October 19, 2023

I hope you are all having a happy fall.  We are in the midst of a glorious spring.  Pictured above is my hiking group standing in the mouth of a cave!

Since our last update, the Park Street Church team came and ministered in the prisons through their participation in the Restorative Justice conference.  These conferences challenge inmates to take a serious look at their lives through the perspective of their victims, families, and God.  (Alberto is actually participating in another such conference this week!)  When they were not in prison, the Park Street cohort was able to come to our house, climb Lion’s Head, and explore the area.  Their presence was a huge blessing to us personally, as it is so helpful to get feedback on life here from people who are from our home church.  Thanks for coming, friends!

Alberto, Phoebe and I recently attended the YWAM Southern Africa leadership conference in Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa.  It was really encouraging to see friends of ours from our early days at the Worcester base now in leadership roles throughout South Africa.  YWAM has faced incredible blessings as they show how Jesus is relevant to young people today and empower them to make a difference in their communities and in the world.  34% of the South African population is under the age of 18, so harnessing their involvement is critical for the kingdom of God.  With this comes some significant challenges, however.  In trying to empower young people from economically challenged environments to become missionaries, the whole concept of support raising needs to be reevaluated.  In a context where support letters are not relevant, how do people raise support?  It can be through creative ways such as raising chickens or selling vegetables.  One of the other challenges YWAM is facing is how to support people coming out of challenging situations, such as homelessness or gangs.  Everyone is always welcome at YWAM, though some need more support than others.

I love YWAM’s vision to reach every nation with waves of young people from every nation, to influence every sphere of society, and to translate the Bible into every mother tongue.  Although the founder of YWAM, Loren Cunningham, recently died in Kona, Hawaii, he was an extraordinary evangelist and man of vision.  You can read his story here.  YWAM’s newest focus is oral Bible translation with the help of AI.

Isaac (the ex-prisoner, as opposed to Isaac our son) is still living with us, as he needs extra support.  Every time he tries returning to his community, he gets into some type of trouble with his family, friends or wife.  This last time, his sister stole from him.  (His sister is addicted to tik, crystal meth, which is easily accessible in the townships.)  Alberto has encouraged Isaac to buy a small piece of land in a township far from his old community, since he is not strong enough to resist their influence. Township plots are cheap, but Isaac will need to save his money so he can buy building materials.  So now he is occasionally working for us by painting or rewiring our electricity.  Today he went to pay off his traffic fines, for driving without a license.  Next, he needs to try to apply to get a license.  He is also, sadly, in the process of divorce.  Having Isaac live in our guest cottage (half of the garage is converted into a bedroom and bathroom) has its blessings, though, as he is a gifted musician!  We are hoping he will attend a DTS in the near future.  (Thus, the applicable conversations at the conference about helping people in challenging situations who still need quite a bit of support.)

All in all, we are in a much better place than we were two months ago!  Many of the challenges we experienced upon arrival in Cape Town have now been settled.  My car is fixed, registrations and passport are renewed, replacement credit cards have arrived, even load-shedding has experienced some relief!  Some things are still pending though, and therefore need ongoing prayer: Phoebe is still not in school.  We did find a school (Beautiful Minds) that has accepted her provisionally, praise God, but the stipulation is that we will find and hire an aid for her.  I contacted a recruiting agency, so am waiting for their recommendations at this point.  Since the school year ends early December, it seems unlikely that Phoebe would start school this year.  In the meantime, I have hired a lady to help me with Phoebe at home, as she needs a constant set of eyes on her.  Even when she is being watched, however, she can be a challenge.  Last month when I was working on my laptop, Phoebe came running into the house and dumped my cup of tea over the keyboard.  Despite following Google’s recommendations for drying out a laptop, it never turned on again.  Fortunately, I have the extended Apple Care package, being the mother of a child like Phoebe. Unfortunately, there are no Apple store partners in the entire country (or southern Africa, for that matter).  My only hope was to return the laptop to the US, which I did through the kindness of a friend, who then took the laptop to Apple.  Now, a month later, at no cost to me, I have an almost brand new laptop, as just about everything was replaced. I am now waiting for a friend of a friend to transport the laptop back to South Africa.

Meanwhile, I have been working on our old laptop, which is a blessing, as I am taking an online class this semester, Interpreting the Bible, which is my last requirement for my Masters of Arts in Christian Ministries at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.  I love digging into the Biblical texts and seeing God’s heart for the nations, but it is a lot of work!

Pictured above and below are friends from our YWAM, Worcester days when we first arrived in South Africa (yes, Worcester, South Africa).  They have since moved on to other locations in South Africa to do amazing things with youth to spread the kingdom of God.

Pictured above and below are members of the Park Street Church short-term mission at our house and climbing Lion’s Head.

Nice looking cleats!  The guys are so appreciative of all the cleats that have come their way, thanks to the generosity of so many of you at Park Street Church!

Some of the topics discussed during half-time are concerns brought up by the players, such as the fact that some of them view Christianity as the white-man’s religion.  This is an important subject, as throughout history, white people have manipulated the Christian faith for their personal gain, which requires an accounting for.  It is hard to separate what Christians have done from Jesus.  Please pray the soccer players will seek Jesus and find him in their African context.  After all, Africa has an amazing Christian heritage!

To watch Phoebe and Isaac sing “Sing Hosanna” please click on this link.

Isaac and Margaret are pictured above with my mom and nephew.  Isaac continues to live with my parents, and is now a PE teacher.  Margaret is waitressing in Boston, but returns to Cape Town December 5th!  She has applied to an art school in Cape Town, where she hopes to study design.

Ana and Frenchie (and Kara) at Park Street Church.  They had an amazing time reconnecting with some of you, participating in The Send, and spending time with my parents, Isaac, and Margaret.  They are now back in ministry with YWAM in Kona, Hawaii.

