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Showing posts from April, 2011

Trip to Ñeembucú -Rich with History (Part 2)

This is part two of our trip to Ñeembucú.  Since we are fascinated by history (Norberto's masters is in History and Intercultural studies) we took the opportunity to visit four different museums in this historical part of the country, where the bulk of the Triple Alliance War was fought and where Jesuit ruins are preserved. These are the Humaitá ruins.  This Catholic church was bombed for six months during the Triple Alliance War because it was thought to have held Paraguay's weapons.
From inside the ruins you can see the beautiful Paraguay river. 
 This is in front of the museum of Isla Umbu, where General Lopez had his military base.  A new monument is being inaugurated for Paraguay's bicentennial on May 14-15 in Paso de Patria.  Along with the battle scene of the Triple Alliance War are General Mariscal Fransisco Lopez's famous words "Defeat or Die"
 This is at the war museum of Paso de Patria.  We spent two hours in this tiny museum reading about the war stor…

Lost and Found

We have really good news today!!!  Just wanted to let you know what we're thrilled about: 
 I got a text message saying that Jorge has been found!  Thank you so much for your prayers.  We know that the Lord cares so much for little Jorge and he always looks for his lost sheep.  We believe the prayers brought him home.  I wish I knew more information about his case, but all I know is that he is staying with some relatives in another city until his situation can be evaluated. We are not sure if there is abuse involved, but something is obviously is not right and I hope to know more this weekend. Continue to keep him in your prayers.We have received the money we need for the Universal Nut Sheller and we purchased it yesterday!!! We are so thankful to the folks that are supporting this micro-enterprise project. Now, we just need a way to get it here.  We have a possible lead with other missionaries who have a group coming next month, but it is not confirmed.  Please pray that God w…

Trip to Ñeembucú -Scenic Views (Part One)

We took a short trip to visit a region unfamiliar to us here in Paraguay.  This is the scenic drive west into the department of Ñeembucú.  It is characterized by swampy wetland, beautiful birds and wildlife.  Here are a few of our pics from our trip last week.
This is a milanesa napolitana (breaded beef cutlet with white and red sauce).  It happens to be one of Norberto's favorite meals.  We enjoyed lots of fresh fish and great hospitality from the Paraguayans residing in Pilar and its surroundings.

The yata'i palm is the one common in this region.  It's in the center and looks spikey.

The hybiscus grows so well in this part of the world.  The flowers are vibrant and so big.

Drinking mate in front of the yerba mate momument in Pilar. 

Some vultures are feeding off a carcass.

A garza blanca (white goose) in the wetlands.

Timmy loves the camera and he took over 700 photos on this trip ...and that is not an exaggeration.  Here's one he took of he and his papi.  It's one …

Jorge Needs our Prayer

Norma came to me in tears.  She collapsed in my arms as she told me that her son Jorge has been missing for over two weeks.  My heart stopped for a second.  He's only eleven, but so small that he looks more like an eight year old.  She has no idea where he could be and she's very, very worried.  You see, this is the second time that Jorge has run away.  The first time was in February when he wanted to visit Carnaval in Encarnacion, which is certainly no place for a child.  He was found on the street of the big city seven days after leaving home, filthy and hungry.  This week the local radio has been announcing the physical features of Jorge and asking for any information and so far there have been no clues to his whereabouts.

This little boy weighs so heavy on my heart.  He has been in our Children of Promise ministry for five years.  He was diagnosed with learning disabilities and ADHD a few years ago after troubles focusing in class.  Unfortunately, despite numerous attempts…

Helping Poor, Rural Farmers Increase their Profit Is Easier than You Think. (You can Help!)

Let us give you a little background.  Ever since we learned that peanuts originate from Paraguay (and surrounding nations), we wanted to plant them.  This marks our fourth year planting peanuts. Our first year we were ecstatic to harvest about 28 lbs of nuts.  Here's little Timmy helping spreading our first nuts to dry in the sun. 

In the early years, we shelled our own peanuts.  Later, we paid our neighbor children and teens to help us.  However, each year our production has steadily increased.  This year we are hoping to harvest over 1500 lbs (700 kilos) of peanuts.  We've discovered that on average, a person can shell 3.3 lbs (1.5 kilos) of peanuts per hour.
 This is 1.5 kilo of peanuts that takes one hour to shell by hand.
This would represent 466 hours of shelling.  At a minimum wage cost of $1.71/hour (6875 G using current exchange rate of 4,000) we will spend $800 on shelling alone.

We quickly discovered how inefficient and costly this process will be to our micro-indus…

Home life

Lest you think our lives are consumed by ministry (since most of our posts revolve around our ministry),  we wanted to dispel that myth and give you a few random pics from our home life this week. We try to do a big, leisurely Sunday breakfast.  For the past few weeks, we're on a pancake roll and since we had some yummy marshmallows sent to us, Timmy decided his pancakes needed a little decoration!!   What could be better than Dulce de leche and mini marshmallows for a topping?

We are reading through the Bible with Timmy with our favorite children's Bible (not pictured).  Right now we're reading about King David and we're comparing him with King Saul. 
We've been spending our afternoons (since we teach at night) outdoors.  We've been hiking, biking, running, gardening and doing whatever we can outside to take advantage of the beautiful weather we've been having the past few weeks.  We know that winter is coming, so we're soaking up all we can now.
We are l…

Peanut Harvest

Today we started harvesting our peanuts (almost an acre) that we planted 7 months ago.
 Look at the soil, loaded with peanuts!
Here is Sonia, one of our students with me during harvest.   Our plan is to process the peanuts into peanut butter and elaborate other peanut-based products for our institute, so that ICCI can be self-supporting and the students can learn about micro-enterprise. We'll be posting more on our mini-industry. Our next step is to dry and store the peanuts.
If you have any suggestions of names for our peanut butter brand, we're looking for ideas!

How to make Rosella (Roselle) Juice and Tea

This is rosella (not to be confused with grosella, which is gooseberry).  Rosella is from the hibiscus family.
It's harvest time here, and we use the rosella to make juice and tea.  It's properties are absolutely tremendous.  It helps sooth colds, coughs, helps digestion, promotes healthy kidney function, is a treatment for cancer, and reduces a fever and that's just a few of its benefits!

 To make rosella juice, first de-pit the fruit and wash the skin thoroughly.
Put the fruit into boiling water until the water is bright red (about 15 minutes).  The color is so vibrant, Roselle is sold to make dyes.  Strain the fruit (which can be used to make a delicious jam) and refrigerate the juice.  Add a few squirts of Stevia for a healthy drink.

The finished product looks exactly like red Kool-aid, but is entirely full of nutrients.  We can't get enough of it.
We dehydrated the petals for hot tea.  All you need is two dried flowers to infuse in hot water to make a wonderful hot t…

Children of Promise Keeps Growing

Children of Promise child sponsorship started up in Itapaso!  We teamed up with Light for the Nations Christian school to help the needy children in this depressed area.
After seven years of serving the ministry, I no longer am the director for this fantastic program.  A wonderful young lady named Sandra (pictured left) is the new leader and she is doing a great job!  Here she is meeting with the new site coordinator for Itapaso, Diana.  

The difference between Light for the Nations and the other public school in the community is night and day.  The desks are broken and there are not enough for every student, the windows are broken, the fans don't work.  While students here receive TOP NOTCH education. There are 25 children currently attending the school and currently, five still need sponsors.  Sponsorship gives each child a wonderful education and a snack and lunch every day.  The cost is only $25/month to change a life. Click HERE to take one of these little ones under your w…