October 25, 2014

Visitors from a Foreign Land

Okay, technically, from here, the United States is a foreign land. And a few family members from the states visited us for about a week, so we took advantage of that time to show off a bit of the country we've come to love.  Unfortunately, our car is STILL in the shop, so we bused it and walked it and taxied it all over the place.

We saw the zoo that cares for animals indigenous to this area, most of them quite different from what you'd see in good ole' South Carolina. 







                        

Of course, we visited the Jesuit Ruins, taking in the huge buildings that have survived centuries, silent witnesses to the slaughter of the native people who sought refuge in those walls.

                             

We visited the school where I taught English this past year, and the pastor gave us a walk-through of the classrooms, where the children sang "Read Your Bible, Pray Every Day" and then they grew, grew, grew.  We saw land that had been purchased to build a new classroom to satisfy government requirements, and office space that will serve the school and the small church that is adjacent to one classroom. We were privileged to pray over this land, the school, the children, and the community before leaving.

We returned to that school a few days later, as I was asked to judge a cultural festival. Each grade represented a certain country, dressed in typical clothes, performed a song and dance, and sold food at elaborate stands they'd built to showcase their chosen country. It was impressive! The best part was that, as judge, each stand provided me with a sort of sampler platter, so that I could also give appropriate points for the dishes they'd prepared.  I loved that job!


Several church groups have hosted events recently, including a concert for youth to welcome spring and a city-wide rally to pray for the area and urge politicians and families to make good choices. During the city rally, a huge Paraguayan flag was passed over the heads of the crowd while local pastors took turns praying for the city, county and nation.


Camille was asked to be the official photographer for several of these events, and she's sharpening her camera skills more and more each week.  I'll leave you with a picture she recently took of the sunset over the river that runs alongside Encarnación, separating us from Argentina.


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September 8, 2014

Yes, We Move About Once a Year...



Since we moved to downtown Encarnación (as opposed to a mile or so up the road), we have lived in a tiny apartment in a medium-sized building.  It afforded us an eency weency balcony, where we strung a couple of ropes and hung about 3/4 a load of clothes. The rest were hung around the house. It felt a little dungeon-like, with only three windows in the whole place, something that also led to tons of black mold growing in the walls, on the furniture, on the books, on the clothes--well, you get it.

http://walkingwonder.blogspot.com/2013/11/cramped-apartments.htmlWe had a miniature kitchen, big enough to turn around in but not much else.  We squeezed a table for four in the living room area, just beside the love seat that was the official school room.  The girls shared a bedroom that might be mistaken as a walk-in closet in some of America's finest mobile homes.  But we could walk to English class and The Bridge, as well as the grocery store, the hardware store, the bakery, and the meat store, so we were thrilled to cut back on gas costs and live so close to everything--especially considering how many months of the past year our car spent in the mechanic's shop.

Day-to-day operations of Casa Hagerman weren't too smooth, though.  Everyday at homeschool time, the apartment had to be rearranged to make room to sit and put books out. Then when I needed to cook for The Bridge (generally an hour or so after school started), more shuffling to access the kitchen and, hopefully, counter space.  You'd laugh if you could see all the times I did it without a counter, holding the mixing bowl in one hand while I measured ingredients and poured with the other.

And might I remind you that the girls are teenagers now.  Yep, at 15 and 17, they have their own collections of beauty supplies, favorite clothes, and various souvenirs they've held onto through the moves. Did I mention that they are polar opposites in terms of music taste, organization, and sleep schedules?  You can only imagine the stress that cramming these two and all their junk in that glorified closet every day and night caused.  I won't even tell you how crazy it got when we'd entertain guests.

Knowing that our rental contract on the mini apartment was due to expire, we began praying for more space months ago.  We scoured the internet advertisements, the realty listings, and the streets.  It seems that this city is on a bubble (is that how'd they say that in English?) right now, due to the new river beach and increases in summer tourism.  So prices are at a premium, and those people with 3-bedroom apartments know they are sitting on a gold mine.  There were comments floating around that we'd never find what we were asking for in the price range we had to work with, but we just kept praying.

