Bev Richardson Link Letter no.9 January 2021

Dear friends,

Greetings and a Happy New Year in 2021 to all!

My love and greetings are sent to you from Paraguay and my apologies to any of you who did not receive my Christmas message which I posted in December on my blog. My latest blog for January is also there with New Year reflections.

I pray you have all had a safe and peaceful Christmas time, albeit vastly different than before, and were able to spend a peaceful and special time with close family and loved ones whenever possible, despite the restrictions of COVID-19 that continue to challenge everyone as we begin 2021. I was able to have a quiet Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve with friends.

I had a quiet Christmas with friends.

Colegio San Andres

We held our third year secondary school final graduation service in school (with all the protocols followed). It was wonderful to see our students and their parents and pray for them as they leave us and go out into the world shining a light for Christ in their lives.

Sixth grade pupils at their graduation service as they move to secondary school.

We also had a lovely nativity and graduation service for our sixth grade primary students as they move into secondary school this year.

Christmas Carols by Candlelight in St Andrew’s Chapel

I was reminded as we were praying during the Advent services in December that we still had so much to be thankful for. I thought especially of the amazing generosity of all those who donated Christmas food parcels and gave to our special offering to support the continued work of the local foster home, La Esperanza Hogar, and to buy more essential food provisions to give to families in the local community with extra need at this time.

Carols by Candlelight at St Andrew’s Chapel.

Extraordinary and Ordinary Synod weekend (11–13 December 2020)

Thank you all for your prayers and kind words for the Synod weekend. We give thanks for the new executive committee elected and now await God’s perfect timing as the process for a new bishop continues to enable all the requirements of the statutes to be completed and approved in the future.

Looking ahead in Paraguay in 2021

The New Year in Paraguay continues to be one of moving carefully forward, following the strict protocols for hygiene and safety as we now enter the long school and summer holidays. Our prayer here is that numbers of COVID-19 cases, while increasing, may not increase to the extremely high levels or even a second wave or new variants, like that of the UK, Europe and the USA.

It has been amazing to hear how well Colegio San Andres has managed this year recognised by the ministry of education. Now we have a long well-deserved rest from screens, until we begin again in February 2021.

I’m so thankful for the generosity of those who donated food for the local community.

Our school classes will be “hybrid” for the start of the new term, with one group in school and another group learning from home online – the groups will be in school on alternate weeks. Please pray for staff and students as we adjust again to this new way of teaching.

Many school staff and church leaders were, like me, not able to return to their home countries for the holidays this year. I am blessed to have been able to stay in a private apartment in the countryside for my annual leave in January, so have spent a quiet and tranquil two weeks in the nature and fresh air by the lake of San Ber.

I’ve been blessed by a trip to San Ber during my annual leave.

Finally, I want to say a personal thank you again to everyone who has so faithfully supported me over the last three years, and especially for the future as CMS mission partner in Paraguay.

Prayer pointers

  • Please continue to pray for Paraguay dealing with COVID-19: for the government, public health workers and hospitals as we continue to reopen more widely.
  • Give thanks that Paraguay will in the next few months receive our first doses of the new vaccines against COVID-19 which are being provided by the COVAX system and acquired by the Paraguayan government.
  • Give thanks for being able to reopen our Chapel doors for our Christmas carol service and throughout January for corporate prayers and Bible study fellowship
  • Give thanks for the directors, staff and students of Colegio San Andres, and for being able to complete 2020 with great success, with all graduations and for God’s provision of continued funds to be able to pay all our staff into 2021.
  • Please pray for my own family back in UK, for God’s hand of protection to remain over them all during these winter months and for continued peace for me as I now postpone my return to UK until the end of 2021/22.
  • Please pray that I will continue to hear God’s voice clearly guiding me by his Holy Spirit to reimagine a new future, one he is preparing me for in joining his mission to which he has called me in Paraguay in my roles as chaplain and licensed pastoral worker.

Wishing you all God’s richest blessings for a peaceful and healthy New Year!

Bev

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