Posts tagged #Paraguay

Graduation in Paraguay

January 28, 2017 was a special day at the Asuncion Bible Academy, in Asuncion, Paraguay, as another graduation was observed and I was blessed to be there for it. These students have dedicated themselves for the better part of two years and have learned so much bible in that time. As with all of the Bear Valley extensions, the purpose is to train people, in their own language, to reach their own people, in their own country. We are confident this goal has been achieved there.

It was also a bit of a sad day, as it also marked the official closing of the school. Missionary Troy Spradlin has served as the Director of the school for it's entire four year history, but when he moves back to the States in February, it will live the school without a Director and one it's primary teachers. For now, the best decision is to close the school with the possibility of it reopening at another time. 

To God be the glory!

Keith Kasarjian

Posted on January 31, 2017 .

Reporting, Reconnecting, And Research...

Yes, you read that correctly. It says "research." That is because not only have we been traveling around to visit our supporters to give our annual mission report and getting to visit our families, but I have also been trying to complete all the assignments from the classes I took last month: six books to read, with five book reviews and two 20-page research papers to write! Whew! It has been a little challenging while traveling, to say the least! But all is going well and we have been blessed with generous hospitality and good travel conditions. It has been a great furlough. We hope you enjoy this month's Paraguay Mission report. God bless! 

Baptism
Marcos Dominguez
was immersed into the body of Christ after Enrique Albera (one of our former Bible Academy students), taught him the Gospel. Marcos is the boyfriend of our sister in Christ, Silvina Gimenez. He has been coming to services with Silvina for several months. We are excited to see the Word of God working in his life! 

Visiting My Alma Mater
What a joy it was to get to visit with our dear brethren at my alma mater, Southwest School of Bible Studies in Austin, TX! I had the opportunity to speak in chapel and then several of us enjoyed fellowship over lunch.

Developments at Ave. Sacramento
Our annual CONGREGATIONAL RETREAT was held this past month. Around twenty people went to Itacurubi, (located about 90 minutes outside of Asuncion), on a Saturday afternoon to enjoy fellowship with each other and a night of camping. On Sunday, the church hired a bus for anyone else who wanted to attend the event, which left the building at 6:30am. It turned out to be a great day of worship, study, and fellowship, including a baptism! The theme for the retreat was “Worship,” and consisted of four Bible study times (pictured below, with Enrique teaching), followed with worship to God to end the event. There were sixty people present on Sunday. The Paraguayans did all the planning and executed the event without the mission team's involvement. We praise God for an active and working church!

Asuncion Bible Academy Update
Studies, studies, and more studies! The students have already completed several short courses for this quarter. Some of the classes have been via video including Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon which I taught from here in the USA this past month (pictured below). There will be another campaign coming up that will have the students going out to the new church building location in San Lorenzo. They will be door-knocking the surrounding neighborhood, visiting the brethren in that area, and also shadowing the local evangelist, Eliezer, in his weekly ministry.

Troy and Andrea Spradlin

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

Posted on May 8, 2016 .

While On Furlough, The Spradlins Share Exciting News...

It always feels so good to come back home to the USA after many months in South America! Furlough is a little sweeter every time we walk through those Immigration Department doors at the Miami airport. This year, we returned home earlier than our usual time so that I could attend classes at Bear Valley Bible Institute in Denver. Afterward, we will commence our reporting trip to visit all of our supporters and the Bible Academy’s supporters. We are excited and looking forward to seeing everyone. Meanwhile, the brethren at Avenida Sacramento are proceeding with business as usual, handling every aspect of the work. What a blessing and encouragement to see a maturing congregation doing so well! We hope you enjoy this report!

Developments at the Avenida Sacramento Iglesia de Cristo
The brethren in Paraguay are currently making plans for their upcoming congregational retreat. This will be the first time that there will be no American missionary involvement in the planning. They are excited about the event and doing a great job. We are excited for them!

Brother Ike Yegros was selected to speak at the upcoming “32nd Encuentro Iberoamericano,” in Bogota, Columbia. His topic will be over the Lord’s Supper. I am planning to attend the event with him.

New Developments at the Asuncion Bible Academy
The students finished up their first three classes of the new quarter: “Ezra, Nehemias, Ester;” “Job;” and “Homiletics 2 (Expository Preaching)”. The young men also practiced preaching from the pulpit.

Due to my furlough travel plans and the schedules of our adjunct teachers, this entire quarter will be made up of short courses (a complete course in just one week). I will be teaching one of the upcoming courses via video from the USA. We will also be having Osvaldo Rodriguez and Enrique Morales returning to teach this quarter via video.

The overseeing committee for the Academy will be taking a more active role in all of the decisions for the school over the next year as we prepare for a transition in Director. This will help them be better prepared for managing the school once I have completed my tenure in Paraguay.

New Developments at the Iglesias de Cristo of Ñemby San Lorenzo

The brethren at the church of Christ which meets in San Lorenzo (formerly Ñemby) are considering what to do about signage in front of their new meeting facility. Since the new location is situated over a main avenue, they want to have something that will attract lots of attention and be easily identified.

Personal Developments and Activities
I had the opportunity to attend two special “Blitz Week” classes on the campus of the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver for credit towards the Masters in Missions degree that I have been working on. One of the classes was “Cross-Cultural Missions” with Dr. Roger Shepherd of Amridge University and the other class was “Introduction to Anthropology” with Dave Chamberlin of BVBID. It required some extra special effort, but I got through the classes just fine and now have my eyes set on finishing and graduating in May of 2017!

Andrea and I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with the youth group at the Dripping Springs church of Christ via Skype this past month. They were participating in a “Missional March” study where they were visiting with and encouraging several of the missionaries that their congregation supports. They had some great questions and it was a lot of fun getting to share a little about missions with them!

Andrea and snow! You have never seen a Florida girl so excited as she was about seeing snow! Not only did we see snow in Denver, but we also experienced a blizzard while we were there. They even cancelled school (except for the blitz classes!).

After finishing up classes in Denver, and before starting our Furlough Reporting trip to visit supporters, we decided to take a much needed, quick, two-day vacation up in the mountains. We went to Breckenridge, Colorado and enjoyed the sights and culinary treats of the town.

My studies and readings for the month have included:
IntroducingCulturalAnthropology-AChristianPerspective, by Brian Howell and Jenell Paris

Planting Churches Cross-Culturally in North America and Beyond, by David Hesselgrave

Communicating Christ Cross-Culturally by David Hesselgrave

God In The Wasteland: The Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams, by David F. Wells

I preached at Avenida Sacramento this past month and also had the opportunity to speak in Chapel at Bear Valley Bible Institute.

Troy and Andrea Spradlin

To see the report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on April 10, 2016 .

A Little Down Time Before The Tempest In Paraguay....

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.

Posted on March 6, 2016 .

Planning The Future And Celebrating The Past In Paraguay...

It is looking like 2016 will be a real “leap” year in more ways than one, if you consider it in the sense of church growth. It promises to be the year that the Iglesia de Cristo of Asuncion begins stepping out on its own. What a milestone to celebrate!

Every missionary’s job is to work himself out of a job. That is exactly what is taking place in Paraguay! At the first Men’s Business Meeting of the year, I announced to the church that Andrea and I will be ending our duties as resident missionaries and will be returning to the USA in March of 2017. Why such long notice you ask? Simply put, preparation time. Since this congregation was planted in 2004, there has always been someone on the Asuncion Mission Team that was involved with making decisions for the church, or handling church business on one level or another. For the past three years, the church here has been taking on more and more of its own responsibilities. The time has come for the church to now handle each and every aspect of its own business. This means I will no longer do things like handle payroll for the church secretary, nor handle construction projects, nor other such items that the church previously leaned on the missionaries to do. It will be as if I were already back in the USA. I will, however, certainly continue to fulfill all my duties as Director of the Asuncion Bible Academy until graduation and I will be happy to preach, teach, and conduct personal Bible studies as needed just like any member of the church at Avenida Sacramento. The men responded with great enthusiasm to the news and at the end of services that day they announced, “If we want the church to continue forward, then we must become more responsible for ourselves in fulfilling our duties - because this is our congregation!”

Brethren, these are exciting times! When the first mission team planted this congregation in 2004, it was this moment that they were working toward!

Praise the Lord it has come!
We were also blessed to have Karen Bennett, from the Central Avenue church of Christ in Valdosta, GA, return to Paraguay this past month and be our guest speaker at the Annual Ladies’ Retreat. Her lesson was about “Prayer” and they also watched the movie, War Room. Karen has become really close with many of the brethren here so lots of visits were in order, even though she was nursing a sore throat the whole time. We always enjoy her visits and greatly appreciate her servant attitude!