I'm thrilled to report to you that one week ago, we moved into what I can only describe as a house on the second floor.  It's a huge apartment above the home of a little grandma, so we have much more privacy. It has two small balconies on the street front, plus a huge back balcony out back with a roof and enough room to hang several loads of clothes and still sit out there to enjoy the fresh air.

Each girl has her own bedroom, and each bedroom is twice the size of the one they were sharing. The kitchen is spacious, and I've already found places for the appliances and ingredients we use for The Bridge, as well as counter space to make it all happen.  A wide hallway means we can take the paperwork, books, and suitcases out of our bedroom, and windows on every side make the place so bright that we hardly use the lights during the day.

Once we get our car back from the mechanic (please continue praying for that--it doesn't seem it will be anytime soon), it will have a gated parking area.  We are sharing one bathroom but it is big enough to have an area for a shower, rather than the whole bathroom BEING the shower, as in the past.  And we're still close to everything.  In fact, we are one block closer to English classes and The Bridge, and only one block away now from two different grocery stores.

So as I type this, everyone is in a different spot working, and the dog is trying out all the different spots he can flop around.  And now when I say, "Come see us!" I'm much more excited about that possibility, knowing we have space for you.

I know God didn't promise us a huge house. I know there are missionaries living in huts or worse. I know we could have survived in that mini-apartment.  But He answered this prayer and found us a place that fit ALL we'd asked Him for, and I'm so thankful for what that means to my family. I sent out a prayer request when we first found the place and were negotiating with the owner, who wasn't too thrilled that we have a big dog, and many of you were sweet to respond that you were praying.  THANK YOU!
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August 7, 2014

June and July in a Whirlwind Post

Got your seat belt buckled?  Let's just say that the last couple months have been crazy, and I haven't exactly kept up with this blog.  So lemme fill you in as quickly and succinctly as possible.

A THIEF ARRIVED.  Someone broke into the garage of our apartment building and somehow got our hood opened (no signs of entry, all still locked when we got down there).  When we turned the key the next morning, alas, nothing.  No battery.  We decided it was time to give in and get the chirpy alarm thing.

WHITNEY LEFT.  You remember the sweet gal who spent five weeks with us starting in May, including several days in the hospital for a serious bacterial infection?  Well, her departure was equally exciting.  We left our town with plenty of extra hours so that we could give her a mini-tour of our favorite cultural hot-spots on the normally 5-hour car ride to the capital city.  We had several things go wrong, and then a bit more than halfway there, the car died.  Caroline, Whitney, and I grabbed Whitney's luggage and hopped a bus as quickly as possible and then grabbed a taxi as we got closer, making it to the airport with a few minutes to spare before her flight left, then spinning around to take the midnight bus back to Encarnación.


THE CAR REBELLED.  After a few weeks in the repair shop and $1500 worth of loving care, our car came back home, but still with a pesky noise that didn't seem it should be there.  We drove it a few miles out of town to get it at road speed, and it died again.  This time, the wrecker driver said the girls and I could stay inside it as he towed it back to our we-see-you-way-too-often mechanic.  It was pretty exciting (and slightly scary) to be towed that way, but we watched Ken and the driver converse as we pretended to be in a parade behind them.

MY FOOT HEALED.  The foot fracture I sustained from twisting my ankle on uneven sidewalk finally healed, and I can walk on it fully again without feeling pain.  My leg is still unstable and the knee often gives out while walking, so I constantly have to be aware of what's around me, so I can grab ahold of something in a pinch.  I wiped out a week and a half ago in the bedroom, breaking the fall with my outstretched hand.  A bruise showed up behind my elbow, supposedly from the impact my bone had with the muscles back there, even the only part to touch the floor was my open palm.  Needless to say, I'm still having lots of pain in my arm and can't use it for much of anything, but it should heal up soon enough.  The weird thing is that when I fell, I felt my knee twist up behind me in an awkward angle.  I just lay there a while, nervous to move it or get up because it was such an odd fall.  But since then, the pain in my knee is GREATLY reduced.  I think that something that was out of place was put back where it should be during the twisty fall, so I can't really complain about the arm.

