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!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Raising Children Overseas (TCK's)

Have you heard of the term TCK? TCK stands for Third Culture Kid, but what exactly is a TCK? The definition, taken from the book of the same title, is as follows:
"A third culture kid is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her life outside of their parents' culture. The TCK builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK's life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background."

I wanted to encourage you who are raising your children overseas by the following survey results. The survey was carried out by MK CART/CORE. A group of 10 sending agencies (Mission agencies) surveyed 608 ATCK's (adult third culture kids) and it is obvious they do well academically.

*30% of the respondents graduated from High School with Honors

*27% were elected to National Honor Society
*73% graduated from university
*25% graduated from university with honors
*3% were Phi Beta Kappas
*11% were listed in Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities.

Another survey revealed that a high percentage of TCK's go on to post secondary school education. And yet another survey, done in 1993, showed that while 21% of the American population as a whole had graduated from a 4 year college or university, 81% of TCK's had earned at least a bachelor's degree. Half of them went on to earn master's or doctorate degrees.

This was written by an Australian ATCK who grew up in India. "Uniquely Me" by Alex Graham James.
I am a confusion of cultures. Uniquely me.I think this is good because I can understand the traveler, sojourner, foreigner, the homesickness that comes. I think this is also bad because I can not be understood by the person who has sown and grown in one place. They know not the real meaning of homesickness that hits me now and then. Sometimes I despair of understanding them. I am an island and a United Nations. Who can recognize either in me but God?

What is interesting, is that I find reading the above to be quite melancholic, but my children seem to find comfort in it. They are glad to see that others feel as they do. A separate group of TCK's that somehow belong together, whether they were raised in Asia, Africa, Europe...matters not. They belong to each other. They do not call any certain place home, for them, home is a group of people like themselves, other TCK's who have experienced the same type of background.

TIME magazine ran a cover story last year on the skills and abilities that American students will need in a globalized world. They said that the American student needs to develop certain skills in order to compete globally.

1.Global-trade literate

2.Sensitive to foreign cultures
3.Conversant in different languages

I couldn't help but think,"Hey, Mk's(missionary kid) and TCK's(third culture kid) have a great head start! I have watched my children communicate cross-culturally with great ease. I am often amazed how my children can Instant Message with several people in different languages at the same time, while listening to an Italian opera! Gives me a headache, but they are often unaware that they are going back and forth between languages.

Mk's (TCK's) are able to think out side of the box. Actually they can't stand to be put in a box at all! They are able to think creatively because often growing up in different cultures, they had to, in order to survive being the minority. They are able to accept that another culture may have a better way. They are often able to see how two distinct perspectives can be combined to produce an even better method.

For you parents raising Mk's (TCK's), don't feel discouraged about the education you may think your children are being deprived of by not living state side. You are actually preparing them for a bright, fruitful future. God needs followers who are not afraid to go beyond the narrow mental and cultural borders so many of us occupy.

Pictured here are our family's TCK's in the jungle, Christmas 1999. All have been home schooled.(My children and my nieces and nephews, all grew up in Venezuela.)

These are the same children, plus the youngest, Christmas 2007 in the US.
( My daughter Jackie is substituted by my daughter in law, Naomy)
Three have married and they and their spouses are in college. Two will start next year. One plans on joining the USMC.

We are proud of them all!

You know you're a TCK when:

- "Where are you from?" has more than one reasonable answer.
- You've said that you're from foreign country X, and your audience has asked you which US state X is in.
- You flew before you could walk.
- You speak two languages, but can’t spell in either.
- You feel odd being in the ethnic majority.
- You have three passports.
- You have a passport but no driver's license.
- You go into culture shock upon returning to your "home" country.
- Your life story uses the phrase "Then we moved to..." three (or four, or five...) times.
- You wince when people mispronounce foreign words.
- You don't know whether to write the date as day/month/year, month/day/year, or some variation thereof.
- The best word for something is the word you learned first, regardless of the language.
- You get confused because US money isn't color-coded.
- You think VISA is a document that's stamped in your passport, not a plastic card you carry in your wallet.
- You own personal appliances with 3 types of plugs, know the difference between 110 and 220 volts, 50 and 60 cycle current, and realize that a transformer isn't always enough to make your appliances work.
- You fried a number of appliances during the learning process.
- You think the Pledge of Allegiance might possibly begin with "Four-score and seven years ago...."
- Half of your phone calls are unintelligible to those around you.
- You believe vehemently that football is played with a round, spotted ball.
- You consider a city 500 miles away "very close."
- You get homesick reading National Geographic.
- You cruise the Internet looking for fonts that can support foreign alphabets.
- You think in the metric system and Celsius.
- You may have learned to think in feet and miles as well, after a few years of living (and driving) in the US. (But not Fahrenheit. You will *never* learn to think in Fahrenheit).
- You haggle with the checkout clerk for a lower price.
- Your minor is a foreign language you already speak.
- When asked a question in a certain language, you've absentmindedly respond in a different one.
- You miss the subtitles when you see the latest movie.
- You've gotten out of school because of monsoons, bomb threats, and/or popular demonstrations.
- You speak with authority on the subject of airline travel.
- You have frequent flyer accounts on multiple airlines.
- You constantly want to use said frequent flyer accounts to travel to new places.
- You know how to pack.
- You have the urge to move to a new country every couple of years.
- The thought of sending your (hypothetical) kids to public school scares you, while the thought of letting them fly alone doesn't at all.
- You think that high school reunions are all but impossible.
- You have friends from 29 different countries.
- You sort your friends by continent.
- You have a time zone map next to your telephone.
- You realize what a small world it is, after all.

