Eve del Dia de Los Reyes

Today was an eventful day. Towards the end of today Gina (the missionary’s wife) commented that it feels as though we’ve lived here a long time. We also felt that way somewhat, but then, we’ve been unaware of the time or day after traveling, then losing use of our cell phones, and finally, not having the luxury of a clock in every room! But today is Friday and the time is 10:22pm.The morning started with breakfast at the missionary’s home. We ate toasted cheese sandwiches and pancakes with syrup. American pancakes are a treat in Paraguay. After breakfast we relaxed for a bit then shortly, we went with the Missionary and his two daughters to the second church & school, Marangatu.

I must clarify that there are three church/schools. The first one is in the mission center along with the 3 missionary homes and the dorm (Iglesia Ebenezer). The second church is about 10 minutes away (Marangatu). The third, we haven’t seen yet.
The land where Marangatu is built on was donated by three unknown deacons who gave two conditions to the Missionary. First, a church must be built on the land. Second, no one must know the names of the donors. The buildings were built with the support of Cerritos Presbyterian Church in Fullerton and the donations of the Paraguayan church members.

We waited there until the Missionary’s wife was finished interviewing teacher candidates. Here we are eating Ramune soda candy. Thanks Meme!

Then she took us to “Stock Mercado” to buy groceries. The comparison with US markets was intriguing. Very few products are made here so most are imported from neighboring countries. Milk is sold in plastic bags. The yogurt is a watery variety. They carry a special soy drink mixed with fruits that is very good. Bread is extremely inexpensive and sold in huge rolling cartons by the kilo.

Since beef and dairy are one of the main staples here, the meat department was stocked with all varieties of cow parts. Most difficult about it was the currency conversion. 5,000 Guaranis (Paraguay currency) are approximately equal to $1. So the numbers get extremely high and we’ve been doing math all day in our heads!

An interesting aspect of Paraguayan economy is that the jobs are service based. There were people waiting to pick up our bags at the airport and take it to our car. At the market, the bag boy takes it to your car without question while another man stands behind your car with a whistle and helps you back out. Most people, not just the upper class, hire maids. There are also security guards in front of most buildings. Most of these positions require tips to be paid. The reason is that there aren’t so many jobs available currently.

While reading the Bible a few days before we left, I read a certain passage which I want to share. I thought it was a word from the Lord about how some of the mission funds should be employed, given that the Holy Spirit confirms the opportunity…

13 The money brought into the temple was not spent for making silver basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, trumpets or any other articles of gold or silver for the temple of the LORD; 14 it was paid to the workmen, who used it to repair the temple. 15 They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty. 2 Kings 12:13-15

After Stock Mercado, we went to a pharmacy. Shin & I have been battling a really bad cold for the last few weeks. Shin got better, but I’ve been coughing constantly without any decrease in phlegm or a progressively better coloration of it. I didn’t think it worth requesting prayer for, but I was naïve and wrong. I really need prayer. I fear we may be entering round two of a mutated strain. So luckily, Gina, was able to obtain a prescription medicine with a promise to the clerk to bring the doctor’s note later. It’s been helpful already.

We came back and ate lunch with the family again. Then we returned to our home for siesta. An hour or two later we had our first Spanish tutoring session with a native. She was an excellent teacher and we got a great refresher as well as new information and practice. She says optimistically that many foreigners gain fluidity in about 3 months.

We made dinner ourselves for the first time. We made chicken sandwiches with grilled onion and tomato slices. Beforehand, I washed all the utensils and dishes we were going to use. The reason is that cockroaches and ants, although a nuisance, are part of common life, even in the kitchen. We saw a couple yesterday in the kitchen, the large variety.

Gina told me today that if I washed every dish or tried to control them it would be very stressful. She said this is a part of missions that I have to get used to. If I see them, I should kill them, but if I don’t, I should continue as if they don’t exist. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to ease the problem. I bought little black boxes today.

After tutoring the Missionary family took us to downtown Asuncion. Villa Elisa is in the quiet outskirts. The roads leading to downtown was very smoggy, and less and less green. Eventually, it opened out onto the Rodeo drive of Asuncion. We went into the mall to sightsee and buy power converters from Radio Shack. We even got to eat Mc Donald’s ice cream. The environment was completely different. This side of town was obviously more wealthy but one of the local hangouts.

Today was the day before Children’s day called Dia de Los Reyes. The Reyes, or “kings” refer to the three wise men who gave gifts to the baby Jesus. So many vendors were selling toys on the roadsides and the malls.

Now we are home ready to sleep. While setting up the new wires Shin got an electrical burn on his finger from the new converters and power adapters. The plugs delivered 220 volts of electricity straight onto his index finger between the first and second finger joints. Thankfully, not through his entire body.

Btw, I killed my first cockroach today. Well… cockroaches don’t die, but we stunned it with the bottom of Shin’s shoe and then threw it outside to the mercy of the ants. Shin says, he hopes it creates enough commotion outside to keep the ants out of the house. Like in the mountains, there are a variety of ant species. The outdoor kind is the normal red-ant size. The ones indoor however are smaller than specks of pepper. One can easily blow them away. *whooot*

So that is the end of day 2 as I write on the laptop in front of the vanity mirror, a necessity as the only electrical outlet and power converters are next to it.

Buenas Noches a todos y Dios Le Bendiga!

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