Monthly Archives: January 2010

Life at a initial glance

Well, what can I say? I’m here and I was charmed with awesomely efficient pilots. My flight from Cleveland to Chicago was empty or at least in the back part of the plane which is where I was and we arrived in Chicago about 20 minutes ahead of time. I spent about 4 hours waiting for my next flight and that was my only gripe about my trip down. When you’re headed to the mission field, every item in the airport looks way, way overpriced. So I didn’t buy anything except food. And that was overpriced. At about 930, my flight to Sao Paulo was airborne and I officially was on my way. And really what  more can be said for the flight? It was your typical international, through-the-night flight. A lot of short naps in positions that should be illegal for humans to sleep in. Not the greatest meals. The feeling that you will explode if you don’t get some exercise. But I survived.

Arriving in Sao Paulo, I thankfully did not have to claim my bags and recheck them through to Ciudad del Este. Instead, I headed straight to my gate, got my boarding pass and settled in to wait the next 2+ hours. During the waiting process for my flight, I ran into a unique individual. He was a the Paraguayan doctor for the U.S. Peace Corps in Paraguay and spoke excellent English. Even more interesting, he knew exactly where I was headed to and had even spent 2 years at the hospital in Campo Nuevo, the local town. We had a good chat. I love it when stuff like that happens. It brightens the trip, especially in lands of unknown tongues. Brazil speaks Portuguese and the Paraguayans heading to Paraguay spoke Spanish. A microcosm of the way the Tower of Babel was.

Anyway, our plane came and I was on my final leg. This particular flight makes a circuit flight between Asuncion, Sao Paulo and Ciudad del Este. From Sao Paulo, it’s about a hour and a half of flight time to Ciudad del Este. Here, about a third of the passengers disembarked and the rest went on to Asuncion. As I walked across the tarmac, I thought, “EJ, you agreed to work in this heat?“. It was definitely warmer than it was in Chicago where it was snowing the night before. Working my way through customs with virtually no hassle (after all, how many questions can they ask you if you don’t understand spanish?? :) ), I was outside within 30 minutes. A hour and a half later, I was at the clinic.

Here I will terminate for now. I’ve determined not to make this a online diary but only as updates as to my life down here. That being said, I will make some points.

1: I won’t go hungry. The food is great.         2: The weather is amazing! The people down here are saying it’s a cold summer but I’ll take it. 75-80 degrees and blue skies. Great!!     3: Once the language barrier is crossed, I’m going to like this place. Even until then, I will.        4: I’ve started language school and is it ever dichotomous!! On one hand, it looks doable. But does it ever look complex.

All right, enough for now. Be back later with more…..maybe.


Categories: Paraguayan Parables | 2 Comments

A test

This is a test of trying to email my posts to my blog. I’ve tried previously but they are not coming through. just ignore please. 🙂

Categories: About life | 3 Comments

A new chapter

This will be a brief post, I think, and it will also be the first in the “Paraguayan Parables” category. The reason for this new category is that in less than a week, I will be leaving for South America. Now, some of my friends have wondered how I will communicate from my work station down there. I won’t have Facebook…which probably will be a good thing. I won’t have daily Wi-fi…again, probably a good thing. I will have email, yes!, but I will not be doing my updates via a email list. Mainly because I’m too lazy to compose such a list and also I have heard of some people actually not liking such mass group updates. I don’t want that to happen. Not because I’m that overly concerned whether or not people like my emails but why clog someone’s inbox? If they really want to find out how life is down in Paraguay, they can take the trouble to visit this site. They can even make this their homepage. I’m not asking for that but it would be a honor.

So, if you do happen to read this blog, if you are interested in my life down there, or if you’re the creepy type and like to snoop on other people, than I welcome you to read. I will try to write about my life but I’m giving no promises. I know how life can be. You become busy and quickly forget the promises that you made, although you made them in earnest, to writing on a regular schedule. So no promises. But if I update, I will update here.

Do we have a deal? Good.

who knows, next time I write, I might be in Paraguay. God speed….


Categories: Paraguayan Parables | Leave a comment

The passing away of a dear ancestor.



Once again, I’m reminded that, yes, we can plan a schedule but God is ultimately in charge of our lives and He allows events to change those plans. You often hear this phraseology associated with the death of a loved one and I indeed am referencing such a event now. But I’ll get there in a moment. To the present. With my departure date for Paraguay set for the 26th of this month and that date being on the verge of being here, I had made plans to visit some of my friends in western states, namely Iowa, Kansas and Arkansas. This visiting was to happen the week after I attended the wedding of one of my friends.

I sailed forth on Saturday, the 9th for proper reference, and helped my friends marry successfully by playing my part in the wedding. I was a bridal server and, as you know, those in the bridal party are special people and require special serving. In fact, it can be surmised that they wouldn’t eat at the reception unless food was brought to them by those who are pre-selected for that very purpose. So in this I did my part. It indeed was a great affair. The wedding message was fitting and practical….practical to the couple getting married, not me. (though some would beg to differ on this point, the facts speak for themselves, namely these two. I am still single and satisfactorily so). The reception was tastefully done but simplistic. A hard balance to strike, me thinks, but a balance the bride was able to achieve. After all the hustle and bustle were over, I relaxed by playing some volleyball and also chatting with friends. Oh while I think of it, the couple whose big day we all celebrated, was Jethro and Twila, formerly Beiler, now, Hochsteltler.

