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