Carney's preparations for serving in South America

Thanks for checking out our blog! Here is where we'll chronicle the "learning opportunities" God provides for us as we seek His will in partnering full-time with Christian Veterinary Mission in Bolivia

19 March 2016

2 years, really?

I'll admit, I am pretty sure I forgot we even have a blog!  I just noticed the link in my bookmarks and clicked on--it truly has been 2 years since I posted!  I am so sorry.  I hope that most of you have been keeping up with us through our prayer letters and Facebook.
So, now, 2 years and a month in Bolivia and we are going strong. The new semester just began at the university and we are gearing up our English for Veterinarians class and putting the finishing touches on the plans for an Alpha Course.
The new fun project that is becoming a bit obsessive in the online research phase is a chicken project at a nearby orphanage.  We are looking at plans for portable chicken coops, "tractors" if you will, to house at least 50 layers to provide eggs for the kids to eat and maybe even sell.  There is a traditional brick and mortar coop to renovate as well, but we'd like to try to keep the hens on the cow pasture (there are 2 dairy cows) for prettier eggs and less feed input costs.
I have discovered that raising backyard chickens in high-end coops has become a pinterest obsession in the US.  I think some chickens live better than we do!  While I'd love to build a train shaped coop with chandelier feeders, I think we'll stick to function over form for at least this first iteration.  I'll try to keep up a bit with this project here!

03 March 2014

2 weeks down!

Feliz Carnaval!  We have officially been in Bolivia for 2 weeks, and what an amazing 2 weeks it has been!  The first week was one of many appointments and meeting new people in Santa Cruz, which will be our home in a few months.  The second week has been an intensive week of language study.  That sounds pretty cut and dried, doesn't it?
Well, the reality of this has been lots of packing, unpacking, repacking, unpacking, then learning a crazy public transport system and how to buy things in street markets.  It really has been a ton of fun, though stressful at times.  We have had great friends to help us along the way and have met many nice folks who are eager to help us adjust.
The rest of this blog will be a photo commentary, so enjoy!  Keep praying for our visa process, as we are in day 14 of our 30 allotted days and are still missing papers from the US....  We will be paying late fees I am sure!  Pray also for our language and culture acquisition.  For example, yesterday we went to lunch after church and had a bowl of soup then waited 30-40 minutes for some fried rice.  Ooops, our fault, they were waiting to cook it until we went and got salad from the table.  Lesson learned!
Ok, now, really the pictures!
Universidad Autonoma Gabriel Rene Moreno Veterinary Hospital in Santa Cruz.  There has been an influx of money to the city from natural gas and "other" exports, so a huge new building with not much increase in staffing.  Huge is relative, maybe 2-3 times the sqaure footage of Harrogate Hospital for Animals, but nothing like the new vet school at UGA.
Bill Janecke going into Kim's new office (VetRed) in Santa Cruz.  This is on the main road/sidewalk beside the vet school,  so we hope to sit outside with refreshements to attract students to come spend some time.

We then moved up/over to Cochabamba for language school.  It is in these beautiful mountains with a much cooler climate than Santa Cruz, though we are still sunburned and wearing sundresses and shorts!  Sorry for all the ice you folks in the US are still getting!
Cristo de la Concordia is the tallest Jesus in the world.  This is the view of it from our balcony in Cochabamba! We read it is a few inches taller than the 33m one in Rio (because Jesus lived 33 years and a bit)!  You can climb 1300+ steps to a lookout in his arms; we hope to do that soon, but we may need to acclimate a bit.
View of Cochabamba from our apartment balcony.  Cochabamba is over 8300', so baking, walking, sleeping is taking some getting used to!
Every morning Kim waits for public transport to school, David goes in the afternoon.

Early Sunday morning there is a market set up on our street.  This is where we buy most of our groceries for the week.
We even buy our meat at the street market (early in AM before it gets hot and the flies come out)!  To the right of the picture is sweet old lady who sells all the offal.  We haven't had the nerve to cook lungs and kidneys yet at home.

