This past week has been a balance of further learning about Paraguay and recharging.
Through my team’s visits, we have had the great experience of learning how to make chipa! Chipa is a very common, cultural food in Paraguay, and it’s made with mandioca starch (1kg to be exact), corn meal (1kg again), Paraguayan cheese (some in the beginning and the end-so lots), 5 eggs, and some pig fat (our equivalent of Crisco). You need a really big bowl and a strong hand to mix it all together- roll your pieces in the shape of a donut or biscuit, let them sit for a day or so, bake them, and then enjoy! In addition to chipa making, another need-to-know fact about Paraguay is that when it rains, every event seems to get canceled because the roads are not drivable and hardly walkable-but that did not stop our team from going to get some chocolate at a somewhat nearby store!
Last Saturday before we went to Encarnacion, we had the privilege of stopping in Yuty to visit another family with SIM Paraguay- the Reiches. While there, we were able to observe their church building that is under renovation, and also we were able to sit in on a presentation on animism in Paraguay! Animism is the belief that supernatural forces or beings have an impact on everyday life and can be manipulated for a person’s benefit or harm. Due to the cultural animistic beliefs in Paraguay, we have learned about the most effective way to share the gospel–showing and emphasizing that Christ conquered darkness and death so that you no longer have to be enslaved in fear!
After our animism discussion and a delicious lunch and chocolate cake (plus a piece for the road) from the Reiches, we continued our journey to our Hotel Tirol in Encarnacion. While there, we were thankful for the heat provided and an occasional hot or lukewarm shower! We also traveled nearby to the Jesuit Ruins and saw how the Jesuits structured their community. They emphasized education and preaching on Roman Catholicism to the indigenous Guarani. To conclude our trip at Tirol, we had the chance to debrief with our team, Dr. Jeff, and Amy. We discussed the positives and negatives that we have personally experienced thus far in Paraguay. It was a wonderful time of encouraging and praying for each other as we looked towards our last couple days in Jataity.
We are now back in our homes again, and we don’t have much time with them-only about ten days-and only seven for me because my family is going to Asuncion for the weekend! Time has gone so incredibly fast, but we are going to enjoy every moment and try to show Christ through our love and actions to our family. Please continue with our prayers. God is powerful, and we pray that His work will be done in our team, our host families, and any other Paraguayans we can touch along the way.