One of the my favorite things throughout the trip has been the fact that we were blessed with three musicians who brought their instruments with them to Paraguay. Dominic Garner (backup vocalist and guitarist), Cameron Phillips (lead singer and guitarist), and Rueben Rodriguez (banjo player) played for the churches we visited each night; the boys sang originals from Center Worship’s Back to You album and it was truly a blessing. Every time they led worship the Holy Spirit’s presence met us immediately. It was truly an awesome thing to witness, and their music abilities never ceased to awe their audience. These guys are a perfect example of using your talents and abilities that God has blessed you with and utilizing them to bless others.
Sometimes things God has in store for your life are things you did not expect or even believe that you could do. About two weeks ago, the president of Four-Square in Paraguay, Pastor Hugo, and his wife purchased a school in a very nice part of Ascunción. They have decided to turn it into a christian private school ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade. The school is very nice with several class rooms, a computer room, a library, and a large courtyard. The pastors are still trying to figure out what God’s plan is for this school, but they know He will be their guide on this new, uncharted path.
Our entire team sat in one of the classrooms and prayed for Pastor Hugo and his wife this afternoon. As we sat in these small school desks, Pastor Joel told the story of Ananias of Damascus. Ananias was sent by God to restore the sight of Saul, but when God first told him to do so, Ananias was apprehensive; he knew all too well of what Saul did to those who followed Christ. But God told the man that Saul was a chosen vessel of his, and that He had a great calling on his life. So Ananias went, and did what he was told, and Saul became Paul-an amazing apostle. Once Pastor Joel finished the story, he turned to the pastors and told them that they are Ananias and the children that will come to their school are Saul. They listened to God’s voice, even though they were scared, and because they listened God will use them to lift the blindness from those who cannot see God in their lives. We as christians need to do this. Listen to God and do what He says, even when you don’t want to, and He will use you to do unimaginable things. Go out and do the Lord’s will. Be like Ananias.
Please keep Pastor Hugo in your prayers as he takes this leap of faith. I believe that this school will be a beacon of light for Paraguay. The children who go there will be educated and given a Christ-like influence. They our the next generation of Paraguay and they’re going to do amazing things in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Encouragement is something that every person needs in at least one aspect of their life. This is especially true in the body of Christ. It is super important that we lift each other up, and speak life into situations that seem dark and weary.
Our team went over to The World Base, which is a place where missionaries and pastors meet to get intense training regarding missions. After lunch (which was fantastic) we gathered with local pastors, who were having a meeting, in the courtyard. We sang a church original, Water My Soul, and then Pastor Joel ministered shortly to the pastors; the verse he focused on was Luke 1:37 which says, “For with God nothing is impossible.”
Every single person then began to give God thanks and life up the ministry of the Lord. The Holy Spirit filled the courtyard as we all prayed and sang praises; you could feel the confidence and power arise in the people as our praises grew louder. It is so good to know that the Holy Spirit is so easy to access, we just have to look and be willing to receive His presence; He is our helper, our main encourager, sent down as a gift from God. Make sure that you cherish His gift to us, and share it with others- everybody needs the encouragement that only God’s Spirit can provide.
Be Blessed. Heather Dios Bendiga. 👩🏼💻
The Next Generation
Reaching out to communities is key in missionary work. One group that is often forgotten about, however, is the youth. The younger generation can often be looked over in church (some places don’t even have youth groups), but this next generation is crucial to the growth of the church and the kingdom of God. If we don’t pour into our children, and young adults, how can we ever expect them to be leaders in the body of Christ?
So, yesterday our team spent most of our day doing just that. In the afternoon we split into two groups and met with children from the local Four Square church. Our time was devoted to teaching, singing, playing, and coloring with these children. Five children even accepted Christ into their hearts too (praise God)! That night, we split into two groups again and went to the church’s youth small groups. In these small groups we played games, sang worship songs, and shared our testimonies. It was a lot of fun and it was really great to build relationships with the those our age.
Once small groups were finished we went to the church for their youth group where Pastor Nate Gushwa preached about God’s plan and purpose for our lives. He shared that our purpose remains in Christ. Our calling is different from our purpose. And through our gifts and talents we can bring others to Christ. You will always have your purpose because you always need to strive to be more like Jesus. And your calling may change but God will always use you. Remember to use your gifts to glorify God and let him use you.
Be Blessed. Natasha y Heather Dios Bendiga. 💁🏼👩🏼💻
God’s Glorious Creation
Our Father is glorious and mighty, and His greatness is shown everyday, just take a look outside. Yesterday, instead of looking outside, we went over to Brazil to see a breathtaking part of God’s creation- Iguacu Waterfalls. These falls are MASSIVE (with waterfalls as high as 269 feet!) and are considered one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. Witnessing these in person is an experience unlike any other. The falls are so powerful you can hear them pounding far off in the distance.
