit by one?

No? And I never will either!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Day in Paraguay

Christmas on a bright, summer day!

Beautiful center pieces on the patio table.
It's hot... Let's eat out side!
(Thanks, Brenda!)

Gifts shining in the glow of a mid day sun.

My daughter's photography.(Keepin' Sane with Littles)


A blogging friend of mine has just tied the knot!

(The Local Malcontent) Due to the wedding event he does not have the time to post on his blog and has invited me to do a guest post. I thought that I might be able to share some of the things which I have learned from 25 years of marriage. Some things I am still learning or still trying to put into practice because a marriage is living thing that is ever growing and changing and we must be aware of this if we wish to maintain a successful and happy marital life.

And so I dedicate this to my online friend, The Local Malcontent, and his soon to be bride, also 100% Choctaw. I have to admit the fact that they are Choctaw does give them a special place in my heart.

The most important factors in a successful marriage are love and respect. These sound like easy attributes to incorporate into a relationship, but those of us who have been married know that at times it is not easy to put them into practice. There is an excellent book by this same title,'Love and Respect' which I would recommend every married couple read together. I usually give this as a wedding gift to newly married couples because it has such an impact on the marriage when implemented.

But for now I want to address the subject of communication. No relationship can survive poor communication and the marriage relationship is dependent upon it in an even greater way than other relationships. It is vital to the survival of the marriage.

Preparing for a marriage which will be rich and satisfying in love requires that you understand the need for communication between the two of you. . You will never be able to develop a relationship like God would desire for you, if you do not have effective communication with each other.

You might consider communication to be the very heart of your relationship. In the human body, if there is a problem with the heart, the whole body will suffer. In the marriage relationship, if there is a problem with the communication, the entire marriage will suffer the consequences. Communication problems are almost always the root of more visible and serious marital problems. Lack of communication, or poor communication, will cause the marriage to malfunction and will result in disaster.

Without proper communication many ugly things can come about. Things are left unsaid, we assume the wrong ideas, there will be conflicts and confusion. Personal problems will surface and become obstacles in the relationship, unwise decisions will be made and you may be tempted to look for satisfaction elsewhere because of this lack in the relationship.

Without a doubt, good ,effective communication is vital to your marriage. Without the intimacy of communication your marriage will be limited and lack the beauty which God intended for you both to experience in this institution created for our happiness.

You may think that so far you have been doing a fine job at communicating well with one another and have no need to better this area. I am sure that you both talk to each other about everything in an open and loving way. Hopefully, you have been able to share your thoughts and feelings with one another in all honesty. You may respond appropriately and even know how to disagree with one another with a respectful attitude causing no hurt to the other. You are able to discuss with out personal attacks. Your conversations are edifying and bring you closer to one another.

If this is how you describe your relationship, you are fortunate. You already have a strong foundation on which to build a successful marriage because effective communication is vital for developing a really good marriage. Keep up the good work and never stop working at it!

Unfortunately , over the years we have had the opportunity to work with many married couples who have come to us after the wedding and felt deceived or disappointed. They will explain that they use to talk about everything together, plan together, listened to one another, but things have changed. They do not understand what is the problem with their relationship and are rightly alarmed.

This causes us to realize that one of two things has happened. First, perhaps they were wrong and their previous communication was not as effective as they had thought. New love does cause us all to be idealist. Or secondly, perhaps they let down their guard and were not diligent in maintaining the lines of communication open after the wedding. No one sats out to do this but life is busy and it can easily happen in any marriage.

For whatever reason, the damage is the same. Distance develops between the couple. Emotional and physical intimacy is lost. So even if your communication is excellent right now, remember to work at it and never take it for granted. It is always possible to make something better than it already is.

Communication is so important, I can not cover the material in one writing. So now, you have your work cut out for you! Remember communication is not just words, not just verbal. Facial expressions, the way you respond, your laughter, body language, how you spend your time and what you spend time doing are all methods of communication .

Whether you realize it or not, you are always communicating something. Your mannerisms often speak louder than your words. Actually, if there is a contradiction between your words and your comportment, people will often put more value on the message expressed through body language rather than the words they hear. Make yourself alert to your mannerisms and be conscience of the signals you are sending. You can communicate love and respect or you can tear down and destroy a relationship through poor communication.

Ephesians 4:29-30 (King James Version)

29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

And now, a bit of homework for the two of you! (I am after all a home school mom!)

Here is a list for you to use in order to evaluate your communication skills. Rate yourself with Excellent, Good, Average, or Poor as to how well you communicate in each area.