Prayer Points

* Spiritually open eyes and ears during this week’s Restorative Justice conference
* Strength to walk with integrity for ex-prisoners like Isaac
* Soccer players to seek Jesus.
* A good aid for Phoebe
* Margaret’s transition back to South Africa
* Isaac to remain injury-free in his Ironman training
* God’s help and intervention in the challenges of Park Street Church
* Peace and comfort in Israel and Gaza

August 14, 2023

Where am I?  This question lingered in my subconscious as I awoke every morning after we moved out of Park Street Church on July 2.  First Isaac, Phoebe and I were in South Weymouth with my parents, then Phoebe and I flew back to South Africa.  Two days later, Alberto, Phoebe and I flew to Thailand to attend the Joni & Friends International Family Retreat for missionary families with special needs children.  Even though the ground beneath us moves, God is our anchor and our strength.

The conference was amazing, and put us in touch with other missionary families with the same struggles as us: how do you cope overseas with the challenges of special needs?  The answer is “not easily, with much creativity, and with the presence of God.”  It was great to be in the company of like-minded people, and to share life experiences and wisdom.  At some point, we sadly picked up a terrible GI bug, which lingered with us most of the time we were in Thailand, and accompanied us back to South Africa. After much prayer, medicine, and rest, we have finally all recovered.

Being back in South Africa has been simultaneously better and worse than I expected.  We left South Africa for Boston during the pandemic last year, so that stress is my last association with being in South Africa.  Returning here post-pandemic has been a breath of fresh air, as life is back to its normal hustle and bustle.  On the other hand, there have been some challenges that I didn’t expect, at least I didn’t expect them to hit us all at once.  My patience muscle was not stretched on a daily basis in Boston, so that muscle is now weak, and has led me to feel impatient with the inefficiencies of this country.  Some of our challenges include daily load-shedding (black-outs) for five to seven hours a day.  Besides being massively inconvenient for us and our fridge, it basically brings business to a complete halt.  Since each neighborhood has its own schedule, I inevitably go somewhere and find it closed.  We are currently trying to get all sorts of things back in order after having been gone for a year, so my patience muscle is getting a good work-out.  Also, there has been a transportation strike here for the past eight days, which has further exacerbated the situation and has depleted grocery store supplies.  Furthermore, we are in the midst of trying to get my car fixed and registrations renewed, our P.O. box renewed (no mail delivery to our residential area), my South African passport renewed (not that I plan to go anywhere anytime soon), and new credit cards delivered (cards were blocked from fraudulent activity).  More importantly, we are trying to find a school or home program for Phoebe.  I am waiting to hear back from two possible “cottage” schools.  (A cottage school is run out of someone’s home for a handful of special needs kids.)  If neither works out, we will resort to what we did before, hire therapists to come to our house.  Please keep this in prayer.

On a more positive note, it has been a joy to be with our YWAM staff and friends again, although I was a bit surprised by how many families have left this past year.  (It is getting increasingly difficult for foreigners to get and renew visas here.)  There is a core group of missionaries that is here for the long haul though, and it is exciting to see how God is refining and equipping our base.

Meanwhile, Alberto has been busy distributing cleats to the soccer team!  Thank you to all of you who donated used cleats.  I’ll include a picture in our next update showing their new owners!

Alberto has also been meeting with Wisdom and Isaac, both ex-offenders.  Wisdom is now in seminary and about to start a position at an Anglican church.  Isaac, on the other hand, still has significant struggles with his wife and can’t find a stable job or place to live.  He’s stayed with us on a temporary basis in the past, and also occasionally works for us, but Alberto is trying to help him find something a bit more stable, while he figures out his marriage.  It is a difficult path, and the half-way house we are dreaming about cannot happen soon enough.  Ex-prisoners usually do not have the necessary skills to integrate themselves back into society.  Ideally, it is a two-way street.

Next week the team from Park Street Church arrives!  We are so excited to welcome them.  They will participate in a Restorative Justice process at Pollsmoor Prison, which is our local high-security prison.

Pictured above and at the top of the update are Phoebe’s two volunteers Kristin and Hollyn, and the retreat leader Liz and her husband Doug, whom we met at the New England retreat last year.

Although the strike prevented stores from restocking basics such as bread and milk, local fruits were abundant.  Avocados for 40¢  Guavas and papayas are also some of our favorites!

It was hard to say goodbye to friends and family in Boston!  Pictured above are Phoebe and Kara, who runs our Missionary Care Team.  What an amazing year we had!

Ana and Frenchie are not affected by the devastating fires in Maui, but their base is raising money and supplies for those who are.

On a brighter note, they are going to Boston in September, as they want to reconnect with friends at Park Street Church, see my parents, Isaac, and Margaret, and help out at THE SEND conference.THE SEND exists to gather and mobilize a generation into their missional calling to reach every high school, university, nation and community around the world with the gospel.”  (https://thesend.org/)

They will be sharing at a reception at Park Street Church on September 17 after the 11:00 service, so please drop by to see Ana, meet Frenchie, and learn about their ministry.

Isaac and Margaret are pictured above with my father.  Isaac is living with my parents now, which seems to be a good arrangement on both sides.  I am happy he can be there for them.  He is currently training for an Ironman Triathlon.

Margaret has returned from her European tour, and is now also staying with my parents and hoping to start work again.  She plans to return to South Africa next month and will also start applying for colleges again.  This will be her third round of applications, so she is getting good at the process!  I am praying this time yields a good way forward.  The UK college she was planning on attending (Leeds Beckett) ended up being too expensive.

Prayer Points

* Discernment to know what is the better option for Phoebe’s education and care, and corresponding open doors
* Grace as we readjust to the challenges of South Africa
* Integrity and opportunities for ex-prisoners as they seek to reintegrate into society
* God to speak His truth through the short-term team during the Restorative Justice process
* Rekindled connections during Ana and Frenchie’s Boston visit
* Isaac to remain injury-free in his Ironman training
* Work for Margaret so she can earn the money necessary to fly to South Africa

Our Mission

We proclaim the hope of Christ to the incarcerated through Hope Prison Ministry, on the soccer field to young men who are at-risk, and to the nations through Youth With A Mission (YWAM).