As I stood in front of these falls with my team I couldn’t help but think about how amazing God is. A gorgeous rainbow was at the bottom of the falls, reminding us of His promise to mankind in Genesis 8. The Mighty Redeemer created these mighty falls, and I needed to give Him praise for it. He made this beautiful Earth with us in mind, He knew that in 2017 a group of people from Escondido would go to Brazil and take delight in the beauty of Iguacu, and I think that’s the greatest thing ever. God cares about you so much that He has created certain things with you in mind, so go out and enjoy them.
Be Blessed. Heather Dios Bendiga. 👩🏼💻
Spiritual warfare. As our evening plans to attend an evening service didn’t work out, we had another opportunity to minister in a matter of hours. The new church was about 45 minutes away from our hotel in Ciudad Del Este. We were driving on the high way and we witnessed a motor cycle quickly cut off a semi-truck. The back-end of our 15 passenger van was side-swiped as the semi swerved to avoid collision with the motorcyclist. It was an absolute miracle that nothing happened to us. We were hit in the back right on the back tire; the van is very top heavy and should have flipped over by the way we were hit. Thankfully, the car only wobbled a little and there was minimal damage (pictured above is the damage done to the van).
That experience was truly eye opening; God had his hand on us during that drive, as well as throughout the entire trip, and without His protection who knows what could have happened. It is so comforting to know that our Savior is there for us, always ready to protect us from harm, both spiritually and physically.
That night the presence of the Lord was incredible. We were able to minister and encourage the people of this church. We are grateful for the opportunity to be obedient, and know the enemy wants to steal the seed of God’s word.
Thank you to those of you who have been praying for our team, and please continue to do so, God truly listens. We believe there are angelic beings that watch over us. Their actions are initiated when God’s word is spoken. We give all credit to the lord and are thankful for the power of prayer.
Be Blessed. Natasha y Heather Dios Bendiga. 💁🏼👩🏼💻
Where Has God Seated You?
In just 3 hours God can use you to change a life. Monday, as we departed from Mexico City to Panamá City the team was desperate and seated. Maria was he only one sitting away from the group, sandwiched between two strangers. Nearby Moises was seated, he witnessed the start…the initial transaction to what took place. She noticed the woman next to her had a runny nose, her eyes were red, and she had a terrible cough. Maria asked the woman if she was sick, and the woman told her that she had this terrible cold for some time now. Maria offered the woman a cough drop, but the woman said it wouldn’t work because she had tried every kind of medicine already; but Maria insisted and said, “just try it.” So the woman accepted her cough drop, and Maria sat there quietly and decided to pray for the woman and asked God to heal her of her sickness. Soon enough the woman stopped coughing and her cold went away. The woman told Maria she wasn’t sick anymore and felt so much better! Maria turned to her and said, “Do you know what healed you.” And the woman replied, “It was the couch drop you gave me!” But Maria shook her head and said, “No, it was Jesus who healed you.” The woman had no idea who Jesus was and has a lot of questions, so they then talked for two hours all about Jesus from his birth to resurrection. How amazing is that!?! Not only was this woman completely healed but she was led to Lord too.
Be mindful. Don’t waist time
Isn’t it crazy how God can use you organically in the most unexpected times and situations. Praise God for this amazing miracle, and please keep Maria’s new friend, Daisy, in your prayers. There are so many people who need the lord but have not had access. Maria could have plugged in her headphones and zoned out but she decided to be obedient to the lord and the calling he has for us- which is to make disciples of all nations by sharing the love of Jesus. Because Maria said yes, Daisy has a new found hope and the belonging. She has been grafted into a family in who, the debt has been paid and the retirement plan settled.
Natasha y Heather
Dios Bendiga. 💁🏼👩🏼💻
Hey everybody, you’re looking at The Center’s 2017 Paraguay team! We all set out from the church at 7:00pm and headed to the Mexican boarder where we flew out of Tijuana. When the team arrived at the airport we ran into a little trouble- we were told over the phone by customer service that each person was allowed two checked bags, but once at the check-in counter we were told that only one bag was permitted. This was a bit stressful; several people had two bags- one full of their personal belongings and another filled with toys and gifts for the people down in Paraguay. Thankfully, our awesome team pulled together and managed to spread and stuff all of the things for Paraguay into our personal suitcases; then we paid extra so our band could take their instruments with them. Once that was all settled we went to our gate, got on our plane, and flew to Mexico City. A little more trouble popped up not too long ago as well- when we checked our bags we were supposed to receive our boarding passes for all of our flights, but we were only given one. Thankfully the super rad Denise Gushwa and Jordan Willet took care of everything and our team is all good to go ( praise the Lord for making things workout in our favor). Everybody is currently sitting by our gate in Mexico City, and our next flight is scheduled to leave at 10:16am and head to Panama City, where we will then travel to Asunción, Paraguay’s capital. Please pray that the rest of our travels run smoothly from here on out, and that we arrive safely in Paraguay with no problems. This group of people is absolutely awesome, and I am super excited to see what God is going to do through us during this amazing trip. God bless and talk to you guys soon!
Its Sunday, June 18 and we’re getting ready to begin our 2017 trip to Paraguay! Were stoked to see what God will do through us in one of our favorite nations.