How nice it is to finally put our socks in a drawer and our suitcases in storage. Living out of a suitcase for nine months was an experience, now we know how the homeless feel… well, almost!
Hugs and tears were the common factor in our ‘farewell’ of our Colorado family and the ‘welcome home’ of our Paraguayan family. Have to admit, the welcoming hugs and tears are a lot easier to handle than the ones when saying farewell!
Our trip home started out to be a bit of a nightmare…but God turned it into a sweet dream! It all started when Jerry tried to confirm our reservations back to Paraguay, leaving on June 14. Come to find out, the Bolivian airlines that we had booked (and paid) our tickets with last September went bankrupt and did not send out notices, leaving thousands of passengers stranded around the World. We moaned and then prayed as Jerry scrambled around on the internet trying to find a last moment alternative way back to Paraguay. Finally, we found that if we could change our flight out of Denver to get to Miami in time, we could catch a TACA connection to Peru and then on to Paraguay. We didn’t have a choice; we adjusted to the changes, paid once again for our tickets, packed our suitcases and took off! One great blessing was that we were only charged $125 to get our 5-suitcases checked from Denver to Paraguay… now that was an act of God! Another blessing was that our travel time totaled only 18 hours in comparison to 24 to 32 hours as in the past. Needless to say, we were on our toes making the flights! Upon arriving in Paraguay about 3:00 AM on Friday the 15, it appeared that we were the only ones that the Custom Officers pulled over to inspect our bags. (They wanted a closer look at the reading glasses and the T-shirts that Resurrection Fellowship Church had sent with us.) As we were closing the bags, one guard asked for two of the T-shirts, we said “Sure we will bless you!” and then hurried out of the area! God was faithful at every turn, our ride home (Edgar) was standing and grinning at us as we walked into the receiving area. We made the 40 minute drive and found our little room all set up and waiting for us… home, home sweet home!
In the office we found everything moving forward, our Staff had done a great job handling all the INS & OUTS of the church and ministry. We hardly had our suitcases unpacked before we needed to make prayer visits on several ill church members. The center of attention was preparing for the 15th Anniversary of the CEB Church, was it ever a grand celebration! There was special music, presentations with the youth and the children’s departments, invited guests and visitors, and to top it off… a big BBQ lunch! To top off the celebration, there were five present who received Jesus as their Savior at the end of the service – PTL! We are pleased that there are members of the original 4-families still with us after all these years. What started out as a Bible study has grown into a solid church family. It is our prayer that the Iglesia CEB (Bible Teaching Center Church) will be a bright spiritual light shining forth in this part of Paraguay, until Jesus Christ returns.
Jerry and Connie
THE HOLA CLUB CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL MINISTRY: During the four weekly visits made in the month of June, we ministered to more than 271 people, with 141 adults and older children making the decision to pray the prayer of salvation.
I, Connie, can’t tell you how good it felt to, once again, go in and pray for these babies, children and youth, and then to tell their parents how much God loves them. The look of hope, tears of joy and smiles on their faces makes the extra effort all worthwhile!
Please join us in asking Father God for more souls, healings and miracles.
THE PRISON MINISTRY: A big lunch was prepared by the inmate/students as a welcome back for their pastors: Jerry and Victor. Even though they are behind bars, these men are being changed and set free spiritually by the Word of God. Jerry was pleased to see firsthand that our brothers in Christ are filled with hope and faith.
Join us in lifting up these men and their families in prayer.
CEB CHURCH: The church welcomed us back with hugs, kisses and more hugs! We were glad to see that there were a number of new faces mixed in with the faithful ones. There are approximately 150 now regularly attending the Sunday morning service… not sure how many there would be if everyone would attend at the same time! If that happened, we would have to start looking for more chairs and a larger tarp!
We are praying for a greater spiritual hunger to enter into each home represented in the church body. Join us as we ask God if this is the year that we are to build our buildings.
THE PASTORAL ASSOCIATION OF CAPIATÁ: For several years we have worked with the pastors of different churches in our City of Capiatá. One of the main events planned for this year is a large two-day evangelical campaign at which the Argentine evangelist, Carlos Annacondia will be speaking on August 17-18.
Join us in praying for the cooperation of the churches, souls, and lasting results as hearts and lives are changed. Pray for Pastor Victor, he has been asked to plan and organize the music during this event.
THE CEB BIBLE SCHOOL:
We are asking prayer for the students, that they will make a firm commitment in attending their weekly classes. There are 20+-persons wanting to start the Bible classes, but we lack space and teachers at this time. Please join us in lifting up this great need.
THE NATION OF PARAGUAY: Days after arriving in Paraguay there was a change in the leadership of the country. Due to a bloody ambush and battle between the national police and a group of farmers, the Senate rose up against the then President Fernando Lugo and his policies. Within two days he was removed from office and the Vice President Federico Franco took his place. We watched on TV as thousands of people gathered in front of the government building to protest or support the impeachment process. At one point it looked like there would be a terrible conflict between the national police and the people. Out of anger, some people tore down a fence that separated them from the police; the police responded and we thought that we were going to witness another bloodbath, as happened several years ago. But, suddenly the police backed off and only watched as some of the people ranted and raved in their faces. We know that it was a direct intervention of God that no one was wounded or killed.
Pray for the Nation of Paraguay, we are sure that God is putting everything in place for His great end-time plan.