Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Weighed down by an anxious heart, cheered up by what he heard

 Dear Friends and Family:

“D.” sat a distance, with a long face, and participated very little in a recent children’s time that Margarita and I organized at an Ava Guaraní and Mbya Guaraní community. After the activity, D. and a group of boys told us they wanted to hear Ñandejara´s (“our Lord’s”) voice. We turned on our audio Bible for them. “That´s Him! That´s Ñandejara talking!” the boys said excitedly. As they listened attentively to three chapters from the Gospel of Mark, we noticed D.´s semblance change. He started interacting with others and remained at our side for the rest of our visit. He had been weighed down by an anxious heart, but the words he heard cheered him up.    


We celebrated Margarita's birthday this month.

The audio Bible in Guaraní is our most valuable ministry tool. We use it for discipleships with Ava Guaraní chiefs at two different communities and with “R.,” a new Ava Christ-follower, who has started to help with outreach activities. We also use it at the Ava community where your support helped build two gardens. Most of the ten or so people who gather there to hear the Scriptures each week decided to follow Jesus this year, and at least one of them plans to be baptized in December. Give thanks to God for working in the urban Ava and Mbya communities. Pray for a new gathering at a house near two communities where the Ava and Mbya are prohibited from meeting to hear the Scriptures.


The quarantine in Paraguay has officially ended and we have resumed our visits, which consist in food preparation, Bible studies for youth and adults, games and Bible stories for children, and an educational activity like adult literacy or tutoring. In some communities we teach multiple Bible studies due to internal divisions. It’s enough work for five people, but, until recently, it was just Margarita and me.  We are thankful for the local pastors, recent college grads, new Ava believers, and an emerging Mbya worship leader who started joining us on our visits. Please pray for the development of a ministry team.

Ana, Gabrielli and Antoine were bored during the quarantine, but now are excited to go out.


Moreover, the quarantine left the Paraguayan postal system in disarray. Until further notice, please mail any letters or packages to our new U.S. address (see below), from where they will be sent to us by a more dependable means.

“E.” briefly sits down with us each week to teach a part of the Mbya creation story. Last week, when it was our turn to share, we listened to Genesis 1 on an audio Bible in the Mbya Guaraní dialect with him. He remained seated and hung onto every word, occasionally remarking, “That´s right! That´s how it happened!” He was noticeably moved and then began to recall a season in his youth when he attended a church. He misses the music. He misses the love he felt in that spiritual family. We give thanks that many Mbya Guaraní and Ava Guaraní listen to Ovecha Rerekua´s (“True Shepherds´s”) voice. Pray that they—along with people from every tribe—will follow Him.  


Yours Truly,


Tim, Margarita, Ana, Antoine and Gabrielli


Discussing the Scriptures



Monday, September 28, 2020

Who shines forever without change or shadow

Dear Family and Friends:

Ana woke up in the middle of the night to her younger brother, Antoine, coming into her room and saying that he couldn’t sleep. Ana prayed with him and had him lay back down. Right after he fell asleep, their younger sister, Gabrielli, started crying, and Ana laid down with her. Moments later, Ana heard her grandmother coughing in the other room. She placed a Minnie Mouse doll next to her sister, who had fallen back to sleep, and brought anti-allergy medicine to her grandmother. The next morning, when Margarita and I realized what Ana (who was quite tired) did for her family, we asked her why she didn’t wake us up. She told us that she wanted us to sleep. We give thanks for Ana, who turned 9 last month! 

In addition to Ana’s birthday, Margarita and I recently celebrated our 10th anniversary.

Margarita and I also give thanks for our health, but continue to request your prayers. As COVID-19 cases in Paraguay climb, we are decreasing our time in the Ava Guaraní and Mbya Guaraní communities. We make regular, brief visits to three communities to serve food. In two other communities we still teach small Bible studies and an adult literacy class. We postponed the Bible study in the Zeballos Cue Ava community, but make occasional visits to help with a community garden, which is possible because of support from you and our co-workers. We give thanks that three families from Zeballos Cue now regularly attend our nearby partner church. Ask God to protect and to continue impacting the Ava and Mbya communities around Asunción.

Pastor Alberto discusses the community garden with a Zeballos Cue leader.

