HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all our dear friends and brethren! We pray you have a happy, safe, and memorable holiday season. November was another busy month in the Lord’s kingdom here in Paraguay. We have several things to report. We hope this month’s mission report brings you a little extra joy during these festive days! May God bless you and yours!
Clara Magnolia Soria, has put on Christ in baptism. What great news! Here is what our fellow missionary, Brittnea Yegros, wrote about Clara in her report from July earlier this year: “Please pray for Clara, a sweet fifteen year old girl who is the niece of our dear sister Rosalba Alfonso. Clara’s heart is tender and is searching for the Truth. Our next study will be on how to become a Christian, per her request!” We rejoice as Clara’s search has ultimately brought her to the foot of the cross where she then “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine” which saves! Praise God!
Developments at Avenue Sacramento Church of Christ
Studies! We have just wrapped up a series of studies for our Sunday morning Bible hour over the “Deity of Christ.” In December we will have a brief study about the Holy Spirit. Meanwhile, Pedro Vera has been continuing to teach “Christian Fundamentals” to several of our new converts and plans to wrap up by mid-December. For the New Year, we will be starting a new
series on “Personal Spiritual Development.” The series will teach about how one can make application from personal Bible study, develop a better prayer life, and increase involvement in individual ministry.
New Songbook Project. We are still working on the new songbook. It has been fun learning the new hymns! We hope to have the corrections, additions, and changes completed by the end of the year. We will then have it printed and bound for the church to use. We currently use “Cantos del Camino” as our main songbook for worship, but this new one will be smaller, contain many newer songs, and will available to use in devotionals and activities away from the building, thus, preserving our standard hymnals for our regular Sunday worship.
Developments at Ñemby Church of Christ
There are several of our brethren who are experiencing some real crises (plural) in their lives. They are greatly in need of support and healing, so we ask that you please lift them up in prayer to our Father.
The brethren at Ñemby have been making several repairs to the rental facility that they use and doing lots of painting. It is looking really nice!
Asunción Bible Academy
Here is what Andrea posted on Facebook this past month which pretty much sums up our excitement: “Today is the first day of class for the final quarter of the Asuncion Bible Academy! WOW... I can't believe how fast the time has gone by! I remember clearly the looks on the faces of the students as they began their first day with two daunting years before them. They were excited, but scared... and without a clue as to what to expect or what they would learn. Now, with a verse-by-verse study of the entire Bible nearly complete, as well as several topical studies (not the least of which is GREEK!), they are much more confident and with a "we got this!" look and attitude. I am so happy for them! Please continue to keep our students in your prayers! “
Quarterly Report. Be sure and look for the latest Quarterly Report that was recently published! You can access it at: www.paraguaymission.com/asuncion-bible-academy/
Contacts / Bible Studies / Activities:
For the past four years, Andrea and I have spent the holiday season here in Paraguay because, well, it is extremely expensive to return home during this time of year and travel certainly isn’t easy. Be that as it may, we still miss our families and just “good ‘ol American tradition.” Especially the fabulous meals! Well, this year we were blessed to have TWO American style Thanksgiving dinners thanks to the Las Amigas Club and also some of our American “Ex-Pat” friends! You really don’t realize how much you miss home until you taste those familiar holiday season flavors!
We have never had a month without several Bible studies going on. This month was no exception! I have been studying with Alex Vargas, Sebastian. Garcia, Javier Zaracho, and Beatrice Ortiz.
Andrea has been studying with Oscar and Adriana. She has also been setting new English studies for this next month which may lead to Bible studies real soon!
What an incredible blessing the New Video Conference System has been for the Asuncion Bible Academy! We not only have been able to connect with our brethren, but we also use the system for our regular classes sometimes. The mounted projector is great for presentations and the TV has been used for watching instructional videos. The next academic year will have several teachers using the system to teach their classes live from their offices in the United States!
I was recently asked to preside over the wedding nuptials for some of our friends from Ñemby. Juan Candia and Naty Santander were married on November 15th, 2014 in Fernando de La Mora. It was an outdoor ceremony and everything, including the weather, was just perfect! They are a cute couple! One peculiar aspect of a traditional Paraguayan wedding is that dinner isn’t served until about, oh, midnight! Whew! That usually makes for a long, late night!
Andrea will be hosting the “Ladies Tea” at our home this month.
A Men’s Planning Retreat to discuss future plans for the church in Paraguay is being scheduled.
Graduation for the Asuncion Bible Academy will be held on Saturday, February 7th, 2015.
Karen Bennet will be returning to Paraguay for the Annual Ladies Retreat.
Personal Development and Activities: Activities/developments:
Andrea’s recent Facebook post: “HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my family and friends!!! Although we are working today, we are blessed to have had the opportunity to celebrate twice this year and eat turkey with friends (and at ~$100 for a bird here, that is QUITE a treat to have had it twice)! My thoughts are with my family back home b/c I miss so much being with them, especially when I know they are together for a holiday. But my thoughts and prayers are also with all the servicemen, policeman, fireman, and health care workers, etc that also work on holidays to keep the rest of us safe. Happy Thanksgiving!”
We got to see the “Nutcracker” this year ... in Paraguay! One of the local universities performed the holiday season favorite and, I must say, did an outstanding job! The orchestra was really good. Andrea invited some friends and it turned out to be a really nice evening together.
I have been dealing with lots of little maintenance, installation, repair, and construction projects at the church building and also at our house this past month. Getting things done around here is relatively easy (providing it doesn’t rain ... and it’s been raining a LOT lately), but getting a job well done, well now, that’s the real challenge! Thankfully, most everything has turned out quite well.
My mother, A’Gatha Spradlin, has been moved to an assisted living center where she will be under 24-hour nursing care. The doctor has told us that she will never walk again. She is also still struggling to swallow, but is beginning to respond a little, verbally. Please keep my family in your prayers. We would greatly appreciate it.
Andrea and I have started a new personal goal of us each writing down 1,000 things for which we are thankful. We simply write down three things a day for one year. It certainly doesn’t take long to see that God has truly blessed us in many ways.
I have been reading (or, still reading):
“More Than Conquerors” by William Hendriksen
“Select Studies from Revelation” by Wayne Jackson
“Comentario del Libro de Apocalipsis” by Willie Alvarenga
“Roman Catholicism” by Lorraine Boettner
I have also been studying about the Indwelling and Influence of the Holy Spirit
I preached one Sunday this month at Avenida Sacramento and one Sunday at Ñemby.
I am currently teaching “Revelation,” and “Catholicism,” in the Bible Academy. I also taught several classes during our Wednesday evening Bible study hour over “Examples of Faith from the Old Testament,” and one Sunday morning class over “The Holy Spirit.”
Paraguay Featured in “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown”
Anthony Bourdain is an American chef, author, and television personality known for his currently popular TV show, "Parts Unknown" where he travels to places that are not tourist attractions and thought to be unknown to most people. Bordain recently added Paraguay to his "Unknown" repertoire. The sketch did a nice job of presenting Paraguay's unique (albeit rather bizarre) history, it's rich culture, it's very traditional cuisine, and it's distinctive citizens. It also revealed that Bordain, himself, has a family connection to Paraguay as his great (x4) granddad died in Asuncion and was buried in the famous Recoleta cemetery. Our friend and author of "Paraguay Travel Guide," Natalia Goldberg, also appeared on the show and assisted Bordain and his crew with many details about Paraguay, including research regarding his family's history. Learn more about the episode at this link: anthonybourdain.tumblr.com/
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.