I know I have a lot of ex-pat readers and even several Adult Third Culture Kids, as well as younger MK's, what would you add to the above list? Was your experience as a TCK positive or negative?

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Spatula Saga

It all started by trying to make pancakes! We were living in the jungle and I wanted to make pancakes. The problem was that the only spatula I had was broken and was no longer usable. It is hard to flip pancakes with a fork, not too mention fried eggs.

I needed to get word to town so that one of the pilots who flew out our way would bring me a spatula on our next scheduled flight. At that time we only had a monthly supply flight and it had just been a few days earlier. Each time the plane arrived with our order, we would give the pilot the order for our next month supplies. That meant that I would be able to order a spatula, but it would take another month to get it to the village.

My husband gave the order for the spatula on his next radio transmission. Unfortunately, at the time we did not have the correct antenna to transmit directly to the hangar. So we had to relay our messages through other villages with radios which could transmit to the Missionary Aviation hangar in Puerto Ayacucho.

"Please add a spatula to or next order." Done, now we just had to wait.

A month later the scheduled supply flight arrived. These flights were a big deal and our only connection outside of the jungle. We unloaded our big order of food stuffs, fuels, medicines, and kept looking for the spatula. I had promised the kids we would eat pancakes for breakfast the next day! But, after all was put away, we still had not found a spatula.

Actually, we did find a type of spatula, one that is used for working with cement and masonry! It seemed we had a miscommunication with our radio order. So my husband once again puts out the call and asks for a spatula to be added to our next month's order. He specified that we needed a kitchen spatula and NOT a masonry spatula. We were now on month two waiting for the spatula.

Another month passes and another supply flight arrives. We unload the many bags and boxes of supplies keeping our eye out for the elusive spatula, but once again, no spatula!

OK, there was a spatula and even a kitchen spatula! It was a plastic bowl scraping kind of spatula. Not good for flipping pancakes! Once again, my husband calls and asks for a spatula to be added to our next month's order. A spatula used in the kitchen while cooking for flipping pancakes, hamburgers and fired eggs. We are now on our third month of waiting for the spatula.

Finally, the next month passed by, the plane lands and a pilot with a big grin on his face handed me a bag. Inside the bag were every possible type of apparatus that could possibly be referred to as a 'spatula'.

I was thrilled! We were all thrilled! We had fried eggs and pancakes for dinner.

It took us three months to get it, but we were happy to finally have it.

This is what happens when a gringo gives the message to a Ye'kwana who then relays it to a Sanema, who radios it in to the hangar, where a Colombian writes it down on our order, which will be filled by a Venezuelan!

Remind me to tell you about the plane load of cookies we got by mistake once! OH! And the 10 'table cloths' for our Coleman lanterns! Then there was the 30 pair of soccer cleats fiasco...never did figure that one out....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How far Should we Go?

Hiking to the next village.

Written by my husband, Yekwanaman.

Several years ago we moved to the village of Chajuraña in the jungles of Venezuela. We felt that God wanted us there and through the years saw visible proof that it was the place for us. We arrived in Oct of 1995 to begin our life among the Ye'kwana tribe.

After a few weeks in the village I was invited by Victor, the christian leader, to take a trip with them to visit family in a nearby village. I figured, 'why not!' so off we went, myself and about 20 Ye'kwana.

