September was a month of growth and development. Several souls were added to the Lord’s kingdom and some exciting plans are being developed. We pray this month’s mission report brings you much joy! God bless!
Alma Agüero, (pictured at right, top), asked the question, “What must I do to be saved?” and was then baptized. She is the daughter of our brother and sister in Christ, Gustavo and Elva Agüero. There is now another entire household of disciples of the Lord’s church in Paraguay. Praise God!
Mikael Jara. Francisca Villalba. Estefania Bogado. (pictured at right) Do you remember that flyer we reported on earlier this year that got put in the mailbox of one young man, (Alex Valdez) who told a friend, (Fabian Nuñez) who told a friend, (Sebastian Garcia) plus one more friend (Marcelo Alcaraz) of the original young man... that ended up with all 4 being baptized? Well, Marcelo has been studying with several of his friends and all 3 of them were baptized this month (and hopefully 2 more will be coming soon). Now we are up to 7 SOULS being added to the church all from JUST ONE FLYER that got put in someone’s mailbox when they weren’t home.... (which, by the way, was a campaign conducted by the Asuncion Bible Academy, AND.... all four of these young men are interested in attending the Academy). Indeed, “God provides the increase”! (1 Cor 3:6)
Developments at Ave. Sacramento Church of Christ
Special Benevolence Project (cont’d). The church distributed some more beans and rice packages to the local flood victims. It was just a little something to bring some much needed relief to a group who is suffering (Matt 25:40). Paraguay continues to experience high river levels and some reports say there are still some 55,000 people displaced from their homes.
The Directors of “AME” (Adventures in Evangelistic Missions) made a special survey trip to Paraguay this month to coordinate sending interns to come work with us in 2015. AME is a work of the church of Christ in Joao Pessoa, Brazil, which trains and prepares Christian youth to go out and work with various congregations in Brazil and Latin America. We will be receiving two interns in January and we’re looking forward to having these evangelistic minded young men as part of our mission team in Paraguay!
Men’s Retreat. The men of the church held a special, overnight retreat in the town of Itacurubi, this month. We prayed together, studied the subject of “Spiritual Development,” and enjoyed some wonderful Christian fellowship. Many were already talking about the next time we could do this!
Developments at Ñemby Church of Christ
Preaching the Gospel. Vicente Martinez carried Eliezer Perez and David Avila (who was visiting Eliezer from Guatemala) to a town in the interior so they could preach the Gospel to some of his family members. This may turn into a possible church plant in the near future! Please pray for the possibility!
Asunción Bible Academy
Quarterly Report. The Asuncion Bible Academy continues to move forward with its classes and activities. After an initial introduction, the new report we have developed for the school will now be published every quarter. The next report will be published in October. You can see all the previous reports by visiting www.paraguaymission.com/asuncion-bible-academy/
Evangelistic Contacts / Bible Studies / Activities:
I was able to connect a couple of times with our brother Ruben Castro in Meteti, Panama, via Skype this past month in order to study “Fundamentals” with him. Not only is he learning the material for himself, but he is using it to prepare lessons to teach the congregation on Sunday mornings.
Our ABA “Leadership Training by Extension” students , Javier Zarate, Luis Yegros, and Enrique Albera have been steadily continuing their courses.
Bible Studies and more Bible Studies!
We wish you could see all the wonderful things happening here, especially all the Bible studies that are taking place! We have members studying with other members, others studying with coworkers, with family members, and visitors, and new Bible study groups that have started up in different homes. How wonderful to see a church that is increasingly becoming more self-perpetuating!
One of our members, Magda Ortiz, asked if we would come study with her son, Junior, who is struggling with drug addiction and other problems. Before we arrived, he had invited a friend of his and his friend brought his family with him. There were five new contacts at what turned out to be a new, evangelistic Bible study! We shared God’s word with them by focusing on where we should place authority for religious matters and then gave them a copy of “Searching for Truth.” They were all very receptive!
