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!
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 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.
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!
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:
We love you all and give thanks to God for you!
Fuerza y Paz (Strength and Peace),
Donald, Carol and Cora