Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Operation Vision Care

Below is a video that we made to promote a really great ministry opportunity that we have coming this Saturday. The students of Nyack College have raised enough money for us to have the 1st (of what I hope to be many) Vision Clinics. We are working with a Paraguayan Vision Care ministry and we are able to offer eye consults and glasses for incredible cheap prices (like $2.00). Hope you enjoy the video - sure would appreciate you prayers.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

8 years and counting...

When we first arrived in Paraguay we worked at the San Lorenzo Alliance Church. This wonderful church just celebrated its 8 year anniversary!!! With this celebration, they baptized 8 new believers.

We are so excited to be a part of the work that God is doing, here in Paraguay

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Ladies Tea

On Saturday, I (Lisa) had the privilege of speaking that the Ladies Tea at the San Lorenzo Alliance Church. They asked me a few weeks ago and at first, I was going to say, "no." Speaking in public is not my favorite thing to do... how much more so speaking in Spanish. But, I could not find a good excuse I agreed to speak. When I agreed, I completely forgot that the week before the tea I had committed to go with Alison and her school to camp. That meant that I didn't have the time before-hand to worry about speaking. The camp went great and I enjoyed spending time with my precious daughter. When I came back on Thursday, John and I spent the next two days finishing up my talk.

In fairness, God used both my willingness and my weakness on Saturday. In the end, I am glad that I didn't have an excuse to decline the invitation. I was blessed, the ladies were had a great time and three woman gave their hearts to Jesus.

Thank you for your prayers... I could feel the support that God gave me through your prayers!!!

Lisa =)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

School Ministry...

Recently we (John, Rodrigo and Adrian - both are seminary students and part-time CMA Pastors in the Asuncion area) have been asked to come to a local public Middle/High school to teach the 7th graders how they can find true identity in God. This past Wednesday was our last week and we spoke about how Jesus has provided for our "real" identity.

The video below shows glimpses of our 1 hour long teaching. Using clay jars we spoke about how like Adam we, because of our sin, are broken and cannot be what we were intended to be. We also talked about how God has provided a well of pure, Living Water through Jesus Christ and that each of them could enjoy this Water. Surrendering our lives to Jesus is the only way to truly become all that we were created to be.

Thank you to the many who have been praying! These opportunities are a direct response to your prayers!

Enjoy the video:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sexual Purity...

As you know, last Friday (9/18) we were in the public high school giving a talk on Sexual purity. It was amazing!!! We did our presentation three times to a total of 250 students (ranging in ages from 12-20). The students, who normally are very "unruly" were very attentive and really seemed to be listening and learning. We started out the presentation with a moving skit (first shown to me by some wonderful teenagers in West Palm Beach) about the consequences of protecting or not protecting God's gift of sexuality. Then I (John) shared about how the Bible tells us that sex is a gift from God to be enjoyed within the protection of marriage. In between my points of saving our purity we had two powerful testimonies, one from Rodrigo (seen on video), who shared about how he guarded his purity until his wedding night and the other testimony was from Teresa (not captured on video, sorry) who did not guard her purity and who now has two children and AIDS. (Teresa volunteers for a Christian organization in Asuncion that ministers to people with AIDS).


Thank you so much for your prayers for what is happening at Mi Esperanza and in Paraguay.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Our First Baptism!!!

On Sunday, September 13th we celebrated the baptism of Andi. Andi has been a part of the Mi Esperanza church since the beginning. She is a wonderful teenager with a contagious love for Jesus Christ. Andi surrendered her life this past year as she passed through some serious difficulties.

Please pray for Andi... we are very proud of her!

Peace!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Megan's Mouth

Our precious daughter, Megan had an expander put in her mouth to, well... expand her mouth :)

In order to do this, it requires us (as parents) to stick a metal "key" in her mouth and crank it a full turn 3x a day. An adult friend of ours just had his removed early because he couldn't "handle the pain."

Megan, on the other hand - literally would run to the couch, throw her head back and say, "I'm ready to be cranked!"

