June 12, 2017

We are packing our bags and looking forward to our time back in the U.S.  We arrive June 18 (after a few day lay-over in Paris) and leave again July 27.  We will be staying with Joanna’s parents in South Weymouth.  We would love to see you, and thank you personally for your support!  Please contact us:

Home phone (781)337-1141

Cell phone (339)927-5867

Email joanna@paradas.org, or simply respond to this email

At the moment, this is our Sunday schedule:

July 2: Holy Nativity Church: morning.  Park Street Church: evening ministry update

July 9: PSC: morning ministry updates 

July 16: PSC: reception

July 23: Iglesia Bautista de Washington

On July 27 Margaret, Phoebe and Joanna return to South Africa, Isaac leaves for the Colombia mission trip through Park Street Church, and Alberto leaves for El Salvador to visit his family and attend YWAM’s annual conference in Costa Rica. 

Although we are sad that Ana is not coming with, we are excited that she is doing her own missions work. She is currently staffing the next DTS in Worcester.

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Happy 10th birthday to Phoebe!  She celebrated with a gf/cf carrot cake with her new friends at her preschool.

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Alberto and his prison team.  This is from Alberto:

I am so thankful to God for allowing me to co-work with Him here in South Africa.  I have been able to touch so many lives of at-risk young people in prison.  (The gangs recruit new prisoners, and make them their slaves.)  It is only now that I am here in South Africa that I can understand the calling He has placed on my life.  I am seeing the spirit of God working in the lives of the inmates.  They are welcoming me, and I really love working with them.

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Preschool kids in Worcester receive a box of books from the Holy Nativity Church.  Books and other basic resources are scarce in poorer communities.  This particular community suffers from gang violence.

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“Western Cape declared disaster area over drought” are our recent headlines.  Water consumption has been reduced to 100 liters per person/per day.  That’s about a third of a typical American’s consumption.  As the worst drought in 100 years continues, our dam looks more and more like a sand pit.  Given Africa’s history with drought, I just have no confidence that the government has a back-up plan.  Please pray for rain!

Praises

* Fruitful talks with prisoners

* A good end to the school year for Isaac and Margaret. Isaac had 5 AP exams and they’ve both had final exams.

Prayer Requests

Please pray for:

* Rain

* Ana’s training in Worcester as she embarks on staffing the next DTS

* Safe travels during our flights and lay-over in Paris

* Good visits with friends and family

* Church presentations 

* Phoebe’s appointments at Children’s Hospital

* Isaac’s college visits, work (selling ice-cream at Sprinkles), and upcoming fundraising for the Colombia mission-trip

* Wisdom for possible refinancing of our Quincy house

* Finances to cover all the added expenses

Financial Opportunity

If you would like to help us cover the additional expenses involved in our upcoming trip to the U.S., please make a donation to Park Street Church with our name in the memo. The online giving link is parkstreet.org/give.  

April 30, 2017

Hello dear friends.  Pictured above are Alberto with 3 guys from the prison.  (One guy is behind the other.)  These 3 men represent 3 different gangs.  It’s a miracle that they are sitting in the same room, never mind listening to the same talk about confessing sin. What a powerful testimony of God’s love!  (I had to add sunglasses to the guys, so you can’t recognize their true identity. Please don’t post or share.)

Alberto’s work consists of not only participating in Restorative Justice conferences, like the one pictured above, but also in daily visits to the younger prisoners (under 18’s) who are awaiting trail.  He and his teammate are persevering in creating an atmosphere of trust with the wounded boys by way of counseling and healing through the blood of Jesus. He also wants to begin visiting relatives of the prisoners, as they are a key component of the restoration process.

On a different note, we have exciting news!  We are coming back to the U.S. for a quick visit from June 18 – July 27.  (Ana, however, will stay in South Africa.)

