New Term in Paraguay

The new academic year begins in Paraguay.

St. Andrew's SchoolToday in Asunción, Paraguay, Patrick Butler will speak at the opening service of St. Andrew’s School; please pray for Patrick and the challenge and encouragement of his message for students and staff as they embark on this new journey.

FEISA, the Early Years Teacher Training College in Asunción, is also back in action and this weekend a team will make the first 2008 visit to the indigenous community of Yatnata to start a training programme with the mothers to enable them to set up their own nursery for the youngest children. Please pray for the FEISA team as they prepare the training and for the right mothers to attend and be committed to the programme.

Also in the Paraguayan Chaco this weekend a youth conference is being held under the leadership of Pastor Elvio. A group of 30 young people accompanied by 10 adults will share with other young people and leaders in El Estribo community. Called “Sowing well for good results”, the conference will challenge young people to develop daily Bible reading habits.

Jo Hamilton reflects

Jo HamiltonJo Hamilton a 22 year old from Lurgan has just returned from working for a three month period as a volunteer with the Red Box Project.

Argentina has impacted me in a way that I pray I never forget. I only hope that I can pass on the lessons and blessings that I have received. I came from Northern Ireland to serve through the Red Box Project and in return I was served by others in ways which went beyond my imagination.

Salta in the North of Argentina is beautiful and it’s rich with Gods amazing creation. The weather is changeable during the winter, one day you have multiple layers of clothes due to the cold, to wearing a light top the next day. The food is delicious, especially Dulce de Leche and Milanesa. But the thing I found most beautiful was the openness of the people. They are amazing and as westerners we have a lot to learn. The hearts of the people in the church are hearts of kindness, generosity, love, devotion and complete trust in God. I want to share a few experiences I have had here to demonstrate how special my friends are here.

From my first day in the church I was warmly welcomed with a loudly sang Bienvenido (welcome) alongside hugs and kisses. The warmness of everyone was amazing and the time when the youth just came up and wanted to give hugs was in abundance and it was a pleasure to return these embraces. On a couple of occasions when I mentioned that I liked something that they had they immediately wanted to give it to me as a gift. These gifts will remain special – special gifts of love and unselfishness.

I have certainly learnt so much here about materialism. In this country money may be a struggle for people but when I see my friends here they are rich in ways that I want in my life. God is at the centre of everything here and most importantly in the centre of the hearts of the people. Everything is completely surrounded in prayer and Gods provision has been evident. Life is not about striving to be in the best career, with the best clothes or the best house etc.

In Salta and through working with the Red Box Project I have learnt the meaning of life. It is about unity and support for one another in hard times. It is about showing love and generosity to the unloved. It is about serving others even if you are not being served. It is about having a passion at all times to follow the will of God even if it may not be what you desire. But most of all it is placing your life in the hands of God with a heart of dependency, dedication, trust, faith and love. We have a lot to learn from the people here in Salta and if you come to work with the Red Box Project you will have your eyes opened to another way of being.

Mission Paraguay 2008

EmboscadaAs the summer approaches SAMS Ireland launches many mission trips under the Beyond the Norm banner.

Mission Paraguay is an on-going initiative where teams work for a few weeks on practical projects in Asuncion, Concepcion and remote parts of Paraguay. Details of this years projects are below.

Project for July 2008, one group
Fly out: Friday, 11th July. Return: Saturday, 2nd August.

  • Development of a retreat centre in Emboscada, near Asuncion.

Projects for August, two Groups
Fly out: Friday, 1st August. Return: Saturday, 23rd August

  • Concepción – building a small church in Yvapovo, redoraction of the main church building in Concepción.
  • The Chaco – improve the collection and storage of rainwater, improvements to the church buildings at Dos Palmos and Alegre, the first phase of a new church building at Rio Verde.

Cost: £1,350 approx.

Please read the information sheet for more details.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss going on a trip.

Help for Beryl Baker

Ruth PitmanRuth Pitman flies to Paraguay today to spend three weeks assisting Beryl Baker in her comprehensive but lonely medical ministry to needy people in the Chaco. Pray for Ruth’s adjustment and that she will bring great encouragement to Beryl.

Northern Argentina youth camp

Last month we asked prayer for the diocesan youth camp in Northern Argentina. We’ve now heard that God touched many hearts and ten youngsters accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour. Thank you for your prayers! The impact has been beyond expectation; let’s praise God for his might and goodness and let’s also pray for the follow-up in the local churches.

Friday Night Live 2008

Friday Night LiveFour hundred and forty people squeezed into the main hall in the Jethro Centre for Friday Night Live; it was standing room only by 7:30pm. Highlights of the evening included a reunion between Edmeia Williams from Brazil and Archbishop Robin Eames. In 1998 Lord Eames visited Edmeia in the Dona Marta favela of Rio de Janerio.

Retired Bishop of Paraguay, John Ellison and his wife Judy, shared about their 30 years of work in South America. Dr Dickie Barr reported on a successful Love for Life trip, and the Trews emotionally shared how the family moved from Paraguay back to Northern Ireland.

Friday Night LiveThe dynamic evangelist and church leader from Chile, Alf Cooper, gave the keynote address on the need to share the gospel, and training all members of the church to be a witness for Christ. He also introduced Samuel Lago who is spending a year in All Saints Parish in Belfast.

Titch and Cecilia reported on the excellent work carried out by SAMS volunteers in Salta and welcomed Pamela who is spending a year in Annaghmore Parish.

Bishop Ken Clarke finished the evening by praying for all those who will be going on mission over the next year, including the nationals from South America working in Northern Ireland.

It was another exciting night, encouraging to see so much interest in the work of mission in South America, Spain and Portugal. Thank you to all who helped out, and for everyone who came on such a wintry night.

We’d love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment at the form at the bottom of this page.

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