November 17, 2008

Unexpected Opportunities

Last week both Donald and I had opportunities placed before us that were totally unexpected. The first one was an email from a woman in the States. She had found our website through a goggle search and decided to write to us. She was an exchange student in Paraguay in the late 70s and continues to have a close relationship with her Paraguayan host sister. Her host sister is a cancer survivor and is currently struggling with depression. She gave us her phone number and asked if we would visit and pray with her. The most interesting thing about the request was that the women herself has had some traumatic life events, seems to dislike Christians and is angry with God.

I called the host sister and she invited us to her home last Saturday. She welcomed us with open arms and was excited to have us pray for her. She told us that she did not think that it was a coincidence that her friend found our website. The prayer time was wonderful and we could tell that the Holy Spirit was working in her. We are going to continue to keep in contact with her and her family!

The other unexpected opportunity came when Donald went to the video store to rent some DVDs. He has been speaking with the owner of the store off and on. He knows a little English and enjoys practicing with Donald. Anyway, as Donald was checking out, the owner asked him if he believed in demons. Donald told him that he did. The man then started to share how he believed that there was a demon in his home. This opened the door for Donald to speak to him more about spiritual warfare and living a Christian life. A few days later the pastor of one of our churches and his wife went to the man's home to pray over it. Donald was unable to go at that time, but has been following up with him.

As Christians, we should always be ready for the unexpected opportunity to be used by God.

November 10, 2008

A Small Miracle


Whenever God does something in our lives, it is important to share it. Not only does it encourage and build faith in others, it testifies to the power of God. Our God is all powerful and there is nothing, I repeat, nothing impossible for Him!

Two weeks ago Cora fell at a friend's home and hit her mouth. After that, one of her front teeth was loose. We took her to a dentist, but she said that it was not loose enough to worry about.

Well, last Wednesday we had gone to Burger King (yes they have them here!) and Cora was playing on the playground. We were just getting ready to leave when Cora came running up to us crying. Her mouth was bleeding and her tooth had been knocked way back. It was not a pretty sight!

At that moment I got angry. It was a righteous anger against the enemy that welled up in me. Since we have been here, it seems like something different has happened to Cora every week. Either it is coincidence, or the enemy has been attacking in his subtle way. Regardless, Donald and I prayed for Cora and the bleeding stopped immediately.

Since it was evening, we could not take her to the dentist until the next day. That night we laid our hands on Cora's mouth and prayed for her tooth again. The next morning when I checked her tooth, it was back to where it had been before the accident! There was no need to call the dentist.

Miracle or Coincidence? Just ask Cora. She will tell you that Jesus healed her tooth.

November 4, 2008

October Update

Dearest Friends and Family,

It is springtime in Paraguay , which means longer and hotter days. It also means that our time has “sprung forward” an hour while those of you in the States have “fallen back” an hour. That now puts us 2 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Good thing to know for all those who want to call us!

The changes in the weather also brought on a nasty respiratory virus that made its way through all 3 of us. After the fevers and coughing, it took about 2 weeks for us to recover. We apologize for a lack of communication during that time. We are told that most new missionaries here get this thing and it usually lasts for more than a month. Thank you to all those who were praying for us.

Happy Birthday Cora

Cora celebrated her 4th birthday with a small group of missionary friends on October 10th. However, since birthdays are so important here, we also wanted to celebrate with the children from both churches. A woman in one of our churches made 2 cakes for us to share. Everyone had a good time. It is good to see Cora adapting and making friends. It took her awhile to start separating from us and going with the kids to children’s church. Now, however, it is hard to get her to leave. She is also speaking more and more Spanish every day.

New Horizons School

I am continuing to help out in the school with the selection of the new students for the upcoming school year to start in February (remember our seasons are opposite…summer break is in December and January). Over the next few weeks I have 68 homes to visit. I am visiting with the families and doing a social history interview for each child. One of the school’s secretaries, Perla, is currently studying social work at a local university in the evenings. She has accompanied me on several of the visits. She is only 19 years old, but remarkably mature and has a strong relationship with the Lord. I think I am learning as much from her as she is from me.

One of the questions that I have been asking as part of the interview is if the family attends church. This has opened the door to some good conversations with the parents. It has also shown me that many do not know Jesus Christ. For many of the children, the New Horizons School will be the only exposure they have to the Word. It is a tremendous privilege and responsibility.

Since the school is primarily for the poorest children in its surrounding neighborhood, many are able to pay no more than $10 a month for the education. That means that each child needs a sponsor to help with the tuition. 30 children this year are still in need of sponsors, and 54 more will be added for next year. In addition to the tuition that we will be paying for Cora, Donald and I will be sponsoring a child next year. If you feel God calling you in that direction, check out the school’s website at www.paraguayschools.org

Cristo Viviente Church

In our last update we mentioned that construction was started for a new church building. Steady progress is being made every day. The next stage is to add a roof. Donald has been helping out during the week. When I am working at the school, Cora goes with him. She loves hanging out at the pastor’s home. They have taken her in as another daughter.

