The Paraguay team of 40/40's has gone from a team of 3 pairs to 4 pairs! We welcome a Paraguayan national, Shirley; and another Brazilian, Camila! We are so happy to have them working with us! They will be working on starting an in-home bible study in our house for the people in our neighborhood as well as opening a number of other groups in the homes of people here in the Fernando de la Mora community of Asuncion. We are very excited and eager to see what great things we will be a part of of through this particular opportunity with them!
Some non-detail highlights:
- Visited Argentina!
- Teddy and Reese will be able to start school this next month!
- Reese got her cast off and is as good as new!
We have been in South America now for a little over 4 months and I imagine the toughest wave of culture shock should be here soon... The kids are doing better and better all the time but I have had a few days where the small differences really seemed too much to bear. Believe me, culture shock messes you up for a while! At least we know it passes and doesn't affect every day : ) The coolest thing for me about going through some of the adjustments has definitely been changing my focus away from myself and completely on God. At home in the states we had a very different sense of identity that related a lot to where we fit in with our church family, our regular friend circles, even with work and things like MOPS. Here as missionaries in a culture where we are outsiders, have the language barrier, and have very new relationships with people, we have felt great humility in doing what God has called us to do. It has been so freeing to just simply and sincerely ask God "how do we fit into your plan here?" Everytime I find myself feeling uncomfortable, unsure, or out of place God has given me the sense to consider His perspective rather than rely on my own inaccurate way of looking at myself. I feel like emotionally getting here was like a slow but quickening walk forward but with my back toward God...like I knew and could feel his power, his light, his call but my own sense of selfishness or self-concern kept me feeling afraid to completely let go and run straight toward him. It's desiring and feeling a great sense of excitement for the hugeness of God's plan but at the same time a fear that it will be too much to bear...that I will fail if God's expectations of me are too high. And that I suppose is what I am learning to do right now...to stop considering how God's plan affects me but rather how I fit into it. This is so not about me. It is insofar as my relationship to Christ deepens but God's master plan is about Him, the only one worthy of any praise. Humility is truly and wonderfully freeing. When we stop worring about gaining the approval of others, stop concerning ourselves with the judgement we may feel fom them, stop modifying the vision, passion, and confidence we receive from God, we will be free to live up to the highest expectations of our Lord because then will we live in His strength, under His yoke, with Christ bearing the heaviest burdens on our behalf...and I am certain it frees those around us to do the same. It is my desire to be invisible here...that we decrease so that He increases. I hope that when the time comes for us to move on, that people here would be so deep in Christ that He would be all they see.
Things in Paraguay are a little politically unstable right now. As a result of a land dispute over properties seized during the dictatorship, 17 people were killed including police and landless farmers about two weeks ago a few hours away near the Brazilian border. Directly following the dispute and deaths, parliament and the senate called to impeach the President. Within 48 hours or less of the impeachment filings, the President was removed from office and replaced by the Vice President. Other South American nations are highly suspicious of the quick removal and perceive the governemnt to be illegitimate and unstable. The day after the impeachment was announced one of the 40/40's had a sudden sense of urgency for the need to pray for Paraguay. This brought on an intense time of prayer for our 40/40's who were at the time in Argentina visiting a church. They prayed intensely that God would show mercy, protect and cover Paraguay... that He would save them and choose them to be among his people. So far, we have not felt any sense of danger or unrest but are monitoring the situation so that we can be wise about what we need to do. We greatly deisre to see God's church grow supernaturally and live through Christ. Having heard Paraguay's reputation for being difficult and unresponsive toward God, we have come here knowing and believing whole-heartedly that this is 100% a spiritual task and doable only through miraculous intervention. Please pray with confidence for God to continue what has begun here. He is above all and grants all authorities their power. Please pray for leadership in the country but more for those who are and would be leaders in the church... that God would take those who right now are like young King David in the field being called to do that which all else are afraid to conquer, that they may be raised up to be blessed and courageous leaders of God's people.