Happy New Year!
We hope you all had an amazing time over the Christmas season and we would like to thank all of you who were so thoughtful as to send us lovely treats from the UK, cards and gifts for Alicia. It really blessed us and made Christmas day so much fun seeing Alicia open her presents and playing with the wrapping paper before the toys were even acknowledged!
We have had a wonderful end to 2016 and been privileged to have some amazing visitors and see some great developments in our work out here in Paraguay. In September we received a nurse from the UK who came to help us and offered to do some general clinics with the people whilst she was with us. It is a great gift to be the kind of person who can find joy whilst you squeeze puss out of a young man’s face after an infected bite had gone untreated for a long time. When we went back a less than a week later we praised God that all the swelling had gone down and he had fully recovered from all the other symptoms that he had. He was so grateful! She was a huge blessing to us allowing us to see some members of the community who do not come to our bible story group or often away working.
As it turns out it was also a great opportunity to trial run how to run clinics in the community, as in November we had a team come out from Elim Chelmsford which included 2 GPs and a mid-wife. After all, John had learnt through helping the Nurse he was able to access contacts he had made in the city to get supplies and set up the clinics. It was incredible to see the huge response we had as people spread the news we were doing clinics again and the team worked so well in the hot and humid weather, running clinics for over 4 days in total during the week, with very short breaks.
One wonderful thing was seeing the pregnant ladies get to hear their baby’s hearts beating with the doppler. Most of the ladies would never go and have antenatal check-ups or go for a scan even though it is recommended to them by the local Drs surgery so for many it was the first time they had even heard that such a thing was possible. The Pastor who was with us shared on several occasions with those who had come for the clinics and the chief’s family. On one occasion he was talking about Jonah and the ‘big fish’, the Chief disappeared off to his house and returned with some bible pictures we had given him over two years, including the one of Jonah. It was pretty awesome to not only see him make the connection and want to share the picture but that after all this time he had taken such good care of the posters and had them to hand.
The bible stories continued to go really well and we had some great times being a bit creative with some of the stories, for example in trying to show how big Goliath would’ve been, John used a tape measure and it was great to see their response. When we were looking at the prophets and different stories it was a joy to hear people connecting the dots and understanding more of God’s character. When we were talking about why Daniel wouldn’t worship a gold statue and risked his life instead, it was incredible to hear the Chief’s wife say it was because the statue isn’t the ‘One true God’.
In December we had a friend visit the community with us who can play the guitar and he managed to learn several of the hymns we know in Guarani to accompany us singing. This was so well received and the people enjoyed the singing so much that they encouraged our friend to keep playing more and more. We had been able to get our hands on some hymn books from the German mission in Asuncion and we shared these amongst those who can read. It was great to see and hear so many of the young people singing worship in Guarani. The Chief has said he is going to see if someone in the community who knows how to play a little could help us to be able to do more worship in the future. Either that or one of us (John) really need to learn how to play the guitar!
Leading up to Christmas day we held a meeting to share the Christmas story and the birth of Jesus, followed by giving the children all a little party bag with toys and some sweets. It was so much fun to see the kids running around getting into the festivities and having some of the older teenagers wanted a party bag too (even the Chief claiming a goodie-bag for himself). The most exciting thing for us was that it signified our first bible story moving into the New Testament, as we have now completed our story plan for the old testament. This paved the way for them to have a better understanding of sin, sacrifice, salvation, God at work in the world and His interactions with humanity. Please pray for us as we now move forward and enter into this next season of ministry.
It was Christmas and Jesus arrived ! Awesome timing.
Thank you all once again for your continued support, we know we could not be here and do what we do if it was not for all of you back in the UK. Please continue to pray for our protection and our health. We all had some bad viruses over the last couple of months, including Alicia’s first bout of Giardia, which was pretty nasty and really hard for us as we knew that she had caught this because of where we minister. Please pray as we look to find ways to help the community to improve their hygiene, especially as John is looking at building toilet blocks for the people. Pray they will understand the benefits and join us in this project.
Please pray for our vehicle that is in great need of some major repairs that we can no longer put off, pray it will be fixed, as cheap as possible and as quickly as possible as we are stuck without it.
We pray that 2017 will bring you all much joy and that you will see God’s hand working in your lives over the coming months,
With much love, God bless,
The 3 McDs