Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Three Grands

Grandchildren are God's way of
compensating us for growing old.
.Mary H. Waldrip

"Becoming a grandmother is wonderful. One moment
you're just a mother. The next you are all-wise and


Friday, March 25, 2011

The Preacher's Wife

I was blessed to be born into a family full of pastors, most of whom were Baptist preachers. This has been normal for me my entire life. I have been related to Baptist preachers in just about every familial relationship possible.

When I was born, I was born to the titles of;

The Preacher's great grand daughter
The Preacher's grand daughter
The Preacher's niece.
The Preacher's cousin.

Upon my father's ordination, I also became,

The Preacher's daughter.

Later when I married, I gained the titles,

The Preacher's wife
The Preacher's sister-in-law.

When my daughter married , I became,

The Preacher's mother-in-law.

My son is not ordained yet, but he is already preaching, so I am also now,

The Preacher's mother.

I have several nephews also in school who are preparing for the ministry and so I have become,

The Preacher's aunt.

However, since we are independent Baptist, the one title I will never have is,


Which probably explains why I have this blog...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Here we go again...

 My laptop died a few months back in a freak drowning accident involving a chimney, and, no, I don't make this stuff up! The edited manuscript of my book was irretrievable from the hard drive. This is discouraging, to say the very least but I have decided it must mean that God saw need for a lot more editing to be done on this book. Three years ago, this was fun, now it is getting difficult to remain excited about writing my story. Again.

But I am doing it, again. I have committed to write 1000 words per day, 6 days a week. I may adjust that down to 5 days a week as my schedule with church ministry becomes more demanding. I do feel more liberty to make some changes in format this time around and I suppose it is best to not think of the lost manuscript as wasted or lost time. It was a valuable experience and gave me a chance to grow in my writing style, find my voice, and work on my craft. So it is not truly a disaster but a learning process.

 I decided to share a few paragraphs of the opening of a new chapter I am working on at the moment.
Your feedback is welcome!

How I Became the Village Idiot

The weight of the baby sitting on my hip grew more uncomfortable. I turned and looked towards the path leading from the grass air strip into the jungle. I could still see the two bright heads of my son and daughter bobbing along amidst a crowd of dark haired Indians as they excitedly followed the villagers to the river bank.
My eyes returned to the child in my arms and to my oldest daughter, Jackie, as she stood loyally by my side, holding the diaper bag and other baby supplies. She was slapping at the gnats buzzing around her neck and arms, standing upon one small foot at a time so that the other was free to rub away the annoying gnats biting on her ankles. I blew light puffs of air on to my sleeping baby’s face, trying to keep the gnats from waking her.

My husband was half in, half out, of the small Cessna MAF aircraft which had brought us here. I could hear his conversation with the American missionary pilot, Steve Robinson, arranging the date for our next flight, our next contact with the outside world. He grabbed a few bulky bags from the ground and herded us to the side of the air strip as the plane taxied off to return to its base in Puerto Ayacucho. My husband never looked back at the plane, but began trotting eagerly off down the path to join the others.  With one last look, I saw the pilot dip his wings in a salutary wave.

The dirt path led us towards the rim of jungle on the bank of the Chajura River where a dugout canoe awaited us. It was surprisingly cooler, though still humid, under the jungle trees. I could hear the sound of the river, the sound of rapids above the quiet voices of the Ye’kwana Indians. I could hear my own children speaking in English to one another. The closer we came to the bank, I saw that it was muddy from a recent rain, how was I going to climb down this bank with a baby in my arms?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


The Ye'kwana people are very superstitious, as are many tribal people. The stories are their way to explain the unknown. Some of the beliefs are expected and one can understand why the have the belief. Others are not so easily comprehended and one has to wait until it makes sense to you, or someone in the tribe can reveal it to you in a way that a western mind can grasp. Whichever comes first.