This week is Carnaval, with kids throwing water balloons and buckets of water at folks.  At least these girls asked first!
They use a spray foam too to make sure they get you!  Caleb loved it!
Oh, Caleb bought himself his first skateboard and has ridden hours every day! Pray for no broken parts, please!

Boys ride their horses through town to go to the park and make a few Bolivianos (currency) giving rides to people on weekends.

Food Court in La Cancha--the huge market in town.  Whole pig's head is closest to us in the picture and a pile of cooked rodents is in the background.  There were whole roasted ducks too with heads still on! Look on Facebook for a closer rodent picture!

Chickens roasting at our favorite chicken place a few blocks down the road. A typical meal is chicken with a pile of rice, a pile of steak fries (papas fritas), pile of noodles, fried bananas, hot salsa picante, and hot pickled veg.  We order a half chicken with sides and eat it for 2-3 meals.

Caleb enjoying the shade in the park.

Parque de Abraham Lincoln is 4-5 blocks away and makes a great place to play and do our Spanish speaking homework!
Yet another afternoon in the park!

25 November 2013

As we Americans prepare for our thanksgiving feast, let us reflect a moment.

Luke 14:15 “Blessed is the one who will eat bread in the kingdom of God.”

     “In the kingdom of God” points to the future messianic banquet that the Jews thought would only be for them. Jesus, however, uses the parable of the Great Banquet to teach that the guests that were originally invited will miss the banquet(v.24) and will be replaced instead by “the poor, crippled, blind, and lame” and the outsiders (the Gentiles) found in the “highways and hedges” (vv. 21, 23).

     I think of this parable more this time of year than the rest of the year, I must admit, and probably not the way Jesus meant. We come together during the holiday season to sit down with our family and close friends to symbolically give thanks for what we have in the form of an elaborate dinner. But what about those other people around us?

     Christian community at the table also signifies our obligation to one another as part of God’s family. The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to pray for “our daily bread”; it’s OUR daily bread that we eat, not an individual thing. We share our bread, just as we share the bread of the covenant we have with Jesus in Communion. It is in the sharing of our bread that binds us together, not only with our physical bodies, but binds us believers together in Spirit.

     The one bread that is given to us (Christ) unites us in a firm covenant!  Now no one must be hungry as long as the others have bread, and whoever breaks the community of our bodily life also breaks our community of the Spirit. Both our physical and Spiritual communities are linked together...

     So, why not invite others that may not have anywhere else to go? The college student that can’t travel home or the immigrant family that just moved to the area, or a homeless or less fortunate person in your earthly community. After all, there is only one community, one body, and one kingdom of God!


22 June 2013

The chicken church

Have you ever thought of the church or a sermon being like a chicken?
We Americans love our processed food--Some sources say McDonalds alone sells 300,000,000 chicken McNuggets annually.  Just think of all the other restaurants and grocery store nuggets!  We are so crazy about our nuggets that those resembling presidents sell for thousands of dollars.
I think many of our churches and books about Christianity are like chicken nuggets--we take bits and pieces and smash them together with some flavoring, chemicals, and a bit of sweetener to make it palatable.  These consumers don't know what a chicken really is or where the nugget comes from, but it is quick and convenient. Consumers of this type of gospel like the convenience of feel-good sermons or quick, preinterpreted stories and devotionals, but surely don't read the whole Bible and think for themselves about it.
KFC has taken one step up from this--they have boneless original recipe fried chicken! You've seen the "I ate the bones" ad, right? I love the stuff--I am pretty lazy and like real chicken without bones, even if it isn't quite as flavorful. So, what is my boneless recipe of the gospel? I have to admit that some days my scripture study is on my phone, emailed right to me from the Upper Room with a hyperlink to the appropriate Biblical text.  This version certainly has a bit of real meat in it, but leaves out the messy parts that make you think "too much"
Next step up? The whole fryer or roaster in the grocery case. Skin, bones, heart, giblets, and skin, but no blood or feathers.  You have a bit of work and thinking to do on your own with this one--it takes a while to cook or to break down into smaller parts.  This is some serious Bible study and worship that gets to the heart of the matter.  These are great churches and sincere believers struggling with the faith and increasing in knowledge. Sounds like the pinnacle? Not quite...
The whole, live bird!  I hope we don't always leave the processing and plucking of the bird to others.  Raising a bird and processing it from field to table is an experience most people won't have in the US in this era.  Along the same vein, I am afraid that many people leave the deep theological thinking to their pastors and don't spend significant time and investment of thought in exegesis or prolonged study of the word or theological concepts.
Thanks for reading this rambling--now go eat some chicken and read some scripture!

