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 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

July 28, 2015

Praise God for our house!  Thank you to all of you for your prayers and financial support which made this possible.  It is very exciting to finally unpack and start to feel settled.

South Africa is cold!  With temperatures just above freezing at night, and in the 50’s during the day, we are cold most of the time.  There is no heat, but we have a fireplace to huddle around.  Our house also has an indoor barbecue area, which is typical for Afrikaans homes in this area.  Now we can cook over the open fire when we are cold and when the power goes out (which renders our electric stove useless).

Along with working with boys in the community, Alberto has also started visiting a rehab center where men are recovering from their addictions to alcohol/drugs.  These men are very thirsty for answers in their lives, and are very receptive to hearing about God’s unfailing love and forgiveness.  Most of them have never had access to a Bible or stepped foot into a church.

Picture Captions:

Some neighbors came by with this cake! Afrikaans is the preferred language here, so the sooner we learn it the better! (Isaac, Margaret and I just finished our second term of Afrikaans!)

Isaac left for the U.S. for a month of camping at Camp Brookwoods, made possible through a generous scholarship! It was his first time traveling alone internationally.  He is pictured above in Boston.  He is coming back this week!

Cape of Good Hope, at the tip of South Africa, is where Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias first rounded the Cape in 1488, thereby opening trade with the Far East.  Many boats have crashed on the rocky coast and choppy waters.  Included in our picture is Lydia Bruce, who came from Boston to visit Ana!

We had an outdoor service at YWAM, to publicly declare God’s sovereignty over the base.  Dinner was also served. Potjie is a typical meal here, which is a stew cooked over the open fire in large cast-iron pots.

Phoebe’s favorite place is the kitchen. Here she is pictured helping make rice for the community outreach.

Some of the boys Alberto is befriending.

We met up with the Park Street Church short-term mission team, who came to spread God’s Word in the prisons. Andrew and Anne May were the hosts. It was a very cold night, but wonderful to see friends!

Prayer Requests/Praises

  • Praise God for His provision of housing.
  • Praise God for a good school break for the kids.
  • Pray for the boys Alberto is working with, that they can know the hope of Christ, and live lives of hope, despite their destitute circumstances.
  • Pray for the kids as they return to school and continue to adapt to a different style of eduction.
  • Pray for Ana who graduates later this year, and is considering many different options.
  • Pray for a muscle I pulled in my shoulder right before we moved. The timing was very inconvenient.

May 1, 2015

Thank you for all your prayers and emails concerning the robberies on the YWAM base. With 75% unemployment among young black South African men, thievery is far too common.  On a national scale, there has also been increased crime against foreigners pouring into South Africans from neighboring countries in search of employment.  Many lost their lives in the most recent xenophobic attacks.  Some say not much has changed since apartheid ended 21 years ago.  Race relations are tense, and inequality rampant.

We as Christians need to be an example to the rest of South Africa.  Here on the YWAM base, we represent 33 nations.  Just last night we had a worship time when people from each continent were asked to spontaneously worship God in their language and dance.  It was a beautiful sight to see the differing cultures worshipping the one true God!  I don’t know who were louder: the Africans or South Americans!

Alberto has finished his counseling course!  He is happy to be done with the classroom requirements.  These next two months will be spent in practical outreach.  His assignment this past week was to work with 10-14 year old Coloured boys in their neighborhood.  The boys live a bleak existence, and are actively recruited by the gangs.  Alberto has a heart for these kids, to see them stand strong for Jesus in an environment that will test them.  At this time, he is the only one working with the boys, as the rest of his (female) team is working with young girls.

Alberto and I just completed a marriage course, which strengthened our own marriage and gave us the tools to help others with theirs!

Ana celebrated her 18th birthday!  She graduates from high school in October.  She recently participated in her school’s beauty pageant.

Prayer

  • Join us in praying for the crisis in Nepal, and tense racial relations here in South Africa.
  • Please continue to pray for our housing.  The most recent house we applied for (there have been many) seems to be a real possibility!

Contacts

October 8, 2014

We have been here a month already, in a land more beautiful than I imagined, but so needy!  “God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.”  (Ps 9:18) He has heard their cry.

We are so excited to be with YWAM.  We are soaking in the Christian community and preparing ourselves to be launched into ministry next year.  Thank you to all of you who have made this possible.  Thank you to God for this opportunity!

Alberto has the privilege of taking the Bible Core Class which immerses him in the Word of God day and night.  Understanding the depth of God’s love for all people and His gracious plan for salvation is an overpowering realization.  Alberto is actually itching to get into the communities to pour himself into the at-risk young men and share this message of hope!  But for the time being, it is preparation time!

We happen to live right next door to Alberto’s teacher, who is a South African Colored lady.  Her husband is the liaison between YWAM and ministries targeting the Colored community, which also happens to be our target community.  Having them next door is a blessing, and something God has orchestrated.

