Furlough, First Quarter, And Fruition...

“Mba ‘eishapa” (hello in Guarani) from Paraguay! This report covers our activities for both May and June. We were traveling in the USA all during May for our annual furlough visit back home which made it a bit difficult to send out our report. I arrived back in Paraguay on June 10 and have been running non-stop ever since! I count it as a great blessing to have so much to do! We hope you find this report encouraging and informative! 

Just two days after getting back to Paraguay and trying to “get back into the groove” of things, I went to the airport to pick up brother Eliezer Pérez. He is from Colón, Panama and a graduate of the Institute of Theology of Latinamerica, located in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Eliezer came to Paraguay in November of last year to work with the church for a few weeks during a campaign. He liked the work here so much that he has decided to return and labor with us full-time for a couple of years! To add to this excitement, the congregation here has decided to support him as their first, very own missionary! They would like for him to help them plant a congregation of the Lord’s church in the nearby suburb of Ñemby. We are truly excited about the forward thinking that the church is demonstrating and we are praying that God will richly bless the efforts of brother Eliezer. 

The students have already finished their first quarter of studies and each finished strong! We are very pleased to announce that all the students received passing grades in all their subjects. Their quarter ended with brother Donnie Bates of BVBID teaching a “short course” on Bible Geography.

During the past quarter, the students also participated in their first evangelistic campaign. As an effort to generate new Bible study contacts for the upcoming church plant in Ñemby, the students went doorknocking around the neighborhood of our brother Vicente Martinez’s house, who lives in that city. They organized a special Bible study for the final night of the campaign and invited lots of neighbors to come. Unfortunately, the electricity went out in the area that night making it difficult for anyone to attend. They went ahead with their plans and finished the week having considered the campaign a success.

Their second quarter began with brother Gary Fallis, of BVBID, coming to Paraguay to teach on the subject of  the “Godhead.” We were able to incorporate a couple of  our brethren, Ale Yegros and Silvina Gimenez, as translators for brother Gary. The class was well received and the students are excited about the upcoming courses.

This quarter will also include a considerable amount of  time dedicated to "Practical Ministry," or “hands-on” experience, where we will be teaching how to do various service works like visitation and benevolence, as well as, teaching how to lead prayers, preside over the Lord's Supper, organize the service, etc. 

Evangelistic Contacts / Bible Studies:
We have started facilitating our weekly home Bible studies again in the homes of Delci Enciso and the Vicente Martinez family. These have been very fruitful in the past in not only edifying our brethren, but also providing a means to invite their neighbors to join us.

Andrea and I will be starting up our “Teaching English Using the Bible” studies again in July. 

Recent Developments:
History in the making! In order to help facilitate the new church plant in Ñemby, the brethren have decided to start meeting every other Sunday morning to formulate their  plan. The first meeting brought up questions of “when, where, who, and how.” It was decided that the plant will probably start in the home of  Vicente Martinez. Brother Eliezer Perez will start leading the weekly Bible study out there and knocking on doors around the neighborhood with some of the brethren that live in Ñemby. No date has been set, as of yet, to begin worship services, but it is so exciting to watch and help in this church growth process!

Saturino Gonzalez is a missionary from Mexico to the USA, who contacted our brother Ike Yegros several months ago about the possibility of coming to Paraguay to meet with and get to know the brethren here. He and his wife, Elizabet, arrived on June 15th and he taught our  Bible study class the following Sunday. We also gave him an opportunity to teach a couple of classes on song leading for the Academy students. It was nice to get to meet them and we appreciate them taking the time to come and visit us.

Finished more improvements on facility! The entire front has been cleaned and whitewashed. It looks great! Also, the students put down a layer of rocks out behind the student housing in order to improve the use of that area. 

Upcoming plans:
We are preparing for mission groups who will be coming down to work with us this summer in June and July.

A group from Palm Beach Lakes will be here June 28 until July 7. They will be helping with our evangelism campaign in Ñemby and doing service projects.

A group from Leanna will be here July 24 until the 31st. They will be bringing lessons on leadership, church planting, and congregational development.

Two of our Academy students will be traveling to the Darien Jungle of Panama in July to work in a campaign with our  brethren from Margaret Street church of Christ. 

Call me crazy, but “un-eventful” international flights to and from the USA and Paraguay are a huge highlight for me! We were blessed with safe travel for all of our furlough and I am happy to rejoice in such small blessings as that. 

2013 Furlough was the best one yet!
We had such a wonderful furlough visit to the States! It was so good to get to see and visit many of our wonderful, loving supporters. Thank you so much to all of you for making our  stay so enjoyable. Even though we love working in South America, we still miss each of you dearly and long for the next time we get to see you again.

We are especially thankful to the many brethren who provided us a place to stay, prepared delicious meals, took us out to eat, or on several fun outings. Our cup runneth over!

We became rather nervous when Andrea was traveling to Paraguay and the Asuncion airport announced it was closing its runway for 48 hours due to inclement weather. We thought she’d be stranded in Lima, Peru, for two days where her connecting flight was. But, thanks to many answered prayers, the weather decided to cooperate and she made it home at her already scheduled time.

Be sure and check out our 2013 Furlough Mission Report on video by going to www.pblcoc.org and then navigating to “Sermons, Missionaries, South America.” 

Visitation / Other Activities:
We had a real nice dinner with the Ike Yegros family visiting with brother Gary Fallis and then another one with the Pedro Vera family, visiting with Eliezer Perez.

Andrea’s family had a big family reunion while she was in the USA. It was the first time her family (seven brothers and sisters) had all been together like that in more than twenty years! 

Personal study:
I have spent a great deal of time preparing for this quarter’s classes: “Exodus through Deuteronomy” with Bible study and various materials in Spanish and English.

I am currently reading / have read: 

“The Pentateuch”  by James E. Smith

“Guidelines to World Evangelism” Ed. by George Gurganus

“The New Global Mission” by Samuel Escobar 

“Planting Missional Churches” by Ed Stetzler  

Cultural or language discovery: 
Paraguay doesn’t have an OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to monitor safety on construction sights, that I am aware of, like that found in the USA. If they do, they certainly have their work cut out for them! Everywhere one drives that is near a construction sight, (and there are a lot these days) it is possible to see a scene like the photo at right. Usually, the workers can be found in very precarious positions, at dangerous heights, and almost never with any safety or fall protection. It’s no surprise, then, when I read in the newspapers about a construction worker falling to his death or serious injury. Sad.

Troy Spradlin

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

Posted on July 7, 2013 .