December 22, 2013

Photo Tour of December

As we combine our normal ministry schedule with trying to wrap up our homeschooling year, finding a place to rent for The Bridge, and taking part in all the end-of-year celebrations and school graduations, I'm finding a bit less time for blogging.  So I present you a quick look at the personal side of our lives over the past few weeks:

December 1 is Caroline's birthday.  She turned the magical number 15, which, if she were a true Paraguayan, would have obligated her to a huge party akin to a wedding.  Since she's not and it's ridiculously hot here, she decided to invite her friends from the youth cell group to a pool party at a local motel. Wouldn't you know that a big storm blew in that day?  So we watched Christmas movies as a family and thanked God that we (miraculously) didn't lose electricity.  We also cracked open one of those precious tubs of Betty Crocker frosting that made the flight back from the U.S. recently.

This picture is of the closing ceremony at one of the schools where I teach.  This group was singing "Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord" in English while I accompanied them from the side, and while Caroline played guitar.  She found out she'd be playing just a few minutes before the ceremony began, so she was a bit nervous but did just fine.

December 8 is the Day of the Virgin, when Paraguayans make walking pilgrimages to pay homage to Mary, Mother of Jesus.  They walk through the night and have early morning mass together with the other pilgrims. We visited the nearest cathedral a few days before, where they'd begun to change things up a bit in preparation for the upcoming activities. In this photo, there is a line of people on the left, waiting their turn to sit with the priest (white robe to the right, beside the column) for outdoor confession.  It was very quiet, so those confessing had to practically whisper to keep their confessions from being heard by all.

Ken and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary on the 19th.  We ate at a restaurant we'd never tried before, very close to the border of Paraguay and Argentina.  The restaurant happened to be Brazilian.  ;)  Santa was sitting outside, all dressed up despite that it was about 95 degrees that night.    

The next day, we met with a couple other missionary families in a Japanese colony not far from here.  We took advantage of the chance to stop off at their local grocery store, which was full of products we don't normally see. 

One of my Christmas gifts from the folks back home was money for decorating our apartment.  I decided on an original piece of pop art, designed by our friends and fellow missionaries, the Lees.  I just LOVE how it looks on the wall.  Despite our original decision to skip the tree this year (the apartment is already so small), we ended up dragging it out and stuffing it in a corner anyway.  We've had a whole lot more young people than usual visiting / hanging out this month, so we've felt the crunch when we start stuffing chairs all over the place, but it's been great to light up the tree--with caution, because it's generally close to our just over 100 degrees, and the lights warm it up even more.

We hope you're all enjoying the time with friends and family, celebrating Jesus' birth.  Merry Christmas from Paraguay!

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