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The Paraguay Outreach

Greetings from the heart of South America, Lambaré Paraguay!

When God first spoke to my heart to move to Paraguay, I had little information what God wanted of me.  I knew a little about Paraguay though my missionary friends, Mark & Johanna Waltz.  They had shared a dream about starting a Christian school in Paraguay and invited me to join them.  I declined every request.  I was currently a Principal in an Early Childhood Center for children with special needs and an inclusion project.  I loved my job and planned to stay there until I retired.  No did not think I could physically handle the challenges nor did I think I was qualified to be a missionary.  However, on May 30, 1999 God got my attention and in a soft, still voice spoke to my heart that I needed to go to Paraguay!

In July and November of 1999 on two short-term mission trips, the Lord blessed me to visit Paraguay and He opened my eyes to see the needs of the precious people.   At that time, God put a profound love for this isolated, poor country and its people.   By September of 2000, God made a way to me to return to Paraguay to serve as a full-time missionary.  

During the past twenty years, God has done amazing things working together with fellow Paraguayans and missionaries from many countries around the world. We have seen two young men who were in comas and the doctors gave them no hope; healed within a few days after we prayed.  We prayed for an infant baby, Abel. He had a life threatening a respiratory infection and after an infection rampaged through the intensive care unit, Abel was the only baby who left the hospital alive.  We prayed for a dying shaman of an Indigenous group.  Diagnosed with liver cancer, he had less than a month to live.  Both he and his wife accepted the Lord and this led to many in his tribe accepting the Lord. We prayed for a number people who were in their hours and days of life; these people died but beforehand had accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior. We have seen hundreds of students receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior and many of their families have received Jesus.

Our biggest challenge in 2020 is helping families during this Covid-19 pandemic. We have many families unemployed; but we see many seeking God for their daily bread and provisions.  Many people are being creative in ways to help their families survive.  

With the school founders, Mark & Johanna Waltz, hundreds of donors, local Paraguayan members and construction workers under the leadership of the “Comunidad Evangelical Metodista” Church and the Spirit of the Lord; we built New Horizon Methodist School, built the Multipurpose Sport Center and provided two lots for the Villa Zulma church, now named Fuente de Vida Methodist Church. God has provided the resources for us to build a school complex with a multipurpose area and provide twenty years of scholarship assistance for over a thousand families in New Horizon Methodist School, in other local Christian schools and in many local public schools specializing in career options.

We thank everyone for his or her prayers, support and assistance.

With the love of Jesus,

Sue Givens

Brief History of the Paraguay Outreach 1999-2014

Throughout Paraguay in the late 90's, the average Paraguayan had a sixth grade education or less. God directed Mark and Johanna Waltz, medical missionaries to the city outside the Asuncion, the capital.  Concerned about the number of children, not being educated, God put a burden on their heart to build a school. The needs assessment revealed that over 5,000 children in Lambaré were not attending school due to economic problems. Although "free" public education was available, many got turned away due to the lack of space; families could not afford the cost of tuition, books, uniforms, and supplies or the children did not time for school because they have to work. 

The majority of the parents in the barrio / neighborhood did and still not have stable jobs or are underpaid for their services.    In Paraguay almost 70% of the population is under the age of 30, therefore, many children still are forced to work or beg in the streets.

The Paraguay Outreach began in 1999 when God spoke to Sue Givens’ heart to join friends serving in Paraguay.  She went on two different mission trips to learn more about Paraguay and her needs. In the second trip, she began working with Mark and Johanna Waltz. God had given them the dream to start a school.  

Moving to Paraguay, in September of 2000, Sue began learning Spanish and helped Mark and Johanna as they began converting an abandon building into the first classes for pre-school and kindergarten students.

The school officially opened in February of 2001, with one classroom; with pre-school students (age 4) in the morning and kindergarten students (age 5) in the afternoon session.  There were 52 students in total.   Sue was officially named the  director by Pastor Pablo Mora, the President of the Comunidad Evangélica Metodista del Paraguay, the national Methodist organization.

Sponsors and churches across the United States donated funds to Samaritan Hands; these were to purchase land and provide construction funds for New Horizon Methodist School.  In a covenant agreement with Comunidad Evangélica Metodista del Paraguay, Sue served as the school director from the beginning until September of 2014.   The school is owned and now under the leadership of the Comunidad Evangélica Metodista del Paraguay.