The motive for our visit is to:

* reconnect with friends, family, and churches 

* share our ministry in more detail

* visit colleges that interest Isaac

* take Phoebe to Children’s Hospital to follow up with the Down syndrome program,  cardiology, and the diabetes center

* give Isaac the chance to work at Sprinkles again

* allow Isaac to prepare for and attend the Colombia youth mission trip with Park Street  Church

* check up on our Quincy house

We’ll be on a tight schedule, we are looking forward to it!  On July 27 Margaret, Phoebe and I return to South Africa, Isaac leaves for the Colombia mission trip, and Alberto leaves for El Salvador to visit his family. We will all be reunited in South Africa a few weeks later. 

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Ana celebrated her 20th birthday recently. She finished her DTS (Discipleship Training School) and outreach to Swaziland in February.  She is now planning to help staff the next school, which starts in June.  The format will be the same: 3 months of training and 3 months of outreach, except this time Ana will be on the leadership team. Her training starts in a few weeks.  Stay tuned for possible outreach locations in Africa.

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Isaac had an amazing time in Israel with Model United Nations.  He had 2 topics to debate: Regulating Crypto Currencies and Technological Inequalities.  He represented Singapore.  His team had a few days of touring Israel after the conference.

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We recently visited a safe house for babies abandoned at birth.  These babies will most likely be adopted, but remain in foster care until arrangements are made. (I can’t show you the sweet faces of the babies.)

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Phoebe is enjoying a home-based preschool in our neighborhood.

Praises

* A good visit with Jianna from Canada, who recently spent 3 weeks with us.

* The generosity of a someone who paid for one of the airline tickets, and our frequent flyer miles which are covering Alberto’s trip to El Salvador.

Prayer Requests

Please pray for:

* Rain: the drought continues.

* Integrity in the lives of politicians worldwide.

* Healing amongst the prisoners, their families, and their victims.

* Isaac’s 5 upcoming AP exams.

* Isaac and Margaret to finish the school year strong.  

* Phoebe to finish her term well. (Her academic year ends in December.) 

* Ana as she prepares to start training for the upcoming DTS.

* Grace as we plan our visit home.

* Finances to cover all the added expenses.

Financial Opportunity

If you would like to contribute, please make a donation to Park Street Church with our name in the memo. The online giving link is parkstreet.org/give.  

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Margaret showing off her new braces, while I celebrate another birthday!

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Pictures from home!  Sunday school classes from the Holy Nativity Church recently sent cards and pictures to the kids in a nursery school in Worcester. They also sent the profits of their bake sale.  Thank you HN church!  (I grew up in that church.)

February 17, 2017

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Pictured above is Ana’s DTS (Discipleship Training School). Students from various parts of the world gathered in Worcester to seek God during this five month program.  After three months of intensive classes and local outreach, the students scattered to various outreach locations further afield.  Ana went to Swaziland for two months where she worked with children, visited the sick in hospital, visited people in their homes, and even preached her first sermon! Through these experiences, Ana has grown in her love and understanding of God.  She has seen God work through her and around her, and thinks this is the most exciting thing in life.  We agree!  She wants to continue serving God all the days of her life! Amen!  What else could parents want?  We are very proud.  We are blessed. 

Because of this newfound passion, Ana has deferred her college admission to next year. (Last-minute decisions seem to run in the family, which causes me great stress!)  She decided last Friday that she would not start class this Monday, thereby just making the deadline in change of status. 

Ana has a few options this coming year, such as staffing a DTS and taking a Bible class through YWAM.  Please pray for clarity.

Pictures of Ana’s graduation from DTS last week, Swazi kids, and her DTS class.

Picture of Isaac and Margaret

Isaac and Margaret returned to school in the heat of the summer last month. Isaac started his second semester of 11th grade, while Margaret started second semester of 7th grade. 

Isaac is flying to Israel this weekend to represent his school in the Model UN conference. He is very excited about this opportunity, and will be able to tour Israel briefly after the conference with his delegation. 

On the flip side, Isaac feels a bit lonely at the school. He does not have a Christian friend and the social scene is a bit crazy. Please pray for a Christian friend, and that He would be a light to those around Him.  He is very diligent about reading his Bible every day, so knows God is using him and sharpening him through this experience.

