January 27, 2014

Meeting the President of the World

I love old people.  Really.  I do.  I'm sure there's  a more politically correct way to say that--I love persons with age-challenges or I am fond of those who have the wisdom of many years.  Whatever.  I just love old people.  Of course, I also adore teenagers, so I guess it's those in-between years that I'm not sure what to do with.  But that's another story....

Saturday morning, my English class finished their test and then walked a few blocks to catch a bus, walk a bit more, then visit the local retirement home.  I've only seen a handful of these places in this whole country because the next generation generally remains with family.  It's actually quite lovely to see the respect given to older people here.  This visit was no exception.

Paraguayans have a tendency to give formal speeches.  In just about whatever situation--birthday party, family dinner, before a test, you name it--someone rises up and waxes eloquent about the responsibilities of every citizen, the level of respect they feel for those present, and the importance of the current situation. When we began to plan the visit to the old folks' home, these little speeches began.  I grinned (inwardly) but also beamed with pride every time they reminded each other that they, too, would one day be this age, God willing.  I was giddy when, of their own volition, they gathered supplies to take as donations.  I was beside myself when, instead of whining and complaining about having to walk uphill such a long way to get there, in rainy weather, they joked and sang. 

A couple of kids brought guitars and they sang, performed traditional Paraguayan dances, sat with the residents, held their hands, hugged them, listened to their stories.  When the man whose cane was covered in shiny things (because it was actually a royal staff, of course) told how he owned the entire country of Argentina and was the president of the whole world, no one snickered.  They oohed and aahed at the right moments and gave this gentleman all the respect he'd earned for his years.  I'd prepared to tell them things like, "Don't make faces about the smell," or "Nod your head even if what she's saying doesn't make sense," but I found it wasn't at all necessary.  The last song we sang to them said,

God is here right now
As certain as the air I breathe surrounds me
As certain as I know the sun, will rise in the morn'
As certain as I know he hears me when I call

On the walk back, they were all smiles.  "Did you see how she sang along?  Wasn't he the cutest thing?  I think they were happy to see us!  When can we go back?"

And I was encouraged again in our work with young people.  I was encouraged to know how eager they are to make a difference.  I was encouraged that with just a bit of direction, they are jumping at the chance to do something positive.  I was encouraged that they recognize God and the part He plays in all our lives.  


  1. I gave an open invitation to our youth group to go with me to the nursing home one Sunday and had 4 teens show up out of 25. We had a great time! I love seeing the teens in action and to hear their voices as they share. Thank you Hagermans as you make a difference in this world! God bless you!

  2. I'm proud of your young people too! They got to experience in person the feeling of being blessed themselves by helping others! Tell them your friends say, "Way to go!"

  3. I really loved this visit, It was a nice experience. :) :)

  4. I really loved this visit. It was a nice experience :) :)


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