I, as a jungle newbie, was gloriously oblivious to the dangers of river travel. We arrived at one set of rapids, and they told me to get out and walk around while they drove the boat up through the rocks. Guys jumped from the canoe in the middle of the rapids onto large rocks and grabbed onto the rope that Victor threw to them. When they had a good grip he shut off the motor and tilted it out of the water. His life depended upon the grip of those five guys on the rocks. The boat would have been smashed in seconds if they had lost their grip or slipped into the water. I was glad that I was walking. I wondered if maybe I should have stayed home. After all, we had already come far enough to preach the gospel.

It is a small village on the Caura river where Victor's in-laws lived. When we arrived they went off to see the family and I, blissfully, walked around trying to make friends. Unfortunately, every child that I saw ran away screaming when I waved for them to join me for a cookie.

I later found out that they were doing exactly what their parents had taught them to do. They mistook me for an embodied spirit that they believe in in their tribal culture. They believe there are spirit beings that come to collect friends of those that have died so the dead ones won't be alone.

The parents always tell their children to stay away from the Wiyu. They will trick you and take you to the spirit world. The children ask how they can tell if it is a real Wiyu, since they are known to take the perfect form of a human. The parents tell the children that it is easy.... The Wiyu´s can't quite get the color right. They always look WHITE! not deeply tanned like a real person!!!! So all the kids thought I was trying to take them to the spirit world.

Later, a young girl came straight up to me and asked if I was a missionary. I said yes and then she took me to her grandmother who had asked to talk to me. She told me her story and asked me a few questions... She was from Brazil and had come to Venezuela to say goodbye to her family as she knew she was going to die in the coming weeks. When she saw me walking around the village she thought I might be a missionary and wanted to ask me about another missionary that had come to her village when she was a little girl.

She couldn't remember much about what he talked, but she did remember that there was a story about someone that loved her so much that he died for her, and if she believed, he would show her how to get to heaven with Him. She could not remember any more. His name, why he died for her, how did he know how to get to heaven.

So then she asked me If I knew the man´s name. I said "yes....His name is Jesus." She then asked If I knew His story and I, with tears in my eyes, again said "Yes." She said, "Please tell me His story and why he died. I have waited all my life to learn the rest of the story."

45 minutes later, she was my sister in Christ, and three weeks later she met Jesus face to face.
How far is far enough.....Unto the End of the World.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Typical Day

Thoughts for Missionary Wives

I am often asked what is a typical day like living on the mission field . It is a very hard question to answer. You must understand that every circumstance is different. The missionary's schedule will be dictated by the culture in which he works, the level of his language skills, the ministry role in which he has been placed, and even the missionary's personality.

Our days in the jungle were completely different than our days here in Paraguay. Both were full of ministry but ministering to our flock was different there than it will be here. We do not do any medical work here, we do not need to do translation work, but we still have a ministry. Right now we are still discovering where best we might serve and where our particular skills are most needed.

A common misconception some people hold is in regards to what the role of the missionary wife should be. Wives on the mission field do indeed serve in various capacities, but their ministries will be different depending on several factors. How many children are in the home? Does she have small children? Does she need to home school the children? What are her living conditions? (Carrying water, cooking with fire wood, hand washing laundry do take time!)What help does her husband require of her? Her ministry will be ever changing as the dynamics of her home change.

My job is to be the wife my husband needs, finish raising our children yet at home, which includes home schooling them, and if my husband needs me to serve in a capacity of ministry, I will do that as well. But, in my case, I am only a woman married to a missionary. Being a missionary is not my real job! I do not get paid to be a missionary nor do I punch a time clock. I am a stay at home wife and mother and I happen to live on the mission field.

As a child of God I do feel required to take part in christian service as is every other Christian where ever they may live. I have the privilege of enjoying my life as the wife of a missionary and I also feel fulfilled in my role as wife and mother. Serving my Lord on the mission field is just the icing on the cake!

I would like to be able to instruct younger missionary wives as to the role which they play on the field. Every woman is different and married to a different man. Every ministry will ask different things of different people, but the missionary wife must never feel guilty for putting her time and energy first into her family.

Some families are able to find adequate education for their children on the field and I am not assuming to know what may be best for another family, but even if your children are enrolled in a school your job as a wife and mother will still require much time. Some woman even need to have outside interests and ministry will fulfill this for her, but in balance. This time away from the home duties may allow you to came back refreshed.

The work of a home maker seems to always be more time consuming in third world countries. We do not have the option of packaged foods, fast foods, we do not have central air and heat to keep dust out of the home. We sometimes lack time saving appliances commonly found in the American home. Our electricity and water go out often which requires more work. Buying groceries and other supplies takes much more time as we do not have the convenience of a Super Wal-Mart with one stop shopping. Even paying bills takes a lot of time. We can not do it online or even mail in a check, we have to go stand in several lines to pay each one. Of course, that is after standing in line at the bank to change our money in order to pay the bills, all the while watching our backs to make sure we will not be robbed as we leave the bank.

