Chuño for Dinner
If you come to my house for dinner, what would I prepare for you?
I would certainly prepare a banquet for you after traveling so far just for dinner––to Bolivia. And, for sure I’d serve a Bolivian meal. Our family loves Bolivian food, and one of our favorite Bolivian meals is Picante de Pollo (translation, spicy chicken). It’s a chicken dish cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. And, the sides are uniquely Bolivian. The chicken is served with rice, a salad of tomatoes and onions, boiled potatoes, and a unique potato called chuño. It’s a potato harvested in the Altiplano—the high flatlands of Bolivia. This location in the Andes has freezing temperatures much of the year.
Chuño is a freeze-dried potato product traditionally made by the Quechua and Aymara communities of Bolivia and Peru and is know in other countries of South America, including Argentina and Chile. It is made in a five-day process, obtained by exposing a frost-resistant variety of potatoes to the very low night temperatures of the Andes Altiplano, freezing them, and subsequently exposing them to the intense sunlight of the day––this being the traditional process. The word chuño is a Quechua word meaning ‘frozen potato’ and in some dialects means ‘wrinkled’.
And to top off the meal, I’d serve a traditional flan for dessert. I promise if you don’t want to try the chuño, I won’t be offended. It’s the only Bolivian food that I don’t miss while on furlough in the States. As for the rest of the meal, I have no doubt you’ll find it deliciosa (English translation, delicious––some words in Spanish are similar to English). I’m sure you’ll find it a meal to remember when you return home.
Picante de Pollo originated from western Bolivia
and is characterized by its aroma and spicy taste of chuño (dehydrated potatoes).
*Chuño is the dark potato at the left of the photo.
“And the special gift of ministry you received…keep that ablaze! God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible” (2 Timothy 1:6-7 (MSG).
What secret talents do you have?
I think my secret talent is related to my hair––blonde with streaks of white. Can hair be a secret talent? Maybe. But, maybe it’s not my hair at all that’s a secret talent, but maybe it’s what my hair can do––attract little girls like a magic magnet. I noticed this secret talent a few years back when little girls started to stare and smile at me. Living in a country where blondes are not seen often, I accredited my attraction to little girls to my hair––and being a tall, blonde––a site rarely seen in Bolivia. When I first noticed this secret talent, it to opened doors to ministry with little girls, especially during Sunday School hours.
When my daughter was a small child, her hair attracted attention on the streets of Bolivia. People constantly touched her long, curly blonde hair whenever we walked around the city where we lived. Since my aging brought with it bottled blonde hair with white streaks, I too became a rarely seen site. But then, something else entered into my secret talent. On furloughs, I also noticed this happening in the States where blonde hair is not unusual. Being a children’s writer, I’ve always felt I connect with children, but not in such a magical way as I do with little girls. When I meet or talk with little girls, I automatically talk on their level and so love being with them. I truly believe God has given me a special gift of ministry with children (a secret talent)–– especially with little girls. It’s so much fun! What’s your special gift of ministry?
Rumi Rancho Reindeer
“There really are reindeer in Bolivia,”
said Abby to her sisters, Ellie and Olivia.
“They seem to me just a little bit strange.
Aunt Peggy says it’s because they’re open range.
I’ve seen them and they are strange indeed
Because their funny antlers are red and green.”
Many kids walk far to go to Rumi Rancho to play
They hear stories of Jesus and always want to stay.
They heard that Jesus was born a long time ago
His birthday is on Christmas day and He loves us so.
Missionaries travel the whole world wide
To tell the Good News that Jesus is alive.
He was born in a manger on Christmas day
So that we might learn of all God’s ways.
The way to heaven is still the same
Believe in Jesus, He knows us by name.
We know we celebrate because you are the reason
So Happy Birthday, Jesus, this Christmas Season.
From Rumi Rancho you can hear the kids cheer
Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!
Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord.”
And before you go, check out this recipe all the way from Bolivia!
BOLIVIAN BUÑUELOS RECIPE:
Buñelos are a popular snack throughout Latin America. While they can be eaten at
anytime, Bolivian tradition sees them eaten on Christmas morning with syrup and hot
Buñuelos are a soft doughy sweetbread that is deep-fried in the same way doughnuts are
made, with a similar flavor but a slightly more chewy texture, traditionally served
drizzled with a syrup or honey. The buñuelos are often puffy with a crispy crust and air
pockets on the inside.
