Paraguay (MNN) — If you’ve ever had a time in your life where you can clearly see where God is guiding you, you know what a blessing that can be. And if you’ve ever been guided to minister to a not-very-responsive people, you can probably relate to this story.
Carol Paige and her husband Donald are missionaries with The Mission Society in Paraguay. They have two children, a daughter in 4th grade and a son who is three years old.
Why Paraguay? Because the country is very spiritually blind to the life that Jesus has called His followers to.
Carol says, “My husband and I are involved in two very different ministries during the day. I teach English in a bilingual Christian school.”
Her husband, on the other hand, has quite an interesting job that played a key role in their ministry and how they got there. Carol says, “My husband [is] a silversmith. And he is involved in a friendship ministry with silversmiths in our local city where we live. He goes and visits them and spends time with them.”
When do you ever here about silversmiths? Well, when you’re in Luque, Paraguay, it’s not as odd as you might think.
Carol explains, “In Paraguay there are towns that specialize in different things, and the town where we live specializes in making silver jewelry and guitars.”
Donald Paige trained as a silversmith for 14 years in Colonial Williamsburg.
And it wasn’t that the Paiges picked Luque because of the specialization in silversmithing. It was God’s providence.
God’s not-so-hidden guidance
Carol explains, “When we came to Paraguay, we weren’t sure where silversmiths were. It ended up that the home that we rented ended up being in the only town in Paraguay where they do silversmithing.”
Along with his ministry to the other silversmiths, Donald is learning how to do Filigranas, a type of Paraguayan jewelry.
Along with their day jobs, the couple co-pastors at a small Methodist church.
Even with all of the things the family is involved in, and while living in a foreign country, Carol feels that her kids are growing up similar to how they might in America–but with a bigger worldview.
“One thing about being on the mission field, however, is that our children are given an opportunity to view differences: different cultures, different ways of life that maybe they wouldn’t experience in the states,” she says.
She wants them to understand that there are no differences between people. They all have needs.
One of the greatest needs in the culture of Paraguay is their ability to understand their need for Jesus.
Carol says, “When the people say that they’re Catholic, they’re nominally Catholic. That means that they’re Catholic because their father is Catholic or that their grandfather is Catholic. The majority do not have a real knowledge of Jesus Christ and what it is like to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.”
She describes their mission field as people living in spiritual poverty, partially due to a reliance on tradition and culture.
Carol wants to emphasize, “We’re not here to bring about American culture, and we’re not here either to conform to Paraguayan culture. But what we’re trying to bring about is a Kingdom culture where there are Kingdom citizens.”
She says this is one of the biggest challenges they have: to let people know it’s not about earthly cultures at all. She also says it is difficult to help people realize that what they have is not a relationship with God, and to help them see they need to be reaching out and helping their neighbors in love.
While this area of the country is complacent and missing the Gospel, to the east is another menacing situation in a different way.
Where the border meets up with Argentina and Brazil is an area of heavy drug cartel and smuggling activity. BBC News reports that this is home to a large Arab community as well. There are rumors that this activity is funding Islamic militant groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, though all three countries deny the claim. With things blowing up in Israel, it is an interesting connection.
Carol says she has heard some of these allegations but lives too far away to know very much about it.
The Paiges are up against many challenges in their own community. But Carol explains she is passionate about their work. She is amazed to see the children understand what it means to love others and what it means to love God. She is amazed to see them put this love into action.
“That’s what my passion is: being able to help transmit that love of Christ to others and seeing them sharing that with the others around them,” she says.
How can you help Paraguay encounter Christ?
“Our biggest prayer request is that the spiritual darkness that is over Paraguay would be broken. I think there is really a spiritual dimension with spiritual warfare here. We need prayer warriors who’ll continue to pray that that darkness will be broken and lifted,” Carol says.
She also asks for your prayers for the family’s strength and faithfulness to what God has called them to even when they face difficulties. “Sometimes it feels like the work is slow and we see very little progress. We don’t always see the fruit of the seeds that we’re planting,” she says. Pray that they would not grow discouraged.
You can give to the couple financially by clicking here.