Monday, June 8, 2015

Week Three in Paraguay

I really wish I had a catchier title. :)

As I mentioned last time, Gary and Sarah Fallis have been working with the church and the Bible Academy this past week. Trent attended a few sessions of Gary’s class in the Bible Academy in which he was able to listen to the lessons being translated from English to Spanish. We have both found that it has been very helpful to hear the English being directly translated. Sarah also taught a ladies class on Wednesday evening. Wednesday evening one of the members (who speaks English) brought a girl from the U.S. whom she had met randomly while touring in Asuncion. This girl is working with a Luthern (I think) church here in Asuncion this year, but had really been craving to get to speak English with some folks. Since there are several members (plus us) at the congregation who speak English, it was a perfect opportunity to invite her. Hopefully she’ll continue to come around, and it may be a great opportunity to show her the gospel.

Gary teaching the Bible Academy.

Trent continued with his Spanish tutoring this week, and plans to add another private tutor this next week. Trent has had several conversations with his Spanish tutor about the Bible which have been good.

Trent was supposed to begin teaching his short course (meaning teaching all day for one week) at the Bible Academy this week (about Christian Evidences), but due to some scheduling conflicts with another teacher, Trent’s class has been rescheduled to start in a couple of weeks (as a regular, not short, course).

Teaching English using the gospel of John has been going pretty well. As I mentioned in last week’s post, I added two new students this week. The students are a brother and sister who had been (if I understood correctly) exchange students for a few months recently in Florida. And, if I understood this part correctly as well, while they were in Florida came in contact with the Palm Beach Lakes church of Christ which supports the work here in Asuncion. The members there told them that when they came back to Asuncion to come take the English class - and they did! We are hopeful that this pair may be good contacts. I also continued on with my student from the previous week, and she has been very enthusiastic about the study so far. Trent has also had a new student (whom he now met with twice) who has had some good conversations with Trent about needing to come back to church, and seems genuinely interested. Another good contact!

Wednesday before I taught English the church secretary prepared lunch for us - a traditional Paraguayan soup called vori vori. It was a little different than what is described in the link. To me it was very similar to a chicken noodle soup - without the noodles and adding in the cornmeal dumplings/balls. I thought it was pretty good, although I didn’t love the texture of the dumplings. She also prepared fried yucca for us, which was pretty similar to thick french fries. And, speaking of the church secretary, she was successfully able to get Luke to nap at the church building Wednesday afternoon. :)

Luke sleeping at the church building.

Friday we took some time to relax as a family. We went to one of the malls here in Asuncion, walked around some stores, bought Luke some tennis shoes (he outgrew the shoes I brought, and I didn’t think to bring some a size bigger), and let the kids play some games in an arcade. We also ate at TGIFridays, which was nice because I was able to get a salad (which I have really, really been missing!).

Saturday there was another Ladies’ Tea (devotional and food), and Sarah Fallis gave the devotional. Even though we’ve only been here a little over three weeks, it was amazing how much more comfortable I felt at this Ladies’ Tea compared to the first one I attended. I understand the customs better, I know the ladies better, and I’m also understanding the language better. At the Ladies’ Tea Ella and I finally got to try chipa, which is a traditional Paraguayan cheese roll/bread. I thought it was yummy, but Ella said she didn’t like it (I think she was just interested in the other food she already had, because a cheesy roll is right up her alley!). The girl from the U.S. who came on Wednesday night also came to the Ladies’ Tea.

Ella playing at the Ladies' Tea.
Ella playing at the Ladies' Tea.

The whole group at the Ladies' Tea. Standing really awkwardly, trying to make sure we were under the light.

This week has been quite warm and sunny. In fact, I was checking the weather back home and saw that it was the same temperature in San Marcos as in Asuncion. Maybe it will turn cooler before we head back . . . but we’ve already been here almost a quarter of the time we will be here, and we’ve only needed a light jacket maybe twice, and most of the time it has been much warmer.

We finally tried out Paraguay’s taxis this week. Normally on the days when we’ve been teaching English we’ve been walking to the church building (approximately 1.75 miles away), but because Trent was already at the church building for Gary’s classes there really wasn’t enough time for him to walk home, and then for us to walk back to the building (it really isn’t feasible for me to walk with all three kids by myself to the building, even with the stroller because of the busy streets, and less-than-ideal walking conditions at times (impassable sidewalks, etc.)). We were pleased to find out it only costs about $3 for us to take a taxi to the church building. It feels nice to be able to use the taxis (and to know that the cost is very reasonable) because it means we aren’t quite as constrained in where we can go.

And, finally, no major injuries this week! And Troy’s face is healing very well. I thought it was ironic when I got this email about Troy’s age this week. :)