Here is a little bit of her life from her side of it...Peace!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Children's Day in Paraguay

Thank you so much for your prayers for our the ministry that we had last night (8/16/09) at the Mi Esperanza Church. Please enjoy the video below and know that God is moving in Paraguay - Thank you for your prayers!!! We sure appreciate your support...

Friday, August 14, 2009

It works!!

As you can tell from our lack of posts lately, we are having some major technical problems with our blog. I am not sure if this is a universal problem, or if we are just lucky! But, I think we figured out the problem and we should be able to log on and post more often.

Until then, I would like you to get a little glimpse into and important facet of our life. One of our favorite things to do is to connect with churches in the states. This weekend (Sunday - 16th) the Neighborhood Alliance Church in Orlando, Florida will host a "Prayer Day" focusing their prayers on our family and on Paraguay - HOW COOL IS THAT!?! (Speaking of which, if your church would like to connect with our family through SKYPE, video, or a Prayer Sunday - please let me know).

Anyway, below is a video greeting that we were going to send. We were so thrilled that Caleb sat well and the family just really pulled it together and we were able to "shoot the video" in only two takes.

Three hours later, I went to edit the movie and found out that behind my back - Alison was not behaving as good as I thought she was :)

Enjoy - and thanks for your patience with our site!

Peace!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Clothing Give-away

First of all, please accept my apology for not updating the blog in a month. For some reason my computer was not able to access the blog until today. Which, in reality is good timing because I wanted to put on this video of the clothing give-away that we did yesterday!

Thank you for all your support and prayers for our family and for Paraguay!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

OANSA = AWANA

Each Saturday, we have a wonderful children's ministry called OANSA. We start at 4:00pm and go until 6:00. Lately, we have been having around 50 kids each week, and believe us, that means a lot of fun... but a pretty crazy two hours.

The picture below is our leadership team. Please pray for these great people. They come faithfully, giving up their free time to care for the children of the neighborhood.



And here are some of the faces that we see each week... Thank you for your prayers for our family and for Paraguay!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mother's Day Celebration

This past Sunday, we had a celebration for Mother's Day at the Mi Esperanza (My Hope) Alliance Church in Paraguay. Thank you so much to the many of you who are praying for the ministry that we are working with here in Paraguay. We are so thankful for this.

If you are reading this and you are not receiving our weekly prayer emails and would like to... please send me an email and I will start sending them to you!

Again, thank you so much!!!

peace!

Check out the video for that service.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Up and Coming Rock Star...

Andrew is one funny kid. We bought he a little guitar for his birthday. He wanted one and it was an inexpensive purchase on the streets of Asuncion. We figured he would play with it three times and then move onto something else. But, Andrew plays with his guitar all the time.

Now he is giving concerts... Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Living on the rock...

Today a friend of mine reminded me of a song that I have not heard in a long time. The words of this song call attention many promises that I have made. A promise to have and to hold until death do us part. A promise to all of my children, made at each of their births that I will be the best Dad I can be for them. A promise to serve as a Pastor and Missionary faithfully.

These promises are based partly on my abilities to carry out what I am responsible for, but mostly on my Dependability on Jesus for what I cannot carry out. I have chosen to live my life on the words of Christ. To build on that foundation. Come what may: rain, storm clouds, even hurricanes, He will be my rock. And I will live on the rock...

Today, as I watched the video below I was reminded of that and I was reminded that my feet really ARE on a strong foundation.

Peace!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Here's an idea...

A couple of weeks ago a friend (Hector) gave us a Bible to give away to "anyone who needs one." Our neighbors, Felipe and Isabel, got that Bible yesterday. Below is a quick video of them thanking him personally. Most people in Paraguay have a "family Bible" but it is not really available to read. Some would like their own personal, readable Bible. If you would like to help us purchase some Bibles to have on hand to give away when needed, please let me know by sending me an email at jlsappia@gmail.com
As always, thank you for your support!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We'd appreciate your prayers...

