Monday, July 13, 2015

Week Eight in Paraguay

This past week was very different from most of our weeks here, but it was a good busy week! Get ready for a longer post than usual! A group from the Palm Beach Lakes church of Christ in Florida has been here doing mission work, so many of our activities revolved around working and fellowshipping with them. It is definitely interesting and enlightening to be on the "other side" of a mission team coming down to work.

On Monday I met with all three of my English students, and the studies continue to go well. Trent also met with his English student, but his student who was really opening up to him has unfortunately dropped off the radar. I'm nearing the end of my lessons with my students, and I'm getting a little anxious to see if they'll be interested in Bible study when we are finished. One of my students (on her own) brought up a discussion about why there are so many different religious groups, and it was good to get to discuss that with her. 

The group from Palm Beach Lakes arrived on Tuesday, and Trent helped them get into their rooms (they are staying in the same "complex" as us). On Tuesday night, a family from the congregation had everyone over to their house for pizza and fellowship. It was a good opportunity to get to meet the team that came. The pizza was a fun experience as well - the group hired a man to grill made-to-order pizzas - they were delicious and made me want to grill pizza when we get back home.

On Wednesday the group from Palm Beach Lakes, along with Trent and Ella, went to the area of Nemby (where one of the other congregations is located), and had a devotional and lunch with some members there. On Wednesday night Trent and I were both pleasantly surprised when we each had one of our English students show up for Wednesday evening services. The same English student also came to service on Sunday, and told someone that we were not only studying English, but were studying the Bible together.

On Thursday, the group from Palm Beach Lakes worked on the physical building of the church in Asuncion. Trent brought Troy to the building with him to help with the work. Troy got to lead "This World is Not My Home" during the morning devotional, and though I didn't get to be there, I know he did a great job and was excited for an opportunity to not only lead a song, but to sing in English. For lunch on Thursday, we rode the bus to a Brazilian steak house, and ate lunch there with the group. It was a fun experience, and very yummy. The price was also very reasonable (much cheaper than the States - though I've never actually been in the States. . . ). 

Saturday Trent went with the group to hand out tracks or folletos in the neighborhood surrounding where we live. After that the whole family went with the group to lunch at the mall, and we got to enjoy some "Senor Taco" - which, while it wasn't Texas Mexican food, certainly hit the spot for some Mexican food . . . if only the salsa had been spicy! :) On Saturday afternoon we all went to a birthday party for one of the little girls in the congregation here whose family we've become friends with and who have really taken care of us while we have been here. The kids had a blast at the birthday party, and enjoyed, among many things, playing soccer. Saturday evening, we enjoyed another asado (BBQ) with the group from Palm Beach Lakes as well as a few members of the congregation . . . and my English study who had come to services on Wednesday night! I was quite surprised (and happy!) to see her there.

At the birthday party

At the birthday party

On Sunday, services were packed with lots of visitors including the group from Palm Beach Lakes, my English study, the family that we had a playdate with about a month ago, and many, many others. After services we had a going away lunch/potluck for the family whose little girl had the birthday party the night before. The family will be moving to the States in less than two weeks, and while we are sad to see them leave before we leave here, maybe we'll cross paths sometime when we are in the States.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the Pope was in town. Paraguay declared a national holiday on Friday and Saturday for his trip. I found his trip fascinating to help me understand more about the Catholic religion. In some reading I was doing about his trip, I read that Paraguay is the most Catholic country in South America, with approximately 90% of the population being Catholic. Here in Asuncion you do not see a different denominational group on every corner like you do in the States, though we have seen a few particularly Mormon groups. With the Pope's arrival I was expecting for the city to be busy (and I think it was at times), but we were never near where he was so we never saw any of the chaos. We did hear helicopters flying around (apparently news reporters and security), and it was odd to hear them because we hadn't heard any helicopters during our time here. We watched some of his trip on TV, and it is so sad to me to see how he is worshipped. I saw this photo on facebook of the "displays" that different countries prepared for his arrival. I *think* the top one is from Ecuador, and the bottom one is from Paraguay. 

Read more about our time in Paraguay