From the hot, summer season that is now upon us here South of the equator in Paraguay, we want to wish all of you back in the USA a very happy holiday season! We pray this time of year finds you filled with peace and joy while enjoying time with friends and family. God bless!
DEVELOPMENTS AT AVENIDA SACRAMENTO
This month a lot of time was dedicated to goal planning for the upcoming year. We started with our annual men’s planning meeting and that has been extended to a weekly meeting due to the desire to restructure our ministry programs. The meetings have included members from Ñemby and Avenida Sacramento. It is very encouraging to see the Paraguayans working so diligently in making plans for the future of the church in their country. Once all the decisions are made. We will share them with you here in our following reports!
The ladies also held their annual “Mujeres de Fe” conference on Saturday, November 9th. Two of our sisters, Raquel Franco and Leti Alfonso, extended the lessons on the theme of “Quiero Ver” (I Want to See) taken from Mark 10:51. There was a great turn out of ladies from all the congregations, as well as, visitors.
ÑEMBY CONGREGATION DEVELOPMENTS
The good brethren at Ñemby hosted a “dinner on the grounds” on November 10 in their new facility for some fellowship time and to welcome brother Joe King to Paraguay. Several visitors came which afforded the opportunity to evangelize.
Baptized! Graciela Espinoza! She came to the church as a new contact made from an evangelistic campain back in July with the Palm Beach Lakes congregation from the USA. She has been studying regularly with Eliezer and attending services. She has a very humble heart and we joyfully welcome her to the family of God!
Baptized! Gabriel Balbuena! He is a friend and co-worker of our sister in Christ, Raquel Franco. She taught him the gospel over the course of several months and he finally came to the decision that he needed to be baptized. We rejoice with the angels in heaven!
ASUNCION BIBLE ACADEMY UPDATE
The students have finished their third quarter of studies and wrapped it up with a successful evangelistic door-knocking campaign in Ñemby. This time, they went to the neighborhoods around the new church building. This area was even more receptive than previous ones, with several really good contacts having been made. The next quarter will feature a class on “Church Planting” with a special guest teacher, Enoch Rinks, as well as, some practical application workshops.
Evangelistic Contacts / Bible Studies / Special Activities:
We have some exciting news in regards to our study with Sandra Durarte! When she first came to study with us, she said that her husband is very Catholic and didn’t want her in a Bible study. After a few weeks she said he finally approved of her coming. This past month, she informed us that he has lots of Bible questions and would like to come study with us! We thank God for the opportunity!
We ask that you please pray for our students in our “Learn English Using the Bible” program: José, Max, Martín, Aaron, Felix, Adriana, and Oscar. The studies are moving slowly, due to weather or schedule complications, but they are continuing forward.
Please pray for the several new contacts that have been made in Ñemby: Gustavo, Issa, Salvadora, and Ruthy.
This month we also had the pleasure of having brother Joe King, an elder from our sponsoring congregation Maragaret Street church of Christ, come to visit us in Paraguay and survey the work here. While he was here, we had several great Bible studies and special meetings with the brethren. He also sat in on one of our English Bible studies, encouraged our two elder candidates, gave some great advice on planning meetings and leadership classes, and really encouraged Andrea and myself.
Brother Eliezer Perez finished up his first term as missionary here in Paraguay and headed back to Panama on the 25th to be with his family for the holidays. He will be returning to Paraguay on January 5th to resume the work. He is such a hard worker! He was so concerned about all the contacts that had been made recently, that he assigned several people to call them and maintain communication!
Our Leadership Training by Extension classes continue to go very well. We have been studying through a book on “Hermeneutics” and the brethren have shown great interest in what they have been learning. We pray it will provide a strong foundation for their future study of God’s Word.
Other news and upcoming activities:
We’re looking forward to our annual “End of Year Dinner”
Andrea will be hosting this month’s Ladies Tea in our home.
Karen Bennet will be coming to Paraguay to visit us again in January and lead the Ladies Retreat.
Enoch and Laura Rinks will be coming to visit their family and brethren in Paraguay.
Every year the “Las Amigas Club” hosts an American style Thanksgiving Dinner as a fundraising event. Andrea has been involved since 2010 and it’s always a great opportunity for us to get to meet new people. But, let’s not forget, to also enjoy a yummy taste of home!
Andrea and I went to visit our dear sister in Christ, Estela, who lives in Caacupe, about an hour outside of Asuncion. Her daughter, Graciela, had come to town, so we picked her up and took her to her mom’s house. It was a great visit and is always a relaxing time in her comfortable home.
We enjoyed a nice dinner at a great steakhouse and an evening of fellowship with our mission team mates during our annual Team Banquet.
We attended a piano recital for one of Andrea’s English students, Oscar Parodi. He did a great job!
Andrea and I have had to make several trips to the doctor this past month for check-ups, physicals, and a few concerns that we each had with our health. Thanks be to the Lord, all results have come back with good news. We continue to pray for good health while on the mission field.
We want to say “THANK YOU!” to all our brethren at Maragaret Street for the beautiful card and care package that you sent down with Joe King. It made us feel so loved! We really appreciate you all and miss you very much!
Personal study: I am currently reading / have read:
“The Eternal Kingdom” by F.W. Mattox
“The Books of History” by James E. Smith
I have been preparing for the upcoming quarter to teach I and II Kings, as well as, Church History.
This month, I preached at Avenida Sacramento on the subject of “Are We Saints or Sinners?”
I taught classes on Eccesiastes and Romans in our Bible study hours at Avenida Sacramento.
I wrapped up the month with our classes on “The Life of Christ IV” with the Asuncion Bible Academy.
We will be studying a “Panorama of the Bible” for the next year. We’ll be giving an introduction and summary for every book in the Bible during Sunday AM class.
Cultural or language discovery:
On Saturday, October 26, Paraguay shattered the Guinness World Record for the largest harp ensemble, with 420 harpists performing in a single orchestra. The previous record was 201 harpists in Scotland. A large majority of the musicians were Paraguayan youth from 39 different cities, as well as a few from Brazil, England, Japan, and Peru, who came together to perform in Asunción. The youngest musician was 6-year-old Maura Glober. The ensemble was called #SuenaParaguay (Paraguay Sounds) because even the world’s largest harp ensemble needs a hashtag.
Troy and Andrea Spradlin
To see Troy and Andrea’s report with pictures, please go here.