Skip to main content

Thirteen dollars for Rita’s 13th birthday

Our neighbor and friend came to me last week asking if I could spare 13 dollars for Rita, on his daughter 13th birthday. It was 9:00 am. He wanted to do something special for lunch.  I gave him the money, (which he promised to return) and he went rejoicing, bought some sausages which he grilled and celebrated Ritas birthday. 

I don’t know about your idea of a birthday celebration. But this is the reality for the Campanas family. Their daily wages are only enough for putting food on the table. They wake up thinking about getting enough for the next meal. With longing they remember when times were better while working with the construction of the power plant, 10 years ago. We were able to afford meat, Mr Campanas remembers.  

This is what ABC, the economic section our national paper published last Sunday: “from every 100 people that live in Paraguay, 35 are in a situation of poverty. From a population of 6.300.000, inhabitants, 2.200.000 are poor, and 1.230.000 is extremely poor. The gap between rich and poor continues to be a challenge for the government and the non-for profit agencies.

When I read these statistics, I thought of Mr Campanas and his dauthers birthday. Although these statistics are nothing new, they do reflect the ongoing struggle of nations that even with established democracies and great natural resources, can’t manage to help an important segment of their population live with more dignity.

These numbers sadden me, but at the same time make me very thankful everyday for the chance to serve in this country with so much potential. But there is another reality in the spiritual economy, not so distant in numbers. Paraguay continues to be a country with a small percentage of born again Christians.

From my local (district) point of view, I can say this for a fact about our spiritual reality. In an area with a population of almost 50,000, there are approximately, 25 churches (evangelical and catholic combined). Maybe one or two have more than 100 people in their gatherings.  The largest Catholic Church maybe gathers 80 people during a regular service. On any weekend, no more than 1,000 people will make their way to one of these churches. That’s, 2% of our community.

Our Wednesday night prayer group began intentionally praying for this community. Join us in prayer to narrow the gap of spiritual poverty and plead God for it to affect the economic reality somehow as well. Pray for a deep hunger and thirst of God’s presence in Colonias Unidas (our region) and the country Paraguay.


  1. A very touching look at life in Paraguy. Thanks for sharing it. I am praying for you and your ministry there.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

September highlights. A month in Paraguay

I want to thank you for hanging out with us this past month. Every day was different. Sometimes I wish I had more of a routine. But in my missionary role, routine is not something I experience very often. Here are a few September highlights.

We traveled to Asuncion, to get some paperwork done. The trip to Asuncion generally takes six hours on a two lane road, with crazy traffic. We avoid these trips as much as possible. 

I was part of a Baptism ceremony in the Parana River. 28 people made a public commitment. The Parana Rive is the second one in size after the Amazon River.

I had a chance to continue my bible teaching at our local church on Tuesday evenings. I fill in various classes and find teaching very rewarding.
We celebrated Anahi’s 6th birthday with our immediate family. Anahi is finishing her preschool and will start first great next year

We celebrated Dominick’s 4th month. He also got his shots last week. Dominick has occupied the center of attention. He has been a great joy for …

Christmas in Paraguay!

If you're wondering what Paraguayans do at Christmastime, they have some great traditions, including the "noche buena" meal on Christmas Eve at midnight.  They eat lots chipa guasu (a type of corn casserole, stay tuned for a recipe), asado or grilled meat (some eat it cold), salads, especially fruit salad, watermelon and drink mucho terere.

Families travel from all over the country, many even return from working in other countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Spain, to celebrate with loved ones. This is us at last year's Kurrle celebration in Asuncion. Festivities are anything but a silent night with fireworks, loud music and drinking cidra (hard cider). 

Most Paraguayans do not decorate Christmas trees (we decorate ours in shorts!) or emphasize Santa Claus.  Instead, they put beautiful nativities "pesebres" in their yards and in store fronts.  Kind of novel to focus on Christ at Christmas, isn't it!

To beat the heat, many Paraguayans go to a river to rel…

Technology in missions

As I started my day, within a few hours, I had a list of things to do. By 10 am I had enough items to keep me busy for a week. After several hours in the office, I was able to send audio messages and video conference with people on both side of the Equator. I sent letters out to several people in just a few seconds. I posted on FB, and I googled some maps while listening to a webinar.
Did my grandparents or even my parents have these technologies? The answer is no. David and Lilian Meier left on a steam ship the port of New Orleans in December of 1935 towards South America. All the field knowledge they had was a letter from a German missionary who wrote to America saying. Will someone come to Brazil?

That was the beginning. Their first trip lasted a decade serving in several places in South America. There where no phone calls, no daily FB updates and no cool Instagram pictures. Few words on a telegram, or when letters were written they delivered weeks later were the ways of communica…