Saturday, December 29, 2012

Why A Furlough?

In my last post, I mentioned a that I'll be taking a furlough in 2013.  It's been exciting to see God planning all of this--because it was definitely not what I expected for the first half of 2013.   

The Short Version:
Why a furlough?  Timing.

The Mid-Length Version:
Why a furlough?  Timing.  It would be better for me to go in early 2013 instead of early 2014. 

The Long Version:
Why a furlough?  Timing. :-)  I had a meeting in November with field leadership about going to a tribe with or without another single co-worker.  They shared with me that it was not a requirement that I wait for a co-worker, which meant that I would be able to get into a tribal work much sooner than I originally expected.  That evening when I arrived home, I had an email from a church asking me to be in the U.S. either in 2013 or 2014 for a missions conference.  I prayed about it over the weekend and decided that it would be better to be at the 2013 missions conference.  I sought wise council from friends and other missionaries, and we were all in agreement.  The more I have looked at the plans for the conference and a 5-month furlough in the U.S., the more confident I have been that this is how God is leading.

When I return to Paraguay at the end of July, I'll be able to start making better plans for joining a  tribal work in Paraguay: forming a team, choosing a work, and allocating there.  I'm really excited--not just about visiting all of you in the U.S., but also to get back to Paraguay and "get to work!"

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December pictures

I shared with my church about my plans for 2013--including a short furlough! (Stay tuned)

 Playing games at youth group--somehow two of our leaders got to the that planned?? :-)

Decorating the church for the Christmas service

The names of Christ from Isaiah 9:6

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Some November Pictures

 The second weekend in November I went to the country with the ladies from church.  Next Sunday NTM is going to the same place--looking forward to finding some nice places to take pictures!

The Catholic church in this town is ORANGE.  

A Sunday drive to the lake with Claudia and her family

Claudia's younger brother, Andres, and I got to take the muffler off the car after it dropped

Lake Ypacarai

Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 30th, with Fermin, Grachi, Andres, and Claudia

Serving up plates in the kitchen: chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, creamed spinach, salad, and cucumbers in vinegar

We finished the night off with chocolate cream pie & peach pie

And we watched "Ever After" and decided that we'll still love it when we're 80 years old!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

It's a 110 in the sha-a-ade... I went to the open-air market at 4pm.  Okay, so technically it was only 100° today, but I'm pretty sure it was hotter.  Especially in the market.  Buying veggies.  I stopped to buy eggs, even though they weren't on the list, and thought you might like to see how they were packaged:

 And you know what, it works!  None broke until I got home and dropped one as I was storing them in The Rooster (on a side note, I haven't seen a white egg in nearly 16 months)

Here's everything I bought in the market today:
4 large cucumbers
4 green peppers
6 red peppers
8 carrots
12 stalks of chard
2 small stalks of celery
1 dozen eggs

total price: $6.25 USD

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bandwagons and Thankfulness

I tend to not jump on bandwagons.  I generally try to let them pass without even looking, or gawk at the "train-wreck" that is passing by.  But sometimes, I reject bandwagons that are good--simply because "everyone else is doing it."  (I would be the last lemming on the cliff waving at all the others...)  

So, now, 22 days into the Facebook trend "Days of Thankfulness" I'm jumping on, and holding on it comes:

1--I am grateful for a family that supports me wherever I am, in whatever I do--unconditionally
2--I am grateful for the warm days of November (I'm upside down remember--southern hemisphere) and the fans and A/C that accompany them!
3--I am grateful for the friends God has given me in Paraguay and those spread out around the world
4--I am grateful for my friends (well, and those I don't know, too) who have gone into strange, unknown lands to make Jesus known where people have rejected him for thousands of years (Romans 1)
5--I am grateful for grandparents and parents who walk(ed) with the Lord
6--I am grateful that I've been blessed to live in countries where the gospel of Jesus Christ can be preached freely
7--I am grateful for the technology that makes language learning easier, and enables me to stay connected with family and friends
8--I am grateful for water that runs directly into my house and indoor plumbing
9--I am grateful that I have the Word of God in my heart language, and that I can read it in different versions for clarity
10--I am grateful for my nephew who is far away, and the near-by "nieces and nephews" that God has given me
11--I am grateful that a creative God made us in His image with the ability to be creative as well
12--I am grateful for my health
13--I am grateful that God counsels us and speaks to us if we will only listen
14--I am grateful for cameras which enable to us to capture memories
15--I am grateful for my "baby" brother who calls "just because"--no matter the hour
16--I am grateful for my Kindle which enables me to read in English in a non-English speaking country
17--I am grateful for public transportation--a money-saving tip I never knew in the U.S.!
18--I am grateful for surrogate families that God has given me with every move
19--I am grateful for Jesus Christ who died for my sin and took my place on the cross
20--I am grateful that Jesus is coming back soon! 
21--I am grateful for music and can't imagine what praising God for all eternity will look like (cue mind-blowing thoughts of what that will look like!)
22--I'm grateful for friends who tell me "We're going out for pizza on Thanksgiving, so you won't be missing your family!" 

