A missionary’s job is to evangelize and train. That is exactly what we have been trying to do during all of our tenure in Paraguay and what our teammates did during their time here. Today, we are seeing the fruit of that labor more and more. It warms our hearts to walk into the building and see Paraguayan brethren making preparations for their lessons and then teaching others. This is exactly what Jesus and the apostles desire in us (2 Timothy 2:2). We praise God for the blessing of this growing, healthy church!
Developments at the Avenida Sacramento Iglesia de Cristo
We have completed our series of Bible lessons on “Biblical Leadership: A Study about Elders, Deacons, and Church Government” and it went very well! We are trying to help the church recognize the importance and necessity of having elders and deacons within the Lord’s church. While I taught a few of the lessons, two of the candidates eligible to be elders also taught some of the classes (Pedro Vera is pictured above) and a potential deacon taught one of the classes during the series. There was a lot of interaction and many questions, so it appears the church received it quite well. We pray (and ask that you would, too) that this will soon lead to the installation of elders.
The men of the church have decided to make some more improvements to the building such as adding a glass door to the front so as to make it more “inviting” to visitors. They have a few other plans, as well. However, an investment firm recently bought the two properties on each side of us and are planning to build two high-rise apartment towers. We are hoping we can make a property trade with them so that their two towers will be next to each other and we can have an open property on which to build a new building. We’re praying for the Lord’s guidance and we ask for your prayers. The ladies held their monthly Ladies Tea at the home of Zuny Yegros and her daughter, Evelyn, gave the devotional. Her other daughter, Maria Jose, is due to give birth to her first child soon, so the ladies also had a Baby Shower for the expectant mother at the same event. The fellowship among our ladies is always a good time for them and they are all wonderful Christian examples.
Developments at the Asuncion Bible Academy
This past month was very busy for the students as they balanced a course load of four classes. This is the first time they have had that many all at the same time. We had “The Life of Christ IV,” “Judges and Ruth,” “Acts - Part 1,” and a class on “Sermon Preparation”. Despite the added pressure, the students did very well and are continuing to grow spiritually.
One of our main school projects the students have been working on is the translation of some of our hymns and spiritual songs into Guarani, the true native language of the Paraguayans. It has been fun working with them and, who knows?, their work may turn out to bless the church for many generations! Here is an example of one of the songs (try to sing the melody with each):
English: Spanish: Guarani:
Rejoice in the Lord always and again, I say rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice! And again, I say rejoice! ¡Alégrense en Cristo, Alégrense siempre! ¡Alé-grense, Alégrense siempre!
Pevy’a opa ára Ñandejára rérape!
Ha’e jey peême: Pevy’a! (The pronunciation of the letter “y” in Guarani does not exist in English and is kind of pronounced “oo-ugh”)
Contacts / Bible Studies / Activities / Opportunities
I have begun studying Christian Evidences with Natalia Enciso. Since our schedules don’t often coincide, we have been studying together via Skype. She is studying in order to fortify her faith and to also teach her the Bible to her boyfriend who is not a Christian.
I also conducted a counseling session for the son of one of our members. Please pray for Mario, who is the son of Diosnel Arteta. He is struggling with family and spiritual issues and thinking of obeying the Gospel call by being baptized.
Andrea continues her weekly “Searching for Truth” Bible studies with Rosa, Belén, Claudia, and Andrés. She also has two new “Learn English Using the Bible” students, Alejandra and Elsa.
We had an unusual situation arise with one of our regular taxi drivers, Fernando, who has brought his girlfriend over to our house a few times to have us pray for her. We pray this will soon lead to a Bible study with both of them.
I had the opportunity to preach at Ave Sacramento this past month on “The Church’s responsibility to the Great Commission.”
Personal Developments and Activities
Andrea’s “Las Amigas” club celebrated the change of seasons here in Paraguay with a Friends and Family Spring Picnic. It was a gorgeous day with a great turnout (including the U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay) and Andrea took her regular position on the grill and made Steak Lomitos for everyone. They were delicious!
Now that I have earned my black belt in Tae Kwon Do, I have had the opportunity to participate in special training classes and workshops that are only for black belts. The intensity is much higher than of all my previous training and I can really notice the difference it has made in my overall health and fitness.
Las Amigas club members at their annual picnic, along with some talented harpists for a little entertainment.
Andrea has started taking Pilates for the first time this month and loves it! She signed up with a small group of some of her American friends from “Las Amigas” so that they could enjoy their own private class together. We are hopeful this will alleviate much of the neck and back pain that she has struggled with for so many years.
Spring is in the air and we have Texas Bluebonnets in our back yard! Andrea has been busy in her garden again and we’ve been enjoying a bountiful harvest of three varieties of kale, with okra, corn, and squash on the horizon!
In the News: Students of the Asuncion National University (UNA) began a protest against the blatant corruption and nepotism that had long been taking place among the school’s Rector (equivalent to “President”) and his faculty. They surrounded the administration building, protesting and preventing anyone from leaving, while demanding his resignation. At one point, university staff was caught destroying and trying to remove records. They even surrounded a car of one such faculty member trying to leave and demanded a prosecutor come and examine the contents of what was being removed. Finally, after three straight days of protests, a judge issued a warrant for the arrest of the Rector and others that were involved.
The next day, the Rector turned himself in and resigned his position. A local newspaper reported, “Whatever happens next, the students now know that indignation can lead to action. That by standing together, peaceful but firm, respectful but loud, at least some small measure of change can be achieved.”
Personal Studies - Currently Reading/Have Read:
“When Charity Destroys Dignity” by Glen Schwartz
“The King James Version Debate” by D.A. Carson
“Acts - New Testament History” by Gareth L. Reese
Current Bible reading: Isaiah -Jeremiah, Galatians - Colossians.
I am preparing lessons for classes for the next quarter: 1 and 2 Kings, History of the Church, and Church Planting.
I have also been reconstructing the “Fundamentals of the Faith” workbook in Spanish to prepare for sending it to the publishers soon!
Troy and Andrea Spradlin
To see the Spradlin’s report with pictures and prayer requests, please click here.