I hope you're still with me at this point, because I've saved the best for last.  Yeah, there is some really GOOD NEWS!

THE BRIDGE IS OPEN!  After years of dreaming, searching for a place, raising funds, making connections, praying, and praying some more, the youth center we feel God sent us to Encarnación to open is up and running!  We hosted a couple of pre-opening events with a few invited guests to test everything out, then flung wide the doors on July 4 for a night full of music, samples of our baked goods and coffee, games, door prizes, giveaways, and a whole lot of explaining what this place is about.  A month or so later, we're meeting new people almost every day.  The regulars are bringing friends, people see us on Facebook, folks come in because they saw our flashing sign.  And we are thrilled every time we see connections happening and God's love flowing as we'd envisioned it could be.  We're working the kinks out about the schedule, the baking, the legalities, and all sorts of fine details, but we have been thrilled with the response.






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May 29, 2014

More Than She Bargained For

A couple weeks ago we received a special visitor, a young lady we've known since she was a little ole' thing.  Well, she's still quite petite.  This is a homegrown South Carolinian gal who is working on a minor in Spanish and chose Paraguay to do some cultural studies.  Culture, you say?  Gotcha covered!  Come on down!
Whitney, Caroline, and Camille at youth service
SOURCE: Dios es +
So Camille and I bussed into Asuncion to pick Whitney up on one of the biggest holidays of the year (the Paraguayan Mothers Day / Independence Day combo).  Lucky for Whitney, the streets were clear of the normally insane and scary traffic, and we had an uneventful, albeit really long, trip back to Encarnación.

She jumped right in, accompanying us on whatever missions fun was on tap for that day.  She even took some solo trips when a few of my English students offered to take her for a day of classes at high school.  She endured a really cold, windy, rainy day at the prison, played volleyball with a local team, taught English to a group of 1st graders with about 30 seconds notice, helped us with the remodeling and construction work at the youth center, and attended several church services, youth events, and a Mothers Day party.

Then she felt a little bad.  Then she felt a little worse.  Then she felt a lot worse.

I did that thing I do, pulling out my box of goodies and self-diagnosing.  But this one wasn't giving up, so we gave in and made a trip to the emergency room, where most people go here to get treatment if they don't have a regular doctor (most don't).  Poor baby had to endure a few tests and a bunch of mashing around on her aching belly, then they sent us home with prescriptions for some meds.

But she didn't get better.

Keeping a smile on--This was the removal of the IV
so we could get outta there!
After that call I always make to my mom at times like these, we went back to the ER and the doctor decided she needed to be admitted for further tests and treatment for dehydration.  I held her foot and prayed as this sweet, quiet little gal got her first IV and was prepped to spend her first night in the hospital.  Man, did I feel bad that she got so sick on our watch.  Her list of firsts was supposed to be filled with the funner things...first time to visit Jesuit ruins, first time to interview someone totally in Spanish, first time to have a pj party in a foreign country...you get it.

The nurses all wanted to know what she was doing here (and to reprimand me for letting her get sick--"Don't you know she can't eat the food or drink the water from here?"), so there were lots of opportunities to share her story.  Turns out she'd gotten ahold of some crazy bacteria that had caused an infection in her gastrointestinal system.  Well, I guess it's closer to say that some crazy bacteria got ahold of her.

She handled those two nights stuck in the hospital room with me to talk her head off, with lots of grace. I'm sure she also learned a slew of new health-related vocabulary, which should make that report she has to give back at her college quite interesting.  She's resting at our house now, and her new friends are already working on who'll be the next one to take her to school or for a walk around town to see the sites.
A special pizza lunch to meet and greet Whitney (beside me on far right)
She's a great ambassador for American Christian youth and her shining personality has made it easy for Encarnación to fall in love with Whitney.  (I've already had to tell more than one fella that she has a steady guy back home... You're welcome, Brandon!)
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May 20, 2014

Have Papers, Will Paint!

