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Paraguay Week 5

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This has been a week nothing short of an adventure. We got the opportunity to stay with the Achè tribe in the jungles of Paraguay. They are a Christian community, who live simply, but love so well. We were constantly surrounded by wonderful children, and although everyone spoke a different language that we’ve never heard before, there was nothing stopping us from building relationship with them. We’ve helped clean up around their tribe, picking up trash, burning piles of leaves and grass, and chopping down bamboo trees using machetes. Once we were done working for the day, we started walking to the river that is right by their tribe. When they see us walking that direction, we’re instantly surrounded by groups of children, running with bare feet in the hot red dirt. They grab our hands and we all start running, and then when we’re almost there the kids start ripping off their clothes and just jump right into the water, without any fear, and without a care in the world. Walking around the community was an adventure in itself. You get to see all types of animals, like dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, sheep, pigs, turtles and monkeys. Then you walk through the jungle to the house the boys were staying at, and you get to see the most beautiful sunset going down over the horizon. This experience has been completely life changing. I can’t really explain the feeling I get when I think about the Achè tribe, but I know that God has put them on my heart for a reason.

God has shown me a lot through their community, things that I will never forget. They’ve taught me how to be more kind, generous, and caring for those around me. They shared everything with each other. If we gave them a piece of bread, they would look who’s around them and rip it into the perfect amount of pieces so everyone can have some. But the best thing they shared was time and laughter. Very rarely would you see someone alone. They all loved each other, and live life together, as a big family. No one ever got left behind, and no one ever felt left out. They were all so kind with each other. They found joy in the smallest things. The Achè tribe taught me how to live without fear. I have never met a more tough group of people. They live with complete trust in the Lord, in all that they do. They don’t worry about finances, where to sleep, and what they’ll eat, because God has blessed them with each other. They know that God will provide for them in the way that they need to, and that the community will always have their backs. They play with bugs that I’ve never seen before, throw their bodies into running, rocky water and don’t worry about the fear of judgement or pain. I the love the way they live, I can see the way that God lives in them, and how his love casts out fear. The Achè tribe has taught me how to love well. They welcomed us with open arms, got us out of our comfort zone, and laughed at us when we tried shooting bow and arrows. Our team got so much closer during this time. We spent so much time together, loving each other, taking adventures with each other and worshiping our God together as the sun went down. We laid out and watched the stars together, asking silly questions and talking about God.

This week God moved in our hearts. He gave each of us a heart for the Achè tribe, and taught each of us something new. The love of God radiates through this community, and makes it really hard to say goodbye. A piece of my heart will always be in the tribe. The relationships we’ve made will never be forgotten, and the memories we have will last forever. God is so good, He always has been good, and He will always be good. I know that God brought all of us to Paraguay for a reason, and I think mine was to see what true happiness looks like within a community. My life will forever be changed, and I give thanks to God, and the way He moves through the Achè tribe. I’m so thankful for what He’s done for me, and I will always continue to pursue Him.

-Carmen Martinez, 19

 

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Adjusting Your Focus

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When we were in Thailand I realized how important it was to hear God. I also found out how easy it is to not listen to him because we were distracted by the people, the culture and the new environment. When I first got to Thailand all I wanted to do was go out and experience the culture, try the foods, buy clothes and interact with the Thai people. I realized later that all of these things were actually distractions from what God had sent us here to do. We were not focused on God and what He had brought us to Thailand for. As a result our team was negatively impacted and attacked by Satan. When a few of us realized that Satan was attacking, we decided to pray and pray hard we did. After praying we felt a lot better and a peace came over us. The darkness was still lingering so we came together as a team and talked about all the negativity going around. As a team we then prayed and turned our focus back on God and we got back on track. That next week in Thailand I heard God more clearly and we had such an adventure interacting with the Thai students and building amazing relationships. This story goes to show how often we can get off track, so we need to take action against Satan by having a “warrior” mind set. We do this by turning to God with problems and frustrations and talking them over with Him. As I have been told I will tell you a little tip; “When life gets blurry just adjust your focus” back on Jesus.