Developments at Asuncion Bible Academy
As part of our quarterly campaigns, the students of the Asuncion Bible Academy made a special survey trip to the city of Hernandarias (near Ciudad del Este) with the purpose of gathering information and exploring the possibilities for planting a church in that area. They were able to talk with many of the local citizens and with several people at the local municipality offices. As a group project, they will now take all the information and compile it into a report that will be delivered to the men of Avenida Sacramento to help them make some sound decisions. The Margaret Street church of Christ in Milton, FL, has also been working with the brethren in Paraguay to help them accomplish the goal of planting new congregations.

This information will be useful for determining next steps in moving forward with those plans, as well. This is now the third survey/research trip that the Academy has made in the past year and a half in our efforts to see more churches established in Paraguay.

Since many of the students had never even been to the other side of their own country, much less into one of their neighboring countries, we took advantage of the opportunity to go see the enormous Iguazu Falls in nearby Brazil (which, at one time, was once part of Paraguay). The students were really excited and thoroughly enjoyed the excursion. It was a well deserved reward for lots of hard work they have put in for the past few months.

This is the last quarter of the first year of the two-year program. The students are finishing up with short courses with Luis Camacho (1 Corinthians), Osvaldo Rodriguez (1 and 2 Samuel), Ike Yegros (Acts 2), and a research week. This will be followed by a month long break before diving into their second year of studies. We couldn’t be more pleased with the progress of the students, along with their good attitude and their diligent work ethic. Please keep them in prayer.

Contacts / Bible Studies / Activities / Opportunities
We were able to have another Bible study with Juan and Natty Candia. We have started a study on “Fundamentals of the Faith” that we will be using over the next few months.

Our interns from AME - Brazil, Italo Rocha (pictured, above) and Pablo Yuri, have completed their commitment for one year of service with us here in Paraguay and have now returned to their homes in Recife and Joao Pessoa, Brazil. It was a real blessing to the church to have them here and they served in many areas, especially in helping develop an adolescent youth group. They would frequently visit our widows and other brethren, helped Eliezer in Ñemby, organized a weekly soccer game and devotional, and would preach or lead singing whenever needed. We appreciate all the work they did and wish them God speed!

Personal Developments and Activities
I know it may seem hard for many of you to believe by just looking at her, but we celebrated Andrea’s 50th birthday this past month! (I know, she certainly doesn’t look 50!) We wanted to do something special, so we invited 30 of her closest brethren and friends to one of her favorite restaurants. We rented out the entire room and Andrea made all the decorations for the occasion (those of you who know her know how much she loves to make things!) The festivities included an 8-course meal, brought out in stages, and a Cirque du Soliel style show with live music and acrobats. It was followed by lighting the candles on her cake (I have never seen so many candles on a cake before!) and singing “Happy Birthday” both in Spanish and English. It was a wonderful evening for such a wonderful lady!

We also had a nice, traditional American New Year’s meal on January 1st. In the past we’ve celebrated this day with others, but this year it was just a special meal for two, complete with a delicious Pork Roast, Hoppin’ John, Sweet American Cornbread, and some local greens. Mmmm mmmm!

Discovery Paraguay
“Chake! Bache!” is a phrase one often hears when traveling down the busy streets of Asuncion. It means “Watch out! Pothole!” and you should definitely heed the warning, because some of the potholes have been known to swallow the whole front of a small car! With all the rain we’ve had the past few months and the constant flow of traffic, Asuncion has turned into a mine field. There are literally thousands of potholes throughout the city. Also, it’s not like the USA where cones or warning barriers are set up to signal drivers of the danger. Here, one must keep an eye out for a constant threat. At times someone might drop a tree branch or wooden crate over a real bad pothole to warn others. Regular car maintenance obviously requires changing the oil, filters, and perhaps rotating the tires. But, in Paraguay, we also add suspension parts to the list because the roads are so bad that something will inevitably be destroyed in the course of just a few month’s driving!

Personal Studies: Currently Reading/Have Read:

“Planting Churches Cross- Culturally in North America and Beyond,” by David Hesselgrave

“The Book of Philippians” by Wayne Jackson

“A New Commentary on Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon” by Wilbur Fields

My current Bible reading: Matthew - John.

I have also begun preparing my lessons for classes for next quarter and I am still working diligently on the “Fundamentals of the Faith” workbook in Spanish to prepare for sending it to the publishers. The last details are almost finished!

Troy and Andrea Spradlin

To see their report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on February 7, 2016 .

One Great Year For The Work In Asunción, Paraguay...

The year 2015 has been an absolutely outstanding year and we give God the glory for all the things He has done here in Paraguay. Andrea and I feel so very privileged and honored to be able to live and serve in South America and we give thanks to our Lord for our many wonderful supporters who make it possible for us to be here. We have seen many amazing transformations taken place in people’s lives as they have opened their hearts to God’s Word. We’ve witnessed exceptional landmarks being reached and we have rejoiced in seeing the fruit of many years of labor by our former, fellow missionary teammates start to really bloom before our eyes. It is a marvelous time in Paraguay and we pray the Lord’s kingdom continues to flourish for many years to come. Thank you for the part you have in this work! May God bless you all

Developments at the Avenida Sacramento Iglesia de Cristo

LOOKING BACK ON 2015
There were eight baptisms! Javier Arce, Alan Suarez, David Salvionni, VictorSalvionni,Juanjo Salvionni, Sergio Jara, Cynthia Medina, and Mario Artetta

Two brethren were restored! Gustavo Aguero and Paulo Roshol

The Asuncion Bible Academy (ABA) graduated its first class of students! William Arzamendia, Ramon Paredes, and Karen Gimenez

The Beta class of ABA began classes with: Sebastian Garcia, Natty Osorio, Letty Riveros, Elvira Paredes, and Alex Valdez

We had six guest teachers for ABA: LuisCamacho, EnriqueMorales, Darvin Alvarez, Gary Fallis, Dan Owens, and Osvaldo Rodriguez

The Trent Kennedy Family served as missionary resident/interns for three months.

Pablo Yuri and Italo Rocha from AME Brazil arrived for a one year internship.

There were 12 new students for our “Study English Using the Bible” program.

There were two Men’s Retreat, a Ladies’ Retreat, eleven Ladies’ Teas, and a Congregational Camp.

We had two Short-Term Mission Trip Campaigns with Palm Beach Lakes church of Christ and Margaret Street church of Christ sending groups.

We had 10 visitors/guest speakers: Stan Crowley, Karen Bennett, Josh Blackmer, Phil Porter, Gary and Sarah Fallis, Preston Silcox, Ed Temple, Dwayne and Lance Spradlin.

There was one wedding!
This past month, December 19th, our missionary to Ñemby, Eliezer Perez, “tied the knot” with our sister in Christ, Raquel Franco. Ike Yegros led the spiritual ceremony.

Indeed, it has been a wonderful year with many things for which to rejoice! We ́re looking forward to seeing what God will do in 2016!

Personal Development and Activities
I don’t believe Andrea ever stops moving. I think she puts even the famed Energizer Bunny to shame! Why? Well, (1) she baked almost 1,500 cookies in less than two weeks time, (2) roasted a turkey and prepared all the trimmings for a traditional Christmas dinner, (3) organized events for the Las Amigas club, (4) she teaches English weekly to several students, and (5) works out regularly. What do you think?

I had a nice study with Juan and Natty Candia and hope to continue the study in the weeks to come. They want to know more about what the Bible says regarding baptism, worship, and many other doctrinal questions.

We have purchased our plane tickets for our 2016 Furlough Trip home! We will be in Denver, CO on March 21-25; in Austin, TX from April 1-7; Bossier City, LA on April 10; Poolville, TX on April 17; Valdosta, GA on April 24; in West Palm Beach on May 1; in Milton, FL from May 3-20; and Jay, FL on May 22. We are so excited to see everyone! We can’t wait!

Mother nature strikes again! Heavy rains, combined with years of intensive deforestation have created a dire situation in Paraguay. The river has risen to unprecedented levels, displacing thousands from their homes, destroying precious crops, and threatening to create an environmental disaster if it reaches a toxic waste, sludge pool along its banks. Andrea and I are blessed to live in one of the highest areas of Asuncion, so we are not directly affected by the flooding. Please pray for all the flood victims.

My recent reading has included:
Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul’s Path to God by Gary Thomas
Planting Churches Cross-Culturally in North America and Beyond by David Hesselgrave
La Expansión Espontanea de la Iglesia by Roland Allen.
Tiempo de Misión: América Latina Y La Misión Cristiana Hoy by Samuel Escobar.

Troy and Andrea Spradlin

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

Posted on January 3, 2016 .

Students In Paraguay Begin Their Fourth Quarter Of Studies...

Andrea and I would like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season! We pray this finds you all doing well and blessed in His kingdom as we gather together with our families and friends. This time of year is always special, even if we are thousands of miles from home. We have so many things for which to thank our Lord that occurred this past year, but above all, we praise God for the blessing and opportunity to serve here in Paraguay. We love you and miss you all!

