Here is the latest Prayer Calendar from Paraguay.
Please remember in prayer the Irene family, Latin Partners in La Paz, Bolivia. Ronny is concerned for the safety of Nicky and the children in the area where they live, especially in the unstable political climate. He has asked us to pray for God to help them find a new home, bearing in mind the high cost of renting in other parts of the city. A further cause of tension in Bolivia is a referendum on regional autonomy called by the prosperous Santa Cruz region on Sunday (4th).
On Monday (5th) John Sutton of SAMS flies to South America for a two-week visit to Paraguay and Northern Argentina. Pray for John’s travel, his meetings with mission and Latin partners, and his preparations for key meetings in Buenos Aires on 12th and 13th May with bishops of the Southern Cone and representatives of CMS.
A former primate of the Southern Cone, retired bishop David Leake, continues his 3-month spell in Northern Argentina helping in the closing phase of the Toba New Testament translation project. Pray for that work, and also keep David and Rachel in prayer in all the travelling they are doing.
Finally, a huge change has taken place at government level in Paraguay with the departure from power of the Colorado Party after 61 years and the election as president of the independent Fernando Lugo, a former Roman Catholic bishop. Pray for him and the elected government in the huge challenges afforded by poverty, corruption, land reform, unemployment, health and educational needs.
Dear brothers and sisters,
With these lines I want to send you some news regarding the work of the Anglican Church in Northern Argentina…
This year we have had a lot of rain in this region and unfortunately, as has happened in the past, it caused the rivers Pilcomayo and Bermejo to flood. As a result of this, various communities suffered from flooding, some even having to leave their homes so as to move to other places. The communities that were flooded in the Province of Formosa are: el Quebracho, Pescado Negro, Las Lagunitas, Pocitos and Pozo Yacaré (in the Bermejo region); our brethren in El Churcal are isolated, they can only be reached by canoe (this is in the Pilcomayo area). While in the Province of Salta the affected communities were Bajo Grande, Las Vertientes, Las Juntas, Pozo Mulato, Alto de la Sierra and Pozo las Chivas (in the Pilcomayo area).
In these last months the rains have not stopped; even last night it rained all night and it’s still raining this morning; this has made the situation even worse as those who left their villages are living very precariously and the roads have become unusable so that it’s almost impossible to reach them. We ask for your prayers for these brethren who are in great need; thanks be to God that the government has been helping them (by air) with food and some shelter. But as has happened previously, I think that when the waters recede and the people establish themselves in their new places they are most likely going to need a new church and they will certainly ask for help from the Diocese for this.
Because of all I’ve mentioned above, we had to cancel the youth meeting which was due to take place during Holy Week in Juarez, as it was impossible for many to travel out from their villages. We also had to postpone a zonal conference in Sauzalito (Chaco Province) for the same reason; this was due to take place on April 5th and 6th but has been postponed till August.
As regards ministry in the criollo (“white”) church, in February we had a Young People’s camp in La Caldera (Salta), with about 70 young people taking part, including 35 from Juarez, Laguna Yema and Chiriguanos [towns in the Chaco]. There we had workshops to learn about theatre, music, puppets, clowns and plastic arts, in order to offer the young folk tools to use in evangelism. The young people returned home from the camp both challenged and encouraged, to such a point that in Juarez we organised an open-air event in the little town square where they put into practice what they had learned. This happened on Good Friday: there was a massive crowd, whole families came to the place, lots of children along with their parents; it was a really great opportunity to present the Gospel; as a result of this the numbers coming to the church meetings have grown, especially in the Youth Group and the Sunday School. We ask for your prayers for the central criollo church in Juarez and especially for the two young pastors who lead it: one is Narciso Sanchez (unmarried) and the other is Juan Maldonado (married with 7 children).
