Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Got Gas???

A missionary friend of ours in Bolivia recently sent us an e-mail with that title. And, no, the subject matter within the email was not about fuel for cars. Rather it was about propane gas, you see we are having a bit of a shortage here in South America. Scott has had to drive all over town looking for garafas - filled propane gas bottles. Right now we have no estufa since we're all out of gas, BRRRRR! What makes it especially bad is that even when we find propane the bottles aren't filled all the way.

Thankfully we're not like our friends who are in a pioneer missions life where their garrafas run all their appliances, fridge included. The only appliances that we need propane for are our estufa, stove and clothes dryer. The latter is run by two very large tanks, about 5 feet high, and I'm wishing our other appliances were as well. I'll admit that it's a little annoying to be in the middle of cooking a meal only to have the gas run out. Though I can cook eggs in the microwave, for some reason it doesn't do such a nice job on pancakes.

Later today we're headed over to the immigration office with all the kids to get our temporary ID's. That should be an adventure all in itself. Though hopefully nothing like our Ministry of Health visit when we first arrived. Mr. and Mrs. B, I'm sure I don't have to remind of that adventure.

Scott is hoping to find a van to purchase this week as well. Keep praying we sure would like a larger vehicle especially since I'm taking up a lot more real estate these days.

Friday, June 22, 2007

In like a lion, out like a lamb.

Or is it the other way around? At any rate, those of you reading from north of the equator have officially started summer while we have started winter. Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day, today is gloomy, rainy and foggy. It's especially cold when the sun doesn't shine as here in Uruguay the closest thing to central heat is a propane heater called an estufa de gas (see picture) that is wheeled from room to room.

I know many find it hard to believe it is actually cold down here, but remember we're far enough south of the equator that we do have all the seasons. Add to that the concrete construction, high humidity, plus no central heat and it makes for a very cold winter. We are all constantly bundled up and wear multiple layers, even inside!

It was so cold in church on Sunday that you could see everyone's breath. Sunday night service was a lot better since that is our bigger service, plus we had the estufa de gas on. I actually unbuttoned my coat and took off my scarf.

The church bus has no heater and with each person I greet I can tell they are much colder than I as their cheeks are frigid. Not one of them complains, at least not that I understand. They all say they are fine, even if they do mention the cold they know it is part of life here. I'm told I will adjust. One thing is for sure the longer we are here the more clearly I see that we are so spoiled in the US.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Balmy 55

Yesterday was a great day, the Lord blessed us with a gorgeous day and good friends. Not only were we able to BBQ but we were able to enjoy the outdoors in the sun and 55 degree warmth. It was a great celebration of my 21st birthday...with 16 years experience. Some eyebrows were raised at the coleslaw (KFC copycat), and at the potato salad (they make Russian style here) but the only things left over were a couple cups of baked beans. The ribs were absolutely delicious as were the shish-ka-bobs. Can you tell I'm pregnant?

I got two beautiful sweaters (when you come for a visit you'll want to invest in the hand knitted clothing) a mate gourd fitted inside a cow hoof, a cow skin wallet, a scarf, a Uruguayan cookbook and some candy. I even got a bag of marshmallows. Let me tell you I had no idea they were even in this country. So tomorrow we'll have sweet potato casserole with some colored marshmellows. On second thought maybe I should save them for the hot cocoa that everyone wants to drink after church. I definitely was spoiled with central heat. But that's another post.

Thank you to everyone who sent cards, e-cards and I even got a package! I especially appreciate your prayers for a special day.

Friday, June 15, 2007


Dinner has been a bit of a challenge here in Uruguay, because we are in language class 3 afternoons a week (M-W-F), we have church Wednesday & Sunday, SILOS on Thursday and Brandon and Kaitlin have youth meetings every Saturday. And when Kaitlin had mallets for her bells she had orchestra practice on Friday's. You can see that makes our schedule full and makes the dinner meal difficult.

Being a perfectionist and type A personality (so I've been told) I don't care too much for a system that doesn't work. So I ponder it in my mind for awhile looking for a way that works. Sometimes my new ideas only make the system jam up further, but other times the ideas pan out and are quite productive.

