We have welcomed a parrot to our menagerie of animals. It just showed up one day, evidently attracted to the bunches of bananas we have hung out to ripen out back.
There are all kinds of parrots in Venezuela, ranging from small, wild parakeets to the large macaw-like birds called guacamayas. Ours is medium-sized. It seems to be a tame bird, but no one has shown up to claim it yet. I can't help thinking it would be a very expensive pet in the United States, but not so here.
Our household also includes two cats and a large dog as permanent residents. The dog. Peluso (Shaggy), is our dutiful night watchman, while the cats, at least in theory, catch and kill rodents. In practice, they pursue this labor when they feel like it. In the manner of cats, they spend the greater part of their waking hours wrestling and swatting each other in the face.
The cats are very similar in their markings. One is slightly larger than the other and has dark fur on its right ear. The other is smaller and has a light-colored right rear. Nevertheless, we have not assigned names to these creatures. I address them both as "Gato" (Cat). This is not as confusing as you might think.
We have had guests of various other species, including chickens (they appear every morning and evening), a pair of eagles, a horse, an iguana over two feet in length and runaway hogs.
School is out now. The new school year begins in mid-September. Yepci and her children took advantage of the vacation period and spent three weeks in Caracas with Yepci's sister, Wuendy. It really was more of a working vacation as Yepci helped prepare food first for seminarians studying Greek and then for a team of volunteers from the United States who performed renovations in Quinta Lutero, the national church's office in Caracas.
The team from the United States consisted of Megan Obermueller's students from Concordia Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota. Yepci told me afterward that she was impressed by the young people's willingness to travel to Venezuela and work hard on a purely volunteer basis.
Yepci and her children, Aaron, Oriana and Elias, were back in time for vacation Bible school at Corpus Christi Lutheran Church in Barinas, August 22 to 25. The VBS was based on the story of Noah's Ark and how, as Noah and his family passed through the waters of the Great Flood, we pass through the waters of baptism to salvation. Attendance peaked at around 50 children. Many of them attended the Sunday service at Corpus Christi with their parents (a number of whom were not members) to explain what they had learned.
In addition to Aaron, Oriana, Elias and Pedro, another of Luz Maria's grandchildren, we took Sandro, a boy from La Caramuca, to the VBS. With three adults and five children, the logistics were a little difficult. We had to find a taxi driver who drove a full-size sedan rather than the compact cars that most taxistas drive here, because they will not take more than four persons (adults or children) in the smaller taxis.
We are planning a vacation Bible school in La Caramuca in September.
Also on Sunday, August 26, there was a congregational meeting at Corpus Christi with Pastor Ted Krey, who has been named pastoral counselor for the Western Zone of the Lutheran Church of Venezuela. Edgar Brito reaffirmed his decision to resign as pastor of Corpus Christi, but will continue to serve until a vicar (and prospective candidate for full-time pastor) can be called.
In order for this to become a reality, the church must be able to provide a place for the vicar to live. There is a bedroom and office available in the church, but top priority must be placed on the restoration of running water in the bathroom and kitchen.
Luz Maria last week attended the national convention of the Venezuelan Lutheran women's organization in the eastern state of Monagas. She wore several hats at this meeting: secretary of the organization, national coordinator of Christian education, and one of two national coordinators of the Venezuelan deaconess program.
She first left for the city of Valencia. From there she traveled east with her old friend Cruz de Castillo, whose husband, Rafael, just passed away.
I remained in La Caramuca to prepare for my return to regular study in Caracas starting next week. From September through December we will study homilectics, the Lutheran Confessions, an overview of the New Testament, and Paul's epistles to the Romans and First Corinthians.