1) Spiritual things ( church, service to others, devotional time)
2)Details of events and activities
3) Ideas, opinions
4)Desires, worries, interests
5)Feelings and emotions
6)Plans, goals
7)Expectations and aspirations
10)Family matters
11)Dreams ( not the same as desires or goals!)
15)Problems/ failures
17)Everyday happenings
18) What you are reading or studying
19)Television, movies, music

List 10 ways to communicate non verbally!

And now I would like for my readers to all share a bit of wise advice for our soon to be married couple in the comments.

Friday, December 26, 2008

On the Thrid Day of Christmas...

Just a quick note!

We started our celebrations on Christmas Eve at my daughter's house. We had a Paraguayan 'asado' with four other Americans, a Venezuelan, a Costa Rican, a Paraguayan, and two Peruvians.

Yesterday we had a very typical Christmas dinner at Brenda's house with about 30 American
ex pats. Really good food! It was fun to watch the small children enjoy playing together and the older children visit with one another.

And we got to hear all of Bob's interesting stories! Like the time his car was hit by a stray bullet while driving in Argentina ,which cracked the engine block, and how much fun he had because of it. Seemed like he wanted to do it all over again!

Today we are cooking for a special dinner tonight at the church. Three American families are preparing a typical Thanksgiving meal for all the church leaders to show our appreciation. We have three turkeys baking and more pies to make.

Since I have so many ex pat readers, I was wondering if you would share how you say 'Merry Christmas' in your language(s) and any unique Christmas traditions where you live.

And for my Jewish friends, how do you celebrate Hanukkah, and what do you do on Christmas day while the rest of us are celebrating?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Para my bilingual Familia

Jim and Nita Lee (Dec. 1972)
'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the casa,
Not a creature was stirring -- Caramba! Que pasa?
Los ninos were tucked away in their camas,
Some in long underwear, some in pijamas,
While hanging the stockings with mucho cuidado
In hopes that old Santa would feel obligado
To bring all children, both buenos and malos,
A nice batch of dulces and other regalos.
Outside in the yard there arose such a grito
That I jumped to my feet like a fightened cabrito.
I ran to the window and looked out afuera,
And who in the world do you think that it era?
Saint Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero
Came dashing along like a crazy bombero.
And pulling his sleigh instead of venados
Were eight little burros approaching volados.
I watched as they came and this quaint little hombre
Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre:
"Ay Pancho, ay Pepe, ay Cuco, ay Beto,
Ay Chato, ay Chopo, Macuco, y Nieto!"
Then standing erect with his hands on his pecho
He flew to the top of our very own techo.
With his round little belly like a bowl of jalea,
He struggled to squeeze down our old chiminea,
Then huffing and puffing at last in our sala,
With soot smeared all over his red suit de gala,
He filled all the stockings with lovely regalos --
For none of the ninos had been very malos.
Then chuckling aloud, seeming very contento,
He turned like a flash and was gone like the viento.
And I heard him exclaim, and this is verdad,
Merry Christmas to all, and Feliz Navidad!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The many faces of Yekwanaman

Merry Christmas, Paraguayan style!

Want some good coffee???

Or how about some terere??

But this is his best likeness!

See why I love him????

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Strange Sights

1) In Argentina I saw a lot of bicyclist 'hitch a ride' from motorcyclists by holding on to the drivers shoulder. Scary!

2) Flor de Coco. This is a pod that has seeds inside of it which bloom this time of year. They have a nice aroma and everyone has them around as the smell is 'Christmasy' for them. Dry, seed pods...Christmas...I don't get it.

3) Tons of soldiers and cops out. A group of riot police downtown were sitting on a truck ready for the demonstration...they were asleep.

4) El Tractorazo. Farmers are protesting by riding tractors all around down town. Big, slow tractors.

5) The country is wearing red, white , and blue showing support for "Security and Jobs". Everywhere. Even had a salesgirl wearing the Paraguayan flag like a cape.

6) A man on a motorcycle wearing a hulk mask!

7) Kids celebrating summer vacation at Christmas.

8) Goats for sale at the intersection. For Christmas dinner!!!

9) An artificial Christmas tree put together upside down and decorated proudly in a lobby! It was shaped like an upside down triangle...with a star on top.

10) Prostitutes wearing Santa hats! ( Ok, we were a bit lost one night!)

Squirrels...a repost.

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 most difficult for me is the subjunctive forms of the verbs. Arrggghh!!!!