...and that's just scratching the surface. 

(Now how does one get off this bandwagon?  Maybe I'll just stay on...)

Friday, November 09, 2012

Poured Out

I've been feeling poured out lately.  I had a few weeks where I felt filled up to overflowing, and by the end of the following week, I was tipping the "jar" which is Carrie and shaking it, looking up inside and wondering who would receive the blessing of that last little drop that clung to the bottom of the jar.  There are various reasons for being poured out--I've been studying Spanish almost consistently for about 15 months now, I'm with people a lot, I've never scheduled myself an official "day-off" within my week, and weekends are far from restful.  Add to that young women from church asking for Godly advice and wisdom--which requires that I be in a solid relationship with my Father in order to guide them to Him.  Maintaining relationships in Paraguay within the mission; from my local church here in Asuncion; churches, supporters, and friends around the world--it's very easy to feel poured out, used up, done.

But now what?

Now that the last drop is gone, the "jar" which is Carrie is completely empty--now what do I do?  Now I have a choice.  I let God fill me up again, or I keep doing all these same things in my strength.  And, seeing as how there's not much strength there (relatively speaking--we're talking about replacing my human strength with the strength of Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Rafa, The Creator of the Universe...) I'm actively choosing to let God fill me again.  I know I'll feel this way again, used up and poured out.  Why?  Because that is why I am filled.  God doesn't fill us in order to be happy little jars filled to the brim.  He fills us so we can be poured out in the lives of others, edifying the Body of Christ.  

Have you been poured out lately?

Monday, November 05, 2012


 Well, I would like to say that October has "just flown by"--but then I realize the entire year has nearly flown by!  So I've decided to "nutshell" October in pictures:

A group of us went out for pizza to celebrate Hilda's birthday
Hilda, me, and Anahi
October held many goodbyes and tears as three missionaries
returned to the U.S.
One Sunday night a group of youth from our church came to visit
The guys ended up playing a game from when they were little
--jumping over each other

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Esta es una devocional que voy a compartir el alzo acá para que mis amigos de mi iglesia puedan leerla.  

(This is a devotional that'll be sharing on Friday...I'm putting it here so my friends from church can read it.  Thanks for your patience--the next post will be in English again!)