One thing that seems universal among the tribes, is that death is never from a natural cause. Whether the death is of a new born or elder, the death was inevitably caused by witchcraft. You can explain that the baby died from dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea and they will believe you. They also will set out to discover WHO caused the curse of sickness to be placed upon the child, or the elder, or the healthy young man who dies from malaria complications. Someone sent a curse.

And that is when things get interesting! There are so many ways to go about discovering the murderer. Many tests to run, much evidence to study. Many, many hours of discussions around the evening fires. Eventually, it will be discovered.

We once lost a man to yellow fever. He had been very healthy until his bout with the fever. He died one night, quite suddenly. The family was devastated and it was all complicated by the fact that he was from another village. A village where there was a very powerful witch doctor related to the man. This could not be good.

The witch doctor decided there was only one way to determine the killer. The dead man's finger was cut off of the corpse and placed in a kettle of water hung over the cooking fire. A representative of each clan was called to sit in a circle around the fire. As the water began to boil, the severed finger of the dead man began to spin and tumble. This was watched very closely and with baited breath!

Finally, the water boiled off and the finger came to rest on the bottom of the pot. NOW one could clearly see who was guilty for cursing the dead man by sending the yellow fever, for the finger was pointing to the guilty party! Not the actual person, but a member of the clan. NOW the witch doctor would know which village to seek for revenge, which family was the perpetrator. He would be very busy!

The representative of the clan was not guilty as she had married into our clan many years before and could not have been involved, but she was shamed!

The next day the shortwave radio crackled with the news of the results of the finger test. Many denials, many threats, but everyone felt so much better knowing that the yellow fever was sent as a curse and unless they had an enemy, they could relax about becoming sick.

The clan that had been blamed was angered greatly by this accusation, so they requested another test. This required a family member to travel to their village to be present. Interestingly enough, I heard that this test revealed the same guilty party! So another test was to be done. This process could go on for years much as our court system allows for appeals.

Eventually, the family of the dead one will lose interest in the pursuit, send a few hexes out to pay back the murderers, and move on. The anger of the accused will slowly die down, and they will move on. It is all part of the way they deal with their grief. They need to be able to transfer their emotions to another subject in order to get through their days. If it were a Sanema, it would be a very different story as this could be traced back for generations! The family might decide to wait another generation or two before seeking revenge. But rest assured, revenge would be sought!

I witnessed many interesting procedures used in the jungle to determine the guilty parties. I should probably offer my services to the police as an expert to advise the investigators! I have observed how to examine the placenta to determine the biological father of a new born, what is used in a 'love potion', how to curse someone just by using their foot print, and other handy information.

I was even trusted with the evidence and was once asked to freeze the finger of a dead man so that his family could walk over from their village for the boiling finger test...

So, did I, or didn't I ?????

Monday, March 14, 2011

One Degree of Seperation

This is my family  with the American Ambassador to Paraguay, Liliana Ayalde, Thanksgiving of 2009 in Ausncion, Paraguay.

 And this is Ambassador Liliana Ayalde  with President Obama in January 2011.

Kind of cool ! (even if I am not a fan of the man)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Blood, Sweat, and Tears!

By Rita Vernoy
If anyone asked me for my opinion (like I'd wait to be asked!) on what it takes to be a career missionary, I would answer, "Blood, sweat and tears!" It takes years to learn a language and a culture well. A language is picked up long before the culture is truly understood. In most cases, the missionary can attend a language school to learn a rudimentary knowledge of the language, but there is no classroom to learn the culture. When learning a tribal language, one must become childlike and follow people around and try to imitate sounds without a clue as to their meaning. Eventually, one will begin to hear the different individual sounds and can transcribe,well, that's another whole story! It is much more time-consuming and the culture, of course, is totally alien to the western mind.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Being a Missionary is not my Real Job!

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.

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, which happened to a lady here just a few weeks ago, shot dead in the parking lot for $2000 US Dollars. Sometimes our homes and cars are robbed and we have gun shots in the night.

