Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Horses and Soccer

Nicole loves horses. Ever since I came into her life she asked me to get a horse or to take her to a place where she can ride. One of our friends at South Meridian Church of God, offered Nicole to come out to his horse barn and work for an hour in exchange of riding for an hour. Ever since that day, a few weeks ago, Nicole has been working and riding horses in the afternoons. God answered her prayer beyond her wildest dreams.

Mark on the other hand, was eager to get out of our apartment and play soccer. Again, a friend of Anderson University invited me and Mark to come out and play twice a week. So, Mark gets to play and have some guy time with people his age. I cant quite keep up with them, but I love to see Mark making friends, learning English and experiencing the culture of soccer in the US.

My kids are learning English, We have been in Anderson about a month. We will be here another month. I am excited about Mark and Nicole's time in the US. It has been a growing and culturrally broadening experience, as they continue to make since of this world during the teenage years years.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Back in Anderson

We arrived in Anderson after a thousand mile road trip with the family. We left Orlando after last weeks  Sunday morning service. In Orlando, we had a chance to connect with many friends. A highlight of the trip was the MVI (Missionary Ventures) conference. The theme of the conference was Renewal. Representatives from various countries made the conference a very international experience. Check out www.mvi.org

For the next month we will be connecting with friends and family in the Midwest. Anderson has a special place in my life. My grandparents David and Lilian Meier went to Anderson College and felt their call into missions here. My mother, and some other relatives studied here and have gone into the world to do great missionary work.

As we look ahead in the coming weeks, the kids are longing for some snow; this will be the first time Mark, Nicole, Nancy and Anahi see snow. We arrived with temperatures in the 50 s. We are told this is very warm for this time of the year.  As a family of six now, we are learning to travel together and trouble shoot. Overcoming the language barrier is probably the biggest challenge.

Looking forward to the next weeks in town.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Our journey begins in Orlando


We are on the road. Nicole and Mark took their first flight, and we are now settled in Orlando for a few weeks before driving up to Anderson, Indiana, in January.

Taken during our visit to our beloved grandparents this week

We have been planning for this trip almost all year, and it is finally here. Learning English and connecting with family and friends are two of the priorities during these months of traveling.

The kids passed all of their classes and are excited for their break. They have been saving their money over the past few months. Nicole would like to buy a drone, and Mark wants a new cell phone.

This week I introduced Nicole and Anahi to the Dollar Tree store. They each got something and are now planning their next visit. Both lamented the fact that we cannot have a store like this in Paraguay.

I am setting up a closed FB group to keep everyone posted with more details as to our whereabouts during our trip.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

September highlights. A month in Paraguay

I want to thank you for hanging out with us this past month. Every day was different. Sometimes I wish I had more of a routine. But in my missionary role, routine is not something I experience very often. Here are a few September highlights.

We traveled to Asuncion, to get some paperwork done. The trip to Asuncion generally takes six hours on a two lane road, with crazy traffic. We avoid these trips as much as possible. 

I was part of a Baptism ceremony in the Parana River. 28 people made a public commitment. The Parana Rive is the second one in size after the Amazon River.

I had a chance to continue my bible teaching at our local church on Tuesday evenings. I fill in various classes and find teaching very rewarding.

We celebrated Anahi’s 6th birthday with our immediate family. Anahi is finishing her preschool and will start first great next year

We celebrated Dominick’s 4th month. He also got his shots last week. Dominick has occupied the center of attention. He has been a great joy for all

Hanging out with the Roa’s family at a church in Ciudad del Este (triple border). This family loves the Lord and has a gift of hospitality. Several projects have brought us together.

I had the chance to perform a wedding ceremony for some friends. It is a joy to see couples commit publicly before witnesses and pledge their love to each other

Personally I got to out on wonderful jogs along Encarnacions river walk. As I share in one post, jogging continues to be a source for inspiration in my life.

Lastly, we got the chance to see Cerro Porteno, (one of Paraguays top teams) my son’s soccer team. beat Santa Fe (Colombian team) 4-1. Very emotional game. I had never seen Mark so alive. 

I have written more often this month than in previous months. Personally it’s been a great exercise in communications. Although I rather be present in a place and share face to face. So this is my final blog, for a month in Paraguay. I would rate September as an incredible month for me. Why?, because it combined great family time, ministry, and new beginnings.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A month in Paraguay (Why did you leave Venezuela?)