Developments at the Avenida Sacramento Iglesia de Cristo
It has been rather quiet around here this past month, but that does not mean there were no activities. For one, our interns, Pablo Yuri and Italo Rocha, have been very involved with our adolescent youth group with various classes and activities. The group is growing in both numbers and spirituality. They also organize a “Men’s Soccer Night” every Monday evening. Plus, they are active in our Young Adults group meetings and events. They do a great job!

The men of the congregation have been teaching our Sunday morning classes on “The Christian Home,” which is going very well and they, too, have been doing an outstanding job!

The Asuncion Bible Academy students have begun their fourth quarter of studies! They are all doing very well with their assignments and each one has received good grades for the past three quarters. The first few months of this quarter has them studying 1 and 2 Kings, Galatians and Ephesians, Church History, and Church Planting. I am teaching three of the classes and brother Eliezer Perez is teaching a fourth class. The Church Planting class has them preparing a special group project for a survey trip to the city of Hernandarias where we will be gathering information with the hope planting a new church there within the next couple of years. After the holidays, they will then have several short courses taught by our brethren Luis Camacho, Osvaldo Rodriguez, and Ike Yegros. We ask that you please keep the students in your prayers.

Developments at the Iglesia de Cristo of Ñemby
The brethren at Ñemby have decided to look for a place to rent in the city of San Lorenzo as a place for worship and study. After much consideration and searching for a place in downtown Ñemby, they have decided that perhaps San Lorenzo would be a better choice for them. The city is very close to Ñemby and there are several members who live there already. There are also members that live in Capiata who attend, so this option would be better for all of the members. They plan to find something on the main route of traffic and with easy access from the bus routes.

Our missionary to Ñemby is making plans to get married this next month to our sister in Christ, Raquel Franco. We are excited for them!    

Personal Developments and Activities
Andrea was really busy this past month with lots of activities with the Las Amigas Club. November is always a busy month for them because of the annual Thanksgiving Luncheon, one of their biggest fundraising events of the year.

ACE Hardware recently opened a store in Paraguay and has chosen the Las Amigas Club as their local charity. They wanted to put on a big, in-store event to promote their new relationship and asked Andrea and Kim to host a cooking demonstration on how to prepare a traditional American Thanksgiving Dinner. They did a great job and it was a big success! Watch out, Martha Stewart!

Andrea was once again invited back to the U.S. Embassy to participate in their annual Artisan Craft Fair with her business, Más Que Dulces. Andrea sold out of everything she had made for the day, made many new contacts, and took several orders. Along with all the other regular orders, MQD has done quite well this month!

This year we spent our Thanksgiving Dinner in Paraguay with a group of our American friends and their families.... at a Brazilian Steakhouse. It lacked the traditional Thanksgiving flair, but the important thing was spending special time with special friends.

It was great to have David, Lisa, and Michael Carter come visit and worship with us one Sunday this past month. Michael is currently serving in Paraguay with the Peace Corps. David and Lisa are missionaries in El Valle, Panama, and had made a trip to come visit their son. We know them from having visited Panama and also through their family in Milton, FL. After services, we had a nice lunch together and thoroughly enjoyed our time visiting with them.

“THANK YOU!” to all of our generous supporters!

Troy and Andrea Spradlin

To see the report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on December 6, 2015 .

Regeneration And Rejuvenation In Paraguay...

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!

God bless!
Troy and Andrea Spradlin

To see their report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on November 1, 2015 .

Teaching Others To Teach Others In Paraguay...

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!

Discovering Paraguay
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.

Posted on October 4, 2015 .

The Church Grows, The School Expands, And Prayers Are Needed...

Developments at the Avenida Sacramento Iglesia de Cristo (Church of Christ)
I can’t even begin to describe what a wonderful blessing it was to have my dad, Dwayne Spradlin, and my brother, Lance Spradlin, come to visit us in Paraguay this past month for the first time. We spent most of our time just visiting and sight seeing. It was fun to watch their reactions to all the different Paraguayan cultural experiences that have become normal daily life for Andrea and me. Lance and my dad also had the opportunity to preach and teach while they were here.

The men of the church have held several meetings lately to make plans for the future. After much prayer and thought, they have decided to partner with Margaret Street church of Christ in planting new congregations in other cities of Paraguay. Over the next couple of years we will be making survey trips out and working towards forming a team (or teams) to go to the new areas.

The church has decided to incorporate several worship hymns translated into their native language of Guarani in their new songbook, which should be published very soon. The Academy students have translated the songs and are teaching them to the congregation!

Baptisms
Sergio Jara was immersed into the precious blood of Christ and added to the church on August 23rd. He is the husband of our sister-in-Christ, Mikaela, who was baptized last September. There have been many brethren who have studied about baptism. We praise God that Sergio finally made the most important decision of his life! (Galatians 3:27)

Cynthia Medina also obeyed the Gospel call on August 30th. She is the girlfriend of our brother in Christ, Fabio Ruiz, who is a member at Ñemby. She has been visiting for almost two years and has studied several times with Eliezer Perez. We are rejoicing with the angels for Cynthia’s new life!

Developments in the Asuncion Bible Academy
This past month we had brother Dan Owens of the Broadway church of Christ in Paducah, KY, teach a class (via the video system) on “Fundamentals”. The students loved the class and are already asking when brother Dan will be teaching again!

Our ABA student, Sebastian Garcia, preached in front of the church for the first time this past month! He preached at Ñemby and also at Avenida Sacramento. For a young, aspiring preacher, he did an outstanding job! How wonderful it is to see young people taking God ́s word seriously to heart.

Contacts / Bible Studies / Activities / Opportunities
Earlier in the month I had the opportunity to attend the weekly Bible study held in the home of Sergio and Mikaela Jara. While I have lead the study before, this time I got to observe ABA student, Sebas Garcia, guiding the study.

Andrea has started weekly studies with Rosa, Belén, Claudia, and Andrés who were formally “Learn English Using the Bible” students of Lisa and Trent Kennedy. Please keep these contacts in your prayers.

We have begun a new series of lessons on Sunday mornings titled, “Biblical Leadership: A Study about Elders, Deacons, and Church Government.” We are praying that this will help the church recognize the importance and necessity of having elders and deacons.

Troy had the opportunity one Sunday to speak at the Margaret Street church of Christ (via Skype) in Milton, Florida for their upcoming Mission Sunday contribution.

Developments at the Ñemby Iglesia de Cristo
The church has decided to stop renting the building where they were meeting because: (a) they want to save money and find a place in downtown Ñemby and (b) they learned that the building they were in has lots of bad memories for the local residents! That was why many potential visitors were not coming. So, the church has started meeting in the home of Vicente Martinez again until they find a better place to meet.

Personal Developments and Activities
Andrea has had quite a difficult time with her teeth here lately. She had to replace a broken bridge, repair a broken tooth, and get a root canal... then, because of some other issues, the bridge fell out! On top of it all, she also struggles with TMJ problems. As we say here in Paraguay, “Pobrecita”!!! We are thankful though for the excellent care she is receiving, and with all the time she’s spending with her dentist, she’s got a Bible study on the horizon.

We had a fun adventure going to Iguazu Falls in Argentina with the Kennedy family this past month. We took a bus over to Ciudad del Este, then a ferry across the river to Puerto Iguazu, Argentina then taxis to the hotel and Falls. We had a wonderful time admiring God’s marvelous handiwork and enjoying some great fellowship with each other.

I earned my Black Belt in TaeKwonDo! After almost three years of training, I was awarded a First Degree Black Belt. My Dad was here for the event, so he got to ceremonially hand my belt to me (BTW, he has also baptized me and handed me my High School diploma). I never dreamed that something I simply did for exercise would result in this achievement. It was an emotional night and I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in this quality, athletic organization.

DISCOVERING PARAGUAY
The money we use in Paraguay is quite different than what we use in the United States, mainly because it has a LOT more zeros added to every number. Things cost “in the thousands” or “in the millions” when asking for prices. Add to the confusion,there are also bills from nearby countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia. When traveling, it is not uncommon to have three or four types of bills in your wallet at one time. Here is a breakdown of what each bill is currently worth:

The Brazilian Real (pronounced “hay-ai”) comes in different sizes. 100 Reales = $71.00 USD

The Paraguayan Guarani comes in different colors and some bills are made with plastic!

100,000 Guaranies = $20.00 USD

The Argentine Peso just changed its style with an Eva Perron profile. 100 Pesos = $10.80 USD

Personal Studies: Currently Reading/Have Read:
• “A Biblical Theology of Missions” by George Peters

• “Peace Child” by Don Richardson

• “When Charity Destroys Dignity” by Glen Schwartz

• “The King James Version Debate” by D.A. Carson

• “Elders and Deacons” by JB Myers

• Current Bible reading: Judges, Job, 1 and 2 Corinthians

I also completed another class toward my Masters in Missions.

