Wow! January was quite an exciting month! The Lord continues to give the increase here in Paraguay through spiritual and numerical growth. What a blessing to work in His kingdom! We hope the good news from this month’s report from the mission field of Paraguay brings you much joy!
Developments at Sacramento Avenue
We’ve been reporting for a few months about our continued study with Sandra Duarte and how her husband, at first, didn’t want her involved in the church. This month, Sandra decided to obey the Gospel call! Oh, what joy to see the Word of God working in the hearts of those diligently seeking Him!
Our sister in Christ, Karen Bennett, returned to Paraguay this year to visit us and to give the keynote address at the Annual Ladies Retreat. It was a huge success with nearly 30 in attendance to help set their goals for 2014.
The men have approved the idea of planning a future church plant! They were four possible cities suggested, so they are going to start investigating to see which one might have the most potential. Please pray for this!
Developments at Ñemby Congregation
The brethren at Ñemby have decided to make some special improvements on their meeting facility that they rent. First item on the list: a bathroom for the ladies! That’s right, a bathroom - the one toilet they had was stolen, so they have decided to close in an area and make a nice facility for the ladies.
Eliezer Perez returned to Paraguay on January 6th from his furlough back to his home country of Panama. When asked if he missed Paraguay while he was home, he said, “Yes. Because I’ve already grown accustomed to being here.” He said he even took some tereré (yerba mate) back with him to Panama!
Asunción Bible Academy Update
The students are only a few days away from finishing their first complete year of studies in the Bible Academy! What an achievement! We are so thankful for their dedication and hard work, but more so for the spiritual growth we see in each one.
Brother Luis Camacho of the Bear Valley Extension School Program came to Paraguay during the week of Jan 20-24 to teach “1st Corinthians.” He did a wonderful job, the students responded very well to him, and we greatly enjoyed having him as a guest. He also preached for us at Ave Sacramento and he had the opportunity to visit the congregation at Ñemby.
Brother Enoch Rinks, (our former mission teammate), also taught a short course for us in the Academy on the topic of “Church Planting.” The students were then assigned a Special Project where they had to develop a complete strategy plan for a new church plant somewhere in Paraguay.
Evangelistic Contacts / Bible Studies / Activities
We were blessed to have our sister in Christ, Karen Bennett, come back to visit us. She is such an encouragement to us and we appreciate her missionary spirit and willingness to serve. She is a member at one of our supporting congregations, Central Ave church of Christ in Valdosta, GA. While she was here, she made a lot of great connections with the members and especially the ladies. They even gave her a going away gift (that says a lot!)
Ike Yegros and I have continued our study with, Rolando Duarte, the husband of Sandra Duarte (who was just recently baptized). We are doing a verse-by-verse, expository study of “Matthew” at his request. He takes lots of notes and asks lots of questions so the studies are very thorough. It’s so refreshing to see such great interest in God’s word - and don’t forget that we mentioned in previous reports that he is very Catholic!
I now have a twice-a-week study going with my Taekwondo instructor, Christian Jourdain. We are studying “Fundamentals” on one day and “Matthew” on the next. He is very inquisitive and has said he just wants to be pleasing to the Lord. We also started having a prayer with everyone in the gym before starting practice.
I had the opportunity to study with our brethren, Ramon Paredes and Elvira Dominguez, who will be getting married on February 8th. We used the Bible for some pre-marital counseling to help them start off with a very strong Christian marriage. We pray for a long, happy, and prosperous marriage for them both.
Andrea has several studies going on between her English/Bible students, evangelistic studies, and some new “edification” studies. Her studies are with Oscar Parodi, Adriana Rodriguez, Jazmine Santander, Dina Aycock, and Sandra Duarte.
Hawaiian Luau in Paraguay! Most people here had no idea what we were talking about, nor does the word “luau” translate very well into Spanish. But, once we said “just dress up like you’re going to Hawaii,” then the whole youth group got really excited! Andrea prepared several typical Hawaiian dishes, had flower leis for everyone, translated everyone’s name into Hawaiian names, had island music playing, and the works! There were 40 in attendance including about 10 visitors. Everyone had a blast!
Other News and Upcoming Activities:
Enrique Albera and Leti Alfonso, as well as, Ramon Paredes and Elvira Dominguez will be getting married in February
Special Mission Trip to El Salvador/Honduras
Annual Church Camp/Retreat
Andrea went to a “Going Away” tea for Laura Rinks at the home of Nora Yegros. It was great to get to see Laura and Enoch while they were visiting family here. By the way, they are expecting another baby real soon!
We went to visit Maria Teresa Vaesken to encourage her in her attendance. She hasn’t been coming as often and sometimes people just need a little encouragement that their church family misses them when they don’t attend faithfully.
We enjoyed a nice evening of fellowship and food in our home with our brethren, Delci Enciso, Natalia Mendoza, Maria Teresa Vaesken, and Karen Bennett.
I finally had the opportunity to go play golf! Karen Bennett and I went and tried out the Asuncion Golf Club. It was a nice course and it was fun, but the sewer water running through the creek in the middle of the 1st hole was a little distasteful!
The brethren at Ñemby hosted a “Welcome Back” dinner for Eliezer Pérez. It was a nice evening to get to see and visit with our brethren out there.
I am currently reading / have read:
The 360° Leader by John Maxwell
Why I Left The Catholic Church by Joseph C. Malone
I have been studying with a Jehovah’s Witness for the past several weeks. I asked him “How can we ever arrive at the same conclusion if you are using a different Bible than what I use?” He has proceded to show me all about his Bible but still hasn’t satisfactorily answered my question! They take a lot of verses out of context and employ a very strange hermeneutic to show their “reasoning” from the Scriptures.
I have been preparing sermons and lessons for a mission trip to El Salvador and Honduras in February.
Preaching / Teaching Opportunities
This month, I had the opportunity to preach at Avenida Sacramento on the subject of “How to Identify a Mature Christian.”
I also taught classes on Judges and Romans in our Bible study hours at Avenida Sacramento.
Troy and Andrea Spradlin
To read Troy’s report with pictures, please click here.