Pozo Azul Church

On October 18th the church had an evangelistic campaign. Church members went door to door in the neighborhood during the day and there was a special service that evening. Cora and I were sick, but Donald participated. He said it went very well. Several people came to the service, with the majority being children. Donald also met a couple who had lived in the United States . The husband is Paraguayan and the wife is German. They asked if Donald and I would come back to their home to share some more.

Our Residency Status

Since we will be in Paraguay for at least 3 years, we need to apply for residency here. It is a long and expensive process that has many different steps. We are blessed to have someone who is helping us through each step. Before leaving the States we gathered all the required documents and had them legalized at the Paraguayan embassy in DC. Unfortunately, the Paraguayan government decided to change part of the requirements last month. That means that our Virginia State Police background checks are no longer satisfactory. We now need background checks from the FBI.

This seemingly small change has completely stalled our residency process for at least 3 months. We went to Interpol last Friday to get fingerprinted. We then mailed a background check request and the fingerprints to the FBI in West Virginia . It will probably take 2 weeks for that to reach them, then 4 weeks for processing. After that, they will send the reports to my father in Oklahoma (our address in the States). He in turn will send the reports to the Paraguayan embassy in DC to be legalized. After that is done, they will be sent back to my father who will then mail them to us here.

Of course, all this will only happen if the fingerprints were done correctly. We did not have a lot of confidence in the guys who did them at Interpol. We do have confidence in God, however. Please pray that everything goes smoothly and the fingerprints are accepted.

Prayer Requests

In addition, please pray for:

* Language Acquisition – We are all improving in our Spanish! Donald has continued with the tutor and is making good progress.

* Cristo Viviente – that the church will continue to be filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit and for the construction.

* Pozo Azul (our other church) – the pastor is open to us doing an Alpha course with the youth in the beginning of the New Year. Pray that the youth will also be open and that they will bring their unchurched friends.

* New Horizons School – wisdom and discernment as new students are selected for the school and that the school will continue to be a beacon of light within its dark surroundings. Also that more people will feel called to be sponsors.

* Our Witness – that we will be faithful and bold witnesses for Jesus Christ everywhere that we go!

* An Automobile – In order to reach all the places we are doing ministry, we need to be able to buy a car. Tax deductable donations can be made on The Mission Society website - https://www.themissionsociety.org/people/paige Please designate it for our car fund.

Pictures for the months of September and October can be seen by clicking on these links:

September - http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=5479&l=8c20a&id=1332236838

October - http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=7876&l=14e51&id=1332236838


Peace and Blessings,

Donald, Carol and Cora

September 15, 2008

August and 1/2 September Update

Saludos en el Nombre de Jesucristo (Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ),

A month and a half has passed since our last update and we are happy to report that God is moving in Paraguay!

One thing that we have to adjust to here is the weather. Last Wednesday the temperature reached 100 degrees. We were dressed in shorts and deciding whether or not to use the air conditioning unit in our bedroom. Two days later there was a high of 55 degrees and the three of us were huddled together in our bed trying to stay warm. We have been told by several people that we will be wishing for these cold days when the summer comes and it is just HOT all the time. December and January are usually the hottest months here.

Here is a bit of what has been going on in our corner of Paraguay:

Mobile Medical Team

A short-term medical mission team from New York came for 2 weeks in August. We were asked to help them during this time with translating. The first week the team set up the mobile medical clinic at one of our churches. I translated for one of the doctors and Donald helped check people in. It was awesome to see the church transformed into a hospital. The dentist and optometrist used the 2 rooms in the clinic. The doctors were set up in the pastor’s home and office. The Sunday school room became the pharmacy. One of the team members did crafts with the children. The pastor and other church members set up a prayer station for the patients. Hundreds of people were seen over the 4 days. Most importantly, however, around 100 also accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior!

Alpha

Last Thursday was the last day of the Alpha course. It was a great opportunity to witness the growth of brand new believers and form relationships with them. During the Holy Spirit retreat we prayed with one of the young women. I prayed with her in Spanish, but when Donald prayed for her in English, she said that she could feel the warmth and peace of the Holy Spirit. Ever since that day she has had a glow and peace about her that is being noticed by all her friends and prompting them to ask questions.

Most of the people have decided to continue as a group. Next week we will be starting a Bible study with them that will help them continue in their growth as new believers.

