It’s not uncommon for folks who live in the city in Paraguay, to have a second home out in the country. Normally this has been left to them by a parent. Some may have a farm that they still run out in the country, although they may have a job in the city. This home in the country can serve as a little get away from the hectic city to breathe in the peace and quiet of the open spaces.
During the summer, people frequently visit the country on the weekends. They may or may not take an actual week-long vacation, but they will get away as often as possible on the weekends. It is also not uncommon to invite your friends to spend the weekend with you. We have been invited to the country the past 2 weekends. Unfortunately we couldn’t the first weekend, but this weekend we did.
We have tried to make the most of our time in Paraguay, but we’d be lying if we said we understand all the ins and outs of Paraguayan social life. Much of the social life in the capital takes place at night, and for family reasons we have only gotten involved on a limited basis. But this weekend gave us excellent insight into social life, and specifically social circles here in Paraguay.
But that’s not what I want to tell you about. This weekend for us was an amazing time to see something that we’ve never seen before: our kids fitting in. Our kids like Paraguay. They like the food, and they like the fun times we have. But our kids really haven’t made any national friends since we’ve been here. The reason for this is mostly the language barrier. Our kids have been really resistant to learning Spanish, and we haven’t pushed too hard in this area.
There were other kids Jamen and Jade’s age there at the farm this weekend. No, my kids still don’t speak Spanish, but fortunately you can run and tackle each other and laugh all within the context of just being a kid. At the farm there was also a little fishing hole. The kids had a blast fishing for most of the afternoon. For most of the kids, mine included, it was their first time ever fishing. Many of the kids kept asking me, “tío”, to get their fish off their hooks for them.
It was a great day. It was more than just getting some more things checked off from our culture checklist. It was more than just pushing through those moments when your brain doesn’t want to speak Spanish anymore. It was more than just our kids having fun. These people are our friends, and we cherish the moments we get to spend with them.
By all counts it may have been the perfect day. Even our temperatures in the 100’s cooled off and we enjoyed temps in the 80’s. A nice treat here during the summer. But then all of a sudden, our good day headed south fast. Jen and I were sitting and chatting with a lady about New Tribes Mission and what we do. The kids were just playing when all of a sudden Jade began to vomit. We didn’t think too much of it. We were just embarrassed since she was inside at the time. We cleaned everything up when it happened again. It was at that time we decided that we should go home.
Jade continued on the ride home. She kept falling asleep inbetween spells, which really worried me. I was trying to decide if we should take her to the hospital. I was speeding (or probably just going the speed limit…I’m a Sunday afternoon driver at heart) as fast as I could through ridiculously busy Saturday night capital city traffic. Then Jamen started. Then myself. Then Jen. I was going as fast as I could in bumper to bumper traffic with my window down in case I needed to…you know.
By God’s grace I made it within two blocks of our house before I had to get out of the car. We had a pretty miserable couple of hours after we got home. Poor little Jonas was just crying in his car seat not sure why nobody was coming to put him to bed. We would have called for help except our phones are prepay, and Jen was out of minutes, and I couldn’t find my phone in the chaos. Whenever I got a momentary break I thanked God for getting us home safely, prayed that we would be alright since we couldn’t call anyone for help, and thanked Him that this “suffering” was nothing like what other people suffer on a daily basis around the world.
This bug, whatever it was, passed in a couple of hours. We are all very tired and weak today, but our stomachs are calm and we seem to be back to normal. We know that there were people praying for us yesterday, as I can think of several other outcomes that could have happened were it not for God’s grace. Thank you for your prayers, and thank God for His love.