We live in a community house on the YWAM base along with 12 other families. Each family has one or two bedrooms. 11 nations are represented. Such wealth of cultures shows me different sides of God’s character.  Our worship services are amazing, with the Nigerian drummers and Brazilian guitar players!  The kitchen is another exciting place.

We celebrated our first warm day with a barbecue (braii, as it is called here!)

Prayer Requests:

  • For God to draw us closer to Himself, and use us for His glory
  • Safety and protection against crime
  • Guidance about the kids’ grade assignments
  • A vehicle
  • Extra grace (and/or space) as we live in two rooms!

Ana and Isaac are attending the local public Worcester high school, and are adorned here in their new uniforms (minus Isaac’s tie!)  They are finishing up grade 11 and 9 respectively, and are taking Afrikaans!

Margaret is finishing up grade 5 at the Christian school.

Phoebe is as sweet as ever!

May 23, 2014

We are the Parada family, preparing to go to South Africa this August as missionaries with YWAM.  We are busily finishing up the school year, purging ourselves of all the things that we can live without, and getting our house ready to rent.

But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.” Psalm 9:18

We plan to work with poor and afflicted youth in South Africa.  They are close to God’s heart.  God has not forgotten them, and nor have we.  Their cry has been heard, and there is hope– the hope we have in Christ.

There are many lingering injustices in post-apartheid South Africa, and sometimes it is hard to see where God is.  God is there though, as is the church, the body of Christ.  We as the church need to use our voice and our hands.  “God bless Africa–guard our children, guide our leaders, and grant us peace” is a South African prayer.

In looking ahead to life in South Africa, we are finding many open doors.  YWAM will offer us housing, classes and ministry opportunities.  There are some good school options for the kids.  We have connected with doctors for Phoebe, and are even in email contact with her new Down syndrome doctor in Cape Town.

Please keep us in prayer these last few months as we prepare ourselves for the big move in August.  Please pray that all our finances will come in a timely manner.  God has been so faithful in rising up partners, for which we are grateful and humbled.  This has been an amazing testimony of God’s faithfulness as we depend on Him in every area of our lives. The stories we have of how God has met us at every single turn is truly a testimony and reminder of how He will provide for us when we submit ourselves to Him.

Phoebe

Thank you to all of you who expressed love and concern for Phoebe after her recent diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. The original proposed schedule of seven to ten shots a day has actually been reduced to two shots a day.  Phoebe is very patient with the blood draws from the tips of her fingers and the shots.  Her blood sugar levels are now stabilized, which means she does not have huge sugar swings affecting her energy levels. She has also put on a few pounds!

Video

This video (https://vimeo.com/91142031) allowed us to share our vision for South Africa in seven minutes. We showed it at Primera Iglesia Bautista de Washington.

Here is the link to a shorter three minute version: https://vimeo.com/m/93854896 which we showed at Park Street Church and First Presbyterian Church.

Fundraising Update

We reached our goal of 60% for ongoing expenses by May 1!  Praise God!  Our next goal is 75% by June 10.  Our one-time budget for moving us to South Africa is 78%.

Thank you to all of you for partnering with us in this area! Your role as senders is so valuable.  You are participating with us in fulfilling the Great Commission.

The Parada Kids

Ana just got her driver’s permit! She is also taking AP Spanish and Psychology exams. (Psych is today!)

Isaac is presently taking his final exams.  He enjoyed playing lacrosse this spring!  He made honor roll last period.

Margaret is swimming at the Y.  She has another month of school, which she is not happy about!

Phoebe lost her first tooth, and turns 7 next week!

Words from Alberto

Spring is here!  Again we can see God’s faithfulness in the return of longer days, beautiful flowers, singing birds, and aromatic cookouts.  It seems like we have all the ingredients to start over again.  Winter is behind us.  Through the renewal of the seasons, God reminds us that it is time to renew our minds. (Rms 12:2)

I know we all have a lot of challenges, but God wants us to equip ourselves with the mind of Christ.  Only then will we be able to speak to our problems with His authority and ride the wave of the Holy Spirit.  We will always have challenges and trials, but these let us know that it is time to get back to our first love.  God is always waiting for us with open arms.  (1 Pet 1:13)

How to Support the Parada Family

Please visit our website at paradas.org/giving for giving instructions through our church.

Isaac set up a GoFundMe account for people who prefer to not contribute through our church.  The link is here.

Church Sharing

We had a fantastic time in the DC area over Easter last month.  We reconnected with friends from the First Baptist Church of Washington DC (Primera Iglesia Bautista de Washington), many of whom we hadn’t seen since leaving DC 18 years ago!  We were honored to be able to share our South Africa vision during the Easter service.  We also saw Alberto’s two brothers, cousin, and some other friends.  It was a busy week on the road!

This past Sunday, we shared at our friend Jason Sentas’s church here in Quincy. First Presbyterian Church gave us a warm welcome, and our connections with the body of Christ have widened.

Prayer Requests

Please pray for us as we prepare to sell our vehicles and rent our house. We are also researching plane tickets, health insurance in South Africa, and a host of other details involved in an international move! You can only imagine!

