Saturday, March 03, 2007

Early February in Paraguay

February-What an exciting month! This was an adventure packed, hot and rainy time to be in Paraguay. Josiah loved meeting Ronald McDonald at a McDonald's in an Asuncion mall. He didn't even protest when Josiah pocked his eyes! What a nice guy!

We got to participate in a second mobile clinic this month as well, in a neighborhood that has a new Baptist church. This clinic was exclusively for children. Tonya did consultations and was challenged with which diagnosis to give, especially those that she had never seen before! God blessed and we saw many children treated for illnesses from parasites to skin infections. Each family had the opportunity to hear the Gospel as well and contacts were made with the local church there. Dr. Kent, a missionary to Paraguay, heads the mobile clinic ministry with his wife Judy.

At the clinic Tonya also mustered up the courage to teach a song in Guarani, the heart language of many Paraguayans. The children loved it and soon formed a masive excited mob that could barely be controlled!

Josiah got his first haircut this month! He behaved well but was always curious about what the barber was doing with his head!

Lila, the household helper for our apartment and the Starkey's house, loved playing with Josiah.

We have been keeping a secret for a few months and can't keep it "hidden" much longer! Tonya is almost 5 months pregnant now and both Mommy and baby are doing well. The baby is due July 25th! This picture was taken on Valentine's Day. Kris let Tonya go get pampered at a local salon as his gift to her.

Big brother Josiah is loving the water! He looks forward to daily baths and will play in the tub as long as he is allowed. His favorite game in this tub is pulling off the drain, watching the water swirl, then putting it back on again!

We had the blessing of seeing Ann and Jo, two missionaries to Paraguay who have both served over 30 years. They treated us to a lazagna meal which the entire family loved!

Late February In Paraguay

The last week spent in Paraguay was one of much travel! We started out our trip with a day at the Argentina side of Iguazu Falls, located just past the Paraguayan/Brazilian/Argentine border (all three countries meet near these water falls, which are some of the largest in the world!)

Josiah had a blast at the falls, even though it was over 100 degrees. He enjoyed playing with the many butterflies flying around the park, but was very facinated by the waterfalls. He got upset when we wouldn't let him lean over the rail to play in the water!

While at the park, we bought some handmade goods from Guarani Mby'a Indians, of the same tribe that Tonya worked with while she served in Paraguay. Currently there is no Christian worker working among them. Please pray that God will privide someone soon to continue teaching those who were seeking to know Christ.

After spending two days in Ciudad Del Este, Paraguay (and visiting the falls), we spent two nights and a day in the Hohenau area, where Tonya used to live. Our first stop was to visit the Wanderer family, a German-Paraguayan family who worked with Tonya in her ministry. Jonathan, who is now 17, loved meeting Josiah and introduced him to Lucy, who used to be Tonya's dog! They were instant friends.

Here is the Wanderer family with the Dixons.

On Sunday we visited the Baptist Church in Hohenau, where Tonya usually attended. Due to a rain storm that lasted all morning, only 4 other families attended, one of which Tonya knew well and the others who were newer families. It was good fellowship, but also dissapointing since she didn't get to see old friends.

Sunday afternoon we travelled to Jesus, a town
Tonya worked in as well. Fidelina, a woman Tonya was friends with and her family were home and caught us up on the local news and needs of the church there. It was an encouraging visit!

The volunteers from Holland Ave. Baptist, Tonya's home church while growing up, constructed this large room while on a missions trip in 2003. The room is now fully functioning as a children's ministry room. Fidelina heads up the ministry and reported 85 children attended last week!

Here is Tonya with Josiah and Fidelina in front of her house.

Our last visit was to Ramona and Ramon, a couple who have been married and baptized since Tonya left Paraguay. Ramona was a new believer who Tonya discipled and worked with to start a church in Trinidad where they live. Ramon accepted Christ shortly after Tonya left and their family became the first regular attenders of the church plant. Unfortunately, the church closed its doors last year due to the leadership leaving (two families went to Spain to work and a missionary family moved to a different area in Paraguay). This is a sad story of many people who are believers and have no church to attend. Please pray God will provide and inspire the existing families in this town to meet on their own for worship and fellowship.
Here is a picture of the Dixons with the Starkey family. Tonya is almost half way through her pregnancy now!