Thursday, July 11, 2019

Children Climbing Mountains

Dear Friends and Family:
Paraguay doesn’t really have high mountains, but 1,230-foot Cerro Corá stands among the nation’s highest mountain range. “Cool and scary” summed up Ana’s impression of our recent ascent of Cerro Corá on a brief trip we took during the winter vacation. When she gazed upon the size of the obstacle that she had overcome, she realized that with determination, persistent steps, and a little help from her grown-up relatives she had achieved a seemingly insurmountable goal. 
Gabrielli made it 3/4 of they way up the mountain, but then stopped to eat and play.
Understanding the unique culture of the Mbya Guaraní and engaging them in a manner that counteracts the long history of unedifying experiences they’ve had with outsiders presents a significant challenge to us and our non-Mbya colleagues. We recently visited a German missionary who has served as a nurse and educator with the Mbya Guarani for over 30 years. Her advice to us was to “love with patience; be persistent in biblical teaching; and wait for God to reveal his power.”  Pray for us and our colleagues to show the Great Father's love through our educational outreach among the Mbya.
The winter vacation is ending, and we are resuming our work in the urban Native communities. At one community, we teach students and train a young Mbya woman, “E.,” to develop her skills as a new teacher. I continue meeting with the shaman, who teaches me Mbya language and culture. Our discussions frequently touch on themes that open opportunities for me to share biblical stories. Margarita hopes to soon start a Bible study with “S.,” who might be the only community member with a church background. Please pray for God to reveal himself to the Mbya. Additionally, pray for visits by short-term mission teams from Illinois and Arkansas as well as for a number of outreach events we have planned in August.
Students at the Ñendua Mirĩ Mbya school.
Margarita and I thank God for the house church that is forming in a nearby Ava Guaraní community. Thank you for your prayers last month for “Juan’s” brother, who lives in this community and is recovering from his surgery. Your support enabled “C.,” a young Ava leader, as well as “E.,” a young Mbya man, to attend a Christian Native youth camp last weekend.  Furthermore, the students in the literacy class at the Ava community are already reading texts. The class includes a devotional and a children’s time, and is the product of collaboration between local churches and ministries that represent five different evangelical denominations. Give thanks to God for mobilizing the Paraguayan Church to do his work among the Ava.
Ana and Antoine at the top of Cerro Corá.
Four-year-old Antoine proudly states that he also climbed Cerro Corá. What he might not say is that his father was with him every step of the way, bracing him, lifting him over rocks and even carrying him in the steepest parts. Likewise, when we look closer at the mountains we’ve overcome and jungles we’ve cut our way through, we might see that it was really our loving Great Father who brought us out into a spacious place--and one with a beautiful view.
Yours truly,
Tim, Margarita, Ana, Antoine and Gabrielli

Friday, June 14, 2019

The Best Shelter to find refuge in

Dear Friends and Family:

The Mbya Guaraní teacher woke up a little after midnight to the sound of her pre-school student crying in a nearby house. She went over and found four-year-old “Hector” with his nine- and two-year-old brothers and six-year-old sister alone on a mattress on the concrete floor. Their mother committed suicide two years ago, so they lived with their father; however, he left the day before to work for two weeks in another part of Paraguay. The room temperature that night dropped to 40 degrees. The boy was crying because he was cold and had nothing to cover himself with. The teacher gave him her blanket and prepared a simple, warm breakfast for them.