It was a big day when Ken signed the paper that finalized the papers declaring the Bridge an official entity with the local government, and it meant that we could finally begin to work on the building we rented a few weeks ago.  


 We started with paint, my favorite way to remodel.  Well, I shouldn't say "we" because I'm mostly the supervisor at this point, but either way, the walls began to change colors!




There are only a few swipes of the paintbrush left on this phase of the project, then we'll start in on the electrical wiring and constructing and purchasing furniture.  Again, I use the word "we" loosely.  

As we work on the building, excitement is growing and people around town keep asking when we'll open. We sure hope it'll be soon, because the weather is absolutely beautiful now, perfect for sitting outside on the sidewalk and opening wide those big garage doors, to welcome new Bridge patrons. Won't be long now!
These t-shirts were sold by a church as a fundraiser for the Bridge.
My mom ordered one for each of us, and we can't WAIT to wear them here!
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May 18, 2014

Celebrating Teachers

Every fall (spring in the U.S.), Paraguayans get all sentimental and start honoring folks.  The first of these holidays is Day of the Teacher.  A few of the teens from my English class happen to go to the same high school, and they mentioned a special assembly they wanted me to attend, where each grade would give a presentation in honor of their teachers.

At the time, I was still using crutches, and I woke to a stormy day.  The students were very attentive and met me at my car to see that I got to the gym okay, where they'd saved me a seat just inside the door...the first one we came to.  I was very excited at the time, thinking I'd avoid walking across slick concrete with those crutches, but I soon realized this meant I was sitting just a few feet in front of the speakers.  Nothing happens at normal volumes here.  It's all maxed-out, distortion-heavy, bringin-the-bass fun.  Mental note: Bring cotton next time you go to a school event.

A couple of classes kept to the traditions that are present in every ceremony in this country--harp music, dances in the long skirts and shirts with crocheted sleeves and hems, and poems in Spanish and Guarani.
Traditional Paraguayan bottle dance. They actually managed to get one
more bottle each on their heads after I took this picture.
But the majority of the presentations followed a retro theme and involved 20 or 30 teens dancing to music from various decades.  Most dancers were wearing short poodle skirts and t-shirts with a bandana around their necks, and whether their dance was officially titled as Tribute to the 70's, 80's, or 90's, the music they actually danced to was mostly from the 50's.  An 80's song did make it in on one group who said they were paying tribute to the 70's, but I kept that to myself.

These guys were going through their routine for "Jailhouse Rock" when
I heard the first chords of Michael's Jackson's "Thriller"
and they were invaded by zombies.
The best part was that each song began with a long howling siren, much like that noise you hear just before the blaring rock song as the roller coaster starts up at the local parking lot carnival.  My ears stopped buzzing four days later, but it took about two weeks to get the hearing back on the left side.  I kept that to myself, too.  ;)  The kids had obviously put a lot of work into their dances and I was proud to be invited to watch.


The next day, the cultural center where I teach English hosted a party for Day of the Teacher, where Ken and I ate pizza and watched various attendees sing karaoke into the wee hours of the morning.  Never a dull moment!
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April 23, 2014

Holy Week Happenings

Holy Week (or as you know it, Spring Break) falls in the autumn here, so no fuzzy chicks or floral bouquets are part of our holiday.  Monday and Tuesday are pretty normal, then Wednesday usually signals the beginning of a few days off from school, when many families decide to travel to Grandma's house.  Wednesday and Thursday, everyone bakes chipa (cheesy bread made from pig lard) as a family, preparing to share it with friends and neighbors on Thursday and Friday.  This sweet girl brought us by a batch Friday morning.

The big focus of the whole holiday is Good Friday, known as Viernes Santo (Holy Friday).  By then, everyone should have finished their travels, so there are hardly any buses running.  Because massive amounts of chipa were made ahead of time, no one's running to the market or stoking fires to cook meals.  The day is spent in quiet contemplation of the sacrifice that took place on the cross.  Saturday arrives, and life is back to normal.  The up-side of city life is that a few churches here acknowledged Resurrection Sunday, rather than letting the heaviness of the crucifixion hang on without celebrating the hope that came a few days later.

