We’re hitting the road!!!!!

IMG_2269

PDF version of this newsletter edition

Hey everybody!!!! This is Levi again! We’ve officially started to go and visit churches to talk about how we will soon be part of the mission work in Paraguay (the picture here is from my most recent visit). I’ve made the last couple of visits by myself, while Jael has been in transition back to the States while getting ready for our wedding in July.
With my visits that I’ve already made, it’s been great  to catch up with some old friends and meet lots of new people, and it’s been very encouraging for me. I also hope that God has been using (and will continue to use) me to be an encouragement to the people that I visit. In addition to talking about the mission in Paraguay, I also want to encourage people to be sharing the Gospel in their own communities. After all, the Great Commission is for all believers, and not just “professional” missionaries. –Levi

8-facts-you-need-to-know-about-virgin-mary

One of the other challenges that we will face in the heavily-Roman-Catholic Paraguayan culture is Mary Worship. As we mentioned last month, Catholicism in Paraguay is different from Catholicism in the United States: it is seen as a separate religion from Protestantism/Christianity. According to Victor (the Lutheran pastor that we’ll be working with in Paraguay), even though Catholics claim to worship  the same Trinity as Protestants, in reality it’s different. In Catholic culture, Mary is the channel through which all prayers and intercession must go. Only through her can Jesus and God the Father be accessed.
In practice, they worship Mary as the supreme deity of their trinity. The most celebrated holiday in Paraguay is on December 8 and commemorates the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. The second person of their trinity is Mary’s son, Jesus. And worshipped almost as an afterthought is God the Father. So, instead of truly trusting in the one, true God and having a relationship with him through faith, many are instead clinging to the lie that Mary can save them (when of course the Bible shows that she was simply a willing servant of God). So breaking down this misconception of the Trinity will be another of our challenges.
–Jael

IMG_3078

Since January, my life has consisted of a lot of wedding planning (since our wedding is this July). Because of the 6,705 miles between my current location (Seoul, South Korea) and the location of the wedding (Southern Illinois), this process has been a lot of fun. I got to buy a dress I had never seen and hope that it fit (it did). Levi and I got to go through out list of friends and figure out how many we could fit into our limited church and reception spaces. My parents and I got to look online for a reception hall that would hold all the people that would fit in the church. That particular challenge was met in a way that only God could: the dual ministerial circuit my Dad was a part of in Southern Illinois offered to coordinate AND host our reception at one of the churches! What an amazing (and unexpected) gift! Besides that, I’ve gotten to puzzle out how to do bouquets for the bridesmaids, how to reserve hotels when I have no idea how many people are coming, and how to see everyone I want to see without going crazy. It’s been exciting…and often stressful…but God has been good. 🙂
–Jael

IMG_0156 houses cropped

FUN FACT: It is a very common sight to see some house cleaning happening on Friday nights at many homes in Paraguay, especially when it comes to cleaning the front porch, and especially if a young lady lives in the home. In Paraguay, guys traditionally are only allowed to call on their love interests on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, and the two lovebirds usually end up talking outside on the front patio. Thus, the girl will usually be working the day before the guy can visit (hence why the house cleaning often happens on Friday nights) so that the place is clean when he arrives.    –Levi

KIMG0407 couple profile cropped

Continuing Prayer Requests
  • That we would quickly learn the multiple languages that are spoken in Paraguay. Specifically, Jael is learning Spanish right now, and Levi (who already knows Spanish) is learning Guaraní and Portuguese.
  • That God would prepare the hearts and minds of the people of Paraguay to receive the Gospel.
  • That God would make us vessels fit for His service.
  • That God would give us wisdom and discernment as we work toward getting to Paraguay.
  • That everything would go smoothly with our upcoming wedding, and that God would be glorified through it.
Advertisements

We visited Paraguay!!!!!!

IMG_1944

(Want to see a pdf version of this blog post that you can print (perhaps so that you can print it and share it with people at your church)? Check out this link here: May 2018 Newsletter)

Hey everybody!!!! This is Levi again! Just a few days after we sent out our last newsletter, we were blessed to be able to go on a trip and actually see Paraguay for ourselves! Jael flew out from South Korea (where she is still living until our wedding this summer) to meet up with my Mom (who went with us) and me to go visit Paraguay together and see where we will be living and working.There was so much that we saw and learned, so we will probably need multiple newsletters just to adequately talk about where we’re going!
In the photo above, Jael and I are standing in Guajayvi, Paraguay, where we will be helping to grow the Lutheran church plant there. And when we talk about “growing the church”, we really mean that we have been praying that God will be doing the work through us, and that that work will be reaching out to people with the good news of Jesus Christ so that they, too, can have a relationship with God. –Levi

IMG_0160
(The picture above is one I took (from the car) of a Catholic church near Guajayvi.)