13 June 2013

Storm poem

The storm clings to the mountain like a strangler
Wispy fingers inching around the neck.
Thunder rumbles
                                Macabre laughing.
Crack of lightning
                Splits the sky.
The torrent gushes down the red clay
                                 rivulets of blood.
Rain tatters the trees’ clothes.

Finally exhausted
                                The storm loosens its grip
Sun breaks through
                drying tears on the shoulders of the mountain.
The indomitable backbone
                bears many wounds,

but the Sun brings healing and growth to the scars

Today as I drove through Virginia a storm hovered over the ridge, inspiring an odd bit of poetry.  It was becoming rather dark and ominous (poem and the weather) and then the sun burst through and reminded me of how God uses our storms and wounds to bring new life and healing, shaping us as He desires.  Living in the Appalachians and seeing how much they have weathered compared to the Rockies or Himals makes me appreciate God's redemptive power so much more.  The big, young mountain ranges like these are raw and rugged, but the older ones like our beloved Appalachians have their scars covered with the verdant green of God's creation.  He has covered their wounds and given shade and nourishment to the land.  This creates a symbiotic relationship of the worn-down mountains and the lush plant and animal life.  This reminds me of the relationship of us with God--alone, we are craggy and sharp, unyielding and only a few relationships can grow.  With God weathering and watering us we blossom and fruit in beauty.
Yosemite last summer

view of Cumberland Gap from our farm

25 April 2013

Killing time

What to do when faced with at least 3 hours of enforced stillness? Tell you about our last few days I suppose.
The water pump went out on my truck this am as we were leaving Amelia Island. God provided well for us though, we pulled into a gas station just as it started to make a funny noise and were blessed by a true service station who called a free tow service and very nice mechanic shop. They hopped right on it and had parts ordered in the first 15 minutes we were there.  They estimated 3 hours! Praise God! We were debating about trading the old clunker for a different old car together home, but their estimate was reasonable.
Next blessing? We were walking distance to a wing place with pool tables and wi-if, so can kill time well.
Next one? We were planning to have a short visit this afternoon with Dr. Dorminy on our way back to Athens, but now they have opened their home to us to spend the night and finish the drive tomorrow!
Why were we in Fernandina you ask?
After we enjoyed some great fellowship in Albany and saw college friends in Albany and Tifton, we canoed overnight in Okefenokee swamp (pics to follow, camera is in the truck on the lift). Sunburned and filthy we realized we were less than an hour from the beach, so we headed over! Caleb always wants to go to the beach, though usually just for a day, so this was a nice spontaneous surprise before moving to a landlocked country!
Pray for the rest of our week as we have many miles left to cover, places to share our ministry and a family reunion yet to go! Trying to raise the last bit of support/partners we need to be landlocked!

21 April 2013

From the land of Gators, fireants, and gnats!

Ahh, the sights of home!  We are swinging through SOWEGA this week and showing Caleb what my childhood was like.  As we go along, I realize that it maybe isn't so different from what his will be in Bolivia. It is hot and humid, there are things that will eat you in the river, and the ants are vicious. God knew what He was doing when he put me here as a child.
Besides the physical preparation for our  move, it is great to visit with some of the people and places that were important in my spiritual preparation for missions.  We are visiting a couple of churches today and have already seen a few old friends, with more to visit in the next few days.
I'll post again soon, with pictures from canoeing overnight in Okefenokee and update you as to our progress in partnership building.  Remember, we only need about 50 more people committed to $20/month!