I 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 knows 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!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy, peaceful Amazonian indians??

The following You Tube video shows the reality of life in many of the tribal peoples of the Amazon. I must warn you that it is difficult to watch the children being buried alive and there is indigenous nudity shown in the video. I post this here as a wake up call to some who have mistakenly bought into the myth that tribal people live a happy life of peace and harmony in a type of paradise with no need for education or outside influence.

I never saw this done. I would have personally stopped it as did a friend of mine. A missionary pilot was able to rescue a baby left to die on the airstrip of one village, still with the umbilical chord attached. He and his wife were able to adopt her after much red tape and difficulty from the Venezuelan government. I have met indians who were the surviving twin as the other was buried alive in the jungle at birth. I have heard stories of women going off to deliver alone and returning with no baby. They say the ants can devour the new born in a few short hours.

Infanticide among Brazil's Indigenous Communities

Even though much reliable data is missing, many of the deaths by infanticide in Brazil indigenous communities are masked by statistical data as deaths due to malnutrition or unspecified causes.

“Accurate data doesn’t exist. The little that is known about this issue comes from sources such as religious missions, anthropological studies or Special Indigenous Health coordinators, who pass on the information to the press before it is sent to the Ministry of Health where they become “undetermined or external causes of death””.Marcelo Santos, in “Indigenous Babies Marked to Die” (Brazilian Problems Magazine, SESC-SP (Social Service for Commerce – São Paulo), May-June 2007)

One of the first challenges in the eradication of infanticide is the gathering of reliable data. The government’s tendency is to try to minimize the problem. For FUNAI’s external affairs coordinator, Michel Blanco Maia e Souza, the infanticide cases don’t deserve to receive the government’s full attention. “We don’t have the figures, but I believe them to be isolated cases.”

Based on the Demographic Census in 2000, IBGE researchers have verified that for every thousand indigenous children that are born alive, 51.4 die before reaching one year of life, while in the same time period, the non-indigenous population showed a child mortality level of 22.9 per thousand. The infant mortality rate between indigenous peoples and non-indigenous peoples showed a difference of 124%. The Ministry of Health informed that, also in 2000, infant mortality rose to 74.6 deaths in the first 12 months of life. Curiously, in the IBGE and Ministry of Health news, there is no explanation for the causes of death.

Many of the deaths by infanticide enter into the official data as death by malnutrition or by other mysterious causes (poorly defined causes – 12.5%, external causes – 2.3%, other causes – 2.3%).

According to Rachel Alcântara’s research, from the UNB (University of Brasilia), in the Xingu Indigenous Reservation alone, close to 30 children are murdered every year. And in accordance with the findings of Doctor Marcos Pellegrini (Hygiene and Health Expert), who up until 2006, coordinated the actions of the DSEI (Special Indigenous Health District center) Yanomami in Roraima State, 98 indigenous children were murdered by their mothers in 2004. In 2003, there were 68, making this practice the main cause of death among the Yanomami people.

The practice of infanticide has been recorded in several indigenous groups, including: the Uaiuai, the Bororo, the Mehinaco, the Tapirapé, the Ticuna, the Amondaua, the Uru-eu-wau-wau, the Suruwaha, the Deni, the Jarawara, the Jaminawa, the Waurá, the Kuikuro, the Kamayurá, the Parintintin, the Yanomami, the Paracanã and the Kajabi peoples.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Let me just say...

Lately, I have been receiving even more comments than usual condemning me for daring to 'interfere in the culture' of the Ye'kwana people. Some commenters have been civil and I have posted their comments, others have been rude and down right cruel and I have not posted those comments.

I don't always post every comment that comes here. I regularly receive comments that call me a genocidal missionary that destroys indian culture. I have been accused of being a 'religious pollutant', an instigator of spiritual destruction, and hate monger, also, other names I will not repeat here.

But it does make me ponder...

Yes, I happen to believe in the Bible. I believe Jesus is the Son of God and I believe the Bible does call me personally to go forth and preach, teach and disciple those who have not heard. I believe that by sharing Christ, a culture will only change for the better. I feel that the hard work of the linguistic missionaries that break down a language and develop the alphabet in order to translate the Bible into these tongues are the ones who actually preserve the language and, thus, the culture. I believe education will only make any culture stronger!

I do not believe the Bible ever teaches us to forcibly 'convert' anyone to Christianity and that a person under such a 'conversion' would not even be a true Christian. I would be wasting my time.