June 17, 2023

It is bittersweet to write this update, as it is the last one I’ll send before Phoebe and I return to South Africa on July 5th, without Margaret.  Alberto has actually already returned!  Our year of furlough has slipped through our fingers.

Gratitude sums up our year.  We are grateful for a year of reconnecting with so many of you in our church family, both at Park Street Church and the First Hispanic Baptist Church.  We have spent time with my parents in Weymouth, Alberto’s family in El Salvador, and my sister in Denver.  We are grateful for Ana and Frenchie’s wedding last December, and the opportunity it gave us to go to Hawaii!

We were able to get Phoebe a diabetic pump, and put her in an autism program in Charlestown High School through Boston Public Schools.  Alberto was able to work on our Quincy house, which continues to be rented to the same lovely Christian family.  I was able to take three classes towards the Masters I started at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary many years ago, leaving me one class shy of a Masters of Art in Christian Ministries.  My plan is to take that last class virtually in South Africa.

Another goal we had for this year was to provide a home base for our roaming children, and that, we certainly did!  I will share more about each one below.

The only thing we haven’t completed is our fundraising.  Currently, Park Street Church supports us $1,000/month.  Because we are Partner Missionaries ministering in a country with a Christian population, we are not eligible to be considered Full-Support missionaries by the church.  Thus, our need to fundraise for ourselves!  God has been faithful through the generosity of many of you, for which we are grateful.  But, our budget has increased since we left for South Africa almost nine years ago!  Please be in prayer about supporting us monthly through www.parkstreet.org/give.  We are listed in the drop-down box as “Missions: Paradas PM” (partner missionaries).  We are happy to answer any questions about our budget or fundraising, should you want to email me at joanna@paradas.org.

Talking about fundraising is always a touchy subject, and not my favorite thing to do, which is why we have left it to the end of our time.  The other thing we are trying to squeeze in before my departure is a collection of cleats for the soccer ministry Alberto is currently involved in on Saturday mornings in Cape Town.  There is a drop-off box in the church lobby, should you have extra cleats you want to donate!  Thank you!

Please join us in thanking God for this incredible year we have been able to have in the U.S.  It has allowed us to reconnect with friends and family, and helped us reflect on and prepare ourselves for ministry in South Africa.  Please continue to pray for us!

Happy 16th birthday, Phoebe!  You inspire me by your ability to bring out the best in people!

Please pray for opportunities for Phoebe in Cape Town.  At this point, I do not know of a school that could accommodate her.  I will continue to research this upon my return.  I will also reach out to the autism therapists that used to come to our house, and try to restart home therapies as well.  I am, at times, overwhelmed by Phoebe’s care needs, but need to remember that God has always opened doors and provided, and will continue to do so!

Our amazing Missionary Care Team who loves us, prays for us, hangs out with us, and celebrates life events with us (such as Phoebe’s birthday and Alberto’s departure).

Phoebe and I recently participated in another Waypoint Adventure.  This time we cycled along the Charles.  Waypoint supports people with disabilities as they actively explore outdoor activities, and have an amazing staff and group of committed volunteers!

I recently had the opportunity to speak at a Joni & Friends fundraiser.  It was an honor to share our story of how real Jesus has been to us in our challenges, and I pray that this ministry will continue to flourish and bless people around the world as it has blessed us.

Alberto flew back to South Africa recently.  He is readjusting well, and enjoying getting back into the rhythm of ministry, where he is being welcomed back with open arms.  One of the projects he wants to complete before Phoebe and I return is to revarnish the kitchen floor.

He had varicose vein removal surgery before leaving, and thankfully, everything healed nicely!

Margaret finished waitressing at Puttshack and flew across the world alone.  She stopped off in Istanbul and has spent the past week in Seoul, Korea.  Tomorrow she flies to Amsterdam to start her backpacking trek on the Eurorail, as she visits various friends she’s met over the years.  In September she hopes to attend Leeds Beckett University in the U.K. and study social psychology.  This is, of course, a huge change from her original ideas of studying in Cape Town, MassArt, or SCAD.

It will be hard for me to return to Cape Town without Margaret.  This is a new chapter of life as it will be just Alberto, Phoebe and me.

Isaac surprised me with a game at the Celtics on Mother’s Day!  This was my first-ever professional sports event!

Isaac is bouncing around the country, having been in Florida, Pennsylvania, Colorado (with us), Oregon, California, and now back to Massachusetts.  He’s a bit fuzzy on his next steps.  I am enjoying his company while he is here in Boston with me!

Ana just celebrated one year in Hawaii.  She and Frenchie have had lots of overseas invitations this year.  You can read her latest update here.

Prayer Points

* Fundraising
* Blessings as Alberto reenters prison and the soccer ministry
* Safe travels for Phoebe and me as we return to South Africa July 5th
* A school for Phoebe
* Guidance for me as I juggle Phoebe’s care and my desire to be more involved with YWAM
* Grace as we readjust to the electricity shortages in South Africa
* Safe travels in Europe for Margaret
* Safe travels in the U.S. for Isaac
* Guidance for Ana as she desires to develop a coffee house ministry

Our Mission

We proclaim the hope of Christ to the incarcerated through Hope Prison Ministry, on the soccer field to young men who are at-risk, and to the nations through Youth With A Mission (YWAM).  If you would like to come and see what God is doing, please join Park Street’s short-term team to Cape Town in August.


