Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Trouble With Toilets

Or maybe it should read "troubles with toilets" because there has been no end to the troubles with my 2 toilets. It started out as having to jiggle the handle alot. Then it moved into removing the lid from the tank and reconnecting the chain to the flapper thingy (is there no better technical term??). Then the flapper lost it's rubber seal down the drain and I had to replace that. And that is all just on one toilet! The other toilet has had problems with the float. I have been waiting for one of the toilets to explode or just plain fall over one of these days. Finally, the moment I had been waiting for arrived yesterday. I was woken up to the sound of gentle rain. But as I became more aware of the sound, I realized that it sounded like it was raining INSIDE my apartment. When you come to a realization like that you just can't help but bolt straight out of bed and begin running around looking for a disaster. I found it in one of the bathrooms....a stream of water was spraying into the air and half the floor was covered in water (thankfully there is a drain in the middle of the tile floor). At first I thought that a pipe had burst and the shower was somehow spraying but I soon realized that the hose connecting the toilet tank to the wall had cracked. I was able to shut the water off and I was actually super-relieved that I wouldn't have to deal with a plumber coming into my apartment. I am assured that it is an easy fix so I guess I will head back to the hardware counter at the housewares store tomorrow. We have been told by a few people that EVERYONE has problems with their toilets here. And everyone has a different reason why; it could be the water, or just poor installation.

So I was thinking that there must be a lesson in this. What can God teach me through a toilet? The first thing that comes to mind is that things can look bright and shiny on the outside, but on the inside there's a storm a-brewin'. I think I'm managing pretty well here in Caracas, and I try to embrace being pushed out of my comfort zone. But at times, I am still confused about what life and ministry should look like here, and I do miss my family and friends. And some things (like continually broken-down toilets...just off the top of my head) drive me crazy and grate on my nerves. It doesn't mean I don't love being here (I do), it's just hard sometimes.

Secondly, I'm thankful that only one piece of the toilet breaks down at a time. Sure, it would be easier to just do a complete overhaul but there's no guarantee that the new toilet will keep working anyway. I think it's better to just replace once piece at a time. God could do a complete overhaul on my life right now but instead he continually works on my heart bit by bit. Getting rid of the stuff that's useless and broken and replacing it with the best quality, which only He can provide.

I'll end there, at the risk of dragging the toilet metaphors out too far. I just want to take something other than frustration away from this experience with my "inodoros"...and I know that God has a sense of humour. If He didn't, I think the hope would be flushed right out of me.

Darn. I tried not to be tempted to use a toilet joke. Honestly.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Eggnog!!

Well, some of you remember that I have blogged about eggnog at least twice in the past, and so I'm thinking maybe I need to make it a yearly tradition. I LOVE eggnog....and I'm not just talking about the store-bought kind, I mean home-made-with-a-raw-egg eggnog. Fresh eggnog is the best! But I will usually settle for the refrigerated stuff...and I've even been known to drink Soynog. It's not so bad. When I was living in Costa Rica, you could buy eggnog year-round; it's called "Rompope". But unless you like a little "kick" to your eggnog, you have to scour the shelves for non-alcoholic rompope. I just realized today that I haven't seen any eggnog on the shelves here in Caracas. I guess that's not surprising, but I was kinda hoping.

On a side note, we are not able to buy fresh milk in the grocery stores here. We buy the "long shelf life" milk that doesn't need to be refrigerated until after you open it (and maybe even then it doesn't really need refrigeration...I don't know). There is often a little spot cleared in the refrigerated section for fresh milk, but it usually sits empty and if the store does happen to get it, it sells out super-fast.

Anyway, eggnog. Last week I left the country for a few days to renew my visa (I'm scared to disclose where I went for fear that my friends in the frozen north will pelt me with snowballs the next time they see me) and in one of the grocery stores there I spotted canned eggnog. I picked it up and took a quick look and then put it back, thinking how odd it would be to drink eggnog out of a can. Although in retrospect, I guess it's no more odd than drinking a raw egg. Now I'm sad I didn't buy it...but I am determined. I now have a mission, and that mission is to drink eggnog in Venezuela, out of my Christmas mug, while listening to Christmas music and watching my Christmas lights twinkle.

I'll just have to shut my curtains to the palm trees and blast the air conditioning.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November Newsletter

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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

One day at a Time

Hello! I finally am able to sit down and assemble some sort of update! Hooray! Here are some highlights of what's going on in my life these days:

-I still don't have internet! I talked to someone in customer service this week and they basically said to "just keep waiting". Needless to say, I'm going to try to find an alternative provider...
-I am settled in my apartment, and I'm slowly finding things to fill it. Shopping here can be a full-time job with the time spent waiting in traffic and comparing prices!
-I am enjoying my church here in Caracas, "Encuentro con Dios". Everyone welcomed us with open arms and I am slowly getting to know a few people. I have also been able to meet an American who is here with the Southern Baptists, and I'm hoping to get to know her better too. We got connected because she lived with the same Costa Rican family as I did, just a year before me!
-Yesterday I attended my first meeting with the children's ministry team from the church...what a great group of women and I'm looking forward to meeting with them regularly and assisting them in any way that I can (while learning from them too of course!!)
-In 2 weeks I will begin working on my Spanish again with a tutor. I feel that I am getting a little rusty with some grammar, since my practice is not as concentrated and focused as it was when I was at language school. This extra help each week will hopefully help me to gain more confidence.

...and the best update I can give you is that I love living in Caracas! Some days it has been very hard to be here as well, especially those days when I just can't seem to communicate or understand Spanish. But I just try to cling to Christ each day and somehow I have been stumbling my way through. But when I look at the "big picture", I am so happy to be here, and living in such a beautiful city with amazing Venezuelans (and the weather doesn't hurt either!).

Please continue to pray:
-for our safety, things have been pretty great, but we still don't want to let our guard down when it comes to safety.
-for travel and mercy at the border as I'll be flying out of the country this weekend for 4 days so that I can renew my tourist visa. We are working on getting a one year renewable resident visa but it is taking a little longer that we thought so the Hiebert family and I do need to exit the country.

I will be sending out a newsletter soon so if you would like to be on my email list, please leave me a message here or email me at kjdyer@hotmail.com.

If you have any questions about life in Venezuela or my ministry, please feel free to send me a message, I would love to hear from you!

**I did try to post some photos on Blogger today but it was as if they were saying to me "Don't push it, missy"...they just wouldn't load.