As for us, we took advantage of the days off of school and hosted a dozen teens for lunch on Wednesday.  I say "we" but the truth is, most of the work fell on the girls, as I sat with my foot propped up and gave them directions.  We enjoyed spending the afternoon and evening sharing with these young men and women, talking about Easter, singing, playing games, and chatting.



It seemed to be the week for English learning, too, as I had four different private tutoring sessions at home, from folks who've never come before for help.  I started to ask if they'd all secretly gotten together around town to play a practical joke on me, as they just kept coming and coming!  At one of the sessions with adult ladies, we decided to continue weekly, using a Bible study as the basis of our lessons.  The other groups were teens, and I thanked God for their desire to chat about more things than learning the language.


We also enjoyed a yummy lunch with fellow missionaries, participating in some American traditions.  After coloring eggs and finding them around the yard, the little ones decided to hide them again and let our "big girls" go out looking.  They hid them a little too well, though, as one was never found!

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April 17, 2014

We Have a Building!

Building isn't the right word.  Neither is room, or facility.  I guess you'd technically call it a storefront, but since this is my first time living in a city, I'm not used to using words like that.  Here it's called a salon.  Not like where you get a massage and a manicure, but /sah-LONE/, translated "big room."  So yeah.  This place came up for rent, we checked it out, worked out details with the owners, and a few days later signed papers.  Woo hoo!

If you have no idea why we'd want a salon, then you might wanna read a post or two and get caught up on the coffee-house style youth center we plan to open here in Encarnación, Paraguay, aka The Bridge!

In this picture, it's the area with the first two garage doors, one of which is half open.  The green building with the purple doors is someone else's salon.  We'll be able to take advantage of the sidewalk space in front of ours for placing a few tables and signage.  Okay, before we go inside, let me warn you that it's gonna need a little work.  That's typical.  The floors here in Paraguay are tiled and walls are made of concrete, so when an old tenant moves out, there's always work to be done.  You ready?  Let's take a look.


I guess you can tell that this is technically two salons, or at least it was at some point.  But the front of that dividing wall is now gone, so they are now opened up with a little bit of wall left between them.  Standing just inside the door that's partially open above, here's the view--


And if you scoot over to the inside of the other roll-up door, you see this--


Why, yes, that is a walk-through door in that middle wall, punched out just enough to duck a little and walk right through it, but don't forget to step up because at floor level, the bottom few inches of the wall still remain.  You can see the bricks inside there, so we're thinking we'll dress that up a bit and leave it there.  The little nook at the back is a full bathroom (YAY!) and the gray doors at the back lead to nowhere, so we'll probably block those with some piece of furniture.

Ah, and one cool thing that remains from the previous owners, who were operating a small neighborhood convenience store--the logos for Fanta and Coke hand-painted on one wall.  I'm working hard to figure out a decor scheme that would at least incorporate the Coke part, since it's so well done.  We shall see.


So rejoice with us for the end to an almost two-year search for a spot!  As we begin the process of making this place cool, we'll keep you posted with photos and maybe even a video.  Lots of the teens are offering to pitch in manual labor, so let's see how it all develops!

SIDE NOTE: Despite a rocky start to this week, possibly related to some cold rain that blew through, the last couple of days have been much less painful and a bit easier to get around.  I'd been hanging out in the house because I didn't have the strength or balance to handle the stairs, but today, when Ken went to take these pictures, I was able with his help to get down and back up those stairs, as well as get out of the truck and look around inside the salon.  First time out of the house in a week, and I was so ready!  Thanks for the prayers.
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March 26, 2014

They Gave Me the Boot

The irony of my day is probably what keeps me laughing.  I wrote my last post on Sunday, but those of you who get it in your email boxes didn't see it come out until Monday.  About the time you were reading the words "I think this I'm bored time is coming to an end," I was taking steps to ensure that it wouldn't.  Actually, just ONE step.

