Monday, June 29, 2015

Week Six in Paraguay

This past week marked the halfway point of our trip. I think the second half of our time here is going to fly by! At the halfway point we have yet to break out our big coats. :) We've also learned that our place (unlike most places in Paraguay) actually does have a heater (in case it does get cold before we leave).

Trent began teaching in the Bible Academy this past week. He's teaching Christian Evidences on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. In a few weeks, he'll also add teaching Numbers and Deuteronomy at the Bible Academy. Teaching in Spanish is burdensome on his mind, but it is also a great opportunity to continue to develop his Spanish language skills. On Friday afternoon Trent also helped with a baptism workshop - which included Bible study but also teaching the students in the Academy about how to baptize someone (the mechanics of it) and discussing how to handle special circumstances (such as how to baptize someone who is crippled). Friday evening Trent was able to be a part of a good Bible study with a family whose mother and one of the children are Christians, but their father is not. Trent is also continuing with his Spanish lessons most days of the week. 

I was able to meet with all three of my English students during the week, and I think the lessons went well. I'm also learning how to interact/discuss the Bible even more with the students as part of the lesson (we always discuss the Bible - that's the text for the English lessons, but learning how to really bring even deeper discussion about the Bible to the lesson). Teaching these English lessons has really made me think about English in a different way as well. There are so many things about that I take for granted about knowing the proper usage . . . like trying to explain the difference between the verbs "to rise" and "to raise," trying to explain what exactly the word "thus" means, or just in general explaining that there is no rule for something that you just have to learn the specific case.
Luke playing in the yard area at the church building while I was teaching English.

On Saturday Troy took us sightseeing around Asuncion. This was the first time we visited the downtown or "centro" area of the city. We were able to visit the Palma area of downtown which is famous for shopping and eating. While we were there we ate some traditional Paraguayan food including (for me) tasting chipa so'o for the first time (which was yummy). One of the sad things we were able see was the "chacarita" area where very poor people live in tiny houses (which really aren't houses at all). The area we viewed was one near the bay which flooded in recent years (and some areas even flooded while we've been here). When the area flooded in recent years the government came in and built plywood boxes for the people to live in - which we also saw. Sadly, these tiny plywood boxes are sometimes nicer than the other houses these people live in. We also got to visit Lambare hill (named after a famous Guarani Native American from the area) where we were able to get a great view of the city of Asuncion, the river, as well as see across the river into Argentina.

After we got home Saturday evening, we watched Paraguay play Brazil in soccer in the quarterfinals of the Copa America. Paraguay was not expected to win, but they won in a shootout. It was exciting, and very interesting to be here in the country when it happened. When Paraguay scored, you could hear cheers and fireworks going off, and when they won the cheers and fireworks got even louder. It is hard to imagine anything in the States where you could hear a city cheering when a team won. 

I keep forgetting to mention it, but we've known for a while now that the Pope will be visiting Asuncion in a few weeks. This is a HUGE deal for the country whose population is 90% (or more) Catholic. I think it will probably be crazy in Asuncion the few days he is here. It seems like everywhere we go we see signs welcoming the Pope. We even found these large cardboard cutouts of the Pope when we were out sightseeing on Saturday.

On Sunday afternoon we were invited over to a couple's house from the congregation for an "asado" (or a Paraguayan BBQ). We enjoyed the fellowship and the food: we ate several types of meat, as well as arroz queso (cheesy rice), a potato salad, and sopa Paraguay (which is kinda of like cornbread). 

The kids watching the construction workers on the property from the playground.

Read more about our time in Paraguay