Back in Latin America

Trip Start Jun 14, 2007
Trip End Aug 04, 2007

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Flag of Paraguay  ,
Saturday, June 30, 2007

Paraguay is back in Latin America for us. The change in crossing the border was amazing. Life is less ordered, less clean and everyone told us to have "mucho ojo" (be careful) with our things. That last comment made us rather paranoid since it was backed up with stories of everything from pickpocketing to car-jacking ("in front of the police in broad daylight.") But God protected us from anything untoward. We spent one night in Encarnación and watched both Colombia and the US get trounced in respective America's Cup soccer games.In the lat morning we took the bus to Asunción where we are now.

The highlight here has been first of all, the Konkols meeting us at the guest house. They came up 3 hours from San Juan Bautista to be here for us as well as to collect the final adoption papers on their two daughters. They are a great couple and we felt like old friends within minutes of meeting. To celebrate their daughters' adoption completion they took us out to eat at a "churrascuria". This is an all you can eat place with a salad bar, pasta bar, soups and mostly meat. They come around with different cuts that have been cooked on a rotating skewer over an open flame and offer them to you. They were all delicious, especially the hump of the long-horned cattle they raise here. I never expected Paraguay to have the best beef I'd tasted yet!

The other high point was the Emmaus meeting on Saturday evening. About 25 or 30 were out at the Independencia assembly to hear about Emmaus. Many had never studied an Emmaus course, so Jim told them the value of the courses for them  as well as his vision for promoters in each assembly. Carolina, a woman in her late 50s who has run the Emmaus office for 12 years, showed us around her workspace. She's enthusiastic about the work and we met two people in their 20s who have completed 35 and 40 courses respectively. Please pray that the course work would catch on.

Mike Meier and his wife, Sara, drove in from their place 2 hours away to come to the meeting. He has also started the Emmaus work in their town. The problem with using the courses in Paraguay, according to both the Meiers and the Konkols, is the illiteracy or near-illiteracy of most of the people outside Asuncion. There are 2 languages in Paraguay--Spanish and Guarani. Everyone speaks Guarani as their heart language, but there is no education in it, so no one reads it. Education is all in Spanish, but most people who are already in their 30s or older only have a 4th grade education. Pray that God's Word would go out to these people in anyway possible.

Tomorrow night we head out on another bus for Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Pray for us--an uncomfortable bus for 24 hours! We will be crossing the Chaco Desert of northern Paraguay, apparently a completely desolate area of sand with no towns or even people. We´ve talked to others who have done it and they say it is an "adventure" and and "experience" but is doable. Apparently it is quite dusty, so I´ll be using my shawl over my mouth some of the time.
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