Over the past few months, Angelica and I have had the opportunity to spend more time with the people that make missions possible around the world, people that support us and others that support ministries in different countries. We have been in first grade classes to classes of senior citizens, around the dinner table to speaking at resorts. We have shared and listened to people who have rarely ventured outside of their hometown to people who have traveled all over the world.
While we are constantly aware of the connection that we all have in missions, it is nice to spend time with people who we usually only see as names on a report. I learn a lot when I spend time with people who support missions and I always leave feeling challenged.
Over the past few years, Angelica and I have dedicated more time to equipping and encouraging Paraguayans to assist us in our ministries. The Methodist churches are small down here, usually around 30 members, but they are full of young Christians that are eager to share their faith. We have discovered a “gold mine” of talent in these youth. We have been working with them for years and now could not imagine doing missions without them. We strive to challenge them, just as the Christians we know from home have challenged us.
Angelica discovered Karina one cold rainy day as we were sitting in her home drinking “mate” with a group of Americans. I had known her for a while but somehow her potential had evaded me. It was too cold and wet to work, so we decided to visit a few homes with the team. As Angelica spoke with Karina and watched how she carried herself, she began to see how different her character was from that of a typical young girl in the Interior. Late that evening, as the team slept and we prepared for the next day, Angelica mentioned that she saw something in Karina and knew God had plans for her. She began to pester me about finding a way to use her in our ministries. She began to pray about how God might show us where Karina could be used.
Shortly after our conversation, God put on Angelica’s heart to open a kindergarten at the school. She was concerned about the children entering first grade speaking only the Indian language of Guarani. Karina was a perfect fit, except that she did not have the education needed nor did we have the funds to pay her. In a short time, God provided both. Through Karina, the whole character of the school has changed; the kids, parents and other teachers love working with her. She is full of ideas and plans, and makes the school a more fun place to be around. She has also been instrumental in getting the youth from the interior of the country to participate more in national youth activities.
Without Karina our ministries in the Interior wouldn’t be what they are today. We would not be nearly as affective in helping the Paraguayans live better lives and know Christ. Karina is just one of several young Paraguayans that we have invested in. We look forward to the day when one of these youth may be allowed to go elsewhere and share Christ to another people group.
You have heard of “a man and his dog?” Well, here it is “a boy and his horse.”