April 17, 2023

Happy spring!  What a joy to be in Boston at this time of year!  I have missed the energy, smells, and colors of this season!  All in all, it has been a fabulous year of furlough for us.  We have reconnected with many family and friends, and have had incredible opportunities to travel!  Pictured above is Alberto and his family in El Salvador.  It was their first time meeting Phoebe!  Whereas Alberto spent over two months there, Isaac, Margaret, Phoebe and I spent two weeks.  We had a few medical challenges: Phoebe’s diabetic pump needed to be replaced more than once, and Margaret is apparently allergic to cashew fruit.  Despite this, it was wonderful to be with family again.

Our second adventure of the year was a trip to Colorado to visit my sister (Denver) and ski (Aspen).  Thanks to the most generous gift of a friend, we were able to spend a few nights at his timeshare in Aspen.  What an incredible blessing!

Now we are back in Boston. I am not taking any classes this spring.  I only have one class left for my Masters of Arts in Christian Ministries at Gordon Conwell, which I can do remotely from Cape Town.

Speaking of, we have booked our return tickets!  Alberto flies back to Cape Town May 31, when our tenants’ lease expires.  I will fly out with Phoebe July 5, as I want her to finish the school year.  (I am delaying a bit since I love summer, and we will enter Cape Town in the winter.)

We are scrambling to see as many of you as we can while we are here!  If you are in the Boston area on Sunday April 23, please come hear us speak during the 8:30, 11:00 or 4:00 services at Park Street Church.  Receptions will take place after the 11:00 and 4:00 services, where we will share more pictures and stories!  Please come!

We have had a few opportunities to speak!  We presented to the missions committee, spoke at the Boston University pre-law fellowship, and shared with a Park Street small group.  If you would like to invite us to speak in your small group, please do!

I am also speaking at a Joni & Friends fundraiser next month.  I love their mission of sharing the hope of Jesus through suffering.  “Go out quickly…and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame…so that my house will be full.” (Luke 14:21, 23)  While we were in El Salvador, we visited a Joni & Friends house, and met the amazing Claudia, who, like Joni, is a quadriplegic, and uses her challenges to share the light of Jesus.

As far as our kids, Ana is currently in Nepal with Frenchie, who is speaking to DTS students at the YWAM base in Kathmandu.  You can read her latest newsletter here.

Isaac is enjoying the freedom of working remotely.  He is currently in Oregon, having already visited Florida, Pennsylvania, and Colorado.  California is next on the list.  He’ll return to Boston later this month.

Margaret is still working at Puttshack, and has bought her ticket to start her backpacking adventure!  She flies from Boston to Seoul, Korea early June, where she will meet up with a friend.  Although May 1 is quickly approaching, Margaret still has not made a decision about college next year.

At least Phoebe will remain with us!  We are squeezing in the last of her appointments at Children’s Hospital, and have given up on the ones that still have us on their wait-lists, almost a year after our arrival.

Please join us in thanking God for this incredible year we have been able to have in the U.S.  It has indeed been a great sabbatical as we reconnect with friends and family, and prepare ourselves for ministry ahead in South Africa.  Please continue to pray for us as we prepare to go back, and for God’s guidance and protection on us and our family.

Feb 13, 2023

Our most exciting news is that Ana and Frenchie were married on December 17 in Hawaii!  It was a beautiful wedding full of personal touches and God’s presence.  The venue was YWAM’s King’s Mansion in the hills overlooking the ocean.  We met Ana’s new community of YWAM friends and were reunited with many of her old friends who had traveled half-way around the world!  Pictured above you will see that Margaret was the maid of honor, and Isaac was a groomsman.  It was a very emotional day for all of us.  I had my share of tears of joy for Ana’s new life with Frenchie, but also sadness in realizing a chapter of her life has ended and my role in her life has now shifted.  All good, but still an important realization!

As I mentioned before, Ana and Frenchie are staff missionaries with YWAM in Kona.  Frenchie oversees the Messenger’s Track (the evangelism elective within the Fire and Fragrance Discipleship Training School), travels extensively to speak on evangelism at other bases, and works with the local Micronesian community to run a youth group among the Kosraean people.  He and Ana are actually taking a Messengers team to Mexico tomorrow to do street evangelism at Carnival in Mazatlán, the biggest carnival in Mexico.  Please pray for the people they speak to, that they will have ears to hear the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Alberto is having his share of adventures as well.  He is currently in El Salvador visiting his parents, sisters, and extended relatives.  Since his father turns 90 this year, it is important for Alberto to spend a significant amount of time there.  Isaac, Margaret, Phoebe and I will fly down later this month.  This will be Phoebe’s first time meeting her relatives in El Salvador.  I had been concerned about accessible medical care in the past, but now Phoebe’s diabetes is a bit easier to manage, and her diet is a bit more flexible.  She has outgrown her sensitivity to corn, which is the staple of the country.  Please pray for a blessed time for all of us!

As far as the rest of us, we have enjoyed being in Boston!  I really wanted to be here through the winter, as I have missed the snow.  Needless to say, the lack of snow is not ideal for me.  But, Margaret and I have been able to skate on Frog Pond, and Phoebe and I were able to cross-country ski in Weston. (Phoebe was pushed through an adaptive recreation program called Waypoint Adventure).

I have completed three classes at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary since arriving in Boston: Church History, Leadership in Urban Ministry, and most recently, Spiritual Formation (January term).  This past class offered me a retreat to seek the presence of God and to rest in His presence.  It was exactly what I needed for this time of furlough.  I am back to the craziness of life, but I am grateful for that special time.  Now I only need one more class for a MA of Arts in Christian Ministries.  (I have completed 15 of the 16 required classes.)  Since I am not currently taking classes, I can rejoin my old Bible study on Thursday mornings!  What a joy!

Isaac is no longer working for Patagonia, although we are grateful for all the discounted gear he got us!  Now he is working remotely as a developer for Summit Technology Group and finishing up a computer programming class.  He enjoyed attending Urbana’s student missions conference after Christmas.  He enjoys helping out with the youth group, when it doesn’t conflict with his gym schedule.

