Sonidos Serranos

Sonidos Serranos: Sounds of the Sierras...
Reflecting some of my family's interests: God's wonderful creation (especially mountains and hills!), music, and language...

Psalm 121:1-2 (NASB)

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

25 July 2011

BitterSweet...

¡Feliz Dia, Papá!



On Sunday we celebrated Fathers Day here in Uruguay. Im thankful for Gods goodness and grace in blessing my children with a father who first and foremost loves God and who also loves me and them with Christ-like love.

Im thankful for my dear Daddy – el Abu to my little people!


Im thankful for my father-in-law – PaPa to my little people!


On the way to Sunday School, with a Fathers Day project in hand, I suddenly wondered how many of the children in attendance would not be celebrating Fathers Day with the joy we experience and all-too-easily take for granted...


BitterSweet days like these are good opportunities to remember spiritual blessings: Those who are trusting Christ alone for salvation from sin can rejoice in a perfect Father, One who will never fail. HE cannot fail!

Sunday was another reminder to weep with those who weep even while we appropriately rejoice in Gods specific goodness to us – and rejoice with those who rejoice.

I was also remembering Mothers Day: I could not post the depths of my thoughts that day. The first Sunday in May was too close to the end of April. I was finding it much easier that weekend to weep with those who weep than to rejoice with those who rejoice. And I was weeping – especially for my sister, especially for the absence of my own dear mother, especially for my friends who would love to be but are not mothers... This year was markedly different from other years...

I am humbled to be able to rejoice – and I do rejoice – in Gods goodness to me and my immediate family!


Im thankful – beyond words – for my precious little people! And Im thankful to be celebrating special family days!

¡URUGUAY: Campeón de América!

¡Uruguayos Campeones de América – por la 15a vez!


This past weekend, the Uruguayan national soccer team won the Copa América, the oldest international continental soccer competition, for the fifteenth time – giving us more titles than any other national team.

Were very excited to be part of all the enthusiasm here. I personally dont remember ever before seeing so many Uruguayan flags and so much celeste on display...

These are some of our favorite pictures (widely distributed via FaceBook):



I hope these know Christ as personal Savior. Seeing such a public display of reverence for God is moving...

21 July 2011

Celebrating... (Again!)

Earlier this month, we celebrated the 4th of July.

On July 16th, JM and I celebrated twelve years of marriage!

The Uruguayan national team helped to make our celebration even greater by winning over the Argentine national team that evening. We joined Daniel and Viviana and the girls – and a huge group of fellow fútbol fans – at a local restaurant to watch the well-fought match and cheer for our charrúas.

Elizabeth quickly got into the spirit of things. At first, DJM wasnt too sure he liked all the enthusiasm (i.e. ear-splitting shouts of ¡Go-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-l!), but when he realized that Papá and Mamá were also part of it, he grinned and giggled! Hes already a charrúa at heart!


¡Vamos arriba, Uruguay!

The final game this weekend promises to be even more exciting...

14 July 2011

To the glory of God...


The following portion of the May 2011 EMU Newsletter was especially encouraging to our extended family. God is working...

As Christians, we know the meaning behind [Bible] stories, and we know that the meaning has eternal and temporal significance not only for us but for unbelievers as well. We need to not only show forth lives that are pleasing to our neighbors, but to explain the reason for why others see in us what they see. And that is the purpose of missions: to make Christ known, to the glory of God...

[Jonatán Torres'] story exemplifies one whose goal was to glorify God, not only in life but in death, too. Just before midnight on April 20, Jona . . . took his last breath. He died surrounded by family and a few friends. Jona had fought cancer for several years but continued to be involved with his schooling and classmates at Bob Jones Academy. During that time, he gave his testimony before youth groups and church groups. Earlier this year his family even made a trip to Uruguay, the birth country of his father. While in Uruguay, Jona accepted the many invitations to speak in our EMU churches and elsewhere. His testimony of trust in God continues to be used among the youth and adults.

Jona’s father, who pastors a church in Greer, SC, is the son of Gilberto and Docila Torres. Gilberto was a pastor with EMU for almost forty years until he died of a heart attack in 2003. Jona’s mother was raised as an MK in Uruguay, and her parents still serve the Lord in that South American country. Three generations of Torres have preached the Gospel so far. At Jona’s funeral, part of the service was the playing of his testimony via DVD – one in English and another in Spanish. Even after his death, he was a witness to the glory of God.

11 July 2011

Pausing for Praise and Prayer

This past weekend marked the midway point of our three-month ministry here in Uruguay. We have so much to be thankful for...

We are thankful for God's grace.

We need our God. We need His grace. Every day is a reminder of our need of Him. The nature of the Battle in which we are engaged is readily apparent:
Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist...
(Ephesians 6:12-13)
The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
(2 Corinthians 10:4)
We must pray for one another!

We are thankful for abundant opportunity.

Ministries have included worship services on Sunday afternoons; a morning Sunday School hour for teens, children, and pre-schoolers; mid-week prayer meetings; Bible studies with teens on Saturday afternoons; a ladies' Bible study; visitation in homes; and miscellaneous opportunities to share at least a few words and Gospel tracts with some with whom we cross paths as we go about the demands of daily living.

We are thankful to be co-laboring with Daniel and Viviana, who so faithfully assist especially with the Sunday School ministries and the music in the worship services.