Please pray for two young Ava men we help disciple. “C.” leads a Bible study in his community in our absence, and “J.” is planting a church in a rural Ava community. Likewise, pray for a former New Horizon School student as well as leaders from a local church who are considering devoting more time to serve with us after the quarantine.

Margarita teaches Bible stories to the Mbya and Ava children each week. 

Last week, 200 Ava and Mbya men, women and children found themselves in a tense situation after the generator that pumps water for their well died. When they notified us, we prayed and shared the news with our co-workers. The next day, local businesses made a donation to cover the generator’s repair. Then, a Christian foundation provided funds for this community to receive a solar energy system for their well. Give thanks for this gift, but pray that this community--as well as people everywhere--recognize that every good gift comes to us from the Creator of all light, who shines forever without change or shadow.

Yours truly,

Tim, Margarita, Ana, Antoine and Gabrielli




Friday, August 21, 2020

From an Unpleasant Experience to Surpassing Peace

Dear Family and Friends:

In May, after passing out food in the Zeballos Cue Ava Guaraní community, a group of angry women blocked our exit, yelling and pounding on our car hood (read the story at: www.tmrevett.blogspot.com/2020/05/deliverance-in-times-of-desperation.html). In July, the “ringleader” of that group opened her house for Pastor Alberto and me to gather the community to listen to and discuss the Gospel of Mark in Guaraní. Last Sunday, she and many others from the community attended the service at Pastor Alberto´s church for the first time. Give thanks to God for inviting people to come to Him, and ask Him to impact lives in Zeballos Cue.

Your support enabled us to get materials to make blankets with the Ava women for the community´s children (just in time for Paraguay’s “worst cold front in 27 years.”)

Mid-August is one of the busiest times of the year for Margarita and me as we organize Children´s Day (August 16th) events in the Mbya and Ava Guaraní communities around Asunción. This year we organized three events and in each event we had plenty of volunteer help. Since mobilizing Paraguayan churches and Christ-followers to engage the Mbya and Ava is one of our main ministry goals, we thank God for calling others to join us. We also give thanks for the lives of a former student, Sany, and a member of our youth group, Daniel, who are helping us in our outreach activities.

Margarita and I shared with the children about Jesus´ gift of abundant life.

We additionally give thanks for our family´s health, but please keep us as well as the people of Paraguay in your prayers.  Our children rarely leave the house. Antoine started taking drum lessons. While Gabrielli shows interest in her brother’s hobby, Ana finds it annoying.

The financial crisis caused by COVID-19 created a sense of desperation in urban Native communities like Zeballos Cue, as evidenced by our unpleasant experience there in May.  Since most of the community began gathering to listen to the Scriptures last month, they’ve commented about a comforting sense of God´s presence with them.  Moreover, during last week´s gathering, six people prayed to place their trust in Jesus, through whom everyone can experience the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Sincerely,

Tim, Margarita, Ana, Antoine and Gabrielli

Season 4 of Netflix´s “Inside the World´s Toughest Prisons” will give you a glimpse of life in Tacumbú, which you prayed for and donated bibles to when I used to serve in ministry there.



Friday, July 24, 2020

He said they have the remedy

Dear Family and Friends:

When “O.,” the young Mbya Guaraní man you prayed for last month, found out that his co-worker tested positive for COVID-19, I urged him to get tested and stay at home. He told me that it wasn’t necessary because the Mbya have a remedy. “O.” notified the community shaman, who responded by performing a daily ritual that involved blowing smoke on him to guard him from the spirits of the sickness.  Please pray for protection for the Native tribes as last week eight members of a community in northern Paraguay tested positive for the virus.

A new Bible study in Guarani with three young Ava men who want to serve in ministry.
Likewise, pray for protection and wisdom for Margarita, me and our ministry colleagues. Along with the gradual increase of COVID-19 cases, we are seeing unprecedented biblical interest in the Native communities around Asuncion. We started four new Bible studies in Guarani. Another recent breakthrough is the development of a ministry team consisting of a young Ava man, "C.," who wants to teach the Bible, and a young Mbya man, "E.," who wants to sing Guarani hymns. Our house becomes something like a seminary once a week when they come over to study the New Testament and take guitar lessons with a young worship leader. Ask God to work through “E.” and “C.,” and keep “C.” in your prayers as he re-starts teaching adult literacy classes in his community. Also, pray for me as I fill in for United World Mission's South America Regional Leader through September.   