Margaret has applied to a few colleges near and far, so we are patiently waiting for responses.  She is still working at Puttshack in Seaport and is getting excited for her European backpacking trip, which will start sometime late spring or summer.

Phoebe is still happy to get on the bus every morning at 6:45 for Charlestown High School, and is home again by 2:15.  She has been very faithful in bringing home all the viruses circulating through the school.  On a more positive note, her diabetic pump is working well. I change it every three days. No more injections or finger pricks. I am currently researching long-term grants she may be eligible for. I can only do such things while Phoebe is at school, as her care is getting more demanding with time.

Again, thank you for your partnerships.  It has been a joy to reconnect with so many of you, and we look forward to continuing to do so through May or June, when we return to South Africa.  Please reach out to get together with us while we are here.

December 2022

After eight years of celebrating Christmas in the heat of summer, it is refreshing to be back in cold New England, surrounded by friends and family. I love the build-up of the Christmas season here, and have missed the communal celebration of Advent, hearing Christmas carols, and singing Christmas hymns. May the joy of the birth of Christ be with you all!

We want to thank you for your love and prayers, and for your support in our ministry in South Africa over these past eight years as we have endeavored to share the light of Christ with those around us, particularly in the prisons. Your concern for all our children, especially Phoebe, has touched our hearts and shown us what the body of Christ is capable of. May God bless you in all aspects of your lives!

This past year has been exciting and unsettling, as we readjust to life in the U.S., while simultaneously trying to keep a presence in Cape Town. I think we all have suffered from readjustment stress to some degree or another.

The most exciting news is that Ana is getting married on December 17 in Hawaii to Frenchie Gamero. Frenchie has been a staff missionary with YWAM Kona for the past seven years.  He and Ana share a passion for seeing youth transformed for Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. Frenchie is a dynamic international speaker, and also works with a local youth group.

Isaac moved into our Park Street Church apartment with us in August. He is working part time at Patagonia while taking a computer programming class, and is figuring out his next steps. He just signed up to attend the Urbana Conference after Christmas, which is a student missions conference sponsored by InterVarsity.

Margaret is working at Puttshack in Seaport. She is enjoying being part of a team of servers, and is saving her money for her future adventures. Please pray for her as she is trying to figure out her life with God, that she will hear His voice as she considers options.

Phoebe has adjusted well to Charlestown High School, after a rocky beginning bouncing between various schools. Charlestown seems to have the best services for her needs, so we are grateful. We are also grateful that Phoebe now has an insulin pump attached to her, which we replace every three days. This has made dosing insulin much easier.

I have been immersed in two classes at Gordon Conwell: Survey of Church History and Leadership in Urban Ministry. I had not expected the classes to be so time-consuming, so will be relieved when I pass in my last paper before boarding the plane for Hawaii Monday morning!

Alberto has been a great help to my parents in attending to fix-up projects at their house.  He had wanted to attend to our rented house in Quincy, but time has escaped us. However, he had the opportunity to visit Lowell prison last week.

Again, thank you for your partnerships.  It has been a joy to reconnect with so many of you, and we look forward to continuing to do so through the spring, when we return to South Africa.

If you would like to support our ministry in South Africa, please do so on the Park Street Church online giving forum: www.parkstreet.org/give.  We are listed in the drop-down box as “Missions: Parada PM” which means we are partner missionaries through the church, and receive only a portion of our support directly form the church.  The majority of our support comes through individual and families.  Or if you would like to support Ana and Frenchie, choose “Missions: Ana Parada” in the drop-down box.

May the joy of Christ’s birth bring you hope this Christmas season.

Alberto, Joanna, Ana (and Frenchie), Isaac, Margaret and Phoebe Parada

October 23, 2022

Alberto, Isaac, and Margaret are pictured above painting frames to be used at the upcoming Mission conference, which we will be finally able to participate in, in person!  The conference runs from Fri Nov 4- Sun Nov 13.  You can see the schedule here.  We will be doing the following:

  • Concert of Prayer and Praise for the World (Friday)
  • Kids’ Missions Program (first Sunday)
  • Noon Time Prayer session (one of the days)
  • Stories of the Kingdom (one of the evenings)
  • Missionary Panel and Seed Stories meals (second Sunday, all services)

The Missions conference has a special place in our hearts, clearly, as we want people to get excited about mission work here and abroad!  It is also at the missions conference that we met the Blisses 25 years ago, and through that relationship, God watered a seed that had been planted in my heart years earlier to serve in South Africa.

We feel settled in our downtown apartment, and, as of last Wednesday, are finally getting into a routine.  That’s because last Wednesday Phoebe started school!  It’s been a very bumpy start, with this being her third school assignment: Charlestown High School.  She’s currently in a classroom for kids with different medical diagnoses, as opposed to just autism.  The teacher has medical training, and there is a nurse assigned to Phoebe.  I have cell phone numbers for both teacher and nurse, and have been communicating with them throughout the day.  (Hopefully that will die down soon!)  The staff seems very capable, despite the fact that they have yet to hire a 1:1 aide for Phoebe.  (Her last aide did not want to commute to Charlestown.)  They have told me about some great extracurriculars Phoebe is eligible for, but first they need to do a complete evaluation of her to create a Boston Public Schools IEP (Individual Education Plan).  We are definitely on the road less traveled!   The good thing is that this school is a 15-minute bus drive, as opposed to 65-minute drive to Hyde Park.

One of our goals in coming to Boston was to get Phoebe a diabetic pump.  Next Monday is the day!  We have finally mastered the pen, which is the precursor to the pump.  We have had various appointments and video sessions, so we are quite far along the learning curve, but have not actually practiced on the real thing!  Please pray all goes well on Monday!  Her pump is an Omnipod 5, which is a tubeless insulin delivery system just slightly larger than her existing Dexcom sensor, which we will continue to use.

