Showing posts from November, 2020

Havin' a Tropical Thanksgiving

Growing up, one of the Christmas albums that played often in our house contained the Bellamy Brothers' song Tropical Christmas. The song references such activities as "decorat[ing] the palm tree," "mingl[ing] ornaments with coconut lights," and "build[ing] a snowman in sand." All day Thursday, I kept thinking that I could have written a Tropical Thanksgiving parody of it, that might include 1. " Catering to expats ": I caught my local grocery store hawking stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce the day before Thanksgiving. To their credit, I did succumb and buy a box of stuffing on impulse.  2. " Putting coconut in pumpkin pie ": Somehow, I let Courtney & Tirzah convince me to sign up to bring a pie to our team potluck. I DO NOT MAKE PIE CRUST. But, they don't sell the refrigerated kind you just roll out here, so I had no choice. It looked soooooo promising when I took it out of the refrigerator (see the flecks of butter?) but

Mission Education Goes Virtual

Serving virtually is not new. Way back in April , volunteers scattered across the US logged into Zoom to converse in English with learners in three time zones on two continents. Said program has only expanded since and is currently seeking volunteers for a Winter cohort to begin in January 2021.  Last week, though, Courtney & I, the LAC region, the Office of International Mission, and the LCMS debuted something never truly offered before by picking up a traditionally on-field experience and plopping it in front of a computer screen: an  online short-term team .  What? Let that sink in for a second.   An online short-term team. One of our favorite "project" types in LAC is mission education . Participants travel to a particular field (we've only done this in the DR to-date but plan to offer it elsewhere soon) for a week of immersion in as many aspects of local and regional ministry and as much facetime with missionaries and national partners as possible. Inspired by 

Welcome to the Mid-thirties

I'm in my mid-thirties now. I'll let you figure out what that means, other than that Thursday, day 247, was my birthday.  Thanks to many of you and your well-wishes from afar, I had a lovely celebration of God's abundant grace and favor toward me in the years He's granted me thus far: Where else  would I start my morning than at the botanical garden? Birthday pumpkin chocolate chip muffins  for breakfast that I couldn't wait to try before taking a picture.  Nearly back-to-back meetings began late morning and ended with lesson planning for next week's English classes at 3 pm. Courtney & I knocked out our weekly work session from my kitchen table, graced by a visit from the Wildauers, who had been out of water since Tuesday morning and needed a place to shower. The prospect of UNO and coloring with some squeaky clean kiddoes  may have had a hand in knocking out some notes, a vocab list, and a quiz in short order.  The Warrens hosted an intimate gathering of fr

Tarde de Chipas

"We need to have a tarde de chipas  sometime so you can teach us how to make these,"... ...said EVERYONE, EVERY time Lilian, wife of Rev. Sergio Fritzler, brought her famous chipas to any kind of team potluck or party, from when I arrived on the field 2+ years ago (and probably before) until Thursday.  If you know me at all, you know I'm a doer. Fed up with all talk and no action, I hopped on WhatsApp and coordinated with Lilian to host a long overdue tarde de chipas  Dominican ladies' night. We enjoyed each others' company and yummy munchies and FINALLY learned the secret to the cheesy, gluten-free (!), bite-sized Paraguayan delicacy we've all come to love. We joked that everybody was going to bring a batch to this coming Tuesday's all-team event, but something tells me that, even though Lilian may have leaked her recipe, her reputation as the chipa queen is safe.  Pro tip: Always grate cheese under a fan if you live in the tropics or you'll work up

Whisking You a Happy Halloween

After a joyous observation of the Reformation in each of the DRLM mission congregations nearly a week before October 31, the DR missionary team shamelessly gathered for a Halloween party: pumpkin-themed crafts, costume contest, the whole nine yards.  I can't remember how the idea originated anymore, but a few weeks ago I had made a pact with Becca that if the Kreys hosted, I'd bring cutout sugar cookies, icing, and sprinkles and set up a decorating station for the kids. As we cemented our plans, I joked that I was going to come as Betty Crocker. Quite literally within half an hour of leaving the house, I decided to make good on my offhand comment! I was pleased with the result, and the apron was practical, too! What cracked me up was how few people knew who I was supposed to be. Betty's iconic red spoon is just a piece of Americana that's not a household fixture in the Latino community or among missionaries and missionary kids who've lived a significant portion of

One and Done

This week's accomplishments: Module 1 of ESL and Unit 1 (and now 2) of ESL training . On Monday and Wednesday, Courtney and I gave our students in Licey and Palmar, respectively, certificates of completion. They really don't mean much other than that all of us survived the first six weeks of classes, but look at those proud smiles! We'll jump right into week 1 of Module 2 tomorrow. Our lesson plan consists of  reviewing " Jesus Loves Me ";  correcting last week's homework; a listening/reading activity to practice asking others' occupations and where they're from;  learning the numbers 13-20; and asking "information" questions using "what" (addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers).  Both Courtney & I are succumbing to the joy that is seeing our students progress; I'm going to play around with making vocabulary flashcards using Quizlet , and Courtney spontaneously bought a syllable game for us to play :) Unit 1 of my tra