Margarita and I sent out a flash prayer request through social media two weeks ago when our car got stuck in mud after delivering food to the Villeta Ava-Mbya community. Thanks to the neighbors who placed boards beneath our tires for traction and the group of Native men who pushed the car while I accelerated, we managed to get out. Give thanks to God for providing help in difficult moments.

Margarita made blankets with the women of the Villeta community and used the colored tassels to share about new life in Jesus.
After praying about how to respond to “O.’s” insistence on his tribe’s immunity to COVID-19, I acknowledged the shaman's authority in his community and his tribe’s traditional use of smoke rituals. I pointed out that since this is a new virus that comes from non-Natives, he should not ignore non-Native medical advice. I also encouraged him that while he stays at home to go into his room and pray to the Maker of heaven and earth, in whose name we find help. He recently told me that he started doing this. Please continue to pray for "O." and the Mbya Guarani.

Yours truly,

Tim, Margarita, Ana, Antoine and Gabrielli

Ana and Antoine started the school year with online classes

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Immeasurably more than they asked or imagined

Dear Friends and Family:

Shortly after the Paraguayan government initially ordered people to not go to work in March, the approximately 70 men, women and children of the Yvapovondy Ava Guaraní community found themselves without food. Your support enabled Margarita and me to gather provisions to cover them for a couple of weeks; however, they were concerned about how they were going to make it through the quarantine. The participants of the community’s house church asked God for help, and He responded immeasurably more than they imagined. Although there are still relatively few COVID-19 cases and the quarantine is being phased out, please pray for Paraguay's protection.
Your support helps provide three weekly meals to children in Zeballos Cue (pictured here waiting in a socially-distanced line at the church).
Last month we wrote about the Zeballos Cue Ava community, which was in a similar, desperate situation. We have since teamed up with the nearby “Jesús Mi Salvador” Baptist Church to provide three lunches a week not only for all of the Ava children, but also for the neighboring shantytown. Interestingly enough, this is one of at least six new partnerships with local churches that have emerged during this difficult season. We’re additionally starting Bible studies with Ava and Mbya groups in three different locations, including Zeballos Cue. Ask God to work through these Bible studies to impact the urban Ava and Mbya communities. Also, pray for a young Mbya man named “O.” who is seeking to know his Creator.

Since Margarita and I began engaging urban Mbya and Ava communities in 2017, I have not regularly visited any of the prisons where I previously taught Bible studies. I recently ran into three former inmates with whom I worked, and I keep in touch with one inmate leader. Give thanks that they are living out their changed lives as well as are serving in ministry.  Moreover, last month’s issue of Social Sciences and Missions featured an article I wrote about one of the prisons. You can find it at https://brill.com/view/journals/ssm/33/1-2/ssm.33.issue-1-2.xml.
We passed out Bibles in Guarani after the meal in the Villeta Mbya-Ava community.
After the Yvapovondy house church asked God for help, they’ve continuously received enough food donations from different sources to fill two storehouses and their own personal pantries. They decided to donate the food our ministry designated for them it to the Villeta Native community, where, in our last few visits, we've witnessed at least six people place their faith in Jesus. One couple from Yvapovondy now joins us on our weekly visits to Villeta to help us serve a meal and share devotionals. Yvapovondy’s story teaches us that God truly opens the door to those who knock.

Yours truly,
Tim, Margarita, Ana, Antoine and Gabrielli Revett
Ana is now a 4th grader!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Deliverance in Desperate Times

Your support touches the physical and spiritual needs of this Ava Guarani family as well as many others during this difficult season.

Dear Friends and Family:

Paraguay’s stay-at-home order in response to COVID-19 keeps the rate of infection down; however, since people can't go to work, they can't buy food, and many families find themselves in desperate situations. Pastor Alberto, Margarita and I dropped off food at the "Zeballos Cue" Ava Guaraní community and then meandered toward the exit through the sprawling squatters’ village that sits between the community and the main road. Suddenly, a line of angry women blocked our way and began to yell and pound on our car hood. We feared they would forcibly remove the remaining provisions that were destined for another Native community that was in dire need of food. While continuing to pray for an end to the pandemic, pray also for people to find peace in this turbulent season.

