As you may have learned through the media, Rosimeiri Boxall, the adopted 19-year-old Brazilian daughter of ex-SAMS mission partners Simon & Rachel Boxall, died in suspicious circumstances after falling from a window at a house in London on Saturday. Please uphold Simon, Rachel and their sons in their shock and grief.
Two other deaths have made this a sad week. Wichi Bible translator Juan Toribio passed on in northern Argentina after a short illness, and the grandfather of SAMS Latin Volunteer Bárbara Pino has also died in Chile. Pray for Juan’s widow, Carmen, and their family; and for Bárbara, now feeling very far from home in her Blackpool placement, and her family in Chile.
In Bárbara’s home parish in Santiago, Alf & Hilary Cooper have asked us to pray with them about larger premises for their church of La Trinidad, and especially the possibility of renting a large gym in the nearby German School. Please pray for this urgent need for a growing church.
Looking ahead to next Wednesday (28th) the clergy of the Diocese of Peru begin a 3-day retreat, and the leaders of FEISA, the Early Years Teacher Training College in Asunción, Paraguay, spend the first of two days together on a strategic plan for FEISA’s future, notably in regard to funding its expanding ministry. Pray for these two events, that God would be the director and would develop his work accordingly.
I can hardly believe I’m sitting down to write what will be my last prayer letter. This year has flow by, and God has taught me so much during the year.
A sad piece of news to begin with. Many will remember Romina from my last prayer letter. Indeed a lot of people will have been among those who raised the money for her operations and subsequent treatment. Romina received her second operation during holy week. She had recovered well, and had returned home. Unfortunately she took ill about a week after the operation. She was brought straight to hospital but despite the best efforts of her medical team she was unable to pull through. Romina was a very special little girl and anyone who met her immediately sensed her fighting spirit.
We can only thank God for the opportunity of getting to know her that little bit during her lifetime, and for the chance to show God’s love to her.
In school the term has been action packed. The staff all started back with a service on the first day, to get us all ready for a new year. The kids came back about 10 days later and there was a joint assembly with primary and secondary together. It is very uplifting to be in a school where God is given the first focus of new year, and seeing the kids really respond to that.
So far each year in secondary has already taken a camp. Some were survival camps and others were more practical community based projects. The first set of school exams began last week, and continue until the end of May. This is a difficult time for the students. Since they are only permitted by the education authorities to have one exam per day, the exams stretch for a long time. Please pray for strength and perseverance on their behalf, so they do the best they can.
At Easter time I had a visit from my parents, and was able to take a few days back at the Iguazú waterfalls in Brazil. It was a good break from school, and a good time was spent catching up from things at home. Their visit also served to start to prepare me mentally for the return home. I have to say this is not a journey I’m particularly looking forward to! I very much enjoy Paraguay and feel very at home here. The people are friendly and returning home will not be terribly easy, as there are at least some people who it is unlikely I’ll ever see again, for various reasons. Please pray that over the next few weeks God would begin to prepare me spiritually and mentally for the challenges I will face once I return home. Pray for strength and that he would give me a peace that comes from knowing that his will is being done, even if mine isn’t!
The most exciting times for me at the minute are ever fortnight on Saturday mornings. This is when the church has its kids club for children from the “Chacarita”. This is the name given to the shanty town area not far from where we live. The kids are so happy with so very little. We start the day by giving them a shower, which they badly need! They leave their clothes which get washed before the next time for them. At the start of the year they were all given new clothes. Nothing flash, but they were so happy to get them! My parents go photos of the kids while they were here, so I had those printed for them. I made a poster of all the photos, cutting them out to form a heart shape. When I looked the kids were picking the photos off the poster. It turns out they’d never had their photos taken, least of all had the chance to take a photo of themselves home to keep, so they were all picking off their photos to take home! It was so humbling to think something so normal like a photograph could mean so much to someone.
Over the next two months school will resume normality after exams. I plan to take a final visit to Concepción in June to visit Clare Holmes. The majority of the time will however be inevitably spent getting ready to leave.