This week the Paraguayan Pastor, who works and lives at the church plant (Mi Esperanza - MY HOPE) went to check the electric meter for the church. While checking he noticed that something was stuffed in there, by someone?!?

What he found was a clay "vodoo doll" with leather cords tied all around it and little sticks poking out of its body. Here in Paraguay, this is an item of witchcraft to try to intimidate and scare those that receive it. Basically, this means that someone, or group of someones have been praying curses on our church and us, as Pastors of the church.

When we got together, we prayed and destroyed the item. In the midst of prayer the Lord reminded us of what happened to the god Dogan and the people of Ashdod in I Samuel 5. If you remember, these people got more than they were bargained for when they tried to humiliate our LORD.

We have been praying that for God's protection and for those who placed this item that they would turn their lives over to Jesus! Please stand with us in prayer.

If you are not getting and would like to receive our weekly email prayer updates, please send me a note at jlsappia@gmail.com

Monday, April 20, 2009

Throwing Roof Tiles...

A couple of weeks ago we had a terrible storm here in Paraguay. The clouds got dark like any other storm. The temperature dropped a little, like normal. And then it changed. To this day, I am not sure what it was, but the sky went black. You could see the darkness creeping across the sky like so much spilled chocolate pudding moving across a table (I don't know what that means). Anyway, when we saw those clouds forming we all began to run.

For the next 1/2 hour it was DARK. Ominous! The wind beat against everything and the rain fell, very hard. Days later everyone was talking about the Humo Negro (Black smoke) and how they thought Jesus was coming back. Wouldn't that have been the best?!?

But, instead, we had to clean up. We picked up pieces of debris and many of the fallen tiles from the roof. Then a few days later we had to repair everything, including about 15 roof tiles. Below is a video of how we got the tiles on the roof. Not sure why this is the chosen method, but it sure was fun!

Peace!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Today, is a special DAY

I believe that today is the most important day in our calendar. Now, you can argue for Christmas, New Years Day, Thanksgiving or any of our other holidays. But, I am convinced that today is above them all.

New Years Day has marked the turning of years and decades and centuries and even millenniums. Thanksgiving reminds us to be, well thankful. And Christmas we celebrate the birth of the greatest man that ever lived.

But, only on this day... Resurrection Day ... do we celebrate a miracle that occurred only one time in history and only for one person. Only on this day can we say that Jesus, with His own power, raised from the dead! On this day, we celebrate the fact that Jesus, who was once dead, is now alive! On this day, we rejoice because we know that since He lives, we also do not fear death. Because he lives we know that we will live once more. Because he lives, the payment for our sins has been accepted and we can be forgiven and have Eternal life. Because He lives... all things are possible!

Today, we celebrate! Why? Because He is alive!!!

peace!

Please enjoy this video from youtube, it is one of my favorite songs about the Resurrection:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday in Paraguay

Today is Good Friday. It is a little surreal. All the stores are closed, the buses are not running, people are off of work, but few are outside. There is no music blaring, there are no children playing and conversations are hushed.

The country is in mourning. Today, as far as I understand the country is mourning for the death of Jesus Christ. Many will not eat anything, some will eat local foods such as Chipa and Sopa Paraguaya.

Good Friday has always been one of my favorite days of the year. I try to put myself in the events of history and constantly ask,"what was happening at this time during THAT day." "What were they thinking at this moment of THEIR Friday."

But, I believe in the end, for me Good Friday is complete only when we consider that, as Tony Compolo once preached, Sunday's a Comin'. You can't understand Friday without Sunday, and you can't appreciate Sunday without Friday.

May God bless you on this day! And remember - Sunday's a Comin'!