Another goal of mine was to study!  I am currently taking a class on Church History through Gordon Conwell Seminary and Leadership in Urban Ministry through CUME (Campus for Urban Ministerial Education), which is the urban branch of Gordon Conwell.  The church history class is a huge amount of information, but I find it fascinating to watch how the church has interacted with God and fellow people throughout time.  Overall, I am enjoying being a student again: learning, being part of a class, and working towards a degree.

Happy Fall!  One of the things I have missed about Boston is the beautiful change of seasons, particularly the fall.  It is a joy to be here as the colors change, and to go apple picking again!

I have also missed being close to our church brothers and sisters.  It is a blessing to be able to worship with so many of you, and to reconnect over coffee.  Please reach out to us if you want to get together, or if you would like us to share at your small group.

Part of our Missionary Care Team is pictured above.  They pray for us faithfully.  Please let me know if you would like to join our monthly gatherings.

Happy 19th birthday Margaret!  Margaret enjoyed a brief stint of working at Tatte Bakery and Cafe, but is now working at Puttshack in Seaport, where she enjoys the overstimulating environment, and has the opportunity to become a server.

Ana and Frenchie are excitedly planning their Dec 17 wedding in Kona, Hawaii, where they are both missionaries with YWAM.

We loved going to the All-Church Camp late August, although it seems like a distant memory at this time!  Our last Family Camp was in 2014, so they have definitely changed over the years.  We enjoyed connecting with old friends, and meeting new friends!

Happy 23rd birthday Isaac!  Isaac moved in with us at the end of August, much to my joy!  Having him with us is an extra blessing from God, which has redeemed all the pandemic time that we spent apart!  Isaac is in the process of applying for a job in the IT field.

We recently attended Isaac’s weight-lifting meet, and saw a culture I knew virtually nothing about!  He did great!

Naomi recently came to visit us from Switzerland.  As you may remember, we stopped off in Switzerland to visit Daniela Roth Nater on our way back from South Africa.  Naomi and Margaret have a special bond, as they have been friends since birth!

Prayer Requests

  • Park Street’s annual mission conference: to educate, challenge, and excite people about their role in the Great Commission
  • YWAM’s 30th anniversary celebration in Cape Town this week: that through their ministries, many more people will proclaim the name of Jesus
  • Phoebe: to adjust well to the pump and to her new school, and to get a good 1:1 aid
  • Ana and Frenchie’s wedding plans: for peace in the stress of organizing
  • Margaret’s gap year: to be spiritually, socially, and financially beneficial
  • Isaac’s job search: to be guided by God

August 23, 2022

We are now Boston residents!  I took the above picture of Boston Common from our living room window.  Needless to say, we are incredibly grateful to be living at Park Street Church.  Besides being able to be in church in less than two minutes, we are able to walk out the front door and instantly be part of the hustle and bustle of city life.  I love walking to do our errands, and strolling through the Common.  Well, “strolling” may be an exaggeration, as life continues its fast pace.

We landed in Boston at the end of June, and felt the usual sense of being overwhelmed by being home, surrounded by so many friends, and in a familiar culture!  I had gotten used to being the minority, used to the simpler life of fewer choices and less efficiency.  Walking into church the first Sunday is always an emotional experience for me, as the organ’s vibrations surely can be felt under my feet!  “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus” has got to be one of my favorite hymns!

We spent the first month with my parents in Weymouth, and scurried around at the usual appointments at Children’s Hospital.  The most important medical appointment was with the endocrinologist.  Phoebe was approved to use the insulin pump by insurance.  We are now using the insulin pen as a stepping stone, which, like the pump, necessitates that we use an app to count carbs and get the right insulin ratios.  Once we have adjusted to the app, she can begin with the pump.

The other important appointment we had was with Boston Public Schools.  We registered Phoebe easily last month, and last Friday she received her school placement: New Mission High School in Hyde Park.  She was placed there because of their autism program.  I have a list of questions for the school, so hopefully we can talk to them soon!  Meanwhile, I am doing lots of research.  (If anyone knows anything about this school, please let me know, as I hadn’t heard of it before.)

It hasn’t been all work though.  We attended  a missionary retreat in NH with other PSC missionaries.  Immediately after that we attended Family Camp with the Primera Iglesia Bautista de Washington DC.  This is the Spanish church that we belonged to before moving to Boston 25 years ago!

Another recent highlight was attending the Joni & Friends Family Retreat in NH, where we were surrounded by people who celebrated Phoebe.  This organization sees disability as a ministry, not only in terms of how you care for someone with a disability, but also as a way to see God and His heart in an alternative way, a way made possible only through the struggles of the disability.  Walking the path of disability is often very lonely, and Phoebe’s needs are my daily reality. To have this reality recognized and celebrated was very encouraging to me.

Reconnecting with friends and family is one of our goals for our time of furlough, so we are trying to take every opportunity to do that!  Later this week we head to Maine for Park Street Church’s camp, which I have been sad to miss for the last eight years.  I am thrilled we can go this year!

In terms of our furlough, I begin classes through Gordon Conwell and CUME next month, when Phoebe starts school.  Alberto is trying to do some work at Park Street Church, some work on our Quincy house, and visit his family in El Salvador.  We also have the joy of planning a trip to Hawaii in December for Ana’s wedding!

Ana and Frenchie got engaged recently, and are planning a December 17th wedding in Kona, Hawaii, where they both work as missionaries with YWAM.  We are thrilled to welcome Frenchie into the family, despite the fact that Hawaii is the absolute opposite end of the globe to South Africa.

Isaac will be moving in with us this week!  It is an unexpected blessing to have him with us in Boston, after having been separated from him for so many years.

We hope to see you soon.  Thank you for partnering with us!


