So, hey roomie, that’s not my roomie anymore. Woke up today and didn’t get my “good morning katie” or “stop katie”. It was kind of disappointing. Miss all you girls already! We sat down for youth last night and Hno Carlos was like, it seems we are missing a few people. Everyone was like, yeah, duh 7 girls. Playing volleyball after with the radio on, and Our God comes on…everyone looks around with a depressed look on their face. Sad. But on another note, during testimonies Veronica testified how much better the youth group is doing now and how much more united it is…i know for a fact that all you and all the other girls had a major part in those changes!! Hope you all made it home safe!!
The last twenty four hours have been the hardest part of my life. I never knew that saying good bye could be so hard, it was so difficult to hold myself together. I can’t believe that these two months are come to a close, and knowing that I’m leaving 98% of my heart in Paraguay kills me. I’ll miss all my friends, and I’m sure I’ll be back very soon (God willing). I love every single one of you. You’ve each touched my heart in such a special way. If I miss a tag, I’m sorry, I’m still half asleep from staying awake all night
From Loretta Bir, Missionary in Paraguay…
(To Jim Poitras, Director)
Just wanted to thank you and those who decided to send Next Steps to Paraguay this year. It is an amazing program and we have been truly blessed in having these beautiful young ladies here. They are so talented, so willing to do anything, so dedicated to God, so friendly, and the list goes on. We were so blessed to have Jeremy Durand and Katie Higgins to accompany these girls in all activities and planning. We just let them go and experience the work and the culture. During their last service in Lambare, Bro. Joey had them all talk about their time here and he translated for them. It was definitely a true messing of two cultures, a bonding of brothers and sisters, if I could say, a little bit of what heaven could be like, where we are friends and companions, worshippers of God, doing what we are called to do. Of course in heaven, there will be no language barriers, but during these two months, two sets of youth surpassed that problem and bonded. It was amazing to watch.
This group visited 13 of our churches, 5 evangelism efforts, ministered with skits, songs, puppets, etc to around 450 children in various childrens’ ministries, traveled 1700+ kilometers, with 30 filled with the Holy Ghost and 10 baptisms in water. They participated in our Youth Conference and various activities at New Heights Christian School. Also in our church in Encarnacion, two first time visitors from a Baptist youth group, received the Holy Ghost and one of the girls was miraculously healed of epilepsy, from a lesion in the brain. She felt in prayer, a huge burning in her head and she was screaming, but God was healing her. She went to the doctor and the lesion was gone. More important than the numbers, are the lives that were change, attitudes that were changed, and the bonding.
The girls enjoyed trips to the Iguassu Falls in Brazil, the Jesuit Ruins (2 different sites), the market place, the Expo 2013, the zoo and park, and also visited the highest point of Lambare (Cerro Lambare) among trips downtown and different places to eat. They learned to get on the city transport and move around at will, many times with a young person or two from the central church. They broke through the language barrier by playing countless volleyball games and their own little games they shared with the Paraguayans. They just had fun, lots of laughs, and hugs. And they prayed for their newfound friends at the altar. They sang with all their hearts, they worshipped with all their hearts, testified and spoke with all their hearts, and they prayed.
As you know, the division that we experienced earlier in the year, hurt our youth in Lambare. It caused separations of family and friends. But the seven princesses that God sent to Paraguay (as you refer to them), brought healing and unity. There is no price tag for this Bro. Poitras. It brought love, unity, and burden. It brought vision to some, renewals to others, not only to our Paraguayans but I do believe to the participants of Next Steps as well. It has been an amazing two months.