Academic pressure is high for Isaac this semester.  He is looking at U.S. colleges on-line, which has its limitations.  Please pray for clarity for us all! 

Margaret loves her new school!  You may recall that she was awarded an unexpected scholarship recently.  She is much happier now, and is quickly adjusting to a different academic system. God has provided her with a friend who also attends our church.  I am relieved that she is finally happy, as we had exhausted most of the options. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness and provision.

Margaret has braces now!

Picture of Phoebe

Phoebe is also enjoying a new school. She attends a home-based nursery school in our neighborhood in the mornings.  There are 7 other kids, but Phoebe is the only special needs child. Her teacher and aid are working over time to make this a positive experience for her, which is more than I could have ever asked for.  What a blessing!

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Alberto has started working at the juvenile prison.  He met and befriended an older Coloured man who has been volunteering in the prisons for years.  This partnership is a gift from God, as the older man has a good cultural and linguistic understanding of the inmates. They study the Bible with the boys and discuss ways of managing anger.

Prisons are a scary place in South Africa, due to overcrowding and gangs. Through ministry moments, prisoners are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions and to ask forgiveness for their crimes.  Yet I also believe that society needs to confess the sin of not providing better opportunities for these young men.  Growing up with no opportunities is a breeding ground for crime.  Chances of prisoners staying clean once they are released is slim. That is why it is so imperative that Jesus be involved in this process.  Only He can change hearts and lives.  Only He gives hope.

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Rony and Alé visited us from the U.S. over Christmas!  We had a wonderful time with them.  We took them surfing, camping, and on a mini safari!

The drought continues.  Reservoir levels are down to 35% of their capacity. Severe water restrictions are in place, which means we recycle most of our water. Public taps have been turned off, and people are starting to wonder what will happen if we run out of water? God has blessed Africa with many things, but water is not one of them (at least not in this part). Please pray for rain!

Financial Gratitude

Thank you to all of your who made a special contribution to our ministry here in South Africa (and Swaziland). We were greatly encouraged by our December account, and have entered the new year in a much better situation. Thank you, again, for your generosity and partnership with us.

If you would still like to contribute, please make a donation to Park Street Church with our name in the memo. The online giving link is parkstreet.org/give.  

December 16, 2016

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Merry Christmas to you all as we celebrate the birth of our Savior!  Our days in South Africa are getting longer and hotter.  It is still a strange concept to celebrate Christmas in the summer, even though this is our 5th Christmas in the southern hemisphere as missionaries. 

Thank you for your prayers and emails.  It’s been a tough few months, but I believe we have made a positive turn in our adjustment.  We are feeling much better about being in Cape Town, and are starting to feel at home. Praise God!

Thank you also for your financial support.  We are keenly aware of the fact that we are here because of God and because of your support.  We are preparing to mail thank-you postcards to many of you, so please look out for them!

Our Barnabas (prayer) group is also helping us mail out 120 fundraising letters, as we are trying to increase our number of monthly donors, due to our increased cost of living in Cape Town. (See the letter here.  Donate at www.parkstreet.org/give.)  

Pictured above are camels at a farm not far from us.  We had to do something special for Thanksgiving, since I wasn’t cooking a turkey!

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Alberto’s class ended this week. “Children at Risk” has further broken his heart for children in difficult situations in this world. It has given him more tools to work with troubled youth. His final paper was on juveniles in prison, and explains how he plans to spearhead an outreach to them at the local prison.

This class completes Alberto’s required classes.  We plan to join staff with YWAM Cape Town (Muizenberg) in the new year. At that time, Alberto will be able to spend more time discipling a group of young men from the community.  He’ll also be able to participate in more Restorative Justice conferences in the prisons. These conferences (and the follow-up) teach the inmates about God’s forgiveness and their need for reconciliation with God and their victims.

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Graduation dinner!  Sitting at the table with us are a school staff member, fellow student, and the base director and his wife (who also have a child with Down syndrome). Six people, six different countries of origin!