I have been studying and preparing lessons for classes I will be teaching this quarter: Acts, Judges, and The Life of Christ IV (Luke)

Upcoming Events and Activities
- October 5-9: “Continent Care Connection” in Brazil

- October 7: Andrea and Troy’s 20 Year Wedding Anniversary - October 12-16: Osvaldo Rodriguez will be teaching (via video) in the Asuncion Bible Academy

- October 19-23: Enrique Morales will be teaching (via video) in the Asuncion Bible Academy

- November 16: The Asuncion Bible Academy students will start their 4th Quarter

PRAYER REQUESTS
Would you like to help the Paraguay Mission? You can by becoming one of our Prayer Partners and praying for the work. Below are several specific items for which to pray.

For the growth of the church in Paraguay
The spiritual growth of each member
To appoint elders and deacons soon
More churches planted in other cities

For the Asuncion Bible Academy
The students and their studies
The teachers and their preparations ✓More available teachers and supporters

For missionaries Troy and Andrea

Security and safety while working in Paraguay
Successful Bible studies
More potential study contacts
Good health

“THANK YOU!” to all of our generous supporters!

Troy and Andrea Spradlin

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

Posted on September 6, 2015 .

Short-Term Missions, Long-Term Plans For Paraguay...

What an exciting and busy month! We had a visiting short-term mission team come down to work with the church in Paraguay and then other brethren who came to help make plans for the future. It has been a real blessing to see so much activity taking place among the brethren and to see them thinking about the future! We hope you find this month’s report encouraging. Thank you for your love, prayers, and support.

Developments at Avenida Sacramento  
What a blessing it is to have brethren with servant’s hearts take time out of their busy schedules to come and help the church in Paraguay! This month we had several members of the Palm Beach Lakes church of Christ come and help with evangelizing local neighborhoods, visiting church members to encourage them, and assisting with several projects and needed repairs around the building. They did an outstanding job and the church in Paraguay greatly appreciates their service.

We also had brethren from the Margaret Street church of Christ come visit this month. They brought some great ideas to propose to the church and to challenge them to think more seriously about the future. We pray that these plans will result in many souls being added to the Lord’s church!

The churches of Christ at Avenida Sacramento and Ñemby in Paraguay do not have a “located preacher” like many congregations in the USA do. Instead, we have several, capable men who take turns filling the pulpit on Sundays. Also, we regularly have guest speakers come in, or visit, that have preached for us. Such was the case this past month. Brother Phil Porter, from the Palm Beach Lakes church of Christ spoke for us on one Sunday morning and Adam Seal spoke on a Wednesday evening. We also had Preston Silcox from the Margaret Street church of Christ speak for us this month along with Ed Temple speaking on a Wednesday.

Next month, my dad and brother, Dwayne and Lance Spradlin, will be speaking for us.
What a blessing to be able to hear various, faithful men present the Word of God. It is truly a spiritual banquet!

Asunción Bible Academy 
This past month was full of activities, classes, and lots of homework for the students. They participated in the campaign with Palm Beach Lakes and then had a full load of classes with brother Trent Kennedy teaching “Christian Evidences” and “Numbers - Deuteronomy,” as well as the classes I taught on, “The Life of Christ II” and “Exodus - Leviticus.” All of their test results, class work, and research papers have been outstanding! These five students are like sponges, absorbing everything they hear and then making application. We couldn’t be more pleased with their attitudes and the effort they put in.

Brother Eliezer Perez returned to Panama last month to get his immigration documents in order and then, when he was checking in for his return flight to Paraguay, they wouldn’t allow him on the plane for immigration reasons! We have since resolved the issue and he plans to return August 6th.

The men held another “Vision 2020” meeting this month in order to talk about one of their main goals: church planting. Several great ideas were presented and we are now praying for God’s wisdom. The men will hold another meeting real soon (without any missionaries present) so they can make some decisions on how they would like to proceed. It is so exciting to see them working out these challenges!

God bless

Troy and Andrea

To see the Spradlin’s report with pictures, please click here

Posted on August 9, 2015 .

Special Workshop And Study On Baptism In Paraguay...

Furlough time is now over and we have returned to the work in Paraguay. We were blessed with an uneventful return trip home and walked into a house that wasn’t a complete disaster (like last year’s mold problem). I hadn’t been back more than a couple of days when it was already time to get back to work. We feel so honored to have this privilege of working in Paraguay. We hope this month’s report brings you a little encouragement from our little corner of the world. Thank you for your love, prayers, and support.

Andrea and I were blessed to get to visit with so many good brethren during our furlough this year! We always love getting to visit and we appreciate the many friendships that have developed over the years. This year I had the privilege of getting to visit my alma mater, Southwest School of Bible Studies in Austin, TX. We also went to visit our brethren at Brown Trail School of Preaching in Ft. Worth, TX.

Developments at the Avenida Sacramento church of Christ
Trent Kennedy and his family have been in Paraguay now for several weeks and have adjusted quite well to South American culture. They have been very active in their time here! Trent has begun teaching classes in the Asuncion Bible Academy, preached one Sunday, and has helped in home Bible studies. He and his wife, Lisa, have picked up several students and have been teaching English using the Bible. We are excited to have them here and they are doing such a great job. You can follow their experiences on their blog at: beingwhatiwanttobe.blogspot.com

We were so excited to return to Paraguay to find the church just as busy as ever! They have carried out continued studies, made several new decisions, and are developing new plans. A missionary’s job is to work himself out of a job. That is what is happening in Paraguay! These brethren are growing in every way: in spiritual maturity, in leadership, and in numbers. Our goal is to develop a church that is self-supporting, self- governing, and self- propagating. The church in Paraguay is arriving at that very goal! Praise God!

Developments at the Asuncion Bible Academy
Brother Gary Fallis from the Bear Valley Bible Institute came to Paraguay to teach “The Godhead” in the Academy. He brought his wife, Sarah, with him who also took the opportunity to teach some classes to our ladies of the congregation. We greatly appreciate the hard work and dedication to the Lord’s Kingdom that the Fallis’ provide.

This quarter had the students participating in a special workshop and study on baptism as part of the curriculum. They learned the fundamental principles of baptism and also how to physically administer a baptism. The ladies also watched and asked questions in order to understand the mechanics of a baptism.

Andrea and I had the opportunity to meet up with Luis Camacho, our BVBID Stateside Coordinator for the Academy, while we were home on furlough. We were able to finalize more plans for the Academy and develop a few new ones. We always enjoy our time with Luis and are grateful for his service to the Academy.

Our local missionary, evangelist, Academy teacher, and beloved Panamanian, Eliezer Perez, has announced that he and one of our sisters in Christ, Raquel Franco, are engaged to be married! Eliezer has returned to Panama for a few weeks in order to get all his legal documents in order so he can apply for permanent residency in Paraguay. The couple hope to be married by the end of this year. He has also completed his initial two year agreement with the church, so a new agreement will be put in place upon his return.

God bless
Troy and Andrea Spradlin

To read the Spradlin’s report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on July 10, 2015 .

Reporting, Reconnecting, And Recharging...

May has been a marvelous month! Currently, we are home in the United States on our annual furlough reporting trip and are thoroughly enjoying our visits with the brethren. We so enjoy these times of reconnecting with our dear friends and family, being in your homes, sharing meals, and just getting so many hugs! It has been a great time of “recharging the batteries” for us in order to go back and continue the work. Each of you have been so kind and supportive. We thank you all and we hope our report and pray it brings a measure of encouragement. God bless! 

Developments at the Avenida Sacramento church of Christ
The Trent Kennedy Family has arrived in Paraguay! They arrived on May 15th and will be working with the church and the local missionaries for the next three months. They will be teaching English using the Bible, offering a parenting class, and encouraging the congregation through their Christian example. Trent will also be teaching some classes in the Asuncion Bible Academy along with other studies and activities. They also plan to study Spanish while in the country. We’re excited to have them in Paraguay and thankful for their servant’s heart. You can follow their developments on their blogsite: http://beingwhatiwanttobe.blogspot.com

There are several exciting events and activities scheduled for the upcoming months which include: an evangelistic campaign with a mission group from Palm Beach Lakes, a men’s retreat and planning session, a survey trip to Ciudad del Este, a ladies day seminar, Bible Academy evangelistic campaigns, “Friends and Family Day,” several visiting brethren from the USA, and various special studies. It’s going to be a busy time!

BAPTISM!
David Salvioni was immersed into the body of Christ after Sebastian Garcia (one of our current Bible Academy students), taught him the Gospel. David brought two of his close friends with him, Victor and Juanjo who also obeyed the Gospel call. Praise God! We are so excited to see our young brethren reaching out to their peers and sharing Christ!

Developments at the Asuncion Bible Academy
First Quarter studies already completed! The new “Beta Class” has finished their first courses of study and are doing an outstanding job! They are a much different class than the previous one. It is interesting to see how they have bonded, how they have approached their studies, and how they have responded to the challenges presented within the Academy environment. Overall, we couldn’t be more pleased with this wonderful, new group of students.

