Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas in Paraguay 2013

Hola! It is nice and toasty here in Paraguay on this wonderful Christmas day! That would not be because of the warm fire in the fireplace but because of the relentless rays of sunshine and humidity that don’t seem to know when to take a break.  Alyssa wishes they would take a break and knows that all things are possible but I don’t think her prayers for snow on Christmas in Paraguay are going to be answered any time soon.  Instead of waiting for snow to come down we shot fireworks up! A tradition we began in our Argentine days is becoming a Paraguayan tradition…shooting fireworks at midnight on Christmas Eve.  You can find any fireworks you want all over the city.  I don’t think they have the same codes as they have in the states on what you should be able to buy and who should be able to buy them... Needless to say, we had some awesome fireworks.  It is such a fun way to celebrate the birth of Jesus with our friends and neighbors.

2013 is almost history! It is overwhelming to us to look back and think of all that has happened in this year and how fast it has gone by. The Lord has been so faithful in every step of our journey and His presence has been very powerful and unmistakable.  It was wonderful to have the opportunity to connect with so many of you while we were in the states this summer. Home assignment is not always easy on missionaries but every one of you that participated in ours helped to make it a tremendous blessing! Thank you! 

Barry is now working together with our regional director, Christian Sarmiento, to lead the work of the church in Bolivia and Paraguay.  It has added a great deal to both of our responsibilities but we have been encouraged, challenged, stretched, and have learned so much watching what God can do when we are willing to be molded and used in His hands.  It is a privilege to serve here and we look forward to all He has planned for the year to come!

Andrew is becoming an Aussie…he has had quite an experience living in Australia these last two years.  Seeing him only once in two years isn’t easy on any of us but we are thankful for all the Lord has done and is doing through his life.  

Alex is looking forward to graduating from high school and going to college...hoping to be Trevecca bound.  He is always such a joy to have around…not exactly sure who is going to make everyone laugh when he is gone!?  He has been a key part of building the youth group here in San Lorenzo.  It is always a joy to see the Lord use our kids in the lives of others! 

Alyssa is taking piano lessons, reading books, and has a new friend (not the human kind).  We caved in after hours of listening to the meowing and crying out side of her bedroom window.  Duchess, who was a lost and hungry stray kitty, is now a part of our family. Alyssa 1 Dad 0….he didn’t want the cat but Alyssa somehow gets her way with him. The score is actually WAY more than 1 to 0…not sure how much Alyssa has but Dad definitely has 0:)

On Christmas Eve we have another tradition that we started while we were missionaries in Argentina…Baby Jesus doesn’t go in the manger until after everyone is in bed. He just “appears” in the manger Christmas morning. Well, last night, or rather, this morning at 3 a.m. when we were just THINKING about going to bed after fireworks, putting Baby Jesus in the manager didn’t sink into our tired brains. When our kids got us up this morning (yes, our kids are high school and college age and they still wake us up at the break of dawn on Christmas morning…and by the way, 9 a.m., when you have gone to bed at 4 a.m., is the break of dawn!) we realized He wasn’t there.  It was the first thing Alex noticed. Not only does it warm our hearts that it is the first thing our 18 year old son noticed, but it made us pause and think... Can you imagine?? 

Where would we be if He hadn’t come? Our lives, our work, our purpose here in this place would have no value.   Many times when we place extreme value on something we say that it is “priceless” but the gift God has given us did have a price…His Son. We are SO glad that Christ did come and the amount of gratitude that we have for what He has done for us and through us is more than words could ever express! We are also incredibly grateful for each one of you!!  Thank you for your prayers and support! The Lord uses each one of you, through all that you do, in more ways than you will probably ever know.

Have a wonderful and merry CHRISTmas and a very happy and blessed New Year!!

Barry, Charlie, Andrew, Alex, and Alyssa (and Betsy, Leonard, and Duchess)

To help with the many needs on the field you can visit or you can donate directly to our deputation account online at

Friday, August 24, 2012

Answers to Prayer!

Hello from Paraguay…where we are freezing in these average winter temperatures of 80 degrees!  We are doing very well and hope this finds each and every one of you doing just as wonderful.  It has been a very busy and crazy few months and we are very excited about all that the Lord is doing!!

