Paraguayan Parables

Tales from my work in Paraguay.

The Night That Returned No Answer

It was one of those nights where sleep would not come. Tossing and turning, I lay desperate to discover sleep somewhere but failed. Determining the room was too warm, I cracked the window but the January breeze did not bring the sleep I sought. In the silence of the night I stared at the questions that life is currently bringing me. I say stared but I did not see a thing for my eyes were closed. Questions raced through my head at warp speed. Repetitive questions such as . . . should I continue my education past Faith Builders? If so, where? Was Faith Builders worth the time and money? Should I not have been more “responsible” and made some money prior to studying at Faith Builders? Should I be “responsible” now and make some money prior to completing my bachelor’s degree? But will I become sidetracked and not complete my degree? If that happens would I be satisfied with what I already know? Am I being too maverick in this pursuit of knowledge? Looking back, should I have remained at home instead of learning the culture and language of Paraguay? Would it have been better to possess the security of multiple dozens of Benjamins instead of an appreciation for terere? Maybe I should have pursued my degree and have it now in hand instead of a fluency of Spanish in my head? Perhaps the years since I’ve come of age were lived as mistakes, by-products of bad decisions?

Interspersed with these questions were short and silent prayers to the One who oversees all. And yet, the gray haze of the room gave no answers. Only the unceasing brigade of questions that did not stop until I fell asleep.


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The Ennui of Free Time

It’s Thanksgiving Break and while it has been stress free and wonderful, I find myself doing a lot of. . . nothing. That bugs me. Why do I allow myself to become sidetracked by the smallest distractions? Why do I feel like I need to play that game on my iPod Touch instead of reading for a class? Why, in the middle of researching for a presentation, do I find myself checking Facebook for the 3rd time that morning or scrolling through a sports website for the fifth time? Why instead of taking a nap do I watch YouTube?

Deep down inside of me there is a belief that every moment should count. I only have one life, only so much time. That time is precious and should be used profitably. Relaxing is fine and necessary. But doing too much relaxing crosses into the realm of laziness. Inwardly I shrink from that label. Doing nothing profitable is laziness. Deep down, as I recognize myself living in this zone of doing nothing I wonder, is there more? Am I missing something? Should I be doing something else, something different?

It’s not like I lack for things to do. I did bring a significant portion of homework home with me but the urge to complete assignments has left. I did enough that the final three weeks of school should be easier. There would be Christmas music to practice but meh, I don’t feel like doing it.

Is free time such a good idea? When not pressured, does humanity’s creative juices simply shrivel up and go dormant? Is it really that much more stimulating to write a research paper the day before it’s due instead of handing it in a week early? Egads! I did it again. My mind blanked and boom! before I knew it, swiftly I had typed in a friend’s blog site to read a recent post of hers. Point proven.

Personally, I don’t think free time is such a bad thing. Neither are options. But there needs to be a balance and even a sense of intentionality (thanks, Faith Builders culture for introducing me to that word) about how I use my free time. It is supposed to refresh and rejuvenate, not wear down and overwhelm one with the inanity of its presence. Yet it, the ennui, exists and it will be fought. There is less time available now then there was yesterday. Does it matter what I do with? You better believe it! That is why this current ennui is so dreadful.

Go away bad dream, BOO!!   


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I have not posted in what feels like a long time. So to make it worth the while, this post should be creatively brilliant and stunning, right? What better way to do son than to use snow?

Recently here at Guys Mills, it has snowed. Sorry, a better verb would be dumped. In the space of 24 hours, about 14 inches of snow appeared on the ground. I almost forget what color the grass was/is. So yes, snow is a current theme.

This guy’s photos have been circulating around the web lately. Maybe you’ve seen them; maybe not. It doesn’t matter. It’s still worth your while to see the amazing intricacies that comprise snowflakes. His snowflake macros are breathtaking. Just imagine, God could have created snowflakes as generic blobs of cold, white fluff but He didn’t. He made them beautiful and unique. Thanks to this photographer, we can see the uniqueness. Go here to see his work.

And now, I’m off for home,

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Psalm 138

Thank you! Everything in me says thanks. I kneel in worship facing your holy temple and say it again: “Thank you!” Thank you for your love, thank you for your faithfulness; Most holy is your name, most holy is your Word. The moment I called out, you stepped in; you made my life large with strength.

When they hear what you have to say, God, all earth’s kings will say “Thank your.” They’ll sing of what you’ve done: “How great the glory of God!” And here’s why: God, high above, sees far below; no matter the distance, he knows everything about us.

When I walk into the thick of trouble, keep me alive in the angry turmoil.  With one hand strike my foes, With your other hand save me. Finish what you started in me, God. Your love is eternal – don’t quit on me now.

(The Message)

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Sundays Musings 7/7: College Student Seminar and Retreat

This weekend found me at a place I’ve never been to. A place that I hope to return to someday. I attended the College Student Seminar and Retreat that the Faith Builders Resource Group puts on every year for conservative Anabaptist college students. Admittedly, I went because I had to fulfill a course obligation in order to graduate from Faith Builders. Out of approximately forty students, I was the only one who was not in college or had a definite major that I intended to pursue in college. Yes, it was one of those rare places that I felt out of place and slightly abnormal. Surrounding me were mechanical engineering students, bachelor of science students, music majors, and many prospective Registered Nurses. Egads! Though I highly disliked not being able to articulate what degree I hope to pursue in college, I enjoyed the weekend. For more details about CSSR, follow this link.