Yes, I am guilty of believing Christ saves souls and changes lives! And even, worse, I believe tribal people should be educated, taught to read and allowed to be exposed to history, science, and the Bible. I believe that they are totally capable of making a knowledgeable decision on their own as to what they choose to believe. For I believe all men are created in the likeness of God, equally.

Every people group in this world is equal in intelligence and ability to progress. I think anyone who denies an entire people group this opportunity of progress is extremely arrogant and even a hypocrite! For these people treat tribal groups as if they are our 'children' or a specimen that we can study. They seem to feel that they are animals that belongs in a zoo so that we, the 'civilized', might learn from them of our own 'primitive' past. There is no justification for this type of arrogance!

These same ones who say I destroy cultures would have us leave the tribes to die of preventable diseases such as malaria, or to perhaps continue practicing destructive habits out of ignorance. It seems to me that the real genocidal agents are these 'elitists' who happily condemn people to a life of misery and an early death !

Most of these types are admittedly atheists and Darwinists. Isn't it hypocritical to believe in evolution and Survival of the Fittest and yet, want to isolate primitive tribes and not allow them to ' evolve' ( I would use the word 'progress') and partake of the fruits of our combined progress and the knowledge that the rest of us enjoy on a daily basis?

Why should these Darwinist feel that I am evil when I seem to be the one promoting progress and thus making the tribes more 'fit' in order that they might 'survive'?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Last Christmas Eve , Beaufort, South Carolina

Don't mess with me and my chocolate!

My daughter, Jewel, takes on her brother and cousins in defense of her chocolate.

Reach The World

This is a video from the Missions Conference back in October at Lancaster Baptist Church, one of our supporting churches. The song is Reach the World, and the ensemble singing it is composed of missionary kids from around the world who are attending West Coast Baptist College. The solo at the beginning is sung by Sam, the son of a friend of mine from fourth grade!!!!The blond girl, Johana from Jamaica , who follows his solo is also a personal friend.

I just love MK's!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Argentina !

I am just back from my trip to Argentina! Jewel had to leave the country and re enter for her visa renewal so we all went, even Jackie, because we found out there was a Wal Mart there! We did most of our Christmas shopping there and in the mall across the street.

Paraguay is a nice place, but the shopping in Argentina was better! The food was good too! Especially the dough nuts we found!!!!

I was thrilled to find zip locks. Ok , they were very expensive, about a dollar a piece, but that is what I asked my husband for Christmas. I also found out an online friend is bringing me some from Curacao so, considering we re-use them, I should be set for year or so. That is such a comforting thought. I did not realize I was zip lock dependent!

I am still tired from the bus trip. Wednesday we left at 1 pm and arrived at the hotel around
10 pm. Went to Wal Mart in the morning and the rest of the family went to the Mall while I rested my back in the hotel. Stupid BACK!!! Then we had a nice dinner along the Parana River which made us all miss Ciudad Bolivar and the Paseo along the Orinoco River in Venezuela.

Caught the bus back to Asunción at 12:30 am arriving home at 7 am .

I'll tell you later about all the things I saw and the soap opera cell call we had to listen to on the bus! But...I saw a llama! Yes, right on the side of the high way!

I need to get some rest as my back is complaining about the abuse it was given the last two days. Unfortunately, it will take me at least two days to get over it. But sometimes, you just got to live a little! Chronic pain or not, right????

OK! I made all that up! Really, I am a CIA spy and I was sent under cover to discover the where abouts of some very dangerous types. Of course, I had to do all this disguised as middle age gringa wandering through the Wal Mart Super Center! My contact man was a certain 'Paco' in the Chaco with whom I shared a Taco!! Then I was off to the UN to give them my report after which I flew to Israel to share some sensitive intel!!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Where in the World is Jungle Mom?

I am leaving town for a couple of days and will not have access to a computer until Friday night.

So...where do you think I am ????

Dana has been found!

I do not have anymore details that I am able to share with you , but Dana has been found!
Thank you for all your prayers. Our God is a great God!

UPDATE: The BIMI missionary’s daughter (Dana Judd) is at home. The only news released was that the kidnappers gave her back and turned themselves in. What a GIANT God we serve - many, including ourselves, were praying for this family and girl and God did a great work. Amen! Thank you all for your prayers.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Jungle Technology

This article was written by my oldest daughter. ( Keepin' Sane with Littles) I am dedicating it to a good friend, Siberian Tom, (sambeno) and he will understand why!!!

