Skip to main content

Choosing Not to Help

We were in bed when we heard the clap at the gate.  This has happened before and it's never good.  We've experienced nights when someone clapped after dark to tell of an accident, domestic violence, and even a suicide.  So, last night when the clap came late, we peeked out the window and saw who it was.

That's when we made the decision.

It was the family who we've helped many times.  Their teenage daughter got pregnant and was due this week.  They were hoping that she wouldn't need a C-section, because the local health center charges for the surgery.  We've been telling them for the past seven months that they need to save for the unexpected and prepare for the birth.

A pregnancy is not an emergency crisis.  It is a planned expense.  

So, when the clap came late it was because they needed money for her C-section. 

It wasn't easy to ignore the claps and the cell phone calls, but there are times when we have to choose not to help, for our good and for theirs so as not to create an unhealthy dependency.


  1. Great post I just thought I would drop a couple of book titles on your readers that cover this idea. The first is "The Great Omission" by Steve Saint and the second is "When Helping Hurts" by Fikkert and Corbett. Both of these speak to the dependency you alluded to here.-Ken

  2. What a perfect example of Tough Love. My heart aches for their poor choices but we must all learn that our choices have consequences...good or bad. You made a wise choice.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Christmas in Paraguay!

If you're wondering what Paraguayans do at Christmastime, they have some great traditions, including the "noche buena" meal on Christmas Eve at midnight.  They eat lots chipa guasu (a type of corn casserole, stay tuned for a recipe), asado or grilled meat (some eat it cold), salads, especially fruit salad, watermelon and drink mucho terere.

Families travel from all over the country, many even return from working in other countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Spain, to celebrate with loved ones. This is us at last year's Kurrle celebration in Asuncion. Festivities are anything but a silent night with fireworks, loud music and drinking cidra (hard cider). 

Most Paraguayans do not decorate Christmas trees (we decorate ours in shorts!) or emphasize Santa Claus.  Instead, they put beautiful nativities "pesebres" in their yards and in store fronts.  Kind of novel to focus on Christ at Christmas, isn't it!

To beat the heat, many Paraguayans go to a river to rel…

The Genesis of my story in Paraguay: Part 2

In Part 1, I shared how my first move to Paraguay was at age 5. At that time I was a minor, following my parents around. But my second move to Paraguay was at age 25 when after college, I—or better said, we—decided to move back to Paraguay. This time, the Genesis was a letter inviting us to help pioneer a new radio station there.

At the time I had just gotten married to my college sweetheart Julie. We were both enrolled in seminary, enjoying just being married and going to school. Among our hobbies at the time was traveling the U.S. and to any country that we had the funds to go to. During those days, we began running seriously and trained for our first marathons and adventure race. Our first marathon was the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio. Julie and I finished together in what I thought was a pretty good time of 4 hours, 12 minutes.

One day, a letter in our mailbox got us thinking about plans beyond graduation. The letter was from Walter Franz, inviting us to help establis…

Paraguayan Weddings

On Valentine’s Day, we had the joy of attending the wedding of Sandra and Anastacio, young leaders in the church. Sandra is my assistant with Children of Promise and Anastacio, apart from his carpentry job, has a popular youth-focused radio program every night at 8:00 on our station.

We’ve been to quite a few weddings, and these are some of the uniquenesses of southern Paraguayan wedding celebrations from our North American culture:

1. Nothing is fancy. Emphasis is placed on the act of marriage and not on the decorations or food.
2. It is not an expectation that parents help pay for expenses. Most families just make it each month with regular expenses and cannot afford to pay for eleborate feasts. Most couples have to spend months saving for their own wedding.
3. Borrow as much as possible. Many times wedding dresses are borrowed 5-10 times, because few women can afford their own. Flowers, decorations, shoes and ties (Norb loans out his ties often...since he never wears them!) are …