Tuesday, June 20, 2006

 

Mario

Mario sells fruit in the area of town where I am currently working. I met him near the Palacio de Justicia some time ago. As winter arrived in Paraguay, and the average outside temperature dropped to mid to upper 80's, I began to spent time outside the building in a nearby park. While there, I had a chance to share some Bible stories with Mario, and ask him what prayer requests he had. He shared with me that he wanted me to pray for his mind, that God would heal his mind. I thought that I didn't understand him so I asked for more information. He said that he wanted his thoughts to be pure before the Lord. I shared with he and some friends some stories that I use for evangelism. Last week, I found that he is saved, and has been baptized. He asked me to help him find a church where he can attend and belong.

He is concerned about his family members who do not know our Lord. I asked him where he supposes that the samaratan woman attended church after her conversion -Jn 4, or Cornelius in Acts 10. Both of these people would have been unwelcomed in a traditional religious service. They would not have been trusted, liked or received well. Mario lives in a neighborhood about an hour away from the area that he works. In his neighborhood are two churches, and both teach doctorines that are not biblical. I encouraged him to stay away from them. I also shared with him that there are other simple churches that are fairly close to his home of which I am farmiliar. I sugguested that they could maybe get together some during the week. Please pray for Marcelo and this potential church start.

 
Meet our children:

Caleb is very intellegent, 4 years old, and wants to know everything. His favorite word is "why" He loves reading, and has learned to sound out most words for himself. He loves music and arts as well. He learned to ride his bicycle about a year ago.

Lucas is very active, 2 years old also loves music and reading. Lucas enjoys music so much that he looks for every opportunity to play the instruments at our church after our meetings.

Both boys are taking swimming lessons, and doing well. Caleb is doing well, and lacks only self confidence. Lucas is a little young, and has problems with following the directions of the class, but the other two or three that attend are about the same age as he, and the goals of the class are very lax. There's no deadline for them to learn. Our goal is that they learn, get exercise, and learn social skills. This also gives us an opportunity to talk with the other parents who are there as well. Lucas has no fear.

 

Responsibilities of a missionary

Missionaries have no choice but to begin by building friendships with the locals. Sometimes this is time intensive, especially if the culture is filled with fears and an overall lack of trust for everyone. Our goal is to gather small groups of lost people together, share Bible stories with them, give them a chance to respond by obedience to whatever God is saying to them. For some that step of obedience may be to accept Jesus as their Lord, and be baptized. For others, it may be to participate in the community of their small group where they can grow in the faith. For others, obedience means that they go out under the supervision of their group leader and start another small group. Our first goal in Paraguay is twofold. First of all, we have to address the identity of God as creator and supremely sovereign over his creation. At the same time, we have to build an openness within the group. Most of the people here are just not willing to open up in a group and share their thoughts, feelings or ideas. These two concepts will either make or break the group.

I started one group recently, and the first day had 6. When I told the first story that God had created heaven and all the creatures in Heaven. Some chose to rebell against Him, so they lost their celestial home and God created a place of eternal torment for them. They will go there when God passes judgment upon the earth. Some in the group were offended and said that they didn't believe in hell, so they dropped out.

Most of the groups that I am involved in meet in government buildings among the workers there. In order for us to meet, we have to get permission from the head of security, which is a large investment in time and patience.

It is a sacrifice on the part of the person who risks failure by inviting organizing a small group. If the missionary does not show, or if what he shares does not meet the felt needs of the people, the person who initiated the invitation may feel rejected by their peers. For North Americans, big deal! We are use to it, after all, we are our own person. Paraguayan culture is very different. The people here do not consider themselves as individuals, but a group. They will do everything to look good to the group.

Monday, June 19, 2006

 

Microsoft alternative

In philosophy class, we were taught that absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Microsoft corporation, like several others have exercised great business practices, and as a result, risen above the rest in accessability, usability and leads the market in computer software.

Have you ever thought about the inconveniences of finding different software to use on your computer? How much do you really trust Microsoft, the world leader in computing? What are they really putting on your computer as a critical update?

If you trust them read this: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1869377,00.asp
There are several other web pages that I could have put there, it's just that the author of this particular website has a more rounded vocabulary.

OK, let's suppose that you trust them. How much do you pay on anti-virus software annually? How many viruses have you had in the past year? and How much money are you willing to spend in the coming years?

I was fed up with the MS blues when a friend handed me a disc that contained another operating system, or OS that replaces XP. This particular disc was a linux OS. It didn't work so well for me, but I began to look for an alternative to XP.

This search led me to an operating system that allows me the luxury of booting my computer with a windows OS, or a linux system that is much more comfortable for me. For example: spyware does not work on my linux particion! Viruses -almost extinct! In fact, on my linux, I have no anti-virus software. I have ran the same program now for about a year, and have had no problems. Best of all, I have the option of double booting. What that means is that when I turn on my computer, I can choose to boot the system in Xandros, which is a very user friendly linux or unplug the internet connection and boot using Windows XP. If I trusted Moneysoft oh I mean microsoft, I would just leave the connection, but I don't know what they are sending to the main office from my machine.

The more I read about Xandros, the more I liked the options. I figured, I had extra hard drive space, and if I tried it and didn't like it I could uninstall it. At worst, I would be out ten dollars. At best, I would find a great alternative to the problems mentioned above. If double booting would protect my computer from viruses, maybe, I would have a part of my hard drive that would be salvaged in the event of a virus. I tried it and Love it.

I use xandros for everything I do on my computer except maybe two programs that just do not work yet. I currently use version 3. As I write this, I am anxiously awaiting Version 4. It should be out sometime today. Any way, I have a more secure email client that blocks fotos from my view unless I click an icon enabling me to see them, a more secure browser that does not accept spyware and viruses will not touch this part of my machine because I am not using anything from MS.

There are several builds at: http://www.xandros.com/about/downloads.html

I chose to download the ten dollar version, although I am now ready to invest a little more money in the product, and even share what I have found.

Maybe, with less headaches with our computers, we will be free to be out in the street more and share with more people.

Happy computing.

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