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Ana is currently in Swaziland, where she just embarked on a 2-month outreach. She recently finished the lecture phase of her 3-month Discipleship Training School (DTS) in Worcester with YWAM.

Isaac finished his mid-term exams yesterday.  He has a full schedule with 4 AP’s (Physics, European History, English Language, and Spanish), 1 regular class (Pre-Calculus), 2 electives (IT and Model United Nations) and 1 homeschool class (Philosophy). Somehow he manages to still go to the gym and play rugby.  He recently attended a Model United Nations conference in Johannesburg, where he represented the U.S.

Margaret has had a tough time adjusting to Cape Town, as she misses her friends. Although the homeschooling has gone well academically, she has not made any new friends.  Because of this, we have accepted the American School’s recent (unsolicited) offer for her to start attending in January at a fraction of the cost. Margaret is thrilled, and we are in awe of God’s faithful provision.

Phoebe is receiving speech, physical and occupational therapy.  Once we started with one therapist, the doors opened for the other therapists.  We are also considering sending her to a neighborhood home-based preschool a few mornings a week. Lots of changes after substantial research!

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I recently attended a Thrive conference in Cape Town for North American women in ministry.  Pictured above are some fellow Wheaton alumni.  I had a wonderful time being refreshed in the Lord, and connecting with other women in ministry both here in Cape Town and throughout Africa, and the world!

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Phoebe joining us in prayer on the beach as we witness a baptism.

Financial Requests

If you would like to make a monthly contribution, increase your monthly contribution, or make a one-time donation, please make a donation to Park Street Church with our name in the memo. The online giving link is parkstreet.org/give.  

This move has been a steep step of faith, so please join us in praying for the necessary finances to enable us to do what we believe God is calling us to do.

We are very grateful to each of you who gives and prays for us. Thank you for your partnership. 

Prayer Requests

  • Health for Ana and her team in Swaziland, and for the Holy Spirit to touch people’s lives through their ministry.
  • God’s protection, blessing and guidance on what we do.
  • More donors to commit!
  • Protection for our new brothers in prison.
  • Wisdom to know how best to help the needy children we encounter daily.
  • Rain to relieve the drought! (Going into the dry season with a water deficit means there are strict water regulations.)

July 27, 2016

Surprise!  We have moved!  We now live in Cape Town, just over the mountain from Worcester.  (Pictured above are the movers.)  Days before he left for the U.S., Isaac decided that he wanted to stay in South Africa to finish school, instead of attending Boston Trinity Academy as planned.  I was overjoyed and immediately made arrangements for a new house to rent close to the school, for financial aid, and to transfer our spiritual and ministry umbrella from YWAM Worcester to YWAM Muizenberg (Cape Town).  And now, one month later, here we are unpacking in Cape Town!  The fact that everything fell into place so quickly is a reassuring blessing. 

YWAM Muizenberg is currently a short drive from us.  Interestingly enough, this was the base we originally applied to before coming to South Africa.  Because of their housing shortage, we were redirected to Worcester. YWAM Worcester and YWAM Muizenberg have a close relationship, due to their proximity of under 2 hours.  Next month YWAM Muizenberg is starting a class on “Children at Risk.” As Alberto has one more required class to take, this class will be perfect!

How does this impact Alberto’s ministry?  His prison work will remain unchanged, as he will continue visiting the prisons in Worcester, Paarl and Cape Town.  His work with the rehab center was turned over to a South African man, so the timing of Alberto’s departure was good.  His work with the boys will be impacted, but he plans to continue visiting them a few times a month. 

How does this affect the rest of the kids?  Ana will be attending university in Cape Town with the new academic year starting Jan 2017.  Student accommodation is hard to come by, so having our home nearby will be important.  Margaret will continue to homeschool, and is excited to be in a city again.  Phoebe will be closer to the Children’s Hospital and Down syndrome center, although she will have to start over with new therapists.  I am sure Cape Town has a fine selection of therapists though!

