News from Paraguay: August-September-October 2022
Dear loved ones and friends.
Greetings, love and blessings from Paraguay.
It took us a while to get this newsletter to you…
All that we can say is that the Lord is in control of everything and that is very comforting!
We give thanks with a grateful heart for all that has happened and is happening here!
A song called: “Greater Victories” comes to mind when trying to write this newsletter that I have started to write and rewrite again and again.
It describes the last couple of months way better than I could do it! And it puts things back in perspective…
GREATER VICTORIES… (song and lyrics by Kirk Allen)
Will you slide down the mountain, will you fall down the side?
Will you flow like a fountain, giving water of life?
Will you turn to the darkness or reach for the light of greater victories?
Yes, we thought that the last one was enough in its time!
But we’re growing and learning that we’ve still got to climb,
in spite of our problems, in spite of our fears…
Greater victories, greater love…
You’ve got to keep on going, you’ve got to sacrifice
You’ve got to keep on giving the rest of your life
For you know that when you do, it’s waiting there for you…
THE GREATEST VICTORY and GREATEST LOVE!!! JESUS
Holding on tight…☝👇👈👉👍👎
It feels like the last three months we have been on a roller-coaster.
Without a break our church members and their extended families have struggled through serious sickness, surgeries, unexpected deaths and accidents. Robert and I took turns as well getting sick.
That’s the news in a nutshell! It took a toll on the church and on us, but His Grace was and is sufficient.
Going through it was rough, but it also brought forth the “peaceable fruit of righteousness” afterwards.
As a result…😢😰🤕😷😭🤔😑😇
It shook us all up, and brought families closer and in various cases some of their extended families received the Lord as their Savior, which made it worth it all!!!
For some it was a long and painful road and it still is: to find out that God is Sovereign and that Jesus is Lord!
The song: “Through it all, I came to trust in Jesus” came immediately to my mind and it’s so true!!!
Some of those families were at odds with one another for years and didn’t even speak with one another because of their differences in what they believed or did not believe at all.
Now, because of the witness, care, love, patience and lots of prayer and tears on the part of our precious couples in the church and us, their families who were against our church are reacting favorably and even starting to attend church. Here are two stories we want to share with you of the very many we have stored in our hearts.
Lila, our secretary…👩
As you know we serve in a rural church which is on the grounds of the Methodist Camp.
The people there are precious, hardworking people of the land and most of them never want to see a doctor in their entire life until it’s too late!
One of these cases, among others, was the mother of Lila, the secretary of our church. Her mother Mari was diagnosed with pancreas cancer and died within three weeks of diagnosis. Mari was a devout catholic and so were her siblings and neighbors living around her.
Her daughter Lila had become part of the Methodist church 7 years ago and married a young man of the church named David who became the father of her 5-year-old son who was abandoned by his real father. We wrote about David in other newsletters.
He is the young man who almost died of Covid and has been struggling for a long time afterwards. (Long hauler symptoms) He is also our praise and worship leader.
Lila’s Dad; Regino, had become part of the church 7 years ago as well, but due to pressure from his wife’s family he gave up church altogether and said that all churches were full of hypocrites…
He did know his Bible and had played hymns on the accordion in the church. He had gotten a stroke afterwards and was finally recovering…this should have brought him closer to the Lord, but that was not the case!
Lila and her mom did all they could to get him back on his feet.
The family of Lila’s mom’s side, always had seen everything outside of the roman catholic church as a sect and would have nothing to do with Lila and her little family.
Then when Lila’s mom suddenly fell sick and was diagnosed with pancreas cancer the whole family was in panic. Mari went to the hospital and never made it back home alive…
The hospitals here are not like the hospitals in the U.S…
One family member has to be there 24 hours to supply food, help the patient, buy the medicines and go from pharmacy to pharmacy because the hospital has almost nothing available.
And with Lila’s mom’s situation, no one was allowed but one family member only.
Lila was extremely distraught by the fact that her mom never had opened up to the message of Salvation even though she had tried to share with her over the years but her mom was taught that (Maria,) Mary, Jesus’ mother would see her through it all.
Robert and I did all we could to help them by praying, with counseling, visiting and providing the needs but weren’t allowed to be with her.
David, Lila’s husband, was very much loved by her mom and he was most of the time with her.
Praying with her, sharing with her and sleeping at night under her bed on a mattress and a blanket to be able to assist her or call the nurses.
I would share things everyday by WhatsApp, step by step and encourage her and David would let her listen…
She finally responded and understood what Jesus had done for her.🙏🙌
Everyone, church and family were hoping and praying for a miracle, and the miracle came but not in the way we had hoped for.
Just a few days before passing away David was able to lead his mother-in-law to Jesus and Jesus gave her peace.
Lila went to see her and could be with her at various times, sharing and praying as well.
The day before Mari passed away, Lila was at home and able to share with her dad and brothers and God’s Spirit took over. Especially with her dad, he repented deeply and declared that the Holy Spirit had broken and touched his heart. For the first time Lila could freely share from her heart and her brothers received Christ as well.🙏🙌🙌🙌
The next morning David came home to take a quick shower and to go back to the hospital and Mari’s older grandchild, Tatiana, stayed with her. As she sat with her grandma she heard her talking without stopping.
She asked her grandma with whom she was talking and her answer was: Jesus! 🤗😇
Then a few minutes later she died and went to be with Him.😇🙌🙌🙌
David and Lila had just missed those last few minutes with her which was very hard on them, but they knew that she had gone to be with Jesus which was such a consolation for them.💔💛❤
Then there was the problem with the whole family about how she should be buried the catholic way, because she had been catholic all her life.
