What a great month October was! Another soul was added to the Lord’s body. Praise God! Many missionary men from all over South America had an opportunity to come together for a special conference to be rejuvenated and encouraged. Also, Andrea and I celebrated 20 years of marriage this October. It’s been a month full of blessings and we give all the glory to our Creator! We hope you will enjoy reading this month’s report from the mission field of Paraguay. We appreciate your support, your love, and your prayers for us.
Developments at the Ave. Sacramento Iglesia de Cristo
Baptism! Mario Atteta was baptized on October 4th by his father, Diosnel Atteta, who is our brother in Christ. Mario has been studying with his dad for several years and thinking about his baptism. He just wants to be pleasing to God and to be a good person. You might remember that in September 2013 we reported that Diosnel had been restored to the church after a very long absence. We praise God for the spiritual growth we see in both of them!
Every two years there is a special men’s conference, or retreat, that is offered to English-speaking missionary men who are serving all over South America. It is called
“Connections” (formerly known as “CCC”) and is designed for missionary care. A special team of elders, teachers, preachers, and counselors come down to a retreat site in Brazil, where everyone meets up to offer their services and support for these good missionary men. The idea is to help them develop better connections with:
(1) God, (2) other missionaries, and (3) the serving team. This was my third time to attend and each one has just gotten better. I come home feeling completely rejuvenated and excited to get back to work, laboring in the Lord’s vineyard! I would like to thank all those who made this retreat possible. It is a truly valuable service that is greatly appreciated!
We have started a new series of Bible study lessons focusing on “The Christian Home” and have divided the lessons among the brethren for teaching. The first few lessons went very well and, since we have several new families among the congregation, we pray these lessons will provide some necessary, spiritual nourishment that will help them grow.
The students of the Asuncion Bible Academy have been busy with several short courses this past month. We had our brethren Enrique Morales and Osvaldo Rodriguez teaching their classes from the USA via the video system, and Ave. Sacramento’s own, Ike Yegros, teaching “Romans” here in the classroom.
“Crime is pretty high here in Paraguay, but most of it has been relatively non-violent. However, the incidence of violent crime has been increasing and we've been getting reports that have been a little unnerving, including an email from our own US Embassy. Troy decided to teach me some self-defense moves, then word got out and it turned into a class for all the ladies in the church. We had our first class yesterday and it should last about a month. I look forward to practicing throwin' 'bows as my homework for this week!”
Contacts / Bible Studies / Activities / Opportunities
Andrea has continued her weekly “Searching for Truth” Bible studies with Rosa, Belén, Claudia, and Andrés, and with her “Learn English Using the Bible” student, Alejandra
She also had a special project helping Gabriel Desvars with the scholarship application and interview process for a university in Korea. He made it to the final round which included a personal interview in English.
I had the opportunity to preach at Ave Sacramento this past month on “The Church’s Responsibility Toward Her Missionaries.” It was focused mainly on how we can properly support Eliezer, our missionary for ASIDC, in his work that he is doing in Ñemby.
Andrea has started a fitness program to help one of our members that lives nearby. The idea was just to help with her physical problems, but spending 6 mornings a week together, it has also become a great time of spiritual bonding and encouragement. The two of them are also using it to evangelize a neighbor and have plans to reach out to others that visit the park!
Personal Development and Activities
We celebrated twenty years of marriage!!! I was in Brazil on the actual day, but we had already taken a vacation earlier in the year to celebrate. Then, once I returned, we enjoyed a nice dinner at one of Andrea’s favorite restaurants in Asuncion.
Andrea’s “Las Amigas” club - Andrea has been quite busy in her role as Vice-President, organizing several social and fundraising activities for “Las Amigas”, including a special viewing of the local Paraguayan film, “La Chiperita” to raise money for their projects.
Post from Andrea’s Facebook page: “Since going-out date nights never seem to happen for us (except for special occasions), we are trying to start a new tradition of stay-at-home-and-cook- together date nights. Last night was the first and we made Steak Tacos with Homemade Tortillas. We had SO MUCH FUN doing this!!! Crazy how cooking together is how we started out dating, then we never thought of it again in 20 years of marriage!”
My sweet grandmother, Aileen “Mimi” Spradlin, passed away this past month, on October 8th. She was 92 years old and was my last living grandparent. She was a wonderful lady - a loyal wife, a loving mother, a doting grandmother, and a successful business woman. She was laid to rest in Chandler, Texas. According to my Aunt Shara, the day she was buried was also the day she had married my grandfather, 75 years ago.
Discovering PARAGUAY - Local movies: “La Chiperita”
Andrea and I went to see one of Paraguay’s latest locally produced movies, “The Chiperita.” It was produced by Hugo Cataldo Barudi, the son of one of Andrea’s friends from the “Las Amigas” club. Here is a summary of the movie:
“In a small town in Paraguay lives a young lady named, Virgilia. She is a “chipera” (someone who sells chipa – a Paraguayan cheese bread) and she is in love with Walter, the cute kid who works in the toll booth in her town and who has been her best friend since childhood. Juanita, her best “girl” friend, lives in a world of soap operas and advises Virgilia that she should confess her love to Walter, but Virgilia doesn’t dare do so because she is afraid he will reject her.
Meanwhile, Virgilia's mother, Candelaria, is worried about her son, Anselmo, who is living in Spain. She hasn’t heard from him for quite some time and his disappearance has caused a lack of money that is needed to pay the bills, which he would send them monthly to help.
Virgilia decides that she must face reality, letting go of her illusions of love and recognizing that without the help of anyone else but herself, she must support her family.”
Personal Studies: Currently Reading/Have Read:
“Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl
“A Response to Grace: Putting Baptism in its Place” by Boyd Lammiman
Current Bible reading: Jeremiah, Lamentations, Philemon - Hebrews
João - Novo Testamento (Portuguese).
I have been preparing my lessons for classes for the next quarter: “1 and 2 Kings,” “History of the Church,” and “Church Planting.”
I am still working on reconstructing the Spanish workbook I wrote, “Fundamentals of the Faith,” with its newly edited pages, to prepare it for sending to the publishers soon! Hopefully by this January.
Andrea attended a fundraising luncheon for the Las Damas Internacionales to raise money for a place outside the city that helps children with cancer. The event was an Indian theme and Andrea was used as a model to demonstrate how to put on an Indian Sari.
“THANK YOU!” to all of our generous supporters!
Troy and Andrea Spradlin
To see their report with pictures, please click here.