Greetings from Paraguay where it is currently blistering hot, summertime! February is typically one of the hottest months of the South American summer and everything usually moves a little slower due to the intense heat. People tend to take vacations just before school starts in March, favorite swimming holes are overcrowded, and under almost every shade tree you will find groups of Paraguayans sitting around drinking their beloved tereré. Andrea and I have been taking advantage of this down time to prepare for our upcoming furlough to the States by preparing lessons, organizing travel, lodging, and logistics, and getting the house ready .... oh, and Andrea has already started packing her suitcases (yes, a month before we leave)!
Developments at the Avenida Sacramento Iglesia de Cristo
Our Sunday morning Bible classes have been from a series on “The Transformed Life.” The men are taking turns teaching and it is going very well!
The men have also been continuing their plans for future church planting. Brother Enrique Albera has volunteered to be the coordinator for the planning group and they will be meeting once a month to develop a comprehensive strategy.
Things have been really quiet around the building lately. The interns and others who were living there have all moved out, plus the students and the church secretary are on vacation. It sure is a stark difference to the normal busy days - which will start back up again next month!
New Developments at the Asuncion Bible Academy
The students have been on a well deserved three week break and will begin classes again on February 29 to start their second year of studies.
The men of the congregation have begun an active search for the next Director of the Bible Academy for after I leave in March 2017. In order to facilitate a smooth transition, they will also begin to be more involved in all the decisions for the Academy over the next year. They are very pleased with the results of the Bible Academy and would like to see it continue for many years to come.
All of our teachers are currently busy preparing their materials for their classes for the next quarter.
New Developments at the Iglesia de Cristo of Ñemby
The brethren at Ñemby have secured a new place to rent in the city of San Lorenzo as a place for worship and study! They are hoping this will be a better location for all of the members in Ñemby and for those that come from Capiatá and San Lorenzo. It is located on one of the main traffic routes and has easy access from all the bus routes. Our missionary to Ñemby, Eliezer Perez, also lives relatively close to the new location, so he and the brethren are really excited about the possibilities for evangelizing the new area!
Eliezer currently has several Bible studies going that he says have good potential for baptism soon. We ask that you keep all new contacts and studies in prayer.
Personal Developments and Activities
Andrea and I had a literal “Lights Out” experience this past month! One night about 11:30 pm, the electricity went out. Although this is pretty common during the summer months due to the heavy load that the air conditioners put on the system, usually the power is restored within a couple of hours. Not this time! There was a fire at a substation that took out service for more than 100,000 people. When the average temperature is well over 100 degrees daily, trying to work, sleep, or do anything is really difficult without electricity. Fortunately, we found a hotel that had power (and a pool), so we turned a bad situation into a little “mini” vacation and we were able to get some work done after all. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”
I had the opportunity to preach at the Ñemby church of Christ last month. It turned out to be the last sermon at the Martinez’ home (where the church had been meeting) because they moved to their new facility the next week.
I finally finished the newly edited and revised version of the “Fundamentals of the Faith” book that I wrote in Spanish. It has been a long time coming, but it has also finally been sent to the publishers to prepare for printing! Andrea and I are now diligently working on an English version of the book because many have said they like the format of the Spanish version and would like to see it in English. Who would have ever thought that one day we would be translating our own Spanish words into English?
After earning my Black Belt in Taekwondo, I decided to start taking classes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. One day, I was casually chatting with my instructor, Roberto Romero, when he started asking me questions about the Bible (he knows I am here as a missionary). So, I answered his questions and then he invited me to his home to discuss it more! Andrea and I had a great visit and Bible study with him and his wife, Jazmin. We encouraged them to start reading the Bible and we’re praying there will be more opportunities to study.
Troy and Andrea Spradlin
To see the report with pictures, please click here.