If you were Guaraní…

If you were raised in the home of a traditional Guaraní family, you would not be looking forward to celebrating Christmas with your family and gift-giving around the Christmas tree. To you, that would be a very far and distant reality for only the wealthy “karaí kuera” or “white man”. Instead, your goal would be the same as every day: to go to bed with your hunger pangs satisfied. 

As a Guaraní, your beliefs revolve around the narratives your parents told you around the fireplace in the kitchen. You learned about the first man and woman and their twin boys, known today as the sun and moon. You would never need to talk to them as the Shaman is the person responsible to know the prayers and songs that are most appropriate for each and every circumstance.  That is, of course, his primary job. You, however, are more concerned with knowing exactly who is the lord of the fish, the birds, the animals, the harvest, the weather, etc. You are preoccupied with uttering the proper words, at the precise timing, to ensure success and ultimately, overcome hunger and sicknesses.  

Although you desire a better life with some comforts, your mind is ever occupied with “teko porã” or conducting your life according to the rules of a “good and holy person”. If you don’t, not only will bad things happen now in this life, but also in the afterlife where you are doomed to roam the earth as a ghost until killed by Tupã, the god of thunder. 

Your outlook on life is fatalistic because “what will be, will be”. 

Christmas, for the followers of Jesus Christ, is “Emmanuel”; God with us. The Bible describes a perfect Creator whom in spite of being high and exalted above all creation, seeks relationship with every man and woman. In His unconditional love, He chose to take on the likeness of man and live among us with the goal to provide the only way to bring us back into fellowship: through the shedding of the blood of a perfect sacrifice for the payment of sin. He is a personal God and is deeply concerned about every detail in our lives. That’s the God we joyfully serve!

Your partnership with our ministry in Paraguay brings understanding and hope to the Guarani, the Paraguayans and the First Nations groups of the Chaco.

May this Christmas bring you joy as you worship our amazing God and Savior Jesus Christ. 


Christmas greetings through video from our family to yours! Click here to watch short video clip.

 

Support Level {2017}

Mike and Trisha are responsible to raise donations for both their personal budget and ministry budget. Currently there are 7 local churches and multiple individuals whom are committed partners. These donations are processed monthly through Partners For Paraguay.  Their personal budget includes expenses such as, housing, food, transportation, children’s education, health and retirement benefits, vacation, etc. Their ministry budget includes expenses such as, administration, business trips, conferences, office equipment, communication, special training, and often specific projects. Together, the personal and ministry budget make up the total amount of donations they are responsible to raise.

You too can have an impact in Paraguay by partnering with the Goddards by giving a one-time donation or by setting up reoccurring transfers for longer-term impact.


Giving through PayPal

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Graph Explanation

The following graph shows which budget was accredited based on the amount of incoming donations each month. The Personal Budget is given priority, and anything above that amount goes into the Ministry Budget. By scrolling down to the end of the graph, you can see a summary of the year and see where Mike and Trisha are in their finances.  If you are interested in supporting their ministry, and would like more details, please feel free to contact them and they will provide the desired numbers.  

January

Personal Account:
Ministry Account:

44 %
0 %

February

Personal Account:
Ministry Account:

100 %
4 %

March

Personal Account:
Ministry Account:

100 %
14 %

April

Personal Account:
Ministry Account:

84 %
0 %

May

Personal Account:
Ministry Account:

99 %
0 %

June

Personal Account:
Ministry Account:

82 %
0 %

July

Personal Account:
Ministry Account:

100 %
20 %

August

Personal Account:
Ministry Account:

48 %
0 %

September

Personal Account:
Ministry Account:

100 %
54 %

October

Personal Account:
Ministry Account:

90 %
0 %

November

Personal Account:
Ministry Account:

95 %
0 %

December

Personal Account:
Ministry Account:

0 %
0 %

Annual Summary

Personal Account:
Ministry Account:
Support Level:

86 %
9 %
50 %

Living Hope

The opportunities to invest in the lives of people are unlimited, and we have a message of living hope to share with them.

“…a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.” 1 Peter 1:3-4

As parents, Mike and I desire for our children to know God and have a personal relationship with Him. Therefore, teaching God’s Word is a priority, as well as living out our faith in front of them. One of our daily highlights is before bed, when we take time in God’s Word together. This provides us with an opportunity to learn and discuss more about the living hope that only God can provide, and together, we learn, grow, and discuss what it means to be like Christ.

Read the rest of guest post here: Living Hope 

Photo taken by Lea Goddard

Equipping Pastors and Leaders

Significant progress is being made as we strive toward empowering and equipping leadership here in Paraguay. Empowerment and equipping initiatives may take on different forms and venues; however, key elements involve personal growth and becoming clear communicators of God’s Word. We are seeing those two areas addressed through The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus seminars. 

Since receiving The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus books in Spanish (see August update), we have begun the tedious task of training pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and Christian leaders on how to teach Scriptures for lasting worldview change. Our students come away with a greater degree of commitment to Christ’s command to “make disciples” by moving beyond the goal of only seeking “decisions for Christ”. They are growing in their personal faith, and their worldview is being transformed by the Biblical narrative.

We have given three 8-hour seminars held in three different cities with a total of 56 students completing the course. We have also led four different workshops in various cities with a total of 100 students in attendance. These workshops have been from 2-4 hours in length.
Many have accepted the challenge to teach the Word of God and are using “The Stranger” as a tool. There are close to 1,000 kits (book and manual) in strategic points around Paraguay already, and we believe the impact will be significant as these men and women teach others. 

