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April 4, 2016

Our Trip to Paraguay

It’s kind of hard to believe that our trip to Paraguay has already come and gone!  We were so busy leading up to the trip that we didn’t have much time to get excited about it… and now here we are on the other side of it.  It really flew by!  But I’m so thankful we were able to take the time to go, visit Ben’s parents, take Catherine on her first international trip, for Ben to go home for the first time in 13 years and for me to see where he grew up!

I apologize in advance for the plethora of photos in this post… but we were able to do so much and you guys know how much I love to document anything!  So, I hope you’re able to enjoy a (long) glimpse into our trip to South America!

A quick selfie before boarding our overnight flight to São Paulo.  Catherine did SO well!  We got her a seat so that she could sit in her car seat and she slept the entire flight!  Which was way more than Ben or I did.

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Which also meant that during our 5.5 hour layover before going to Paraguay, she had way more energy than either of us did.  So we spent 90% of our layover chasing her around the airport :-)

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Both of these photos are typical… following Catherine around and her playing with a straw wrapper even though a brand new toy is sitting beside her.

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This is what we ended up doing with her car seat while inside the airport.  We simply used a bungee cord that came with the little luggage trolly that I bought at Target for about $40.  It was perfect.

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She wanted to do a little souvenir shopping during the layover ;-)

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My only beef with any part of the trip was our flight from São Paulo to Asuncion on Gol airlines.  They’re a Delta partner and now one of my least favorite airlines.  I usually try and give airlines the benefit of the doubt because it’s a LOT of coordinating to get that many people and flights in and out of airports every day.  But when we have purchased a seat for our daughter, have brought her car seat with her to assure that she’s the safest she can be while on the flight as well as hopeful that she’ll sleep during said flight but they refuse to let us take her carseat into the cabin, this mama bear is not a happy bear.

Catherine did ok, although not as good as she would have done if she’d been in her car seat.  And we all made it to Paraguay safely.  The trip home was a little better, but a few minor things happened (not even worth mentioning) that confirmed how much I don’t like Gol Airlines.  And now I’m stepping off my soapbox about them :-)

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Part of the purpose in us going to Paraguay was to get film and photos of Ben’s parents’ ministry.  They’re retiring at the end of next year and we were excited to be able to document their hard work and all that the Lord has done through them!

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This is a corner of their home (do you see the outline of Paraguay in the window??) next to the roller coaster driveway!

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Their house and the grounds are BEAUTIFUL!  They have 2 cows, several chickens and a few dogs as well as lime trees and avocado trees.  Both of which we enjoyed immensely while there!

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There’s a camp just down the road from them where much of their ministry takes place.  We went over there twice so you’ll see some camp photos pop up again later.  I’m a big fan of chronology so I couldn’t bring myself to just put them all together!

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Ben’s dad was teaching his weekly class for the young people…

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I got some photos of the building and grounds…

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And Ben’s mom prepared a snack supper while Catherine wandered around and looked for as much attention as she could get.

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One of the fun parts of this trip for me was watching Ben reconnect with friends he hadn’t seen in over a decade!

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On Sunday, we got up early and visited 2 churches, went out to lunch, took a quick trip home where Ben’s dad had a discipleship meeting, and then we headed out to a third service that evening.

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Needless to say, Catherine LOVED the attention!  She was a little social butterfly all day!

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This was the second church.

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I ADORE this photo of her… our little South American baby in her white dress and hair matted from sweat while playing with one of the older girls. It does my mama’s heart/missions heart/traveling heart so much good.

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I LOVE this shot.  What a sweet family.

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These are Pastor Juan’s parents and they were as sweet as they could be.

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Again… seeing Ben with these people was heartwarming.

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There’s a tea in Paraguay called tereré where you put the tea in the bottom of a container (this one is a cattle horn), fill it with ice water, and drink with a metal straw that has a filter at the end. You drink until the water is gone and someone fills it up again and passes it to the next person.  So everyone is sharing the same straw and cup.  It’s one of those cultural things that most Americans might gawk at (#germs), but it’s something Ben introduced me to when we were dating and I love the tradition of it.  We gave Catherine her turn with it and she loved it!! Plus, how sweet is this photo?!?

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Back home and discipleship happening… and now you’ll notice the tereré in more photos :-)

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This was the third church of the day.  Ben’s family lived a couple of blocks from here for a while so there seemed to be more people he knew here than at the other churches.  Again, it was so sweet to see him reconnect!

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Y’all.  This little baby and these boys!  What in the world?!?

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Ben said if she wouldn’t hold his hand, she shouldn’t be holding hands with other boys!
I quite agreed ;-)

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Ben used to play basketball with this guy (who is crazy tall!) and at first I had no idea who this was that seemed to be mauling my husband!  But they were so glad to see each other!