Here is a video for you to enjoy, it is one of my favorite songs about Good Friday.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Thank you New Jersey

Last week, two Alliance Churches sent 11 stalwart adventurers to minister here in Paraguay. While the team only spent 8 days on the ground, what they accomplished will last a very long time. Between laying the foundation for Pastor Fermin's house, fixing up a local playground, giving basic dental instruction, creating a stage, playing soccer, and sharing the gospel with everyone they could, (and even, eating ice cream) there is no doubt that the affects of the team's ministry will endure.

Thank you so much for coming, for working so hard and for being such an encouragement to all of us in Paraguay! We can't wait to see you all again.

Check out some of the photos:

Monday, March 23, 2009

2 for 2

This week we had two Caleb-sized events.

1st - Caleb turned 2! March 14 (3.14) - otherwise known as PI Day (Thank you Whitney)

video

2nd - Caleb got 2 stitches - More importantly, in the competition between the Schells and us to see which of our kids can go to the hospital most - we are winning. Caleb Rocks!


Friday, March 13, 2009

2 quick but important things

I have two things to share today... one is a request for prayer and the other is something that YOU HAVE TO SEE!

1) First of all... please pray for the Mission's Team that is coming from New Jersey. They arrive on Saturday (March 14th - which is also Caleb's 2nd birthday) and work like crazy until next Sunday. They will be working in schools, sharing their stories, preaching (the one's that speak Spanish), and constructing all sorts of things. Please pray for their health, for a loving atmosphere at all times and for the impact the God will have through their ministry and on their hearts!

2) Second... some of you know that my brother is a Missionary in Thailand. You have to check out what God is doing over there. Just a quick explanation. Thailand is like 98% Buddhist and really to be Thai is to be Buddhist. So that means, when he tries to share Jesus those who would accept are most times seen as betraying their culture and their country and will often face economic and family persecution. For this reason, there have been very, very few people who have come to Jesus in Thailand. But, recently God has been doing amazing things!!! First my brother went into a prison and led a dozen or so to Christ. Then those who came to Christ led another dozen or so to Christ. And it just kept multiplying. Now, two of the men who were in the first group that came to Christ have been released from prison and are going into villages sharing Christ. Recently, like last week, they baptized a number of people from the first village that they entered. Check out the video here: www.isaan.org

Jim and Kahty have an amazing email network for prayer requests and praise reports. Send them an email an hop on their prayer list and be apart of what God is doing around the world!

As always, thank you for your prayers for us here in Paraguay, too! We are thankful that you are on the team

Friday, March 06, 2009

Phew - finally finished!

Today I spent a couple of hours this morning wrestling with Gmail trying to get our newsletter out. Even with the frustrations of it all, the truth is today's technology never ceases to amaze me.

I remember reading letters from Missionaries while I was a teenager in a C&MA church in Brooklyn, New York. I remember reading about the adventures they were having and drifting off in my imagination to these far away lands that I thought I would never see.

Now, everything is different. The world really is 'smaller.' Most of the teenagers (and adults) I know have Facebook accounts that include friends from other countries. If you want to know about a country you don't dust off the encyclopedia (???) or National Geographic, instead, with just a few clicks of the mouse you can look at live videos from almost any country in the world. Want to see the Galapagos islands, the Patagonian Rain Forest, the Taj Mahal or the Great Barrier Reef. Google them!

But, in the end, what impresses me most about today's technology is how 'instant' our communication has become. It wasn't that long ago that missionaries would board ships and sail across the oceans to reach the foreign ports of call. They would write letters and mail them back to their families and the letters would take 2 months to arrive, and even longer for the response to get back.

I love being a missionary in THIS time period. I love being able to call my parent's cell phone and talk with them while they are eating at Dunkin' Doughnuts. I love being able to 'skype' my brother in Thailand and ask him computer advice. I love being able to shoot videos, write blogs, and create newsletters that, with one (or really 15) click of the mouse, can be whisked away to over hundreds of homes, filled with family and friends who are praying for the ministry here in Paraguay. I love that!

So, it was worth the fight. And, in the end, I won and the newsletters were sent out. Speaking of which... if you are reading this and did not get a newsletter, but would like to, just send me your email address and I will make sure that you get all the fairly recent, up-to-date, information about what is happening with our family and the work here in Asuncion.