Our ministry received permission to distribute food during the quarantine. Last month I took advantage of that permission to go with a colleague and an Ava Christian to the new "Villeta" Ava and Mbya Guaraní community. They, too, were experiencing a food shortage, so we delivered provisions along with a gospel message in the Guaraní language, assuring them of God’s presence in this difficult time. At least four people prayed to trust in Jesus, and they invited us to return to share from the Bible. We thank God for their receptivity. Pray that he calls someone—perhaps the Ava brother who accompanied us—to visit them on a regular basis.

Margarita shared the story of Noemi and Ruth with these Ava mothers.
There are at least three families at the "Piraju" Ava-Mbya community who gather with us each Monday to hear from the Bible after a community lunch is served. As soon as the domestic travel restriction is lifted, a Mbya evangelist plans to visit this community and we believe God will make a great impact through him. Pray for the formation of a congregation in this community.  Also, give thanks to God for stirring up interest in biblical counsel in another Mbya community that is normally closed-off to ministry efforts.

Before I could stop her, Margarita quickly stepped into the middle of the group of angry, hungry mothers battling for the provisions in our car. She calmly listened to the desperation they felt and conversed with them in eloquent “jopara” (a commonly-spoken Spanish-Guaraní mix). In our next update, I will share about how your support along with Pastor Alberto’s church are sharing Jesus’ peace to the squatters’ village and the Ava community, but the scene reminded me of what another person of faith and a warrior once wrote: “I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side…From the Lord comes deliverance.”

Happy Memorial Day, and Happy late Mothers’ Day!

Ana, Gabrielli and Antoine with Margarita on Mothers' Day


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

More Good News

Dear Family and Friends:

A non-Native family sat in front of their house watching vehicle after vehicle loaded with provisions drive into the neighboring impoverished Ava Guaraní community called Yvapovondy. This family was probably a little confused to see our car drive in nearly empty and then leave filled with boxes of food. A group of Christ-followers in Yvapovondy were so grateful for the overabundant donations from different sources that they contacted Margarita and me to deliver their excess food to two other impoverished Native communities. Give thanks to God for our Ava brothers and sisters.
The community chief and Cristian with some of the food donated by Yvapovondy
One young man in Yvapovondy named Cristian teaches the Scriptures to his neighbors and relatives. In order to support his ministry, I prayed and discussed Scripture with him each week, but the mandatory quarantine in response to COVID-19 now prevents our meetings. We continue the discipleship via telephone and have already gone over the books of James and Galatians. Pray that God will work through Cristian to impact his and other Native communities.

Two weeks ago Cristian and I visited four communities to assess needs. The quarantine has hit many Natives in Paraguay particularly hard. Most of the urban Ava and Mbya Guaraní are day-laborers, and since they can’t work, they don’t have the means to purchase food. We visited one Mbya community that doesn’t receive help from other sources, and we found out they hadn’t eaten for days. They were one of the recipients of Yvapovondy’s donations. Continue to pray for the Native communities around the Asunción metropolitan area.
Giving thanks to Ñandejara (Our Lord) for three large bags of chipa donated by a local Christian baker to an urban Native community during Easter week. 
Last week, Margarita spent a day teaching our children how to make a traditional Paraguayan bread known as “chipa” that is especially eaten during Easter week. I spent a few days making our yard more kid-friendly, which has proven to be a great blessing since—when not doing homework—our children spend most of the quarantine playing there. We give thanks for our health, but please keep our household and Paraguay in your prayers. Also, pray for our colleague who has a non-COVID 19 respiratory illness.
Gabrielli, Antoine and Ana having fun making chipa at home
Cristian and I discovered 55 families in four urban Native communities with dire need of food. Margarita and I gathered provisions for 24 families and, before delivering them, we prayed. Moments later Yvapovondy notified us of their donation for 20 families. Then, along the way, another ministry partner gave us food for 30 families. Not only were we able to deliver the provisions to the 55 families and had a surplus to help two other Native communities, but we also delivered the message that Jesus is the true bread who satisfies our deepest hungers. Give thanks for the promise that Jesus will never drive away whoever comes to him.

Happy Easter!

The Revett Family in Paraguay
Sharing about the Bread who gives life after delivering provisions