If you would like to give toward this nation-wide initiative, you can sponsor a seminar for $50 in the region of the Capital and $100 for cities close to the Argentine and Brazilian borders. The donation covers fuel expenses for our team of teachers/facilitators. 

Our ministry partners gave a Stranger on the Road to Emmaus book to all the presidents of the association of Evangelical churches from a number of countries in Ibero-america (Spain, USA, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, etc.). 

Upcoming Seminars in 2018:
1. Iglesia El Faro: five 2-hour sessions over five weeks.
2. Couples Retreat: two days. 
3. City of Caacupe: 8-hour seminar.
4. A Missionary Training Center: 24-hour module.
5. A Bible Institute: 3 modules of 12 hours each.  

We appreciate your prayers and support! 

First Nations Partnerships

RELIEP (First Nations Pastors Network) organized their first regional consultation in the department of Amambay, home to many Pai Tavytera communities. (See September Newsletter for context)
Mike and Trisha drove from Asunción and spent time with Mark and Odie Goddard (Mike’s brother) and picked up several leaders for the RELIEP consultation held in the city of Pedro Juan Caballero. It had rained the day of the consultation, making it difficult for many to attend. 

Cipriano Ayala led the discussions and focused on the importance of partnership to see all the communities with access to the Gospel.  

We spent time in prayer together for each of the local churches with plans to do outreach. More regional RELIEP consultations are being planned for 2018, in addition to the National Conference planned for October. 

We continually see the “Three Waves” (western, Paraguayan, and First Nations) coming together respectfully and interdependent as God designed the Body of Christ to function. Although we all have responsibilities in our own organizations, it is a joy to have the leaders temporarily set aside their agendas and programs to see the First Nations leadership strengthened. 

Please take time to prayer for Cipriano Ayala as he leads RELIEP and future regional consultations for First Nations Christian leadership. He has a very tight budget, and it is amazing what RELIEP actually accomplishes on a “shoe-string budget”.

If you would like to partner with RELIEP and the vision to mobilize, equip, and empower First Nations Christian leadership, you can designate your gift through Partners For Paraguay in the USA or directly to Organización Ñandutí in Paraguay. 

Mobile Media Program

In October, we brought from the USA portable electronic equipment from our ministry partners Renew World Outreach, which is designed to show films in rural areas of the world.

For more information, you can watch this introductory video, and this in-depth video that we made in 2016.

In November, in partnership with the Pai Tavytera church in Jakaira, we provided training for the use of the Vista Projector for showing films and the LightStream for media distribution.

This church also received the I-FILM training (see July Newsletter), and Mike encouraged them to use their iPad to produce quality, short films and testimonies of believers, to add to their collection of media available in the heart language. 

We currently have seven First Nations local churches that we are partnering with as they take the Gospel into other communities with little or no Gospel witness.

The upcoming year 2018 will be full of travel, training, and follow-up as we engage with local churches in their outreach initiatives.  

Guarani Bibles

Local donors in Paraguay, in partnership with our organization, purchased 360 Bibles in Guarani and subsidized the costs so that they could be more affordable for local ministries working with Paraguayan Guarani-speakers and First Nations groups.

We would like to do more campaigns like this in the near future and invite you to join by giving to our Bible Fund. 

Rest – in Florida

The last time we set aside a block of time for a Family Vacation was in late 2014. Now, there were ministry trips, where we did enjoy family fun, but we were due for another block of time to be intentional to disconnect, in order to be refreshed. Trisha received an invitation to participate and serve in a conference for women in NY state in October this year and was blessed by having an anonymous person cover her travel expenses. So we began to make plans to travel as a family to Florida and spend three weeks with family and enjoy the ocean!

We were blessed to visit both the Atlantic and Gulf sides of Florida with our extended relatives and celebrate Michael, our oldest son, getting his learner’s permit!

John and Barb Windler (Mike’s sister) traveled south to meet up with us and Mike’s parents. We took advantage of the time together to have our Annual Board Meeting for Partners For Paraguay. We are pleased to welcome Dr. Keith Wiebe Sr. as the most recent and 8th member of our Board. 

God has greatly blessed us in the founding and setting up an entity in the USA that exists to partner with the believers in Paraguay! As Partners for Paraguay, we are nearing our first year anniversary and have loved every minute of it. Not only is God taking care of our basic financial needs, but He is blessing the ministries we are partnered with. 

Recently, we were amazed how God heard the prayers of First Nations missionaries in both Paraguay and Bolivia. He led Renew World Outreach to partner with them by equipping them with some amazing technology designed to facilitate sharing the Gospel and growing in their faith. 

We brought the all the equipment from Renew World Outreach back to Paraguay and are now making arrangements for our first delivery/training. Our game plan is to customize each delivery/training for the reality of those involved in outreach. 

More to come in future updates! 

“God, give me courage”

At the age of 18, a young lady left her parent’s home to marry her best friend. There was always someone to take care of her and her needs. Now, fast-forward 16 years, she was to travel and do everything alone. She can be quite independent when she needs too, but she had become comfortable. So when it came to kiss her husband goodbye at the curve of the airport, everything in her knew that she wasn’t going to be able to do it alone. That is where she whispered, “God, give me courage.” 

This was me. Last year, God provided me with a donation that would cover all my expenses to attend Raising Generations Today Thrive conference in New York. Little did I know that it would be an amazing opportunity to truly learn to embrace whatever God had for me.  

God used the three and a half days when I was away from my husband and family to allow me to face some of my fears by stepping out in courage and to intentionally move beyond what I am comfortable with and be taken forward – step by step, learning to truly embrace whatever God had for me, knowing that I was not alone. It was Him through me, a willing vessel to be used for His honor and glory.