That step was on a piece of sidewalk that unevenly sloped down to another, rougher area, just the right way for my right ankle to roll and send me to the ground.  You may not be acquainted with Mr. Right Foot yet, as it's the good ole' Left Leg that gets all the attention here.  Mr. Right has been the handy, stable, superhero side, steadily growing more muscular over these past three years as it's picked up the slack for its not-so-stable partner.

We had just walked out of the office of a lady I was sure would rent us her open storefront for the youth center we're itching to get started, but she quite politely insisted that we should look elsewhere.  Part of the problem is that it's difficult to explain what this youth center is going to be.  I can tell anyone who's spent time in Europe or the U.S. that we're envisioning a sort of coffee house geared toward youth, and they get it.  But that venue doesn't exist here, and it is perceived more like a place for gangs to congregate or for drugs to be sold as loitering teens pass around a bottle of beer.

So, yeah.  I was feeling a little discouraged from the landlord's reaction and off my game.  I normally spend my walking moments looking at the ground beneath me, so much so that my neck hurts after even short walks and I've commented about how I'll break this habit once I can walk more stably and don't NEED to watch my every step.  The always-uneven sidewalk surfaces of Paraguay took advantage of my moment of distraction and planted a slight decline just under my right foot, knowing that the left knee would buckle instead of come to the rescue.  And buckle it did.  And down I went, in slow motion.

http://www.newsey.es/the-characteristics-tabloids-look-for-in-their-new-celebrity-darlings/paparazzi-cameras/
Okay. Okay. Paparazzi here is really just guys with cell
phones, but you get the idea.  When you fall in public,
THIS is what you imagine!

As soon as I gathered my pride and made sure no news cameras were around to catch that (aren't they always?), Ken reached down to scoop me up.  Not an easy task, as I've put on a bit of weight in these less-active few years.  Once I was up, I held onto Caroline (thank God she decided to come along!) while he ran for the car, which was only a few yards away.  It was facing the wrong way, though, and all the streets of our town are one-way, meaning Ken had to make a huge loop to get back to me.

I tried to balance myself, but the recently-operated-on, still-not-quite-100% left knee wasn't ready to take on all of my weight, and the right foot and ankle were throbbing from what I assumed was a sprain.  About the time I felt the knee couldn't take any more, I shifted a little more weight onto the sprained foot, and the world went black.  I had enough time to tell Caroline, "I'm passing out," but not enough to lower myself to the ground.  Again, thank God she was there.  She said I fell straight forward, where she happened to be standing.  She tried to catch my dead weight but ended up merely breaking my fall as I rolled over to the sidewalk on my side.

I laugh to imagine this scene--now that it's over--because Caroline said 4 people passed by us lying there without stopping to help.  I can only guess what went through their minds.  We've just come out of tourist season, when visitors from all parts piled into our little city, standing out in stark contrast to the look of a typical Paraguayan.  We were mistaken for tourists constantly during this time, as many of the visitors looked more like us.  You may remember my descriptions of the women here--skin-tight jeans or stretchy pants, sexy shirts, super-high heels, just-right makeup including those long, fake eyelashes and vibrant eyeshadow, and hair that just stepped out of a salon.  And you know me.  I was my typical self--camo cargo pants, a t-shirt, tennis shoes, and these kinda new dreadlocks.  So I'm sure Caroline looked like a sweet little girl trying to help the homeless lady whose eyes were rolled back in her head, surely because she was stoned or drunk or both.

Thankfully, a couple of men finally ran over and lifted me into a chair they brought from the empanada stand next door, where I assume they were eating.  One yelled at Caroline to go get me a bottle of water, but she was nervous to leave because I was still groggy and my purse with our bill-paying money was on the sidewalk beside me.  After he yelled his command again, she took off as fast as she could get the water and get back, and a few minutes later Ken pulled up.  Phwew!  What fun!

To make a long story a tiny bit shorter, a visit to the ER showed that I'd broken a bone in my foot during the (first) fall.  That caused the second fall.  Since the knee is still delicate and can't really make up for this foot that I'm told CANNOT touch the ground, I'm stuck in bed.  I'm not nearly as okay with it as last time, since I had some warning back then, whereas this came suddenly.  I had big plans for projects set to start this week and in April, and now they're on hold.  Postponed.  Again.

