Letter from Paraguayan Chaco

Peter Hunter is on the Mission Paraguay team in the Chaco.

Rio Verde, The Chaco, Paraguay
As I write this on Friday morning, the sky is overcast, wind blowing and temperature about 25 degrees Celsius…. very pleasant.

After a day in Asuncion and a Sunday service in English (and a refreshing cup of tea and relax with Linn) we headed out to the Chaco (the country), saying goodbye to Laura, Debbie and Mike as they left for the coach to Concepcion. We had a 4-5 hour Landrover trip along the only tarmac’d road to reach Rio Verde where the local garage is also the local store, hardware shop and cafe.
Either side of the road are various homes. Some are of brick, a few official places like police barracks, quite smart……. others small and made from corrugated iron and local trees. The local trees are very hard.

I’ve spent 31/2 days finishing an Indian family’s home. They were slowly making the room from pieces of wood and ‘chapas’ (corrugated iron)…..  all held together by wire and a few nails…. a great example of recycling, with the additional factor that most of the wood is so hard that it bends nails! 3 or 4 of us were working on it. Every time we stopped for a break some of the family gathered around. They are very friendly and we try communicating by sign language, or singing!! The smallest girl was astonished when 2 of us joined in humming ‘Old MacDonald had a farm’.

Luke has been with another group working in a different church community, repairing water reservoirs and building a meeting room. All the team are really friendly and the banter through the day is great.

Whenever we come across Paraguayans there is a very sociable greeting and exchange. Most people in the Chaco in Indian communities have very little, if anything. But they are very friendly and smiley. It has been lovely to see the impact on the family of the house we completed. It is more than a building, it is a gift of hope.

The Lord has kept us safe, which is a real gift here where the opportunities for accidents and injury are legion. Thursday there was a huge storm with hailstones, the size of golf-balls and very high winds……… fortunately not where we are. David Orritt, Tim Curtis and I went 3 hrs towards Concepcion to visit another Anglican community where the church roof had been ripped half off and 30 houses had lost part of their rooves. The damage will take a while to repair. It will need outside funding…….. but the people appear not upset.

Thanks for your prayers.

Love Peter

Prayer line

The latest prayer line from SAMS GB.

Let’s give thanks for the life and service of former SAMS missionary and home staff member Derek Hawksbee, who died on Sunday. Please remember his family; they hope to hold a short family service before son Chris returns to Paraguay on Thursday (14th), with a memorial service possibly next week.

Derek and his wife Betty also served in Paraguay, and that country reaches a milestone on Friday when ex-Roman Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo takes office as president of the republic. He’s the first president for 61 years who is not of the Colorado party. Pray for him and his new government as they carry the hopes of the nation in their promised fight against corruption, poverty and lack of jobs.

The Anglican mother church of Makxawáya in the Paraguayan Chaco lost half its roof in a storm last week. 30 Indian homes also suffered damage. Please pray for the community as they recover and rebuild.

On Thursday (14th) the three-day Alcançando International Youth Conference begins in Recife, Brazil. SAMS Latin Partner Josias de Souza asks us to pray for this event, with speakers coming from the USA as well as other parts of Brazil. Pray for the groups from Espirito Santo church, where Josias is Youth Minister, as they speak and perform; pray many young people will come and that God’s Spirit will move in their hearts.

Finally, tomorrow a group of ten people from St Michael’s Church, Newton, Chester, fly to Northern Argentina to visit and work with their link mission partners Hugo & Techi Vergara. May God richly bless both visitors and visited, as well as the diocese there through these 2-3 weeks together.

FEISA News for August

FEISA studentsFEISA, The teacher training college in Asuncion has released their latest news for August.

Praise the Lord for a very good and refreshing winter break for all our staff and students in July. Estela’s health has improved and we are all very grateful for the wonderful, spring-like weather we were able to enjoy.

This month, there are several visits to the Chaco; please pray for safety in the journeys and fruitful training sessions with the indigenous communities:

Nursery project visits to Yatnata; 1st-2nd and 22nd-23rd

Pre-school teacher training visit to El Estribo; 8th -9th

There are also 8 mobile play sessions planned, including two special ones on 14th and 16th celebrating Children’s Day (16th Aug). Please pray for safety as our team travels to poor areas and for the children to experience God’s love through this ministry.

Read more…

Prayer Line

The SAMS GB Prayer line:

SAMS Prayer Line for the week commencing Tuesday 5 August

Pat Blanchard was in the UK last week but on Thursday she returns to Peru after a short time in the UK. Pray for her in travel, readjustment to life and ministry at Jesús el Nazareno in Lima, and for a restoration to full health.

On Thursday and Friday the Hotel Salta in that city in Northern Argentina hosts a conference on the church and the environment. Andrew Leake is the main instigator and asks prayer that through it God will develop in church leaders of the area a genuine and practical concern for the world in which they live, particularly in light of deforestation of the Chaco area to the north. The conference has also caught the attention of politicians, the press and other groups.

