Spiritual Strengthening, A Safari, And Studies!

This month has been a real blessing as a lot of great things occurred which were fun, rejuvenating, or just very encouraging. We are excited to bring you news from Paraguay in this month’s mission report! We pray it brings you much joy as we work alongside each other in His kingdom.

We hosted a Scavenger Hunt for the youth group this month. In Paraguay, they call it a “Safari.” We had them go all over town collecting clues and taking pictures in many fun, but odd, requests. After having two hours to complete the tasks, they then arrived at our house for singing, a devotional, and fire-grilled pizza. Several visitors also came and the whole event was just a ton of fun!

Every two years, there is a men’s conference held in Brazil for South American missionaries called “Continent Care Connection.” It is five days of spiritual renewal through some great lessons and seminars, as well as, “recharging” by getting to rest and spend time fellowshipping with other missionaries. My teammate, Josh, and I were able to attend this year and we came back to Paraguay refreshed and ready to tackle more challenges. We’d like to say “Thank you” to all those who made it possible!

Last month we reported that the Ñemby congregation had obtained a place to rent for their worship service. After several weeks of cleaning, painting, and repairing various needed items, they began meeting in the facility this past month. They are blessed with lots of room to grow!

They also held a congregational business meeting to discuss their goals and the direction that the congregation wants to go. It is so exciting to watch this young congregation growing while having the opportunity to assist them in the effort!

The students are close to finishing up their third quarter and all are doing very well while continuing to grow spiritually.

They recently participated in a hands-on “baptism workshop” where each had the opportunity to practice how to administer a baptism. We took turns (except for the young lady) practicing what to say and then actually immersing the person. We also practiced how to baptize someone who may be disabled or in a wheelchair.

Brother Ike Yegros taught our short course for this quarter on Romans. We were excited to have Ike in the classroom!

Evangelistic Contacts / Bible Studies / Activities:
Eliezer and I have continued our study with Sandra Durarte. We have now completed the “Searching for Truth” study, which she mostly did on her own, and have discussed baptism along with salvation in great detail. She understands very well but does not yet want to be baptized. So, we will continue to study with her while the Word works on her heart.

I also had the opportunity to study with Gabriel who is a coworker with our sister, Raquel Franco. He is seriously studying what the Bible says about salvation and considering baptism. Please pray for Sandra and for Gabriel.

We also ask you to please pray for our students in our “Learn English Using the Bible” program: José, Max, Martín, Aaron, Felix, Adriana, and Oscar. We are still gaining more contacts and several of these studies are now serious Bible studies.

Please pray for the several new contacts that have been made in Ñemby: Graciela, Issa, Salvadora, and Ruthy.

Other news and upcoming activities:
Our sister in Christ, Norberta Vera passed away this month. Here is what Andrea posted:

“Please pray for our sisters in Christ, Pochi and Mirta, and their family, on the passing of their mother, Norberta. Mirta is our church secretary and has had her elderly mother living in her home for quite some time now. In the Paraguayan culture, everything must be done and the body in its final resting place within 24 hours.

Imagine... working all day, then having your loved one pass at 6pm, the body prepared and ready to receive visitors by 11pm until it is time to leave at 5am for a 5-hour drive to your home town, where there is another receiving of visitors, until finally, before 6 pm, the body is laid to rest.

Although Norberta passed from her physical life at the age of 91, in January of this year, she was blessed with the opportunity to finally have the correct Bible teaching and understanding about God's will for her life. At that very moment, just as we read the examples in the New Testament, she obeyed the Gospel call by putting on her Lord in baptism so that she could enjoy eternal life and receive her reward in Heaven. When we left the family last night, how beautiful it was to hear Pochi say, with a big smile, "Mission complete!", knowing she will see her mother again one day!!!”

Our brother in Christ, Joe King, from Margaret Street COC in Milton, FL is coming to visit next month. Our Annual Men’s Planning Retreat is coming up November 1.

“Mujeres de Fe” Ladies Seminar will be November 9th.

Andrea and I reached a new milestone this month: 18 years of marriage! We praise God for blessing us with a strong marriage and we we pray that we have many more years together.

We recently joined a group called “Ex-Pats in Paraguay” which has turned into a real blessing. We have already made several new friends and some promising Bible study contacts. Not only that, but the collective Paraguayan information they have provided has been very valuable.

Andrea’s cooking business, “Mas Que Dulces” is now legally registered with the Paraguayan government. She is excited about the possibilities because she just loves to cook and this has also been a great avenue for creating Bible study contacts.

Andrea also attended her first cooking class in Spanish! She said it was a lot of fun and enjoyed the activity with some of her friends from the Las Amigas Club.

The Bible study website I developed, “Conocer La Palabra.com” now has more than 20,000 hits from all over Latin America! Other stats show that many of the study helps have also been downloaded and/or forwarded. I am hoping to add even more information real soon. I never imagined that the site would receive this much attention. If you happen to have Spanish materials you would like to add, please contact me. I am so thankful and just pray that God is glorified with every “click”!

Personal study: I am currently reading / have read:

“Communicating for a Change” by Andy Stanley

“The Chronological Life of Christ” by Mark E. Moore

“The Good and Beautiful God” and “The Good and Beautiful Life” by James Bryan Smith

Preaching/teaching opportunities:
I was blessed with the opportunity to preach at Ave. Sacramento and Ñemby this month. My topic was “You are Acts Chapter 29.”

I finished teaching the Asuncion Bible Academy courses on the books of Judges - Ruth and “The Life of Christ IV: Luke.” I am now preparing to teach “I and II Kings” and “Church History” for the next quarter.

Cultural or language discovery:
An interesting but rather sad holiday in Paraguay is Children's Day which is celebrated on August 16. It is a national holiday to commemorate the memory of the children who lost their lives in the Battle of Acosta Ñu/ Campo Grande. It was a terrible battle fought during the Triple Alliance War (1864-70). With Asunción already captured by the enemy and most adult Paraguayan males already killed or captured after four long years of war, the Paraguayan dictator, Mariscal López, still refused to surrender. He began to use children and the elderly in his army to keep up the fight against the triple alliance of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. Some of the children even fought with fake beards to conceal their age. On that day, some 2000 died even after another 1,600 had already perished in the battle at Piribebuy.

Troy and Andrea Spradlin

To see Troy’s report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on November 10, 2013 .