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Showing posts from September, 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 …

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.

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?

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!

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…

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.

Jogging, Source for inspiration

Almost every time I get out in the open and jog, my thoughts start flowing. I have come to consider this time valuable and very fruitful. Here are some benefits. I stay fit, I eat anything I want, I pray, and I explore new areas of my city or country.
This morning was no different. I began jogging and immediately I seemed to be transposed to a mental state of inspiration. When I got home, I wrote down ideas, that who knows might become sermons, books or seeds for a project.

A number of years ago, I used to think that jogging was a waste of time, now I realize how wrong this thinking was. Jogging is on the schedule now. Regular jogging remains me of one of the things John Maxell said about the rule of five. If you have a chance, listen to that audio about the rule of five. I think it’s inspirational.

I also realized, now that purchasing tennis jogging shoes needs be on the budget too.  What about you. What is something that inspires you?

A month in Paraguay, Sept 10th and Sept 11th

Education, education, education
I went back to school last year thanks to a friend who encouraged me to consider some formal training again. I graduated in 2002 from seminary. Nancy has been very supportive of this decision as well. What motivates me? First, to better understand higher education in the context of Paraguay. Second, is to better be equipped for the ministry I am involved. 
Last year according to records of the ministry of Education, only 14,520 Paraguayans graduated from 60 university’s in the country. This represents 0,22 % of the population. This country is experiencing and awakening in many fronts and higher education is just one of the many fronts to be pioneered. 
This lack of education translates into a lack in many areas of leadership for society. This country’s resources and its hidden potential are starving for leadership. Churches and any type of Christian or secular organization has work cut out. As the saying goes, when there is a problem the opportunities a…

A month in Paraguay, September 9th

Learning about Paraguay
Nicole, Anahi and Mark all went to the fair today. Their school participated in various presentations. Nicole went as a part of her schools reading club. In the afternoon my mom came to Encarnacion. I helped her buy a dvd player and my dad and mom also came to hang out with the family for a little.
I am learning so much about Paraguay during this five day book fair. As I shared before, this country is awakening, not only spiritually, but in many other fronts. There are so many opportunities for young people. I believe the challenge is now, getting the right training in place to help people develop their God given gifts.
More tomorrow.

A month in Paraguay. Sept 8th

A month in Paraguay, Sept 8th
Today I am asking you to keep my family in your prayers. This will be a very busy weekend balancing work, family and ministry. I was involved in various phone conversations today working on projects, that need to be coordinated with pastors and committees. On Sunday, I will be involved leading a baptism at our local church.
The kids will be at the book fair tomorrow with their school. Granma Kurrle is coming to spent some time with Anahi tomorrow afternoon. Pray for Nancy as she handles most of the home workload and travels with me to various places.

Thanks for hanging out. More tomorrow

A month in Paraguay. September 7th.

Jazz music at the end of our day
I spent most of the morning in the office, working on all kinds’ things. Mark and Nicole had a dentist appointment while Anahi attended her afternoon English class.

In the afternoon I was in a three hour meeting with a team of pastors from my local church in Encarnacion.  When I am in town, on Wednesdays, I attend the meeting which is a time to pray and share with a team of wonderful servants of God. They are working on a retreat center which will serve to host retreats for all age groups. The project is coming along well. The first phase is now under construction. This is a very active church, which is growing by the hundreds. 
This was another big day.  We got to hear some jazz this evening at the book fair. The US embassy sponsored this event. So it was a nice way to finish our day.
More tomorrow.

A month in Paraguay, Come and hang out with us

Book fair – Freedom of expression
Its was the beginning of the 12th , annual book fair. This event is organized by a local university as one of its arms into the community. Publishers, book sellers and authors come to present their books. Until Sunday Sept 11th, kids, professors from different schools will come and visit plaza de armas (city square of weapons) in downtown Encarnacion to learn and interact. In parallel with the book fair, workshops are going on all day, dealing with topics as wide as social media, religion, politics, team work, biographies, and history.

Just to refresh our memory, until 1989 Paraguay had only two universities in the country. The country was governed by a dictator for 35 years. Freedom of expression could cost exile, jail or even death. That’s only about 30 years ago. Today there are 54 universities, but still only about 4% attending university. People are gaining their voice without fear of repression after two hundred years. You can imagine how these …

A month in Paraguay.(Monday September 5th)

My brother Marcos, who lives about an hour from our town, invited me and Mark, to go and see early movie this afternoon. He came with his son Matthew. Since there is only place to see a movie in our whole state, he drove my way to get some father son time. We had a blast.