In North America, Roman Catholics are often viewed as another denomination among many.  In many Latin American cultures, though, it is a separate religion, especially because they put more emphasis on the Virgin Mary and less on the Triune God. So you have Roman Catholics…and you have Protestants…and you have Jews…and so on.  However, Catholicism (in the Paraguayan context) is more than just a religion.  In many ways, it’s very much who they are as a person, since Catholicism has been in the country since the mid 1500s and is the official religion.  For example, if you ask a Paraguayan if they are a Christian, they will automatically reply “Yes!”  because, in their minds, anyone who is baptized is a Christian, and since they (as Roman Catholics) were baptized as infants, they are a Christian, even if that’s the only connection that they ever had with a church.  So (to them), asking if they are a Christian is as silly as asking if they are human.  “Duh!”  So one big challenge we will face will be piercing the “baptism=Christian” misconception and teaching them about what it actually means to have a relationship with God.   –Jael

DGDZ5281
Jael and Levi with one of the Vice Presidents of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Paraguay (far left), Levi’s mom (with the blue hat), and Victor (on the far right)

While we were on our trip in Paraguay, we mostly spent time with Victor, a pastor who we will be working with. (Victor is the man in the photo above wearing the blue shirt, sitting next to Levi). A couple of nights we stayed at a certain hotel, and in the morning we ate breakfast at the hotel, and then pulled out our Bibles and had an impromptu Bible study in the breakfast room, talking among ourselves about a selected Bible passage. We weren’t trying to attract attention—we simply wanted to spend time together in God’s Word. Victor later that week was contacted by the owner of the hotel—he had been watching our Bible studies! And he asked Victor to come back and do worship services at his hotel for his employees! God was definitely at work during our visit!. —Levi

Yuca
yuca/mandiyuca

FUN FACT
Paraguayans love to eat cassava/yuca (which they call mandiyuca).  Yuca is a starchy tuberous root (kinda like a potato) that can be served in many ways: boiled, fried, mashed, you name it.  Yuca flour is also a very popular alternative to wheat flour.  One of the most common ways of eating it, however, is to simply boil it and serve it alongside the main dish, similar to how we eat bread in America.  It tastes similar to the potato, but slightly less dry. You can see a version of this boiled yuca in the image above.  –Jael

IMG_2006
Levi and Jael in Paraguay
Continuing Prayer Requests
  • That we would quickly learn the multiple languages that are spoken in Paraguay. Specifically, Jael is learning Spanish right now, and Levi (who already knows Spanish) is learning Guaraní and Portuguese.
  • That God would prepare the hearts and minds of the people of Paraguay to receive the Gospel.
  • That God would make us vessels fit for His service.
  • That God would give us wisdom and discernment as we work toward getting to Paraguay.
IMG_2012
A LOT of roads in Paraguay look just like this one!

We’re looking to visit different churches throughout the States before we head overseas, in order to receive support from them, and also to encourage them as they, too, live out the Great Commission. We can do a presentation for your church’s Sunday school class, at a special event, at a council meeting, and pretty much any other kind of gathering! We’ll talk about what this mission to Paraguay is all about, and in what ways we hope to help. Your church is NOT obligated to put us in their budget if they let us visit. Want to see if we can come visit your church? You can reach me at LeviKarth@Gmail.com.

IMG_1927
Yep, many people in Paraguay still get around with real horse power!
IMG_1920
So much of Paraguay is covered by farmland!!!

WE’RE MOVING TO PARAGUAY!!!!!!!

Hey everybody!!!!  I (Levi) know it’s been a while since I posted, so let me update you on my life.

Since getting engaged, Jael and I have been planning for our wedding in early July.  We’ve also been busy getting ready for our first missionary assignment as a married couple.  After being accepted into Global Lutheran Outreach or GLO (a missionary organization that connects missionaries with different Lutheran Church bodies throughout the world), we were extended a call to work in Paraguay.

paraguay-in-world-map-river smaller
Paraguay is the red/white/blue country in the middle

We will be working as missionaries, through the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Paraguay–a church body in Paraguay that wants to reach more people in their country with the Gospel. As you can see from the photos below, work has already been started where we will be working–in the district of San Pedro, about 5 hour’s driving distance from Asunción, the capital of Paraguay.

Several years ago, a vicar (Victor–he’s the guy with the glasses in the above picture, teaching the kids) from the Lutheran Church started to do some church-planting work in this area, facilitating worship services, as well as running other activities. Our work will be to help in this work, reaching out to the people in that area with the good news of Jesus Christ.  We’ll soon actually be visiting Paraguay so that we can better see what this work will look like.
Until then, Jael and I are working on learning new languages! Jael is learning
Spanish, and I (since I already have learned Spanish) am learning Guaraní (the indigenous language of Paraguay) and Portuguese.  We (or, rather, just I, until our wedding in July) are also traveling around and visiting various churches, to tell them about our future work in Paraguay.  We would love to make a personal connection with you and your church, or visit you again if you’ve already met us! You can reach me at LeviKarth@gmail.com

If you want to know more about how you can help, please check out the “support” tab above.