February 16, 2009

Bicycles, Milk, and Prayer

Not to be outdone by a 12-year-old kid, I took a dare Saturday to ride Camille's bicycle alongside the young guy going to get our weekend supply of milk. Anibal normally rides his bike alone a few miles down our dirt road to the home of a lady with a milking cow, then carries the milk in a backpack for the return trip. This sounds simple enough, but it's often six to eight 2-liter bottles full of milk, and the trip back is all uphill. Really uphill.

I was seeing this as an answer to a selfish prayer I'd uttered earlier in the week. I had been missing the days of riding my faithful bicycle, Lulu, and mentioned to the Lord that I'd love to find a way to ride some. I never even considered Camille's bike, and how close she's getting to being my size (or how close I'm getting to being HER size--haha). I'm used to a road bike and safety gear and smooth pedaling--never had a thought about off-road, rugged terrain fun stuff as I experienced Saturday. But not wanting to miss a chance for an adventure, I took off in grand style and glided right into the sandy dirt-road, realizing it was going to be a battle not to let the slip and slide right out from under me. Have you ever tried to pedal in sand? Not easy, but it made for a lot of laughs--not just out of me and Anibal, but also from the neighbors.

I have to say that Anibal, who is one of the kids from the children's home next door, was quite chivalrous. He asked often if I was okay and needed to stop to rest or walk the bike. He warned me when we came to rough patches and directed me where to go when motorcycles approached. He refused to let me carry any of the milk, and he acted as a sort of human shield when the intoxicated men shouted "greetings" and the like, to me from their terere circle. I thanked him several times for his gentlemanly manner, and he told me that women are the princesses of the sky, and men must look out for them. Well, I don't know who taught him that, but good job!

On the ride back, we stopped at one point to walk our bikes up the long hill (at his request, which made me feel "not so old"). We were taking turns teaching each other English and Guarani when we met up with a man walking toward town. Before he walked past, he mentioned that his wife was at home resting, very weak from cancer. I asked his permission to visit with her and have prayer.

Anibal locked our bicycles to a nearby tree (mine first, because he said that ladies' things should always be more protected) and we trapsed through the cow field to the little home. The way you visit somewhere here is to announce your presence by clapping your hands before stepping onto their property. So at the gate, I clapped and she motioned for me to come closer to explain why we were there. Her suspicious look gave way to relief when I explained we'd met her husband and wanted to pray for her health. She invited us inside the gate, where we sat in her yard and talked for about a half hour, and prayed. After meeting some of her family, she asked me to return to pray with her again. That's worth some fancy pedaling in the sand. :)


  1. After reading this I cannot wait to join you guys in July, even if it is only for a couple of weeks. Rohayhu Paraguay!


  2. It's nice to read about your adventures! Take care and God bless!


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