A Children’s Day Victory
GCF in Action
Every August in Paraguay, local believers and our team of Alliance international workers have a golden opportunity to reach our community. It’s called Children’s Day.
While many countries celebrate a children’s day, Paraguay commemorates it on the anniversary of the battle of Acosta Ñu, fought during the Triple Alliance War in 1869. Having run out of men to fight, families dressed their children in fake beards and gave them sticks painted as weapons. Easily defeated, more than 2,000 Paraguayan children died in the battle. Now every August 16 is set aside as a reminder of how precious our children are.
Schools, churches, and other groups around the country hold activities. In 2016 our C&MA church, Iglesia Mi Esperanza (My Hope Church), hosted a carnival-style event in a nearby community park.
Likely similar to other Children’s Day events held this time of year, our carnival had games, face painting, a bouncy house, prizes, popcorn, and massive amounts of sugar. But unlike other celebrations, the nearly 300 children (and as many adults) who attended also heard a gospel presentation through music and dance. Each child left the park two hours later with not only a gift and candy but also knowing that he or she matters to Jesus and is loved by Him.
At face value our celebration went well. It was the highest attended event we have ever hosted. But what was even more encouraging was what happened behind the scene.
For a while our church has taught about living with a mission. We have been learning to look past the four walls of our comfortable building and reach our community in a tangible way. We have tried to teach that living a missional life isn’t the job only of an American missionary.
On Children’s Day our church worked together as the Body of Christ. Each member played a different role, none more important than the rest. Each job was necessary for the rest to function well.
From Cristina and Ivan comparing prices at the market and then putting together more than 300 goodie bags to Carlos, Evelyn, and the youth group coordinating the music presentation to Mary spending hours making enough popcorn to feed an army, the entire church—nearly every single member—worked together toward one purpose: to show Christ’s love to our community.
The people of Mi Esperanza served, taught, encouraged, and loved others as members of one body. What a blessing to see Paraguayan believers use the various gifts they have been given for God’s glory and in His service!
On Children’s Day, Mi Esperanza became the hands and feet of Jesus. We celebrate that as a Children’s Day victory.
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