Monday, July 28, 2008
Anyways, I've posted more pictures from the touring - at the bottom of the page, click on Older Posts, until you get to the page with the Chiperia Maria Ana post, then read forward again.
Next step is start tagging pictures and making them 1024 x 768 for our slideshow for the Missions Sunday that we'll present the trip.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
After dinner, Fran, Jenn and Dominique had to test one of the many Starbucks kiosks at the Miami airport. I was happy with just the cafe con leche at the Crown Room in Brazil. Susan said the hot chocolate there was delicious. Lisa was the only one smart enough to partake in the hot chocolate at the hotel in Brazil. All of us that tried Bob's iced coffee were pleased with it, but I suspect the greatest pleasure will be sleeping in our own beds tomorrow morning. Flight now showing a 9:40 departure and 12:30 SFO arrival. At least we've already cleared customs.
We all have different spiritual gifts.
We have one team member that loves to sleep and can sleep anytime,
even with bright sun shining on her face.
Of course, you miss things like this sunrise.
Imagine my surprise when half way through our 8 hour flight from Sao Paulo to Miami, she and I were the only two team members awake. Imagine my further surprise when she said "Joe, I wrote a blog entry."
Here it is:
As I'm leaving Paraguay, I leave with a new vision, a new understanding. I've been playing the words of 1 John 4 in my mind.
V. 7 "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God."
V. 11-12 "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."
I am learning that it's okay, it's encouraged to receive love, because God is love. When I receive love from someone, I am actually accepting them as meeting a need I have, as they are empowered by God.
I have always prided myself on being independent. I am learning that is more of a rejection of the love God wants to offer through others.
These weeks, I have needed people as never before. I have needed people's prayers. I have needed help understanding language. I have needed people to keep me from getting lost in the markets. I have needed provision of communication with people at home. I have needed instruction on how to work. I have needed people to encourage me, comfort me, feed me, laugh with me, and cry with me. I have needed much.
All of these needs were met by our host missionaries, teammates, friends, Paraguayans and family. Each of you has stepped up to use the gifts God has given you to show His love.
And just as I have this deep need for, in essence, love, so do many in this world. And just as others had gifts to show me God's love by meeting my needs; so too, have I the ability to love people in the world and in God's love and grace, meet their needs.
So I guess, what I am challenging myself to do daily, every moment really, is to ask God how do I love people better and can you help me to allow myself to need others and be loved by You, Father God, in their actions. Mt final thought will be directed to you dearest, how will you love this world of needy people?
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
We had stopped shortly into Paraguay for some fuel and a bio break. I noticed the diesel pumps had these filters that were the size of 55 gallon drums.
Apparently they are decorative and not functional, because our breakdown repair consisted of draining 5 gallons or so of fuel out and pulling a fuel filter, then replacing the fuel.
When the driver nearly done, this vehicle stopped, then returned again after the bus was running again. We think it was Paraguay's version of roadside assistance.
The engine sputtered on the first start - probably due to contaminated fuel between the filter and engine, but slowly rose to life. We'll see how it goes the rest of the trip. From Google maps on my mobile blogging terminal, it looks like we're half way back, but Paraguay is so out of the way, where we're at, Google maps doesn't even show any roads.
Brenda predicted a slow, 7 hour trip back with the lethargic pace the driver took yesterday and the rain earlier this morning. Not sure if a breakdown was included within or in addition to her estimate.
We just visited La Holanda dairy cooperative.
Brenda got a huge block of butter - a 5 Kg. I was eyeing the 25KG tubs of Dulce de Leche (caramel cream), but settled for a couple of the 2nd smallest tubs.
We all got soft serve ice cream.
Shortly after this we started seeing the large anthills. I opened the window to shoot a picture.
Right after this, the driver pulled over. He didn't pull over for better pictures, he pulled over because the bus broke. We're still smiling, praying for the driver to quickly fix the bus.
The driver under the bus checking things out. Notice the traffic - pretty lightly traveled road.
Plenty of cows to look at during our wait.
And a few birds.
If things get bad, the toll booth is only a kilometer away (just over a half mile).
Being rained out, we went to the chocolate factory, a large gift shop. It had a hugh selection of products, from geodes like the pair behind Fran.
For those who have to have these, this overpriced shop will sell them for about $40,000 each. There were coffee tables in front for around $12,000.
We found many interesting things - from leather goods, pretty polished rocks, gemstones, jewelery, wood products, clothing, postcards and chocolate. Here's our bus and driver that took us there.
From there, we went to Big, which is a big box store much like a super Kmart or Walmart. We stocked up on coffee and cookies to bring home, and Brenda stocked up on some stuff she needed.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Imagine a pizza buffet with all you can eat pizza.
Imagine varieties like heart of Palm, Chicken Alfredo, Philly Cheese Steak and all you can eat fries and chicken wings.
Pizza varieties like tuna, corn and peas.
Okay, on to dessert pizzas. Chocolate and rice krispies. Chocolate and Coconut. Chocolate and peanuts. Chocolate and Strawberries.
Oh, and sixteen flavors of gelato.
Where's the Pepto Bismal?
Visited Parque National Do Iguacu - home of the Iguasu Falls - the biggest waterfalls I've ever seen.
These falls are over twice the size of the Niagara falls, and second in the world to the Victoria falls in Africa.
Some of the falls had rainbows and double rainbows.
Lots of vibrant butterflys, but only a few would pose for portraits.
This is the Devil's Throat section of the falls.
Here's a bit higher up, looking at the side.
Finally, looking at it from the top.
We're now on a tour of the Itaipu Dam - the world's largest hydro-electric power plant.
Here's the spillway from the Paraguay side of the dam.
There are 20 turbines - 10 each owned by Paraguay and Brazil. They are under these white tubes - Paraguay's on the left (1-9B), Brazil's on the right (10-18B)
Paraguay uses 1.5 turbines for essentially all the country's power. Brazil uses its 10 and buys Paraguay's surplus power for about a quarter of Brazil's power.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Bob had me share my testimony, with Brenda translating. I started with I sinned, then found salvation. I then got better. Typical Paraguay testimony - no content. After a chuckle or two, I gave a short testimony.
We gave Hugo a bible to help him on his walk with Christ. I asked him to read it cover to cover by our return next year. He told me he's not very smart, but I told him most people can read it in a year by spending 15-20 minutes a day.
After the service, we went to have lunch at a Paraguayan Barbeque - much like a Brazilian Barbeque. Here' Susan being served a cut from the hump - a heavily marbled section from between the front shoulders of a Brazilian / Paraguayan cow.
Bob got a real kick out of the expressiveness of Dominique and Susan. They really enjoyed the diversity of flavors of the many cuts of beef we tried today.
The meat is rotisserie grilled in this oven.
Lisa and Brenda talking between courses ...
... while Fran and Jenn listened intently.
The finale was a barbecued Pineapple that had been rolled in cinnamon.