October 9, 2012
And Along Came Zoe
We moved to Paraguay in 2008, just weeks before the annual summer youth camp on the property where we lived. It was a bit overwhelming--we didn't speak much Spanish, we were all sick with various intestinal ailments, and we hadn't adjusted to living in a small house with a tin roof and no ceiling in 115º weather But we managed to connect via smiles and sign language with a few of the local teens. A couple of girls in particular came by one day when I was in bed with the belly woes. They earned a special place in my heart. :)
Fast forward a year and we moved into town, just 1/2 km or so from where these gals lived. When we opened the youth center, they were regulars. A group of guys from the community and our local church, along with these two girls, made up the core ministry team for the youth center.
They formed a band and played concerts on the weekends, they came early and stayed late, they helped prepare meals and Sunday School lessons. They named themselves Holy Warriors (in English!) and were in our home to eat or study the Bible or just hang out, basically every day of the week.
Both of these precious girls worked and lived in the home of another family, as the housekeeper/nanny. At the end of 2009, they graduated high school, and we took them to the local ice cream joint. Strategically, I set an arrow in my cupid's bow and invited David, one of the Holy Warriors. They already knew each other from church, and I'd been observing the sparks fly, but it seemed they might need a little smile in the right direction. Here they are nervously surviving the hints I was semi-obviously dropping, while eating the celebration cake and ice cream.....
And here they are the next year. We were privileged to be the Best Man / Matron of Honor (aka The Godparents) of their wedding, and tried to live up to that name by giving tons of unsolicited but well-received advice about marriage and building a Godly home.
A year later, the most precious little Paraguayita you've ever laid eyes on came on the scene, and last weekend I was able to be a part of Zoe's first birthday.
What a joy it's been to watch these two young people go against the flow, living fully for the Lord, creating a home that glorifies Him and raising their daughter to be a worshiper just like her parents. God bless the Barrios family!