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 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. Often times 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! Personally, I think being able to sleep through gun shots flying over your roof is a Super Power! 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?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011



Jungle Mom had just returned to her home from an evening of church services, when she was startled by an intruder. She caught the manin the act of robbing her home of its valuables and yelled: 'Stop! Acts 2:38( Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,)

The burglar stopped in his tracks. Jungle Mom calmly called the police and explained what she had done.

As the officer cuffed the man to take him in, he asked the burglar: 'Why did you just stand there? All the old lady did was yell a scripture to you.'

'Scripture?' replied the burglar. 'She said she had an Ax and Two 38s!'

Monday, March 07, 2011

Feeling a little cranky!

"...if I die suddenly, my gravestone might appropriately offer this insight into my departure: "God got tired." I require lots of work."

— Beth Moore (Believing God)

It has been a rough patch we have been growing through lately. No one thing in particular, just a lot of little things that seem to add up and become a bit overwhelming.

For instnace, this weekend we were robbed for the second time in a month. The first breakin was thwarted after a window was broken and the alarm sounded which alerted all the neighbors. We continue to have random gun shots fired around our neighborhood and often within feet of our house. Usually these are guards fireing warning shots at intruders but it is unnerving to have  guns shooting off across the street in the middle of the night and then be responded by another gun behind the house. Or house alarms going off for hours at a  time. Not condusive to sleep.

Saturday night our son in law  left his car with us as my husband took him to catch a midnight bus to another city where he was preaching Sunday morning. When we awoke Sunday morning we discovered his van had been broken into, destroying the consul and a window.  The van was parked a few feet away from my daughter's window. All of his electonics, along with our garage remotes, and theirs, were taken as well as a GPS and other items with his address. This meant Jackie and the grand babies were home alone and the theives had their remote and address. So... the day was spent changing locks and securing the two homes  which was made more difficult being a Sunday and most stores are closed.

It also means the thief was walking around our bedroom windows as we found  evidence of their having been in the back yard as well as the front. I don't like that.

So Jackie and the girls are here with us for now. Brian is in Luque and has a bad virus  (fever, vomiting) and is not up for the bus trip home yet. In the mean time, we are dealing with the car insurance issues.

When it rains, it pours! But God is always faithful!

‎"In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me." - Psalm 56:11

I think I will have this blown up and put around our property!

 Go ahead, make my day, PUNK!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

My grand babies!

My daughter, Jackie, made this adorable film of my three grand daughters.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Things I See...

Makes me want to go home and...never mind!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Driving Rules in Ciudad del Este

My husband assures me that there are rules for driving in this city. After months of careful observation I have gathered together the following rules of the road as I see them...

Never pull into a continuous stream of traffic with your eyes open.

Horse drawn vehicles should keep to the middle of the road and weave.

Fast vehicles should stay in Asuncion.

If you are coming from a side road onto the main road, you have the right of way. Do not slow down unless you roll over or hit something. Only stop if the object hit appears to have life.

Hand signals should primarily indicate the driver’s mood.

Only stop at a red light if the car in front has stopped.

At a crossroad when turning left, get into the right hand lane.  Beware of the motorcycle!

At a crossroad when turning right, get into the left-hand lane. Beware of the motorcycle!

If a horse cart hits you, you are going too slow.

If a police car hits you, you are driving recklessly.

If you hit a Paraguayan it's your fault.

If you hit a Brazilian its his fault.

If you hit an Argentine go to the nearest police station and claim your prize.

Do not enter spaces narrower than the width of the car, or a taxi narrower than the width of the passenger.

It is necessary to turn on the windshield wiper a few seconds before any stop.  This will keep some of the wind shield washers from spraying your glass with soapy water.

The horn operation must be checked at least every 10 meters, usually in order to move a cow from the road.

You may also be required to have brakes.

Two lanes are for driving in both directions, whichever side you are on.

The internal mirror is for the use of the driver only - to comb his hair, or hang his icons from.

If you are a foreigner, speed limit signs are in km/h

If you are a native speed limit signs are in m.p.h.

If you are driving on a cobble stone street, the speed limit is as fast as your dental work will allow.

All drivers must comply with the speed limit... or some multiple thereof.