Monthly Archives: March 2007

Update – Please don’t forget about us

God Is Mysterious in the ways He works, answers prayers, and teaches us. This is my observations of what has happened so far and testimony of God’s faithfulness through it all.

In the past month, we have been invited over to someone’s house for a meal on three different occasions.  Our first invitation was to the house of Ruben and Lucia. Their son goes to the Cerritos school that we teach at.  It was a wonderful contemporary Paraguayan meal with their whole famly.  They prayed for us.  Second we were invited to the house of Charles & Tessi.  Charles is the man who drove me to the hospital weeks before when I had my incident.  We had a wonderful Paraguyan asado meal with their whole family. They prayed for us. The most recent invitation came through Maru, our co-worker / english teacher / fellow church member / friend.  She is part of the Intervarsity group here in Paraguay. We mentioned our encounter with Steve and Sheri Tengan previously. They are missionaries here through the Intervarsity organization which Maru is a part of and thus the connection with us.  We had wonderful home-made pizza that we shared at the home of one of the members of the Intervarsity group.  These invitations were amazing answers to quiet hope-prayers we had about needing fellowship relationships.

The Jovenes (youth) here are explosive. This past week they had their FIRST annual hipop competition at church as one of their saturday night meetings.  It was amazing. Here are the guests that were invited.  A man who opened a center for orphaned kids to teach them hipop and to give them self-esteem and hope. They go and compete in competitions. He brought many of his students to this event and some of them were in the competition.Two local but well known Paraguayan hipop groups came to perform and share the message.  The speaker was a well known youth pastor.  The Jovenes that night took charge of many aspects of this event to make it happen. I was the camera man.  The groups were amazingly good.  I will soon get the images and perhaps some clips from that night.  After the competition and performances, before the winner was announced, the speaker showed a few short video clips and one short story about Jesus healing a posessed man. In the video the story was, more or less, straight from the Bible, but the scenes itself were very artistic, contemporary and emotionally charged version of the story.  After that the pastor gave a short message and invited people to accept Christ as the one who can save from the uncontrolled, lost, seemingly demon-posessed life.  I believe that many people prayed the prayer of repentance and acceptance. I hope that they have taken the next step to walk in faith.  The winner received a trophie.  I am amazed at what God has done through this event. It goes beyond my understanding of what the form of evangelism could be.

School has been the toughest part of the whole experience for me. In specific, it was my 8th grade english class at Cerritos.  After much praying and thinking and consulting, I believe that God has answered my prayers.  First off I was given understanding of why they are that way.  I was told that in general, children here, when they are young, are not really disciplined at home. The parents on the most part leave them alone.  When they come to school, they encounter authority figures who behave differently.  School requires them to follow strict rules and regulations.  They have to learn how to listen and follow.  Secondly, through this tough experience, I learned the importance of prayer. In truth, I can say to you that on days that I have prayed, the classes would be better.  It was so much better that I was able to survive through it without getting hurt emotionally.  I was so thankful to God for protecting me in this way and giving me wisdom.  Weeks of that went by. Next, I consulted the principals and other teachers about this matter because it kept on continuing and the class was not improving.  Principal Mario spoke to me a few times and gave me many great advice concerning how to teach the students here so that I do not lose control.  All of the advice he gave me were so basic and seemingly too small to make any impact, but I willfully followed his advice knowing that he is the authority.  They worked GREAT.  The two tactics I used were: arranging the chairs in an organized way and writing the names of good and bad people on the board.  I can’t believe it. The class that was once so wild that they would walk in and out of the room, come up to the board and write things on it while I’m teaching, go into the corner and read magazines while I teach, not do the work assigned to them. . etc etc. . . became one of my best behaving classes.  I really think that God is really amazing. Thank you so much for your prayers. Please keep praying for our work at school.

