We had the privilege of welcoming a new missionary family to join our work here in Paraguay. As we have said before, we are looking to still engage 6 new tribes here in Paraguay, and can use all the help we can get! This family has had many partners get on board with their ministry over the past couple of years, and the Lord showed them that now was the time to come.
One of the responsibilities that I have on the field while one of our coworkers is on furlough is to organize new missionaries’ arrivals. All of our missionaries are involved in local churches while they learn Spanish and Paraguayan culture. These churches have volunteered to help us in this capacity before the new missionary comes down. My wife and I are just the link between the host church here, and the new missionary. We let them know what time the missionary is coming, work with developing a host family, and just serve as a kind of “icebreaker” to help initiate the developing friendship between missionary and church.
This ministry has been a good experience for us. It has allowed us to get involved with a variety of churches here in the capital city. Our circle of friends has greatly grown during this time. Being involved with more people in Paraguay has meant a busier schedule sometimes, and has meant that we aren’t in our own church as much as we would like. It also means that I can no longer walk down the street without bumping into someone and stopping to drink tereré with them. But it also means that we get a broader, more complete picture of Paraguayan culture.
Just recently something has stood out to us in Paraguayan culture that we have never seen before. Since it’s kind of delicate, I’ll remain vague. But as we are getting more involved with people, we are beginning to see what the lost here in Paraguay have not understood with the gospel. When we used to talk to people who were lost, we thought we had a pretty clear understanding of what they had missed. But as we have grown, we see that it goes actually much deeper and effects more people than we had previously imagined. This is yet another example of why learning culture should always precede ministry.
I had the privilege of responding to an email from a child in the Awana program from our sending church in the United States. He asked me if being a missionary was fun. I thought about what to respond to that question. I didn’t want to answer too philosophically, and I didn’t want to discourage a child from missions by saying it wasn’t fun. The reality is being a missionary is loads of fun…sometimes. As I considered my answer, I opted for transparency. Yes, being a missionary is fun. But we aren’t missionaries because it’s fun. Fun comes and goes. If our personal entertainment was our motivation, it would have long faded and we would have returned home. We aren’t here for the fun. We are here because missions is of extreme importance to those who have never heard, and we are convicted that the Lord brought us here.
Pray for us as we seek to be used by God during this time before we reach our ultimate destination in an unreached people group. Pray for this new family as they adjust to life here in Paraguay and prepare for years of ministry here in this country.