Birth of a Movement – RELIEP JOVEN

The young First Nation leaders, along with some of the older Pastors, discussed and prayed about the need to engage the youth to a greater degree in fulfilling the Great Commission and development. They agreed that an ideal time to bring RELIEP Joven (Youth) into practical service would be to serve during the National Conference in 2018 and make it a point to come together a day or two earlier to worship and have a time of studying the Word of God. 


Edgar arrived the first day to the IFILM training very shy and withdrawn, but by the final day, he volunteered to lead the group in a devotional and sang a special number with a guitar! Edgar is a key player for the young people’s missions movement among the Pai Tavytera and in his home church in Jakaira. 

The IFILM project had a surplus of donations come in to cover expenses, so the leaders of RELIEP decided to open up a special account for the young people as they get RELIEP Joven off the ground and begin mobilizing. 

I-Film Training

Five Teams of First Nations Christian leaders and young people were trained in story-telling through cinematography and using the iPad as the primary medium. There were a total of 16 students from 4 different ethnic groupsRELIEP sponsored Andres Ayala last year to the IFILM training provided by ITEC USA in partnership with CONPLEI Jovem of Brazil. He was so excited about his training that he immediately partnered with ITEC to train First Nations young people in Paraguay! A year later, his dream became a reality. 

What was extra special about this IFILM training was having Henry Cabrera from ITEC Ecuador there as a trainer.  He was one of the very first students from IFILM’s first training session in Ecuador, and now he is training in Paraguay and potentially in other countries in the future. 

Because Andres had the training last year, he also assisted with the training and also helped with the translation from Spanish to Guarani. He also made a promotional video during the sessions, inviting the “Three Waves” to RELIEP’s second National Conference in October 2018!

Pastor Carlos and his son came from the farthest away. His community is tucked away on the Chaco side of the Paraguayan River. They had to leave a week early from home to make it in time for the training! When they heard that a spot had opened up for them, they took it as a sign from God that they needed to invest in the training! 

The final evening of the training was a presentation of 6 short films in the Ache community of Chupa Pou. There were around 200 people that came to hear the testimonies of believers whose lives had been touch by the Gospel and how Christ transformed their lives!

It was very emotional to watch and hear Enrique’s testimony of his struggle with alcoholism, how it had affected him and his family and how his faith in Christ had freed him from addiction. His son, Marciano, was also deeply moved as his father wept on film.  


RELIEP leaders and all the students want to express their gratitude to all those who have prayed, given, and helped in practical ways so that they could be empowered to tell God’s Story through media! 

I never imagined that as First Nations peoples we could ever have access to this kind of training and tools! – quote by First Nations leader

 

Evangelism & Discipleship

Mike had the privilege of training 55 students of the the IBIP Bible training program. The students were from several churches in the greater Asuncion area. They were divided into three locations. Mike taught the same 12-hour module in each location.The students learned the value of strategic planning, that God’s plan involves making disciples and not “converts” and that it is important to clearly present the Gospel in its historical context for the sake of understanding and worldview change. 

We have never heard this perspective on Discipleship. We have been focusing in the wrong area. 

A Christian leader attending one of the classes made this statement after presenting discipleship as a ministry in the “invisible areas of our lives” and not focused on correcting external behavior. God is preparing His Church in Paraguay to serve effectively among the lost and to lead them into a healthy view of His Character and plan for their lives.  

Pastor’s Retreat – Santani, Paraguay

The Paraguayan Association of Evangelical Churches (ASIEP) held their Second Pastor’s Retreat in the city of Santani where over 40 Christian leaders from the surrounding area came together for training.  

The Pastors were introduced to what a “worldview” is and the importance of having God’s worldview in all aspects of life and that our foundation be firmly planted in Truth. The Pastors were encouraged to start a food bank in the region to help those in need. A session was dedicated to raising awareness on “Gender Ideology” and how it affects the Paraguayan people in the area of the definition of Family and Pro Life. There is a very strong push against Christian values here in Paraguay.

We are delighted to have a part in helping the Paraguayan Christian Leaders make a stand for what is true and what is right. For the Missions Movement of Paraguay to have impact, our “Jerusalem” needs to be strong and healthy.  
 

The light that shines farthest shines brightest nearest home. (C.T. Studd) 

A Glimpse into June’s Activities

June has been a month full of activities and invitations to speak on ministry among First Nations people groups. Mike shared in three Missions Events, a local church, a Pastor’s Forums, and multiple face-to-face meetings. As the cross-cultural missions vision increases, so do the meetings! New Tribes Mission of Paraguay held their very first all-Spanish training seminar designed to equip Pastors and Christian leaders from Paraguayan churches. Mike attended with Cipriano Ayala and enjoyed it very much. The training was on Foundational Bible Teaching. It was a joy to see the two guys we sponsored to the training in Bolivia, presenting the material!  Our team from the Solidary Church of ASIEP organized the first of its kind: Christian Music festival to raise funds for our National Food and Clothing bank to demonstrate Christ’s “Love In Action” to those in crisis situations. There was a great response from the Christian community and now, we have some food in stock.  

