NEW BEGINNINGS, CAMPAIGNS, and PLANS!
As we begin this new year, we are really excited about the possibilities and opportunities that lay before us in His kingdom here in Paraguay! God is clearly working as we see our calendars filling up with lots of upcoming activities. We see Him working through the many Bible studies being conducted, the recent baptisms, and through the continual spiritual development among our Paraguayan brethren. These are exciting times in Paraguay! We can’t wait to see what the Lord is going to do next!
SPECIAL ACTIVITIES / CONGREGATIONAL DEVELOPMENT:
Our Wednesday night “Summer Series” lessons have been a great success! The event has exposed our brethren to some good, sound preachers for a fresh point of view. Our speakers have all presented great lessons and have included: Chris Fry, Enoch Rinks, Donnie Bates, Andy Chavarilla, Willie Alvarenga, and Douglas Alvarenga.
ASUNCIÓN BIBLE ACADEMY DEVELOPMENT:
•The Inauguration date for the Asunción Bible Academy has been set for March 10, 2013! There will be a worship service followed by a lunch for both congregations. The day will include a special ceremony and a charge to the students, faculty, and church. The opening orientation session will be on March 11. We couldn't be more excited! The classroom is being prepared, the student's residence is being made ready for use, and the professors are about to turn in their first set of study plans!
•We are also excited that we will have brethren Bob Turner and Donnie Bates from Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver here in Paraguay for the opening of the school.
RECENT BAPTISMS / RESTORATIONS / IDENTIFICATIONS
•Baptized! Norberta Vera: After many years of seeing the Gospel demonstrated in the lives of her daughters and hearing them speak of the Good News, Norberta Vera decided to put on Christ in baptism at 90 years of age!
•Baptized! Javier Zarate is the fiancé of our sister Maria Jose Yegros. He has been attending services, Bible studies, and other activities for quite some time. Josh has been diligently studying with him until the seed that was planted finally grew to fruition as Javier decided to heed the Gospel call!
•Baptized! Elvira Dominguez. She is the fiancé of our brother, Ramón Paredes. She came to the church from a denominational background and has been consistently studying to learn “more accurately” the truth of God’s word. We rejoice in her decision to “obey that form of doctrine” that saves!
Evangelistic Contacts / Bible Studies:
•So, what was accomplished in 2012? Well, God provided our team with tremendous opportunity through a total of more than 1800 Bible studies this past year! These numbers include all our individual studies and group studies with more than 400 of those being evangelistic studies. God also provided the increase with 20 precious souls that obeyed the Gospel call. Many of these came from the 65 new contacts that were made throughout the year! What wonderful things are happening in His kingdom! We look forward to 2013 having just as many opportunities. We are already setting goals to help us focus on more evangelistic efforts while also continuing the training and study for the spiritual development of the members.
•Elvira Dominguez is the girlfriend of our brother, Ramón Paredes. Elvira came to the church through Ramón from a denomination. She had many misconceptions about the church and the Bible but has been steadily learning and growing through the many Bible studies she’s had with our brethren, Alba and Perry Hardin, and then most recently with Andrea and myself. We rejoice that she came to the conclusion that she needed to put on Christ in baptism according to His plan in order to be saved!
•Hector and Patricia Paredes are new babes in Christ that have hearts of servants. They are very involved in many church activities and have a desire to grow stronger in the Lord. We have started a new converts study with them and we´re enjoying watching them grow!
Steps toward mission goals:
•Church plant in Ñemby! We are getting even closer to planting the church in the nearby city of Ñemby as our brother, Vicente Martinez, has been out looking at locations that could be rented to use as a meeting facility! Some of the group has decided they want something independent, simple, and centrally located instead of meeting in someone’s home. We look forward to the continual development of this vision.
•Be sure and check out the back page for some really big news about some big steps being taken by the church here in Paraguay. We´re excited!
Worship and Bible class attendance:
•Sun am – 44 (6th); 41 (13th); 50 (20th); 58 (27th)
•Sun pm – 30 (6th); 24 (13th); 37 (20th); 20 (27th)
•Sunday Bible study average – 33
•Midweek study average - 24 / Other - 22
•Current members: 85 Baptized (47 Family Units)
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND ACTIVITIES
Personal HIGHLIGHT(s) of the Month: Three baptisms, the church building remodeling project coming together, new plans and new beginnings with several other projects coming to fruition . and it’s only January!
•We celebrated New Year’s Eve by having a nice dinner with the Yegros family. Brittnae´s parents, Kevin and Tammy Dye, were here with us also.
•Andrea celebrated another birthday this month (she looks way younger than she really is)! We went to one of her favorite restaurants and enjoyed the evening together.
•We took our annual South-American vacation and went to see the beach in Encarnacion, the old Jesuit ruins, and a yerba mate processing plant, along with a side trip for some river fishing. It was a great time and much needed rest!
•Next-door neighbors! We have had some wonderful opportunities to visit with some of our next door neighbors from beside us and behind us! We had dinner with the Meza’s last month and have plans to get together again soon. We also have an invitation from another neighbor for dinner.
•The Martinez family is struggling with some personal issues and needed some encouragement. We took Delci and Nati with us and just visited a while.
I am currently reading / have read:
♦“St. Paul the Traveller and the Roman Citizen” by William Mitchell Ramsay
♦“Balanced Christianity: Maintaining Biblical Balance” - 1997 Shenandoah Lectureship
Cultural or language discovery:
“La Costanera” is a term used in the Southern Cone (Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile) to describe a riverside drive or park. The term has been in all the newspapers a lot for the past couple of years. One of Paraguay’s southern cities, Encarnación, completed their “Costanera” last year and has since turned into the country's biggest tourist attraction for beach goers. Not to be outdone, Asunción has been speedily constructing their own version in order to attract tourists. There´s just one major difference: the Paraná river by Encarnación is rather clean and pure while the Paraguay river by Asunción has been deemed unsafe to enter for swimming! Oh the dilemma!
•Vacation Bible School in February.
•Preparing for opening of the Bible Academy in March.
•Congregational retreat in April
Troy and Andrea Spradlin
To see Troy’s report with pictures, please click here.