Soon it will be Easter. Everyone at church must be busy with something.  Here, it is like that as well. This Easter, the church is putting on a play called “Passion of Christ”.  It is the stage version of Christ’s story starting from the last supper to His resurrection.  There are many prayer meetings and special services happening as well.  In Paraguay, the week before Easter is called “Semana Santa” which translates to “Holy Week”.  Some places do not work this whole week.  Other places work till Wednesday.  Lucky for us, we get Thursday and Friday off.  Students are asking us what we are doing that weekend.  I told them I don’t know, but I feel we will be preparing for Easter Sunday as the holidays were intended.  I have also heard that the Catholic influences here are strong and that people do not eat meat a few days before Easter. They eat bread instead.  The interesting thing is, the bread they eat is called “CHIPA”  It is a certain cheeze bread that I believe is particular here in Paraguay or South America.  We are told that on the final few days before Easter there will be many people on the street and on buses selling chipa like there is no tomorrow.  That will be interesting.  There are many vendors on the street and on buses, but to see them all selling chipa would be quite a site. So we have two early morning prayers, stage background + props to make,  posters for the play to make until the day of the theater, Sat & Sunday.  It has been very busy, but that is to be expected when Easter comes around.  I hope that everyone will have a truly blessed Semana Santa.

Ytororo (1,2) church will go into full swing after Easter.  The construction has been scheduled to start the second week of April.  Due to being tired and stressed, I have not been able to attend the Ytororo services on Sundays so I do not really know what is going on in the classes. However, from what I have observed, they are teaching the story of Daniel.  They are on the part about Daniel and his friends refusing to eat the King’s food.  It has been 4 weeks and they are now just about to go into the next topic. There are about 6 faithful jovenes members who come.  3 are teachers, one plays the guitar, the other is in charge of stationary, the other is in charge of setting up the snack and drinks.  Annie has been put in charge of making crafts.  As for me, what do I do there? I don’t really know.  I have not yet received any specific task by Pastor Freddy. Most of the time I have found myself praying for the church as I walk around, observe, and take pictures.  I really hope that once the church is built, it will be a place where not only kids, but the whole Ytororo community can worship God. Please pray for the Ytororo church and people around it.

Dengue is still a big problem here.  We have been seeing people in our church, in our school getting dengue.  There is always at least 1 or 2 people we know that has gotten dengue in a week. Some of them has gotten it for their second time.  I am so thankful that Annie and I have not yet gotten the dengue fever. I thank God that we did not. Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray for our protection.

Looking back at three months, I see us now starting to settle in just a little bit.  We finally were able to use the kitchen cupboards to store our dishes and cups.  We still can not use the drawers because we are not comfortable yet, but I’m sure the time will come.  Most of the huge and unsanitary bugs are now all gone.  We are now somewhat comfortable with riding the bus. We can now with ease get to all of the places that we normally go.  We have now also purchased our second bottle of bleach, cleaners, vegetable oil.  We have also invested in purchasing a spray that makes the air smell good. Perhaps I have not yet talked about our bathroom situation here.  It is not as bad as a hole in the ground in a shack outside with bugs crawling all over, but the toilets here cannot take paper, so all of our papers go into the trash can, so it smells bad.  It took us 3 months to actually go out and purchase an air freshener.  

I have also realized how fast we had to adapt.  During the past three months, I thought we had alot of time to adjust and to adapt, but when I see it in number, It has been very little time. I thought about just basic commitments we have here. Here is what went through my head.

January

        Spanish lessons for almost every day (For this month only).
        Attend Church ( Sun 8:00am – 12:00pm ) –  started doing the offering songs.  
        Started participating in the jovenes meetings ( Sat 5pm-9:30pm ).
        Started participating in pastoral team meetings ( Sat 8am – 10pm ).
        Ytororo starts ( Sunday 3pm – 5pm )

February

        School starts ( First time teaching. M-F 6:00am – 1:00pm ),
        Sunday school starts ( Sunday 8:00 – 10:00 )        
        Praise practice ( Tues 4pm – 6pm )

I thought to myself.  Wow.  Everything happened so fast one thing after another.  I am thankful to God that we were able to adjust fairly quickly. It has been very busy and tiring. Especially because the language. Please pray that we will have the strength, joy, and wisdom to do this work. And also pray that we will be able to learn the language enough to really connect with the people we encounter.