How many times have I seen women on the mission field break under the pressure she feels to perform more than she is capable of! This often leads to depression and even leaving the mission field. Perhaps, if the missionary wife would relax a bit and give herself the opportunity to be 'just another woman' this would not happen so often. Remember you are under extra stress just dealing with life in a new culture and and language.

To the younger wives I would remind you that your children will grow up and you will have more time available for ministry then. Never forget your people are observing you and the best testimony is for you to show them a Christian woman who is at peace and content.

I have known other phenomenal women who were able to do it all! Sadly, I have known many who gave up, not feeling adequate to the job they assumed others expected of them. Sometimes this pressure comes from well meaning folks stateside who somehow think the wife of a missionary should be capable of more than any other woman. A Christian Super Woman with special powers! Some even think that the wife is an employee of the mission, which may be the case for some, but not all.

So dear younger missionary wife, don't forget to enjoy your life. Don't forget to be available to your husband as a wife, not an employee, put your best time and effort into your children, and serve God first at home. Remember you also need time to study and promote your own intellectual and spiritual growth as this will only serve you in your capacity as a counselor to others. And you will be a counselor!

God will always provide the right ministry for you that will not be more than you can handle. If you are stressing out, feeling pressured to perform, loosing joy in your marriage, or do not have control of your home and yet still try to be involved in ministry outside of the home, you are doing too much.

God does not want His children to serve out of duty alone but with a heart of joy. Service to Him will never require you to abandon your first calling to the home. If this is the case for you, perhaps you need to step back and re-evaluate what you are doing and where you are expending most of your energy. Plan a little time for relaxation and fun each and every day, it will only make you a better person.

Maybe you need a hobby... might I suggest blogging?

My husband's typical missionary day;


5:00- 8:00 am- Wake up, study for messages and prepare teaching literature

9:00-10:30 am- Coffee, fellowship and accountability meeting with 3 other missionaries
11:00-12:00 am- Teach two daughters separate algebra classes

12:00- lunch with family
1:00-2:30 pm- meeting with Paraguayan Air Force Major concerning upcoming seminar for Air Force Officers. Seminar begins Friday morning and will continue for 8 weeks.

3:00 4:00 pm- meeting with contact in regards to this weekend's trip to Brazilian border (for teaching)

5:00-8:00 pm - home for dinner, family time
8:00 -9:00pm- meet with church leaders of a local church needing a Pastor

10:00 -11:00pm - visit with neighbors at their invitation
11:00 pm-1:00am- more computer work preparing teaching materials for Friday morning's classes at Air Force



5:00am- up again!!!

7:00-11:00 am- Give a Seminar on the dangers and damages of pornography to the Paraguayan Air Force Warrant Officers .

12:00-1:00 am- grill the meat for lunch

1:00-2:00pm- teach two algebra classes to the girls

2:00-4:00 pm- family time

4:00-5:00 pm- Discipleship class

5:00 -12:00 pm- prepare for overnight bus trip to the Brazilian border

- bus trip

He doesn't sleep, never has. I feel it is my responsibility to try and make up for all the hours he misses. It is a tough job but one I take very seriously! :)

Share an International Recipe

Yesterday a friend from Spain sent me a Peruvian recipe I have been anxious to receive.

Deanna said...Here's the recipe for the Papa la Huancaina you asked for:

queso fresco 400 gramos
leche 1 taza
aji - 2 cucharaditas
galleta soda - 3
aceite - un chorrito
sal - al gusto

Put all in blender and blend til smooth. Add more milk til of good consistency. Pour over boiled, cooled, peeled and sliced potatoes that are sitting on a lettuce leaf. Adorn with black olives and hard boiled eggs.

And I found this Paraguayan recipe on a friend's blog.
Betty lives here in Paraguay in the Chaco!


2 eggs
300 gr. cheese
1/2 c. oil
1 c. milk
1 tsp. salt

Put these ingredients into a blender and mix well.

1. Then pour this liquid into a bowl and add 2 tsp. baking powder and enough corn starch to make a dough to form little balls. Bake them in a moderately hot oven, until golden brown.
This is one variety.
2. Add 2 tsp. baking powder and enough corn starch to make a dough that you can still pour. Then I pour the dough into my mini muffin tins and bake them until golden brown.
These chipa will be a little softer.

This is a photo I took at a soccer game. This is the common way to transport chipa. In the evenings the vendors are at every intersection selling the fresh chipa. Quite amazing the way they carry it around on their heads!