Buenas tardes.  Hoy quiero compartir con ustedes una parte de las escrituras que está en 1ª de Corintios 9.24 al 27.  Muchas veces me preguntaron si es que soy deportista.  Pero nunca jugué ni futbol ni basket ni volley, no participo porque no me importa competir sino compartir.  Lo que me gusta es divertirme con las demás personas mientras juego con ellas.  Por más que no soy deportista conozco a que se refiere el mundo el deporte.  Primero porque crecí viéndole a mi papá jugando futbol y luego vi todos los juegos de mi hermano cuando él practicaba futbol americano.  Pablo hablaba mucho de los deportes porque en aquella época habían dos juegos muy importantes—los juegos olímpicos y los juegos ístmicos.  Los atletas tenían que esforzarse muchísimo, tenían que entrenar durante muchísimo tiempo para llegar hasta el día de la competencia.  Y para los juegos ístimicos los atletas juraban que habían entrenado durante 10 meses seguidos antes de la competencia.  Y probablemente el hecho de tener que jurar antes de competir era lo que a ellos les motivaban a disciplinarse.  Les motivaba a esforzarse aun más.  Porque además de competir, ellos tenían que entregar su palabra.  Vamos a leer 1ª de Corintios 9.24 al 27.
“Ustedes saben que, en una carrera, no todos ganan el premio, sino uno solo.  Pues nuestra vida como seguidores de Cristo es como una carrera, así que vivamos bien para llevarnos el premio.  Los que se preparan para competir en un deporte, dejan de hacer todo lo que pueda perjudicarlos.  ¡Y lo hacen para ganarse un premio que no dura mucho!  Nosotros, en cambio, lo hacemos para recibir un premio que dura para siempre.  Yo me esfuerzo por recibirlo.  Así que no lucho sin un propósito.  Al contrario, vivo con mucha disciplina y trato de dominarme a mí mismo.   Pues si anuncio a otros la buena noticia, no quiero que al final Dios me descalifique a mí.” 
En este pasaje, Pablo empieza diciendo “Ustedes saben que…” dirigiéndose a los corintios.  En Corinto todos sabían lo mucho que se esforzaban los atletas antes de poder competir y al final ganar el premio.  Y ellos, lo que más aspiraban, era ganar ese premio aunque sea cortito el tiempo que iban a tenerlo en sus manos.  Y de la misma manera, nosotros como hijos de Dios apuntamos a un premio.  Pero nuestro premio es diferente, no es un premio chiquitito y que dura unas cuantas horitas como esa corona de laureles.  Nuestro premio es eterno y dura para siempre.  Así como los deportistas nosotros también debemos tener nuestra mirada puesta en un propósito.  Pero no solamente en el premio, sino como dice en Colosenses 3.2 “Poner nuestra mirada en las cosas de arriba.”  Debemos enfocarnos en las cosas de la eternidad. 
¿Qué pasaría si no nos enfocamos en las cosas de arriba?  Podemos usar a Usain Bolt como un ejemplo.  Usain Bolt es el hombre más rápido del mundo hasta ahora.  Pero que pasaría si es que en vez de correr hacia la meta corre en la dirección contraria.  Aunque sea el hombre más rápido de todo el mundo, no ganaría el premio.  Lo mismo pasa con nosotros.  Si no nos enfocamos y si no tenemos nuestra mirada puesta en Cristo, no nos sirve de nada correr la carrera.  Porque vamos en la dirección equivocada.
La palabra griega que usa Pablo para referirse a “Los que se preparan para competir” es la palabra “agonizar.”  Agonizar significa “estar muriéndose una persona o animal, estar a punto una cosa extinguirse o acabarse, y sentir mucha angustia o dolor.”  Me pregunto si estoy haciendo eso mismo en relación a mi conexión con Dios.  ¿Será que estoy agonizando a tal punto de negarme a mi misma o dejar que mi “yo” muera para que Cristo viva en mi y para que él se glorifique en mi vida?  Hay veces que no lo hago.   Yo puedo pedirle a Dios que purifique mis pensamientos—pero no puedo luego ver cosas que contaminan mi mente y mi corazón en la televisión.  Puedo pedirle a Dios que me ayude administrar mi tiempo—pero también yo debo ponerme límites al momento de ver televisión o navegar en internet o leer un libro.  Siempre deben existir límites.  Puedo pedirle a Dios que me ayude con mis estudios de español—pero soy YO quien debe estudiar. 
“Poner nuestra mirada en las cosas de arriba” nos va a ayudar a desarrollar los frutos del Espíritu Santo, entre ellos la templanza.  La templanza tiene que ver con equilibrio, con balance, y esta misma palabra se usa refiriéndose a los metales.  El herrero, lo que hace, es templar el metal.  Y este proceso consiste básicamente en calentar el metal, colocarlo bajo mucha presión y cambiar su forma para que luego este sea mucho más fuerte.  Pablo dijo que él se disciplinaba a si mismo, hasta tener moretones.  Esto no quiere decir que él se auto-flagelaba o se golpeaba, sino que él se refería más bien a su carácter.  El templaba su “yo” por decirlo así.  El tenía que ponerse límites.  El deseaba que el Espíritu Santo obre en su vida y le moldee. 
Para terminar, me pregunto si yo me enfoco más en poner mi mirada en Dios o simplemente me enfoco en cumplir con mis responsabilidades.  Como dice en 1ª de Corintios 9.27, “Vivo con mucha disciplina, y trato de dominarme a mi mismo, pues si anuncio a otros la buena noticia, no quiero que al final Dios me descalifica a mi.”  Les animo que puedan seguir luchando.  Todos estamos en diferentes etapas, algunos todavía estamos estudiando, otros ya están a punto de ir a la tribu.  Pero les animo no solamente a que sigan luchando por conseguir dominar el español o ir a la tribu.  Nosotros estamos luchando por algo mucho más importante. 
Quiero terminar con una pequeñita historia.  En la maratón de Nueva York de 1986, pasó algo asombroso—no porque se haya generado un nuevo record, ni por quien haya ganado la carrera.  Lo increíble fue la persona que llegó último.  Bob Weiland fue el último en llegar de 19,413 personas.  Llegó en 4 días, 2 horas, 48 minutos, y 17 segundos.  El corrió 42 kilómetros con sus brazos.  El estaba en Vietnam en 1969 cuando pisó una mina y la mina explotó.  Bob perdió sus piernas.  El pudo haber dicho “No puedo.  No lo voy a lograr.  Es imposible que yo pueda correr esta maratón.”  Tenía todo el derecho.  Sin embargo, él terminó la carrera.  El llegó a la meta, no fue el primero, no fue el segundo.  Pero lo más valioso es que terminó la carrera.  Llegó a la meta.  Muchas veces lo más importante no es ganar.  Lo importante es llegar a la meta.  Por eso como hijos de Dios, nuestro enfoque debe estar puesto en llegar a nuestra meta que es la eternidad, ver a Cristo cara a cara, y cuando estemos ahí frente a El, que El pueda decirnos, “Bien, buen siervo y fiel.”