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Phoebe helps moving boxes

Happy 9th birthday to our princess!

Alberto is listening to the boys he works with.

“Braaing” with the boys (or having a cook-out!)

Last month we dropped Isaac at the airport.  He is currently working in Boston, but returns to South Africa Aug 3, in time for classes to start Aug 4.  He will be attending the American International School of Cape Town.  It is international in its diverse student body, but American in its curriculum.  This is a great combination for Isaac.  

Although we received a significant financial aid package, we still need people to help us cover the difference.

Margaret’s friend Jordyn (and her mom) visited us in South Africa after a short-term mission project.  Margaret then flew to Boston with them, and attended Camp Deer Run (at full scholarship) in NH.  She is now visiting friends and family, and will return to South Africa with Ana Sept 5.

The Saff family came to visit the Mays and us!  We have welcomed so many people this part year.  It has been a huge blessing!  Please know you are always welcome to visit! 

Ana and Isaac volunteered at Park Street’s Kidsweek last week.  Ana is still working as a nanny.  She returns with Margaret Sept 5.

Financial Request

If you would like to help contribute to Isaac’s tuition at the American School, or help with our increased living expenses (our rent has doubled), please make a donation to Park Street Church with our name in the memo.  The online giving link is parkstreet.org/give.  

This move has been a steep step of faith, so please join us in praying for the necessary finances to enable us to do what we believe God is calling us to do. We are very grateful to each of you who gives and prays for us. Thank you.

March 24, 2016

Pictured above is the stunning scenery of Cape Town and the Atlantic Ocean, taken by Alberto earlier this year on his hike up Table Mountain with Isaac and Philip, our visitor from the U.S..

As we observe the life of Christ on this Earth, we are reminded of what Jesus had to go through for you and me. We were captives in our own flesh.  Jesus took the punishment that we deserved, and paid the price through His blood.  What love the Father has for us!

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Is 53:5)

Pictures

Alberto and some of the guys from the addiction recovery program.  Many of these guys are searching for purpose and have given their lives to Christ.

Prisoners participating in a Restorative Justice program in a nearby jail.  This is Alberto’s second time participating in this liberating program.

Alberto and some of the boys from the community in which he works.

Alberto sharing his construction skills with the boys.

Meet the newest member of the family: Michi.  (Paraguayans use this word for “kitty.”)  We originally named her Ruby, but that hasn’t stuck!

Phoebe recently visited the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, where she was attended by a top-rated pediatric endocrinologist. Not only did this amazing doctor help me adjust Phoebe’s insulin routine for her Diabetes, but she also adjusted her thyroid dosage, which needed major adjustments.  We are grateful for this wise and caring doctor, and will continue under her care.    

We celebrated International Down Syndrome Day on March 21.

Kid Update

Ana has been working on university applications. She leaves for the U.S. April 12.  She will stay with my parents in Weymouth while she practices driving on the wrong side of the road!  She hopes to get her license in May.  Late May she will start nannying for some friends of ours, which is a complete answer to prayer. She returns to South Africa Sept 6 and will start university here in Jan 2017.

Isaac was re-accepted at BTA (Boston Trinity Academy) for his junior year for the fall of this year.  We are currently awaiting a revised financial aid package. He leaves South Africa for Boston in June, at which time he will get a summer job.  I am very sad to see him leave.  

Margaret is also excited to leave South Africa late June, with her friend Jordyn, who will be here on a short-term trip. Margaret will attend camp at Deer Run, NH before returning to South Africa with Ana on Sept 5. 

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for Brussels.
  • Pray for rain for South Africa. It has not rained in months.  Farmers are suffering.  We have drastic water restrictions and are paying 20% more for water.
  • Praise that Alberto’s South African id book arrived.  Now please pray that Isaac’s id would arrive, and Phoebe’s birth document. (We applied for it last year!) We need these for international travel.
  • Pray for safety for the kids as they travel to and from Boston.  Pray that their time in the U.S. will be a blessing to them, as they have really missed it! 
  • Please pray for me when the kids leave!  This will be my first time being away from them for so long.