27 March 2013

Smile and Wave

Yesterday I snuck away from work for a few minutes and surprised Caleb at his swimming lesson.  As soon as he saw me he began to run-walk (no running on deck!!) and gave me a big hug.  Occasionally as he swam he'd look over to smile and wave.  Now, I'd expect that much excitement from a kid whose parents aren't at lots of functions, but as a homeschool kid who is with me pretty much all day, every day?
I thought more about this as I watched the snow fall outside the natatorium (yes, it has been snowing nearly 3 days now-on Spring Break). The joy I felt at seeing that little beaming face must be the joy that God feels when we look at Him.  I hope that I am in as constant communion with God as Caleb is with David and me. Even more so, I hope I remember to look up and see God in every moment of my life.
I challenge us today to look up and see God smiling back at us.  Bask in knowing that He is always with us and finds great joy in our relationship.  He is the loving Father who is at every practice, every game, every moment of our life if only we remember to look for Him.
This moment of realization was a great corollary to our Sunday School lesson last week in which Billy talked about how kids always looked for their parents as they went on the field during a game-those with good relationships could look up and know and then concentrate on the game versus those without just kept searching for affirmation from other sources.  As we seek affirmation from God, we rely less on the affirmation of culture and are able to confidently share God's love with those we meet.

23 February 2013

Refreshing, but tiring!

Today was a fabulous day to remember how much fun it is to work with students!  I helped with spaying and neutering 60-some dogs and cats today at Lincoln Memorial University.  Our assembly line of animals coming to the two of us surgeons was something to behold.  It was fun to watch the students get into their groove practicing their technical skills and helping each other learn. 
Perhaps the most enjoyable for me though was the time I got to spend with various students in the surgery suite.  Enforced time with me means you have to chat!  I learned about one graduate's passion for anesthesia and education, another student's brother serving with IMB in Europe, and yet another's whose sister has a new album being released (which my dad apparently played some tracks on).  
The student with a missionary brother was surprised to hear about Christian Veterinary Mission, so it was great to share with her how her vet tech skills can be used to further God's kingdom!
Overall, it was a great reminder of how eager I am to be living life with my students in Bolivia! Looking forward to the surgery table and cattle working discussions we will have!

Oh, the tiring part--30+ surgeries for me in approximately 6 hours, thank goodness Dr. Burchette was there too to share the load.  We were also so blessed to have our wonderful friend Dr. Jennifer Johnson there too to manage all the animals in recovery!

13 January 2013

A departure from the usual blog, but we had a really cool 9th birthday yesterday and I'd like to share a bit about it! We are huge Tolkein fans, so a Hobbit party was just
the ticket for Caleb.

"In a hole in the barn there lived a hobbit.  Not a dirty,wet hole, but a snug barn loft..."

Our downstairs neighbor!

 Caleb was Burglar Baggins and his friends were outfitted with dwarf beards.  After a brief description of the the story for those who didn't, the kids were given a map across the Misty Mountains to the Lonely Mountain and Smaug. 
 With the soundtrack playing in the background we blunted the knives and chipped the plates--the kids thought it was hilarious to throw paper plates and bowls around the loft and at each other!
Flying plates!

Troll tag--one was appointed the troll and tried to tag the dwarves.
Bilbo could free them, and game was over when
 the sun came up--flashlight on the troll.
All were rewarded with glowstick swords, "Sting" from the troll's trove

Caleb and his "precious" won from Gollum's game
of riddles in a  cave of black plastic in the eaves.
We then entered Mirkwood forest and ate some chocolate
pretzel spiders.
Burglars had to free the "dwarves" from the spiderwebs
(individual  bags of candy in lieu of a regular pinata).
Last stop: Lonely Mountain. Pin the arrow on Smaug's missing scale to reclaim the treasure (gold and gem candies).  

Bag End cake.  Sadly the house was warm and out chocolate tree on top melted!
Gandalf and the dwarves arrive!
Gifts!  Creative wrapping in Elvish from
awesome Uncle Rick!  Fantastic presents from all-thanks for all the fun things!
Lembas for the journey ahead
 Thanks to our friends and family that crowded 18 people into our tiny apartment and hay loft to make a memorable event for us all.  Blessings to Caleb in his ninth year of life and the beginning of the adventure that lies ahead.  Thanks to "The Given Life" blog for inspiration