Andrea and I pray that each of you might have a very happy and prosperous 2015. A new year always brings the excitement of new horizons full of possibilities. We believe 2015 will be a great year for the Lord’s church in Paraguay and we invite you to partner with us in prayer for the work. Please pray that more souls will be added to the Lord’s kingdom, that God will lift up more leaders from among the men, and that the body of Christ (His church) will grow in spiritual maturity. Thank you and God bless! Troy and Andrea
Walter Chavez obeyed that form of doctrine which saves and put on Christ in baptism December 22. He is a close friend of Alex Vargas (remember the young man who received the flyer in his mailbox) and attended a local denomination with him for several years. Alex recently introduced him to some of his new Christian friends and one of them, William Arzamendia, engaged him in a Bible Study. At 12:30 in the morning, after going through the steps of the plan of salvation, Walter made the decision to put his life on the right path toward heaven! Praise the Lord!
DEVELOPMENTS AT AVE. SACRAMENTO CHURCH OF CHRIST
“Circles of Encouragement” - We are the family of God and we are commanded to love and encourage one another. With this in mind, the church has developed a plan to help keep every member of the congregation more informed and connected, but above all, encouraged. Seven men volunteered to be leaders of what we have named “Circles of Encouragement” who will call, message, or go to visit each of the members on their list. We pray this will help develop stronger, more personal relationships among the brethren.
End of Year Dinner - We enjoyed a lovely evening together of great fellowship and food in order to reflect on all that the Lord has done in 2014. We had all three congregations represented at the dinner. Naty Mendoza prepared a wonderful photo presentation that was very emotional to watch. There were certainly a lot of things that happened this year!
DEVELOPMENTS AT ÑEMBY CHURCH OF CHRIST
There have been many studies taking place among the brethren, visitors, and friends in Ñemby. Eliezer Perez has been busy with many of these studies. We also enjoyed seeing some of the former members who returned for the holidays to see their families.
ASUNCION BIBLE ACADEMY
GRADUATION is drawing NEAR! Here we are in the last quarter of the two-year program and three bright eyed students are almost ready to go out into the world ready to serve. William Arzamendia, Karen Gimenez, and Ramón Paredes invite you to join them for a special graduation ceremony on Saturday, February 7. The church will be hosting a special dinner for the students that night and then they will “walk the stage” to receive their Diploma of Biblical Studies from Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver and the Academia Bíblica - Asunción. We are excited and looking forward to seeing our first graduating class honored at this special event. It is going to be an emotional night!
Be sure and look for the last Quarterly Report that was recently published! You can access it at: www.paraguaymission.com/asuncion-bible-academy/
Contacts / Bible Studies / Activities:
We were excited to have Cody Westbrook, one of my former colleagues from Southwest School of Bible Studies, teach a class for us via our new video conference system. He did a great job and the students responded really well!
Bible Studies - We’ve had some great studies this month.Valeria Suarez has returned to the church and is studying with me, and Alex Vargas and I have been studying “Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible” together. Adriana Rodriguez is continuing her study with Andrea, which is going well. After the holidays, several new studies will be starting up along with many others which will resume.
New English students – Andrea has been advertising a new English class and is thrilled with the connections she has made with three new students…Alison, Sonya, and Nelly!
Member visit – One of our newer members, Mikaela Jara, has been struggling with some conflict lately and missing services, so we went with our sisters, Delci and Nati, to visit and encourage her. We pray that she, as well as her non-Christian family members, were able to see the love that her Christian family has for them.
Interns Pablo Yuri and Italo Rocha will arrive January 8th from AME Brazil to work with us for one year.
A Men’s Planning Retreat to discuss the desired direction of the church in Paraguay for the next five years has been scheduled for January 10th. We are calling it “Vision 2020.”
Karen Bennett will be returning to Paraguay for the Annual Ladies Retreat, January 31.
Graduation for the Asuncion Bible Academy will be held on Saturday, February 7th, 2015!
A new class of students will begin their studies at the Asuncion Bible Academy on March 2, 2015.
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND ACTIVITIES
Annual Christmas Tea - One of Andrea’s favorite events of the year is opening our home to all the ladies of the congregation for the Annual Christmas Tea! She makes all the food herself and just asks that the ladies bring drinks and a small gift to exchange. For the devotional portion, Andrea issued the ladies the “1000 Gifts Thankfulness Challenge,” along with little notebooks and monthly bookmarks to use for the challenge in 2015.
Las Amigas Cookie Exchange – Andrea attended the annual Las Amigas Christmas Party and it should be of no surprise that she baked DOZENS of cookies for the Cookie Exchange!
Date night – We don’t get out much to the movies, but we just couldn’t pass up the latest Hunger Games!
Birthday –We celebrated my birthday together with a night out at a new restaurant that has now become one of my local favorites!
Nutrition and Cooking Class - After more than 4 years of requests for cooking classes, and 2 years of requests for some lessons on nutrition, Andrea finally decided to combine the two and is now offering some private small-group events in our home. They are learning about having a balanced diet with a visual presentation to compare carbohydrates in various foods, how to plan ahead for success, and how to cook a meal featuring one of Andrea’s own original recipes using a local Paraguayan product... Chicken with Cocido Salsa. Then they eat a yummy, healthy, balanced lunch!!!
Christmas – We enjoyed another wonderful evening with the Vera Family in their home for Christmas Eve Dinner. However, being away from family and friends back home is especially difficult during the holidays, and this year we’ve been feeling more homesick than ever. So, we decided to spend Christmas day and night on the river at the Paraguay Yacht & Golf Club here in Asuncion. It was just the little get-away that we needed!
I have been reading (or, still reading): “Cover to Cover” by Johnny Ramsey, “ El Desafio del Amor” by Alex and Stephen Kendrick, “Spiritual Disciplines” by Adele Calhoun
I have also been studying and preparing lessons for an upcoming Sunday Bible study series on spiritual development and maturity.
I preached one Sunday this month at Avenida Sacramento.
I finished up classes on “Revelation,” and “Catholicism,” in the Asuncion Bible Academy. I also taught one Sunday morning class over “False Ideas About The Holy Spirit.”
Discovering Paraguay: Christmas Fireworks
What are some of the biggest differences between Christmas in Paraguay and in the USA? One, lack of snow…the other, fireworks! Lots and lots of fireworks! Paraguayans have a deep love for fireworks in general as they will shoot them off at the end of a soccer game, when a political candidate wins, for the current patron saint’s day, a birthday, a quinceñera, or really, any occasion. Yet, there is no occasion quite like Christmas Eve. Right about midnight, all of a sudden, it sounds like a war broke out! It seems like thousands upon thousand of fireworks are exploded all across town from as close as your front door to as far away as you can possibly hear in every direction. It is absolutely incredible! For more information on all things Paraguay, visit this informative website: http://discoveringparaguay.com
Troy and Andrea Spradlin
To see the Spradlin’s report with pictures and an invitation to their graduation, click here.