I love technology. Love, love, love technology. Email is wonderful, so is blogging, the internet is my greatest resource for learning and shopping. Telephones are pretty great as well. Webcams, Blackberries, IPods and PalmPilots, they are all neat to me. I don't own all these things, but I love the way they enhance the world we live in. Did I forget to mention cell phones? I like those too! Perhaps I have such a deep appreciation for these gadgets since I remember a time when we didn't have them. While the rest of the world IMed, and talked on the phone, we were eating worms and trying to send smoke signals. The village of Chajurana actually got pretty "advanced" technology wise at the end of my parent's time there, but in the beginning....that's a different story.

The first time we stepped foot in Chajurana was for a two week visit (that is another post for another day) we had four hammocks (for six people),some grits, and packs of soup. There was a weight limit on the plane since no one had landed in that village for years and all we could take were hammocks, a small amount of food, and a few articles of clothing. We had a book a piece if I recall (my mom can't go anywhere without books) and I reread that book about fifteen times, or more, during our stay there. We took nothing that was even remotely technological.

So there we were, in the middle of the Amazon surrounded by Indian children who had never seen white people, the plane flew off (Would he really be back in two weeks? What if he was kidding?) and we had no way of communicating with the outside world. Talk about being disconnected. We survived those two weeks, just barely and I will write about that another day, promise. We did however decided that next time, we would take a radio to the village. It gets mighty lonesome in a village of 500 people who don't speak your language.

The next time we flew into the village it was for two months. That was the time there was a malaria epedemic, my mom hallucinated, we learned to eat roasted monkey, and Jayde (baby sister) learned to walk on a dirt floor. That is also another post, for another day. During that visit we had a radio. There was a "quirk" to this radio though. We could hear what people were saying, but we couldn't communicate to them. It helped a little though. Saturday mornings were my favorite. We would climb out of our hammocks (we each had our own finally!!) turn on the radio and listen to "Adventures in Odyssey" being broadcasted from HCJB in Quito, Ecudaor. God bless that ministry. It kept us sane.

Thoughout our years in Chajurana technology advanced. My dad got his Ham radio license, a radio antenna, and could now communicate with the outside world. Every evening missionaries all over the jungle would gather round their radios and swap stories.
"How's everything in Parupa, Walt? Over."
"Great. Shwalkdjfljdlkje a snake, ate some dkjeiowajdkfj, built a house dkjfodifen duct tape, saved dfjkdhiue eeeooooweeeeee, and the kids caught a slkjfdooboo to keep as pet.Over."

(If you don't understand the above sentence, then you obviously haven't learned radio language.)

We loved those times around the radio, we felt connected and not so alone. Without communication it was very easy to get discouraged. We learned from some other missionaries that there was a way to use our radio to call the US. It's called a phone tap. Basically, from your ham radio you contact a ham radio buff in the US (one guy I remember was from Wisconsin) who has a machine where he can connect his radio to the telephone and you give him the number (hopefully the static isn't too bad and he can get it down clearly, and hopefully someone is home to answer the phone) We called family members a couple of times. I remember calling my Grandma and my Aunt Pam.

"Hi! We're calling from the jungle, on the radio, there's a guy in Wisconsin helping us.You have to say over when you're done talking. Over."

"YOU'RE IN WISCONSIN????" (She thought the louder she talked the better we could hear her.)

"No. There is a guy in Wisconsin helping are you? Remember to say over. Over."


"Say over.Over."


They never really got the whole "over" thing. But it was still fun. I always wondered if those guys who helped us with the phone ever realized how much it encouraged us.

Anyway...after our radio days came the email days. The email also came through the radio. I don't understand exactly how it worked, just that it was slow. Very slow. There was one channel that was the email channel to be shared among all the tribal missionaries. Now, we all know that missionaries are very godly, loving people, right? NOT WHEN IT COMES TO EMAIL. We would start checking email in the morning, the process is simple.
1. Boot up the one hundred year old computer.
2. Still booting up the computer...
3. Turn the radio to the correct station.
4. Listen to the very annoying beep beeping sound of someone else getting their email. (This step lasted three hours)
5. Wait at least two minutes after the other missionary gets off before jumping in to check yours. Jump in too soon and the channel crashes.
6. Mumble something under your breath as yet another missionary jumps in before you.
7. Listen to his annoying beep beeping sound for about two hours.
8. Jump in as soon as he gets off, without waiting for the two minutes, because you're desperate for outside news.
9. Bang your head against the desk when you realize that you crashed the channel from jumping in too soon. Jump and wave your arms in frustration as the Indians watch you.
10. Get on another channel to plead with the MAF guy in charge of the channel to run home and reset the channel.
11. Wait two hours for him to do that.
12. Sit by the radio listening to the static till you hear that it's clear, and then check your email.
13. Wait three hours for your email to come home and then sit in dismay as you realize that it only took that long because someone tried to send you a picture of their new puppy. The pictured didn't come through, just a bunch of letters like this: ahdojfkjd{{dlkfjdofj[]]]. OR excitedly read the newsy, text only, emails that came from friends or family.
14. Go to bed.
15. Wake up and turn the radio on. It's email time!

