January 7, 2011
Not Quite Home, But Feeling at Home
I am typing this from the home of our friends, the Mortons, who live a good bit closer to the hospital and graciously offered their home to us. Despite that I was very reluctant to invade someone else’s home, we’ve been so comfortable here. The shady yard, lack of stairs, and comfy bedrooms were just what the doctor ordered, and we have really enjoyed the chance to spend this much time with our friends.
Before they got back, we took part a traditional Paraguayan Christmas Eve asado meal at the Hogar Ganar homes for abandoned children. Eating at midnight was a little tough for Ken, but he was able to be present for the festivities for a little while, at least. The next day was Christmas with the Martinez family as our guests, complete with hard-to-find turkey I located a couple days before, and some American chocolate sent by Jayne’s family!! Their little fellas loved the Christmas tree, and we enjoyed some traditional holiday fellowship with friends.
We stayed here a week alone while the Mortons were finishing up their furlough, and then welcomed them back to Paraguay on December 31. Their little girl Abi has been a great source of entertainment for Camille and Caroline, as well as a little prayer warrior for Ken and my personal sidekick. Sammy is almost 8 months old, so we’ve enjoyed taking turns holding him. It’s hard not to spoil him with that cute little smile.
Ken is recovering well, able to sleep through the night since we found the recliner. He moves slowly and has to be careful to rest a lot. His system is still out of whack (high bp, high blood sugar, low iron), but those numbers are all improving and it’s totally normal for this stage. It is a bit weird to think of this strong meat-eater as anemic, but his skin is the color of Caroline’s and he gets pretty dizzy, so we believe it. He’s disappointed that he’s not able to walk as he’s supposed to, but he had a nerve swell in his foot and had to restrict walking and get on more medicine to fix it. I think he’ll feel much better when he can be “up and about” a bit more, but for now we are babying the foot and trying not to lament the timing of this nerve flare-up.
Ken has been given the go-ahead to travel back to Carapegua, with his next heart check-up in three weeks. We await our vehicle now, which was supposed to be fixed in “a couple days” but is now closing in on a month in the shop. It’s been a humbling experience to depend on others so much at this time, and something that really makes us appreciate how nice it is to be a part of the family of God. Sometimes the inconveniences also serve as a reminder that He can work in anything.
For example, a few days ago, I left where we are now to take the series of buses and arrive in Carapegua. My hope was that the car would be ready on the promised day (what was I thinking?) and I could just drive it back, and transport our family “home.” It was a crazy trip from the start. Since we’re staying at the end of a LONG dirt road, the buses don’t pass by as often as in the main roads. I had determined to stand out by the road an hour early and just wait, since times are approximate. However, the bus passed by an hour and 15 minutes early, and I couldn’t catch it. SIGH. I began asking neighbors if they knew of a taxi that’d come here, lamenting that the 50 cents for that bus had now become $5.50 for a taxi. The guy was prompt, though, and in true “Christie” form, he began to tell me his life’s story about half-way to our destination.
He shared how he and his wife were separated because she had gone to Europe to work and decided she’d just stay. Their pre-teen daughter didn’t understand why Mom wasn’t coming back. He was having a hard time being both mom and dad and maintaining his 24-hr taxi service. When we got to the end of the road, he was still telling the story, so I hung out long enough to get to a stopping point and tell him that I’d be praying for him and his daughter, and that he shouldn’t give up. He gave me a card with his number and told me to call if I needed a taxi again. Even as I thanked him, I was thinking that this was the first and probably last time I’d be on a Paraguayan taxi. I apologized to the Lord for whining about missing the bus and prayed for this family as I hopped on and off the next few buses to Carapegua.
I’ll bet you already guessed that the car wasn’t ready. I waited till the absolute last minute (so I thought) before starting the trip back on the buses. I missed the second one and had to reroute my plan to make it back to Itaugua, which meant an hour more to the trip than I’d anticipated. By the time I reached the spot where I should have gotten on the last bus, it was too late. Taking a taxi at night isn’t the most recommendable thing, as often the drivers have been drinking. Feeling good about the guy who drove me that morning, I pulled out that business card and within a few minutes, the familiar driver was picking me up again.
He arrived with his daughter in the front seat, and wasted no time in introducing us. He insisted that she sit in the back seat with me so we could talk, and he proceeded to tell me in more detail the problems the young girl was having. I prayed for wisdom and counseled the father and daughter until we arrived at the Morton’s home. Before getting out of the car, I asked if I could pray with them, which they agreed to. I have already spoken to the local pastor here about their situation and feel good about the contact they will make with this struggling family. Now to keep myself reminded that all my days are in His hands, and that missing a bus and waiting on a car aren't the worst things in the world. :)