An in-person service at St Andrew’s chapel in Ascunsion, Paraguay.
After completing training in the UK in spring 2020, mission partner Bev Richardson suddenly found herself unable to return to Paraguay to take up her role as chaplaincy and pastoral worker at the Anglican chapel and school of St Andrew’s. Yet that didn’t stop God using her in his mission…
What initially seemed like a disappointment became a gift. As school and church moved online, I was able to connect remotely over the months I remained in Oxford.
In my role at the English-speaking chapel, I decided to use the confirmation resources we had planned with five candidates, so I invited them to a 12-week series of online classes and was delighted that they were all keen to attend.
Each week we studied from a book called Faith Confirmed – we discussed a chapter and the class was encouraged to read and reflect on it during the week. After the last class I invited the Archbishop Greg Venables to come and meet everyone and pray with them for the future while we waited to be able to come together for an official ceremony of confirmation in the chapel.
What has been unexpected but wonderful is seeing how, during the year since the course finished, these candidates have continued to grow spiritually and to explore their calling into mission and ministry.
N has completed an online Masters in theology and ministry, and is exploring ordination in the Anglican communion. Meanwhile he is leading services and preaching and has been encouraged to begin a new monthly informal service for young families and new church members.
M, a gifted musician and teacher, has been part of our chapel worship team for a few years. A missionary kid himself from Germany, he has been serving in a very poor town with a mission project teaching children to play instruments. We at the chapel were delighted to support him as his sending church to fulfil his calling into becoming a full-time mission partner, and he is now in Germany and the Netherlands (having been accepted by the same German mission organisation his parents served) visiting churches, fundraising and completing his training until he is able to return to Paraguay.
E has been serving as a primary teacher in the Anglican school and has also been part of our chapel worship group over the last two years. She is exploring her passion for serving in full-time mission overseas. She is a gifted teacher and a qualified social worker, having studied where she grew up with her family in New Zealand (her parents are originally from Paraguay and Japan).
P and his family are originally from Pakistan and he has been serving the chapel over the last two years. He has many administrative gifts including IT skills. He has just been accepted to work overseas in Europe at a Christian school starting next year..
H has been living in Paraguay for 20 years and regularly returns to Argentina for work. He has grown spiritually over the last year since the course and is now helping in our chapel services. He is keen to learn more about the Anglican Communion and has been regularly attending Zoom classes about Anglicanism.
As we look forward to welcoming these candidates officially into the Anglican communion, we rejoice as they continue in their lives of faith and service here in Paraguay and around the world. We are excited about how God is continuing to use this small English-speaking chapel to grow his church – even during a pandemic.