This was one of the best weeks out of this entire year!
We spent Christmas Eve together at the Cho family’s home with their extended family. We performed hand-bells, duets, and also got to witness a shockingly funny dance by their cousin’s family.
The baby was looking at the coca-cola
The family didn’t tell anyone they were going to do a dance
Annie and Shin at the dinner table anticipating asado…
Ensalada de Fruta- I’m gonna make this a lot when I get back
Performing handbells- Arah and Michelle are really musical!
Lots of authentic, smoked carne asado and spicy sausages
Handmade cake made by a woman from church
Arah (in red) with her two cousins
For Shin and I, it was 2 days in a row of Paraguayan food: delicious carne asado, spicy sausage, sopa paraguaya etc :p. . because on Christmas eve a medical mission team came from Cerritos Presbyterian Church for one week, exactly between Christmas Day through New Years Eve.
The “mom and dad” picture because they made us sit in the front like a family portrait! From left to right: (Guillermo, Benjamin, Eugene, Samuel, Brian, Esther, Richard) Front: (Annie, Shin)
There were 7 awesome people on the team. There was the leader, Dr. Guillermo who will return as a long-term medical missionary, Esther a med student and only girl on the team, Benjamin the candidate for a one year mission who got everyone to eat toronja (the monster grapefruit), Richard the first-timer out of CA who gave his word he would come back to Paraguay. Sam the dental student who always has an expressive face. Brian the youngest, who testified of God’s faithful love and took pro photos. Eugenio who loved his sombrero, Guarana soda and conversing in Spanish.
They were a fun, real, dedicated, and hilarious group of people and working and playing with them was uplifting and unforgettable.
Day 1: Wednesday 12/26 La Lomita
Playing with kids, (Group 1) de-licing, (Group 2)shampoo (Group 3) conditioning (Group 4) hair cutting and styling. Lunch and more playing with kids
Preparing lunch at the mission center to take with us. Some of the sandwiches only ended up with butter because we ran out of ham, cheese, lettuce, and tomatos!
Sr. Espinola numbering everyone for hair treatment
Eugenio and Arah treating lice
Esther and someone treating lice
Boys getting shaved by an hermano from church. He has his own barber shop and brought clippers and even the chairs from his shop!
Shin wrapping the heads in plastic bags for the lice medicine to activate
Girls waiting for the lice medicine to take effect
Hair cuts and styling by volunteer stylists (peluqueros/as) from church
Peinar=to style hair
Annie styling hair with the new skills she learned
This was the hair washing, cutting, and de-licing area- also the back of the church
Kids waiting their turn
Shin drawing objects in the dirt for the kids
Christian teaching Bible stories with the kids waiting their turn
A son of pastor Anibal with his pet
Ricardo and friend playing WWE
This is a boy who bit me (look above my watch)
Day 2: Thursday 12/27 La Lomita
Playing with kids, house-to-house (Group 1) medical consultations (Group 2) dental consultations, (Group 3) administering anti-parasitical medicine. Afterwards was lunch and more playing with kids.
This day it rained a lot. It was the first day of house to house consultations. The team got a chance to get to know the people and build relationships and gain trust. They got a glimpse of the needs of the community and also noted how many kids are in each family, so they can return with more needed supplies in the future. The dental team even carried around the model of the gums and teeth and did demos and handed out toothbrushes! Next year maybe they’ll get the toothbrush and toothpaste mascots!!
Each group took turns visiting the house along the row. Towards the end they were one big group to avoid confusion. One of the homes they visited had a house full of 15 kids and no parents so unfortunately, the team couldn’t get permission to administer the anti parasite medicine.
Group photo with Evangelist Anival on the far right
Eugenio and Marina a nursing student
The girl on the right is Korean and Paraguayan
Pastor Cho with most of the church kids
Closeup of the church kids
Day 3: Friday 12/28 La Lomita
This day was the same as yesterday but the process was more streamlined. First off, the church kids were asked to stay back at the church so that the team could have more ease entering homes and working in each place. (G1) medical and anti-parasitical were grouped this time (G2) then dental consultations, (G3) and the addition of the evangelism team.
I was part of this group. In the beginning I was alone on the team. Nonetheless, I tried to share the Gospel at the first home. I realized right away that I couldn’t do it by myself. One reason was fear, obviously. Second, was the lack of spiritual power by oneself versus with a team. Third, is that it looks like the spiritual health is not as important if the two other teams are 5-6 people each and Evangelism has only one person! So Michelle (the Pastor’s daughter,) Oscar, a Paraguayan from Marangatu, and I formed a team.
We went around right behind the second group and introduced ourselves officially as the “third group” so that despite of, and also because of, the amount of time they already gave to the other teams, they would grant us a hearing. Oscar began with a great intro, saying, “Not only is the medical and dental care important, but so is the spiritual” which made perfect sense. Then he would hand over the presentation of the Gospel to me most of the times, although he gave a wonderful explanation in Guarani as well, and Michelle would lead the prayer of acceptance. It was a great honor and really exciting.
That day, many of the homes were already believers but had never asked Christ to be their Lord. One man had a very hard face during the talk, and at the end he said, “This is very interesting. Whenever I go to the Catholic Service it’s always political.” Another group we shared with was a woman’s home with her daughter and grandkids. I asked her what she would say if God asked, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” Her answer surprised me and touched my heart. She said, “Just the way I invited all of you, wouldn’t He do the same?” We prayed for healing for her daughter’s hearing and her other daughter(?)’s tooth related problem. I sincerely pray that she would be healed and be a witness in her community. The last group we shared with was a group of teens who were blasting music. When we reached their home they invited us to sit down and respectfully turned down the music. They looked very attentive but no one prayed outloud, the prayer of invitation. But then, who knows that one of them didn’t pray to God inaudibly?? We hope so.
The parrot is holding a pen and candy! Two good choices!
Ricardo, Herman, and… Analia
Annie and Herman’s cutie little brother!!!!
Christian pointing at Marina
Sam drawing(?), Ben, and Guillermo in the PY soccer team jersey
Richard taking photos with the kids right before we left
Day 4: Saturday 12/29 Rest. For the medical team it was also a short city tour day and chance to buy souvenirs.
Day 5: Sunday 12/30 Worship Service
Testimony and Prayer, and a Celebration for the last Sunday of the year. Bonding time.
We are just a few weeks from leaving but this past week has also given us a new passion for the mission center that we hope to work towards before we leave and continue after we return.