Cristo Viviente

Cristo Viviente is the church that we attend on Sunday evenings. It is a vibrant and growing church that is full of life. After the visit from the medical team, the church members started visiting and discipling the people who had accepted Christ. Many new people are coming to the services and receiving prayer for healing and deliverance. Donald and I have been learning a lot from the pastor and his wife. I have also really enjoyed playing my trumpet with the praise band.

I think I had mentioned in our last update that Cristo Viviente only consists of 2 walls and a roof. Well, after much prayer and fasting the church has finally raised enough money to begin building! Last Thursday the walls started going up with the help of another short-term mission team. Donald has been helping as well. He said that it is a blessing to see Christian brothers and sisters from vastly different backgrounds working and worshiping together in one Spirit. During the service last night, there was much praise, thanksgiving and tears as testimonies were given by both Americans and Paraguayans. I even had the chance to translate in front of the church for the first time!

The New Horizons School

The past 2 weeks I have started helping at the New Horizons School that we wrote about in our last update. I have been busy going through the applications of children who wish to enter the school. There are 54 slots open for the preschool program and about 100 who want to enter. There are also several applicants hoping that there will be spaces opening up in the other grade levels.

The school is so popular because it provides low income children access to a good, solid education. The public school system in Paraguay is very poor and corrupt. Instead of using the money intended for education to buy books or improve schools, officials in the government have been lining their pockets with it. Teachers are paid very little in the city and even less in the interior. They have to teach in deteriorating buildings without proper supplies. All families that can afford it send their children to private schools. Unfortunately, the majority cannot afford that.

The New Horizons School is open to children who live in the neighborhood where it is located. Priority is given to the poorest families. There are sponsors in the States that help pay for each child, but every family is also required to pay a nominal amount per month.

I can already tell that I am going to enjoy working at the school. It is very evident that God is doing a mighty work in that place. Every morning the staff gathers for devotions and it is common to see them praying with teachers and students in the halls.

Cora Update

A couple of weeks ago we had to put down the 2 dogs that were living here with us. They had an incurable mosquito born virus that could have been spread to us. It was sad for all of us, but especially Cora. Despite that, however, we praise God that she continues to be a happy and active little girl. She has made several friends and already has a list of who she wants to invite to her birthday party next month. Actually, all the children at the churches love her. When the medical team was here, she had several of the children seated in a row and was pretending to check their throats and ears with an old flashlight tube she had found. Of course, that was the only time I did not have my camera!

Care Packages

Donald’s mother sent us some packages and they all arrived here without problems. If you would like to send us a package, it is best to not make it much larger than a shoebox size. I will post on our Blog a list of items that we would enjoy receiving.

Also, we want to thank everyone who has sent us snail mail, email, messages on facebook or given us a call on our internet phone. It is your encouragement and prayers that helps keep this ministry going!

On that note, please pray for:

* Language Acquisition – we are getting more comfortable, but still struggle with the Paraguayan accent. We are also currently doing an intensive 5 weeks of private Spanish lessons.

* Cristo Viviente – that the church will continue to be filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit and for the evangelistic campaign on October 4th

* Pozo Azul (our other church) – this church is struggling with leadership and discipleship issues. Please pray for wisdom on how we can best serve the pastor and that the congregation will be open to change. Also for the evangelistic campaign the church will have on October 18th.

* New Horizons School – wisdom and discernment as new students are selected for the school and that the school will continue to be a beacon of light within its dark surroundings.

* Baby Antonella – she is the daughter of 2 of the staff members at New Horizons. She was born with Spina bifida. We recently found out that a hospital in Florida has agreed to do the surgery for free and the neurosurgeons and anesthesiologists are donating their services. Pray that they will get the money for Visas and airfare and for peace for the family

* Our Witness – that we will be faithful and bold witnesses for Jesus Christ everywhere that we go

* An Automobile – We need to start raising funds in order to be able to buy a car by next year. A used SUV here will cost around $18,000

Pictures from the month of August can be seen by clicking on this link:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=3691&l=cc44d&id=1332236838

We love you all and give thanks to God for you!

Fuerza y Paz (Strength and Peace),

Donald, Carol and Cora

August 24, 2008

Making Disciples

We had an amazing time with the mobile medical team that was here. They saw hundreds of people over the 4 days that they were at our church. Our pastor also reported that 100 people gave their lives to Christ! This Saturday the congregation is going out to visit and pray with them. After all, it is not the number of conversions that count. What counts is that the people are discipled afterward and brought into a deeper relationship with God. This is made clear in Matthew 28:18-20 when Jesus says:

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make DISCIPLES of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Please pray that as we visit the people that they will be open to the instruction of the Word and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

August 12, 2008

Mobile Medical Clinic

Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed. Acts 5:16

Today we had the opportunity to help translate for a short-term team who came to run the mobile medical clinic at Cristo Viviente (one of our churches). The team is from Buffalo, New York and will be in Paraguay for 2 weeks. They will be at our church through Friday. Word got around the neighborhood fast as people formed lines waiting to be seen. There were 2 pediatricians, a dentist, an optometrist and 4 nurses. There was also an area that was set up as a pharmacy.