In July the youth of the Criollo church in Juarez want to organise their First Youth Camp; after taking part in the Camp at La Caldera they came home with that expectation. It will be a great blessing for them to be able to carry it out; there would be participants from the nearby towns and including some from the capital city of Salta. We don’t have the infrastructure required to do this, but in faith we believe it’s possible. Please pray
for this too.
Also in July, as is our custom we shall have our Youth Camp in Misión Chaqueña which will embrace all the youth from the rural ministry; usually there are about 100-120 young people from different congregations in the region. We are counting on your prayers for this.
As for family news, we give thanks to God for Marina’s recovery although it is not yet complete; she is still physically quite poorly, she has to take care not to get a cold or flu, and she still has to continue the treatment to improve her natural immunity. She is still very susceptible to anything which concerns the respiratory system or the lungs. Many thanks for your prayers; we are sure that you are still supporting us in prayer for Marina. On the other hand, Marcos and Sarai have begun their school year really well. Sarai who is 13 is in the 3rd year of secondary while Marcos (only 11) is doing 7th grade (last year of primary school). They are both very healthy and growing taller than their parents, I think very soon they will be looking down on us!
Well, that’s all the news that I have to tell you for now, hoping and praying that our Almighty God will continue to bless you richly, both physically as well as spiritually.
Your brother in Christ,
Cecilia sent us this email about the economic problems developing in Argentina.
The intention of this email is to share with you the present situation here in Argentina. I’m convinced that together united in prayer, our Lord will deliver us and guide the government to find a solution to the current crisis.
I came back from Ireland almost four weeks ago; I had left a country which was trying hard to improve its economical and social problems. Since 2001, because of the crisis, the whole population has had to learn to live differently to what we were used to, it took some time but after a while the changes became more manageable.
For the last two months the government has faced some difficult situations with the farmers, the government wants to increase some taxes and the farmers are refusing to pay the new amount. After some attempts to solve the dilemma and without any positive response, the farmers decided to start a strike and as part of their strategy they blocked the motorways and many of the main roads. Because of this the people who deliver goods all around the country couldn’t do their job and for almost three weeks they were living in their lorries waiting for a solution.
As a result the whole country suffered a sad consequence; little by little we started running out of food. Every time you went to the supermarket you were allow to take only a certain amount of things, in the hope that by introducing rationing there would be enough food for everyone and to make this unfortunate situation worse many business´ took advantage of the crisis by pushing the prices up on almost all of their merchandise .
Meanwhile the government chose not to reconsider the situation so the people who were affected most by the strike started supporting the farmers and asking the government to do something about it. After some meetings they decided to stop the strike for 40 days and after which they will meet the President again to see if a definite solution can be agreed upon.
The meeting will take place this week, if they don’t come to an agreement the problems of a few weeks ago will recommence, and once again we are going to suffer the cost.
On the other hand, the banks don’t trust the new government (It has been said they are afraid that there will be another crisis like the one in 2001) so they have changed some of their policies, instead of working with the people they are working against them. For example the maximum amount that can be withdrawn per transaction is equal to about 45 pounds sterling and as each transaction costs 1 pound this quickly adds up.
As you can imagine, this change also affects the church because everything we planned to spend this year for the new building as well as the soup kitchen has to be reconsidered due price increases.
In less than two months the entire economy has changed dramatically and returning home has been a real shock for me. There are some families in the church who are struggling with this reality as they are in great economical need. It breaks my heart to see them working so hard and not even being able to get a house of their own, to see them crying out for help because they feel completely lost and tired, very tired. But something that has astonished me is their way of praying, always thanking God for what they have (one family couldn’t even put food on their table for a week).
So this is the present situation in my lovely Argentina, we are all waiting to see what the government decide to do with this.
My prayer to God is that He will give wisdom to our President so she can help her people who trust her.
My friends, I just want to thank you for reading this and for praying for my people and also for me. May God be with us.
The SAMS GB prayer line for this week:
Let’s begin by giving thanks to God for answers to matters raised on the Prayer Line in recent weeks.