See? Simple. And so worth it. Whenever I find myself complaining about my internet connection being slow here, I remember those 15 steps, it puts everything into prespective.



Translation list of time spent on the internet
"One second"= half an hour
"Just checking my email"= 45 minutes
"One minute"= 1 hour
"I'm finishing up now"=3 hours
"I'll be getting off at midnight"= Staying up all night!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Even a Child...

This is my three year old grand daughter, Elena. She is by no means an expert on much of anything, except for being adorable! She is a smart little girl for sure, and she has lived in two countries already. She speaks two languages, but, as I said she is only three years old.

A few days ago her parents took her with them to a hospital visit. They were paying a pastoral visit to a lady in the church who has been hospitalized awaiting her 'emergency' cesarean. She will have to wait another three weeks for the 'emergency' cesarean because, well, this is a public hospital and that is how socialized medicine works.

The hospital is not a nice place. Sick patients are on the floor, those with beds only have linens if they can provide their own, and even with temperatures in the high 90*'s there is no air conditioning. So, it does not smell nice. But that is the way of socialized medicine in third world countries.

I know socialized medicine must look better in Europe and Canada , but only as long as the money lasts. It was Margaret Thatcher who said, "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money."And yet, this is what many Americans claim to want. I do think the present system is broken and place most of the blame on insurance companies and law suits. But, socialized thanks. Been there, done that!

But back to my grand daughter, Elena. As they were leaving the hospital having visited with the lady from church, Elena looked back at the hospital and told her parents,

"That was disgusting!"

From of the mouths of babes...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thanksgiving at my House 2008

We gather together to ask the Lord's blessings... and to eat!

Gathering together.

Visiting before the meal.

Serving the plates.

Sweet potato casserole with imported marshmallows!

Strawberry Pie

Apple and Pumpkin Pie

Pecan Pie
Brian...what did you do???

Let the eating begin!

American's all about the food!

Jackie's nap!

Pool time! Very hot here!

A Wii serious golf tournament!

(Sorry, I did not get good shots. I will have to borrow some from the others.Between Leisl, Jackie and Jayde, I am sure there are plenty !)

Paraguay- History

After the initial encounter between the Europeans and the Gaurani indians, 70 years of peaceful co existence passed by. King Phillip II, the Spanish king, granted a charter to the Jesuit Priests to enter a region that was still barely touched, the Province of Guaira, for the purpose of the conversion of the Indians to the Catholic Church.

The Jesuits began teaching agriculture and eventually 200,000 Guarani indians were working on these projects. Formerly, the Guarani indians had been nomadic in nature but were now staying on farms. These indians were treated fairly well and this co existence lasted for 150 years during which time the indians were educated. At the same time, there were other Spanish colonies that were most assuredly taking advantage of the indians and using them for slave labor.

It is notable that the Jesuits fought against this abusive treatment of the Indians but in 1767, King Charles III of Spain, under influence of the Spanish colonists, dissolved the Jesuit grants in a rapid manner which led to much turmoil among the indians who had by now lived an agricultural life for nearly 200 years. This obviously led to wars and revolutions. A time marked by violence and upheaval.

Thus began the time of dictatorships in Paraguay. The dictator Antonio Lopez did manage to provide stability to the country and built schools, founded a newspaper and encouraged immigration, especially of Europeans with technological knowledge of value to the country. He also set up a strong army. He was followed by his son, Fransisco Lopez.

Fransisco's father had impressed upon him the need for diplomacy and to settle dispute by the pen or political means whenever possible, but in 1864, the young President launched a war. This is known as the War of the Triple Alliance and is one of the bloodiest wars to have ever been fought at any time on American soil.

The large, powerful Army of Paraguay ended the war with only 480 soldiers remaining alive. The President was one of the last to die. At the beginning of the war, the population of Paraguay was 1,377,000. At the end of the war only 6000 men remained alive and only 220,000 women and children survived. The Paraguayan women were often found fighting alongside their husbands and sons on the battle field. The infamous red headed mistress of the President also took to the battle field and buried him with her own hands upon his death.