Craving Boba Milk Tea

I found out that “Boba” in Castellano means, “Foolish woman.”
Therefore, “Boba Loca” is a pretty mean thing to say to someone here.

Have you ever wondered what Boba is made of? I had absolutely no idea. I finally decided to research tapioca pearls and see if it was possible to make it, find it, or ship it?

First I read that tapioca balls are made from the starch extracted from Casseva Roots. I looked up Casseva roots on Wikipedia. The root grows in subtropical to tropical climates and its a long root that is a brownish color. I looked over at Shin and said, “Huh. Wouldn’t it be funny if this was mandioca?” Then, as I skimmed the highlighted words, I saw the word, “Mandioca.”

OH MY GOSH!!

Mandioca is only the most common root sold in Paraguay. It’s as common as grass and really cheap in the markets. It’s a daily food staple for most Paraguayans.

Mandioca From Wikipedia: pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandioca

We see the plant all the time in people’s backyards!!

Mandioca Plant From: www.iac.sp.gov.br/.../Horticultura.htm

We are so going to try to make boba at home one of these days!! It should be a cinch finding mandioca starch in the supermercados. We’ll keep you updated!!!

(I will replace these images with our own!)

Updates

Last Sunday, we got up late but were early to church. We rushed out to church as fast as we can, took the first bus that came by not knowing for sure if it would go where we needed to go.  Luckily, in the bus, we met the man who prepares the sound equipment for the church. I sheepishly asked him, are you going to church?  He said, yes.   Of COURSE he would say yes. . . where ELSE would he be going on a Sunday morning. 

 I felt good that we got on the right but, but felt embarassed for asking him that question.  We rush off the bus past the sound man and enter the church to find out that the Fiance of the Children´s pastor was there.  Annie asked her, is pastor Christian there?  She answered, not yet.  We thought, how strange that he is late today. . . we greeted another person who was praying in the pews.  She is one of the intesessors in the church.  She said that we came really early.  I thought she was joking.  I asked her what time is it? She said it was 7:30.  We usually get to church by 8:30.  So that is how we discovered our time change.  Now we and you are officially 3 Hours apart.  We are the same time as NY USA.

 How is everyone doing.  I hope everything is going well.  We have been quite busy here and didn´t have the chance to update this blog that often.  We have alot of pictures and videos that we would like to share, but due to either technical or temporal difficulties we were not able to. 

I have heard in part the news of the WLAKC and am looking forward to hearing more about what has progressed.  Thank you so much for everyone who has been praying for us here in Paraguay.  We here are understanding the importance of prayer more and more and more and more. 

I have been starting out every day almost like holding my breath to wait for God to answer our prayers. The simple service of teaching students here have proved to be very difficult and stressul in many ways.

I have leaned quickly that on days that I had prayed, the students are more obedient.  On days that I had forgotten to pray, for some reason, it becomes a complete disaster.  My days are in the balance between good and disasterous pending on prayer.

Thank you so much for your prayers, but I believe I have recovered very well from the past incident due to your prayers.  For the last few weeks after the incident, I have received a different insight that I had never had before. I am right not still not sure of how to describe it, but in my being I feel that my life has become more deep and rich.  It is like I see the world in a different way. I would like to talk about in upcoming posts. 

 As for the updates. . . here they are. 
(We will update with more as soon as I purchase the codec.  The demo expired on me recently after these below. It took me this long to just decide to purchase it.)

