Paraguay (MNN) — The population of Paraguay is exploding, and Christians are prepared to reach out to them. According to reports, between 1970 and 2006 the population of Paraguay increased from 2.4 million to more than 6 million as a result of a decreasing death rate and a continued high birth rate.
Missionaries Ed and Linda Baker with The Mission Society are in Paraguay to serve this growing population. "60-percent of the population is under the age of 25, so there are a lot of new families looking to establish themselves. And so, as a way to help these families, the government has a homestead program."
Families make application, and if approved, they're sold 25-acres of land for next to nothing. Typically 50 to 100 families move into an area with a need for water. Ed says, "This gives us an opportunity to move in and use the water well as a way to plant a church."
He says they're typically invited to an area. "Someone will typically donate maybe a half an acre or a quarter of an acre for a church site, and then we can use that to locate the well."
According to Linda, while they're drilling the well from the community, that's when ministry starts. "Our equipment is rather noisy, and this is a new area. [There's] nothing to do but come and watch the North Americans drill a water well. So that brings the people to where we are, and we get a chance not only to visit with them, but at night we show the JESUS [film]."
The Bakers have completed 25 projects to date.
After the wells are established, other programs are used to bring people to the church. They'll supply laundry stations, kindergarten programs, and other community needs. Linda says, "We use this kind of as a draw because you need to get people to church and get them involved within that area and within that physical structure before you can actually evangelize them."
Prayer support is needed, but so is financial support. "These projects typically range between $2,000 and $3,000 each. Each donation is a sponsor. Wells have been donated from individuals, Sunday school classes, churches [and] businesses," says Ed.