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. 

Book Review: FierceHearted

“FierceHearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely” by Holley Gerth challenges women to truly live, to love without restrictions. She comes alongside as a mentor sharing her personal stories of how each of us were created by God for a unique purpose.
Holley says,
A fierce hearted woman…looks life in the face and says, “You can’t beat me.” … [God] offers what she longs for most – for Him to tell her who she really is, to whisper in her ear that He has made her funny and wise and strong and brave.
I am learning that a fierce-hearted woman is one who takes steps to face some of her fears by stepping out in courage, to intentionally move beyond and be taken forward, to walk out her faith, and to abide in Him.
The whole book is awesome, and I have way too many favorite sections of the book to share with you here. The one section that stands out the most to me right now is when Holley talks about “FOMO” (fear of missing out). She says,
I have worried about what I might miss out on if I don’t hold on to everything. But I have never thought about the risk – the one that’s actually much more likely to happen – and that’s if I live that way, I will certainly miss out on at least some of what’s right in front of me.
I know that my email inbox, social media posts, and websites I visit “scream” DO NOT MISS OUT. Yet I came to a point a couple of months ago, where I realized that I was NOT MISSING OUT (or “NMO” as my mind calls it). I purposefully cut down my social media platforms to bare bones and became intentional on enjoying the here and now, especially those who God has put into my path. Because as Holley says,
I do not want to come to the end of my life and say, “I didn’t miss out on anything.” What I’m aiming to say is, “I missed out on exactly the right things.” 
“FierceHearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely” is a book that encourages and challenges you and me, women of God, to be fierce-hearted women. There are times that Holley makes you laugh and other times, where you lean in to hear and ponder the Biblical truth. It is a book for women of all ages, and I personally can’t wait for my teenage daughter to read it, because Holley has become one of her favorite authors and mentors. 
Girlfriends, you and I can become fierce-hearted women, who live fully and love bravely. How? Holley says it perfectly, “Stay close to the Maker; let the transforming come and do not be afraid of it.”
I highly recommend this book! I received a complimentary review copy by the publisher. This review is my honest opinion.

Learn more about “FierceHearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely” here: FIERCEHEARTED 

Learn more about the author: Holley Gerth


Book Review: Daily Power

In “Daily Power”, Craig Groeschel encourages every believer to set aside time each day to dig into God’s Word, to become learners of the Word, and to remember that the Holy Spirit lives inside each of us, empowering us to live out the truth of God’s Word.
Craig says,
He [God] delights in teaching us His truth. Through His Word, we have the opportunity to study His many lessons, each day discovering a new insight for a fresh angle to His truth that endures forever.
In a world that is full of discouragement and hopelessness, I find true hope in God and His Word. My worldview (the way that I see the world) is transformed with a Biblical worldview, as I learn more about God through His Word, which becomes my foundation and the truth that I stand on.
I learn to daily die to myself, knowing that my hope is in God.
I am empowered by Him, the Holy Spirit, to live out God’s truth daily. 
Craig’s style of writing is refreshing and empowering. The “Daily Power” devotional is a tool for spiritual growth written to enrich your daily time with God and His Word. Craig states in one of the devotionals:
We don’t have to be perfect; we just need to rely on God as the source of our daily power.
365 daily devotionals – each one with a daily Bible verse, practical application, which is usually brought out through real life stories, and a “live it out” reflection prayer at the end. Get “Daily Power” today. It is for every believer – adult or teen – who is ready to be challenged to grow and become transformed by God’s Word. 
I received a complimentary review copy by the publisher. This review is my honest opinion.

Learn more about the book “Daily Power” and author, Craig Groeschel here: Daily Power