Do you have a favorite international recipe you would like to share with us?

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Ok, after much delay, I took the plunge and opened a Facebook account.

I was reluctant to do this because, I spend too much time on line already! I did not even mean to start this blog. It was started by accident while attempting to leave a comment on my daughter's blog. The next thing I know, I had created a blog.

Then, out of no where, people came to read my posts. This made me feel obligated to write something for them to read. Slowly, my readership grew to around 200 a day and I now feel that I must try and write something every day.

It is like having a baby to feed and care for. It takes up time but is also very rewarding. Having to be in comment moderation requires me to check the comments several times a day, which is a bit like changing my bloggy baby's diaper!

Blogging has given me an outlet for writing my jungle stories, sharing my political thoughts, and just having a good time with people from all over the world. But it is much more than I had ever I was avoiding the whole Facebook thing, not wanting to get sucked into another internet vortex!

Today my daughter made me do it! I am now on Facebook and some of my non blogging friends are happy to find me there. I am not sure what to do with it yet...

So what about you, are you on Facebook?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Paraguay - Early History

Spain had sent forth a large fleet consisting of 11 sea vessels and over 2500 men with the charge of conquering "the Countries of La Plata". It is written that on August 15, 1537, two of the smallest vessels had bravely managed to make their way into the deep interior of this wild, unknown country.

Disembarking upon the shores of the river known as the Paraguay River, the white men, dressed in their armor, planted their feet upon this strange new land with every intention of remaining.

The date, August15 th, on the Catholic calendar, was remembered as the day of the"Assumption of Maria". Therefor, they named the new place with the rather grandiose title, "Casa Fuerte Nuestra Senora de la Asunción."

Today, the capital of the country of Paraguay is known by this name but usually it is shortened to simply, 'Asunción'. For many years this city would be known as the heart of South America.

This meeting of Spaniards with the local indians, the Guarani, was remarkably peaceful, mostly because of the hospitality of the indians towards the Spaniards. The Spaniards had the, ahem, luck, ahem, of arriving at a time when the Guarani tribe found themselves lacking in males and with an over abundance of females. The reason for this is not clear, perhaps from a prolonged war or sickness.

They decided to share their women among the Spaniards in the hopes of preserving the tribe through the offspring. It seems the gentlemen from Spain were in agreement with this offered hospitality. According to the writings of a Father Paniagau who lived at that time, each Spaniard was offered between 30 and 50 Guarani women!

A product of this intermingling was that both indian and European developed strong familial ties to each other in a way not shared in other conquered lands.

The Governor during the years 1539 -1556, Domingo Martinez de Irala was said to have 70 Guarani wives! Consequently, the name Irala is still a common one among Paraguayans.

This peaceful co-existence between the two races due to the open hospitality of the Guarani indians towards the new arrivals is said to be the basis for the renowned friendliness and welcoming spirit which is still prevalent among the Paraguayans of this day.

As a foreigner recently arrived here upon the shores of the Paraguay River, in the city of Asunción, I am even now a recipient of their graciousness which they so freely bestow upon new comers. I have been impressed with a society that is so genuinely kind hearted and eager to offer assistance.

But, if anyone starts offering 50 Guarani wives to my husband, things could become violent very quickly!

Sign my new Guest book!

I have done this in the past but I have many new readers and would love for you ALL to sign my guest book!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Landing on our airstrip

This is a landing on our short airstrip. The airstrip was 440 meters long and we always had a bit of a downdraft as we flew in over the river. On this day the downdraft was quite strong.

A slide show of our jungle flight program.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Talent Shows- Jungle Style

We've got talent!

Since everyone enjoyed Jackie's letter, I decided to share one of her childhood memories.

Missionary familes have a lot of talent. If you've ever been at a missions conference before you know what I'm talking about. Mr. Missionary stands up and introduces his large family. They are imaculatly dressed and perfectly behaved. Mr. Missionary calls Mrs. Missionary and all the Little Missionaries up to the platform where they sing a song. Oh, but they dont just sing a song because every single one of their children (all eleven of them) can play a different instrument, and play it well. They sing with harmony, and then, after the song, because it wasn't cute enough, the Youngest Missionary (about six months old or so) recites Psalm 23. Most missionary families are like that, great voices, and amazing music abilities.

Then there was the Vernoy family. We all have decent voices....sometimes. Depends on what mood we're in I guess. As for playing instruments? Dream on. We were too busy reading books to learn an instrument, plus we lived in the Amazon and there's a shortage of piano teachers out there. Not to mention pianos.

