John & Rachel McDonough

Church: It's For Everyone

So what does church planting look like to us in rural Paraguay? It looks like, meeting under trees in the late afternoon sun with juice and a 'chippa' (instead of tea and biscuits). It looks like, bible teaching for adults accompanied by twice the amount of babies and children. It looks like people talking over each other during the study, but hearing every word that is said. It looks different.

The aim is that the Elim cross-cultural church plant will be so Ava/ Mbya Guarani in expression that the only familiarity for a visiting westerner will be the presence of God and the Holy Spirit. We do not feel called to be cultural transplants, simply taking a working model into a new surroundings, we feel called to take the Word of God to his people, expressing it through their culture but serving the same God. As Paul expresses in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, we hope that, to the Guarani people, we will become like Guarani, building relationships and winning them for Christ.

The people group we are working with are mainly illiterate; this means that we have to help our people in accessing the bible in other ways. After researching different methods, we are using pictures and breaking down the verses into bite size chunks, which we can repeat and expand in the study. The response has been amazing, as they are an oral based community, they remember the details quicker and retain them. They are delighting at hearing the stories of the Old Testament for the first time and finding that, due to their self-sustaining farming lifestyle, they can easily relate to the lives of the men and women from the bible. Our prayer and hope is that, as they learn more about God and his relationship with mankind, they will be drawn to Him and desire to enter into their own personal relationship with Jesus, leaving behind their animistic folk religion.

We also know that for them to understand the love of Jesus, we cannot simply talk to them about it, we have to practically show it. Through helping them access health care, spending time with their families and facilitating projects that benefit the whole community, we aim to help them understand God's love is different to the love they observe in the world. It is undeserved, unearned and unlimited and available to everyone.

John & Rachel McDonough

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