Each year we offer a camp for the youth from all the Methodist churches in the country. I have spoken about this in several newsletters. We have kids from all over Paraguay, but most of the kids come from the capital city Asuncion.
Over the past few years, we have tried to visit every church in the country. We wanted to give the youth in the rural parts of Paraguay a little more attention. This year, with the help of a team, we had a youth camp in the northern district. We spent two days with over 50 youth and had a great time together.
One of the things we did was divide the boys and girls and spent time talking to them about different things. The girls were split into two groups between Angelica and another lady. Both were surprised to discover the number of girls who had been sexually abused. Most of the girls did not come from Christian homes and few had Christian neighbors. We knew this was a problem in rural parts of Paraguay, but certainly did not expect it to be so rampant. Angelica discovered that almost all of the girls she counsels who have serious emotional problems, were sexually abused. Please join us in prayer for this problem.
Angelica and I have been hosting teams since we began our ministry here in Paraguay. Most of the year we work with fellow Paraguayans to help people and share Christ, and we only have a few months a year to work alongside our American friends. Hosting teams is a lot of work, creates a lot of unknowns, and never goes as planned. We like that.
This year we had an unusual number of flight, luggage and visa problems. We also had the best experiences we have ever had with teams. We know that teams want to help and come down to serve the Paraguayans, but Angelica and I work hard to make the time here a ministry to the Americans as well. What we experienced this year was different; a ministry to us. No matter at what stage we are in our Christian lives we can always be ministered to.
Born in the U.S.A
I recently watched a movie about a woman who fled Austria during the World War II. It was a true story, and she mentioned several times during the film that her new home was America; in fact she said she would never return to Austria.
The United States is full of people who have made new lives, full of people that now call America home. Many immigrants to America are glad to put the past behind them and would never think of returning to the places in which they were born. They have become safe and have prospered in America.
I now call Paraguay home. This is where I met my wife and where our kids were born. We feel comfortable here and we enjoy what we are doing. But unlike many people who have made America their homes, I don’t look back on my home country with ill feelings. I look back at a country where I was given the opportunities and education to live anywhere in the world I chose.