So, in many missions conferences we sat and watched yet another amazingly talented Super Missionary family sing lovely songs in multiple languages. Then it was our turn to do something. But what?

It's not that we didn't have talent! Oh, we have talent. We even held talent shows in the jungle...the Indians loved them! They were usually held on weekends, when our house was especially full. They would start crowding in, thumbing through our old National Geographic magazines, and then some brave soul would ask my sister, Jewel, if she could do a one handed cartwheel. Always eager to please, Jewel begin to tumble about the living room which would bring on a chorus of "ooh's" and "aahs." Not to be outdone, Jayde would impersonate Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, or do the split on the cement floor. The split was always a great big hit. Indians are strong, and muscular, but not flexible AT ALL. Flexibilty is something everyone in my family is blessed with, and the Indians were always impressed. I would sit with my legs crossed "indian style" and then walk on my knees, or put lay flat on the floor, face down, with my legs behind my head. This made quite an impression. The talent show was only getting started! When my mom's turn came she would raise one eyebrow, or while standing with one foot pointed forward, twist the other foot completly back. I share that talent as well, but would let her preform it since I already had so many others. :-) Joshua always added a colorful piece to the show with his accurate impersanation of the village witch doctor, which always brought lots of laughs. My Dad was the biggest hit when he would stand in a doorway, his back towards the barefoot audience, and hug himself with his arms. They thought that was hilarous!

We would continue with our antics, my hog calls, Jewel shimming up the center pole of the house, Jayde throwing her legs over her arms and walking on her hands (it's really hard to explain,you have to see it) Yes, our talent shows were very cool. The coolest thing going on in that village anway.

As "cool" as we thought we were, we just didn't think churches would appreciate our kind of talent during their conferences. I can picture it now. The pastor gets behind the pulpit, "Why, thank you Super Missionary Family for that lovely rendition of Amazing Grace in five langues,with twelve different instruments. Truly a blessing. And now, our next family, the Vernoys, will be doing their hog calls, and their youngest will finish off by swinging from the rafters while singing 'Crazy' in her Patsy Cline voice."

Hmm...doens't seem very likely. What usually happened was my dad would stand up, introduce and say, "We just dont' sing...but we have some stories we could tell you!" Or, as one missionary friend put it, "I would sing a special for you, but it would probably be more special if I didn't!"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Random notes to myself.

Quit trying to watch Iron Chef Japan! It only gives me a head ache listening to the Japanese while reading Spanish subtitles.

When arriving at a home, do not knock or bang keys against the bars, as in Venezuela, just clap your hands!

Para recordarme :
Aunque no tengo bebe, si tengo un coche.
No tengo carro, pues, que no tengo caballo!

Manteca is BUTTER here. ( Real manteca is grasa de chancho, chancho being pig)

Female infants are NEVER to be called 'hembras'.

Quit saying 'chevere' and 'na guara'! They say I sound like a Venezuelan novela ! ( soap opera)

Remember the ice cream is no longer buy one get one free on Monday's. The cashier informed us it is now 50% off...but NOT buy one get one free!

Do not allow my husband to eat food prepared by other women unless I eat it also.They may cause him to fall in love with them by adding 'something' (Trust me, you DO NOT want to know!) to the food.

The Paraguayan Paratroopers coming to church in their uniforms with red berets are NOT chavistas !

The word 'obama' in the Guarani language means 'he just left' or 'he is moving'. I was informed of this by a friend and have checked with many Guarani speakers and they all agree. SO...every time I say the word 'obama' I will pretend to be speaking Guarani and remind myself that Obama will also move out of the White House one day! Nothing is forever.

All tennis shoes are called 'Championes', actually all closed toed shoes.

Watermelon is a very dangerous food to eat, and if eaten at the wrong time or in combination with the wrong foods, it can kill you.

McDonalds delivers! Ice cream can also be ordered and delivered to your door.

Y ...Vos! Vos! Vos!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Honoring Our Family's Veterans

Today is Veterans' Day

Uncle Claire Roberts served with the US Army during WWII in Europe.
Upon returning to the US, he worked on Parris Island
as a heavy equipment operator until his retirement.

My father-in-law Ed Vernoy Jr.
served with the U.S.M.C. at Guatanamo, Cuba.
He went on to work with NATO in Alaska, Turkey,and Germany.

( Ed Vernoy Sr. served in the Marine Corps during WWII in Okinawa.
Sadly, I have no photo. He became the president of is hometown bank in Connecticut)

My husband, Clint Vernoy joined the Marine Corps in 1980 ,
not yet knowing the Iranians taking of the Americans hostage
would be just the beginning of a long war on terror.
He has gone on to become a missionary in the jungles of Venezuela
and now in Paraguay.