Steve Byler, the lead pastor at Calvary Chapel in Harrisonburg, Virginia, had three main sessions throughout the weekend. I greatly enjoyed these. He has a vision for education that is rarely seen in conservative Anabaptist settings and it showed in his talks this weekend. One statement that he repeated throughout the weekend was “Christianity is nothing more than Christ + culture.”  He expounded further on this statement this morning. Christianity does not equate with culture and while we are disciples of Christ, we are called to live out our beliefs. How we live in obedience to Christ and in the midst of our culture is our form of Christianity. Our love for Christ must always be foremost and culture secondary. To reverse these two is to place people first instead of Christ and, in extreme cases, can lead to a cultic practice of misplaced ideals.

The weekend was more than a backslapping, rah-rah, session for the attendees. It was a thought provoking weekend that aimed at encouraging students to wrestle with their questions and grow as individuals. But more than that, students were encouraged to engage their communities in loving service without using their knowledge for selfish advantages.


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Here’s something a bit different. I’m reblogging this from I’ve read KJV for many years and still enjoy the literary weight of the KJV text. Recently, I have switched to the ESV for a lot of my reading. I find the ESV to be easier to read. When you read 20-30 chapters at a time like I have done for class assignments, that easier reading goes a long way. My thanks to Daniel for the article.

Daniel B. Wallace

  1. Perhaps the number one myth about Bible translation is that a word-for-word translation is the best kind. Anyone who is conversant in more than one language recognizes that a word-for-word translation is simply not possible if one is going to communicate in an understandable way in the receptor language. Yet, ironically, even some biblical scholars who should know better continue to tout word-for-word translations as though they were the best. Perhaps the most word-for-word translation of the Bible in English is Wycliffe’s, done in the 1380s. Although translated from the Latin Vulgate, it was a slavishly literal translation to that text. And precisely because of this, it was hardly English.
  2. Similar to the first point is that a literal translation is the best version. In fact, this is sometimes just a spin on the first notion. For example, the Greek New Testament has about 138,000–140,000 words, depending on which…

View original post 1,780 more words

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Sundays Musings 11/5

Winter has arrived! To celebrate, I’m looking back in time to a time not so long ago when there was still an abundance of leaves and warm fall days. Days that only hinted at the approach of winter. Temperatures have dropped and those days are but a remembrance.






That’s all. Blessings on the journey this week.


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Sundays Musings 10/28

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. Isaiah 57:15 (ESV)

Last night, this verse was going through my mind. I attended my home church for our semi-annual Communion service. I realized again how blessed I am to be part of a church that cares. A church that reaches out to the hurting. A church that supports, cares, and ministers to members who are weak and hurting.

I realize that not all churches are this way, that many people do not have this experience. That knowledge hurts. It pains me to see people walk away due to the insensitivity of the church.

But as this verse states, God revives them that humble themselves, them that yield their hurts and frustrations to Him and come just as they are. He doesn’t condemn; rather, He gives new life.


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A Deserted Classic

So what makes this picture unique? The content, a old deserted car behind a chain link fence? The location, Brooklyn? The abstractedness of the photo, it being here as a solitary picture and not in a album of other related photos?

I put it here to contrast what some minor post processing can do. This one here is the original.



Here is the processed one. I like this one better. The sepia tone fits the vehicle’s style a bit more. It oozes nostalgia. Looking at this picture, one can almost imagine a couple from the Victorian era going for a pleasant Sunday drive. One problem with that mind picture. This vehicle didn’t exist in that period of time.

But I still like this picture.



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Under the Overpass: An Update

To readers of this humble blog,

Although there are many good books available to read, there must, MUST, be a continual awareness to subtle truths that are conveyed and yet are not Biblically sound. And given the fact that I recently wrote on Under the Overpass and believe it is a well written book that describes the plight of the homeless on the streets of America, I feel I should point out two potential discrepancies.

The first that I’ll mention is under the San Francisco section of the book. Yankoski speaks of a man named Henry. I won’t go into all the details or quote verbatim from the book. If you have the book, look it up. If you find yourself reading it, keep it in mind when you come to this section. But about Henry…Yankoski would prefer to describe him as a mental case although, from the information that he gives, I would say that Henry was more demonically influenced. But, I wasn’t there. I have never met Henry. Yankoski shies away from saying this. He says, and I quote, “I prefer to live in a world I can explain”.

The second item I’d like to point is again in the San Francisco chapter. Right after they had prayed for God to supply their need, somebody walks past carrying a box that had pizza leftovers in it. They asked for it and received it. In the ensuing conversation between the two of them, they decided that they had to ‘pick up the manna’. This line of thinking was tied to the possibility of the Israelites starving while surrounded by food or manna. In other words, could a Israeli have died from starvation simply by staying in his tent and not going out to pick up manna? But this fails at times. What if we encounter a situation where everyone says that it is the right thing to do but we don’t have God’s approval to proceed? Should we proceed and look for that approval later? These two guys almost indicate by their conversation that that should be the case. So a caution on that. There are times that God asks us to step out in faith but there are other situations that require us to wait on God to act. We NEED discernment to know the difference between the two.

These two points may be arbitrary but it came up in conversation with one of my friends so I thought I’d mention it. fwiw….


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