We had several new, visiting instructors this past quarter. Brother Enrique Morales, a preacher from the North Texas area, taught “The Cost of Being a Disciple.” He taught the course via our video conference system from the USA. The students responded really well to the class. We also had brother Darvin Alvarez from the Institute of Theology Latinoamericano in Guatemala City, Guatemala come to Paraguay to teach “Bible Geography.” Again, the students responded well to the class. We are so thankful to have these good brethren take the time and energy to assist us with the curriculum of studies in the Bible Academy.

Brother Gary Fallis will be returning to Paraguay June 1 through 5th to teach “The Godhead.” This will be his second time to teach this class in the Academy and his third trip to Paraguay. He plans to bring his wife, Sara, with him who will be teaching some ladies classes while here, also.

Troy and Andrea Spradlin

To see their report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on May 31, 2015 .

Furlough Brings USA Visit, But The Work Is Growing In Paraguay...

For Andrea and myself, April spells F-U-R-L-O-U-G-H. Every year, about this same time, we return to the USA to visit our families and report to our supporting congregations. We always love getting to visit our brethren and we started out this year in West Palm Beach, FL and will be traveling to visit everyone over the next several weeks. We are looking forward to seeing all of you! God bless!

DEVELOPMENTS AT AVENUE SACRAMENTO 
Another precious soul was added to the Lord's Kingdom this past month. Sammy Ortiz obeyed the Gospel call and was baptized into the Lord's body! He is the son of our sister Christ, Mabel Ortiz. Sammy responded to the invitation because he heard a preacher say, "Today is the day of salvation!" So, after studying a little more with some of our brethren, it was determined that he understood and was ready to make the most important decision of his life. Praise God!

DEVELOPMENTS AT ÑEMBY
Baptism! Nicholas Osorio is the 23 year old cousin of our sister in Christ, Natty Osorio (who is also a Bible Academy student). He had been observing how she lived her life as a Christian and then began asking questions. Natty taught him the Gospel and then some other brethren studied with Nicholas which led to his decision to put on Christ in baptism! He lives in Ñemby and will be worshiping with the brethren there.

ASUNCION BIBLE ACADEMY
The “Beta Class" is off to a great start with their studies and doing quite well! We had a guest teacher, Enrique Morales, from the Brown Trail School of Preaching this month who taught via the Video Conference System. The students reported the class was "outstanding" which is always good to hear! Also, brother Ike Yegros taught a class on Fundamentals this past month.

If you would like to watch, here is a video of our mission report from our first furlough stop at Palm Beach Lakes church of Christ, April 19th, click here

- Troy and Andrea

Posted on May 3, 2015 .

Good But Difficult Month...

March was a good month, but it was also a rather difficult time to be in the mission field. There were some great events and activities that constituted positive advancements in the mission work, yet these were rendered bittersweet for me due to the loss of a loved one. Being so far away from home presents many challenges for a missionary, but I believe the most difficult is the separation from family when a crisis strikes. We’ve now experienced that twice during our tenure here. Praise God that the focus for His children is not on this life, but the next. We hope you’ll understand that this month’s report is a little shorter and to the point than our normal publication. 

SPRADLIN FAMILY NEWS
As many may have heard or learned by now, my mother, A’Gatha Spradlin, passed from this side of life last month. She had been declining in health for the past four years due to a series of strokes. Last September, she suffered another stroke and was completely incapacitated, then on March 15, 2015 she went on to her reward. My mother was a faithful Christian. She grew up in the church (her father was a deacon), she converted my dad to the Lord, and she raised her children to fear God. She rejoiced in our work in Paraguay and understood well the sacrifices made by a missionary.

I was unable to attend her funeral due to complications in our schedule, but the wonderful truth of being a child of God is knowing I will see her again one day. We would like to say “Thank You” to so many who expressed a tremendous outpouring of love and encouragement during this time. We are especially grateful to our sponsoring congregation, the Margaret Street church of Christ, for providing the means for me to be able to return home and be with my family during this time.

DEVELOPMENTS AT AVE. SACRAMENTO CHURCH OF CHRIST
Annual Congregational Retreat. More than 60 precious souls gathered together in a rural campground called “Arapy” last month in order to sing, lift up praises, study God’s word, and enjoy quality Christian fellowship.

The theme for camp this year was “The Example of the Church at Antioch.” We studied the characteristics of this faithful church example in order to help us try and emulate the same thing here in Paraguay. The camp was, once again, a very encouraging and uplifting event.

We also had a guest preacher, Stan Crowley from the Shertz church of Christ in Texas, extend one of the lessons for us and then preach on Sunday morning on the subject. Stan also taught a lesson for the new students at the Asuncion Bible Academy while he was here. We appreciate Stan taking time out of his busy schedule to come and visit us in Paraguay.

DEVELOPMENTS AT ÑEMBY CHURCH OF CHRIST
The brethren at Ñemby are starting to receive lots of visitors at their services and several new contacts have been made as a result. We are praying that these will turn into new converts and the congregation will begin a new season of growth for this young congregation.

ASUNCION BIBLE ACADEMY
The “Beta Class 2015-17” has finally begun classes in their two-year commitment of studying the Bible.

The new students are: Sebastian Garcia, Alex Vargas, Natalia Osorio, Leticia Riveros, and Elvira Paredes. They seem extremely eager to learn and they have already demonstrated a pretty good study/work ethic. It looks like it is shaping up to be a great class! Please keep them in your prayers.

God bless
Troy and Andrea Spradlin

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

Posted on April 5, 2015 .

Baptism, Graduation, And Preparation For Beta Class In Paraguay...

We are currently in a time of transition. As you receive this, Andrea and I have now been in the mission field for five years, which was our original commitment to the work. We are so thankful and feel abundantly blessed to have been able to serve here in Asuncion. We also feel blessed to have this new opportunity before us and we look forward to the next couple of years of continuing the work in Paraguay. We hope you find this month’s mission report encouraging. Thank you and God bless! - Troy and Andrea

BAPTISM!
Javier Arce obeyed the Gospel call this past month after having studied with brother Ike Yegros for a few months. Javier is a close friend of our sister in Christ, Odila, who invited him and his family to come visit. We rejoice with the angels in heaven that another soul has been added to the kingdom of God.

DEVELOPMENTS AT AVE. SACRAMENTO CHURCH OF CHRIST
Our Vision 2020 Meeting was a great success! We had about 20 men come over to the house one afternoon and discuss where we were five years ago, where we are now, and where we want to be five years from today. It was rather emotional to look back and see how some things that were once just dreams are now a reality. It gives us more hope and courage to strive forward! There will be another meeting next month to continue the discussions.

We are excited to have the Trent Kennedy Family making plans to come to Paraguay and work with the church here for three months! Trent will be teaching classes in the Bible Academy while he is here. He and his wife, Lisa, will also be teaching English using the Bible and offering a family class for parents. They plan to arrive on May 15th. Please pray for this effort!

DEVELOPMENTS AT ÑEMBY CHURCH OF CHRIST
Evangelist and missionary to Ñemby, Eliezer Perez, returned to his home in Panama for furlough and to visit his family. He plans to return to Paraguay in early February. He will continue his work in Ñemby, but will also begin working full time as a professor with the Asuncion Bible Academy in March.

The ABA students spent a week in Ñemby making new contacts, visiting and doing maintenance projects on the church building.`

ASUNCION BIBLE ACADEMY
“Beta Class 2015-17” is currently forming. Several have submitted their applications and gone through the admissions interview process. There are still some considering. Classes start March 2!

GRADUATION is upon us! The diplomas have been printed, the cap and gowns are reserved, and the decorations are getting ready to be put into place. We are so excited to see this project bearing fruit for the Lord’s glory! We are also thrilled to have brother Luis Camacho joining us for the upcoming activities. Please say a prayer for these graduates and their future endeavors.

Contacts / Bible Studies / Activities
We are happy to have two new interns who have arrived in Paraguay to work with the church for the next year! They are, Pablo Yuri and Italo Rocha. They were both trained in the AME Brazil program and plan to primarily help with the youth group in different areas and projects. We hope they have much success with their plans and look forward to working with them!

Bible Studies
I had a great study with Alan Suarez, the 12-year-old son of our sister in Christ, Eulalia. He wants to be baptized, but after our study it became clear that he doesn’t quite understand the purpose of baptism just yet, or what salvation is exactly. So, we plan to continue studying with him as he grows closer to entering that “age of accountability.”

We had a very interesting evangelistic study at Delci Enciso’s house this past month. Unfortunately, the lady who had come to the study insisted that she doesn’t need to study the Bible because God speaks directly to her. Even though I clearly explained that that isn’t possible according to Hebrews 1:1-2, she maintains that she has visions and receives direct revelation from God. I have to admit, that one was a first for me!

I have been helping one of our families try to heal some issues that have come through some recent marriage troubles. We have been reading “The Love Dare” together and doing the various tasks together to help them recover the zeal that was once very strong in their marriage. So far, there have been positive results, so it is going well. (PS: the book is a great tool for marriage counseling, but beware of the erroneous doctrinal slant regarding salvation).

