Friday, July 27, 2012

VBS Pictures

Praise and Worship Songs:
"I Don't Want to Be a Yo-Yo"
"My God is So Big"
"Every Move I Make"
...all in Spanish!

 Craft Time:
Making Creation-themed mobiles

 VBS After-party:
Finishing the mobiles for the kids!

 We had plenty of sunshine at just the right times of day!

 Games on Parents Day

 Patiently waiting their turns to go get hot dogs

 Too excited to play with the big kids!

 Hot dogs for snack on Parents Day

 Praise and worship

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Language Learning

Sometimes, language learning is great--you get to sit down with a language helper/friend and really get some solid study time in.  Hopefully this happens more often than not, but...well...sometimes life happens, too!  I've had many people ask over the years what it's here's a little idea of the past few weeks:

Sometimes language study means:
Getting in some study time with S
Learning how to talk and manage a classroom of children for VBS
Taking time to help with projects at church (paper-maché)
Taking a break with other language learners (9 in an SUV!--Kids, don't do this at home!)
Getting burnt out--like the smoking iron plug, which was being used as it smoked out of the wall.  I have a new iron now!
Almost always, it means going with the flow--at the laundromat, I am now "Carmen Martinez"

And, sometimes it means being sick and resting--therefore, not getting much language learning done at all--Day 5 of doctor-ordered rest.

As you can see, language learning is flexible!  Please pray that I'll have some good study time during the next two months.  At the end of September, I have another language evaluation, and I'm working really hard to be in level 7.  July has been a month with many extra-curricular activities at church, and I'm looking forward to some focused language study time. 

Thank you for your prayers! 

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Better Nationality

   Tomorrow is Independence Day.  Family and friends will be barbecuing, watching fireworks, shooting firecrackers, and sweating.
   Tomorrow is July 4th.  I'll be preparing crafts for VBS, listening to Spanish recordings, eating rice and beans, and probably not sweating.  It is winter here, after all.
   Due to the U.S. holiday, and an unpleasant experience this morning, I've spent much of the day thinking about nationalities.  This morning I was appalled by the words of someone I did not know, in a mixed-nationality group, who claimed that someone else was rude because of her nationality.  I wanted to say something, but chose to listen to the group.  In the end, I know this statement was made in ignorance and immaturity.
   We are all so proud of our nationalities.  Americans quote a poem to a cloth flapping in the wind, Paraguayans dress in red-and-white shirts on game day, Mexicans stand on the street as a three-hour parade passes.  Americans decorate in red, white, and blue; Paraguayans decorate in red, white, and blue; and Mexicans decorate in red, white, to show our allegiances to our respective flags.  All three nationalities celebrate by eating.  Each is proud of their country, and who they are.
   But, in my semi-tri-cultural self, which is the better nationality?  Do I celebrate three independence days each year?  Honestly, no; I generally go with the country where I am physically.
   Why am I able to do this?  Why does July 4th not stop me in my tracks for a culture shock meltdown?  Because I know which is the better nation:
                               "But you [Christians] are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
                               a holy nation, a people for [God's] own possession, that you
                               may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out 
                               of darkness into his marvelous light."  1 Peter 2:9
For this, I am able to set aside former traditions for a time, and pick up new ones.  Despite my passport, my identity is not based on where I was born.  My true identity is based on who the Holy Spirit is transforming me to be in his "holy nation"--the people of God.
   So today, as many Americans are celebrating, take a moment to "proclaim the excellencies of him who called you [...] into his marvelous light"!
   And, please, someone eat some ribs, sweet corn, and potato salad for me.
                                        Love, Carrie

PS--Fellow outside-the-US-ers:  No judgment is being passed on people spread around the globe who are struck by culture shock on July 4th.  I'll get it another day and for other reasons, don't worry--but I hope this has been some encouragement to you as you may be missing home!