One of the Blankets for Hector and his Siblings 
When Margarita was pregnant with Ana (who, by the way, just graduated from second grade), she was introduced to a “prayer quilt ministry.” In such a ministry, church women gather to talk and make  beautiful quilts with tassels for hospital patients and families going through challenging times. Then, they tie a knot in a tassel as they pray for the recipients. Last Saturday, Margarita made four “prayer blankets” with the Nueva Esperanza Church youth group for Hector and his siblings. Later this month she plans to organize a day to make prayer blankets with the Mbya and Ava Guaraní women at Hector’s community because dozens of other children there still need blankets for the winter. Pray that the residents of the Ava-Mbya community at Itá will find refuge in the shelter of Ñande Ruete (“Our One True Father”).           
Ana at her second grade graduation.
The Mbya teacher recently attended a conference with Margarita for an international Christian pre-school ministry called PEPE. She was the star of the evening as everyone was awestruck by her perseverance and dedication to being the only teacher for thirty students whose grade levels range from pre-school to fourth grade and with practically no support from the Department of Education. Thanks to three Christian foundations, as well as your support for Margarita and me, her students receive school supplies, a weekly hearty lunch, and biblical teaching. Furthermore, Margarita carries out a discipleship with the teacher, who knows very little about the Scriptures. Give thanks to God for his work in the teacher’s life, and keep her in your prayers.   

Your support also helps provide teacher training for a young Ava Guaraní man, whom you prayed for in April. He assists us in teaching a literacy class for teenagers and adults at his community. He decided to follow Jesus and has a bi-weekly discipleship with a colleague of ours. He and I have long conversations about the Scriptures before and after the literacy classes. Pray for this young man’s spiritual growth and for him to be able to attend a Christian Native youth gathering in July with “Juan,” another young Ava man. Also, please pray for Juan’s 14-year-old brother, who is recovering from surgery.  


Gifts for the mothers were provided by the Barreto Family in Long Island, NY
Last month you prayed for the Mothers’ Day celebration at Hector’s community. “Connection,” a partner ministry, did a fantastic job helping us put on the community's first ever Mothers’ Day activity.  The mothers ate, sang, made bracelets and heard a message of peace. 13 of them prayed to trust in Jesus as the cornerstone of their lives. Give thanks to God for his work in this and the other Native communities near Asunción. Give him thanks for the "Cornerstone," through whom everyone has access to Our One True Father.

Happy Fathers’ Day!  

Tim, Margarita, Ana, Antoine and Gabrielli Revett

Friday, May 10, 2019

Pray for Strength

Dear Friends and Family:
The Guaraní word “mbarete” translates into English as “strong.” However, it’s really quite a versatile and important word in Paraguay. During the Stroessner dictatorship it referred to the government agents who committed acts of torture and maintained order. Nowadays it carries a more positive connotation, referring, for example, to a soccer player who runs hard despite exhaustion in the final minutes to try to win an intense game. A working, single mother who raises and keeps her multiple children in line also is “mbarete.” The Mbya Guaraní tribe, from whom the term probably originates, considers it to have a spiritual significance.

Our tutoring time at a local church is the only school these Mbya children have each week.
Last month our strength was renewed from a retreat hosted by our mission. We enjoyed reconnecting with colleagues in other South American countries as well as meeting new missionaries. Many wanted to hear about our ministry. As you probably know, our main focus is pursuing integral, sustainable transformation of urban Mbya Guaraní and Ava Guaraní communities. The following is a general overview of how we currently carry this out each week, and can help guide your prayers for Margarita and me:
·        Monday: Teach math, Spanish and Bible lessons at a combined Mbya-Ava school.  Then, Tim leads a Bible study in one Ava family’s home. Margarita disciples a Mbya woman.

·        Tuesday: Tim attends meetings, prepares lessons/teachings, has lunch with a Mbya shaman, and occasionally visits the Esperanza prison. Margarita stays home with Gabrielli.

·        Wednesday and Friday: Teach math, Spanish and Bible lessons along with learning disability support at a Mbya school. Then, teach a literacy class and a Bible study at an Ava community.

·        Thursday: Tim prepares lessons/teachings, works on seminary assignments, and has a discipleship with a young Ava man. Margarita stays home with Gabrielli.

