The following is an update from Chris Hanak from her recent trip to Paraguay:
Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you so much for praying for my trip to Paraguay. I am more and more convinced that prayer is one of the keys to making God's work possible. It's a wonderful cycle: He gives us the desire to pray, He hears our prayers and acts, then we are filled with joy as we see what He has done!
As I read the goals I had for the trip to Paraguay, I have to laugh: almost nothing happened as I thought it would! But it was a very productive trip in terms of lives impacted by Focus on the Heart.
The first surprise when I arrived was to discover that the mother of Dario, AFCI's Paraguay National Director, had just died and that he and his family had gone to Argentina for the funeral.
The second surprise was that I was not going to be able to meet with the leaders for training because 2 of the 5 were totally tied up with serious illness in the family: Marilin's father was in one hospital dying of cancer and Estela's husband was in the cardiac hospital in desperate need of a procedure that cost $10,000. I was able to spend time with both of them and see once again how connecting with the Lord at our point of need opens our hearts to receive His peace and joy in spite of the circumstances.
Although I was not able to meet with the group, I was able to spend time praying with Emi and with the other members of the team, Angelica and Ana. I also accompanied Emi on her weekly FOH schedule, meeting with groups in 3 different parts of the city of Asuncion (Paraguay's capital city).
Sunday afternoons she and Angelica meet with a group of young women in crisis. The girls share, Emi and Angelica listen, and they all pray together. Emi and Angelica are seeing love and trust grow in the group as they listen and share FOH principles in the group. They are doing this because the Bishop asked them to: he has seen the results of FOH in churches across the denomination and sees how what we teach makes women's lives different as they understand more and more of what it means to live each moment with the Lord.
Tuesdays she leads an ABC1 group in the Puerta Abierta Church. The assistant pastor, Zuni, is Emi's helper in the group (she was one of my students several years ago when I taught ABC's in the Methodist Bible Institute). Zuni has been seeing changes in the way women relate to each other in the church as a result of the course.
Wednesdays Emi leads a group at Dario's church (Principe de Paz) where they are about to begin Heart Freedom 1. Because I was there, the ladies wanted to have a time of sharing how Titus 2 and ABC's had made a difference in their lives. The assistant leader, Sunilda, shared that for many years she believed the problems in her marriage were her husband's fault, but that, gradually, because of what she learned about defenses in ABC2, she realized that she, also, needed to change. She has let the Lord work in her heart and is now seeing the changes in her husband that she had longed to see. A young woman was attending the group for the first time and, after hearing the testimonies, asked if she could continue to come.
Fridays Emi leads a Titus 2 group at the Central Church (where I used to pastor). They were talking about godly speech. One of the older women was overwhelmed with the memory of 2 people she had cursed as a young person, who had both died right afterwards. The group prayed for her and she was able to receive God's forgiveness after so many years of feeling guilty.
On Saturday, I taught a 3.5 hour class on The Theology of Missions at the Bible Institute and a 1 hour class on Genesis 1 and 2. There are many young people preparing themselves for service in the church through the training offered there.
Thank you so much for your prayers for Focus on the Heart ministry!