June 10, 2013

Old Stitches, New Friend

My medical bag got a bit of use again this week when we traveled out to see a friend recovering from knee surgery.  I was the official Remover of Stitches, paid in full by a delicious, warm apple strudel made from scratch by his lovely new wife.  Newlywed bliss.

We also learned how to make candles from the stuff on this tray, using a little ingenuity and the kitchen stove.  I'm pretty excited about putting that into practice and finding a way to incorporate it into the ministry.  Candle making, anyone?

We then scooted over to visit Sara, a missionary student who'd just arrived in Paraguay and is staying with some other friends of ours, conveniently living near the limping candlemaker.  We got to take part in her orientation meeting and contribute our two-cents worth to the part about what-to-know about Paraguayan culture.  We were excited to arrange for her to spend a few days with us and experience some of our ministries.  It's always refreshing to meet young people eager to come on the mission field.  

A few days later, Sara came to accompany me to the barrio where we have a Bible lesson followed by a craft workshop.  We got there early and watched some kids play marbles, talking to them for a while and inviting them to come to the class.  We were pleasantly surprised when 3 of them showed up for their first time!  Sara made a little ring but didn't have the proof to take home because the more experienced little gal sitting beside her made a trade.  She gave Sara a larger and perhaps more professionally done (sorry, Sara!!!) ring she'd made, with a hint of pity for us American girls trying to fumble our way through those little beads and fishing wire.

At one point, a little girl in front of Sara was trying to explain how she should tie a knot in her string, but was speaking way too fast for Sara to understand.

Sara: "Slow, please?"

Little girl, not missing a beat, but with that voice full of pity: "Sure.  You can tie it slow if you need to."  

That evening Sara accompanied our girls to their cell group meeting, where she met the youth of our church and practiced her Spanish.  Luckily, this meeting was a combo, since one of the teens' birthday was that same day, so language learning joined with a cultural celebration.  I was very glad, because I remembered all too well that evening headache that comes from hearing this new language all day, and hoped the little party would ease that a bit for our fresh-off-the-plane friend.

The next morning, Sara left her passport at the gate, got her wrist stamped, and went inside to meet the teens in prison.  We came in carrying a few bags of donated clothes (much needed, with the colder weather blowing in), which meant we'd have a lot more in attendance than usual.  I took advantage of that and took my time through this week's Bible lesson, elaborating on what Noah's story means to each of us and how they can apply those principles to their own lives.  They patiently listened and timidly responded to my questions until we finally handed out the clothes and shoes.  That quickly left us with the normal core group.  Oh, well, good thing we did the devotional first!

We walked into town that afternoon and a few girls came back to the house to give Sara more practice with Spanish.  Bless her heart... by the time she'd packed her backpack to leave our place, I think she was ready for a long, quiet nap.

JUST SO YOU KNOW--Next week is Bridge Week.  What?  You don't know what that is?  You'll have to check back next week for all the fun!!!

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