Recent congregational developments and activities:
The Special Committee for the Bible School has made some great progress this month! We now have the management structure decided, the faculty members have been chosen, and the course descriptions are taking shape. Perry Hardin was named the Academic Director and I was named Administrative and General Director of the school. We are very excited to announce that brother Jorge Vera, from the Cento congregation, has also joined the staff as one of our professors. Everything appears to be on target for beginning March 2013. Please keep this effort in your prayers as we continue to develop this school.
- Karen Bennett, who is a member at one of our supporting congregations, Central Avenue church of Christ in Valdosta, GA, came to Paraguay to work with us for several days! She was involved in many activities, from giving personal devotionals in the homes of many of our sisters, to visiting an area orphanage, to encouraging our mission team ladies, and serving as special guest speaker at the Annual Ladies Planning Retreat. It was a real pleasure to have Karen in Paraguay and we greatly appreciate her enthusiasm for mission work. We hope she comes back!
- Gabriel Gonzalez and Eliezer Pérez are students from the Institute of Theology of Latin-America (ITL) in Guatemala who have come to Paraguay to work with us for three weeks. They have been a great encouragement to the church and have done a fine job in every lesson, sermon, and study that they have given. They have served as a great example as to what we pray our Paraguayan Bible school will accomplish.
- The Annual Ladies’ Planning Retreat was held this year in the home of Pituca Wingate with 23 ladies present. Karen Bennett brought a lesson involving a Christian’s Survival Kit. Andrea said, “It was so encouraging to see many of our ladies think so deeply about the growth and maturity of the congregation and their roles as women, workers, and servants in His Kingdom as we sat down together to set our goals for 2013.”
- Annual Team Banquet, Team Workshop and Planning Session, and Team Retreat This time of year is always fun, busy, and exciting because there are so many activities going on. The mission team always takes this time to reflect back on what has happened in the past year, evaluate any changes necessary, and then make plans for the upcoming year. After having the Heiderich’s with us during our workshop, we spent a couple of days developing our plans for next year (it’s going to be a great one!) and then we took a couple of days off to have a retreat in Atyra at the hotel/resort of Casa del Monte.
- Brother Donnie Bates was the first of our guest speakers (via Internet) for our Wednesday night “Summer Series” lessons. Modern technology allowed us to connect with him from Denver and his lesson was well received! Our upcoming speakers include Chris Fry, Willie Alvarenga, Andy Chavarilla, Enoch Rinks, and Douglas Alvarenga.
- Contacts / Bible Studies
- English Course Contacts: Our English studies continue to go well as we are advancing toward more serious Bible studies. Please keep Andrea, Guadalupe, Adriana, Blanca, Sergia, Antonio, and Graciela in your prayers that they may be touched by the word of God and respond to Christ’s invitation.
We set up several evangelistic studies with the ITL students through one on one studies, and addressed the topic of salvation in our home Bible study groups where a visitor was attending. Please keep Elvira, Susanna, Javier, Miguel, and Vicente in your prayers.
Steps toward mission goals:
Jeremy Barrier and Roy Wilson from the Madison church of Christ in Huntsville, AL came to Paraguay to investigate the possibility of starting a Christian radio program for the area. Brother Ike Yegros accompanied them around Asunción and assisted in researching the local resources. We pray this program will come to fruition in the near future!
Our Annual Congregational End of the Year Dinner is coming up this next month. It is always a fun event!
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND ACTIVITIES
Personal HIGHLIGHT(s) of the Month: So many great activities! There was the Annual Team Banquet and Retreat, the Annual Ladies Planning Retreat, visitors Karen Bennett, Jeremy Barrier, Roy Wilson, Eliezer Pérez, and Gabriel Gonzalez, along with the Marine Ball and Thanksgiving dinner! Whew!
I am currently reading / have read: Difficult Conversations and How to Discuss What Matters Most” by Douglas Stone and Bruce Patton, and “Preaching” by Fred B. Craddock
Culture and language study:
Andrea has enrolled in Berlitz Language School for advanced Spanish classes. She loves it! We are praying this will really help her skills in speaking Spanish. (BTW, she served as translator for Karen for more than a week!)
- U.S. Marine Ball - we celebrated the 237th birthday of the Marine Corp with several of
our friends from the US Embassy at their Annual Marine Ball. It was a beautiful ceremony and a very fun night! I even had the opportunity to have a religious discussion with the US Ambassador, James Thessin.
- Andrea helped head up the planning and execution of the Annual Thanksgiving Lunch by the Las Amigas Club. They use the event to raise funds for the nursing scholarships. There were some 140 people in attendance and the food was absolutely delicious!
- We took the ITL students to a concert of traditional Paraguayan music and dance. Our sister, Natalia Mendoza, was participating in the event.
- The mission team shared a nice Thanksgiving Dinner together on “Turkey Day” this year.
Andrea and Karen Bennett made several home visits to bring a devotional to some of our ladies with theme of “The Joy of Being a Woman.”
Andrea will be hosting the monthly Ladies Tea in our home in December. They plan on exchanging gifts and, of course, Andrea gets to cook!
We will also be having Christmas Dinner with the team and Brittnea’s parents, Kevin and Tammy Dye, next month!
We hope to start the first phase of construction next month on the building. We plan on removing one of the interior walls first so that we can enlarge the space we are using for worship assembly. We’re praying to find a solution to get started on building a new auditorium!
Troy and Andrea Spradlin
To see the report with pictures, please click here.