Saturday, February 22, 2014

Being "In the Loop"

We’ve heard this phrase over and over… keep me in the loop. What does that mean? Does it mean I want to know what’s going on? Does it mean I want to be part of the action [but from a distance]? Does it mean Keep doing what you’re doing; just let me know what you’re doing? A few days ago I got to see what “being in the loop” was all about.

Some of the 40+ from the town that come to our feeding program.
Here at Su Refugio in Paraguay, we have many of God’s blessings, two of which are extremely pure artesian water from deep below the ground and children. You see, we have a feeding program here for many of the under-nourished children from the neighboring town of Tobati. Three times a week we go into town at lunchtime to pickup these children (sometimes 40, sometimes 70), bring them out to Su Refugio, and provide two meals for them: one from the kitchen and another from the heart – the gospel.

I had the opportunity to help serve these children. After making sure they all had plates of food I was taking around pitchers of God’s pure artesian water. As I saw the children stretching out their arms with the metal cups to receive this water, I realized how blessed I was to be “in the loop” for passing God’s blessings on to these children.

Next time you hear that phrase, “in the loop”, ask yourself if you are in the loop for passing God's blessings on to others.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Travel and Preparations

On Wednesday, February 12, I (Bill) will be leaving Costa Rica again, this time for Paraguay.

On Saturday, February 15, Su Refugio will be celebrating the grand opening of the Centro de Esperanza (Center of Hope). This long-awaited facility is where we will focus our attention on training the people, especially, the women, of Tobati in skills so they can start small businesses that we hope will help them support their families.
Interior of the Center of Hope - 1 week before the grand opening!
In the photo, taken from the main entrance of the building, there is one large meeting room on the left and two smaller classrooms on the right. The large central part of the facility is open to allow for large gatherings. At the back of the building are two small 1-bedroom apartments.

Sandy and I will be co-directors for the use of the facility, coordinating the activities and trying to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Another reason I am going to Paraguay is to hopefully finalize our purchase of a piece of land so we can start construction on a new house. While we were in Paraguay a couple months ago, we discovered there are very few houses for rent (we didn’t find any available) and only a few houses for sale. The price to buy a house, and then make repairs, was as much as it would cost for us to buy the land and build the house that we want.
Tobati, Paraguay - Su Refugio to the south, and where we want to build
Paraguay does not use an escrow system, so it is basically bring a pen and a bucket of money: sign the papers and hand over the bucket. We tried doing this from Costa Rica but it just didn’t work out. Without an escrow system, we could not find a way to get the money to Paraguay. We don’t have a bank account, the person I gave power of attorney to sign for me does not have a bank account, and the people we know with bank accounts did not want to accept large transfers for fear of government investigations as to why they were receiving so much money. Banks trying to avoid money-laundering have created problems like this.
Closeup of the land we are trying to buy

Prayer requests:
  • safe travels (I will be carrying a lot of money – but less than the $10,000 limit!)
  • good weather and turnout for the grand opening – that people will come to learn more about Su Refugio
  • clean transaction while buying the land – we already know the homeowner adjacent to the land we want built his house slightly over the property line and we have to fix the documents, in addition to buying the land… Welcome to Paraguay! I was told