We checked the forecast on the internet before leaving home and it called for a 90% chance of rain all day. Rain poured down as we arrived and gathered to set up. The first thing we did was form a circle and pray. The pastor prayed specifically that the rain be sent away from that particular area so people would come and be seen. As soon as we said "Amen," the rain stopped. There was not one more drop of rain there for the rest of the day!

Donald helped with the organization of the people waiting. I helped translate for one of the pediatricians. It was a true blessing. Many people received medical treatment, medications and prayer.

A young woman named Angela came with her new 12-day-old baby. She was worried about him spitting up. The doctor examined the healthy baby and determined it was simply mild reflux. The 17-year-old mother then shared that he was her only child because her previous baby died of an infection at 7 months of age. She was fearful that the same thing would happen to her new son. The doctor and I both agreed that the mother needed prayer.

After the exam I asked the pastor's wife to pray with me and Angela. She shared with the young mother about fear and the One who can take away our fears. Tears of joy filled my eyes as I watched Angela accept Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior as her son slept peacefully in her arms.

This is why we are here!


August 11, 2008

The Sound of the Trumpet

The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: "He is good; his love endures forever." Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God. 2 Chronicles 5:13-14

Yesterday I began playing my trumpet with the praise band at one of our churches, Cristo Viviente. At the beginning of the service we had a wonderful time of praise and worship. Special music was also played by two men on the Paraguayan harp and guitar. It was beautiful.

We had a guest pastor that night. After the special music, he asked me to get up and play something on the trumpet kind of like an army charge call. I played it once with some timidity. He then asked me to play it again and asked the congregation to stand and shout. As I played and the people shouted, I felt the boldness of the Holy Spirit well up in me. I began playing louder and stronger as the people continued to shout and praise the Lord. The power of the Holy Spirit fell as many started crying and running up to the front to be prayed for. It was an amazing thing to watch and be a part of. Our pastor's son, Diego joined me on the keyboard and we continued to play as the Glory of God surrounded us. As people were prayed for I could tell that they were being healed and set free from spiritual bondage.

After a long time, the guest pastor brought a message to the congregation of forgiveness and reconciliation. In the end many more people came to the front to confess their unforgiveness.

Please pray that this movement of the Holy Spirit will continue in Cristo Viviente, and that it will spill over into the neighborhood surrounding the church!

August 9, 2008

July Update

Its hard to believe that we have been in Paraguay now for a little over a month. Time has flown by! Much of it has been spent learning our way around and getting acclimated to the culture. We were told before coming to not take on any "official" duties for the first couple of months. Now we know why. Everything is so different here, and it is taking awhile to learn how to navigate through life. That does not mean, however that God has not been working. He certainly has. Let us share a few things:

Our Two Churches

Since coming here, we have been attending two of the Methodist churches that are close to our home. The first church, Pozo Azul (Blue Well), is about 15 km from us, but it takes about 30 minutes to get there due to the roads. A year ago the church was struggling and down to 4 members. The president of the denomination appointed his son-in-law to pastor it. Now there are about 30 people who attend on Sundays including children. Most members live within walking distance in very humble homes. We have spoken to the pastor, and he would like us to help do some Bible studies in the future.

The second church, Cristo Viviente (Living Christ), meets on Sunday evenings. It is about 5 minutes from our home. It has more of an urban feel than the other church. The people there are also more exuberant in their worship. Right now the sanctuary only has 2 walls and a roof. However, they do have an electric guitar, drumset and keyboard. Carol will start playing her trumpet with them next Sunday.

Alpha Course

We shared last month about the Alpha course we have been involved with. It continues to be a blessing for us as we learn from others and see lives being changed. We have also formed a relationship with one of the families. Ricardo is in Donald's small group and his wife, Monica is in Carol's. They have twin 4-year-old boys and a 6-year-old girl. They have only been Christians for a month. Last Tuesday we picked them up and they showed us a good place to eat typical Paraguayan food. We then spent some time fellowshipping in their home. They shared with us how God has transformed their marriage over the past month. We praised God with them, prayed with them and shared some about spiritual warfare. We are going to continue to meet with them on a regular basis for discipleship.

A God Encounter

Before coming to Paraguay we were told that there are very few black people in the country. We have found that to be true. For most Paraguayans, their only experience with black people are the Brazilian "futbolistas" (soccer players). So, when people on the street see Donald, they either stare or shout something about fútbol. It is even more unusual to see an interracial couple. Needless to say, we stand out here.