Please pray for that, and all the goodbyes, and I’ll see most of you quite soon!
The following prayer letters have come into the SAMS office.
The SAMS Prayer Line for the week commencing Tuesday 6 May.
Pentecost weekend sees a number of special events:
In Asunción, Paraguay, another Marriage Encounter takes place coordinated by Pastor Jorge & Rebeca Arévalos. Please pray for God to work through them and the team of leaders to strengthen, heal and renew marriages.
In Spain, the Diocesan Women’s retreat is held in Zaragoza, organised by the ladies of Sue Woodcock’s church in Sabadell under the theme of Living Water. Pray for God to refresh and encourage all who attend.
The congregations of the indigenous Toba people of Northern Argentina gather for a conference, with retired bishop David Leake one of the speakers. Pray this event will strengthen the Toba churches in discipleship.
On Friday (9th) Latin Partner Josias de Souza and a colleague begin a ten-day visit to the USA to attend a ‘Purpose Driven Church’ conference in Virginia. Pray for their travel, the impact of the event on them and subsequently on their church in Recife, Brazil.
Last but by no means least, key meetings take place next Tuesday and Wednesday (13-14) in Buenos Aires between the bishops of the Southern Cone and representatives of SAMS and CMS. The SAMS representatives are John Sutton, already in South America, and Chairman Patrick Coghlan who flies out on Thursday (8th). Pray for these highly significant talks which will consider the future direction of SAMS.
Please remember in prayer the Irene family, Latin Partners in La Paz, Bolivia. Ronny is concerned for the safety of Nicky and the children in the area where they live, especially in the unstable political climate. He has asked us to pray for God to help them find a new home, bearing in mind the high cost of renting in other parts of the city. A further cause of tension in Bolivia is a referendum on regional autonomy called by the prosperous Santa Cruz region on Sunday (4th).
On Monday (5th) John Sutton of SAMS flies to South America for a two-week visit to Paraguay and Northern Argentina. Pray for John’s travel, his meetings with mission and Latin partners, and his preparations for key meetings in Buenos Aires on 12th and 13th May with bishops of the Southern Cone and representatives of CMS.
A former primate of the Southern Cone, retired bishop David Leake, continues his 3-month spell in Northern Argentina helping in the closing phase of the Toba New Testament translation project. Pray for that work, and also keep David and Rachel in prayer in all the travelling they are doing.
Finally, a huge change has taken place at government level in Paraguay with the departure from power of the Colorado Party after 61 years and the election as president of the independent Fernando Lugo, a former Roman Catholic bishop. Pray for him and the elected government in the huge challenges afforded by poverty, corruption, land reform, unemployment, health and educational needs.
Are you interested in serving the Lord in South America? Several opportunities are available for committed Christians to work as teachers or with the disabled.
- St. Andrew’s School Asunción is looking for nursery, primary and secondary teachers. Teachers of English as a second language are required at all levels and teachers of GCSE and A Level subjects are also required in Secondary. No Spanish is required as language training is provided. You can view a video of St. Andrew’s in the multimedia pages. Please contact SAMS Ireland for more details.
- St. Paul’s School in Vina del Mar, Chile is looking for English assistants. More details in this PDF document or on their website.
- A three month placement is available for someone interested in working with disabled children in Lima, Peru. More details.
Today sees the biggest change in the political landscape in Paraguay for 61 years. The current government was led by the Colorado Party. They had been in power since 1947, the longest-serving party in continuous rule in the world. Today the opposition, a centre-left coalition, led by Former Roman Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo has won Paraguay’s presidential election. He campaigned on being a government for the poor and seeks to bring real change to one of South America’s poorest nations.
Please pray for the nation of Paraguay at this time of change, and for the SAMS mission partners who work there, particularly in St. Andrew’s School. As Penny and Murray Metcalfe say in a recent e-mail,
“The need for a leadership that can move away from the corruption that is such a part of every public sector is essential.”
More information on the Paraguay elections is available from the BBC.