Last month, I stated, “What a blessing to be involved with such an active church!” Well this month, I believe that phrase has lead to, “Here we grow again!” Yes! An active, working church is a growing one. That is what we saw this past month, lots of action which has resulted in not only new spiritual growth, but also, more physical growth! We are excited to bring you encouraging news in this month’s mission report from Paraguay!
DEVELOPMENTS AT AVENIDA SACRAMENTO
New “Leadership Training by Extension” classes have begun. Not everyone can attend the Asuncion Bible Academy in a full time capacity like our students. So, we have developed a special series of training classes designed specifically for the leaders of the church. They are offered at times more convenient for them and at a pace that they prefer. Please pray for these efforts and that they will strengthen our brethren of the local leadership.
DEVELOPMENTS AT ÑEMBY CONGREGATION
•A new meeting facility! The brethren of Ñemby have found a building to rent as a meeting hall. It is a former Pentecostal church building that is owned by the widow of its former “pastor” (denominational meaning). It is well located, quite large, and inexpensive. The Academy students and local members have been working regularly to get it painted and prepared for worship services. We believe the former Pentecostal church members will also be great evangelistic opportunities! We are so excited for the growth happening with these brethren!
•The monthly Men’s Business Meetings continue to go well as they congregation grows and develops. Also, just as Avenida Sacramento implemented Leadership Development classes, the men of Ñemby have decided to start their own Saturday program for training. The classes have been going very well.
•If you are able to understand Spanish, be sure and check out Eliezer Perez’s mission reports for Ñemby at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/163374416/Reporte-Nemby-Agosto-2013
BAPTISMS / RESTORATIONS / IDENTIFICATIONS
•Baptized! Dina Aycock. She is a close friend of Andrea from their “Las Amigas” club and is also one of her frequent “Mas Que Dulces” customers. She is a very sweet lady with a tender heart. We rejoice in her desire to please God by obeying that form of doctrine which saves. Dina and Andrea plan to continue their studies in order to assist her in her spiritual growth. Please pray for her!
•Restored! Diosnel Atette is a member from many years ago that was, sadly, withdrawn from by the church. Over several years, he has studied more and come to realize that salvation is found only in the church. With a penitent heart, he has returned to his first love to be restored and we rejoice that he has come home! Please keep him in your prayers as his son, Mauricio, is also considering what he must do in order to be saved.
Asuncion Bible Academy Update
•Benevolence projects! During the regular study quarters, we schedule several days for seminars and benevolence activities. On one of those days, we went to Mirta Vera’s house to paint and make several repairs. Another day we went to Ñemby to help prepare their new facility. This has given the students a little more experience in the area of “first giving of themselves” that we read about in 2 Corinthins 8:5.
•We have begun several new student assignments and rotations that have them actively involved in things like leading home Bible studies, organizing the worship services, and writing bulletin articles. It has been exciting to watch them grow!
•ABA student, Enrique Albera, has decided to undertake a special project. He wants to reorganize our “Equipos de Ministerio” groups (with church approval, of course). These groups function to fulfill the many tasks within the church, since we don’t have deacons yet. This is really exciting since it is the first time a Paraguayan has taken the reigns of this ministry!
Evangelistic Contacts / Bible Studies / Activities:
•Eliezer and I are studying with Sandra Durarte who came to the church through a family contact. She is searching for Truth and desires to make her life right with God. We are diligently answering her questions and praying for her spiritual growth.
•Please pray for our “Learn English Using the Bible” students: Martin, Aaron, Felix, Adriana, and Oscar.
•Josh and Vanessa Hardin (former mission team members) came to visit us in Paraguay, and on one Sunday, they provided a nice lunch for the congregation. Josh then taught a seminar about prayer in the Academy while Vanessa painted and organized the children’s classrooms. We enjoyed getting to see them and greatly appreciate their contributions to the work here!
•Two of my tae-kwon-do instructors, Christian Jourdain and Christian Garay, came to visit us during our worhip services! They said they were very encouraged by the services and we also gave them each a “Searching for Truth” book.
•Please pray for the several new contacts that have been made in Ñemby: Graciela, Issa, Salvadora, and Ruthy.
Visitation / Other Activities:
•We took a little break between quarters (right before it got really busy) and went on a Paraguayan sightseeing tour. We wound up a neat little resort hotel in the beautiful town of Piribebuy. It was very relaxing and just what we needed before launching off into the next busy season!
•We had the Vera Family over to our home and Andrea prepared a nice birthday supper for Pochi.
We love getting to visit with such wonderful brethren!
•Andrea and Mirta Vera went to visit Maria Teresa for her birthday. She has been traveling a lot and really busy so she has not been able to attend services.
•We had our friends, Jordan and Elin, over for dinner one evening to catch up after their recent trip to the USA. It was Elin’s first time, so she was rather excited about it!
•I have been visiting a lot with brother Guillermo Sanchez. He has been having a lot of difficult times lately and needs lots of encouragement.
•I dedicated a lot of time preparing for this quarter’s classes: “Life of Christ IV: Luke” and “Judges, Ruth” with Bible study and various materials in Spanish and English.
•I am currently reading / have read:
♦“Church Sponsored Missions: An Evaluation” by Phillip Wayne Elkins (1974)
♦“The Mormon Mirage” by Latanye C. Scott
♦“The Chronological Life of Christ” by Mark E. Moore
•I preached at Ave. Sacramento this month on the “The Threads of the Messiah: Harmony of the Bible - Exodus 28”
•I am currently teaching the books of Judges - Ruth and “The Life of Christ IV: Luke” in the Asuncion Bible Academy.
•On the 28th I had the opportunity to preach at Maragaret St church of Christ in Milton, FL via Skype.
•Andrea’s green thumb is in full bloom as she has remodeled our front patio area with river rock, designed a “square foot” garden, fertilized the grass for a greener lawn, set up some potted plants, and harvested her first batch of compost!
Cultural or language discovery:
•Sugarcane harvest in Paraguay is done the "old school" way (literally)! After living in Florida for 15 years, I became rather accustomed to seeing the sugarcane harvest ... but never like this! They cut it by hand and load it by hand. Some even still use old ox carts like the picture here. Just one more reason why I love the fascinating culture of Paraguay!
Troy and Andrea Spradlin
To see Troy’s report with pictures, please click here.