After volleyball was over, I headed down to Cincinnati to visit a former schoolmate from years past. A few years ago, his family had moved down there as part of a outreach church and it had been awhile since I had spent any length of time with him. Although the hour was late, I finally arrived. I spent Sunday and Monday around his house and area, merely enjoying the fellowship and partaking in his church as well as his home life. Considering I was to leave in 2 weeks, I relished this chance to catch up.

It was on Monday that I received the news which changed my travel plans. In the space of a few minutes, I had received texts from my cousin and my dad informing me that my grandpa had had a stroke that morning. It was affecting his right side and looked to be fairly severe. Around 2 o’clock, my cousin sent another text saying that Dawdy(the extended family called him Grandpa; my family called him Dawdy to help differentiate between our two grandfathers) had passed on. Immediately, I knew that my travel plans were in limbo but without further specifics, like when the viewing and funeral were, I couldn’t really proceed anywhere. Later that night, I spent the better part of a hour speaking via phone with my dad as to how I should proceed. It was particularly hard knowing exactly what to do. This was Monday, the day Dawdy died and the funeral wasn’t till Friday at 1 P.M. This gave me 3 days until the funeral. The particulars grow a bit more complex. When our family heads to Kentucky, my dad’s home area and where Dawdy had lived, Cincinnati is usually considered the halfway point and I was already there. So, it would have been shorter to have gone from Cincinnati to Kentucky. But I still wanted to see some of my friends and decided to head to Kansas to see my friends there.

 So, on Tuesday I started out around 6 A.M. My travels went well and I arrived at my friend’s place at 8 P.M. The only disconcerting part of the trip was traveling without a map. I had a laptop and, with the help of Google maps and some free Wi-fi, courtesy of a hotel here and there, I successfully navigated my way across the Midwest.

This trip may have seemed to be a luxury and I admit, it really doesn’t make sense. But if you’re faced with the prospect of not seeing some of your friends for 2+ years, you can make yourself believe unorthodox logic to see said friends. That being said, my stay in Kansas was very unremarkable. Nothing radical happened, no wild parties occurred. Just simply being with friends and enjoying their company. So, after breakfast on Thursday morning, I once again hit the road, this time headed for Kentucky to attend the funeral.

There were quite a number of people at the funeral. I believe the estimates were around 650-700. Dawdy had, in his lifetime, gotten around and knew quite a few people. Also he came from a rather large family which also contributed somewhat to the size of the funeral. I shan’t say much more; details rather escape me. What is there to be said? We mourn the loss, as would any family. For myself, this funeral was especially poignant. This was the first time death has struck so close and he was the first of my grandparents to leave this earth. But throughout all this was the sense that death, just as birth, is a normal expected event in life. So while grief was fresh and real, there was also the sense of future expectancy, the expectancy of someday meeting Eli, a.k.a. Husband, Dad, Grampa, Dawdy, etc., in heaven. And what needs to be said of that place? Volumes have been written about that place. One thing is certain. Death and tears won’t be there. Eternal bliss for eternity

Categories: About life | Leave a comment

This law remains

This law, the unchanging edict that determines the rewards one gains from life, is still in effect. This law, or edict or canon, or decree or whatever you prefer,…? This….the law of sowing and reaping. While this has been humming through my head at various times throughout the course of the summer, last night I helped in fulfilling that very law. I found it quite interesting, especially considering that I didn’t help in the first part of that formula, only the latter.

After consuming the final remains of supper and listening to the closing comments, if ya don’t know what I mean listen closely the next time a meal winds down, Mom suggested that 2 of us finish digging potatoes. She didn’t really care who did it and so soon thereafter, I found myself with potato fork in hand, stabbing the crusted, hilled withered stalks. I wasn’t alone, of course. First Dad dug with me until Neil came along and relieved him. As we stabbed, turned and sifted down each of the 3 rows, it was a delight to see each spud appear. It felt like being a kid on Christmas morning. You know something is there, you can see the evidence but you don’t know how many potatoes are there, what shape they’re in or what size they are. And when you think of work in that sense, it doesn’t take long to accomplish the task.

Now, this spring, we planted potatoes and we expected to harvest potatoes, barring a unexpected calamitous happening. And throughout the year, we did what we could to ensure that our faith would not be misplaced. We tilled, hilled, weeded, fertilized and picked those nasty bugs. But probably the biggest thing we did was the actual planting. It sounds elementary, I know, but too often I think this gets overlooked. Once those seeds were planted, it really wasn’t that hard to maintain natural growth. It just comes naturally. What is hard is the upkeep of what has been planted.

All this applies to our life in the natural sense as well. We implement a new idea or a different aspect to our heretofore normal routine. If we aren’t careful, we quickly fall back into that old habit. Nevermind that what we had started to do was better for us, else why would we have started it? We wouldn’t have, that’s the bottom line. But we are lazy by nature and take the easiest route. And if this new habit/routine/idea that we started is too hard, we tend to just drop it. That’s the easiest thing to do. I think of this as New Year’s Day looms and people make resolutions to do better, to quit this habit or that one and to improve their life in some measure. They may succeed for awhile, 1 or 2 months at the most. But the bulk of them will not make those resolutions stick. Why? For the reasons I mentioned. We, humans, take the easiest route in things.

So don’t take the easy route. Take the hard route. It’s more difficult and takes more effort but there are less people on it. If it were easy, there would be more people travelling there. It’s also more rewarding. Persevere…push on…climb….succeed!!! Someday you’ll reach the top. See you there!!


note: this was a draft from back in September. No we don’t dig potatoes in late December. 🙂 I finalized it and turned it into a New Year’s Day post. thanks!

Categories: Just me | Leave a comment

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