The passengers filed down the stairs from the just-arrived airliner to the buses waiting on the tarmac. Each wore the government-required surgical mask & gloves. Disembarking at the terminal, each was subjected to an electronic scan to detect Swine Flu. Such was our welcome to Buenos Aires, Argentina, on our way to Paraguay.
The stopover in Argentina was just to change planes. We passed the checks and were soon on our way to our final destination where we served 6 years and planted a church – Paraguay. Having only two weeks, we had much to do. First, we had to go through all our personal effects left in storage for four years.
Then we began to seek out old friends and those we had won to the Lord. Most had moved from the neighborhood where we had planted the church. But, with the Lord’s help, we found them all. Three in particular brought great joy to our hearts as we caught up with them after four long years.
Andrea – We found Andrea faithfully attending church and active among the believers there. She invited us home to dinner and we got to see Lazaro, her Cuban, atheist husband and his mother, Mariana. We continue to pray that through the life Andrea lives in the Lord before her husband, and the witness of his own mother’s faith, Lazaro will be drawn to also trust in Christ for his salvation.
Nicasia – Nicasia is very dear to our hearts. She and her oldest daughter, Grego, were the first to come to the Lord through our ministry. Eventually, nearly her entire family came to trust Christ and were the core of the church we planted. Nicasia went on to lead both her husband and father to the Lord. We found her living out in the countryside, witnessing to her neighbors and hosting a weekly Bible study in her home!
Arlis – Nicasia’s grandson, Arlis, was yet another joy to our hearts. He and our youngest, Matthew, used to play together daily. Now Arlis is 16 and at a critical age for facing the temptations of the world. Nevertheless, we learned that he is the only young man faithful to the local church youth group and continues to walk with the Lord.
It was a bittersweet two weeks for our family. However, we were able to visit everyone we desired to see. It was especially good to spend time with our fellow New Tribes missionaries. The Lord used them to draw us to join New Tribes Mission. Although we now serve in Mexico instead of Paraguay, we will always have a special bond with our fellow co-laborers there.
As we boarded our return flight to North America, we thanked our Savior for allowing us the privilege of serving in His harvest field of Paraguay. May His name be glorified in the lives we left behind.