Category Archives: Prayer Requests

Update – Please don’t forget about us

God Is Mysterious in the ways He works, answers prayers, and teaches us. This is my observations of what has happened so far and testimony of God’s faithfulness through it all.

In the past month, we have been invited over to someone’s house for a meal on three different occasions.  Our first invitation was to the house of Ruben and Lucia. Their son goes to the Cerritos school that we teach at.  It was a wonderful contemporary Paraguayan meal with their whole famly.  They prayed for us.  Second we were invited to the house of Charles & Tessi.  Charles is the man who drove me to the hospital weeks before when I had my incident.  We had a wonderful Paraguyan asado meal with their whole family. They prayed for us. The most recent invitation came through Maru, our co-worker / english teacher / fellow church member / friend.  She is part of the Intervarsity group here in Paraguay. We mentioned our encounter with Steve and Sheri Tengan previously. They are missionaries here through the Intervarsity organization which Maru is a part of and thus the connection with us.  We had wonderful home-made pizza that we shared at the home of one of the members of the Intervarsity group.  These invitations were amazing answers to quiet hope-prayers we had about needing fellowship relationships.

The Jovenes (youth) here are explosive. This past week they had their FIRST annual hipop competition at church as one of their saturday night meetings.  It was amazing. Here are the guests that were invited.  A man who opened a center for orphaned kids to teach them hipop and to give them self-esteem and hope. They go and compete in competitions. He brought many of his students to this event and some of them were in the competition.Two local but well known Paraguayan hipop groups came to perform and share the message.  The speaker was a well known youth pastor.  The Jovenes that night took charge of many aspects of this event to make it happen. I was the camera man.  The groups were amazingly good.  I will soon get the images and perhaps some clips from that night.  After the competition and performances, before the winner was announced, the speaker showed a few short video clips and one short story about Jesus healing a posessed man. In the video the story was, more or less, straight from the Bible, but the scenes itself were very artistic, contemporary and emotionally charged version of the story.  After that the pastor gave a short message and invited people to accept Christ as the one who can save from the uncontrolled, lost, seemingly demon-posessed life.  I believe that many people prayed the prayer of repentance and acceptance. I hope that they have taken the next step to walk in faith.  The winner received a trophie.  I am amazed at what God has done through this event. It goes beyond my understanding of what the form of evangelism could be.

School has been the toughest part of the whole experience for me. In specific, it was my 8th grade english class at Cerritos.  After much praying and thinking and consulting, I believe that God has answered my prayers.  First off I was given understanding of why they are that way.  I was told that in general, children here, when they are young, are not really disciplined at home. The parents on the most part leave them alone.  When they come to school, they encounter authority figures who behave differently.  School requires them to follow strict rules and regulations.  They have to learn how to listen and follow.  Secondly, through this tough experience, I learned the importance of prayer. In truth, I can say to you that on days that I have prayed, the classes would be better.  It was so much better that I was able to survive through it without getting hurt emotionally.  I was so thankful to God for protecting me in this way and giving me wisdom.  Weeks of that went by. Next, I consulted the principals and other teachers about this matter because it kept on continuing and the class was not improving.  Principal Mario spoke to me a few times and gave me many great advice concerning how to teach the students here so that I do not lose control.  All of the advice he gave me were so basic and seemingly too small to make any impact, but I willfully followed his advice knowing that he is the authority.  They worked GREAT.  The two tactics I used were: arranging the chairs in an organized way and writing the names of good and bad people on the board.  I can’t believe it. The class that was once so wild that they would walk in and out of the room, come up to the board and write things on it while I’m teaching, go into the corner and read magazines while I teach, not do the work assigned to them. . etc etc. . . became one of my best behaving classes.  I really think that God is really amazing. Thank you so much for your prayers. Please keep praying for our work at school.