Her husband, Lila and her brothers wanted the wake in our church because they couldn’t manage it at their home. So, we arranged that the wake was held in our church and it was done quietly, respectfully and a dear Methodist brother gave a beautiful message in the Guarani language for the people present.
The next morning Robert and I were in charge of the funeral when the siblings and neighbors demanded that Lila’s mother would be brought back to her home so that they could pray for her the way their religion requires.
To avoid problems for all the family, Lila’s Dad, Lila and us decided to keep the peace and brought Mari to her home and gave them respectfully the time to mourn and pray the way they knew.
During the funeral some members of the family tried to stir up strife, but the Lord showed us how to keep the peace and how to share Christ and to be a testimony of His love. We also handed out a message to everyone entitled: “Our going home is our graduation”. A Salvation message in a way that they could clearly understand.
Afterwards many of them came up to thank us and show their appreciation.
The Lord had been the Peacemaker 🙌😊💛😊
Now little by little Lila and her family are still reaching out to them and they are not ignored anymore but respected. Lila’s Dad is coming to church and he plays hymns again on the accordion. Something that is still difficult for him due to the stroke he had, but he is managing well and it helps his spirit and heart.
Four of Lila’s nephews are coming to Sunday school now as well. Please keep them in your prayers.
We had a beautiful baby dedication again and this time it was a little girl! Sabrina, the cutest little thing!
She and her family are so very precious! And we thank the Lord for them.
Blas his fall…👷🤕😔🙏
Many of you will remember Blas and his two daughters Anahi and Pauli.
In 2019 He, his wife and his daughters got baptized in our church and that same year his wife Marisa died of a ruptured appendix in the hospital.
They went through very hard times but got back on their feet. They kind of steered away from the Lord for a while but we kept loving them, checking on them and praying for them…
Then we got the news that Blas had had a serious accident. He was working on a very high wall, connecting alarm wiring when he slipped and fell on his back. The MRI showed that he had broken a vertebra (disk) in his back. They told him that he could have been paralyzed. He was admitted to the hospital and now has to wear a back brace for 3 months and absolute rest. He was in so much pain. He is doing better now. It’s almost 2 months since that happened. Now he is back in church. He gave his testimony how much he realized that he needed the Lord! It shook everyone up!
His daughters are real troopers and the whole church family backed him up with prayers and love…
He also went with two of our men’s group to the men’s conference for two days this month.
There he also shared what the Lord was doing in his life!🙌🙌🙌
Robert and I have also taken turns in getting sick…😔😷
There were so many things going on with different families in the church and then we started having health problems as well. It was nothing compared to what our church family went through, but very bothersome…
like intestinal problems, colds, dehydration, not being able to eat, and vertigo which was really debilitating.
Robert bounced back pretty quick from the times it hit him, but with me it took longer!
I found out that my cholesterol level was very high (necessitating a strict diet) and I had a problem with vertigo. (BPPV) I still have problems with it but much less and thank the Lord for that!
We are still working and witnessing. The Lord keeps us and heals us every time. His Word is powerful! Construction of the Sunday school…👷🛠
This has been going very slow, what with Covid, all the interruptions of other sickness, winter weather etc. But we are almost finished! We are very grateful to the National Methodist Men’s Society for coming out to our church to help with the construction. They are planning another visit in a few weeks to finish stucco and perhaps paint and tile.
We have the electricity installed. The doors and windows with glass installed. Most of the inside walls are finished and ready to paint. So, we are almost ready to inaugurate it and begin using it for Sunday classes. Praise God!!!🙌📖✏🛡
The children of the neighborhood…📖🍱
As we told you before the children of the neighborhood come every day for snacks with the condition that they memorize a verse. It has been going well and some of them have memorized their salvation verses and go on to other topics. The one- and two-years old quote the verse: God is Love ❤or just say, Jesus loves me.😍
It’s the cutest thing and then they get their snack and say: “Gracias Pastor”.🤗
One of the older ones had just learned Rev 3:20. And when he came the next day he screamed loudly:🙋 “Pastor, I stand at the door and knock, if you hear my voice and open the door I want to come in and have my snack!” Of course, he received it when he quoted the verse the right way! Ha! They are something else and so very precious and help each other memorize so that they all can have a snack.
Since over a year now we are back to personal counseling and praying outside the church walls as well and the Lord is really blessing it! Robert and I receive people at home and it is wonderful to be able to do so!
The church members go on Tuesday prayer night to visit different families, pray for them and with them and have fellowship in song and Word time. It has been a real help and inspiration!🙌🙏👨👩👴👵👧
We just had our evaluation as a pastoral couple of the church and depending on the outcome the bishop will decide if we can continue in this church. We love this church and its people and really hope we can stay, but it is up to the Lord for He is our Shepherd and we have come this far by faith: Psalm 16:11.💛 📖
There is much more to share and we will send you a continuation next week!
It’s Robert’s Birthday today!🕯 73 years “young”! The Lord is so good to us! Serving Him and others we have been so blessed!!! We thank the Lord for all of you.🙏🙌💞
Love and greetings from Paraguay wrapped up in prayers and His Peace… John 14:27.💛
Your missionaries: Joy and Robert Varga.
Robert and Joy Varga — Missionaries to Paraguay
News from Paraguay: August-September-October 2022