This month, the missionaries working among the Paĩ Tavyterã people, John and Barb Windler, Wes Goddard (Mike’s cousin), & Mark and Odie Goddard (who are currently in North America), ordained Mario to the ministry. Mario’s life has been transformed by the Gospel. The community has seen the changes in his life and family over the past few years of knowing Christ. He is a faithful man.
Why is this important and newsworthy?
Because the authority of First Nations Pastors is not respected by radical religious groups. Every existing First Nations local church in Paraguay, regardless of their theological background, is under threat of radical Pentecostal groups that have a strong mix of animism in their worldview. For these groups, even the godly missionary that has conducted themselves with the utmost respect toward the culture, is viewed as a menace and thus require that demons be cast out of them.
After many meetings and hours discussing how to deal with this threat, we are convinced that it is impossible to protect the First Nations local churches from unhealthy external pressures, but we can empower, equip, and engage local leadership.
The Ordination Documents provide Mario with a tool to peacefully demonstrate his authority and responsibility within the local church that was established in his community. It demonstrates that he has the legal backing of several organizations with representation within the Paraguayan government.
This, among other similar tools, cause religious and nonreligious bullies alike to think twice about forcing their views and practices on people they may deem “ignorant and uncivilized”.
Pray for Mario and the believers in the Paĩ Tavyterã in the Department of Amambay as they grow in their faith and live it out in practical ways.