Update 12 -- 26th May 2006

Well folks...

This is the last one from the land of extremes -- Paraguay!

We head off tomorrow morning on the bus to Asuncion and then on Wednesday morning we leave for a very long 24 hours of travel. We leave Paraguay at midday, then we leave Argentina at 9pm, arriving in London 4pm the next day. I’m sure it will be good, but tiring. Please pray that our baggage makes it through all the stops (we also have a short stop in Madrid, Spain) and arrives in London with us.

We will update you from London as to our plans from there on in.

We have enjoyed our time here in Paraguay, and seemed to have accomplished a few things...

* Rest & relaxation

* Read heaps of books

* Helped out with MEGA (painted, varnished & sanded windows, doors, tables, chairs, made a soccer & volleyball court, started the playground etc)

* Managed to break a few things (including a bent bike tire (see photos) and cut the skill saw cord in half!)

* Sightseeing around Paraguay

* Learnt some Spanish (Jon learnt enough to have a decent conversation)

* Grew a beard (Jon)

* Experienced a different cultures traditions (food, music, way of life etc)

* Received multiple mosquito & ant bites

* Got stopped by police who were looking for an American named "Ruth" (kinda scary!)

* Got sick!

* Saw God at work in 2 different cultures (Ache & Paraguayan)

* Spent time with God & discussing future plans and philosophies

* Spent time with the family

* Finished "Farcry" (a new computer game we bought before leaving NZ)

* Wrote a few songs

Just to name a few!

All in all it has been good, and we feel that out horizons have been broadened, hopefully our understanding deepened and learnt heaps.

We hope to indulge ourselves tomorrow with the Super 14 final on TV once we arrive in Asuncion. Man I do love NZ and have missed some things especially rugby. Its funny how you have to leave to really appreciate some things you take for granted.

Oh well, that's all from us now,

Signing out from Paraguay,

Update 11 -- 19th May 2006

Well hello!

Yes we still are alive & kicking, although not entirely well! We have been out of email contact for the past week or so, hence this late update. I also have not been able to keep any food in for the past 5 or so days, and now also have a sore throat, so at the moment trying to keep my head above water!

We have been up to quite a bit, but I will still try to keep this short, so if you want extra details on anything, just ask for in a separate email!

About last week sometime we left General Aquino with the family (the van is at last fixed & working well) and headed for the East City (Cuidad del Este) which is on the border of Brazil, Paraguay and also very close to the Argentinean border too. We stayed there 4 nights and visited a few things. Firstly we had a look around a Christian school there for rich upper class kids -- really interesting and a great place. They are looking for native speaking English people to teach there on 1 year contracts if anyone is interested. We really enjoyed the company of the director and we organized to go out for dinner with her the next night. This ended up being in Brazil, because we headed over to Brazil to have a look at the Iguaçu Falls. They were pretty amazing and we also enjoyed the Brazilian food!

The next day we had a tour around the Itaipu Dam (I think the biggest in the world) and then also there zoo of animals they rescued when they flooded the area above the dam. Very cool animals and some very cute, and some very scary!

We headed off the next day to visit one of the Ache people tribes and spend some time with the family who have been helping them to cope within the 21st century. The people have really been brought forward 500 years in technology and learning modern techniques of farming and agriculture instead of trying to live off the hunter-gatherer type of scenario. They are a really lovely people with lots of love & hugs for everyone. Jon especially enjoyed our time there (I spent most of it in bed unfortunately) and they even organized a concert for him to play at, although he just thought it was going to be a jam with a couple of guys. The village really loved it and it was a great night. It is a really special place and so awesome to see these guys so happy and full of life. In some ways these people are primitive but their ability and desire to work as a community is advanced. We were excited to see an expression of God through another culture where they are taking what they want from the western world and remaining Achè in the process.

We are now back in Asuncion for a couple of days... not long now till we actually fly out for England!

Lots of traveling, lots to see & lots of photos taken, too much to write here in this one email.

Hope that gives you the basics though.

Until next time,

Update 10 -- 3rd May 2006

Hi there everyone again,

Well since last week... we were suppose to be away for a trip around the countryside. We set off okay, but got only about an hour away, when the car decided to have a bit of a spazz again!! (see photos) So the safest option was to turn around and get back. We got back okay, and now the car is at the mechanics awaiting a new engine! So far they have had 3 different engines sent up from the capital, each time the wrong one, so sent back again!! We are yet to see if they will get the right one.

If this doesn't work out, then maybe in about 2 weeks time, we will bus ourselves into Asuncion and try to do some of those things ourselves. Wait & see.

So in the meantime, we have got back into the swing of things here, and since all the doors have been hung in MEGA we have just completed the last coat of varnish on them. We have also enjoyed the extra time to read heaps of books, and relax and have spent a bit of time in song writing.

This last Monday was a public holiday, so we spent a bit of time with the local boys, even taught them how to play touch rugby. Not too many forward passes, although some attempts at American Football styles! They seem to enjoy it, although as young boys go, they really want Jon to teach them 'hard' rugby! This weekend we may try to see if any want to be converted to a 'Settlers fan'!

We have had a cold spell here -- down to 19 degrees in the day, and about 10 at night. With a cold southerly the wind, the locals are really complaining -- kinda funny to watch them layer on the clothes!! We have a fire inside the last few nights too (see photos) which takes the chill off the air, and also fills the house with smoke!

You will also notice in the photos, Jon's new growth, kinda like the face stuff, but on his back -- that's disturbing!!

We have heard there is a Tsunami warning today for Fiji & New Zealand, we hope & pray you will all be safe, and that there won’t be too much of a disaster. We will keep our eyes on the internet news, but let us know what is happening if you can!

Until next time,

God Bless,