Soon it will be Easter. Everyone at church must be busy with something.  Here, it is like that as well. This Easter, the church is putting on a play called “Passion of Christ”.  It is the stage version of Christ’s story starting from the last supper to His resurrection.  There are many prayer meetings and special services happening as well.  In Paraguay, the week before Easter is called “Semana Santa” which translates to “Holy Week”.  Some places do not work this whole week.  Other places work till Wednesday.  Lucky for us, we get Thursday and Friday off.  Students are asking us what we are doing that weekend.  I told them I don’t know, but I feel we will be preparing for Easter Sunday as the holidays were intended.  I have also heard that the Catholic influences here are strong and that people do not eat meat a few days before Easter. They eat bread instead.  The interesting thing is, the bread they eat is called “CHIPA”  It is a certain cheeze bread that I believe is particular here in Paraguay or South America.  We are told that on the final few days before Easter there will be many people on the street and on buses selling chipa like there is no tomorrow.  That will be interesting.  There are many vendors on the street and on buses, but to see them all selling chipa would be quite a site. So we have two early morning prayers, stage background + props to make,  posters for the play to make until the day of the theater, Sat & Sunday.  It has been very busy, but that is to be expected when Easter comes around.  I hope that everyone will have a truly blessed Semana Santa.

Ytororo (1,2) church will go into full swing after Easter.  The construction has been scheduled to start the second week of April.  Due to being tired and stressed, I have not been able to attend the Ytororo services on Sundays so I do not really know what is going on in the classes. However, from what I have observed, they are teaching the story of Daniel.  They are on the part about Daniel and his friends refusing to eat the King’s food.  It has been 4 weeks and they are now just about to go into the next topic. There are about 6 faithful jovenes members who come.  3 are teachers, one plays the guitar, the other is in charge of stationary, the other is in charge of setting up the snack and drinks.  Annie has been put in charge of making crafts.  As for me, what do I do there? I don’t really know.  I have not yet received any specific task by Pastor Freddy. Most of the time I have found myself praying for the church as I walk around, observe, and take pictures.  I really hope that once the church is built, it will be a place where not only kids, but the whole Ytororo community can worship God. Please pray for the Ytororo church and people around it.

Dengue is still a big problem here.  We have been seeing people in our church, in our school getting dengue.  There is always at least 1 or 2 people we know that has gotten dengue in a week. Some of them has gotten it for their second time.  I am so thankful that Annie and I have not yet gotten the dengue fever. I thank God that we did not. Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray for our protection.

Looking back at three months, I see us now starting to settle in just a little bit.  We finally were able to use the kitchen cupboards to store our dishes and cups.  We still can not use the drawers because we are not comfortable yet, but I’m sure the time will come.  Most of the huge and unsanitary bugs are now all gone.  We are now somewhat comfortable with riding the bus. We can now with ease get to all of the places that we normally go.  We have now also purchased our second bottle of bleach, cleaners, vegetable oil.  We have also invested in purchasing a spray that makes the air smell good. Perhaps I have not yet talked about our bathroom situation here.  It is not as bad as a hole in the ground in a shack outside with bugs crawling all over, but the toilets here cannot take paper, so all of our papers go into the trash can, so it smells bad.  It took us 3 months to actually go out and purchase an air freshener.  

I have also realized how fast we had to adapt.  During the past three months, I thought we had alot of time to adjust and to adapt, but when I see it in number, It has been very little time. I thought about just basic commitments we have here. Here is what went through my head.

January

        Spanish lessons for almost every day (For this month only).
        Attend Church ( Sun 8:00am – 12:00pm ) –  started doing the offering songs.  
        Started participating in the jovenes meetings ( Sat 5pm-9:30pm ).
        Started participating in pastoral team meetings ( Sat 8am – 10pm ).
        Ytororo starts ( Sunday 3pm – 5pm )

February

        School starts ( First time teaching. M-F 6:00am – 1:00pm ),
        Sunday school starts ( Sunday 8:00 – 10:00 )        
        Praise practice ( Tues 4pm – 6pm )

I thought to myself.  Wow.  Everything happened so fast one thing after another.  I am thankful to God that we were able to adjust fairly quickly. It has been very busy and tiring. Especially because the language. Please pray that we will have the strength, joy, and wisdom to do this work. And also pray that we will be able to learn the language enough to really connect with the people we encounter.

