Skip to main content

The Empty Dish

The first time our neighbor Roberto brought over some food, I looked into the pan and thought I was going to vomit.  It was a cow's hoof.  All I could think of was the amount of manure that was under that toenail and after saying a prayer to God for strength, I just barely get it down.

That was nine years ago and he still continues to bring us over food about once a month and while I still don't like cow's hoof, the level of Paraguayan hospitality is the best we've ever encountered.  This family doesn't even have electricity, (no fridge or stove) yet they want to share with us what they have.

This past week, when Roberto handed over some warm tortillas (like a salty pancake) to Norberto he whispered....don't return the dish empty.  A little confused, Norberto asked for clarification.

Roberto chuckled and said that true Paraguayan culture requires that when a neighbor brings you food, you, in turn, should fill it with something you've made to share as well.

Norberto said, "You mean for NINE years you accepted the dish back empty from us and you never said anything!!"
 We were so embarrassed and apologetic.  We immediately filled it with what we were cooking for lunch.  We're STILL learning Paraguayan customs and habits and we are grateful for patient and forgiving friends.


  1. That's hilarious! But how wonderful that his family persisted in sharing with you, regardless of your cultural ignorance. What a lesson ... makes me think about all of the meals people shared with us when the kids were babies, and how I asked them to use disposable containers so that I wouldn't have to remember who to return what to. I imagine that this request would have been frowned upon in Paraguay!!! :)

  2. I've given you a blog award! Check out my blog to see the award


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…

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 …

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 communica…