Our family is doing well.  Alex and Alyssa are adjusting better these days.  Alyssa is still praying for a good friend but has found a new passion…reading.  Every few days she is on to a new book.  Alex keeps trying to get her to read his books that he has to read for school but she’s not THAT in to reading. 
 Alex would much rather put on a show than read a book.  He is getting ready to start participating in a new drama club at the Asuncion Christian Academy.  He is 17 now…YIKES.  The kids from the church had a great surprise party for him.
Andrew is following the Lord’s call on his heart and is attending Hillsong College in Sydney, Australia. It has been a great experience for him.  He is enjoying all that he is learning and has made a lot of new friends.  Praise the Lord he got a job last week so he will be able to eat the rest of the time he is there!!

Over the last few months we have had several exciting things happen. We had a wonderful turn out at our national youth camp.  A number of kids made new commitments to the Lord as well as others that made commitments to ministry.  It was blessed, fun, crazy, sleepless, and amazing! It has created a new energy in a lot of our youth and created a unity within the youth from all over Paraguay. 

We are also moving along on the parsonage and church property in San Lorenzo.  We are extremely appreciative to all of you who have contributed towards the project!!    We have been running between 65 and 70 every Sunday, have a talented worship team, a ladies Bible study that runs between 11 and 15 on Wednesday nights, and a youth and children’s program every Saturday.  It is incredible to see the church full of life and full of the Spirit!!  Last weekend we celebrated Children’s Day and had 130 children.  With parents, there were over 200!! 
 There are several things that still need to be done in order for us to be able to move into the parsonage so we could still use your help.  It is listed under the 10% giving projects on or you can donate through our deputation account online at

God continues to be faithful in every area of our lives and we continue to feel abundantly blessed to be serving Him and walking in the center of His will.  Thank you again to each and every one of you for your prayers, your notes of encouragement and your support! We love you!

Barry, Charlie, Andrew, Alex, and Alyssa

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Special Prayer Request

            Hello to all of our friends and family!!  You have continuously been on our hearts and in our prayers.  We are missing you but we are really excited about what God is doing here in Paraguay! The Lord has been hard at work and so has the opposition.  You always know when the man upstairs is making His move and having His way because the battle is on!  We have experienced some awesome blessings and miracles and know that Paraguay is getting ready to see God move some mountains!

            One of the most exciting things that we have been a part of in the last few weeks has been reopening a church in San Lorenzo that has been abandoned for the last couple years.  In addition to the ministries that we are already working with, we have felt the Lord tugging on our hearts to reopen this church and begin to heal and rebuild the relationships within the community.  One of the projects that we are working towards in Paraguay is training and teaching new pastors, but because of the shortage of pastors that tugging includes pastoring the church as well.

            We have had several work days at the church.  Other local Nazarene churches have come together to help and have been extremely supportive.  What a blessing to see the church come together, lifting each other up, and unified in one purpose!  We have been having services for the last three weeks and had kickoff celebrations for the youth and children.  The response and encouragement that we have experienced in the community has been incredible.  God is awesome and always faithful!!

            There is a house that is on the church property that has been extremely mistreated and abandoned.  Because of past experiences within the community, we believe that it is important for us to move to the house and be a part of the community there so that the people can see how we live out our walk every day.  We believe that much of the healing will come because of the relationships that are built on a daily basis with the local people.  In order to do this, we really need your prayers and support.  
            The house is not livable at this time and is going to need a lot of work as you can see from the pictures that we attached.  It would take a tremendous amount of time to begin the process now of bringing several work and witness teams in so we have talked with several local construction workers here and have come up with several bids on what it will cost to remodel the house and make it livable.  Please pray with us that we will be able to raise the money that is needed.  We will definitely keep you posted on our progress.  We are looking forward to seeing what God is going to provide!

With lots of love and grateful hearts,
Barry, Charlie, Alex, and Alyssa
To support our ministry or this project go to:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wedding Bells and Testing out the 4X4

We had the privilege of going to a wedding in a very small town called Mbururu.  It was a wonderful experience to be with the family during such a special occasion.  This couple has been together for over 22 years.  After recently accepting the Lord because of the faithful example of their two children, they decided they needed to be baptized and make the hitch official.  Beautiful story!!  You can see from the pictures why it was necessary to have a 4x4 truck!

To support our ministry go to

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas from Paraguay

It is wonderful to be writing this as we are sitting here together as a family (minus Andrew) in our home in Paraguay!  The last update we sent was during the time that Barry was here and the rest of us were in the states.  Being apart for 6 weeks definitely reminded us how easy it is to take each other for granted and realize how fortunate we are to be together every day.  We really wish Andrew could be here with us, but are excited for him that he has finished out his first semester at MNU very well.  He is enjoying his holiday break with family and friends and embracing the adult life working at his new job. 