English students – Andrea’s new students are doing well with their studies. Please keep Alison, Sonya, and Nelly in your prayers!

The Academy students are in full swing teaching classes, preaching, and actively involved in ministry. It is truly a wonderful sight to see such spiritual growth in action!

Coming Up Soon:

February
Karen Bennett from the Central Ave church of Christ in Valdosta, GA, is coming to visit and speak at the Annual Ladies Retreat.

Another Men’s Planning Retreat to discuss the desired direction of the church in Paraguay for the next five years. We are calling it “Vision 2020.”

Graduation for the Asuncion Bible Academy will be held on Saturday, February 7th, 2015!

A South America vacation to Guarapuava, Brazil.

March - A new class of students will begin their studies at the Asuncion Bible Academy on March 2, 2015.

April - Andrea and I will be returning to the USA for our annual furlough/reporting trip.

May - The Trent Kennedy family arrives in Paraguay.

July - Palm Beach Lakes church of Christ campaign. Margaret Street church of Christ campaign.

Activities/developments:
Surprise Birthday Party! - Okay, as close to a surprise as one can get by flying into town from South America outside of our normal schedule, inviting all the family down from all over the country to convene in one place, and all while trying to organize the event without the “surprisee” suspecting it. Still, Andrea and her family were able to pull off a surprise 85th birthday party for her mom, Joyce Parker. She was happy, Andrea was happy, the family was happy, so everybody is happy! But most importantly, Joyce knows just how much she is deeply loved by her family.

Our fellow worker in the kingdom and brother in Christ, Jorge Vera, lost his mother this past month. She had been battling various illnesses for the past several years and he had been responsible for taking care of her for a very long time. He is obviously sad for the loss, but his heart grieves even more that she never accepted the Gospel invitation, even though he proclaimed it to her many times. Please pray for Jorge and his family.

Personal study:

I have been reading (or, still reading):

“The Chronological Life of Christ” by Mark E. Moore
“New Testament Survey” by Merrill C. Tenney
“El Desafio del Amor” by Alex and Stephen Kendrick

Preaching/teaching opportunities:
I preached one Sunday at Avenida Sacramento on the topic of “What Separates Us from Other Religious Groups?”

From several resources on the subject, I have developed and have been teaching a series on “Spiritual Development” in Spanish. In the first lessons, we have been focusing on the first key element, which is learning about the will of God and that it is only possible through His revealed word. The following elements are: “The Community of Faith,” “Our Inner Life.” and “Ministry.”

Discovering Paraguay: “Kurusú Ara” Celebration
May 3rd is the celebration of “Kurusú Ara,” or “Día de la Cruz” in Spanish (Day of the Cross). “Kurusu” means cross and “ára” means day in Guaraní. During Kurusu Ára a special cross is used, usually one with historical or sentimental value to the community. The cross is placed in a dome shaped shrine made of laurel leaves which is then decorated with chipas, (cheese bread) in the form of rings as well as animals are hung from the branches creating a sort of Christmas tree. Once the ceremony and songs honoring the “kurusu jegua” (decorated cross) are completed these chipas are handed out to attendees.

The Day of the Cross is celebrated in Catholic communities worldwide but, as always, Guaraní culture contributed it ́s own special twist to this religious tradition in Paraguay. According to Margarita Miro Ibara, author of “Alimentación y Religiosidad Paraguaya, Chipa – Pan Sagrado,” Paraguay ́s Kurusu Ára festivities are an example of religious syncretism that occurred between Catholic beliefs and those of the Guaraní culture. She attributes the natural elements – the leafy shrine and animal shaped chipas – as paying homage to the Kurupí, a mythological Guaraní deity representing fertility in both humans and nature. “Kurupí” is still very much present within the Paraguayan culture. (Reprinted from discoveringparaguay.com). For more information on all things Paraguay, visit this informative website: http://discoveringparaguay.com

Troy and Andrea Spradlin

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

Posted on February 8, 2015 .

A Soul Added And The First Graduation Approaches In Paraguay...

Andrea and I pray that each of you might have a very happy and prosperous 2015. A new year always brings the excitement of new horizons full of possibilities. We believe 2015 will be a great year for the Lord’s church in Paraguay and we invite you to partner with us in prayer for the work. Please pray that more souls will be added to the Lord’s kingdom, that God will lift up more leaders from among the men, and that the body of Christ (His church) will grow in spiritual maturity. Thank you and God bless! Troy and Andrea

BAPTISM!
Walter Chavez obeyed that form of doctrine which saves and put on Christ in baptism December 22. He is a close friend of Alex Vargas (remember the young man who received the flyer in his mailbox) and attended a local denomination with him for several years. Alex recently introduced him to some of his new Christian friends and one of them, William Arzamendia, engaged him in a Bible Study. At 12:30 in the morning, after going through the steps of the plan of salvation, Walter made the decision to put his life on the right path toward heaven! Praise the Lord!

DEVELOPMENTS AT AVE. SACRAMENTO CHURCH OF CHRIST
“Circles of Encouragement”
 - We are the family of God and we are commanded to love and encourage one another. With this in mind, the church has developed a plan to help keep every member of the congregation more informed and connected, but above all, encouraged. Seven men volunteered to be leaders of what we have named “Circles of Encouragement” who will call, message, or go to visit each of the members on their list. We pray this will help develop stronger, more personal relationships among the brethren.

End of Year Dinner - We enjoyed a lovely evening together of great fellowship and food in order to reflect on all that the Lord has done in 2014. We had all three congregations represented at the dinner. Naty Mendoza prepared a wonderful photo presentation that was very emotional to watch. There were certainly a lot of things that happened this year!

DEVELOPMENTS AT ÑEMBY CHURCH OF CHRIST
There have been many studies taking place among the brethren, visitors, and friends in Ñemby. Eliezer Perez has been busy with many of these studies. We also enjoyed seeing some of the former members who returned for the holidays to see their families.

ASUNCION BIBLE ACADEMY 
GRADUATION is drawing NEAR! Here we are in the last quarter of the two-year program and three bright eyed students are almost ready to go out into the world ready to serve. William Arzamendia, Karen Gimenez, and Ramón Paredes invite you to join them for a special graduation ceremony on Saturday, February 7. The church will be hosting a special dinner for the students that night and then they will “walk the stage” to receive their Diploma of Biblical Studies from Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver and the Academia Bíblica - Asunción. We are excited and looking forward to seeing our first graduating class honored at this special event. It is going to be an emotional night!

Quarterly Report
Be sure and look for the last Quarterly Report that was recently published! You can access it at: www.paraguaymission.com/asuncion-bible-academy/

Contacts / Bible Studies / Activities:
We were excited to have Cody Westbrook, one of my former colleagues from Southwest School of Bible Studies, teach a class for us via our new video conference system. He did a great job and the students responded really well!

Bible Studies - We’ve had some great studies this month.Valeria Suarez has returned to the church and is studying with me, and Alex Vargas and I have been studying “Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible” together. Adriana Rodriguez is continuing her study with Andrea, which is going well. After the holidays, several new studies will be starting up along with many others which will resume.

New English students – Andrea has been advertising a new English class and is thrilled with the connections she has made with three new students…Alison, Sonya, and Nelly! 

Member visit – One of our newer members, Mikaela Jara, has been struggling with some conflict lately and missing services, so we went with our sisters, Delci and Nati, to visit and encourage her. We pray that she, as well as her non-Christian family members, were able to see the love that her Christian family has for them.

Coming Up:
Interns Pablo Yuri and Italo Rocha will arrive January 8th from AME Brazil to work with us for one year. 

A Men’s Planning Retreat to discuss the desired direction of the church in Paraguay for the next five years has been scheduled for January 10th. We are calling it “Vision 2020.”

Karen Bennett will be returning to Paraguay for the Annual Ladies Retreat, January 31.

Graduation for the Asuncion Bible Academy will be held on Saturday, February 7th, 2015!

A new class of students will begin their studies at the Asuncion Bible Academy on March 2, 2015.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND ACTIVITIES 
Annual Christmas Tea -
 One of Andrea’s favorite events of the year is opening our home to all the ladies of the congregation for the Annual Christmas Tea! She makes all the food herself and just asks that the ladies bring drinks and a small gift to exchange. For the devotional portion, Andrea issued the ladies the “1000 Gifts Thankfulness Challenge,” along with little notebooks and monthly bookmarks to use for the challenge in 2015.

Las Amigas Cookie Exchange – Andrea attended the annual Las Amigas Christmas Party and it should be of no surprise that she baked DOZENS of cookies for the Cookie Exchange!

Date night – We don’t get out much to the movies, but we just couldn’t pass up the latest Hunger Games!

Birthday –We celebrated my birthday together with a night out at a new restaurant that has now become one of my local favorites!