February 1, 2016

Greetings from hot and dry South Africa, where the temperature is 104° today and going up to 106° tomorrow!  Yikes!  Despite being in the middle of summer, schools started on schedule two weeks ago. January is the first month of the school year here, so things are rather busy right now!  Isaac is still homeschooling grade 10, while Margaret just started homeschooling grade 6.  For the first time since she can remember, Ana is not studying!  

Margaret recently participated in Teen Movement, a two-week Christian camp at YWAM. Participants came from Brazil, Korea and South Africa!  They studied God’s Word for the first week while learning new dramas and songs. The second week they performed in the poor communities of Worcester and at the local hospice.  Their message is that there is hope in Jesus!

Thank you to all of you for your overwhelming support last month!  Your prayers and finances are sacrificial, we know.  May God pour His blessings upon you all!  Alberto can now start to look for a ministry vehicle.  The timing is great, since he has two more invitations to work with young men.  One is a post-prison program, while the second is a discipleship program for men ages 18-21.  Both are exciting opportunities!  Meanwhile, he is still working in the half-way house and with his younger boys.  It continues to be our desire to see young people empowered by the Holy Spirit when they come to a saving grace through the love and atonement of Jesus.

God bless you all in this new year!  Margaret is starting to memorize Psalm 91, which is a beautiful chapter on God’s love and faithfulness.  It is my prayer that we will all rest in the shadow of the Almighty this year.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
(Ps 91: 1-2, 14-16)

PHOTOS

We took our first family vacation since arriving in this country: three nights at the beach and two nights

Camping!  In the background are our damp sleeping bags, as it poured with rain our first night.  We actually camped in an area of South Africa where there is plenty of rainfall, unlike our area!

A Park Street Church reunion in South Africa!  Ashley Spencer-Smith lives in Cape Town now, while Devon and April McGettrick are visiting South Africa.

Our Barnabas group collaborated with Phoebe’s former Sunday School class at Park Street Church.  They sent us Christmas presents!

Our adopted family member Philip Christiansen, from Park Street Church, came to volunteer with YWAM for a couple of weeks!

Wild fires are far too close for comfort! Most of South Africa is experiencing a drought. Rainfall is scarce and wildfires are common.

Prayer Requests

  • Rain for South Africa.
  • Safety in all we do. 
  • Blessings on the new school year for Margaret and all South African kids.
  • Continued wisdom and guidance for Ana and Isaac as they plan their next steps educationally.
  • Absorbent brains for Alberto and Joanna as they learn Afrikaans.
  • The arrival of Alberto’s South African id book, whose release has been tied up.
  • Accreditation process of YWAM with South African officials.  This is an expensive and bureaucratic procedure.
  • Refugees pouring into Europe: a team from our base is leaving today to help YWAM Germany in their outreach to the refugees.

el 14 de diciembre

Feliz Navidad para todos.  Estamos acostumbrándonos a celebrar la Navidad en el verano. En espíritu de celebración, estamos preparándonos para ir a la playa por unos días. Esta sera nuestra primera vacación desde que llegamos aquí.  Ahora tenemos que celebrar.

Gracias a todos por su apoyo. Estamos enfáticamente seguros que estamos aquí primeramente por Dios, pero también por su apoyo.  Gracias por su fidelidad a la obra de Dios.

Nuestro grupo de oración en Boston nos ha ayudado también a distribuir ciento cincuenta cartas con la intención de recaudar fondos para cubrir algunas necesidades financieras. Queremos comprar un auto para transporte ministerial.  Al mismo tiempo queremos incrementar el número de donantes, ya que a veces algunos hermanos no pueden continuar donando. (Favor de usar este link www.parkstreet.org/give si quiere hacer una donación.)