Also in Northern Argentina this weekend are (i) a regional conference for Indian pastors held in the town of Sauzalito, led by veteran pastor Ernesto Avendaño, and (ii) a meeting in the Toba community of El Churcal to consider the possibility of producing Scriptures in audio form in the Toba language. Please include these events in your prayers.

Finally, the first indigenous pre-school teacher training sessions in the Paraguayan Chaco, mentioned last week, are held this Friday and Saturday in El Estribo. Pray for Samantha Parsons and the team from FEISA, the Early Years Teacher Training College in Asunción, who will be working with teachers and mothers from the villages of this community.

SAMS Prayer line

The latest prayer line from SAMS GB. SAMS Prayer Line for the week beginning Tuesday 29 July

Caroline Gilmour-White writes enthusiastically about the first part of the 2008 Mission Paraguay short term volunteer programme: “Praise God for the runaway success of the group activities in July – a building programme, children´s clubs and an innovative sewing project. Please pray for plans to continue the sewing project under the leadership of local women in the towns of Luque and San Lorenzo.”

As one group leaves, 25 new volunteers arrive on Saturday (2nd) for building and children´s projects in Concepción and the Chaco. Pray for good fellowship and that the Lord would direct the work.

Two further items for prayer from the Paraguayan Chaco are:
the indigenous pre-school teacher training programme which starts this month, when staff of FEISA, the Early Years Teacher Training College, will be working with 9 schools and 15 teachers and mothers
– on Friday (1st) Elena Nesbit, a retired nurse, arrives in Paraguay to help Beryl Baker in her Chaco medical ministry.

The week-long annual Youth Camp of the Lusitanian Church of Portugal begins on Saturday. Please remember the young people, and also that God would raise up from them future leaders for that church.

Finally, a request for prayer for next Wednesday, 6 August, when interviews are held for SAMS GB’ new Mission Director. There are three candidates; please ask God to reveal his mind to the interview panel.

Mission Paraguay 2008 first report

San Lorenzo is a very poor area with little work.  Dusty earth roads are a quagmire during periods of rain.  Some roads are on an incline so that deep ruts are formed, subsequently setting rock hard making the movement of vehicles extremely difficult…

Read the full report.

“Wonderful, fantastic, brilliant and any other superlatives you can think of are how it felt to be able to show ladies from a shanty town called San Lorenzo how to make garments for themselves and their children.  The look of sheer ecstasy on their faces was amazing as they learnt and completed the task.  In the end several pairs of trousers were made.   One elderly lady looked resplendent in a pink suit (jacket and skirt). Her daughter and granddaughter had made trousers and inserted a zip.  Children and adults made scarves.

In Paraguay nothing is wasted and scraps were tied together with string to make dusters.

This has been an amazing experience. 
Thank you God, for giving me this opportunity.”
Moira Lindsay, From St.Saviour, Church of Ireland, Co.Armagh.

SAMS Prayer line

SAMS Prayer Line for week beginning Tuesday 22 July

The winter holidays are over for the staff and students of St Andrew’s School and the FEISA Teacher Training College in Asunción, Paraguay. Please pray for them in this first week back, and especially for the 1st and 3rd year students at FEISA who are on teaching practice. Pray they will bring God’s light and love into the schools where they do their placements.

Stuart & Kathryn Broughton are SAMS Associate Mission Partners serving the Portuguese-speaking communities in Sydney, Australia. Kathryn is currently in the UK helping translate for spouses at the Lambeth Conference, and asks our prayer for mental agility and strength and a true sense of God’s peace and love.

Next Tuesday sees the end of an era as Terry & Pancha Barratt arrive back in the UK from Chile after a lifetime in South America. They are coming to help care for Terry’s elderly parents, former SAMS missionaries Tony & Peggy. They will, however, be continuing the theological extension work of SEAN, of which Terry is International Director. As we give thanks for their wonderful service, let’s pray for their journey and resettlement, and remember the indigenous Pehuenche church in southern Chile, flourishing under new leadership supported by the training programmes carried out by Terry and Pancha.

Also next Tuesday Sue Woodcock returns to Sabadell in Spain after 3 weeks here, and around the same time Felipe Yáñez arrives from Málaga to join Sarah and the boys for the rest of their time here, including visits to link churches.

Following representation at the Lambeth Conference on Friday, the SAMS stand moves to New Wine on Saturday, for one week at Newark and two weeks at Shepton Mallet. Pray for the witness of the stand and those who staff it.

Finally, please continue to remember events going on overseas through this week:

the 25th anniversary of Anglican ministry in Villa el Salvador, Lima, Peru with Juan Carlos & Penny Marcés
– the training week for Wichi youth group leaders in Northern Argentina with René Pereira
– the 6-day course on HIV/AIDS in the Paraguayan Chaco with Beryl Baker for indigenous health auxiliaries

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