We have felt many answers to prayers since we have come down south.  One thing that we have asked so many of you to pray with us for was open hearts of the people here in Paraguay.  The welcome and love that we have experienced since our arrival has been overwhelming.  The Vargas’ (Nazarene missionaries living here with us), the churches, and people that we have crossed paths with have opened their doors and their lives to us and helped us feel at home.  Alex and Alyssa are adjusting very well and have had a wonderful attitude about embracing this new time in their lives.  The youth group at Fernando de La Mora Church of the Nazarene has taken the kids under their wing and claimed them as their own.  They play charades to replace all the missing Spanish words to complete each other’s thoughts and sentences and if that doesn’t work, they just play soccer.  God is always faithful and takes such good care of us!

There are some things that we do not enjoy being welcomed by…that would be the scorpions that have greeted us at our door several times. 

One was more than enough, but 4 in two weeks!!  Way more than enough!  Alyssa just loves it when they show up in her bathroom and she really loves the lizards on the wall of her bedroom.   Now…these little ladies are always fun to greet. 

They are the newest additions to our family, Betsy, the fluffy one, and Lucky.   After leaving our precious dogs behind in Hot Springs, we have filled the void.  They always make us smile.

We have definitely kept ourselves busy since we arrived.  Besides all the details of getting settled, getting involved with the different churches and trying to get to know the pastors and people of the churches has been exciting.  Just after Barry arrived he was a part of the district assemblies here in Paraguay. 

He has also spoken in several churches, at a youth retreat, and held a year end celebration for all of the pastors and leaders.  Charlie even preached once for a Saturday night youth gathering.  Barry speaking in Spanish and Charlie cooking for whoever wants a cake or something to eat is the better plan.  It has actually been a wonderful experience for both of us and the parts we lack just add a little entertainment value to the communication.  We have also had some fun having new friends to the house to share in the local gourmet.  Barry is glad to have his parilla back and so is everyone that eats from it!

Despite the 100 degree plus weather and heavy humidity that confuses us and makes us think it’s July or August, we have done a few things around the house to make it feel a little more Christmassy.  A bright, fun Christmas tree makes us feel merry and most importantly, we have the nativity scene.  The fireplace is pretty much worthless at this time, and pretty much any time, in Paraguay so it has been transformed into a stable.  Per our family tradition, Baby Jesus is missing because He will not arrive until Christmas Eve.

We have not been very quick at getting news your way as we have been settling in (partly because, until last week, we had to sit in the front, right, one square foot corner of the house to get internet) mostly because it has been a little crazy. However, it is most definitely not been because we have not thought of you and prayed for you often.  I wish that we could somehow express to each one of you individually how much we love you, appreciate you, and treasure your prayers and support.  Your prayers and support make an incredible difference in our ministry.  Because of all that you have given, we have been able to purchase two vehicles (a car for our family and ministry needs and a truck for Barry’s work on the field).    Praise the Lord and thank you, thank you, thank you!! 

We have a tremendous amount of peace and joy and excitement in our hearts being here, serving Christ, but there is always a piece missing having you all so far away.  We continue to thank the Lord for each one of you and will pray constantly for you.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers and thank you again for all that you have done to help us get on the field and support us through this transition in our lives.  We love you and hope that you have a very, very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!! 

Barry, Charlie, Andrew, Alex, and Alyssa…Betsy and Lucky

To support our ministry go to

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Breathtaking Bolivia

Breathtaking. Literally… at over 13,600ft every breath is precious.  We landed in El Alto, Bolivia and began our journey down the mountain to La Paz.  At over 12,000ft, La Paz is the world’s highest capital.  We had a very productive meeting with the church leadership in Bolivia at the Nazarene Seminary.  What a beautiful campus surrounded by majestic peaks.  Rev. Macedonio, director of the Seminary, told of the “campamento” he went to this past weekend.  He left La Paz in the back of a dump truck on top of a load of gravel and traveled all night long to get to Yungas, where the youth retreat was to be held.  30 young adults committed their lives to Christ this past weekend during the campamento!  I wonder if I would be willing to travel all night long in the back of a dump truck to preach the gospel???  I’m glad Rev. Macedonio was willing.

Please pray for the work in Bolivia.  There is great need here and there are many projects that could really benefit from some willing, radical followers of Christ to sacrifice their own comfort so that others can come to the realization of Jesus Christ as their personal savior.  Hope to see you soon in Bolivia…