January 15, 2012

Tour of Paraguay

We have been looking forward to January for weeks now, planning and anticipating the visit of Ruth "Crimefighter" Arnell.  She's a lovely young lady who spent several years of her childhood in Asuncion, as the child of missionaries to Paraguay.  She found this very blog a couple of years ago and began to leave comments, which developed into emails, which developed into a facebook friendship, and the next thing you know, it's 2012 and she's on a plane.  She's got a remarkable memory of things she did and saw here, and she came back to... well, she says it best, so check out her blog if you're curious about her reasons for visiting.

To take full advantage of showing her the face of missions in Paraguay these days, we took a week-long tour of missionaries.  We made a big circle (well, more like a triangle), beginning with a visit to the home of Julie and Norberto Kurrle in Obligado/Hohenau.  You may remember them from peanut planting, Bible training, and recently adopting a beautiful little girl to be Timmy's sister.  They filled us in on the latest projects and plans, and treated us to a wonderful meal.  I think that Julie is quite the cook anyway, as a successful homesteader, but her mom's visit coinciding with ours meant a double blessing, one that included German chocolate cake!  We also got to see our old pal Michael, and hear about missions in Bolivia and bees in Obligado.

We spent the next few nights with a young family with three adorable little people, who work with the indigenous tribe called the Mbya.  They were so kind to let us invade their apartment, and to take us on a tour of the neighborhoods where ministry is greatly needed.  They are from southern Louisiana, so do I need to explain how tense the first night was, when LSU (their alma mater) lost the national championship for college football?  The children were all dressed in their little LSU outfits, there were streamers all over the place, and they had cooked pizzas with purple (beets) and gold (corn) edible decorations.  They are some serious fans!

We ventured out to the Jesuit Ruins the next day, despite the impressive (and OPPRESSIVE!) heat.  Ken, the girls, and Ruth explored while I sought shade and a bench.  It's quite a lot of walking, so my crutches gave me the excuse to hide out from the sun underneath the mango trees. We returned to find a giant pot of Louisiana-style jambalaya.  Mmmm!

It's pretty amazing how different things seem down there on the eastern edge of Paraguay.  Germans and Mennonites (and sometimes German Mennonites) own large farms, so in place of so many oxcarts and skinny working horses, you see giant tractors, huge mega-stores where farming equipment is sold, and restaurants with German names.  Many other nationalities call this area of the country home, as well.   I felt like we were in the midwest US, with rolling hills and acres and acres of farms--corn, soy, yerba, that sort of stuff.  Unfortunately, we're in the midst of a potentially devastating drought, and lots of the green was actually brown.  It was still obvious that they have much more grass there than we do, though.

We ended our time there with a cookout at the Rio Parana, a big river that separates Paraguay from Argentina. And a great time was had by all.

That was only the first half of the week, so tune in later for the rest of our trip, where we hung out with the British and the Venezuelans in Ciudad del Este and Brazil.  And click on Ruth's name above if you'd like to see pictures and more detail of our travels.  :)


  1. What a fun trip! We hope to make it to the ruins when we are in PY this Fall (Spring). Should be good weather then! Have a nice week and be careful with your leg!

  2. What a great adventure! I'm glad you took the chance to spend time reconnecting with some of the great folks working around Paraguay. It's so refreshing to relate with the like-hearted and spirited, isn't it? Much love, friend!


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