Gospel Advances in Paraguay Despite Dangers
A village strongman in a remote area of northeastern Paraguay told a native missionary that he would kill him if he continued talking with people about Jesus.
The missionary, Oscar*, had come to the windy plains to bring the message of grace in Christ to people eking out a living from the land in an area rife with rebel terrorists. Villagers practiced animistic rituals with a veneer of Catholicism, and Oscar found none of them had any knowledge of the Bible.
No Protestant missionary had ever gone there. The remoteness, combined with the terrorist dangers and the unwelcoming religious establishment, led to the daunting situation that Oscar now found himself in – facing down an influential community leader who railed against the growing number of evangelical Christians.
The strongman, Gonzalo, told Oscar the Christians were causing division in the community, but the native missionary knew the real reasons for his fury: declining sales of liquor and other items used in the native religion’s drunken festivals as more people came to Christ, and a drop in the contributions villagers were required to pay for the festivals.
The remoteness, terrorist dangers and unwelcoming religious establishment, had kept all Protestant missionaries away.
Making the matter more emotional for Gonzalo, Oscar knew, was that he feared villagers would starve if they abandoned the gods of the harvests.
“It’s very simple,” Gonzalo said. “I will kill you if you continue telling people about Jesus. And nobody here is going to mind except your evangelical peasant friends, who can do nothing.”
Sitting in Gonzalo’s office, where he had been summoned, Oscar told him he understood his concerns and left. After much prayer, though, over the next several weeks Oscar met with the influential businessman at a tiny restaurant/bar, explaining to him that the Creator superior to all “gods” cared so much for the people in this remote, forgotten hamlet that He had sent His Son to die for them.
With trust in God Gonzalo needn’t worry about food for the people, and the Son who gave salvation could give him peace beyond all understanding, Oscar told him.
“Despite the threats, our missionary was able to share with Gonzalo about Jesus, who can give him peace,” the director of the native ministry said. “Now Gonzalo has surrendered his life to Christ, and he is attending our local congregation with his whole family.”
The doors have since opened to freely share Christ with everyone in the village, the director said.
“Our missionary is working to disciple this family,” he said. “It is important to highlight that this is an area where the Paraguayan People’s Army guerrilla group operates. It is very dangerous, but our missionaries are courageously preaching the gospel.”
Through such encounters and other forms of outreach, including door-to-door efforts, Bible studies and evangelistic events, the gospel is bringing light and healing to Paraguay. Please consider a gift today to bring the Bread of Life to remote tribal peoples in Paraguay.
*Names changed for security reasons