Third Life – Part 2 – Apologies

Thank you all so much for supporting us in prayer and with your comments. We are moved and encouraged.

At the time of the incident, it seemed so real and out of place. I really thought I was going to die. The feelings were real and my fear was real. I really thought that I could have died. After hearing from the doctor that it was an anxiety attack, the reason seemed out of place because I could not see how I was anxious. I thought I was calm and relaxed the whole time.

But after thinking about the doctor’s diagnosis and hearing from people who are around me here who are praying for me I am embarrassed to reveal that I have may have overemphasized the Spiritual aspect of the incident. I don’t doubt that the spirit world was involved, but to pinpoint that the cause was completely a spiritual attack was rash. I apologize for scaring all of you with the previous report.

Now, after hearing the counsel of our leaders and parents and thinking about it, it seems true that the reason for the incident may have been caused by stress. I was not able to perceive it but the people around me have told me that I always look tense or that I always looked worried. I was also told that I do not seem to know how to relax or to release my stress. I think it is all true.

Last night, I prayed and thought about this a lot more and decided to follow the word of God given to me: 1 Peter 5. In verse 7 it says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” This incident happened because of my character flaw. I now understand that this incident has turned out to be the grace of God to expose my weakness for my good- for me to offer it to Him.

I am so thankful that I cannot explain it. I see the world in a completely different way. I thank God for teaching me in such a tangible way. I am confirmed once more that God loves me and desires for me to grow here. So through God’s power & Gods will I will change.

Thank you everyone for your cares and prayers. Please continue to pray for us.

Third Life – Prayer Request

Shin had a near death experience today this Sunday morning at 10:00AM.

Children’s service began at 8:30AM. Shin couldn’t stand up for praise because he couldn’t breathe so he sat down and put his head between his knees. Then after that we were dismissed to go to Escuela dominical (Sunday School) to help the classes.

Then, in Shin’s words, this is what happened leading up to the incident:

SHIN:
During the entire class I felt bad but thought it would go away.
I started losing feeling in my hands so I tried to massage them.
Then I started to cough while they were taking prayer requests so I asked them to pray because I couldn’t breathe. Then my jaw and head started to feel numb and I was dizzy.
I moved to the window, then to the door to get fresh air.

Finally I was so dizzy I told the teacher I had to go outside so I went downstairs and drank water. Then after class ended the kids came down and one student asked me if I was okay. I said I didn’t know. Pastor Christian asked me if I needed to see the doctor. Then Charles and Pastor Cho came and Charles offered to take me there.

By the time we left, my hands, face and feet were feeling numb.
But I was thinking, “If this is how bad it is, I think I can get there without dying”
But I was wrong. About ten minutes in, my whole face was numb. Then my body started to feel completely numb like my whole body fell asleep.

Usually after an arm or leg falls asleep comes the pain. With the pain I didn’t even know if my hand was clinched or not. I only know that it was clinched because I saw it. I couldn’t control my muscles and I couldn’t breathe. I was breathing but the oxygen was not being dispersed in my body.

I was like a rock. I lost sight at some point. I was in such confusion I didn’t see anything. I was gasping and I felt like I lost control of my body because I couldn’t feel. All my muscles were becoming tighter and tighter. Then I started to feel like, “Oh, this is what happens when you’re about to die”. Everything went black and I felt as if my last breath was coming soon.

All my muscles were constricting including my throat and stomace. I coughed as a reaction to find out that every time i gasped air in water came out of my mouth. I thought it was this from my lung. After I vomited I somehow gained enough composure to start praying. I started to pray out loud. I don’t know how because it takes a lot of breath to pray. I felt my body worsen to the point my tongue stopped functioning correctly. So I started to pray louder and louder to God.

