Monday, April 06, 2009

Challenge and Change

After 5 years of developing educational programmes in indigenous communities, lack of funds means this will be our last year. However, as all the programmes involved training and provision of resources (teacher training, literacy, nutrition and Christian education) then we are encouraged that the communities where we have worked are able to continue without us. (Photo 1 shows the recipe books we gave to the women involved in the nutrition project.)

In February and March we gave training, supervision and the last of the resources to teachers and mothers from the 9 schools in the community of El Estribo where we were working last year. They were delighted with the preschool workbooks in their own language, Enxet, and the beautiful wooden calendars designed especially for their context (photos 2, 3 ,4, 5 and 6).

As I look back over these years I feel privileged to have worked with such an outstanding and dedicated team of professionals whose different but complimentary gifts have enabled us to develop such a wide variety of educational projects. I have learnt so much from each of them and have been made keenly aware of how important it is for the body of Christ to work together, appreciating the unique contributions of each member. It has been fascinating and illuminating to learn about indigenous culture and I feel honoured to have been able to get to know my indigenous brothers and sisters more closely. I am also humbled at the generosity of so many groups and individuals without whom these projects could never have been achieved.

As we finish the educational programmes this year, please pray particularly for the following projects:
1. Finishing the literacy resources for Enxet women
2. For the preschool workbooks we have produced to be approved by the Paraguayan Ministry of Education and funded by UNICEF so that all indigenous schools in Paraguay can benefit from them.
3. For the Bible Society of Paraguay to approve our children's Bible resources and produce books based on the Creation story for all Enxet children.
4. For the teachers and women we have trained to be able to apply and adapt all they have learned and make the most of the resources we have given them.
5. For funds to be able to do more supervision and support visits to the 9 schools in El Estribo.

New Anglican Bishop of Paraguay

After 16 months without a bishop, there was great excitement on March 29th at the consecration of Paraguay's new Anglican Bishop, Rev. Peter Bartlett (Photos 1 and 2).

The service, presided over by Archbishop Greg Venables (photo 3), was attended by bishops from different parts of South America as well as pastors from all the Paraguayan congregations. It was wonderful to see the variety of cultures and nationalities represented, worshipping God together (photo 4).

Please pray for Peter and his wife Sally as they settle into this new culture and especially for Peter as he begins this hugely demanding role. The Church and all its ministries in Paraguay are deeply affected by the economic crisis so pray for wisdom and strength for him as he leads the church forward in these challenging times.