Paraguay is one of nine countries in the South American division. The Seventh-day Adventist Church here is involved in a variety of mission work. From remote areas among Guarani tribes to large cities like the capital city of AsunciÓn. In Paraguay, as around the world, mission work among urban dwellers is gaining momentum as people continue to flock to the cities.
Pastor Carlos Parra is a missionary to Paraguay. He has brought a winning approach to city work here. His secret weapon has achieved unprecedented results, and made the impossible a reality.
He shares that, "Five years ago we arrived here in Paraguay for five years of mission service. I had prior experience working inside prisons so I asked the local leadership about this possibility. They told me about a large nearby prison where they were working. So I immediately went to see it. I was surprised to see the size of this prison with more than 4,000 inmates when it was only designed for maximum capacity of 2500 people. This is one of the poorest prisons in South America; I was shocked to see their situation.
As we began to study the Bible with some inmates, the conditions were terrible: it was a tiny room with poor ventilation and a bad atmosphere. So we began praying on a regular basis for a better place to worship. A year went by, until I met an influential entrepreneur inside this prison who decided to finance a church for the inmates. The plan was for an Adventist building and sanctuary, inside this prison.
"Mission Impossible" was first published as a Mission Spotlight video, and is printed here courtesy of Adventist Mission: www.adventistmission.org. “Your faithfulness in returning God's tithe and offering “promises” are making stories like this possible! Thank you!
Now the prisoners worship daily, beginning at 5:30 in the morning and consecrating themselves for the day. The Adventist prisoners study their Sabbath School lesson regularly with other inmates. They sing, and on Sabbath, they worship together with guests.
More than 70 percent of the prisoners in the Adventist building have been baptized. These prisoners invite others to study the Bible and receive true freedom—the kind of freedom that goes beyond prison walls. This jail that was once one of the most violent prisons in South America, is now changed. There are no more daily homicides committed here. But there are still great needs. Outside of this pavilion, many prisoners sleep on the floor and food is scarce. Adventist prisoners are praying for funds to establish a bread bakery so they can earn an income and provide food to help less fortunate inmates.
Miracles in Asunción!
Pastor Carlos encourages Adventist members with Bible promises. His secret weapons are hard work, prayer and faith, for “if you ask, you will receive.” Early on Sunday mornings, a group climbs to the steepest point of the city and they pray for the government, their city and salvation for the people of Asunción. There are still many challenges here. For one, the wealthy of this city hardly care to listen, and there is no Adventist presence in most affluent neighborhoods.
In an effort to speak to the wealthy class, Pastor Carlos’ group found a building they wanted to buy in the heart of one of the richest areas of Asunción. They began working in the community there. And every time they hosted an outreach event in this part of town, the youth stopped in front of the building they hoped to buy, raised their hands to heaven, and prayed. They claimed God’s promises and asked for this house. Again, a miracle happened in Asunción! The owner agreed to sell very affordably, and the Adventist church purchased in faith. Since then, an active center of influence offers classes, seminars, books, and true friendship, in this community. The local residents are responding positively. Because of this, the Adventist leadership is building a church in the back of the property. They are sure that God will continue to answer their prayers, and heaven will soon be filled, with the rich and the poor, the prisoner and free.
Please pray for the Nueva Sajonia center of influence and the Tacumbú prison work. There are many people who have not yet heard the good news of salvation!