  • Praise Practice 1 – 2/24/07
  • Praise Practice 2 – 2/24/07
  • Praise Practice 3 – 2/24/07
  • Pictures have been added to the gallery:
    ( We have alot more new pictures, we were more conservative about uploading pictures due to the Picasa space limt. . . but now thank God they now give 1GB for free!)
    Ytororo Visit

    Here is a list of prayers that have been answered. 
    We wanted to share the fruits of your prayers.
    Answered Prayers

    • Shin´s Quick Recovery
    • Shin´s Schedule Conflict (for those of you who didn´t know I had a schedule conflict at school that put me in an awkward situation.  2 Class times overlapped eachother for 10 minutes.  It turns out that something happened at the school and they HAVE to move teachers around.  Thank God the change for me rids me of the conflicting schedule.
    • Shin and Bugs. . . Thank you all for all of your prayers. I feel  very thankful that all of the bugs madness has gone down to a level way below my expectation. We are no longer fighting invisible parasites.
    • School. . . I really believe that the prayers have helped with the control of the out of control classrooms.

    If you are thinking, how come all these answered prayers sound like Shin´s. . . it is because they are mine.  I will allow Annie to share her answered prayers in her own words.  Some of the above things are one time prayers. . . and some are ones that need continuous prayer.   Thank you so much for laboring with us in prayer. . . please continue to faithfully work with us in this way.

     Sincerely,
    Shin Y. Kim

    New People, New Projects

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    This past Sunday was a special day of meeting people. After service, we met another missionary couple with Intervarsity Ministries. Their names are Sheryl and Steve. It’s an amazing coincidence but they had ministries on UCI campus, Shin’s alma mater. Halfway across the globe and we meet someone from the same city and state. We hope to share a meal with them and talk soon.

    We also met another couple, Reuben and Lucy, who invited us to lunch in the same sentence as, “Nice to meet you!” They were the first family to invite us into their home so it was really special for us. I realized midway how truly our Spanish has come an incredibly long way! We were able to understand their jokes and converse with them for over 2 hours! It’s amazing! Thank you for praying for our language skills, everyone. It has had a huge impact on our learning.

    After lunch Pastor Freddy picked us up in the back of a flatbed truck along with 8 others, to go to Ytororo for children’s ministry. We didn’t go the past two weeks. The teachers began Sunday school two weeks ago. There are three general groups: Oldest, younger, and those under 6 or 7 years old. I made two posters, one for the focus verse, Daniel 1:8, and another to invite the neighborhood kids to join us each week. (I will picture them after the following Sunday.)

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    Just before service

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    Sunday School- the oldest kids

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    Sunday School-the middle-aged kids

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    Sunday School-kids under age 7 photo a

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    Sunday School-kids under age 7 photo b

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    The rebels who skipped service

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    About to hang a poster of invitation

    EXCITING NEWS!!! In three weeks, they are going to begin construction of Ytororo Church!!! Please keep the church and construction in your prayers!!!

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    Theres a lot going on with Marangatu right now that we’re involved in. I have so many art projects at the moment:
    1) I’m going to sketch a new blueprint for the Ytororo church building based on Marangatu’s blueprint. I’m hoping that will be simple.

    2) On April 6 and 7, Marangatu Church is performing a play based on the Passion of the Christ. It will be a great evangelistic opportunity in the neighborhood. I’m supporting the visual portion by making posters and helping with the backdrops for the play. Here are a few pictures:

    Pasion de Cristo Poster 1
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    This first one took about 11 1/2 hours to get this far, including pre-measuring the grid for enlargement, pencil sketching, overlaying with pastel, cutting the letters out, spraying several coats of hair spray over the pastels, then glueing down the letters… It was a tremendous amount of work in one sitting. I have two more to do before Sunday, although I will make those more briefly than the first! It’s sad, but the tendency of kids is to destroy things, so I have to accept that part of my work too.

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    3) I’m part of the set design team for the play. We have to create a concept for how to portray important scenes from Jesus’ life, like the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, etc. It’s a lot of pressure because the set and the props can really enhance the ambience of the play, or take away from it. We hope it will be a blessed endeavor with God’s special hand of creativity on it.

    Prayers for:
    The construction of Ytororo
    Pasion de Cristo