We have others in the family serving even now in places such as
Europe, Afghanistan, Iraq and West Point.

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

On Veterans Day, we pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the men and women who in defense of our freedom have bravely worn the uniform of the United States.

From the fields and forests of war-torn Europe to the jungles of Southeast Asia, from the deserts of Iraq to the mountains of Afghanistan, brave patriots have protected our Nation's ideals, rescued millions from tyranny, and helped spread freedom around the globe. America's veterans answered the call when asked to protect our Nation from some of the most brutal and ruthless tyrants, terrorists, and militaries the world has ever known. They stood tall in the face of grave danger and enabled our Nation to become the greatest force for freedom in human history. Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard have answered a high calling to serve and have helped secure America at every turn.

Our country is forever indebted to our veterans for their quiet courage and exemplary service. We also remember and honor those who laid down their lives in freedom's defense. These brave men and women made the ultimate sacrifice for our benefit. On Veterans Day, we remember these heroes for their valor, their loyalty, and their dedication. Their selfless sacrifices continue to inspire us today as we work to advance peace and extend freedom around the world.

With respect for and in recognition of the contributions our service members have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, the Congress has provided (5 U.S.C. 6103(a)) that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal public holiday to honor America's veterans.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 11, 2008, as Veterans Day and urge all Americans to observe November 9 through November 15, 2008, as National Veterans Awareness Week. I encourage all Americans to recognize the bravery and sacrifice of our veterans through ceremonies and prayers. I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to support and participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I invite civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, businesses, unions, and the media to support this national observance with commemorative expressions and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Semper Fi

Happy Birthday Marine Corps !

233rd birthday.

Ooh rah!

My husband and I at the Marine Corps Birthday Ball of 1983

From: Commandant of the Marine Corps

To: All Marines

During the summer of 1982, in the wake of a presidential directive, Marines went ashore at Beirut, Lebanon. Fifteen months later, on 23 October 1983, extremists struck the first major blow against American forces—starting this long war on terrorism. On that Sunday morning, a suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden truck into the headquarters of Battalion Landing Team 1/8, destroying the building and killing 241 Marines and Corpsmen.

Extremists have attacked our nation, at home and abroad, numerous times since that fateful day in Beirut. Their aim has always been the same—to kill as many innocent Americans as possible. The attacks of 11 September 2001 changed our nation forever, and our president resolved that this nation will not stand idle while murderous terrorists plot their next strike. Marines will continue to take the fight to the enemy—hitting them on their own turf, crushing them when they show themselves, finding them where they hide.

Only a few Americans choose the dangerous, but necessary, work of fighting our Nation’s enemies. When our chapter of history is written, it will be a saga of a selfless generation of Marines who were willing to stand up and fight for our Nation; to defend those who could not defend themselves; to thrive on the hardship and sacrifice expected of an elite warrior class; to march to the sound of guns and ably shoulder the legacy of those Marines who have gone before.

On our 233rd birthday, first remember those who have served and those “angels” who have fallen—our reputation was built on their sacrifices. Remember our families; they are the unsung heroes whose support and dedication allow us to answer our Nation’s call. Finally, to all Marines and Sailors, know that I am proud of you, what you do. Your successes on the battlefield have only added to our illustrious history. General Victor H. “Brute” Krulak said it best when he wrote, “ . . . the United States does not need a Marine Corps . . . the United States wants a Marine Corps.” Your actions, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and across the globe, are at the core of why America loves her Marines.

Happy Birthday, Marines . . . and Semper Fidelis.

James T. Conway,
General, United States Marine Corps
Commandant of the Marine Corps

From Mustang

Dear Anonymous.

Yesterday I received an anonymous comment from someone writing from Barinas, Venezuela. As I do to so many rude comments, I deleted it with a sigh at the poor persons ignorance of true love and happiness.

The commenter said that we had raised our children in an abusive environment by forcing them to live in the jungle in a mud hut without the amenities of civilization.

I shared the content of the comment with my oldest daughter. She has written this fine answer to our Dear Barinas Anonymous Commenter.

( The 'Abusive' Parents)

Written by my daughter, Jackie.

Jackie on her wedding day!

Dear Person Who Left the Clueless Comment,

I'll make this quick.

In a nutshell, you left a comment saying that my parents should not have taken their children to the jungle, and that we were raised in an abusive environment.

You are wrong. A mud hut does not an abusive environment make.

No, we didn't have running water at first. We washed our clothes in the river. This taught us how to work hard.

