It can seem to many like this step of raising support is taking quite a while. One question we’re getting these days is “where are we in this process of getting to Paraguay?” We are really excited to report that God has really been moving in people’s hearts to want to be a part of our team, and we are at 65% of our needed budget. We have started some of the paperwork the country of Paraguay requires us to have, including fingerprints and background checks from the governing authorities. Praying that by this fall we will be in country beginning the next phase of ministry.
As we have shared with people where we are in the process, one question we often get about our future ministry in Paraguay is, “What exactly will you be DOING when you get there?” At times I cringe when I hear the question, because the answer truthfully is, we won’t really be DOING anything. We’ll BE. Well what does that mean?
As with every Christian, God is shaping and molding us into the image of His son Jesus. Sanctification, or the working of God in our lives, is for every believer. So how does Christ’s life and example on earth shape us as missionaries? Jesus himself WAS the first missionary. He left his home in Heaven, and came to earth, a foreign place. He had to learn how to walk, talk, work and look like any other Jewish man would have in that day and age. And yet there was something “other” about Him. Of course we know that He was sinless and perfectly walked on this earth, fully man and fully God.
Our “job”, or what we will DO in Paraguay will be almost like that. We will leave our home in North America and go to Paraguay, a foreign place. We will need to learn how to talk, work, and look like a Paraguayan. Although there will be something “other” about us too. We are not sinless like Jesus was, but we are saved unto eternal life, to forever live with Jesus in Heaven, having our sins forgiven by the one who knew no sin. We won’t walk perfectly on this earth, but we will walk forgiven.
So, looking to Jesus as our example, our first two years at least, are spent in full time language study, attending a local church, and building relationships with people. This is a process that NTM calls Culture and Language Acquisition, or CLA. Jesus spent 30 years doing CLA before he started his ministry. It would be quite foolish and arrogant of us to think that we could just jump into full-time ministry without knowing the language and culture first. With humility, we desire to learn as much as we can from the Paraguayans, so that in time we can clearly and effectively communicate the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. We want to BE like Christ, not just simply DO. And BEING is a job worth DOING well.