Congratulations to Ana and Frenchie!  You can read more about their story in Ana’s latest update.  They also created a facebook page Frenchie and Ana- YWAM Kona.


Margaret has enjoyed reconnecting with various friends, like Sofi, pictured above in our old camping spot at Ponkapoag.

Margaret is now working at Tatte Bakery & Cafe near Berklee School of Music, which she is enjoying.  She is trying to earn as much money as she can, so that she can go backpacking in Europe.  Having a home base in Boston is ideal for her, and I am happy we are here.


Phoebe has loved all the attention she has been receiving.  Andrew, pictured above at the Spanish camp, is one of Phoebe’s favorites.  She hadn’t seen him in three years!

Naomi adored Phoebe at the Joni & Friends Family Camp last week.  You can read more about this amazing ministry here.  Joni and Friends is answering the call of Luke 14 to “Go out quickly…and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame…so that my house will be full.”  Since there are 1 billion people around the world living with disabilities, the need is great.


My sister Audrey and her two kids came to visit from Denver.


Prayer Requests

  • God’s blessing on the people and projects we have left behind in South Africa, including the halfway house in the planning stages with Hope Prison Ministry, the feeding outreach in the local township, and the upcoming discipleship training schools through YWAM,
  • A good teacher and classroom for Phoebe, and a helpful school nurse,
  • God’s guidance and blessing on Ana and Frenchie’s wedding planning,
  • Margaret’s gap year to be spiritually, socially and financially beneficial,
  • God’s guidance and blessing on Isaac’s time with us.

June 17, 2014

As I mentioned in the last update, we are coming to Boston for an extended furlough.  Since we have been with YWAM for more than seven years already, we are eligible for a 6-12 month furlough.  And since Margaret has graduated, we no longer have to rush back for an early August school start date.  Isaac will have more flexibility to see us, now he has graduated.  Triza, the lady who has been helping me with Phoebe at home, is returning to Malawi.  So, it seems like the right time to take a furlough.

We will be in Boston from July through the end of the year.  I am so excited to see you all, be in a familiar culture again, enjoy fall and winter, and celebrate Christmas in winter.

Specifically, these are some of our goals, in no particular order:

  • Reconnect with our church community.
  • Fundraise, as the budget we drafted nine years ago does not accommodate ongoing inflation.
  • Visit Alberto’s family in El Salvador, who have never met Phoebe.
  • Get Phoebe an insulin pump, which is the next step in diabetes management.  This pump will be attached to her body and administer insulin, and has been on our wish list for awhile now.  Phoebe’s endocrinologist at Boston Children’s Hospital requested we make a six-month commitment to being in the Boston area to receive support during our learning curve.
  • Put Phoebe in an autism program through the Boston Public School system.  I have been managing Phoebe’s education from home these last few years, and I am in need of more support.  I would like to learn new strategies and technologies that may help her.
  • Provide a home-base for Margaret as she figures out the details of her gap year.
  • Study.  I am five classes short of a Masters of Art in Urban Ministry at Gordon Conwell.  I would like to take some live classes at CUME, the urban branch of the seminary.
  • Do some manual labor on our Quincy house, which has been rented to the same family since we left Boston.
  • Rest.

We will be staying with my parents in Weymouth for the month of July, and at Park Street Church’s apartment from August through December (with the option of extending, should we need it).  Gratefully, we have found people to stay in our Cape Town house who will watch over the property and the pets.

Getting all the details ready for a big trip like this has been exceedingly stressful.  Adding to the stress was a very challenging and unexpected situation.  Last week we were harassed and threatened by Richard, the husband of Triza, the Malawian lady who helps me at home with Phoebe.  Richard decided that we owed Triza more than $1000 for sick leave that she never took. Legally, there are no cash pay-outs for sick leave.  But Richard was on a mission, and decided he was going to take me to court.

This was a complete slap in the face to us, since we have treated Triza with the utmost respect and a generous wage.  I sought legal advice, and was told that his claims were unlawful, that I should register a harassment complaint with the police, but be ready for a possible tough outcome since judges tend to favor the laborer, regardless of the law.

I reached out to our Missionary Care Team and asked them for prayer.  And then a miracle occurred!  Richard did seek legal advice, and was told to go home, as he had no case.  He came to me in repentance and explained his motive was out of fear, since Triza and their sons are moving back to Malawi soon, and he feels great financial pressure.  We were able to give him a gift, which is much more freeing than being forced to pay someone.

This whole situation was very unnerving, not because of the money, but because of the threat from someone we considered a friend.  I felt like I was trapped in a very unhealthy relationship.  We have since straightened things out with Richard (Triza never seemed involved one way or another) but our relationship will never be the same.  Knowing the law is flexible is also a very unnerving feeling, and gives me greater empathy for innocent people who are judged guilty by a corrupt system.

Alberto recently participated in a Restorative Justice conference and is pictured above speaking on forgiveness.  Since he is always telling me stories about the inmates, I thought I should be more intentional about sharing them with you:

“Xholani is so thankful to God for sending us to prison where he is doing his sentence.  His first language is Xhosa.  He is incarcerated for armed robbery.  He had no problems with drugs or alcohol.  Guns, women and money were his weak points.  Before the Restorative Justice conference, he was having a very challenging life filled with revengeful thoughts.  With the information he received at the conference, he gave himself the best chance of a new life by giving Jesus the opportunity to be his ally in his journey.”

Margaret, Phoebe and I flew out of Cape Town on Monday  (the same day Ana flew to Hawaii.)  One of the perks of living so far away from the US is lay-overs.  Frankfurt is a major lay-over city between Cape Town and Boston, and is not far from Zurich, Switzerland.  So, Margaret Phoebe and I are currently visiting Daniela Roth-Nater and her children in Switzerland!  I met Daniela 24 years ago when she was working in the missions office at Park Street Church. Naomi and Margaret have been friends their whole lives!