In late March we asked prayer for Marcus Throup’s colleague, Revd Souza, in João Pessoa, Brazil, who was facing surgery for cancer. Marcus tells us the operation was successful and the cancer was entirely removed
also in Brazil we asked prayer for a weekend away for the young people of Espirito Santo church in Recife. Josias de Souza reports that many of the 60 who attended were introduced to the Christian faith for the first time.
So praise God, thank you for praying, and please continue to remember Revd Souza in recovery and the young people in discovery.
Bishop Bill & Judith Godfrey return to Peru on Thursday (24th) after some months’ convalescence for Bill in the UK. Remember them as they take up diocesan responsibilities again, especially for Bill’s health.
Another person with health needs is Latin Partner Danny Morrison, who is in the middle of a month’s sick leave from his ministry at Gómez Carreño in Chile. Please keep Danny & his wife Ary in your prayers.
Today sees the biggest change in the political landscape in Paraguay for 61 years. The current government was led by the Colorado Party. They had been in power since 1947, the longest-serving party in continuous rule in the world. Today the opposition, a centre-left coalition, led by Former Roman Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo has won Paraguay’s presidential election. He campaigned on being a government for the poor and seeks to bring real change to one of South America’s poorest nations.
Please pray for the nation of Paraguay at this time of change, and for the SAMS mission partners who work there, particularly in St. Andrew’s School. As Penny and Murray Metcalfe say in a recent e-mail,
“The need for a leadership that can move away from the corruption that is such a part of every public sector is essential.”
More information on the Paraguay elections is available from the BBC.
Today Bishop Greg Venables travels to the Diocese of Northern Argentina for meetings of the Diocesan Council tomorrow and the AGM of the diocesan legal body on Friday. Pray that the proceedings will run smoothly, that the Lord will inspire, unity will prevail and the right people end up with the right responsibilities.
This Sunday a presidential election is held.in neighbouring Paraguay, with current president Duarte Frutos barred by the Constitution from running for re-election. The candidates include the current Minister of Education, a former Roman Catholic priest and a former disgraced army general. Please pray for this nation in its desperate need for a just and trustworthy government which strives for the welfare of the people and against corruption.
Ian & Siméa Meldrum in Olinda, Brazil, have said how important our prayers are against the violence, drug dealers and the dangers of the area; so please keep in your prayers these issues, as well as the staff and 11 boys aged 6-14 being cared for at My Father’s House (safe house). Among these are two drug addicts put there temporarily for their own safety by the court as they are being hunted by gangs. They are causing disruption in the house and affecting the other boys who have recently come off drugs and glue-sniffing and had been making good progress. So please pray.
News from the SAMS GB prayer line:
This weekend the Diocese of Argentina holds its Synod in Buenos Aires, with visitors from its link Diocese of Sheffield. Pray for Bishop Greg Venables in the chair and for the worship, Bible study and discussions on future planning in the light of a severe shortage of clergy.
Far to the north in the midst of the Argentine Chaco Pastor Tuqui Ayala will baptise on Saturday seven new believers among the settlers of the small town of Laguna Yema. Pray God will bless this event and encourage them in their new life with Christ.
Over this weekend the young people of Espirito Santo church in Recife, Brazil, are going away to pray and study the Bible together. Pray for them and for their pastor, SAMS Latin Partner Josias de Souza and his wife Danielle.
From Monday to Thursday (14th-17th) the ‘Gospel in Spain’ conference is held at the SEUT seminary in El Escorial to highlight the vital work of its staff, in particular SAMS mission partners Jonathan & Hilary Rowe. Pray for this event and for its coordinator Tim Greenhalgh.
On Tuesday (15th) Tim Curtis returns to Paraguay after his UK ministry. Pray for his travel, his reunion with the Enxet Bible translation team and the continuing project.
Finally, Tuesday also sees the long-awaited conference on revival held in Santiago, Chile. Alf Cooper hopes for a turnout of 5000 pastors and leaders. Pray for this gathering.