Gracias por leerlo, amigo/a!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012


God's been faithfully blessing me with many new friends lately, and I've been enjoying getting to know them!
With friends at a concert

With Anahi studying Spanish
Learning sign language at church (It's different from American S.L.)

With friends out for pizza after the symphonic orchestra--at 10:30pm!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Many Moons Ago

When I was little, I always enjoyed looking at my dad's pictures and news articles from his high school and college soccer games and wrestling matches.  There was one picture in particular etched in my memory, of Dad in full-kick and it was perfectly a goal he made during the game.  Yesterday was our church's annual soccer tournament, and, like last year, I planned to take pictures--and was hoping for one really good one!  Leave comments below to let me know your favorite!

Before the first game--still fresh!  9:30am

Team work to get the goals

Diego, Goalie

A very zoomed-in picture, but it was a great shot!

After Chino's goal

Chino, Scorer



Carlitos with good footwork

Carlitos again :-)

Capi, Defense

Kali--flying in the air!

Our guys' team at church won out of the 8 churches in the tourney!
Better than watching 9 soccer games yesterday and managing to take over 800 pictures in one day--was seeing these same guys worshiping the Lord this morning at church. Last night after the tournament, we all went back to the church to grill out.  The pastor asked "So how many goals did each of you make?"  Each guy went around the circle counting--"5," "8," "1" (the penalty kick that one the entire tournament!), "1" (the only goal made by a header,)...and the last guy, one who played almost the entire day?  "I didn't count."  The humility of these guys was impressive.  Everyone had a great day!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lost in Translation


No, I did not fall asleep on my keyboard.  That's what this shirt says, at a fancy (read, expensive) boutique around the block.  I got a giggle from it each time I saw it, and finally snapped a picture.  As odd as it may seem, it was a daily reminder of the purpose of "getting it right" when it comes to the language.  I know I wouldn't want to walk around in a t-shirt with a foreign language misspelled (and making absolutely NO sense!)...and how much more important is the Holy Word of God?  Please be in prayer as I continue studying Spanish.  Thanks!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My People

Last weekend we had a special Saturday evening for Youth Day at church.  The evening focus was outreach to new youth & young adults.  A group of the kids put together a pantomime to a Christian song here.  I make my appearance in the video pretty early on. :-)  Hope you enjoy it!

(It's about a guy who has everything, but in reality, he has nothing..until...)

CLICK HERE to see the YouTube video


Monday, September 24, 2012

A Fresh Breath of Air

 Today was my language evaluation, and to celebrate, I ordered a kilo of ice cream.  It was delivered just a few minutes later!
Chocolate, Dulce de Leche, Pineapple, and Strawberry
I got a great kick out of the 15 baby spatula spoons...without plans to share with 14 other people!!
It's been 6 weeks since my surgery!  My lifting restrictions are now gone & I can get back to "normal."  So, tonight before I go to bed, I'll cut off the "Don't-forget-you-can't-lift-anything" bracelet.  I should know how I did on my eval within the month, until then--I keep studying!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Zoo

 Wednesday I got to take a "vacation day" and go to the local zoo with friends.  It was super quiet at the zoo, and we walked around for hours just looking at all the animals and then having a picnic lunch while watching monkeys, deer, capybara, and birds in a "natural" habitat. 

Tapir, often considered "All the leftovers from Creation in one animal!"
Emu or Ñandu--Each time we walked past he's show off

We got to the hippos just in time for lunch, so they were out of the water

Moto-Moto (okay, not his real zoo name!) in action--check out those teeth!

This little guy would hold on with his tail and swing down for a little drink.

This elephant is 40 years old!  A worker told us that she's protective of the tire like a boyfriend or her child--if they try to touch it, she'll attack them!