Check out the Austria Refugee Team blog for updates and pictures. https://refugeinaustria.wordpress.com/#CUGO
Check out some great pictures from Heather Yoder, the Philippines photographer. Click on the link below.
To read about the Peru Bible Distribution team and how God is using them, follow their blog here http://bit.ly/29zP9v1
Olivia, Kayleigh, Steph, and I had a lot of ministry wound up in these pictures. Not only were we involved in the health care of these families as they welcomed new little ones, more importantly we were involved in their spiritual health. Every family at Shalom is ministered to through not only the midwives and nurses, but also through focused Bible studies for mothers and for fathers. The pictures of the father holding his son in the yellow shorts are especially “special.” After a very long labor the baby boy arrived in this world with more complications than most. Thanks to the actions of Shalom staff we were able to give him the best care. With lots of prayer, time, antibiotics, and monitoring he is on his way to recovery. The pictures of the children on the playground are from our Sunday children’s ministry run by Stroudlusk family. Though we could not teach the Bible lesson, which was in Tagalog, we were along every step of the way worshiping God with these kids. The pictures of Olivia with the baby (that have letters on the onesie) are from BCG vaccination day. You can certainly tell from these pictures that Olivia’s heart is with these people. God has blessed her with a love for mothers and babies. There is a picture of Kayleigh next to a grave in the American Cemetery. Her great uncle fought in WW2 and is buried there. The pictures towards the end are from a combined prenatal and children’s outreach ministry. I found the “Thank You Pastor” picture especially touching as it goes to show how much these kids appreciate the time we put into their lives. If only you could see their smiles, hear the laughter, and experience their love for God despite all the hardships they face.
What a great week this is shaping up to be. We started off our day with a staff devotional on nourishment. The food provided is excellent and the spiritual food is even better. We shared encouraging stories from the first half of week two. The elective groups are beginning to produce some great results with the Worship elective leading our times together, and the crafts elective producing some great pieces of art and some beautiful cards. The kids and youth rallied together today to defend their championship against the counselors in Mighty Mighty Scoop Noodle Challenge. We even got Jennifer, Renata and James to join the counselor team to try and stave off the attempts of the kids at stealing our flags. We held off til the time ran out and the rain came pouring down on us all. The rain was a welcome change to the heat wave and forest fires we had around us the first half of the week.
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.