·        Weekends: Family time, outreach to Mbya children, and local church ministries (youth ministry, children’s ministry and Bible teaching).
Thanks to two local foundations--Jesus Responde and the Project for the People of Paraguay--we've received the means to start serving lunch at one Mbya school and during the literacy classes with the Ava. Ask God for volunteers from local churches to help with food preparation and children’s activities. 
Easter Gifts
Last month, we celebrated one of the days of Holy Week by bringing presents given to a Mbya community from Tigard Covenant Church in Oregon. We also shared the Easter story with them. For Mother’s Day, we’re planning a special activity with a combined Ava and Mbya audience.  Pray for open hearts and an inspired message.  Furthermore, the days are cooling down and the “cold and flu” season is starting up. Our children struggled with sicknesses during this season in previous years.  Please keep their health in your prayers. 

Antoine, Ana and Gabrielli, like most Paraguayans, prefer to drink their oranges.
During a recent lunch with a Mbya shaman, he explained to me that when people from his community need to be "mbarete" to get over sickness or a difficult situation, they contact him and he conducts a ritual for them in their “opy” (prayer house). I shared with him about a similar practice in the Christian tradition. In times of affliction or sickness, we're encouraged to talk with others who can pray for us. Moreover, that prayer doesn’t have to take place in a certain location with certain people. Anyone can confidently approach the Creator anywhere, at anytime and find grace in times of need.
Happy Mothers Day!

Tim, Margarita, Ana, Antoine and Gabrielli

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Our Growing Family

Dear Family and Friends:

Margarita, Ana and I arrived home one recent afternoon to find a monkey turning over paint cans and running around our porch. A neighbor said that the monkey suddenly turned wild. In attempt to sedate it, the owner, who lives around the corner from us, put beer in its water bowl. Instead of calming down, the inebriated monkey escaped to wreak havoc in the neighborhood. The police came. They watched the monkey for a little bit, but then left, stating that they hadn’t been trained to capture wild animals. Eventually the monkey returned to its home and there were no problems, aside from the mess. It was an exciting spectacle for our children and, especially, the newest member of our family, our puppy Bella.   
Bella with Ana
In mid-March, we celebrated Gabrielli’s second birthday. Our house was swarmed by little children and she received many great gifts; however, perhaps the most special gift of all was Bella, our rescued street puppy. Ana, Antoine and Gabrielli are now learning how to take care of a pet. Margarita and I are thankful for their healthy development. Please keep them in your prayers. 

Two-year-old Damián, whose health and family you prayed for last month, has improved. His father, “E.,”and I have been meeting for Bible study and prayer. I’m starting to mentor a young Ava Guaraní leader, “C.,” to teach bi-weekly literacy classes for his community. Give thanks to God for E., who has professed faith in Jesus, and pray that C. will get to know "Nande Ruete," the One True Father.

Last month I mentioned that two other urban Native communities, one Ava and one Mbya Guaraní, were combined and relocated about 30 minutes outside of the Asunción metro area. The Paraguayan education department has provided minimal support for the community’s school, so the local chiefs opened the door for us and our Christian partner organizations to help, which allows for the teacher, students and their families to hear biblical teachings alongside the Spanish and math lessons we give.  During a recent visit, a young Mbya leader, “T.,” prayed to receive Jesus. Margarita is now discipling her.  Please pray for T. to grow in her knowledge of God.  Also, pray for our efforts to mobilize local churches to do his will in this and other nearby mission fields.

The teacher with a chalkboard donated by Oklahoma-based Builders for Christ, who visited last month.
The chief of another Mbya community sat Margarita and me down at his house in early March and lamented that when their students leave the community’s school after sixth grade to attend middle school at a nearby Paraguayan public school, they find themselves significantly behind the other students. The academic challenges coupled with racial discrimination discourage most from continuing their studies past seventh grade. In fact, only 2% of Paraguayan Natives make it to high school. After Easter, I will start tutoring classes for the 5th and 6th graders with assistance from a young Mbya man named “P.” Pray for P. to seek the One True Father, and pray for our Mbya students to trust in Jesus, who promises to make all things new.

Wishing you a Wonderful Easter Week,

Tim, Margarita, Ana, Antoine and Gabrielli


Gabrielli's 2nd Birthday


Friday, March 8, 2019

"Instead of getting better she grew worse."