Anyway, last Wednesday we went to one of the malls in Asunción to meet with a friend who is helping us with our residency paperwork. While we were in the food court (yes, they have those here too!) a black man came up to our table to speak to Donald. He was happy to see another person of color. He is from the Caribbean and speaks English. He is married to a Paraguayan and has lived here 6 years. When we told him we were missionaries, it was like a door was opened. He told us that his wife had recently had a miscarriage and that he was thinking about becoming a Christian. We were able to share with him a little and exchanged contact information in order to meet with him and his wife.

After the conversation our friend pointed out to us that our "uniqueness" in this culture is what drew this man to us and opened the door to share Christ. It will be cool to see how God continues to use this in the future!

Caacupe

Over this past month, Donald has been trying to make some contacts with other silversmiths. There are several in this area that make jewelry and small things, but none that do the same work that Donald does. Last week we were able to visit a silver factory in a town called Caacupe. It is about one hour from our home. Donald had called beforehand and spoke with the master silversmith's son. He spoke English very well and seemed excited that we were missionaries. He said that they were Christians also. When we arrived at the shop, however, it became clear that there was a misunderstanding. They are Jehovah Witnesses, and had thought we were Jehovah Witness missionaries. Even though we explained that we were not, they still let us tour the business. Donald was familiar with many of the techniques they used and was pleased to see that they were doing much by hand. As we were leaving, the master silversmith said that he would be happy to help Donald in any way possible. He will be a good resource and maybe we will even have a chance to evangelize some with his family as well!

Nuevo Horizonte

Nuevo Horizonte (New Horizons) is the name of the school that Carol will be working in. It was founded by missionaries in the year 2000 in response to the lack of the availability of quality education in a poor area of Asunción. The goal is to provide a good Christian education and equip future leaders of Paraguay. It started with preschool and a grade has been added every year. Next year Nuevo Horizonte will include 8th grade and consist of over 450 children.

Carol has had a chance to visit the school and participated in two meetings. She will begin working there officially in September. That is when they start the registration process for the preschool. There are 45 openings and about 200 children will probably apply for them. Each child is tested and then a home visit is made. Since she has a background in social work, Carol will be the main person doing the home visits.

Cora Update

Cora got off to a bit of a rough start first by developing bronchitis, then getting bit by the dog. She is adjusting well, however. She loves living in our home with the dogs, cats and trampoline. There is plenty of room for her to run around and play. She has also started making friends with the children in both churches and Alpha. Since she started spending more time with the children, Cora's Spanish has improved immensely. She understands a lot and is trying to speak it more and more.


There is more that we could share, but this is getting kind of long. Guess that is what the blog is for! To view some pictures of the last month, click on this link: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=3419&l=532ef&id=1332236838

Please continue to keep us in your prayers. That is what keeps us going! Here are a few prayer requests:

* Language Acquisition
* That we will be bold witnesses for Christ everywhere we go
* All the people we have mentioned in this update
* Our physical and spiritual health and safety
* Individuals willing to donate money for our automobile fund

July 24, 2008

We are Finally Here!







We sent out an email update last week to let everyone know that we have finally made it to Paraguay. If you would like to be on our email list, send your address to capaige@yahoo.com.

Since there is so much to write about every day, we will try to highlight a few things at a time. Last Sunday we went to the 2 Methodist churches that are closest to our home in Luque. One meets in the morning and the other in the evening.

The church that meets in the morning has about 25 people who attend regularly. A year ago it was a dying church and was down to a total of 4 people. That was when Pablo Mora, the president of the Methodist church in Paraguay appointed his son-in-law as its pastor. Everyone there was very welcoming to us. All the pictures above are of that church.

There are about 30 people who attend the other church. We did not get any pictures last Sunday, but it only has 2 walls and a roof. Tarps serve as the 3rd wall. They do, however have a drum set, electric guitar and keyboard. The music there is very lively and reminds us of our church in Costa Rica. We can definitely feel the presence of the Holy Spirit there!

Both churches have many children. Cora has enjoyed playing with them all. However, when it comes time for children to leave the service for their program, she gets shy and refuses to go. We are sure that will change as we continue to go and she gets more used to everything.

The following video is not very good because it was done on our small camera. It shows the road on our way to church. This road is typical for the area. This is also why we need to buy an SUV!

video

July 19, 2008

Paraguay Update

We apologize for the amount of time it has taken to get an update out. It is hard to believe that we have already been in Paraguay for 2 1/2 weeks. We have been so busy finding our way around and trying to acclimate ourselves to our new surroundings, that we've hardly had the time to sit down at the computer and let everyone know how we are doing. The biggest problem with that is that practically every day there is something new to share.