Evangelismo y Discipulado

En junio, Mike enseñó el módulo Evangelismo y Discipulado en el Instituto Bíblico Intensivo del Paraguay (IBIP) con un total de 55 estudiantes en tres distintos lugares. El módulo duró 12 horas y tuvo el enfoque en la importancia de ser hacedores de discípulos de Jesús y por ende, llevar adelante un evangelismo intencional para el cambio de cosmovisión. 

Un estudiante comentó, 

Como iglesias evangélicas, hemos enfocado mucho en corregir el comportamiento externo de la gente y menos enfocados en la transformación integral de lo interno e invisible.

Cuanto más crecemos y maduramos en nuestro ministerio en “Jerusalén y Judea”, mayor será nuestro impacto en “Samaria y los últimos de la tierra.” 

I-Film Training – July 2017

Five First Nations churches have committed to sending three trainees each for the I-FILM training offered by I-TEC and organized by Andres Ayala of RELIEP.

Andres received the I-FILM training last year in Brazil and was convinced that Paraguay needed equipped in this area.

The churches are raising funds, as have I-TEC and Partners For Paraguay. At present, we have $1,071 of the $1,700 budgeted for the project. One local church made soap and sold them locally to raise the funds needed!  

The dates of the training are July 8-12, 2017 and will be hosted in the Ayala.

Click here to give a donation towards the I-FILM Training. 

Pastor’s Retreat – Coronel Bogado, Paraguay

Through our commitment to work under the leadership and direction of the Paraguayan Association of Evangelical Churches (ASIEP) and the First Nations Evangelical Leadership Network of Paraguay (RELIEP), our opportunities for ministry have exploded.

This month, we were invited to share in a Pastor’s Retreat held in southern Paraguay where over 50 people gathered for training in Worldview and the Role of the Local Church in the Community. 
There were break-out groups where individuals worked through an exercise to help identify root problems found within the communities in which their churches are located. It was fascinating to see the lights turn on when they discovered that so many of the social problems stem from worldview issues and that God’s Word provides answers. 

Several Pastors gave testimonies of their renewed commitment to make a difference in their communities by becoming intentional. The Director of the Facilitators of Justice of the Supreme Court challenged the Pastors to utilize their Community Centers to bring workshops based on values and principles. One Pastor shared with us what a blessing it was for him to be asked to pray for different people’s needs that would surface during the Community Meetings. 

We believe that a local church engaged in “Jerusalem” will also have impact in “Judea, Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) 

Strategic Alliances

Several years have gone by since we first began sowing the idea here in Paraguay where mission agencies, national churches, and individuals work in strategic partnerships with First Nations churches and their Christian organizations to jointly fulfill the Great Commission. 

The greatest obstacle we have faced is a lack of trust toward one another. Trust is built. It takes hard work, and it is very easily lost because of lack of communication or wild assumptions. For some, it is harder to trust than for others, and it takes more effort to overcome prejudice.

Since 2014, we have organized six forums where people meet, dialogue, and exchange ideas on what is involved in ministry among First Nations people groups.

Our 7th meeting was held this month at the newly acquired property of Letra Paraguay, a Paraguayan Bible Translation organization.

Mike walked everyone through the historical background of the gathering and the direction we are headed.

After the meeting, Ache Bible Translator, Eliseo Chachugi, tearfully embraced Mike and said, I finally understand what it is you are doing! You are bringing people together that are going to strengthen the First Nations churches to fulfill the Great Commission together!

It was clarified that for now, we would remain a movement and not start a new organization. Our focus for the next few months will be to continue deepening our relationships and to allow God to use those to enrich each one of our ministries. 

Tom Stout, director of SIM Paraguay, joined our meetings on Skype, by using Mike’s cell phone.  Through technology, he was able to attend the meeting all the way from the USA!  

Continue to pray for the missions movement in Paraguay!

John & Barb Windler [our coworkers]

“When we first moved into the area, the Paĩ Tavyterã men I hired to help me build my home, would take their week’s pay and immediately walk over to the nearest place to purchase strong liquor and only moments later, pass out along the road home. After hearing the Gospel and accepting Christ as their Savior, their lives were transformed and are today leaders within the local church!”  

When you hear John and Barb Windler share about their ministry among the Paĩ Tavyterã since 2001, you will be challenged! Read more about what John says, 

My own life is a testimony that God can use anyone to accomplish His purposes. My language acquisition consultants didn’t leave me with much hope that I could ever communicate clearly in Guaraní. However by God’s grace, my friends came to a clear understanding of their need, and together, we grew in our knowledge of the Creator.

Barb Windler is Mike’s sister! Together with her family, they have been serving in cross-cultural ministry in Paraguay since 1991. On their 26th year anniversary in ministry, they co-founded a new organization called Partners For Paraguay with us. 

We want to encourage you to make contact with John and Barb and invite them to share about their ministry in your small group setting, in your church, or to meet over a meal or coffee.

They will be in the USA for a period of Partnership Development, which begins starting May 22nd. Join us in prayer for their need of a reliable vehicle for their travels to both the East Coast and West Coast.  

You can contact the Windlers by sending an email to: john.windler@nanduti.org.py

You can also make an online donation toward their ministry here.