This afternoon Nicole and I went on a walk around our city plaza. On the way Nicole noticed a lady selling wrist bracelets, made of goat leader, crocodile teeth and some other interesting products. We stopped and entered into a conversation with a woman who was waiting for her husband and baby to arrive. They have left Venezuela a few years ago, and have been traveling thru South America. Why did you leave Venezuela, we asked? The lady said, things are not going well in our home country she said. And they found Paraguay to be a quiet and peaceful place. She did not want to go into detail.

As we got home, Nicole asked why are things not going well in Venezuela? This question overruled all other subjects this evening at the dinner table. Mark gave his opinion, then Nancy, while Anahi listened in, trying to catch a little of what must have sounded like a foreign topic to her six year old mind.

When we were done, Nancy and I looked at each other and realized how our kids got engaged in a non-school subject. It was an awesome moment. I have come to treasure subjects that take kids into other worlds and address issues that expand their horizons. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Pastoral Care

I drove for about an hour to a location where I met with some pastors. Most people in ministry that I work with in Paraguay, have their support networks, but that is often not enough. From the outside everything seems ok, but underneath challenges and difficulties are always present. Whom to share this challenges is often the question? As a neutral person in some of my circles, I have had the chance to connect with many of these leaders. They just open up when they get the chance.

Caring for those that are caring is such a huge need. i learned that again today. During our conversation, some tears where shed, and questions were raised about ministry in the local church. I was glad to be there and just listen in to hear them speak.

I learned again today, how important it is to care for each other as pastors and missionaries. Many of you do that for me and my family.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Lasagna with Nancy

This week, Nancy taught me how to make lasagna. We took Sunday off to rest and make a meal together. In the afternoon we went on a walk and spent time with the kids. I am trying to keep the Sabbath clear and benefit from this day.

We enjoyed the time together. I learned a lot about Nancys style and abilities. She can cut the onions evenly at a high speed, probably 10 times faster than me. She also uses very few dishes. On the contrary I make a mess when I cook.

I also learned that I get very distracted and have a hard time staying focused when I cook. Nancy on the other hand is very focused. 

What about you, whats a meal you like preparing?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Anahi is turning 6 today

September is a wonderful month for our family. Anahi was born on a day like today. Nancy and I started dating on a September day. It’s the beginning of spring in South America. The weather has been incredible over the past days.

As you live a little longer on this earth you learn to treasure the season you are in. You realized nothing will last forever and how important it is to flavor the moment. Today we are enjoying the birthday of Anahi. Nancy is making something so we will share this evening as a family. I look forward to dinner tonight as I finish my work in the office today.

Over this past year, Anahi has learned to write, read and roller blade, among many other new skills. Every day I wake up I take a moment to thank God for the gift of my little girl.

I love you Anahi. Happy Birthday!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Technology in missions

As I started my day, within a few hours, I had a list of things to do. By 10 am I had enough items to keep me busy for a week. After several hours in the office, I was able to send audio messages and video conference with people on both side of the Equator. I sent letters out to several people in just a few seconds. I posted on FB, and I googled some maps while listening to a webinar.

Did my grandparents or even my parents have these technologies? The answer is no. David and Lilian Meier left on a steam ship the port of New Orleans in December of 1935 towards South America. All the field knowledge they had was a letter from a German missionary who wrote to America saying. Will someone come to Brazil?

That was the beginning. Their first trip lasted a decade serving in several places in South America. There where no phone calls, no daily FB updates and no cool Instagram pictures. Few words on a telegram, or when letters were written they delivered weeks later were the ways of communication.

I am excited about the possibilities for missions today in a very connected age, but at the same time I am a bit worried on how fast things are changing, and not to maximize the use of these tools.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A month in Paraguay (on a day like today)

Today, five years ago, Nancy lost her husband. He was working at his farm and died in a work related accident. It devastated Nancy and her two young kids. At the time Mark was 11, totally in love with his dad, Stephen. Nicole was 8, also daddy’s girl. 

Why they lost their dad, and then had to go thru so much pain, is something we will probably have to wait to understand until haven. Less than a year later, I lost Julie and Timothy. I could have been the one going home, and this email would never have been written. I can only trust God and continue forward, believing that God is in control. 

Nancy held on to her faith. She focused on God and her children and continued moving forward. Her life came to a halt on a day like today. If you have lost someone special, you understand the pain. But as christians we also undertand the hope that awaits us. We will raise again.