Nutrition and Cooking Class - After more than 4 years of requests for cooking classes, and 2 years of requests for some lessons on nutrition, Andrea finally decided to combine the two and is now offering some private small-group events in our home. They are learning about having a balanced diet with a visual presentation to compare carbohydrates in various foods, how to plan ahead for success, and how to cook a meal featuring one of Andrea’s own original recipes using a local Paraguayan product... Chicken with Cocido Salsa. Then they eat a yummy, healthy, balanced lunch!!!

Christmas – We enjoyed another wonderful evening with the Vera Family in their home for Christmas Eve Dinner. However, being away from family and friends back home is especially difficult during the holidays, and this year we’ve been feeling more homesick than ever. So, we decided to spend Christmas day and night on the river at the Paraguay Yacht & Golf Club here in Asuncion. It was just the little get-away that we needed!

Personal study:
I have been reading (or, still reading): “Cover to Cover” by Johnny Ramsey, “ El Desafio del Amor” by Alex and Stephen Kendrick, “Spiritual Disciplines” by Adele Calhoun

I have also been studying and preparing lessons for an upcoming Sunday Bible study series on spiritual development and maturity. 

Preaching/teaching opportunities:
I preached one Sunday this month at Avenida Sacramento.

I finished up classes on “Revelation,” and “Catholicism,” in the Asuncion Bible Academy. I also taught one Sunday morning class over “False Ideas About The Holy Spirit.”

Discovering Paraguay: Christmas Fireworks
What are some of the biggest differences between Christmas in Paraguay and in the USA? One, lack of snow…the other, fireworks! Lots and lots of fireworks! Paraguayans have a deep love for fireworks in general as they will shoot them off at the end of a soccer game, when a political candidate wins, for the current patron saint’s day, a birthday, a quinceñera, or really, any occasion. Yet, there is no occasion quite like Christmas Eve. Right about midnight, all of a sudden, it sounds like a war broke out! It seems like thousands upon thousand of fireworks are exploded all across town from as close as your front door to as far away as you can possibly hear in every direction. It is absolutely incredible! For more information on all things Paraguay, visit this informative website: http://discoveringparaguay.com

Troy and Andrea Spradlin

To see the Spradlin’s report with pictures and an invitation to their graduation, click here.

Posted on January 4, 2015 .

The Lord Is Adding To The Kingdom In Paraguay...

Seasons Greetings!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all our dear friends and brethren! We pray you have a happy, safe, and memorable holiday season. November was another busy month in the Lord’s kingdom here in Paraguay. We have several things to report. We hope this month’s mission report brings you a little extra joy during these festive days! May God bless you and yours!

Baptism!
Clara Magnolia Soria, has put on Christ in baptism. What great news! Here is what our fellow missionary, Brittnea Yegros, wrote about Clara in her report from July earlier this year: “Please pray for Clara, a sweet fifteen year old girl who is the niece of our dear sister Rosalba Alfonso. Clara’s heart is tender and is searching for the Truth. Our next study will be on how to become a Christian, per her request!” We rejoice as Clara’s search has ultimately brought her to the foot of the cross where she then “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine” which saves! Praise God! 

Developments at Avenue Sacramento Church of Christ
Studies! We have just wrapped up a series of studies for our Sunday morning Bible hour over the “Deity of Christ.” In December we will have a brief study about the Holy Spirit. Meanwhile, Pedro Vera has been continuing to teach “Christian Fundamentals” to several of our new converts and plans to wrap up by mid-December. For the New Year, we will be starting a new
series on “Personal Spiritual Development.” The series will teach about how one can make application from personal Bible study, develop a better prayer life, and increase involvement in individual ministry. 

New Songbook Project. We are still working on the new songbook. It has been fun learning the new hymns! We hope to have the corrections, additions, and changes completed by the end of the year. We will then have it printed and bound for the church to use. We currently use “Cantos del Camino” as our main songbook for worship, but this new one will be smaller, contain many newer songs, and will available to use in devotionals and activities away from the building, thus, preserving our standard hymnals for our regular Sunday worship. 

Developments at Ñemby Church of Christ
There are several of our brethren who are experiencing some real crises (plural) in their lives. They are greatly in need of support and healing, so we ask that you please lift them up in prayer to our Father. 

The brethren at Ñemby have been making several repairs to the rental facility that they use and doing lots of painting. It is looking really nice! 

Asunción Bible Academy    
Here is what Andrea posted on Facebook this past month which pretty much sums up our excitement: “Today is the first day of class for the final quarter of the Asuncion Bible Academy! WOW... I can't believe how fast the time has gone by! I remember clearly the looks on the faces of the students as they began their first day with two daunting years before them. They were excited, but scared... and without a clue as to what to expect or what they would learn. Now, with a verse-by-verse study of the entire Bible nearly complete, as well as several topical studies (not the least of which is GREEK!), they are much more confident and with a "we got this!" look and attitude. I am so happy for them! Please continue to keep our students in your prayers! “ 

Quarterly Report. Be sure and look for the latest Quarterly Report that was recently published! You can access it at: www.paraguaymission.com/asuncion-bible-academy/ 

Contacts / Bible Studies / Activities: 
For the past four years, Andrea and I have spent the holiday season here in Paraguay because, well, it is extremely expensive to return home during this time of year and travel certainly isn’t easy. Be that as it may, we still miss our families and just “good ‘ol American tradition.” Especially the fabulous meals! Well, this year we were blessed to have TWO American style Thanksgiving dinners thanks to the Las Amigas Club and also some of our American “Ex-Pat” friends! You really don’t realize how much you miss home until you taste those familiar holiday season flavors! 

Bible Studies
We have never had a month without several Bible studies going on. This month was no exception! I have been studying with Alex Vargas, Sebastian. Garcia, Javier Zaracho, and Beatrice Ortiz. 

Andrea has been studying with Oscar and Adriana. She has also been setting new English studies for this next month which may lead to Bible studies real soon! 

What an incredible blessing the New Video Conference System has been for the Asuncion Bible Academy! We not only have been able to connect with our brethren, but we also use the system for our regular classes sometimes. The mounted projector is great for presentations and the TV has been used for watching instructional videos. The next academic year will have several teachers using the system to teach their classes live from their offices in the United States! 

I was recently asked to preside over the wedding nuptials for some of our friends from Ñemby. Juan Candia and Naty Santander were married on November 15th, 2014 in Fernando de La Mora. It was an outdoor ceremony and everything, including the weather, was just perfect! They are a cute couple! One peculiar aspect of a traditional Paraguayan wedding is that dinner isn’t served until about, oh, midnight! Whew! That usually makes for a long, late night!

Coming Up: 
Andrea will be hosting the “Ladies Tea” at our home this month. 

A Men’s Planning Retreat to discuss future plans for the church in Paraguay is being scheduled. 

Graduation for the Asuncion Bible Academy will be held on Saturday, February 7th, 2015. 

Karen Bennet will be returning to Paraguay for the Annual Ladies Retreat. 

Personal Development and Activities: Activities/developments: 
Andrea’s recent Facebook post: “HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my family and friends!!! Although we are working today, we are blessed to have had the opportunity to celebrate twice this year and eat turkey with friends (and at ~$100 for a bird here, that is QUITE a treat to have had it twice)! My thoughts are with my family back home b/c I miss so much being with them, especially when I know they are together for a holiday. But my thoughts and prayers are also with all the servicemen, policeman, fireman, and health care workers, etc that also work on holidays to keep the rest of us safe. Happy Thanksgiving!” 

We got to see the “Nutcracker” this year ... in Paraguay! One of the local universities performed the holiday season favorite and, I must say, did an outstanding job! The orchestra was really good. Andrea invited some friends and it turned out to be a really nice evening together. 

I have been dealing with lots of little maintenance, installation, repair, and construction projects at the church building and also at our house this past month. Getting things done around here is relatively easy (providing it doesn’t rain ... and it’s been raining a LOT lately), but getting a job well done, well now, that’s the real challenge! Thankfully, most everything has turned out quite well. 

My mother, A’Gatha Spradlin, has been moved to an assisted living center where she will be under 24-hour nursing care. The doctor has told us that she will never walk again. She is also still struggling to swallow, but is beginning to respond a little, verbally. Please keep my family in your prayers. We would greatly appreciate it. 

Andrea and I have started a new personal goal of us each writing down 1,000 things for which we are thankful. We simply write down three things a day for one year. It certainly doesn’t take long to see that God has truly blessed us in many ways. 

Personal study: 
I have been reading (or, still reading): 

“More Than Conquerors” by William Hendriksen 
“Select Studies from Revelation” by Wayne Jackson
“Comentario del Libro de Apocalipsis” by Willie Alvarenga 
“Roman Catholicism” by Lorraine Boettner 

I have also been studying about the Indwelling and Influence of the Holy Spirit 

Preaching/teaching opportunities: 
I preached one Sunday this month at Avenida Sacramento and one Sunday at Ñemby. 