We landed in Paraguay on July 1st after a long, tiring 16 hour plane trip. Because of a short connection, all of our luggage arrived the next day. We are staying in the home of a missionary family who will be on furlough in the States for the next year. They were here with us for the first 8 days in order to help us get settled and to get acquainted with their animals. We are taking care of their 2 dogs and 2 cats while they are away. The dogs are Brazilian Mastiffs named Charis and Tigressa. Standing up, they look eye to eye with Cora. They are huge and very protective of family. It took about 4 days for them to accept me and Donald. It took a little longer for them to accept Cora. Now, however, they love all of us. The cats are named Captain Hook and Tinker Bell. Tinker Bell is a bit skittish, and still won't let us near her. Captain Hook loves attention, and Cora gives him more than enough.

Living here is like learning how to live all over again. Right now we are spending time learning things like how to wash clothes, shop, pay bills, use cell phones and drive. Driving is a bit intimidating, because nobody follows the rules. For example, it is very common to see drivers making 4 lanes out of 2 and turning left out of the right lane. There is a lot of honking and pushing your way around. It seems that whoever is the most aggressive and has the biggest vehicle has the right of way. Donald has been doing a good job of driving, but I still haven't attempted it.

Another thing that makes driving difficult here is that the roads are pretty bad. There are some main roads that are paved, but as soon as you turn off of them, they are very bumpy with many potholes. The roads are so bad that you need to take your car in once in awhile to get all the nuts and bolts tightened.

Thank you to everyone who has been keeping us in your prayers. We can definitely feel them! We feel very blessed to be here in Paraguay and learning more about the people God wants us to serve. The 1st week that we were here, we were able to make a connection with a family who owns a printing business in Asunción. They are from Argentina, but have been living here for over 20 years. About 2 years ago, their teenage son, Dante, became a Christian. He then led both his parents and younger sister to Christ. They are on fire for the Lord and have begun an Alpha course in their home. Alpha is a 15 week course on the basics of Christianity. It is an excellent opportunity for people to learn more about Christianity whether they have been believers for many years or are still seeking. Our home church, New Town UMC has been doing this course for years and we have participated in it several times.

They were beginning the course the evening we met them, so we were able to get involved right away. We have had 3 meetings so far. There are about 20 participants, with the majority of them being unsaved. Donald and I were put into different small groups. It is sometimes hard to follow all of the conversations, but we have both observed good questions being asked and hearts hungry for the answers. This will be a great opportunity to learn from the Christian leaders in our groups as well as participate in the transformation of lives.

Other than Alpha, Donald and I have also begun learning about other opportunities for us to serve. I have met with the director of the school that had been praying for a social worker. Next Wednesday I will be going to the school in order to meet the staff and go over what their needs are and how I can best serve them. Most likely I will begin helping them with their registration process in August by going out to the homes of perspective students and helping to assess their level of school-readiness. I am also anticipating that being in the homes will open up doors for sharing the Gospel.

Donald has found out some contact information on 3 different silversmiths. One he met in downtown Luque (the town where we live and main area for silversmiths), and he told Donald that he would show him around sometime next week. Another one is the brother-in-law of the brother-in-law of our doctor here. Evidently he is very well known and lives in a wealthy area of Asunción. Donald has his address and is planning on visiting him next week as well. The last silversmith contact is an unsaved friend of a man that one of our missionary friends has been discipling. He would like Donald to meet his friend in order to share about silversmithing as well as potentially share about Christ.

As far as churches, we have had the opportunity to visit 3 different ones so far. There are 2 here in the town of Luque that we will probably end up serving in. One meets in the mornings and the other in the evenings on Sunday. We will update more on them after tomorrow!

Last, but not least, Cora seems to be adjusting here alright. She loves having pets and enjoys jumping on the trampoline that is in our backyard. She has also made a few friends at the Alpha group and has bonded with the little girl of one of the missionaries we have met. There is a Paraguayan family who lives next to us that has a little girl her age, but we have not met them yet.

Cora has had a couple of setbacks, but they have not seemed to slow her down any. Last weekend she became sick with a cough, runny nose and fever. On Monday we took her to the doctor and she was diagnosed with bronchitis. She was then put on antibiotics (which can be bought over-the-counter here). We feel that it was a blessing that she started taking the antibiotics when she did, because 2 days later she got bit by a stray dog.

We had gone out to the Methodist seminary in order for the leaders of the Methodist church to meet and greet us. While we were in the meeting, Cora was out in the yard playing with a little girl who lived on the property. A stray dog had wandered onto the property, and both girls went up to it. It then ended up biting Cora on her cheek and upper lip. We took Cora to the emergency room (where they told us to start her on antibiotics right away) and then to another place to get a rabies shot.