Dear Friends and Family:

When Margarita and I saw the Ava Guaraní chief’s grandson, Damián, who is the same age as our daughter, Gabrielli, we could tell right away that he suffered some sort of illness. He couldn’t stand on his own or keep food down. His bones were showing. Aside from crying, Damián made no sounds normal for his age. Margarita and I offered to bring him and his parents to the pediatric hospital. However, after experiencing two months of racial discrimination at expensive doctor visits that resulted in frustration for them and no benefit to their son, Damián’s parents had already decided to take him to an Ava shaman. So, we prayed. Some of you prayed too.

Damian and his parents on the way to the hospital.
The Gospel of Mark talks about a woman who, for twelve years, “suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet, instead of getting better she grew worse” (5:26). Margarita and I shared this passage with Damián’s parents at the hospital where he is now receiving good care. The doctors are still administering studies to see what his diagnosis is, but said that if his parents had waited two more days to bring him in, he could’ve died.  Give God thanks for Damián’s treatment and gradual recovery, and please keep him in your prayers.

Last August, I began praying for an open relational door with Damian’s father. Since the hospitalization, he and I have had good conversations and I’ve talked with him about trusting in Jesus. He and I are now studying the Scriptures together.  Pray for Damian’s father, who is a key person in the Ava community and someone God might be calling to reach his people.
Antoine and his friends, Daniela and Eliseo, on the first day of school.
Antoine, along with thousands of other students in Paraguay, started school in February (Ana’s school started the day after our return from the U.S.).  For Margarita and me, February was a month of preparation and reconnecting. We visited most of the Ava and Mbya communities that we worked in last year. The chief at the main Mbya community was excited for us to return, and asked us to continue helping at their school. Right after that conversation, we found a young woman with a Gideon’s New Testament. She, as well as at least one other woman in the same community, said that they want to study the Bible with Margarita. Pray that God will open doors among the Mbya.

In January, one urban Ava community and one urban Mbya community joined together and moved to a new location outside of Asunción. The Mbya chief asked us to help with their children’s educational needs. The Ava chief, who attended a church in his youth, wants help starting a Bible study and prayer time. Praise God for the trust extended to us by them, and pray for wisdom for us as we reach out to this community.
Mbya Guarani Chess Club
The woman in Mark 5 was left hopeless by her experiences with the doctors. Damian’s parents had also given up hope, but your support enabled us to be there at the right time and get him to the hospital--just in time. Your prayers contributed to his recovery and the opening of relational doors with his family. The woman in Mark 5 only had to draw close to Jesus in order to experience the peace she needed. Your partnership stokes hope that the Mbya and Ava will draw close to Jesus. Pray that not only they, but also people in your community and all over, will find peace through him. 

Sincerely,

Tim, Margarita, Ana, Antoine and Gabrielli


Friday, February 1, 2019

Goooool!

Dear Family and Friends:

In any neighborhood in Paraguay you can easily follow the score of a soccer game without turning on the television or radio.  All you need to know is which team is favored by the different neighbors around your block.  You know their team has scored when firecrackers go off and they scream “gooooooool”!  If the number of those moments exceeds the amount of times you hear profanities and the crashing of furniture, then you know that their team has won the game. 


In November you prayed for our goals for a recent trip we made to the United States.  Join us in thanking God for successful, fun and safe travels.  We spent time with many family and friends.  We reconnected with supporters and shared our ministerial vision for engaging urban Mbya and Ava communities.  Furthermore, all of the funds for ministry materials were raised, and we found 4 of the 5 new monthly supporters that we needed.
One of Ana and Antoine's goals was to make a snowman.

