Friday, November 24, 2006

Little Things

We discovered the other night how responsive Samson is to the TV. He has a spot next to the bed where he has a good view. Some people say that dogs can't watch TV. Sam is evidence to the contrary. When a dog came the show we were watching, he started barking at it. When that scene ended, the barking stopped. Now I don't feel so silly leaving the TV on for him when we're out sometimes. (It's hard to decide what he'd like to watch. Usually I leave it on nicer shows like Gilmore Girls.) So we know he's a clever dog. Unfortunately that cleverness doesn't seem to carry over into going for walks. It's an ongoing challenge.

In completely unrelated news, my heart leapt for joy this morning when my friend Nina, who I meet with a couple times a week to talk about English and Jesus, described me to someone else as her "white sister". Our relationship is really blossoming. Not only is this a good evangelistic opportunity but it's a great feeling to have a good friend who isn't a teammate! (Though I love my teammates dearly. Most days, anyway!)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Food For Thought

I had a tough conversation with a fellow minister here. He commented that sometimes all he can afford for his family is bread and bananas. He knows many people who have never eaten something as simple as cheese; partly because it has to be refrigerated and partly because it is not a necessity.
Commercials for healthy eating are ignored by the rich and made fun of by the poor because they are so far away from their normal lives. Some eat the chef's choice wherever they are, but in doing so they spend more than most entire families have for a month of food. Think about that when you can afford to by healthy choices; there are more ways to model Christ than you can imagine. My friend ended by saying he was happy because he knew every bite came from God. May we feel the same way.

Friday, November 17, 2006

New Adventures

When we first got here, we talked a lot about how we felt like babies, having to re-learn everything again. Well I guess now we've developed since then because now I'm a teenager learning how to drive.

Matt and Mary Virginia left for furlough yesterday and they left their car for us and the Sasses to drive. We're excited about having the use of a car for over a month and the minute we dropped them off at the airport, we started listing the places we want to go with it. So often on our shopping expeditions, we're limited in what we can buy. Even if we're fortunate enough to get a taxi that's not a hatchback and doesn't have a tank in the trunk, the driver is another passenger, so that leaves little space inside the car for extra stuff. (That's not to say we haven't crammed an incredible amount of stuff inside taxis!)

So first on the list was Sam's Club. I needed to get some stuff for this weekend's Team Thanksgiving Dinner. Unfortunately, Russ had an appointment this morning. He suggested that I drop him off and then go on in the car by myself.

I've driven a handful of times here but most of my experience has been limited to our neighborhood or going to and from the Parkers', which is a pretty straightfoward route. Today, however, was right through town.

People often ask us how the drivers are here. Honestly, I don't think they drive that poorly. I will say, though, that it is a completely different driving style than my own. Those of you who know me well know that I'm a fairly "by the book" kind of person and I like everything to be in its place. Hm. Doesn't really work here. You can't stay in your lane all the time and politely signal when you want to change lanes. You can't come to a complete stop before you pull out of parking lot. So I'm relearning.

I don't have it all down yet. My neck is tired from the number of shoulder checks (and re-checks!) I did today. But after a few minutes of driving, I fell in step with the rhythm of the other cars. It's like a dance (and sometimes, as I experienced in a harried cab ride yesterday, slalom skiing). And the longer I drove, the more I understood it. Now I understand why taxi drivers always hang out in the left lanes of one street before crossing over quickly to our exit on the right. I understand why I have to be flexible about where exactly the lanes are. But I did it- I made it to Sam's and home again and I've got the Kraft Dinner to prove it!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Women's Conference

Women's Conference, originally uploaded by russandval.

Yesterday I took a group of our women to the Salvador Churches of Christ Women's Conference. Stacey and I kept saying all day, "I love our women!" The gals at church are so much fun and I am becoming great friends with them. The conference was really good. There were close to 200 women there. We got to reconnect with many of the friends we've made all around the city.

At the end of the conference, it was time to decide what church would host it next year and the whole crowd started chanting, "Pi-tu-ba, Pi-tu-ba!". (That's us!) Stacey and I looked at each other, shrugged and said, "We'll do it!". I'm glad we've got a whole year to plan!

Friday, November 10, 2006


Just wanted to let you know that we're hoping to be in North America in April and May. Yes, we'll come over for dinner!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Still Here

Oh, little blog. I haven't forsaken you. There's just been a lot going on.

Russ and I are just coming off taking a couple of personal days. We used our vacation time to go to my sister's wedding but we found ourselves needing a little renewal time. Russ has been doing the preaching recently and, while he enjoys it, it does take a lot out of him. We also really needed a break on a personal level. A couple of weeks ago we had another miscarriage. I'm okay. We're okay. But we have a mountain of feelings to work through.

So we took a little break. We looked at all kinds of fun places to go nearby. Salvador is not hurting for vacation spots (case in point: we have a Club Med in the bay). But as we researched and planned we decided to keep it simple. We stayed in town. There's a big hotel on the other side of town that we frequently pass. It's on a gorgeous plaza and at the end of an avenue filled with some of the biggest trees in town. We'd spent very little time in that part of town, so there were lots of things we could do. We had a blast. My favorite part was that our hotel room had a bathtub so I was able to take my first bath in a long time! It was just the break we needed and I think we're both in a much better place than before.

There is, as usual, a ton going on at church. English classes are still going strong (I am turning people away now!). We had about sixty people in worship on Sunday and we were missing a dozen or so regulars! It was the most visitors we'd had since our inaugural service. In every area of the work exciting things are happening.

Samson the dog is doing well. He's on his way to becoming the World's Biggest Yorkie. Well, maybe not, but he's definitely not a delicate dog. He makes us smile and laugh and he seems to think we're okay, too (judging by the kisses he gives me).

Oh, and in other news, Travis and Alicia had their baby! I can't believe I forgot to mention that earlier. So now the team is up to ten adults, five kids and three dogs. Ceara is a doll and I'm sure it's just a matter of time before she has Travis wrapped around her little finger!