Our field leader was with us the whole time and had asked around the neighborhood about the dog, but nobody was willing to claim it or knew if it had its vaccinations. The family at the seminary said that it would keep an eye on the dog for 10 days in order to make sure it did not have rabies. Yesterday, however, our field leader called us and said that they had found the dog shot dead and laying in a ditch. Fortunately they were able to cut off its head and take it to the rabies center where it was found that it did not have rabies.

We praise God that Cora was not hurt badly and that the dog did not have rabies. We also thank God for the provision of good medical care and other missionaries and nationals to help us through our transition here. We especially thank God for all of our friends and family who have been supporting us through prayers and finances. Without you guys, we would not be here.

After this email, our next step is to start updating our blog. That way you will be able to check it whenever you want and won't have to read long emails! We will also be posting some videos and pictures. If you would like to see a few pictures of the home, car and pets that we will be taking care of for the next year, click the following link and enter the password "paraguay" :

http://s252.photobucket.com/albums/hh24/capaige/Our%20New%20Home/?albumview=slideshow

May 19, 2008

We are Headed for Paraguay!

Since its already been announced and put in the newsletter, we will put it here as well. We have bought plane tickets and will be leaving Norfolk on June 30th and arriving in Asunción, Paraguay the morning of July 1st.

Praise God!!

Since I need to print the newsletters now, I will share more later.

May 14, 2008

The Mind of a 3-Year-Old

Last week we were blessed by Pender UMC in Fairfax. They are one of our supporting churches, and will be making a mission trip to Paraguay in August. They offered to take 2 bags for us! They were also about to have flea market, and let us pick out some pots and pans that they will be bringing for us as well. It costs $150 for each extra bag we bring on the airplane, so they just saved us over $300!

As we were packing the bags the night before, Cora had questions as to what we were doing. We explained that a church was going to take some of our things to Paraguay for us. After driving the 3 hour trip to Fairfax the next day, Cora got out of the car and looked wide-eyed at the church. She then asked us, "Is this Paraguay?"

We immediately realized why she had been so upset and clingy that morning and the night before. She thought we had left without saying goodbye to anyone. We reassured her that before we leave she would have the chance to say goodbye to all her friends and things. Poor baby!

Sometimes even when you think you've been careful to explain everything, you never know what is going on in the mind of a 3-year-old.

April 6, 2008

A Day of Blessings

On March 30th, I had the opportunity to share for a few minutes during both services at Newtown UMC. God gave me the words to speak the night before, and I felt the strong presence of the Holy Spirit as I spoke them. It was an awesome experience as God used me to convey the spiritual and physical needs of His people in Paraguay.

God also showed his presence that day through 2 displays of His faithful provision in our lives:

Car Story - In March I told the story about the woman who let us borrow her husband's car. Well, at the end of March she came to me with the good news that her husband was returning from Kuwait a month early. Of course that meant returning the car to them a month earlier as well. Before the service on the 30th, I told Stacey, our church's worship leader, that we needed to start praying for another car for us to borrow. She told me that the way God was providing for us,that we would have another car by Tuesday. Wouldn't you know, directly after the service a church member approached me and asked if we needed a car for the month of April. Due to unforeseen circumstances he and his wife were going to have 3 cars for the month and only needed 2.

When I told him that we did need a car, he immediately replied, "Come pick it up on Tuesday!" Thank you God!

The Widow's Offering - A young college student came up to speak with me after the service as well. He told me that he was touched by what I had shared and wanted to be on the mailing list to pray for us. He then handed me our prayer card and $7 in cash.

That afternoon I had to pick up Donald from a trip he had made to do a couple of workshops at a weekend retreat for middle school aged youth. When he met me in the parking lot, the 1st thing he asked was if I had $7. That was exactly the amount he still owed for his part of the gasoline expenses!

It was such a joy to write a thank you note to that young man and share with him the way God used him. It seemed like such a little thing to begin with. However, God used that $7 to build up our faith as well as that of the one who out of obedience, gave it to us.

These testimonies have been given to us in order to encourage and build up the faith of all those we share them with. May YOU be encouraged this day!

March 15, 2008

A God Appointment

I (Carol) had an incredible experience a few days ago. Thursday morning I received a call from a friend who works with a crisis pregnancy center. She told me that a woman had called for an appointment who spoke only Spanish, and that they thought she was wanting an abortion. She asked if I would be able to serve as a translator. I explained to her that my Spanish was not good enough to translate word for word, but agreed to do it.

On the way to the center Donald and I were praying that God would use me despite my language limitations to be a positive witness to the woman. We also prayed for the father and the unborn child.