2 tablespoons fresh yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon anise
2 cups flour
3 cups butter
Molasses to taste
1/2 cup sunflower oil to moisten hands
In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in water, add the fresh yeast, let it stand for about 7 minutes,
then add the salt, anise, eggs and flour, mixing it slowly with your hand until you obtain a
watery dough. Let the dough stand and rise twice before you start frying in hot butter or
To fry, first spread oil over your hands, take a handful of dough with the fingertips and
stretch it into a 4-inch round; rotating the dough occasionally to form a circle. When
about to fry, poke a hole in the middle, and put in the frying pan with a stick or the back
of a wooden spoon through the hole. Let it acquire a golden brown color on both sides
before retiring and leave in a colander to drain away excess oil; then put all in a bowl to
Serve with a jug of hot sugar cane syrup, molasses or honey for each person to add the desired amount on the buñuelo. Note: Some Bolivians prefer to eat their buñuelos covered in sifted powdered sugar.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Where was God?
Didn’t He see them in the middle of a foreign country with no help?
Frustrated and exhausted, Peggy walked the mission property early mornings to slip away temporarily from her caregiver duties and meet with the Savior. Her husband suffered from a bout with shingles that left him in constant pain with no relief––not even with morphine. Months turned into years. Countless doctors tried their best but with no success.
Where was God? Didn’t He see them in the middle of a foreign country with no help? Hadn’t they given their lives to serve as missionaries and trusted Him for their health? She wept as she sat near a flowerbed filled with daisies.
Just then, the buzz of bees drew her attention. They danced peacefully from flower to flower doing the job God created them to do, even as a storm approached. She noticed a pattern. If bees could be joyful and peaceful in all circumstances, surely she could find a way.
Through the thirty-one devotions, this book examines what Peggy learned about God’s intricate creation of the honeybee and how it speaks direction into our need for living peaceful, productive lives while overcoming stress and achieving joy. God is faithful always, and His creation magnifies His majesty if we take time to seek Him in everyday situations––even through the honeybee.
Kindle book Available on Amazon at:
Paperback available on Amazon at:http://amzn.to/2e55w5A
We’re wireless here in our ministry. A few years ago, our son upgraded our computer technology, and we entered into the wireless 21st century. It’s all dandy––until there’s a problem. We’d rather be held up by the wires. Our wires could be our jobs, our spouse, our savings or our health. But, what happens when we lose those things?
I’ll admit, I sometimes freak out when a problem seems insurmountable. When the wires are pulled out from under me, I get scared. My wings flutter and fail. In the last few years, I faced being a caregiver to the guy who has taken care of me for many years––my high school sweetheart and husband––now my “Golden Age” sweetheart.
I knew this illness wasn’t fatal, and time could heal––but how long would it take? It’s been four years since the onset of Shingles that left my soul-mate with a damaged nerve and frequent pain. He’s had extreme treatments and even surgery. Although he’s improved, he still has bouts of pain and may need another surgery. It’s difficult to see the ones you love suffer, and even more difficult for them. Isaiah 41:13 says, “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear: I will help you.” A promise from God––He will help us through anything we face.
It’s a bit scary not having the wires under me, but it is also comforting to know I don’t need to depend on the wires––doctors, surgeries or medication. I need only to depend on the One who is the Wire. He is the Great Physician.
What wires hold you up? Are you freaking out today? You can be wireless because The Wire holds your right hand and helps you!
Rest your wings!
After church, we parked the car off the dirt road in our area to head down a narrow muddy path to Guichi’s house. Guichi is our Bolivian ministry helper. His whole family awaited our arrival. They were cooking cow heart for us––yes, we love it. But, first I’d do a dance on the edge of a neighbor’s dried up alfalfa field––a scary dance.
I slid out of the car into a high, hay-like area. I hit the ground and what seemed like a hundred large black ants attacked both of my legs––stinging their hearts out on my bare legs––of all the days to wear a dress, I picked this day. I landed in a hidden ant hill. The jumping and screaming missionary ant dance alarmed the neighbors I’m sure, but what did they think when Chuck began smacking my legs? I can now say I danced with ants. Hopefully, the neighbors saw an ant dance and not a missionary marriage problem.
We ran to Guichi’s house. Chuck immediately gave me a cortisone shot, and I gulped down a Benadryl. I rubbed baking soda all over the bites up to my knees. There were so many bites I couldn’t begin to count them all. BTW, I am allergic. I didn’t have to use the epi-pen I carry for my fish allergies. Just can’t make up this stuff, and I’m a writer. Our medical experience and medical kit saved me from the epi-pen and after effects that could have ended in a hospital trip.
Thankfully, it was an ant hill and not a snake nest. I may start wearing cowgirl boots 24/7. After many years on the mission field, your surroundings are so familiar that you forget to take photos. Then, you begin to forget the dangers, too. But even though we become lax, God is faithful to protect us and give us warnings from time to time.
Did you know that ants are wise? “There are four small creatures, wisest of the wise they are––ants––frail as they are, get plenty of food for the winter;” (Proverbs 30:24-25 MSG)
One thing for sure, they enjoyed their Sunday feast of white meat thanks to their not so wise missionary neighbors.