Hello beloved Friends!
Wow! It’s March already!! That means for you in the north, I bet you’re looking forward to the snowy season to be over, and you’re looking with anticipation for spring to bloom! Here, it means I’m hoping that the weather will stop tricking me and we would have less days over 100 degrees, and that it would stick in the 90s. Haha!
Life carries on as normal here. I head into the village to study and spend time with my friend Gricelda, make visits to other friends, and come home to study by myself, working through this hard language little bit by little bit. I am also thankful that I was able to meet up with another missionary, who has been working with a people group who’s language is similar to Enlhet/Lengua Norte. He also understands quite a bit of Enlhet, and I was able to talk some things through with him. I am just so glad that though I don’t have co-workers that work with the Enlhet, God has provided ways for me to have the needed time and comrodary with other Ethnos360 missionaries, and that this specific one is actually able to help and talk through things like a co-worker would!!
Another thing that I recently have been able to do is connect a little bit more with the family of Wili. (You may remember me speaking of him about a year ago. I would go to give him nebulizer treatments about 4 times a week, and he unfortunately passed away about a year ago …)
Anyway, I have visited a handful of times since Wili’s death, but didn’t really feel like they were very comfortable with me being there. But I went to visit them a couple of weeks ago again (this time armed with more pushiness 😉 and my terere to ask if I could actually sit this time), and Wili’s granddaughter, Maria Cristina, seemed ok with the thought. As we were chatting, she mentioned to me that when she doesn’t have anything else to do, she crochets yarn bags to sell. (The amazing thing to me is that she sells them for between $1.25 and $1.75 – not even enough to cover the cost of yarn!) But, I was excited to hear that, as I have been looking for ways to spend time with people, and specifically was hoping to learn one of their handicrafts, so I asked her if she would teach me. And she smiled and said she would! So I went back this week and started learning. I’m thankful I already knew a bit about crocheting because she didn’t explain with many specifics!
But the thing that struck me most, is that as I left her house from our previous visit, she said in Spanish, “Thank you for coming to visit me!”. And I was kind of shocked. So far, I have asked around, and the Enlhet don’t even have a word to express thankfulness. And in the time I have spent with various ones, saying Thank You hasn’t been something that I have heard from them. So, I was just really thankful that the Lord led me to go visit with her and spend time with her, as she really seemed to enjoy the visit and appreciated me going. I’m looking forward to the future times the Lord allows us to have, and am headed back next week so she can show me how to finish off the bag.
One thing I realized after I sent out my last update is that I have officially passed the one year mark of working with the Enlhet!! Wow. To think back to a year ago and consider all the Lord has brought me through, taught me, the new friendships He has provided, and the growth in the language and culture that have taken place is overwhelming at times! He has held me in His mighty arms, surrounded me with love and patience, and lifted me out of some hard times with deep pits. He has given great and precious blessings and provided in miraculous ways. He has taught me new depths of what it means to not rely on myself, but on Him, trusting Him to work out His plans in both my life and in the lives of those He has placed around me.
I cannot help but be brought to tears as I pray and dream about how the Lord might grow and use specifically my friend Gricelda. Obviously there are no promises that she will even desire to be a part, but God gives me wonderful glimmers of hope in her. She patiently meets with me week after week, working through Enlhet. I continue to mess up, and take baby steps, and not remember words she just told me. We laugh together and share disappointments together. I am praying that the Lord would one day use her to be a beacon of Light and Hope in her community. I pray that one day she might be able to know Christ, desire to be a part of what He is doing to bring people to Himself, and that one day I might be able to call her my co-worker in the Gospel. Would you pray for her, and that one day she would KNOW Christ and that she would desire to love and serve Him with her life?
In other news, it is a bit late notice, but I have some home assignment/furlough news! I may have hinted at it last year that this was coming up, but I officially have my date to head back to Michigan! I will be leaving Paraguay on April 9th and arriving on April 10th (after a 15 hour layover in Lima, Peru!!)! I was thinking I would have to wait until May or June, but realized I actually could head home sooner! So, I’ll be home from April 10th and the plan is to stay until after Christmas and head back here before New Years. It will be a longer furlough this time, which I am thankful for! It has been a long almost 3 years here, and I am very much looking forward to seeing you all, hearing how God has been working in your lives in my absence, and filling you in (maybe with more detail) what God has done and how He is working in my life and here in Paraguay among the Enlhet! SO, please don’t hesitate to get with me while I’m home! I would love nothing more to catch up with you!
Until then, I have just a couple weeks left of “normal” life, studying, spending time with friends in the village, and staying my goodbyes there. Then, will concentrate on packing up and cleaning the home where I am currently living, as well as saying goodbyes to friends here in the Mennonite community and other missionaries. Then I will head to Asu about a week before I fly out to spend some quality time with my host family and missionaries there in the city, and will be off to Michigan!
Would you continue to pray with me?
1. For me, that I would love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and that I would love those around me well. That He would keep helping me push to visit, study, and end well before packing up for home assignment. And for my health. I recently had a parasite and have done some treatments for it. So I want to go back to the dr before heading home to make sure it’s gone. As well as there are bugs going around here again, and it would be marvelous if I didn’t get any more sickness.
2. For Gricelda, Maria Cristina, Adela, Cristina, Ramona, Teresa, and the other Enlhet ladies. That the Lord would be working in their lives, as well as the lives of all the Enlhet to bring them to Himself.
3. For co-workers among the Enlhet!! I know I always ask you to pray with me about this, but it is because the need is felt SOOO often!! But that in the meantime I would trust the Lord with His plans.
4. For my time on home assignment, for safety, reconnecting with family and all my lovely friends, and that the Lord would be preparing me, even if I don’t realize it at the time, for returning here to continue the work with the Enlhet.