Up to this time Paraguay had been one of the most prosperous South American countries but during the governorship of Marshal Francisco Solano Lopez, this prosperity was lost and has never been regained.

Because of the great loss of citizenry, the country has been very open to immigration seeing the need for workers to fill the void that is even yet left because of the great loss of life during this time. Many of these colonist are of German Mennonite descent and have established themselves in the Gran Chaco of the country and are prosperous, providing needed progress to the country of Paraguay.

For a personal history of a descendant of Mennonite colonists here in Paraguay, read this account by a friend of mine who lives here in the Chaco. We have yet to meet in person but we will one day!!!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Personal Update

We had a great week. My husband traveled to the border region last weekend where he gave a two day seminar to a small church there. He was in a town called Capitan Bado. This town is a little on the wild side! It is the drug capitol of Paraguay and since Paraguay is one of the largest marijuana growers in the world, you can image the dynamics of the place. After having to wait about 10 hours for a bus home, he arrived back in Asunción.

We take Monday as our day off because the weekends are work for us.

Tuesday, the imports form the states arrived. This is a once a year occasion and the word is sent around via text messaging to all the ex-pats. We were able to get American candies for Christmas, marshmallows, and cheddar cheese ! It was a BIG deal. We ran into about 5 other Americans in the store while there.

On Wednesday my husband gave his second seminar to the Air Force officers. This class was on Authority. They presented him with a very nice certificate for his help in teaching. I had two doctor's appointments and spent 6 and a half hours there.

Thursday was Thanksgiving and we hosted the meal with my daughter's family and another American family. It was fun but very hot, over 100* F. I think all the children had a good time and made good use of the pool.

Friday, the girls and I spent the morning cleaning up and then they went Christmas shopping with friends.

Saturday was not so good for me as I started having quite a bit of sciatica in my back and leg. I missed youth group because of it and went to bed! BORING!!!

Sunday morning my husband preached on the Lord's Supper and a young Paraguayan soldier accepted Christ as his Savior. We continue to have several air force men visit every Sunday, which is great!

And today I head back to the dermatologist.
She will do my yearly sun damage removal. I am very fair skinned and have lived in the tropics for 25 years. Six years ago I had my first skin lesion removed. I have had a total of 18 so far, some are just basal cellular, but I have had 5 carcinomas removed and had to have a bit of plastic surgery as one was on my nose and very near to my tear duct.

On Wednesday she found at least 5 new lesions, which I had already discovered but was pretending they did not exist. I think she will be able to burn them off and not need to cut! I hope so! One is rather large and under my right eye. I hate to get work done on my face as it causes a lot of bruising. My husband wont let me go out much as he says it looks like he beat me!

Beautiful isn't it?

UPDATE: The good news is that she was able to treat all of the lesions by burning and no cutting! Yea! The bad news is that there are 10 on my face, 7 on my right arm, 1 on my left hand, 2 on my right leg...sigh... my total is now 38!!!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pastor Victor

We have been informed that a dear friend of ours, Pastor Victor, in the jungle is quite ill. He acquired malaria and since the government has not provided medications for years now, he had to be taken to town to get life saving medication. The canoe trip took about 10 days as there are no longer any mission planes allowed to fly in the area. He is now under doctors care but is suffering from complications of the malaria. Please pray for his recovery as the church in the village needs his leadership.

I am re-posting this article I had previously written about him.

Meet Simeon and Victor. These two men are Ye'kwana Christians. Victor is now the Pastor of the Good Hope Baptist Church and Simeon is a deacon at the same church. I would like to tell you about some of their zeal in sharing their faith with their tribesmen.

Victor and Simeon had decided to take the gospel to a small village far up in the mountains. This village was so resistant to outsiders, they had purposely chosen to live in a difficult to reach area of the jungle. Victor and Simeon have family members living in this village and both felt responsible with taking their family the knowledge of Christ which has so changed their own lives.

Both of these men were reached by missionaries with the gospel as children. They had eagerly awaited some 25 years for a missionary to return to their village as they were now adults and had the desire to learn more. Both men were able to read in their language, thanks to missionaries. They were able to read the New Testament in their own language, thanks to missionaries.

We were able to aid these two on their missions trip by giving them a lift in the Cessna to the closest airstrip to the village they intended to hike to. This allowed them to spend a few days preaching and teaching in the village with the airstrip as well, before heading to the more remote village.