¡Somos famosos! ¡No es para tanto! Aquí les enviamos un link de un video de cinco minutos.  Este video va a estar excibiendose en otros países de Africa como parte de una campaña para ofrecer esperanza al que esta atrapado.  Este enseña como el Señor le ayuda un joven a escaper del vicio de jueguitos de internet y su adición a la pornografía. Yo (Alberto) y Ana actuamos en este video.

Aquí esta el link para ver mas videos de JUCUM (Juventud Con Una Misión).  Los cuales contienen historias de problemas que han sido redimidos por Cristo.  También hay algunos videos cortos de programs o clases que ofrece Juventud Con Una Misión en al area de Worcester.

Fotos

  • En Worcester se realizó una campaña evangelista, llamada “Jesus el Sanador.”  Más de 1000 personas dieron sus vidas al Señor.  ¡Gloria a Dios!  Es posible que esta ha sido la campaña más grande desde que hubo un reavivamiento de la fé al final del siglo 18, durante el ministerio del gran predicador Holandés Andrew Murray.
  • Aquí son las fotos de algunos chicos con quienes estoy trabajando en discipulado. El nombre de esta comunidad es Vista Del Río.  Es una comunidad en la cual hay una fuerte presencia de pandillas y drogas.  Muchos chicos  son muy pobres, y las pandillas les ofrecen lo que las iglesias no pueden ofrecerles. Así que este es un area por la cual siento carga. Oren fuerte por estos chicos para que el Señor me de una formula para que vengan al Señor, poder enseñarles algún oficio, y como ayudarlos a que continuen con sus estudios.
  • Aquí estoy ofreciendo el mejor producto al mejor precio. Los chicos que más fuerte trabajaron memorizando la Biblia obtuvieron más crédito para comprar más cositas para ellos y sus familias.  Esta es una manera de animarles a memorizar la Escritura.
  • Construyendo un sitio de juego para una escuelita de kinder en una de los comunidades.
  • Margaret actuó el papel de la malvada suegra duende y la gata en la obra “Mezclado de Cuento de Hadas.”  Ana realizó el maquillaje de los personajes.
  • Febe tiene varias terapias cada semana, pero su favorita es montar a caballo (incluso que es la más barata.)

el 20 de noviembre

Bienvenidos al primer update de la familia Parada…en español!  Si conoce otros hermanos que quisieran recibir este update, déjenos saber. 

Somos misioneros con Juventud Con Una Misión en Sur Africa.  Nuestro llamado es discipular jóvenes en las comunidades más necesitadas.  Tenemos 4 hijos entre la edad de 8 y 18.

Ha sido un mes bastante ocupado por Ana a causa de los exámenes finales, el baile final, y la graduación.  Es increíble que nuestra nena se está graduando de una escuela en Sur Africa. Ella ha tenido la dicha de estudiar en tres continentes, sin mencionar los años que estudió en casa. Ha tenido una vida muy bendecida hasta esta fecha.  Estamos orando para que le vaya muy bien en los años que el Señor le de en esta tierra.  

Yo (Alberto) recientemente tuve la oportunidad de participar enseñando en una prisión cercana un curso llamado “Justicia Restaurativa.”  Este curso se enfoca en ayudar a restaurar el daño causado por el pecado. Brinda la oportunidad a los prisioneros a confesar sus crímenes primeramente con ellos mismos, y después con Dios, con sus familias, con sus víctimas, y finalmente con sus comunidades. Asumiendo responsabilidad por su acciones, los prisioneros pueden encontrar su libertad en Cristo y convertirse en agentes positivos cambiados, y así comenzar una nueva vida ejemplar en sus comunidades. 

Mi esposa tuvo la oportunidad de estar presente en el día final del curso.  Pudo ver cómo los prisioneros se encontraron con sus parientes (la mayoría eran madres).  Estos tuvieron la oportunidad de confesar sus crímenes en forma pública.  En la mayoría de los casos sus madres o parientes no sabían toda la información del porque sus hijos estaban tras las rejas.  Fue muy difícil para sus parientes escuchar sus confesiones criminales. Fue un proceso bastante delicado y muy emocional para todos presente.  Nosotros inclusive llevamos una pareja que tienen un hijo en la cárcel por 2 años.  