YWAM

Youth With A Mission (YWAM) ministries target needy youth: orphans, street children, teenagers who have dropped out of school, youth affected by AIDS/HIV/TB, and children of broken families.

The goal is to empower young people through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Practically this is done through relationships and time, and through addressing some basic human needs.

We will spend our first year in Bible and counseling classes, and the following years in ministry to hurting youth.

Read more about YWAM’s ministries here.

Contact Us

Please contact us with any questions.

Our website is www.paradas.org.

March 19, 2014

We are the Parada family, preparing to go to South Africa this summer as missionaries with YWAM, which you can read about below.  We have worked with YWAM before, and love their passion for Jesus!

Cape Coloureds

Last update we wrote about our desire to work with youth who live in poverty and are affected by AIDS.  The plight of these kids breaks our hearts.  The race of many of these kids is “Coloured.”  The Coloured people could arguably be the most needy people in South Africa.

The Coloured community has descended from a mix of black Africans, Malaysians slaves, and white settlers.  Yet they have faced rejection from black, Asian and white groups in South Africa.  Because the Coloured community has an ancestry that is mixed, they have lost their individual ancestral heritages. They have adopted a language that is not their own, Afrikaans, which was equated with being the language of the oppressor.  Legally oppressed for so many years, these people have succumbed to alcoholism, crime and AIDS.  Yet God loves them fervently, and it is our desire to work with them.  

Fundraising

We are excited to announce that we have raised 60% of our outgoing expenses!  Thank you to all of you for partnering with us in this area! Our ongoing support levels are at 43%. Ongoing support covers our monthly expenses. Our goal is to reach 50% by April 1. Please pray about your involvement!

Isaiah 61:1-2

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God…

Youth With A Mission

Youth With A Mission (YWAM) ministries target needy youth: orphans, street children, teenagers who have dropped out of school, youth affected by AIDS/HIV/TB, and children of broken families. The goal is to empower young people through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Practically this is done through relationships and time, and through addressing some basic human needs. We will spend our first year in Bible and counseling classes, and the following years in ministry to hurting youth.

Prayer Requests

Please pray for us as we continue to fundraise, for full provision of our needs, for peace during the process, for our eyes not to stray from Jesus, and for all the details to get sorted out before we leave.

Praises

Alberto’s permanent residency document arrived in the mail! He also recently received a clean bill of health after an episode of headaches.

In Progress

The video has been filmed and is currently being edited.  I’ll share the link when it is ready! We have lots of small group meetings planned, and invitations from three churches. Please pray for us as we share with them!

Parada Kid News

Phoebe recently received her Bible at Park Street during the First grade Bible presentation.  National Down Syndrome Day is March 21.  Please join us in celebrating Phoebe’s life with Down syndrome. Please pray for her potty-training!

Isaac has started lacrosse at Boston Trinity Academy.  This is a new sport for him, and he is very excited!

Ana is enjoying homeschooling again.  Alberto and Ana have returned from El Salvador, where they visited Alberto’s extended family.  I am happy to have them home again!

Margaret is in the middle of MCAS testing, something completely new to all of us!

Jan 11, 2014

In the craziness of our preparations for South Africa, it is good to step back and remember how faithful God has been in our calling and preparations.  I enjoyed highlighting the kids last time, so thought I would now highlight Alberto and me.

Alberto

It is mysterious the way the Lord works.  At the time when I left El Salvador, I was running away from war.  As I look back, the Lord brought me to the U.S. to train me for a different type of war: spiritual warfare, the battle against the devil.  Through the blood of Christ, we have complete victory and power over the devil.  We need to put on the full armor of God talked about in Ephesians 6, and stand firm.  The Lord will use us.

Like Isaiah said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.”  (Is 61:1)

Paul says in II Timothy 1:7 “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me as a prisoner, but share with the sufferings of the gospel, according to the power of God.”

And now, as missionaries we know we are God’s infantry, and we have been called to deliver the Good News, in this occasion to the people of South Africa.  It is an honor to have served God up to this point.  We want to do it for the rest of our lives.

Thank you for joining us in our journey, and I hope that the Lord will soon meet whatever personal difficulty you may be going through, because we are praying for you as well.  When we pray to God, the solution to our problems is at the tip of our fingers.  The victory has already been won!

  Joanna

Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others is my motivation for missions and my joy!  I am touched that God is paving the way for us to serve Him and His people in South Africa.  Youth With A Mission is an agency we love and respect, and our whole family is eagerly anticipating our next steps.

Intentionally placing ourselves in a place of ministry forces us to depend on God’s provision in a whole new way, since we are raising our support.  Learning to trust God in this way has been humbling and exciting, and He is meeting us at every step.

  How You Can Help

Pray for our preparations and fundraising.

Invite us to your small group or host a chat in your home with your friends so that we can share. Contact us at joanna@paradas.org

Contribute on a monthly basis toward our ongoing support, or on a one-time basis towards our outgoing fund.  See our website for details: http://paradas.org/giving/