Coming to Switzerland has been a dream of mine since I was a child.  Spending time with Daniela is sweetness to my soul.  Being with such a good friend in a neutral environment is helping me process the stress of the past few weeks and allows me to rest before the busyness of our Boston trip begins.  We arrive in Boston June 27.

Meanwhile Alberto is finishing up more house projects.  He is a hero.  He will meet us in Boston July 1.

Last month, Isaac graduated from Messiah University with a degree in computer science and a minor in finance.  Ana and I attended the graduation, much to my joy!

It was wonderful to see Isaac, see his world, meet his friends and their families, and spend so much time with him.  I loved every minute!  Ana was present for the graduation, but left shortly thereafter for a missions conference in Kansas City.  My parents, sister, niece, and friend Rochelle Karakey came to the celebration as well.  What a happy reunion!

I assumed I would be worried about Phoebe, having never left her for that long of a period of time, but I was able to release her into Alberto and Margaret’s capable hands, and they did an excellent job!  Thank you to all of you who prayed for this trip.

Isaac is now working for Ambassadors Advisors in Lancaster, PA.  He and his college roommate are living in the basement of the roommate’s parents’ house.  Many of their college friends live in the area.

Equally as exciting is Margaret’s graduation from high school.  It was bittersweet for her to graduate, as many of her friends will leave Cape Town and not return.  On the flip side, Margaret is more than ready to embrace what lies ahead, as unknown as it may be.

Margaret is taking a gap year before college, though does not know exactly what she will do yet.  She will look more diligently for work when she gets to Boston later this month.  She is no longer considering a DTS through YWAM, despite the fact that I think she would love it, and God would use it to draw her closer to Him.  It is something I have released to God, knowing He is creative in His ways to connect with us.

Happy 15th birthday, Phoebe!  I continue to learn more about God, life, perseverance, joy and living in the moment, through Phoebe.  (She has two candles on the cake as she is still working on blowing them out!)

Daniela and Phoebe at the Rhine Falls on the Swiss/German border yesterday.

After spending a few months with us in Cape Town, Ana is now in Kona, Hawaii embarking on the next chapter of her life with YWAM and Frenchie, pictured above.  She is currently fundraising to work with the YWAM headquarters and a local indigenous youth group.  You can read her latest update here.

Payer Requests:

*Safe travels
*God’s guidance and blessing on our furlough time
*Ana’s fundraising and adaptation to the Kona base
*Isaac’s new work life
*Margaret’s gap year
*Phoebe’s pump and school placement
*Deon’s daughter was recently shot in a gang cross-fire, and is now suffering from PTSD.  (Deon and Deborah run the soup kitchen we support.)

April 27, 2022

Greetings to you all!  As we enter fall and temperatures start to drop, we are keenly aware of the needs of those in our surrounding communities who lack the basic necessities of food and warm clothing.  Our friends Dion and Deborah continue serving their community, pictured above, home-made meals three times a week.  Their motivation is to feed those in need, both physically and spiritually.  Their love for Christ burns bright in a community plagued by gangs and violence.  It is our privilege to be able to help sponsor this program.  I am reminded of how partnership works: some people have a dream, but lack the resources to make it happen.  Others have the resources, but not the opportunity to act.  Thank you for your indirect partnership with this program.

As you will see in the pictures below, my parents came to visit!  It was a wonderful time of reconnecting, and they were able to see our lives here.  Also, we are in the midst of praying about and planning a slightly longer furlough this summer.  Stay tuned for more details.

Pictured above are Dion and Deborah, resting after a busy morning of cooking and feeding their neighbors.  They live in a “Coloured” township and Afrikaans is their mother tongue.  South Africans, by and large, still live in racially segregated neighborhoods.

Ana turned 25 recently, and has just left for the U.S. She is visiting Frenchie’s family in Texas, and will attend “The Send” missions mobilization conference in Kansas City with him before joining me for Isaac’s graduation on May 7.

Although I am excited and grateful to be able to fly to PA to be at the graduation, I am also nervous about being so far away from Phoebe for a week.  Please pray for Alberto as he takes over Phoebe’s care, and for my travels!

Margaret graduates from high school May 27.  She is still planning on taking a gap year, and is still looking for a nanny position for the summer and fall.

I (Alberto) had the opportunity to get to know Silver, pictured above, in one of my most recent Restorative Justice programs. He shared with me how he ended up in prison: one evening as he was returning from work, one of his friends came running to him to give him the news. He said his brother was lying on the floor injured and needed help. Without delaying, Silver went to try to help his younger brother. As soon as he saw him, he realized that he had been hurt by two guys at the bar. He said he asked them in a polite way to let him help his brother. They refused, and started to attack him as well.  He felt he had no other choice than to defend himself, and in the process, he hurt the two guys. He was arrested and now is in prison. He is taking responsibility for the crime he committed, and says he wants to start his own construction business when he gets out. I also had the honor to pray with him to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior. To God be the glory.

Sometimes economic disparities seem so great that they paralyze us in our ability to relate to each other as human beings.  Yet it is the simple things, like freshly washed clothes, that we can all appreciate!


*Our new brother in Christ, Silver
*The official end of the COVID-induced State of Emergency.
*Family filling our house
*Ana’s opportunity to be in the U.S.
*My official acceptance back to Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary

Sheep heads for sale, in case you are making soup!

Prayer Requests

*Peace in Ukraine
*Silver’s dreams in a challenging future
*Soccer ministry
*Blessings on Margaret’s final stretch of high school, and guidance for her next steps
*My trip to PA next week and for stability of Phoebe’s glucose levels while I am away
*Logistics of figuring out how to come to Boston for an extended visit starting in July, and possible schooling for Phoebe
*Finding people to stay in our Cape Town house while we are away
*Resolution for an unexpectedly high medical bill we received for Phoebe’s lab work from the Children’s Hospital of Cape Town, not covered by insurance