No, there wasn't any electricity in the beginning. So, we went to bed early and by that "missed out" on many dumb, useless activities. Because of this, not a single one of us have ever been on drugs, gotten drunk, or been arrested.

No, we didn't go to public school. We were homeschooled. This means we were taught by the two people who loved us more than anything else. We didn't get to hang around our "peers" (boo hoo) and learned our social skills from two responsible adults instead of a bunch of kids.

We didn't wear Gap, didn't own an XBox, and shared our bedrooms with siblings.

We didn't get paid to do our chores, were taught to obey right away, and helped build our house.

We started teaching Sunday School when we were as young as 9 years old.

We are all bilingual, some trilingual.

We have gone on to higher education and done well.

We have traveled all around the globe and worked many different jobs.

Two of us are happily married in a divorce ridden society.

We have met government officials, doctors, lawyers, professors, and anthropologists. All have been surprised at how well adjusted we are.

Yes, we missed out on many of the materialistic things this world has to offer. And for that we thank God often.

My youngest sister, 14 years old, sings in the church choir, sings opera, draws beautifully, and has friends in Russia, Paraguay, Venezuela, Ukraine, and the United States, which she contacts on an almost daily basis.

My middle sister, 18 years old, is a talented seamstress, gardener, and very athletic. She also has friends around the globe and will be leaving for US shortly to study nursing.

My brother, 21 years old, is happily married, excelled in Bible School, sells health insurance, preaches in two different languages, and can make anyone laugh.

I am 23 years old, happily married for 4 1/2 years, mother to two children, have lived in five countries, and am a busy pastors wife.

Perhaps you should write the mothers of Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan? It seems to me they may have grown up in an abusive environment. Why else would they be so unhappy?

While we appreciate your concern about our childhood, rest assured...we're fine.
Not a single one of us regrets our childhood, it was an awesome adventure, and we are grateful.

The 'abused' children .


The 'Abused' children.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Why we do it !

John Schroeder quotes Justin Taylor quoting Tullian Tchividjian, quoting his forthcoming book, with this:

There’s a major difference between having a tribal mindset and a missionary mindset. The highest value of a tribally minded person is self-protection. They ask questions like: Since I feel the safest around those who are just like me, how can I protect myself from those who are different than I am? So they intentionally surround themselves with people who think the way they think, like the things they like, and despise the things they despise. As a result, they live with a sense of superiority, looking down on those who are not like them (for half my life I was convinced that surfers like me were far cooler than anyone on the face of this earth).

In contrast to a tribal minded person, the highest value of a missionary minded person is not self-protection but self-sacrifice. A missionary minded person is a person that exists, not primarily for himself but for others. He is a person that is willing to set aside personal preferences in service to those whose preferences are different than his. Missionaries are people who are willing to be inconvenienced, discomforted, and spent for the well-being of others. The Gospel of Jesus Christ demands that we be missionary minded, because the gospel is the story of God sacrificing himself for others.

Stitching up an ax wound.

Hiking to a Panare village.

Setting up camp while traveling to a Pemon village.

Providing medical aid to a remote Ye'kwana village.

Raising children in a mud hut.

What makes it all worth while?
Yekwanaman and Victor doing Biblical translation.

Wanaadi tameedä soto cumjumma'to jooje, chääjäcäinchädäiñe Tönnedö yäätonno 'jemjönö tu'ene'jödöödä. Iiñedö ecaanönei annamjö'da na'de, yeichö töwaatamemjönö töweiye na.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que ha dado a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que en él cree, no se pierda, mas tenga vida eterna.

What is their value to you?
God thought they were worth the life of His only son.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Happy Birthday to my SISTER !

My Big Sister!

You taught me...

How to be neat and wash my feet before getting in to bed!

How to fake a fever to skip school by placing my face over the heat vent! (Yes, you did!)

How to put on mascara!

How to harmonize!

How to wash dishes! Especially since getting your hands wet always sent you to the you know what!

How to babysit and have patience with little ones!

How to laugh and cry at the same time!

How to make Banana Pudding!

How to shop till you drop!

How to scream on a roller coaster!

Hot to take sermon notes during church!

How to clean a bathroom that would pass any ones inspection! (Even Monk on TV!)

How to spy on boys !

How to open locked diaries!!! (Ooops! UH...yeah, sorry about that!)

How to use a CB radio! To flirt with guys!! He he!

How to annoy my brother!( I think I would have figured that our on my own eventually!)

How to love Southern Gospel Quartet Music! ( Especially the Cathedrals)

How to love God and put Him first in my life!

In Mexico! We were SOOOOOO young!

Still lookin' good girl!