I am currently teaching “Revelation,” and “Catholicism,” in the Bible Academy. I also taught several classes during our Wednesday evening Bible study hour over “Examples of Faith from the Old Testament,” and one Sunday morning class over “The Holy Spirit.” 

Paraguay Featured in “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” 
Anthony Bourdain is an American chef, author, and television personality known for his currently popular TV show, "Parts Unknown" where he travels to places that are not tourist attractions and thought to be unknown to most people. Bordain recently added Paraguay to his "Unknown" repertoire. The sketch did a nice job of presenting Paraguay's unique (albeit rather bizarre) history, it's rich culture, it's very traditional cuisine, and it's distinctive citizens. It also revealed that Bordain, himself, has a family connection to Paraguay as his great (x4) granddad died in Asuncion and was buried in the famous Recoleta cemetery. Our friend and author of "Paraguay Travel Guide," Natalia Goldberg, also appeared on the show and assisted Bordain and his crew with many details about Paraguay, including research regarding his family's history. Learn more about the episode at this link: anthonybourdain.tumblr.com/ 

For more information on all things Paraguay, visit this informative website: http://discoveringparaguay.com 

Troy and Andrea Spradlin

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

Posted on December 7, 2014 .

The Lord's Kingdom In Paraguay Is Growing...

September was a month of growth and development. Several souls were added to the Lord’s kingdom and some exciting plans are being developed. We pray this month’s mission report brings you much joy! God bless!

BAPTISMS!
Alma Agüero, (pictured at right, top), asked the question, “What must I do to be saved?” and was then baptized. She is the daughter of our brother and sister in Christ, Gustavo and Elva Agüero. There is now another entire household of disciples of the Lord’s church in Paraguay. Praise God!

Mikael Jara. Francisca Villalba. Estefania Bogado. (pictured at right) Do you remember that flyer we reported on earlier this year that got put in the mailbox of one young man, (Alex Valdez) who told a friend, (Fabian Nuñez) who told a friend, (Sebastian Garcia) plus one more friend (Marcelo Alcaraz) of the original young man... that ended up with all 4 being baptized? Well, Marcelo has been studying with several of his friends and all 3 of them were baptized this month (and hopefully 2 more will be coming soon). Now we are up to 7 SOULS being added to the church all from JUST ONE FLYER that got put in someone’s mailbox when they weren’t home.... (which, by the way, was a campaign conducted by the Asuncion Bible Academy, AND.... all four of these young men are interested in attending the Academy). Indeed, “God provides the increase”! (1 Cor 3:6)

Developments at Ave. Sacramento Church of Christ
Special Benevolence Project (cont’d). The church distributed some more beans and rice packages to the local flood victims. It was just a little something to bring some much needed relief to a group who is suffering (Matt 25:40). Paraguay continues to experience high river levels and some reports say there are still some 55,000 people displaced from their homes.

The Directors of “AME” (Adventures in Evangelistic Missions) made a special survey trip to Paraguay this month to coordinate sending interns to come work with us in 2015. AME is a work of the church of Christ in Joao Pessoa, Brazil, which trains and prepares Christian youth to go out and work with various congregations in Brazil and Latin America. We will be receiving two interns in January and we’re looking forward to having these evangelistic minded young men as part of our mission team in Paraguay!

Men’s Retreat. The men of the church held a special, overnight retreat in the town of Itacurubi, this month. We prayed together, studied the subject of “Spiritual Development,” and enjoyed some wonderful Christian fellowship. Many were already talking about the next time we could do this!

Developments at Ñemby Church of Christ
Preaching the Gospel. Vicente Martinez carried Eliezer Perez and David Avila (who was visiting Eliezer from Guatemala) to a town in the interior so they could preach the Gospel to some of his family members. This may turn into a possible church plant in the near future! Please pray for the possibility!

Asunción Bible Academy
Quarterly Report. The Asuncion Bible Academy continues to move forward with its classes and activities. After an initial introduction, the new report we have developed for the school will now be published every quarter. The next report will be published in October. You can see all the previous reports by visiting www.paraguaymission.com/asuncion-bible-academy/

Evangelistic Contacts / Bible Studies / Activities:
I was able to connect a couple of times with our brother Ruben Castro in Meteti, Panama, via Skype this past month in order to study “Fundamentals” with him. Not only is he learning the material for himself, but he is using it to prepare lessons to teach the congregation on Sunday mornings.

Our ABA “Leadership Training by Extension” students , Javier Zarate, Luis Yegros, and Enrique Albera have been steadily continuing their courses.

Bible Studies and more Bible Studies!
We wish you could see all the wonderful things happening here, especially all the Bible studies that are taking place! We have members studying with other members, others studying with coworkers, with family members, and visitors, and new Bible study groups that have started up in different homes. How wonderful to see a church that is increasingly becoming more self-perpetuating!

One of our members, Magda Ortiz, asked if we would come study with her son, Junior, who is struggling with drug addiction and other problems. Before we arrived, he had invited a friend of his and his friend brought his family with him. There were five new contacts at what turned out to be a new, evangelistic Bible study! We shared God’s word with them by focusing on where we should place authority for religious matters and then gave them a copy of “Searching for Truth.” They were all very receptive!

Andrea has been continuing her Bible studies in English with Adriana, Martin, and Oscar.

I am continuing to study the Bible with Beatriz Ortiz in English, as well as, with Sebastian Garcia. I also have a couple of new contacts that will be starting a study this next month.

We pray all of these listed above will develop into more souls being added to the kingdom of God!

David Ávila, who is a close friend to Eliezer Perez from when they attended ITL Bible Institute in Guatemala, came to visit Paraguay and work with us for a month. He taught a class in the Bible Academy, preached several times at Ave Sacramento and Ñemby, and lead several evangelistic Bible studies. It was a real pleasure to have him here with us and we hope he returns real soon!

Coming Up:
Brother Luis Camacho will be returning to Paraguay to teach “Denominational Doctrines” in the ABA next month.

Andrea will be traveling to Brazil for “Continent Care Connection,” a missionary retreat and renewal seminar.

Personal Development and Activities
Andrea had quite an interesting and exciting challenge this past month! She was asked to cater lunch for the employees at the US Embassy. With her usual high-level of enthusiasm, she tackled the challenge and “knocked the ball out of the park.” Everyone loved her food and, of course, she now has a few more customers for “Mas Que Dulces.”

An interesting factoid: there just wasn’t a lot of reliable tourist information on Paraguay in the recent past. However, there are now two great guidebooks on Paraguay for American tourists written in English. Andrea has met the authors of each book! One is Natalia Goldberg, who is Paraguayan and now living in the USA (her website is listed below), and the other is Margaret Hebblethwaite, who owns a hotel in Santa Maria de Fe. Coming to Paraguay sometime? We highly recommend their guide books. Both are available on Amazon.com.

We hosted another “Grilled Pizza Party” for the youth at our house. It is always so much fun and they just love it!

My mother, A’Gatha Spradlin, suffered a major stroke this past month. She was completely paralyzed on one side and unresponsive to anyone or anything. She is still in the hospital, slowly recovering, and doing some better. Please keep my family in your prayers. We would greatly appreciate it.

Personal study:
I have been reading (or, still reading):

“Isaiah,” “The Gospel Accounts in Chronological Order”

“The Book of Ezekiel” by Jim McGiuggan

“The Major Prophets” by James E. Smith

“Contextualization and Syncretism” by Gailyn Van Rheenen.

I am continuing to take classes in Guarani and have also begun a basic study of Portuguese.

Preaching/teaching opportunities:
I preached one Sunday at Avenida Sacramento and one Sunday at Ñemby.

I taught “Biblical Greek 2,” “Baptism: Unwatered Down,” and “Ezekiel and Daniel” in the Bible Academy.

Paraguayan Culture Spotlight: Cerro Lambaré (Lambare Hill)
As one sails northward on the Paraguay River, there is a peculiar high spot that stands out alongside the riverbank called “Cerro Lambaré.” The hill lies just South of the city of Asuncion and there exists varying legends regarding its historical importance. One has it that it was here where the Spanish conquistadors first came into contact with Paraguay’s fierce Guarani Indians, lead by Chief Lambaré. Several battles ensued and it was soon discovered that the mighty Spanish armada was no match for the Indian chief’s warriors. Another legend says the conquistadors landed here peaceably, scaled the hill to make observations up river, and were met at the top by Chief Lambaré, who extended an open welcome ... and yerba mate! The Spanish then established the city of Asunción in 1537 and even enlisted some of the Guarani for explorations into the region of the Chaco. Today, the hill stands as a monument to Paraguay’s eclectic history. In fact, a monument called “Victorious Peace” was installed in 1982 which had five statues of Paraguayan heroes prominently displayed which included the then dictator, Alfredo Stroessner. After he was overthrown, his statue was destroyed and removed from the monument, leaving an empty space on one of it’s sides! For more information on all things Paraguay, visit this informative website: http://discoveringparaguay.com.

Troy and Andrea Spradlin

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

Posted on October 5, 2014 .