The woman's appointment was for 3:00pm, but by 3:15 she had still not arrived. Right around that time, we noticed a Hispanic man wandering around as if he was looking for something. He ended up coming into the office where we were waiting. When asked what he could be helped with, he replied in broken English that his girlfriend wanted an abortion. The counselor told him that the center was not a place for abortions. He immediately began to cry and I asked if we could talk to him in a more private place.

We went back to a room, and I began translating for the counselor. He was crying and seemed conflicted about his girlfriend having an abortion. As I looked at him, I could feel the compassion of Jesus welling up in me. I could also feel the strong presence of the Holy Spirit. I began to break away from simply translating to speaking to him about the love of God and His desires. I was also able to listen to the man's story, which was very complicated.

I told the man that it was not a coincidence that he showed up to the center at that particular time on that particular day. Usually there is nobody there who can speak Spanish. I shared that I believed that God intended for him to be talking with me. He then explained to me that he did not want the abortion, but that his girlfriend was very stubborn and did not change her mind easily. I asked him if he was a Christian. He responded that he was Catholic. I then asked if he prayed. He said that he did. I let him know that we cannot change difficult situations, but that God can. I prayed with him that God would give him the words to say to his girlfriend.

I spent a little over an hour speaking with this man. When he left, I could tell that something had happened within him. It was amazing how the Holy Spirit used me to minister to him. I was even more amazed when I discovered that the woman that I was originally supposed to translate for had shown up with her sister who spoke English and that she did not want an abortion. She wanted verification of her pregnancy in order to receive Medicaid.

I knew then without a doubt that God had arranged for me to be there not for that woman, but for the man that He knew would wander in!

Has God used you in a way like this? He can, you know. He used me simply because I was available and ready to answer His call. It is my prayer that I will never be too busy with "wordly" things that I miss a God appointment. That is my prayer for you as well.

In His Love,

Carol

March 6, 2008

A Blessing and a Miracle

First, the BLESSING - You may or may not know that we sold both our cars before leaving for Costa Rica. Since being here we have been living by faith for transportation. We were able to borrow a car for 7 months, but had to return it the beginning of January. We then had a series of people who allowed us the use of their cars through the end of February. When we returned the latest car to its owners on Sunday the 24th, we seemed to have no other options available.

That Monday night we lifted our concern of no transportation up to God. Nothing is too small for our Heavenly Father! Well, the next morning I (Carol) went to my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group and shared my prayer concern with my small group. There was a woman there who was attending for only the 2nd time. She approached me afterward and told me an amazing thing - Her husband is in the Navy and is currently deployed to Kuwait. His car had just been sitting there unused, so she began to pray that God would send her someone who needed a car. She emailed him for permission, changed the oil, got it inspected then handed us the keys that Thursday (a week ago). We can use it until May!

This woman does not even know us. She told us that the car is not hers anyway, that it belongs to God. She has only been a Christian for a little over a year. How many of us could have that same attitude?

Now, for the MIRACLE - Last Wednesday evening we attended our church's weekly service. Cora was sleeping in the car on the way there, which is not unusual. When we got there, however, she became clingy and did not want to stay in the nursery, which is very unusual. During the service she sat on my lap and slept. I began to notice that she was becoming hotter and realized she probably had a fever. The flu has been going around.

After the service ended there was an invitation for prayer. Donald and I asked one of our pastors to pray for Cora. As she placed her hand on Cora's head, she could feel the heat radiating from it. I was still holding her in my arms. Shortly after the 3 of us began to pray, my arms began to shake. Our pastor asked me if that was me or Cora. When I told her that it was me, she put her hand on my hand and prayed that Cora would be healed through her mother's love.

I immediately felt a warmth go through my body from my head to my arms. Cora did not wake up, but she broke out in a sweat and became noticeably cooler. When we got home she did not have a fever and started running around like normal. She never got sick!

God still heals today through the name of Jesus Christ! We have been witnesses to so much of His miraculous power over the past few months. It is His desire to see His people whole, even the little ones. Never cease to pray for the sick and the lame. Nothing is too big or small for our God!

We are Up and Blogging!

Hello to our family and friends! We have finally entered into the world of blogging. Our website still exists, but was kind of hard to maintain. We have discovered that this will be an easier way to keep you updated on a regular basis.

Well, we are still in Virginia raising support and growing closer with God. As we wrote in our last newsletter, God has had some specific purposes for keeping us here for awhile - mainly to grow closer to Him and each other and to be equipped with more of the power and boldness of the Holy Spirit.

All of these things have been happening! We are not the same people that we were when we returned from Costa Rica. Our support has also increased to 65%.

We are becoming more and more equipped for God's work in Paraguay every day. All we need now are more pledges to cover the additional 35% of our monthly support.