 

Marissa Fields

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Malaysia Update

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Time flies when you’re having fun! I can’t believe that my time in Malaysia is already half way over. We spent 3 weeks in KL and have settled into our new area in Penang. We traveled 4 hours north by train, then a 20-minute ferry ride to the busy island to meet our contact for our following 3 weeks here in Georgetown. We are staying in the upper level of the homeless shelter that we are working with. Everything is in walking distance which is huge for us since we had to take Ubers everywhere in KL. We finished our time in KL by spending time with people that we had build close relationships with and of course doing our laundry “missionary style” at the local café that we discovered. Yes, a place to pay to do your laundry then sip on some coffee while you wait. Georgetown and Penang are known for their variety and delicious food and I can speak from experience that they were not kidding on that. Everywhere we walk is filled with cafes, street vendors, and fruit stands clustered together taunting us. After a quick orientation of a possible ministry opportunity on Saturday morning, we were able to have most of the day to explore and get used to the area around us. We are staying right in the middle of the hub of backpackers. Our street is called Love Lane and is filled with hostels and late night cafes. It has been enjoyable meeting people from all over the world and learning of what brought them to Malaysia. Georgetown is populated heavily by Chinese therefore we are extremely excited to celebrate the Chinese New Year in a few weeks. I love the cultural experience that we have had already so quick within our first few days here. One thing that is common etiquette in Malaysia is removing your shoes before you enter into a home. Shoes are left outside even before going into a spa parlor. Another common etiquette is also using only your right hand. The left hand could mean bad luck, the hand you use to wipe with, and rudeness. Walking down the street is truly never a dull moment.

Today we were able to get our ministry schedule finally! We have been waiting in anticipation. The ministries we will be involved in are teaching/volunteering at schools, street evangelism, rock climbing/basketball, prayer/worship nights, and homeless ministry. I’m stoked for all of these opportunities to just be the hands and feet of Jesus and to serve. We were in a school this morning working with kids and it reminded me of how excited I get being in schools and the teacher side of me comes out. I was amazed at how eager these students were to learn the simplest things. They were also intrigued of how I was in Malaysia and of course wondering how I was enjoying myself so far.

These next 3 are going to be full of stories, adventure, miracles, and happenings. I’m ready to finish these last weeks strong and full of passion for the people here. I’ve loved the people here, how they are welcoming and interested in our lives even if we only interact for a short time.
Megan Myers

 

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Paraguay Update

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Through outreach God has been relentlessly showing me the influence that prayer has in my life and the lives of others. One Sunday evening my team and I attended the biggest church in Asunción as we had been doing for all of the previous Sundays. After the service I felt the spirit stir in me telling me I needed to ask for prayer for the pain in my neck. The prayer team was situated near the front of the stage and soon swarms of people moved to the prayer team. Sensing a long wait I hurried to save a place in line but I was not fast enough. Despite the prayer team stretching from one side of the mega-church stage to the other, lines became seven to ten people long. Five minutes passed, then ten. The lines had only moved one or two people. Discouraged I headed back to my pew, afraid of my team leaving without me. When I arrived my team was chatting it up with our Paraguayan friends looking like they had no intention of leaving. Just to play it safe I sat down in case we decided to leave before I could go back to the stage. Soon the lines were down to a few people and I worked up the courage to go back.

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I wasn’t meant to fit in

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Since beginning the new journey of outreach my life has been impacted in crazy ways. God has given me a whole new perspective on life. My life in particular…
Deciding to drop everything I was working towards for the past 3 years and turning my life completely 180 degrees in the opposite direction by doing a DTS in Belize was a huge step in faith and one of the best decisions of my life. During my 3 month lecture phase I grew in abundance. I met all kinds of people from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds but all with the same goal of seeking more of Jesus. I can honestly say that I’ve never been in a place where there is such a sense of community. Everyone was so loving, so open, so kind. We were a family.

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