After pondering the dinner time stress I flip flopped the meal times so every day is like Sunday. You know, where we have a large meal for lunch and a light meal or snack for dinner. I've been fixing a big lunch all week and it's worked great. I enjoy the unbroken time I have in the afternoon to work on projects - like translation work for Spanish class, or even better a scrapbook page and hand stamped thank you cards. Plus, I have all morning to make yeast rolls or something else requiring more than an hour. Now I don't need to worry about whose meal is going to be cold when they get home.

I truly am thankful to the Lord for giving me the gift of working out the kinks in my daily life. I know I got through much of deputation because He allowed me to think of better ways to do things - like dressing the girls all in one color each day (Monday's were pink, Tuesday's were purple, and so on) of missions conferences.

Tomorrow is my first birthday in Uruguay! And my first birthday when it's been in the 50's instead of the 80's. I'm hoping we'll have a sunny day because we are going to BBQ, American style! I can already taste those slow cooked ribs slathered in Texas style BBQ sauce. MMMMM.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Ex-patriate...no way!

While we come across Americans either in person or on the internet that have left the USA and call themselves ex-pat's we have never considered ourselves to be in that category. During our visit yesterday to the US Embassy, for renewal of my passport, I had a rather unexpected patriotic moment. It may not be too surprising but we had to pass through a lot of security. First we entered into a bomb-resistent building to go through a security check. I had to leave my purse behind in a cubby and Scott had to leave his soft sided briefcase in another cubby. Both items were identified as ours by our drivers licenses. The Uruguayan belongins were ID'd by their Cedula cards.

Once we cleared security and had our visitor badges we headed to the main building. Where we once again went through security. You should see the size of those doors we went through. As we entered into this foyer I thought I saw a Marine out of the corner of my eye. I couldn't resist looking and when I did I had my patriotic moment. There he was in what I think is called his field dress uniform standing proud as an American. I went through security and looked again, I'm afraid I was staring, then he smiled at me, wished me good morning and we were on our way. But I knew that if we ever needed assistance to get out of this country in a civil emergency, America's finest would be here to help.

I've had many moments that have made me thankful I'm an American; especially so after September 11th. But this moment was different it had different meaning. It reminded me that though I'm here in Uruguay, and happy to be here, I'm still very much an American. Red, white and blue courses through my veins and that will always be. I praise God for the rich heritage I have as an American. For the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for my freedom! Now, I think I need to come up with an excuse to visit the Embassy this coming 4th of July, and have another patritotic moment! God bless America!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Six months in Uruguay

Today was our sixth month anniversary on the field. It's been a time packed with learning, adjustments, trials, joys and a different persepective on life. I'm ever so thankful to the Lord for giving us this opportunity! Brandon and Kaitlin have found areas to minister in the church. Brandon will begin this week with the children in Kings Kids and he also ushers. And Kaitlin has been teaching the children during the S.I.L.O. (Bible Studies) at the Perez' home on Thursdays.

Scott and I have been given the go ahead to preach and teach (respectively, of course) once a month. So now we get to start translating and begin public speaking in Spanish. It's frightening and exciting at the same time. Our language teacher believes this will be very helpful for us and will work towards solidifying the language in our minds. She is even willing to proof our work for us. This is a wonderful opportunity.

Kaitlin and Brandon are nearly 100% comprehensive in Spanish. Brandon has an all Spanish speaking friend and so he's been the testing ground, poor guy! Kaitlin still hasn't been daring enough to speak much. Nehemiah talks a lot in his Sunday school class, not necessarily a good thing, but he does speak in Spanish. Bethany and Adeline are learning Spanish in school now. And I'm sure we don't need to worry about Simeon and Isabel.

I find myself singing songs now in Spanish. Usually it ends up being more Spanglish than anything; as I start to sing in either language I forget the words in one and remember the words of another and so I go back and forth - Spanglish singing. That's a huge step for me as I never thought I'd get the rhyme and meter of singing in Spanish.

It's possible that we could have our legal residency in it's final submission this month. A miracle to be sure! It usually takes this long just to get the papers back from the FBI. All we need now is a statement from the Uruguayan police verifying we have not been in trouble while here in the country. If that comes in the next couple weeks we should be good to go. If not we'll have to re-submit a couple papers.

The honeymoon is definitely over, but with it the time of major homesickness has passed. We're starting to settle in and adjust. I'm sure it will be a lifetime of learning, thankfully, we have God at our side to guide us along. Proverbs 3:5,6 continues to give us hope and strength.