There is a bright side and a lot to be thankful for. Caroline kept me from what could have been a serious face plant in the concrete, and neither of us were hurt from the passing out episode.  I am not in a tremendous amount of pain--it's tolerable.  It's not the unbearable heat of mid-summer. The ankle joint seems to be intact. I was given the choice of a cast or a boot, and I went with the much-easier-to-manage boot.  My family has experience with me not being able to walk and knows just what to do.  And I have a list of projects from the last time around that I can complete on the computer now.  Yeah, let's just stick with the bright side.
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March 23, 2014

Just Killin' Time

I'm not good with down time.  Makes me feel bored and depressed and crabby and achy and on top of that, I just don't like it.  Thankfully, I don't get much.

In the first week or so of my post-surgery, sit-in-a-chair-with-the-leg-elevated-and-iced time, I planned the girls' homeschool year.  That was fun, but it didn't keep my busy long enough.  

I took a few classes online, brushed up on my English teaching skills, had a trillion conversations with God in my head and on paper, completed some Bible studies, made new family menus and shopping lists, and watched a few movies.  And found spots on the ceiling and let my friend put my hair in dreadlocks and ate too much and twisted the dreadlocks and painted my toenails and kept twisting the dreadlocks.

Then I found a post on facebook that mentioned the need for some computer design.  Turns out that Letra Paraguay, which is an organization dedicated to teaching literacy and translating the Bible into the language of indigenous people groups, was in the process of self-publishing a compilation of stories of Latin American women in missions. Its official title is Women in Mission: Real Stories of Latin-American Missionaries Passionate for the Kingdom of God.

The book will not only raise awareness of mission work, but also help raise funds for their ministry.  They posted a photo of what they had (see below) and asked for volunteers to design a cover using that information.  Just what the doctor ordered!

I got right to work and decided to use a picture of Camille, since she wouldn't charge me a fee to use her image.  ;)  And here's the final product to the right, before the organization's seal was placed on the front.  If you're interested in reading it--it's in Spanish, I must warn you--you can find it on Amazon.

And then I sent another email to another ministry that I've come to appreciate, called More to Be.  Their official tagline is Equipping Moms, Engaging Teens, Encouraging Mentors. Have I mentioned how much I love folks who put free resources online, whether they be sermons or songs or handouts or studies or classes or printable worksheets or whatever?  My email was to ask if any of the free resources they offered for mentoring teen girls were available in Spanish, but truth is, I knew they weren't.  After all, surely they'd mention that on the site, right?

So I bit the bullet and decided that with all the time I'd wasted trying to dig up nonexistent Spanish-language freebies on various websites, I could have been translating these things myself.  I actually did that for a whole book a few years back, which served us for several study groups designed specifically for teen girls.  Time to get the typing fingers back in motion.

I worked on a few documents and graphics then sent them to the leader of the ministry, so that she could keep them on file in case anyone else should contact her in my position.  Surely there are other English-speaking mentors out there who would love to be able to share this material with Spanish-speaking girls in their world, right?  Next thing I knew, we were chatting back and forth via email, and she asked if I'd consider coming on-board their team as a translator.  With the disclaimer that my Spanish is really "street slang" and fairly ghetto, I accepted and got to work.

Digging around for which documents I wanted to start with, I found a video about how to view those "single" years before marriage or even a serious relationship, through the lens of what God may be wanting to do in you.  I figured I might as well try my hand at adding subtitles, since this is information girls all over the world need to here.  You can watch the video in English with Spanish words floating around over here.  You can find the links to the resources I've gotten translated so far over at moretobe.com, as well as many other "still in English" freebies to help you minister to tweens and teen girls, a section specific to moms, and material for the girls themselves.

Now that school is in full-swing here at Casa Hagerman and at the schools where we teach, and this leg is getting strong enough to be up on it longer, I think this I'm bored time has come to an end. I'm thankful to have found some things to keep me occupied this go-around.
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