Student Team to Paraguay Combines Scholarship with Service
21 June 2012
A new partnership between SIM and the Rio Grande Bible Institute in Edinburg, Texas, has resulted in the first team of five students spending ten weeks with SIM ministries in Paraguay, South America. The vision of the partnership is to see student teams sent out to serve alongside SIM missionaries and churches in South America, seamlessly weaving together theory and practice, scholarship and service.
“So many people here in Paraguay have been blessed by the RGBI team,” writes Tom Stout, SIM Paraguay Associate Director. “They have come with a maturity in Christ and a humble desire to learn and to serve.”
The five RGBI students hail from the Dominican Republic, USA, Venezuela and Paraguay. This represents the school's diverse student body as well as demonstrates the rising phenomenon of Latin American missions.
“It was very cold and ... they were all sleeping on mattresses on the floor. But we didn’t hear one complaint from them the whole time.”The team’s first week together was a course in Guarani language and cultural awareness with Andy Bowen, a linguist and missionary with World Gospel Mission. The Guarani are the original people of Paraguay who practice a mixture of Roman Catholicism and traditional religion.
The second week was invested in training in worldview and hands-on ministry among the Pa'i Tavytyra people with Mike Goddard, mission mobilizer with New Tribes Mission.
During week three, they assisted a rural church in the distribution of 240 Guarani Audio Bibles. SIM’s Dan Hough writes, “It was very cold and we felt bad because they were all sleeping on mattresses on the floor. But we didn’t hear one complaint from them the whole time.”
Next they served alongside missionary pastor Brad Word, followed by almost two weeks of ministry to youth and children in an urban church in the city of Encarnación.
The next ten days were spent in some of the most remote parts of Paraguay, among river communities that are accessible only by boat.
They finished up their time by ministering to missionary kids (MKs) at the team’s annual Spiritual Life Conference.
After each module or group of modules, Associate Director Tom Stout sat down with the students to process and evaluate it. The ministry person overseeing each module also contributed to the evaluation, bringing rich, interdisciplinary value to each student's experience.
SIM’s Dick Ackley helped set up the partnership between SIM and the Rio Grande Bible Institute, a school which prepares Christian men and women with a strong base in missions to lead the Spanish-speaking church across the Americas. During the summer months most RGBI students participate in hands-on ministry, often in cross-cultural missions. Obed and Juany Cruz with SIM’s Latin American Mobilization Office in Guatemala helped prepare this team.
GOSIM welcomes teams to experience global mission up close and hands on! If your group has skills in building and maintenance, caring for children, teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), sharing faith with young people, or praying, then you can make an impact in God's world.
photos courtesy of Mike Goddard, New Tribes Mission