People belonging to most of the 19 distinct indigenous groups in Paraguay live and die with almost no access to God’s good news. SIM Paraguay is addressing this by partnering with other missions to record scriptures and Bible materials in the heart languages of these communities. By sending ministry teams to disciple and train believers from indigenous communities, we pray that as leaders, these indigenous believers will, in turn, effectively convey the gospel to other groups.
A variety of social issues, rooted in poverty, force many parents in Paraguay to abandon their children. It can take years for children to be matched to appropriate foster carers – but there are not enough available, trained families in the system to receive these children. Institutional care therefore becomes the default choice. Change is coming though. Viva’s partner network in Paraguay is part of a wider Christian movement that is raising awareness amongst churches of the need for more foster carers. A foster care programme in the city of Ñemby will begin next year. Please pray that many more foster carers will come forward to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children in Paraguay, and that momentum around this area will grow in the coming years.
Give thanks that the stage of ‘cleaning up’ the translated text of the Enxet Bible is now complete. This has been a fantastic project to work on in which the translators have experienced God’s blessing, his provision and faithfulness over the years. There has been a tremendous amount of effort which has gone into this project since it began in 2003: the building of the translation office in Rio Verde in 2002 and the training of translators Asunción Rojas, Martín Rojas and Juan Martínez in Peru between 2005 and 2007. Pray for all the necessary arrangements and funding for publication, in partnership with The Paraguayan Bible Society.
Paraguay lived under more than three decades of dictatorship until 1989 and has long been one of the Latin America’s poorest and most isolated countries. Despite rapid economic growth in recent years, the country still suffers political instability. GBUP, the Christian student movement, has seen an awakening of Christian students. Student workers have been visiting cities in the interior of the country where there are universities but where Christian students are unaware of the ministry of GBUP. Many are being challenged to be agents of reconciliation in their context. Pray for continued growth and for passion and commitment for all involved in student ministry.
Please pray for Chaco indigenous communities where alcohol addiction and abuse can be common, in spite a national law stating that it is illegal to sell alcohol to indigenous people. Sadly, suicide rates are also relatively high amongst young people in these communities. Please pray especially for Francisca Sosa whose teenage son committed suicide just before Christmas and for Nelson and Carmen Franco whose 15 year old daughter also took her life at the beginning of January.
One thousand copies of The Audible Bible in Guarani are to be given to people living in villages in the La Patria settlement. This will complement the Bible studies already taking place and should be an enormously valuable resource as these people mainly speak Guarani and many have low literacy levels. Other communities who are Enxet (Lengua) speaking are also showing interest and there are plans to give them a ‘reading the Bible in a year programme’, so that they can read/listen to it all and not just their favourite passages. Pray that God will speak powerfully through His word and pray for the ongoing development of Bible study materials in new languages and formats.
Please pray for rural pastors working across the vast rural area of the Paraguayan Chaco and give thanks for a recent conference where over 300 pastors were able to meet together and spend time learning from each other. Please pray especially for leadership training across large distances with little good transport or infrastructure available. Finally, please pray for translation projects which are enabling more and more of the bible to be available in these pastors’ own mother tongues.
Population: 6,783,272 (2015)
Official languages: Spanish, Guarani
GDP (PPP) per capita: $9,779 (2017 est.)
Life expectancy: 72 years
Religions: 90% Catholic, 7% Protestant, 1% Agnostic or Atheist, 2% other religions