Greetings from Paraguay!
With the arrival of March, for sure ‘you Northerners’ are thinking of spring and warmer weather, while ‘we Southerners’ are looking forward to fall and cooler temperatures!
Seeing reports of heavy snowfall and subzero temperatures has caused us to shake our heads at all that you have had to deal with. BUT, here in Paraguay we have had months of record heat, with the heat index registering some days as high as 116 degrees. Now that is HOT! (You got to know that about that time, making snowmen sounded pretty good!) It is comforting to experience the care and protection of God in every situation and season. We are truly thankful.
**The Hola Club Children’s Hospital:
During the month of February, we visited the Children’s Hospital 3 times, sharing and praying with 304 parents and children, with 131 people choosing to pray the prayer of salvation!
Testimony: Celeste shared that the supervisor and guard placed over the Cancer Wing of the Children’s Hospital have been a bit ‘sharp’ with their comments and requirements of late. In the last few visits, they have put a restriction on the time that she can spend in the area. This restriction has shortened the Bible study and prayer time that we have had with the mothers for several years.
During our last visit both the supervisor and the guard were present as Celeste moved among the children and their mothers. The time limit was nearing its end as Celeste began praying for a child and mother. The mother was moved to tears and wept openly as she listened to the prayer of compassion and faith. When the salvation plan was presented, she willingly bowed her head and prayed. Celeste said the anointing was very strong as all (guard, supervisor and other parents) stood around watching and listening. To her amazement, the time limit had passed with no one saying a word or coming to escort her out!
Celeste requests that we join her in prayer for favor with the supervisor and guard. That they will see the great need and allow the time needed to pray and also share the Word of Hope with the mothers in a short Bible study.
Introducing a new Hola Club Volunteer:
María Gaona has joined the Hola Club Volunteer Staff! María is the wife of the Pastor Osvaldo, they are pastors of our ‘daughter church’ in Isla Alta. María and their 3-children attend our church when not traveling with Pastor Osvaldo to Isla Alta. Even during her first visit with us to the hospital, María was right at home. Her gentle spirit and the ablility to speak in Guaraní opened the way for her to relate with all those that she came in contact with.
Please pray for the protection of María and family, this ministry tends to put the volunteers on ‘Satan’s hit list’, but greater is He who is in us!
Additional Hola Club Prayer Requests:
*Celeste presented a prayer request for the children in the Cancer Wing of the hospital:
This week she found that the majority of the children were experiencing a low time and very ill. Their mothers, worried and facing lack in many areas, were discouraged.
Join us in speaking healing and health to their little bodies and hope and provision to the mothers and that their faith in God increases.
*This is an unusal prayer requestthat we are lifting up to Father God.
None of the National Hospitals have the medical equipment that does Magnetic Resonance imaging. (Hopefully translated correctly!) Only in a private hospital can the tests be completed, for which they charge hundreds of dollars for its use. (Magnetic Resonance is a medical imaging device to visualize the structure and function of the body, especially the brain.)
We are asking God to move upon the hearts of countries, those who give humanitarian aid, to donate several of these magnectic resonance machines to the National Hospitals of Paraguay. Please join us in this prayer, for, with God, nothing is impossible!
**CFC Prison Ministry:
Steps are being taken to establish the Resurrection Church, which has been formed within the prison, to be a legally recognized church entity. The procedure and requirements are different than those to form a church on the outside. For example, because of their incarceration, the men cannot hold the position of a Board Member. To follow the guidelines of the law, the Church Board will be made up of the released men who are faithfully attending the CEB Church or other churches and /or other godly men that God raises up. The Resurrection Church will conduct regular services for the inmates and their families; have their own financial structure (with the monies being handled through the CEB Church) and prepare all the required reports as the other daughter churches provide. This is an exciting step for the men within the prison and we are so pleased to help and direct them as they move forward in Jesus.
Pray for Oscar, the ministry director within the prison, as he works alongside Pastor Victor in establishing all the requirements and details. God continues to raise up men who are dedicating their lives to serve Him, even behind the prison bars.
February was the first full month for the ‘New Weekly Schedule of Services’. We did introduce the services the last two weeks of January, but in February we got into the full ‘swing’ of it all! For all of us, it has been a big adjustment to go from one main church service per week to five. Pastors Victor and Marlene have had the vision to open the doors (…figure of speech, because we have no walls!) of the church so that those who cannot attend on Sunday mornings have opportunity during other times during the week. Many are finding the services that best fit their schedule, while others are attending every service!
*Wednesday Eveningsare directed by the women of the church, but open to all. Many of the women have stepped up to help direct the meetings, share their testimonies and help in all areas. It is exciting to see the response under the direction of Pastor Beatriz.
*Saturday eveningsare directed to the youth, but open to all. Fausto and María Zayas are working with Mateo Zayas to lead this ministry. The music and messages are directed towards the younger crowd and we are seeing a new interest growing.
*Sunday morningscontinue to be our main service of the week, in which we reach out to the families of the church.
*Sunday eveningsare dedicated to reaching out to the lost. The music and teachings are lively and cover the basics of a New Life in Christ. We have already realized new salvations during this time.
*Friday evenings,held twice monthly, are special services for the leaders and workers of the church, and open to all. The teachings presented are more advanced and designed to challenge the mature Christian.
Please continue to lift up this church body as we seek more and more of God and His Word. We are not only reaching up to grasp God’s hand, we are reaching out to draw as many as will to join us.
A Personal Observation: In the 10-months that Pastor Victor and Marlene have taken over as the CEB Church Pastors, we have seen Pastor Victor pass through a spiritual change. Without doubt, he was a man of God before, but through some trying and challenging times we have seen him get before God and allow Him to remove, change and strengthen areas of his personality and life. What we are seeing now is a man of compassion and strength, who is walking in new wisdom as he ministers to this body of believers. During this process there have been times that we have had to stand back and watch/pray and others where we have had to wade in and stand firmly by his side. Together… Pastors Victor and Marlene, the CEB Church and we ourselves… have advanced to a new level in our walk with the Lord Jesus. Praise God!
Special prayer need: Three weeks ago we suffered severe damage to several pieces of ministry equipment when a ‘strong’ discharge of electricity entered into our transmission lines. Even though we did have voltage protection in place, we lost our personal laptop, a voltage regulator and a battery back-up for our main ministry computer and capabilities to connect to our office copier and printer due to the copiers’ main processing board being destroyed. These are vital pieces of ministry equipment and need to be replaced – PLEASE PRAY for a rapid solution to and the replacement of this needed equipment.
Blessings – Jerry and Connie