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This might be one of my favorite photos of my father-in-law.

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Just up the road from Ben’s parents’ house, a family makes bricks.  Bricks!  I’ve never seen bricks made before!  It was fascinating.  And while that looks like a huge pile from the horses, it’s actually mud and clay that they put into the green pail and mix with water… then the horses walk in a circle to mix it all together.

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They then take the mixture to a table where another guy puts the clay into molds to form the bricks.

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Then he lays them on the ground to dry and harden.

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Once they’ve hardened enough, they’re stacked into these walls to keep drying.

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These two adorable girls are the granddaughters of the guy who lives here.  Aren’t they precious??

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Our next stop was a ceramic factory where they make roof tiles.  I can’t wait to see Ben’s footage on this because the process was fascinating… and so fast!

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The background is stacks and stacks of the tiles.  The typical ones you see on the roofs of South American homes.

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These ovens get SO hot in order to dry the tiles fully.

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And now we’re back at camp… they needed photos for the website and I was so happy to see more of the camp and help make their website look pretty with photos!

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They even have a giant water slide!

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Can you imagine having this mountain as your view as you played soccer?

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Catherine loved the hallway at her grandparent’s house.  She walked it more times than I can count!

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On Tuesday, we piled into the car to drive up to Brazil.  This dam is actually on the boarder of Paraguay and Brazil and is evenly shared between the two countries.  It was incredible to see how much power was produced and how much water flowed through here!  We even got our own private tour and unfortunately I don’t remember all of the details… but it was incredible to see!

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Just look at how big these tanks are compared to the trucks.  You could feel the vibration of water flowing through them when you stood close to them.

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This guy?  This is David, one of Ben’s close friends.  Watching them talk on the phone and then see each other in person again let me see the Paraguayan side of Ben that I hadn’t fully seen before.  You know how when you go home and you feel 1000% comfortable and as if you can fully relax?  That was Ben with David.  My only regret is that I’m not fluent in Spanish and couldn’t really talk with him and his wife!

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Y’all, this is the dam.  How crazy is that??

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We had dinner with David and his family that night… and Ben is laughing because they were sitting side by side and FaceTiming one another!

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And this is Catherine with her new entourage.  LOL!

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We also realized towards the end of the evening that she was walking around with a water bottle and throwing it on the ground to get people’s attention!  What a little attention seeker!

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We stayed so late that one child was passed out and another was on her way.  At least one of the three kids was looking at the camera :-)

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The next day we spent at the Iguazu Falls that are a MUST see if you’re anywhere close.  It was about a 5 hour drive from where Ben’s parents live, but it was totally worth it.  This photo was also the last time that day that Catherine even looked at the camera and kind of smiled.

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These are the pesky animals that stole mine and Catherine’s lunch… grr.

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I mean… how gorgeous is this??

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I wish you guys could see the full version of this…

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Seriously… so beautiful.

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We ventured out on the walkway and got a tad wet.  If we’d gone all the way down (where people were wearing ponchos) we would have been SOAKED.

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Once back home on Thursday, Ben’s mom made chipa and we had some hot tea while Catherine napped.  And we tried to soak in our last several hours in the country.

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I’m so sad that my dad never got to meet my daughter… but if she’s to only have one biological grandfather here on earth, I could not have asked for a better one for her to have.  He loves her SO much and it was so fun to watch her with him!

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And he even got to watch a soccer game with Ben before we left :-)

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The second half of the chipa batch was made the next day and we (well, I photographed it) cooked it in the outdoor oven…

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First, the fire has to be built and it has to get so hot that the smoke is white before the chipa can be put in.

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Then the coals and wood are pushed out of the back opening.

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And finally the bread is put in and cooked for about 5-10 minutes.

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It’s a lot of work for such a short cooking time, but it’s SO worth it!

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So thankful for these sweet in-laws.

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HA!!  Her face!  On our flight out of Paraguay, we decided to not take any chances with her car seat so Ben carried her IN IT onto the plane.  Where she then slept the whole flight!

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This was actually our last leg home… she slept for the 30 minute flight, hanging onto her daddy’s arm.  Welcome back home, baby girl.  Thank you for being so sweet and wonderful and charming everyone you met :-)

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  1. Mommy says:

    Thanks for your blog on your trip! Daddy has tears in his eyes. It was so special to see your pictures. We can’t wait to see the filming too that Ben did. We love you so much! So thankful for this privilege to have had your visit to our beloved country and to see the ministry that God has called us to.

  2. Jenna says:

    It was so wonderful to see Paraguay through your lenses! Awesome photos and such sweet memories! Thanks so much for sharing!
    We love you 3!
    Jenna 4 us 6

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