An additional goal was to learn.  I took a seminary course that brought me deeper in my Scriptural understanding.  Margarita and I met with seasoned First Nations ministry workers.  Willie and Megan Krischke described how they started a Native college ministry in the Four Corners region.  Dr. Randy Woodley, a Keetowah Cherokee, and his wife Edith, an Eastern Shoshone, emphasized the primacy of relationship in ministry to Native people.  The most important relationship is one of wholehearted devotion and unobstructed listening to the Creator. Only then can a ministry worker begin to build effective relationships with Natives and discover how the Creator is at work among them.  
Breakfast with the Woodleys

Please pray for Margarita and me as we have already started to reconnect with the Mbya and Ava.  Also, keep the following 2019 ministry goals in your prayers:
1) Develop and carry out effective educational strategies in partnership with local ministries and the Department of Education during weekly visits to at least 4 urban Ava and Mbya communities.
2) Begin at least 4 individual Bible studies or discipleships with Mbya and Ava men and women.
3) For Tim to move beyond an intermediate level in his Guaraní language ability.
4) Organize at least 2 opportunities to mobilize local churches to engage urban Natives.
5) Dedicate daily quality time to Ana, Antoine and Gabrielli.



More than simply achieving goals, in 2019 we aim to run the race marked out for us with our eyes fixed on Jesus.  Pray that we help others also fix their eyes on Jesus, who endured the cross and enables anyone who trusts in him to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.

Yours truly,
Tim, Margarita, Ana, Antoine and Gabrielli
Gabrielli, the experienced traveler.



Tuesday, December 11, 2018

What do you give a shaman for Christmas?

Dear Friends and Family:
When the Mbya Guaraní shaman heard the words of Genesis 1 in his native tongue, his eyes widened and he immediately took the audio Bible. This was Margarita’s and my gift to him, along with a bag of multivitamins. As we bid him farewell, he was clearly enamored by his new gift, which he continued to listen to as he walked into his house. You prayed for him to overcome an illness a few months ago.  Give thanks to God for his recovery, and pray that the audio Bible will achieve its purpose in the life of the shaman.
At the Oregon Coast
Two weeks ago, we arrived in the United States.  Our trip started on Long Island, New York where my cousins and I raked their yard so that Ana and Antoine could have their first experience of jumping into a pile of leaves. Our teenage niece, Jazmin, who also came with us, was too mature to jump into the leaves, but she did get to visit places in New York that she had only seen in movies. Additionally, we had a great time at Crossroads Church, where we met a Paraguayan family who invited us to their house for a delicious dinner of “vori vori.” 
From New York, we traveled to the Pacific Northwest.  We’ve since visited many friends and have shown Jazmin some of the region’s famous sights.  Gabrielli and Jazmin played in snow for the first time at Mt. Hood.  They saw exotic animals at the Portland Zoo and slept to the sound of crashing waves at the Oregon Coast.  Thank you for your continued prayers over our U.S. visit. We've enjoyed our times with loved-ones, and everyone has been healthy.  I also successfully finished my first seminary course. A foundation pledged a very generous donation to cover all our ministry materials for 2019.  Now, we need to find four new monthly supporters.   
Later this month we’ll be in Northern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle, which is where we’ll stay until mid-January. We will visit churches, youth groups and Sunday school classes.  We will also catch up with family and friends. From there we fly to Boston, and then will board a plane from New York to Paraguay.  If you’ll be near any of these areas and have a moment to meet, please let us know.
Ava Guarani Graduates
Margarita and I give thanks for a successful year of work with urban Native communities.  There was an increase in discussions about Scriptures and opportunities to share Bible stories.  We witnessed students’ academic progress. For instance, 13 Ava Guaraní women and one young Ava man earned Spanish literacy certificates.  We foresee opportunities to start Bible studies and discipleships with women and youth in 2019.  Our new friendships with the Mbya and Ava are a gift to us, and, in return, we hope to share the gift of the story of a child born and given the name Jesus, which means "savior," because he rescues any person who calls on him.

Merry Christmas!

Tim, Margarita, Ana, Antoine, Gabrielli, and Jazmin

We are very grateful to everyone who helped us build our house!  The guestroom will be ready in early 2019.