From the village by the airstrip, the two men canoed for two days. At that point, they proceeded by foot, uphill, towards the village of their family members for another two days. For a non-indian, it would take at least three days.

Victor and Simeon found their family to be receptive and they were able to begin with some "pre-evangelism". This is the term we use to prepare an illiterate people with no understanding of the Bible for the gospel message. One must first begin by teaching through the Old Testament, to show our need for an atonement and redemption, leading up to the birth of Christ and His ministry here on earth. We call this the Chronological Bible Teaching . Basically, the goal is to help the "people walk backwards, in to the future".

After a month of daily teaching, the two Ye'kwana missionaries returned to the airstrip where there was a ham radio to allow for communication with us. We had planned to send the plane for them. Unfortunately, the Venezuelan government was not allowing us to fly at the time, by denying permits to purchase gasoline for the plane. This left Victor and Simeon stranded in the village for two more weeks. They used this time wisely by continuing with their teaching at the village.

After two weeks, they became concerned for their families left back in Chajudaña, who would be out of meat, and in need of hunters. The two decided to hike back home via an old hunting trail rarely used. By speaking with old timers, they received directions and were told it would take about three weeks to reach our village. The two set out into the jungle with no means of communication, no canoe, and only a machete and one shot gun with a few shells.

We eagerly awaited word of them. Finally they arrived. They had made a small rough raft on which they placed their hammocks, provisions, and weapons in order to keep them dry. They could not ride on the raft themselves or else it would sink. They were swimming along behind it and were very water logged! Both were very weak and had open sores on them from the rough trail and lack of nourishment, along with malaria!

They told us of the great joy they had in preaching to these villages that had never before heard the good news of the gospel. Believe it or not, they were anxious to return and preach more!

They had suffered hunger, sickness, and great discomfort, but they knew their suffering for a time here on earth would be worth it if they could reach some of their tribesmen for Christ. They also knew that Christ had suffered much more while bringing the message and way of Salvation to us all.

These two men may not look like missionaries to you, but they are the true un-sung heroes of the faith. No one will ever hear of them or their ministry. They will continue to be two indians from a small village in a small country. But they are the kind of men God uses to carry forth His word. They are akin to the men of the New Testament who went forth and spread the gospel so that, eventually , one day it reached ME!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Because You Asked..

Kath said...

Wow! What an experience! When you left, how many of those particular villagers were Christians? How blessed you were to be able to be there and help them in so many ways. Were any of your younger children born there? If so, did you leave the jungle to give birth? Again, all I can say is Wow! Enjoy your Thanksgiving today with your family who is with you! You have such good stories to tell the next generation!

Jungle Mom says,
The village grew in population while we were there from 350 to 515. The church had around 250 members and another 100 or so who attended, but had not been baptized. Two of my children were born in Venezuela but I had them in a clinic in the city of Barquisimeto. My oldest daughter was a year old when we arrived in Venezuela and my youngest was born stateside during a furlough.

firepig said...

Happy Thanksgiving! Today I am cooking for all.

Was the yuca served wet in big vats?
Your description is amazing.It must have been tough at first.I hate to see children in any stage of neglect.Did they also eat Chiguire ?Were dantas plentiful?

Jungle Mom says,
We ate yucca in may ways, boiled, fried, baked, mashed.... We also ate chiguire and in our area there were a lot of dantas. The villages set off certain areas only for hunting and no one may live there because they all depend on hunting for survival. Tapirs are not as common as the smaller game. We mostly ate capybera.

KA said...

Happy thanksgiving!

hmm what does tapir taste like?

Jungle Mom says,
Tapir is referred to as the jungle cow. It tastes like a very lean beef except for the hump on the back which more like pork. The fat of this hump is used for flavoring just like fat back from a pig

Shane Rios said...
Hey at least you had food right?

Jungle mom says,

MightyMom said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

and tomorrow I want to read all about the first Thanksgiving in Paraguay!! :-)

Jungle Mom says,
I will try and write about it this weekend. It was great and I have pictures, but have a lot of work to do before I can sit down and write about it.

Anonymous Tapir Blog said...

So, an endangered species for the main course for Thanksgiving... what a way to celebrate *sigh*

Jungle Mom says,

Thursday, November 27, 2008

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 month 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 drumming finally stopped and we could sleep in our hammocks that night without the drums! Peaceful, quiet sleep. In later years we would come to find the sound of the drums to be calming, but not that first month.

We were truly thankful!