Just surviving or thriving?
After giving him the latest numbers of confirmed cases of coronavirus, deaths, and number of people recuperated, it was my turn to ask him a question. “How are you guys doing, and do you have enough to eat?” I was thinking of an article that had been publicized recently, giving the impression that Paraguayans were going hungry for lack of government aid. “Oh yes, we have plenty to eat, and we are all very healthy in our community,” he replied eagerly. “As you know, we live on the edge of the Paraguay River, and we discovered a place where the surubi catfish weigh several kilograms!”
My grandfather, a cross-cultural missionary in the 1970’s, understood holistic and sustainable ministry. He grasped the reality that one day the Angaite people would not only be responsible to support their own families and thrive economically, but they would also need to sustain the making of disciples among their own people and to cross cultural barriers with the message of the Gospel. He knew that it would take several generations for the Angaite to find a healthy balance between an animistic worldview supported by hunting and gathering for survival to that of a biblical worldview expressed in a shifting social and economic environment.
As I hung up the phone, I realized that the Angaite, although their life is not easy and can often be difficult, have moved from survival to that of thriving. The evidence of thriving individuals can be seen in the home, in the community’s education, economic development, government, and social structures. However, thriving does not depend on the external or circumstantial, but by being made alive after being dead in our sins and separated from the Source of Life: our Creator and God.
Thriving begins with me. It begins by accepting God’s solution to sin and death: the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection. It means staying connected to God through fellowship. That is how we thrive in difficult times.
What a wonderful article! So encouraging, uplifting my heart. We have prayed for your family’s ministry there over the years. I prayed as a child growing up in Sunday School. I loved our missions conferences where your Mom and Dad, now others, highlighted the ministry and how we could be a part! We have continued to pray as adults and even now as we enter our senior years. What a thrill it is to hear how God has and is using you and your family, and even now the great-grandchildren! I feel connected to these believers. Thank you for your faithful service!