El enemigo ha construido sus altares de maldad en muchas de estas comunidades dónde el Señor nos ha traído.  El diablo ha envuelto a los jóvenes con sus mentiras y falsas promesas de poder y prestigio por medio del crimen organizado.  Pero más fuerte es la sangre de Cristo, que nos lava de todo pecado. Nosotros estamos aquí en obediencia a nuestro llamado, cubiertos totalmente con la sangre de Cristo que es el elemento esencial de guerra contra las mentiras del enemigo. 

Estoy tan agradecido al Señor, porque yo hubiese sido fácilmente uno de estos prisioneros.  Fue un honor haber podido ser parte de este curso que busca la reconciliación, la esperanza, y la vida eterna a todos aquellos que quieren escuchar la voz amorosa del Señor.  La presencia y poder de Dios esta bien activa en las prisiones.  Dios tiene el mismo mensaje para los que están en el bote tanto como para los que aún no han estado en prisión.  Jesus dice, “Yo he muerto por ustedes, y a través de mi sacrificio, tienen la oportunidad de ser como yo y ver mi gloria.”

Motivos de Oración

  • Para que los prisioneros en el program de Justicia Restaurativa puedan entender la profundidad del amor de Dios.
  • Exámenes finales de Ana y Margaret
  • Sabiduría para Ana en la manera que esta buscando la dirección de Dios para continuar su educación.
  • Consuelo para Margaret quién extraña mucho a sus amistades en los Estados Unidos.
  • Por un precio razonable para remover la pintura con plomo en nuestra casa en Massachusetts. 
  • Recaudación de fondos para un vehículo ministerial.

Links

November 20, 2015

It’s been a busy month with Ana’s matric ball, graduation and exams.  It’s hard to believe our baby is graduating…from a high school in South Africa!  She has attended schools in three continents, not to mention her homeschool years.  She has had a full and blessed life already.  We are eager to see how she will spend the years ahead of her.

Alberto recently spent a week doing a Restorative Justice program in a nearby prison, thanks to an invitation from Andrew May.  Restorative Justice seeks to begin to repair the collateral damage of sin by providing opportunities for prisoners to confess their crimes to themselves, God, their families, their victims, and their communities.  By taking responsibility for their actions, prisoners can be set free themselves, and can become positive agents of change in their communities.   

I (Joanna) had the opportunity to attend the final day of the conference and watched as some of the prisoners were met by family members (mostly mothers) and were given the opportunity to confess their crimes openly.  In most cases, the mothers did not know why their boys were in prison and had a hard time listening to their confessions.  It was a slow-going and highly emotional experience for all involved.  We actually transported one couple to see their son in prison, as they had not seen him since he was incarcerated two years earlier.  The pain was very real.  Satan has a foothold in many of these communities, as he offers the boys lies and empty promises of power and prestige through gangs and crime.  But the blood of Jesus is stronger, and washes away all sins (I Jn 1:7b). 

Below are Alberto’s thoughts on the experience: 

I am humbled because I easily could have been one of those prisoners.  God protected me in order to declare His news to those who are in prison.  It was an honor to be able to collaborate with Restoration Justice in bringing reconciliation, hope and eternal life to those who want to listen to His gentle voice.  God is very active in the prisons.  You can feel the power of His love.  God has the same message for those in prison as He has for those who have never been in prison: “I have died for you.  You have the chance to be an imitator of me and see my glory.”

Prayer Requests

  • The prisoners in the Restorative Justice program, that they would understand the depth of God’s love for them.
  • End of year exams for Ana and Margaret.
  • Wisdom for Ana’s next steps as she considers colleges, and guidance for Isaac’s and Margaret’s education.
  • Comfort for Margaret, who really misses her U.S. friends (although she has wonderful friends here.)
  • A reasonable quote to de-lead our house in Quincy. 
  • Finances to buy a ministry vehicle.

Links