After the movie, we had some tea at our apartment and then had a bite of Nancys cookies. Mark, Matthew and a friend played their video games. Mondays are days I try to take off whenever possible. Since weekends can be pretty packed with trips and ministry activities, Mondays are a chance to sleep in a bit and catch up with running errands, hanging out with the kids and some home activities.  
Mark loved it, so did Matthew my nephew. In my 30s I would not have considered taking a Monday afternoon off, just to be, and hang out with a family member. I was very, very focused in getting the next thing crossed off my list. But today, I am in the process of changing those patterns. I think the first mission field is my fam…

A month in Paraguay. Come and hang out with us

Sunday Sept 4th:  My daughter started blogging
Nicole is very adventurous. She will try anything. She is not afraid. So when she heard me talking about blogs and publishing, guess what, she started her own blog about. Check out her new blog at She is even considering adding some advertising with google ad sense and then make some money as here readership goes up.

This evening we will attend our church service. Most services are at night across the denominations. We have been blessed with a wonderful congregation which I feel I have been able to learn and grow over the past years. Nancy began worshiping here before we got married. Both of our kids are involved in the worship team. Our church has grown a ton over the past years. Our pastor has a heart to empower new leaders and starting new preaching points. One of the reasons for our move to Encarnacion, was that our kids can go an come without having to drive long distances to ch…

A month in Paraguay. Come and hang out with us

I woke up at 6 and made tea. Nancy and I shared tea and read from our book about 45 min. I packed my back and caught the bus towards the Universidad Nacional de Encarnacion. I live two blocks from the bus station and about 7 miles from the university.  My classes go from 7:30-12:30. It rained all morning.
We had lunch at about 1 pm. (lunch is the big meal of the day) and then Nicole read from her little devotional booklet. After the reading of scripture, our conversation took a spin into what the bible says about the end times and how God will gather us in that final day. Nicole had tears in her eyes as we shared about the work of atonement of Christ for us. I believe teenagers can be very sensitive to the Spirit and some often struggle with the security of their salvation. Nicole asked, if God came back to take us right after a committed a sin, like getting upset with someone, will I not make it to heaven. I remember struggling with the security of my salvati…

A month in Paraguay. I invite you to hang out with me

Day two Sept 2st:  My two teenagers are happy, Its Friday.
Usually Fridays are happy days for Mark and Nicole. They know they will sleep in tomorrow. Nancy and I will be in a quincieaniera rehearsal this evening. I have been asked to speak at Camilas fifteenth  birthday. Camila’s parents, which happen to be our neighbors, asked us to speak at their daughters fifteenth birthday. As you know these birthdays are huge events in Paraguay and many parts of Latin America
I will be jogging this afternoon and then prepare for the rehearsal. Anahi will spend most the afternoon doing homework. Nicole is very busy on Fridays. She is parta of a reading club in her school. She just started in a roller skating club. In the evening our church has a service for early teenagers which Nicole attends. She finishes very tired at about 9 pm
I have been reading the book by Sam Walton, Made in America. I have enjoyed learning the options associates have in Wal-Mart’s profit sharing. It’s a nice incentive to …

A month in Paraguay. I invite you to hang out with me

Day one Sept 1st:  A typical day in our lives
This idea of sharing with you this short daily entry came to me on my jog today. So I start right now, committing to write a daily paragraph about my life here in Paraguay for the next month.  Please pardon my grammatical errors or expressions that might not sound so English. This is a very spontaneous way of sharing for me. I hope you enjoy and it helps us to connect in spite of the distance.
It’s almost 6:30 pm. I got up at 4:45 am this morning. I don’t usually get up this early.  I had to leave town for a commitment. I was back at 7:30 am. Nancy and I had tea (the Paraguayan kinds with the metal straw) then breakfast.
I went on my jog, then I run some errands for Nancy, and then we all had an early lunch as a family of six now. Mark, Nicole and Anahi, went back to their afternoon school activities at 1:30 pm while Dominick (three months now) and Nancy took a nap.  I got on a bus and rode for 30 min to a place I use as office since we m…