Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Should...

Do you have a list of things in your mind, that you SHOULD be doing at this very moment? Maybe it's folding the laundry, maybe it's starting dinner. As women, we tend to be real doers. We don't slow down very often...and when we do, we feel guilty about all we could be accomplishing.

Today I SHOULD be packing. But instead, I've been holding my baby, and sitting down to visit with family. And strangely enough, I don't feel guilty. I wonder if I'm finally believing the message I've been preaching to myself for so long. The message that says I SHOULD be still and listen, that I SHOULD slow down and enjoy.

No doubt the battle in my mind will be on again tomorrow. But for today, it's laid to rest and I'm thankful.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Legend of Nanduti

Like most beautiful things, Nanduti is said to have been born out of love...

Two young men loved the Cacique's (Chief's) daughter. While he alone determined her destiny, he loved his daughter and desired her happiness. He devised a contest that would be sure to show which young man would be best suited to marry his daughter. Each one must bring a gift. But not just any gift. A unique gift. One that would cause the Cacique to release his daughter to marriage.

One young man was very rich, and there was nothing he could not buy. He gathered every kind of animal and prepared them to be taken to the Cacique.

But the other young man was beyond poor (you knew it would be so, surely). He had nothing, and no way to buy anything for his beloved. As he wandered through the woods, he looked up and saw an elaborate spider web hanging from a branch. He thought to himself, "How perfect! I will take this as my gift!" But as he reached up to grab it, it disolved in his hands. He left the forest weeping, completely defeated.

His mother heard his cries and found him. As he poured out his dilemma, she assured him that all would be well. She found another spider web and sat down to mimic it's pattern and create her own beautiful web. Using the hair from her own head, a stunning salt and pepper, she weaved the first nanduti.

When the poor young man presented his gift, the Cacique gave his daughter to him. Since that day women all over Paraguay have been creating nanduti out of lovely colored thread.

Nanduti means web in Guarani, one of Paraguay's two official languages.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Understanding Doesn't Equal Exemption

It's begun. Culture stress. The inevitable process of adapting to and becoming part of another culture. And yes, it is inevitable. Even if you've lived in another culture previously. Even if you are walking with Jesus daily. As long as you are human, you will partake of this process as you integrate into another culture.

But that doesn't mean it's always a welcome process. I have found in the missionary community, there is a lot of acceptance of culture shock and culture stress, as long as we are not the ones experiencing it. But we tend to be very demanding of ourselves and believe that we shouldn't experience this natural and necessary process.

For me, this stems from the misbelief that if we UNDERSTAND a process, we somehow believe ourselves to be EXEMPT from the effects of said process. Do we really educate ourselves on culture stress to prepare ourselves to walk through it...or deep down is it in hopes we can avoid it all together (wouldn't that be nice!)?

To all my missionary friends out there, my deepest desire for you today is that you would accept the grace that is there for you as you go through this process (and it can take years), that you would stop begrudging yourselves for experiencing it! You are a beautiful creation of His and as painful as it sometimes is...He designed you to adapt, with His grace and by His power at work in you!

I encourage anyone who is a missionary or who loves missionaries to click here for a brief description of culture stress. I found it a helpful reminder.

Monday, July 6, 2009

We've Got Wheels

We are so thankful for the Lord's provision of a 95 Mitsubishi Delica 4x4 van. THANK YOU to everyone who gave so generously to this project!

It's hard to believe we have been here for 3 weeks already. Our orientation is going really well and we are enjoying it, though I confess I'm starting to feel VERY anxious to get settled in our home up north. It's always hard to be in limbo, but my longings for a home of our own bring me back to the sufficiency of my REAL HOME.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Historic Asuncion

With Cacique (Chief) Lambare, who is known for opposing the Spanish rule of Paraguay. His monument is at the highest point in Asuncion.

The oldest Cathedral in Asuncion, over 450 years old (though it was demolished and reconstructed in 1842).

Right next to the Cathedral is the Catholic University. The brick work is beautiful on this building. I adore all the columns and arches, don't you?!

This is the President's Office. He actually resides in another location. This lovely estate was built by the first President, Carlos Antonio Lopez, as a private residence for his son, Mariscal Lopez (who suceeded him in the presidency). Later it was turned over to the government.

This week I hope to get out to Mariscal Lopez street to take some pictures for you of the fabulous mansions! Their architecture is so spectacular! And across from the American Embassy there is a house build as a replica of the the house in Gone with the Wind! I'll be sure to get a picture of that one for you! :) Come back soon!


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