At some point in the prayer I said, “God I surrender my life to you, Your will is your will, I’m happy either way,” and that He would use it for His glory. At that point, my tongue started to soften and my speech came back.

Annie:
When he started praying the first words he said were, “Jesus. Jesus.” But his tongue was completely numb too so he was praying, “Jethus, Jethus.” I will paraphrase because I can’t remember exactly but he was saying but he said, “Even if I die I will praise you. Even if I lose my mentality or my body I will still praise you with my life… Now I see that I can’t even live without you – because you give me breath. If I die, bless Annie. Help her not to be afraid of my death. I give her to you. But if you give me my life I will honor you with my life. I died the first time and this is my second death. I rededicate my life. My life is yours because you saved me”

Charlie was also interceding for Shin with his right hand on Shin’s back and his left hand steering around cars…honking the horn, hand-signaling, and cutting through red lights.

As Shin was commending his spirit to God, I was pleading with God that it wasn’t time yet and commanding Satan to leave in the name of Jesus. I thought Shin was in the process of losing his mental capacities because his speech was slurred and I thought his condition was worsening. I couldn’t believe that at the moment he thought he was about to die, that he would praise God and surrender to God’s will, and even intercede for me.

But as he prayed, he was getting better. When he started to pray outloud, he felt his tongue loosening and an ability to speak correctly. He thought, “OH! I’m being healed!” Then the tenseness started loosening, beginning in his chest. His arms and leg loosened only after he left the hospital. Charlie sensed that it was getting better also. I wasn’t sure but I felt relief because he was able to pray for a long time and that was a good sign.

Somehow, by the time we got there, Shin was still numb and struggling but it was less. The nurses immediately took his vitals and the doctor gave him a mini tranquilizer to relax him. The x-ray and vitals showed that Shin was completely fine and he was getting normal oxygen levels. He was diagnosed as having an anxiety attack.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

Shin had been experiencing minor breathing problems this past month but it was always during Worship, Prayer meetings & fellowship at church. Sometimes it stayed with him until after he came home but it always started there. I thought it was due to humidity because humidity makes you feel stuffy. But looking back, Shin saw it was a definite pattern. We are sure that this was a spiritual attack.

We were extremely fortunate that Pastor Cho announced it to the church just as service was starting so the congregation lifted their voices in prayer for him. It was no coincidence that the pastor’s sermon today was about sickness: The whole inner section of today’s bulletin was about the causes of sickness!

I didn’ t know we had such a great need for spiritual protection. Please pray for us, the other leaders of the pastoral team: Pastor Cho, Pastor Freddy, Pastor Christian, Senor Emiliano, David, Charlie, and the members of Marangatu.

Ytororo Church

Ytororo Marangatu is a daughter church of Marangatu. It is located in the city of Ytororo. It was planted in September of 2004. I hear that it has been very difficult. For the last 2.5 years it has faithfully served the children of the Ytororo community.

img_0198.jpg

The attendance varies from between 20 – 120 children. When the short term mission team comes from Cerritos Presbyterian church ( USA ), they do on a bigger scale for Ytororo Church, what we at WLAKC did in Mexico. It is at those times that they reach up to 120 children. However, after weeks of not going because of the rain, the attendance had dropped to 21.

It has been the prayer of the Missionary to build a church on these grounds. It has only recently been announced that the building of the “templo” will start. Very soon, people of Marangatu will be going to the site of Ytororo Marangatu church to pray. In our prayers and Bible readings Annie and I have been pressed to support the building of the “templo”. It is such a blessing to serve and worship there and to see the building of the church coming into existance.

img_0201.jpg

img_0200.jpg

img_0199.jpg

Please pray for the Ytororo church and it’s growth. The purpose of this church is to reach out to people who do not know Christ. Please pray that the community of Ytororo will come to Christ through God’s power through the prayer and efforts of those who serve.