We have been encouraged to see the small but faithful group here taking small steps forward. Several memorized and even recited publicly Daniel 4:35, the theme verse for last month. Many also worked hard to read through the Book of John (another of last month's goals). Although the majority rely on the church van for transportation, an encouraging number came to the ladies' Bible study on their own initiative when sickness in our family did not allow us to provide the usual transportation. A dear elderly lady has consistently looked for opportunities to help in "hands-on" ways, bringing a bag of tea for use at church or ordering a huge pizza for the teens' day of camp. Her situation and actions move me deeply as they bring to mind what Christ said of the widow's mites in His day. Similarly, several teens volunteered to bring snacks for that day of camp or for their regular weekly Bible study.  On their own initiative, the ladies enthusiastically provided quite a spread on their Bible study day. Each of these are precious snapshots of a healthly community of believers, ministering to one another. We rejoice to see evidence of God at work in hearts. Please continue to pray for growth in grace!

We are thankful for generally good health.

For the most part, we have remained healthy. Leaving the Upstate in late spring and arriving in South America in late autumn (almost winter) with two little people has been a challenge. Acclimating to the cold has not been easy, and we have each had bouts with at least runny noses if not several days of low-grade fevers as we have battled the many "bugs" that are now going around.

Please pray for strength and health needed to carry on the work still before us. Pray for grace to accept the measure of health that our Good Shepherd in His wisdom chooses for us.

Will you pause to praise the Lord with us? Will you carry these requests to His throne?

09 July 2011

Another Milestone (Already?!)

DJM reached the eight-month milestone just over a week ago.


We all love him more and more each day.


His cousins are spoiling him.



Hes growing quickly – and so is his appetite for table food. (Im especially thankful! Were now down to two – and sometimes only one – middle-of-the-night feedings!) To the previous menu of prepared oat cereals, bananas, apples, carrot-sweet potatoes, and squashes, hes now added whole wheat & bran bread, bits of cheese, and small servings of meat: chicken and – most recently – BEEF! Im having fun pureeing everything!

On his own initiative (i.e. before we could stop him!), he also added coloring-book paper (complete with a bit of crayon!) and diaper liner to his list. Maybe he thought he needed more fiber?!

With the new tooth that appeared on the bottom right, he now has five showing. Two more on top look like they might appear at any moment! He seems to teethe quite comfortably; based on what moms post on FaceBook, Im realizing I should be very thankful for that fact.


Look at that new one poking through!

He isnt crawling yet, although he did start getting up on all fours and rocking back and forth right after I wrote the seven-month milestone post. In all fairness to him, he doesnt spend any time at all on the floor. (Its winter here, and the floors are truly frigid!) He does manage to roll and wriggle across a bed or pack & play to get where he wants to go.


And he has found another much more creative way to get around, too:

video
We call it the Nas-Chair! DJM can really cruise around in it!

In the realm of communication, he very obviously shows that he understands specific phrases such as:

¿Dónde está Papá? [Wheres Daddy?]
¿Dónde está Elizabeth? [Wheres Elizabeth?]
¿Dónde está Danielito? [Wheres Little Daniel?]
Mirá a Mamá. Mirá los ojos de Mamá. [Look at Mommy. Look at Mommys eyes.]

His understanding of the latter became very apparent when, after biting my shoulder, he tried very hard to avoid looking at my eyes when I was reprimanding him!

He also has a very distinctive cry that weve now come to understand as The Dirty Diaper Alert. He absolutely hates to have a dirty diaper! Maybe hell not only look exactly like his Daddy but will also (just like his Daddy did) be potty-trained by the time he turns two!

Life promises to be exciting!

06 July 2011

¡De tal palo tal astilla!

Like the stick, so is the splinter!

That sounds more poetic than: A chip off the old block! or The apple doesnt fall far from the tree!

DJM really is a carbon copy of his Daddy!



So fun for me!

05 July 2011

Celebrating...

Our familys 4th of July Celebration included a beautiful Uruguayan sunset:



We splurged and made hamburgers! (Sadly, beef is no longer as inexpensive as it used to be during my growing up years.)

DJM got his very first sample of cheeseburger!

video

Elizabeth enjoyed coming up with some decorations:


And – as a very last-minute thought – I did a quick online search and found some pretty neat video clips of fireworks!


Great fun!

04 July 2011

“Happy 4th of July!”

We are overwhelmed with thanksgiving for freedom: freedom from sin, freedom from tyranny, and freedom to openly worship our Savior in a land we love! Today we celebrate the lives of those God has sovereignly used to unfold His good and perfect plan for us!*
*Thank-you, Mrs. Holly Stratton! I couldn't have said it better myself – and especially not while typing one-handed, holding my squirming eight-month-old!
Thank-you, Dr. Ken Casillas, for posting the link to an excellent article on Christian Patriotism!

01 July 2011

Autumn & Winter in Uruguay

We arrived in Uruguay just over five weeks ago; we were met by the beauty of late autumn. Were now ending the second week of official winter here. The temperatures last night dipped to almost 0 degrees Celsius!

Were enjoying the beauty of God's creation all around us. Shortly after our arrival, Elizabeth and I enjoyed a late afternoon walk...


The late autumn flowers were beautiful:


The roses are still blooming...


I digitally captured this Dalia (I believe) before the whole plant became one of many victims of the first hoarfrost:


Sunsets, as seen from The Ranch, have been impressive:




The fog has also been impressive:


The eucalyptus bloom in autumn and winter:


And theres nothing quite like a eucalyptus log fire in the hearth:

DJM was captivated the first time he saw that much fire!