The last few days have been a whirlwind preparing for and celebrating Thalia's 15th birthday. We had a Hawaiian-themed party and around 150 guests. As always, our local community came together to donate and work preparing for the event. The day was beautiful and Thalia loved every minute of her party. If you have ever met Thalia, you would know that the party reflected her personality, lively, colorful, and fun. We thank God for her life and know that He has special plans for her future.
Thalia with her house parents
In the month of April, we received notification that our foundation here in Paraguay had been approved by the president of the country! The process here for forming a foundation/non-profit is very difficult and the final step involves receiving approval by the president of the country. We have been working on this paperwork for nearly two years, but in December switched to a new lawyer to see if the process could not be expedited. In those short five months, our paperwork was approved in all the many offices and we are now official. Our foundation here is the national counterpart to Serving Paraguay (called Fundación Sirviendo al Paraguay). This exciting step will open doors to fundraise here in country and we are trusting God to see amazing things happen in this next phase of ministry!
For those of you that may not know all the details of our ministries here in country, we would like to overview the various areas in which we are ministering consistently. Our property is divided into three main areas: the children's home (Hogar GANAR), the farm, and the school (New Path Christian School).
In Hogar Ganar, we provide a home for 30 precious children that have come to live with us via judge's order. Essentially, the children are living in a permanent foster care home. The children live with loving, Christian house parents that not only cook and care for the children, but also have daily devotionals with them and disciple them in the Christian faith, helping them to dream big with a firm foundation in the Word of God. Our children play together, along with other children from the community on our soccer field, track, basketball/volleyball court, and playground. Children learn practical skills in our on-site bakery and our garden. Children also attend church with their house parents. Every child in Hogar GANAR receives ongoing counseling by trained Paraguayan counselors and our house parents have weekly meetings with us as directors and with the counselors to learn how to better serve the children in their care.
House 3 with their house parents
Currently our farm holds our dairy cattle (providing all milk for the homes), pigs, and fish ponds. These areas are very difficult to maintain, as we do not have a tractor, but our dream for the future would be to transform the farm into an area that would help our homes become self-sustaining. Pray with us for the provision of a tractor.
Dairy cattle on the farm
In the New Path Christian school, we have nearly 190 students from pre-school to tenth grade. The children from our home attend school, and the remaining 160 students are from the surrounding, impoverished community. To see more about how our school works, click here. Our school is staffed entirely by qualified, professional, Christian teachers passionate about serving the children of our community. Our teachers arrive a half hour before our students so that they can have a devotional together and pray for unity and direction . Every morning, the students' school day begins with prayer and each teacher starts their class with a devotional. Weekly, all students attend an age-appropriate chapel. Our middle and high school students have and additional Bible class every week. We are confident in the quality of education we are offering and we strive to challenge each of our students academically and spiritually. This year, we continue to provide a daily snack for our elementary school students and lunch to our middle and high school students. All of our school children are available for sponsorship at $30.00/month.
First Grade with their teacher, Mirta
It has been amazing to see how drawn the local youth are to our children's home property, and many adolescents from our school spend each afternoon in our homes playing sports and spending time with our staff and house parents. Every Wednesday, we have a Bible study/discipleship group for the youth of our homes and any youth from the community that would like to participate. We average about 30 young people on these nights and we are so excited with their persistence to come and learn from the Word of God.
We thank God that not only are we ministering to children at a distance, but we have become a part of their lives. Our community recognizes our facility as a safe place with staff that they can trust and our testimony to them is already bringing many to know the Lord as their personal savior. The children and teenagers in our homes at Hogar GANAR are growing and changing in so many ways. Their humility and persistent faith tells us that God will use them to reach many others with the message of salvation. As our staff share their lives and faith, God is moving. We thank Him for all that is happening in the ministries of Serving Paraguay and we trust that He has even greater things in store for the future.
We ask that you would pray with us, for more children to accept Christ as their savior, for more families to come to know Christ, and for God to provide for the needs of our ministry. Having a staff of over thirty employees and maintaining our 40-acre facility is not inexpensive, but we trust God to provide for His work here in Paraguay. If you would like to partner with us financially, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For frequent updates and pictures, please visit our Facebook page. May God bless each of you!