Hello from the dusty, hot Chaco! I was hoping to include some pics to give you all a little taste of life here, but unfortunately it’s giving me a hard time with uploading! 🙁
On September 5th, I made the big move 6 hours away from Asunción to a city called Filadelfia (think Philadelphia with fs … ;)). When I first arrived, I stayed at a home that NTM has that is made available for us missionaries to use for short periods of time. And, a couple of weeks after I arrived, some missionaries that have a house here in the city that they aren’t using right now, generously offered to let me stay in their home until December! What a blessing it has been to be able to not have to worry about finding a place to rent and all that business right away. God has been so kind to provide right away for this need.
Since arriving, I have been on a new learning curve. Filadelfia is quite a bit different from Asunción, and it takes some time to get used to the quieter life here. I’ve learned a whole new way to pay for groceries, learned my new address (*see below if you want it!!), learned how to drive stick, learned how to live without a good internet connection, but most of all I’ve been learning how to deal with the hot, dry, dusty weather. After dusting one’s house, it’s not uncommon to find another layer laid within the hour. 😉
As I have mentioned in previous updates and presentations I did while in the states, Filadelfia is mostly made of Mennonites or German/Russians. So it has been interesting to see the unique and VERY different culture that is here compared to that of Asunción, and probably most of Paraguay in general. In fact, the very first time I went to the grocery store, someone tried speaking to me in German thinking I was one of them, to which obviously I replied (in Spanish), “I’m sorry, sir! I don’t speak German!” His response? “How do you not speak German?!” I think the white color of my skin, blonde hair, and light colored eyes throw them off. J
With this unique culture that I am learning, I am also being made more and more aware of the ministries that the Mennonites have here among the tribal people of Paraguay. I had the opportunity to travel with a new Mennonite friend to a place called Yalve Sanga, which is a small operation run by the Mennonites. In this small community, there is a Hospital, a Bible School, a grade school, middle school, and a high school – all for tribal people. Those tribal people that live in the area are treated at the hospital for a very affordable (to them) price, and those attending the schools live right there on the property. It’s fascinating to see how God has been working and moving here in Paraguay to make His name great for many years. That being said, there is still work left to do! And that’s why I’m here, and why many others are still working towards this end.
Since returning, many have asked if I have nailed down any specific future plans yet or if I know with what tribal group I will be working. And on that front, my response is still, only the Lord knows the answer to that! But, I am excited about the possibilities! During these weeks, I have also been able to start communicating with one specific team, and we are in the very beginning stages of pursuing a possible open door for me to join them in their work. So specifically, I would ask that you all would pray along with me, that God would clearly open or shut the doors to this option. But also, if you would continue to pray in general for guidance and direction from the Lord in this area, it would be SO appreciated!
It appears that the Lord has me in a slow time of life, adapting to my new surroundings and waiting on Him to bring about clarity as to what is the next step. For the “worker” in me, there have been some days were accepting the reality of life right now has been a bit hard, as I “just want to do what I came here to do already!”. But in His great grace and kindness, He has me exactly where I am in exactly His perfect timing. And during this time, my first goal, as it always has been He has made clear to me through His Word and through His faithful people, over and over again.
Hosea 6:3 says, “Let us know, let us PRESS ON to know the Lord.” And verse 6 of the very same chapter says, “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”
Because we have life, He has given us the opportunity, and even the responsibility, to know Him more and more with each passing moment, and He will continue to use those things we learn and many other things to conform us into the image of His Son. After all, what would we want the world to see when they look at us – ourselves or Jesus?
And so, during these quiet, slow days, God is preparing me. Maybe not in the ways I would have thought He would, or even in the ways sometimes I think would be better, but He has promised that He will change me to be more and more like Christ as I walk with Him, and that way is always the best way. Hopefully one day when I finally get to that place God is preparing for my future, those that come into contact with me will see more of Christ than Katie when they look my way. And Lord willing, I will be able to be a part of seeing those very same tribal people be able to glorify God, walk with Him, know Him, and look more like Jesus with each passing moment as well.
As always, thanks to those of you who pray for, encourage, and financially support my ministry here in Paraguay. I am so blessed and privileged to be a part of what God’s doing here, and I’m so overjoyed to be able to partner with you all in it!
Katie Mae Sawyer
Filadelfia Box 36
*Also, people have been asking about my transportation situation. As of now, I haven’t quite met my goal for the amount needed to purchase a reliable truck. But through the friend of a missionary, the Lord has given me the opportunity to purchase a motorbike at a VERY affordable price that will give me more freedom until I am able to purchase a vehicle. While this is a blessing, it is not a very long-term solution. Because of the conditions of the roads, in the rainy seasons many would be unpassable on a motorbike. And during the dry, dusty seasons, the clouds of dust that fly around are both very large and very dangerous to drive through, especially on a bike. So, I’m still saving up, praying that the Lord would give me the opportunity to buy one when the time comes to move to the tribe, if not before.