Hawksbees' letter March 2017

21 March 2017

A letter from our mission partners in Paraquay, Chris and Alison Hawksbee

Dear Friends                  Hawksbee Prayer letter for March 2017

We pray God’s blessing upon you and your lives this year and His grace as we work and grow in His Kingdom. He has placed much before each one of us wanting to use us as channels of blessing where He has placed us. God has placed us where we are to be a blessing to show us the abundance of His love and provision for us. God is very generous, delights providing for our every need, and wants us to open up more to Him allowing him to do this by His Holy Spirit so that we may be full of His joy. His joy strengthens us and brightens up the lives of others. 

I have been encouraged by the lives of my brothers and sisters in Christ in the Chaco as they go about their daily lives sometimes in very adverse conditions and rejoicing in Christ. I often receive phone calls from the brethren in the La Patria Community. At the beginning of the year the electricity supply has reached some of their villages and has also been connected up to a mobile phone transmission antenna, so they have a good signal. Since they don’t have a ready access to buy talk time they phone me with a missed call. So, I phone them back. They are quite keen to share what is going on, as communication is important to them. It is also a good way to encourage them spiritually. Sometimes they just need reassurance amidst the challenges they face and some council. As I have mentioned on previous occasions they get visits from different religious groups and denominations. We are encouraging other Christian groups to work together with us for the strengthening of the brethren, sometimes this is very difficult because they don’t analyse the body of Christ already there, dismissing what God has already done and is doing amongst the people. Re-baptizing and getting more members for their denominations. They appear for a season, some expecting monetary gain and doing very little discipling. Division is common, this makes it very difficult in small communities. Internal divisions and people not greeting each other amongst all the other survival difficulties they have can have a very negative impact on their lives. 

We have a policy towards other groups who are Christians to approach the Bishop to see how they can work together to strengthen the local churches. We have a printed circular in the local Churches, which they can present to visiting people. Sometimes there is respect and at others ridicule. That’s how we humans are. Also, there are power struggles in the local churches and divisions occur, often inviting other denominations in, in order to get more strength. Manipulation! We have to be careful we don’t lend ourselves to this. 

We continue teaching what scripture teaches and we also welcome questions that arise about terminology. Example, this week we were asked what “vigils” meant and campaigns. Some groups come in and say, “You can’t be Christians if you don’t hold all night vigils”. So it is important to gather information as to how they are understanding these things and bring it back to the Bible use. 

On Saturday 18th March, there is going to be the launching of the audible version of the New Testament in Enxet, in Dos Palmas in El Estribo. Tim Curtis is busy with the arrangements for this, expecting quite a few people from within Paraguay and some from outside to come. Pray for this event that the roads don’t get closed due to rain. Last April, the whole Bible was launched in the Enxet language. Please pray for Tim, as he is due to go on furlough very soon to the UK. That he comes back refreshed and with a clearer understanding of his future role. 

Alison is back in the swing of the term at St. Andrew’s college, having been on a camp with the students last week. She seems to be enjoying teaching better than some time ago. Less workload is a help. We continue to help out at the English speaking Chapel. Alison leading and I preach on a rota basis. Please pray for our Pastor Donald Brookes who needs a kidney transplant and has dialysis 3 x week. He has had one kidney removed already to make way for one when it becomes available. He is in his early thirties. 

We have had very good production of honey in La Patria, but the sale of honey is slow at present as there is an abundant offer to the market. Pray that we can get a regular buyer who will pay a fair price. The difficulty is that the producers have to pay a high price for groceries sold to them by “makateros”, or travelling salesmen and they find it difficult that they get offered a lower price for their honey when there is a good supply. They need to adjust to the price they are being offered by Apicsa a Mennonite run Company who buy honey by weight, which makes it easier to buy than by volume, which seems to be variable according to the containers people bring. I believe we have a higher price for honey here in Paraguay than on the international export market. 

I am beginning to get requests to build new church buildings in villages that don’t have a nice building to meet in. Some, request buildings that are very big, and don’t reflect the congregation numbers. They think that the whole village should be able to fit into it. That might occur twice a year, Easter and Christmas. Most of the year it would be 20-50 in the congregation, as many people go away to work on ranches to earn a living. 

Thank you for your ongoing prayers for the Lord’s work here. 

With our love and greetings, 

Chris and Alison

Chris and Alison Hawksbee

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