Andrea has been continuing her Bible studies in English with Adriana, Martin, and Oscar.
I am continuing to study the Bible with Beatriz Ortiz in English, as well as, with Sebastian Garcia. I also have a couple of new contacts that will be starting a study this next month.
We pray all of these listed above will develop into more souls being added to the kingdom of God!
David Ávila, who is a close friend to Eliezer Perez from when they attended ITL Bible Institute in Guatemala, came to visit Paraguay and work with us for a month. He taught a class in the Bible Academy, preached several times at Ave Sacramento and Ñemby, and lead several evangelistic Bible studies. It was a real pleasure to have him here with us and we hope he returns real soon!
Brother Luis Camacho will be returning to Paraguay to teach “Denominational Doctrines” in the ABA next month.
Andrea will be traveling to Brazil for “Continent Care Connection,” a missionary retreat and renewal seminar.
Personal Development and Activities
Andrea had quite an interesting and exciting challenge this past month! She was asked to cater lunch for the employees at the US Embassy. With her usual high-level of enthusiasm, she tackled the challenge and “knocked the ball out of the park.” Everyone loved her food and, of course, she now has a few more customers for “Mas Que Dulces.”
An interesting factoid: there just wasn’t a lot of reliable tourist information on Paraguay in the recent past. However, there are now two great guidebooks on Paraguay for American tourists written in English. Andrea has met the authors of each book! One is Natalia Goldberg, who is Paraguayan and now living in the USA (her website is listed below), and the other is Margaret Hebblethwaite, who owns a hotel in Santa Maria de Fe. Coming to Paraguay sometime? We highly recommend their guide books. Both are available on Amazon.com.
We hosted another “Grilled Pizza Party” for the youth at our house. It is always so much fun and they just love it!
My mother, A’Gatha Spradlin, suffered a major stroke this past month. She was completely paralyzed on one side and unresponsive to anyone or anything. She is still in the hospital, slowly recovering, and doing some better. Please keep my family in your prayers. We would greatly appreciate it.
I have been reading (or, still reading):
“Isaiah,” “The Gospel Accounts in Chronological Order”
“The Book of Ezekiel” by Jim McGiuggan
“The Major Prophets” by James E. Smith
“Contextualization and Syncretism” by Gailyn Van Rheenen.
I am continuing to take classes in Guarani and have also begun a basic study of Portuguese.
I preached one Sunday at Avenida Sacramento and one Sunday at Ñemby.
I taught “Biblical Greek 2,” “Baptism: Unwatered Down,” and “Ezekiel and Daniel” in the Bible Academy.
Paraguayan Culture Spotlight: Cerro Lambaré (Lambare Hill)
As one sails northward on the Paraguay River, there is a peculiar high spot that stands out alongside the riverbank called “Cerro Lambaré.” The hill lies just South of the city of Asuncion and there exists varying legends regarding its historical importance. One has it that it was here where the Spanish conquistadors first came into contact with Paraguay’s fierce Guarani Indians, lead by Chief Lambaré. Several battles ensued and it was soon discovered that the mighty Spanish armada was no match for the Indian chief’s warriors. Another legend says the conquistadors landed here peaceably, scaled the hill to make observations up river, and were met at the top by Chief Lambaré, who extended an open welcome ... and yerba mate! The Spanish then established the city of Asunción in 1537 and even enlisted some of the Guarani for explorations into the region of the Chaco. Today, the hill stands as a monument to Paraguay’s eclectic history. In fact, a monument called “Victorious Peace” was installed in 1982 which had five statues of Paraguayan heroes prominently displayed which included the then dictator, Alfredo Stroessner. After he was overthrown, his statue was destroyed and removed from the monument, leaving an empty space on one of it’s sides! For more information on all things Paraguay, visit this informative website: http://discoveringparaguay.com.
Troy and Andrea Spradlin
To see Troy’s report with pictures, please click here.