Thanks for being on the team!

Peace!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Back on line

We are back in business. Can I tell you how thankful I am that I bought the warranty for my MAC. In the end, they replaced the hard drive and the keyboard and the casing for the whole computer. Although, we lost a bunch of pictures and videos, it is like I have been given a new computer.

More importantly, we are back on line and I will be updating the blog and newsletters again! Thank you so much for your patience. I am very thankful for the many of you who continued to pray, support and contact us even though it was so hard to get on line to respond back to you.

One quick prayer request for you. We'd appreciate you praying for Caleb. For some reason he is not sleeping. There are times when we put him in his room and he just cries and cries. We are not sure if he is having bad dreams or if he just doesn't want to sleep. We'd appreciate your prayers for him!

On a bright note, in order to help him sleep, we have found that after crying, he will crawl into bed with his big brother Andrew. We asked Andrew about this and he says, "Oh, I don't mind. I love my Caleb." God is good!

Peace!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

On a Mac?!?

Well, I don't think I broke any records, but that which is not supposed to happen has just happened. My Mac crashed!

Yep, the Hard Drive went kaplooie (not sure if that is how you spell that word, but it sure is fun to say). The tech geeks are trying their best to save as much of my data as they can, but the status report as of yesterday was not very encouraging.

So, I have dusted off the not-so-trusty-but-functioning PC and trying to stay in the loop.

I did however, find an old picture on this computer to share. This is when we first got here to Paraguay. This picture was taken after flying almost 24 hours. Good times!

I can't believe that we have been here for almost 7 months. It sure has gone by fast and it sure has been fun to watch as God has met us in every way through the transition, THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS!

Peace!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today, I watched in amazement...

as Barak Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

In reality, I don't believe it matters what side of the political spectrum you find yourself, in the end, today we witnessed a truly historic event. Today, we inaugurated the four year presidency of the first African American President. And I hope that you too are feeling a little amazed.

It was not that long ago when black Americans were not allowed to enter in the same restaurants as white Americans. They were not allowed to go to the same schools, sit on the same seats of a bus or even drink from the same water fountain.

It was less than 200 years ago when whites owned blacks as slaves. "OWNED THEM." I have read historical accounts where slave owners described their slaves in the same way that they would a rake or a fork. Tools to be used for a purpose. This is absolutely disgusting to me.

I once heard a man say, that the civil war was fought to set men free because all men have VALUE. This sentiment was personified in a tall man from Illinois named Abraham Lincoln. This 16th President, as I am sure you know, signed the Emancipation Proclamation and officially declared that all men were indeed free.

And today, an African American put his hand on the same Bible and swore the same oath of office as President Lincoln did so many years ago. The imagery is powerful. And, in my opinion, entirely appropriate.

In his speech, President Obama spoke about Hope and Change. It will be interesting to see if his political strategies bring the kind of change that everyone is hoping for. But, in the end, today, we have seen the hope of many people throughout many years, come to light in the changing land that we call The United States of America.

May God continue to shed his grace thee!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

"Man Trip" in the Chaco - Part III

Ah, the Chaco. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I am going to attach another quick video and some pictures so you can experience the Chaco!



Saturday, January 03, 2009

"Man Trip" in the Chaco - Part II

Another video update from our trip to the Chaco. By day the dusty roads stretched as far as the eye could see and by night the sky gleamed with more twinkling stars than anyone could count. Ah, the Chaco!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

"Man trip" in the Chaco - Part I

This past week, Andrew and I took a Man-Trip (with CMA Missionary Forest Schell and his son, Caleb). Our Man-trip consisted of three days in the vast Paraguayan Chaco. The Chaco is a hot and dusty place filled with German Mennonites, Native Paraguayans, and towns that resemble the wild-west. In short, a great place for a man trip!

Here is a quick video - pictures to follow soon:






Peace!