News from Paraguay April 2021 - Coming Out the Other Side
In comparison to what was happening this time last year, we were really excited at some resemblance of normal life returning.
Alicia started back at school where she does one week in-person then one week on-line and apart from the mask wearing, hand washing and sanitiser on arrival, you wouldn't notice anything was different.
Her dance school reopened too!!! . . . which has made her so happy as you can imagine after not being able to go with her friends for a whole year. Jesse is also happy to go to dance school as one of Alicia's friends has a younger brother who brings his tractors and they play together as they wait for their big sisters.
John is doing really well after the appendectomy, all back to normal. Well. . . . . aside from getting back on his bicycle. (Come on John, you have added public pressure now from this newsletter, so get back on that saddle!!!) Thank you for your prayers during his recuperation.
I (Rachel) have also returned to school. Guarani School. After finishing maternity leave and with the addition of lockdown it was time to brush up on my Guarani. Especially after spending so many months speaking mainly English with two under 5s and singing 'wind the bobbin up' (a lot) and shouting for Mr Tumble.
We are grateful for the changes here in Paraguay concerning social interactions through the lightening of lockdown rules. We are very much a 'social-family', and have missed being with other people, in community. We have missed especially not having been able to see you all back in the UK.
Might we finally be seeing the end of the tunnel?
Roughly a year ago the world was beginning to react to the new Corona-virus. Nations and territories with their different demographics and societal norms confronted this invisible killer, this pandemic, with a range of different approaches. Many of the geographical and geo-political elements of their surrounding impacted implementation, practices, policies and precautions.
Slowly the virus's impact reached its way around the world touching almost all countries and societies. Slowly it spread and slowly we seem to be moving out from under its effects. But now with the vaccines and a greater understanding of the virus, it is clear that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The UK is delivering a fantastic vaccine program, as too are other nations. The awareness about vaccines and how they have been developed has been great. I think I am more informed concerning the covid vaccines than any of the other vaccines that I have had over my lifetime. And although some people are vaccine hesitant (a personal choice and one which no-one should be stigmatised/singled-out/or harassed for), there is sufficient an uptake of these vaccines to have a really big impact on the pandemic. Most importantly, impacting our communities by allowing us all to return to interacting more widely and participating in vital social interactions including, importantly, corporate worship in churches as the fully gathered-together body of Christ.
We hope to see the quick rollout internationally of vaccines and therapeutic medicines, so let's all be praying as we move towards the end of this tunnel;
For the removal of any negative geo-political game playing or national politics depriving some of receiving the vaccine
For the removal of corruption and self-serving desires by some involved in politics to line their pockets through the redirection of funds
And for our communities/friends and families to be well informed regarding vaccines. Being welcomed to raise questions/concerns about this whole situation.
Looking Back, Looking Forward & Celebrating
We would like to introduce you to Paula and celebrate what God is doing in her life. Some of you may know Paula from our time serving in Honduras when at the time Paula (and we were) a little younger!
Paula was one of our youth helpers arranging the youth events with military precision, commanding respect from the youth, while always remaining beautifully approachable and loving towards each of them. Paula knows the tough backgrounds many of these kids came from and so she showed them Christ-like love and was a reliable 'auntie' for those who struggled with dysfunctional families. Paula married Antonio and have a crazily cool little son called Jaziel.
Paula has lead Project Jospeh in her church for a decade. Pro Joe has under Paula's leadership been developed from a once a month feeding programme to a 4 times a month kids/youth club where those who come are fed spiritually and physically. Organising the project team to meet these needs as and when they can. Through the pandemic her ministry has been a beacon of hope and connection between those kids and the church. Also, this year Paula has been appointed to the governing board of Elim Honduras to oversee the ministry in a Fiscal capacity. Congratulations Paula!
From being Paula's youth mentors to now seeing her blossom in her own ministry and calling, it has reminded us both why we do what we do. Our ministry values: Raising Disciples, Releasing Potential, Reaching Out. It is good to remember how we (and you) can play a role in impacting the next generation of leaders. Lets celebrate her fruit bearing fruit.
Standing in faith for the needed funds to buy a new vehicle to facilitate our ministry. Thank you to those who have sent gifts . [We currently have 16% of our target.] Please add your faith to ours in this prayer petition
Starting to re-develop our Discipleship & Training Materials. Please pray for this process and the writing
Looking at how we can grow the ministry into new areas and opportunities while keeping our identity and focus on the priority of our ministry
Going through a season of trying different doors. It has been at times frustrating as a door is opened ajar but then closes due to external factors, but we continue to try doors and know His plans and timing are perfect
Praying that some time in the next 12 months we can get back to the UK to see family and supporters, and also that some time in the coming months we will be able to take a good restful holiday as a family.
The kids out for a stroll
The apostles came up and said to the Master, "Give us more faith." But the Master said, "You don't need more faith. There is no 'more' or 'less' in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a poppy seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, 'Go jump in the lake,' and it would do it.
Luke 17:5-6 The Message
We would not be able to do all that we do if it were not for you. Thank you for walking with us.
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