As we were looking back through our updates, we realized that it has been a very long time since we filled you in on our latest happenings. November 5th was the date of our last emailing, and as you can imagine, much has happened since then.
We were blessed to share Thanksgiving with a group of missionaries and their children. Some improvisions were made in traditional dishes with local ingredients, but the hosts were able to find an imported turkey. The oven had been moved outside in order to not heat up the house. The children also played in the swimming pool.
Another big event was the seminary graduation. Four Paraguayans graduated and will be sent out to pastor churches. Our friend, German, was one of them. He came to Christ a couple of years ago when a church was doing door-to-door evangelism. Since that time God has given him a passion for the lost. He will be a great pastor!
During the month of November, we established more of a routine. Donald helped with the church construction and I worked at the school during the day. Most evenings were filled with church activities, visiting with friends or Donald’s Spanish classes.
Link to November's Pictures
Our new routine was quickly broken in December as summer approached. The church construction was put on hold due to a lack of money and school let out for summer break. Remember, in South America our seasons are opposite. School lets out in December and does not start again until February.
Because of the extreme heat, the “Christmas season” felt a little strange to us. The only decorations we had were a miniature tree that Carol bought for a dollar at one of the churches’ rummage sales and a stocking for Cora. We did make sugar cookies and ate our traditional Christmas morning “creamed egg on toast.” On Christmas day Cora opened a few presents from grandparents then we went over to another missionary family’s home for dinner and swimming in their pool.
The cool thing about it not “feeling” like Christmas is that we were not distracted by the whole commercialized hype that goes with it. It was easier to stay focused on Jesus. There was also the constant reminder of Him as we passed by hundreds of manger scenes every day, even in government buildings.
Carol had the opportunity to play her trumpet with a choir that was composed of people from all of the Methodist churches. They practiced for weeks to put together a Christmas presentation. A special program was done for all the churches. The group also sold hamburgers to earn enough money to make the 5 hour trip to Ciudad del Este. It was a good time of fellowship and ministering in a church there. The final performance was done at a nursing home for men. We sang a few songs, and then took some time to pray with them. Of course, Donald and Cora participated in everything that we did.
A little later in December we made another trip to Ciudad del Este with all of the school staff from New Horizons and their families. We got to see a hydroelectric dam (considered one of the modern 7 wonders of the world), waterfalls, and a zoo and camped out at a wildlife preserve. It was very hot, but a great opportunity to form closer relationships with the staff.
The highlight of our December was Baptisms! Over 30 people were baptized in the pool at the Methodist campground. Four of them were people from our Alpha group. Three of them were guys that Donald had been doing construction with. It was awesome to be able to share with them during this important step of their faith journey.
December Photo Album Part I
December Photo Album Part II
We flew from Paraguay to Costa Rica on New Year’s Eve. The first week we attended a regional gathering for all Mission Society missionaries serving in Latin America. About 80 people were there including family members. The Costa Rican mountains were very cold compared to the Paraguayan heat. We had a great time though, seeing old faces and making new friends. We also had a lot of good teaching from the Word as well as on the problem of dependency in missions.
Since we were already in Costa Rica, we decided to take 2 more weeks for a vacation. It was the first vacation that we had had in almost 2 years! We rented a car and traveled to the beaches and mountains. We visited missionary friends serving in Costa Rica as well as national friends that we had made during our time in language school. We also had plenty of time to relax and enjoy the beauty of the country.
Costa Rica Regional Gathering
Costa Rica Vacation Part I
Costa Rica Vacation Part II
Since our return from Costa Rica we have been busy trying to get back into the swing of things here in Paraguay. Cora will be starting Jardín (4-year-old preschool) at the New Horizons School next week. She is very excited to have a uniform that matches her mommy’s and a new backpack full of supplies. Carol will be helping in the school while Cora is in class.
Our street guard introduced Donald to one of his silversmith friends a couple of weeks before our Costa Rica trip. Donald went to visit him and started making friends with other silversmiths as well. He has started hanging out with them a few days a week. Yesterday they told him that they were going to get a desk for him in their shop. He is excited about the opportunity that God is opening with them.
• Baby Antonella – The baby of 2 New Horizons staff members with spina bifida. She just had her surgery in Florida and everything went fine. The neurosurgeons and hospital donated their services and their plane passage was completely paid by donations from churches!
• Drivers Licenses – We finally got our Paraguayan licenses yesterday after 7 months of being told “no” everywhere we went! We can now drive without worries of being pulled over by the police and paying high fines.
• Flooded House – Our bedrooms were flooded during a big storm last Sunday. We praise God for our safety and that of our possessions. Only 2 books were ruined.
• Car Donations – So far we have $3,149 in our car fund. Only $6, 851 more to go!
• New Horizons School – that there will be a good start to the new year and that every child will have a sponsor
• Our Churches – that the leadership will continue to be guided by the Holy Spirit in all decisions that are made
• The Silversmiths – that God will continue to open doors for Donald as he pursues a relationship with them
• Our Witness – that we will be faithful and bold witnesses for Jesus Christ everywhere that we go!
• Residency Status – that our FBI reports will arrive here quickly and the process will go smoothly after that
• An Automobile – In order to reach all the places we are doing ministry, we need to be able to buy a car. We only have $6,851 more to raise.
Tax deductible donations can be made on The Mission Society website - https://www.themissionsociety.org/people/paige. Please designate it for our car fund.