February 2, 2012
Tour of Paraguay, Part 2
I promised you "the rest of the story" on our whirlwind tour of missions in Paraguay, but it's been a long time coming. Truth is that we were so hyped up about Ruth being here to visit with us, that getting on the computer just seemed like a waste of valuable face-to-face time. But I thought about blogging a lot, if that counts for something! By the way, she took MUCH more detailed notes and photos of our trip, so click on her name above to read about it in greater detail, AFTER you finish my version... hee hee
So where were we? Oh, yeah, we were at our friends' apartment in Obligado, heading to Ciudad del Este. Again, it was a lovely drive, but it sure didn't feel like Paraguay. I had to keep reminding myself that we weren't in Illinois on our way to Iowa to see that half of my family. Rolling hills of farmland. Unfortunately, lots of it's a crunchy brown right now instead of the lush green it should be, because of this lovely drought. But that's another post.
So we arrived at the home of the British couple, Jamie and Marion. You'll remember them from art board fame, as Jamie is the man behind those giant wall boards with Bible stories and scripture painted on them. They sent us a bunch of them which we donated to a few schools and public buildings. Their home is one big art studio, with Jamie's incredible work on every wall. In another life, I would have bought every piece. He really has talent, and it's super to see how he's letting God use that to reach people.
This British couple is just the cutest thing you've ever seen. They say, "Lovely," all the time, fly by the seat of their pants, and love working with youth in Paraguay. ;) After talking with them via email for a couple of years now, it was great to meet them in person for the first time.
And their hospitality!! WOW! They really know how to make folks feel at home. They even brought out a full tea set and served us girls the real stuff, with biscuits (cookies) and little flags. We felt like we'd stepped into some lush bed and breakfast.
I so enjoyed hearing their stories. Stories like how Marion died, made it to the big white gates, and came back. Of how they met. Of how one unnamed member of the pair participated in some really exciting, slightly shady activity to help a friend out of a life-and-death situation. Of how similar they are to us in ministry and mission philosophy, and how much we had in common. Of what countries are included in Great Britain. Of the Queen Mother. Did I mention that they "snuck" us over the Brazilian border in the middle of a pouring rainstorm just so we could have Subway sandwiches for dinner? I didn't realize how much I'd missed that little 6-in turkey and cheese that Papaw always bought me, with a side of chips. Pity the Brazilians haven't discovered root beer yet, but the sub sandwich was sure worth that drive over the bridge in the much-needed rain.
The next evening we had dinner with Rita and Clint Vernoy in their nearby home. I found out that Clint's a Beaufort boy, so we had some lowcountry chat before he shared that he was breaking out his can of imported Bush's baked beans for us. I think I cried. Missionaries are nice people. They just are. Rita writes one of the first blogs I ever read, back before I really even knew what a blog was. I was soaking up her online stories back in the day when I knew we were called but didn't know how or where we'd end up on the field. We enjoyed catching up with them and two of their girls, and meeting their giant dog.
We had really wanted to visit the McKissicks on the last leg of our trip, but Caroline wasn't feeling well when we got up that morning. By the time we drove the 5 hours home, her eyes were swollen shut, her throat was raw, her muscles ached, she had spiked a fever, and her glands were all swollen. I typed in those symptoms (gotta love google) and where we live, and came up with a long, ugly word that said that her swim in the river may have infected her with a dangerous and at times, fatal, infection, so we took a trip to the ER just to be safe. It turned out to be some sort of flu with pinkeye as the side effect, but one can never be too sure.
Thank you to all those wonderful missionary friends who hosted us, showed us around their towns, fed us, and bolstered our spirits. It's inspiring to find all the ways people are sharing God's love in Paraguay.