 Vision

The vision for helping Paraguayan students receive a quality Christian education is to prepare a new generation of Christian leaders who will model integrity and honesty, and will be guided by Biblical principles and the Holy Spirit. The school opened in 2001 and has earned an excellent reputation for its strong academics and Christian Education.

New Horizon opened new opportunities for the young people in Lambaré as Christ became an integral part of their lives, their families and the community.

"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

Samaritan Hands constructs New Horizon Methodist School in Phases:

Phase I: Early Childhood (Completed in 2001)

In answer to many prayers, the vision for New Horizon School was birthed by God in the hearts of missionaries Mark and Johanna Waltz and the members of a small church in Lambaré. God directed them to Villa Zulma, a barrio (neighborhood) in Lambaré populated with very poor families. Many of the children there need an education but simply cannot afford to go to school without help from outside resources.

In 2000, they secured property across the road from the church with a partially finished building on it. They finished the building, built an additional room in the rear and enclosed the grounds with a protective wall. In February of 2001, the school doors opened for the first pre-school and kindergarten classes. 

Phase II: Elementary Grades 1-8 (Completed in 2004  

Ground-breaking for the New Horizons Elementary and Secondary School began in August of 2001. Mark Waltz and a short-term missionary, Kevin Poe, finalized and corrected the architectural plans, saving the school thousands of dollars.  The new school design enabled them to complete the construction in just over two years instead of the projected five to six years.  Another blessing was when Missionary Christian Dickson, came and was able to help Mark supervise the final stages of construction.  Many local church members along with American work teams worked together to complete the project.  We praised God for His faithfulness in the building of the school.

We moved into the bottom part of the building early in January 2003 as construction continued. During the Grand Opening in February of 2004 we dedicated the building and gave all the Glory to God. The School was rapidly growing each year adding a new grade level and by 2007, there were 585 children enrolled in preschool through 9th grade.   

Phase III: Constructed a Tinglado over the Playground area in 2009

We began talking in 2003 that we needed to build a large area for special event and sports.  We began planning a multipurpose building.  However, the funds needed were almost $200,000 and increasing at a rapid rate each year.  We did not have anywhere for all the students and their families to meet.  The temporary solution was to construct a "tinglado," or covered area over our elementary playground in April of 2009 thanks to a donation from an anonymous donor. It provided shelter from the elements, especially from the intense sun and sudden thunderstorms. We used the area for physical education, recesses, general assemblies, chapel services and parent and community events. We could comfortably host around 500 people in this area. The tinglado was finished along with some additional brick work to close in the one side of the tinglado in September 2009. However, we knew as the school grew, this would only serve for activites for the different age groups; not for entire school functions.

Phase IV: Building the Multipurpose Building (Planning began in 2003; Ground-breaking June, 2009 and the dedication service was Sept. 2013

Raising close to $450,000 for a multipurpose building seemed an impossible task especially with the problems with the slow economy, but God showed again nothing was impossible for Him.  We had a committee and worked hard for several years with the architect to plan the facility. We shared our plans with hundreds of churches across the United States.  The structure was named after the school founders, Mark and Johanna Waltz as a testimony to the students and the community.   Nothing is impossible with God.  If we trust Him, work hard, and do His will; he will make the impossible happen!

Construction began on the Multi-Purpose Sports, Music and Arts Center in June of 2009. It was designed to be used by the school for classes in drama, music and physical education. In addition, it could be used as a community center and by the local church for special events, sports programs and concerts. Our desire was for the building to be used as an avenue for evangelism. The first section of the building was finished in December of 2009. 

In September of 2011, we began the second part and had it ready to be used in February 2012 to provide temporary classrooms for our high school students.  The final section of the building and finishing the interior were done through donations to Samaritan Hands and the Advance.  We had two anonymous $50,000 donations which helped encourage others to donate.

Phase V: Expansion Projects

Community Programs:

  • Our school was impacting more than just the students and their families. Computer, English and Music courses are offered to the community, enabled many to gain employment.
  • Libraries are a rarity in Paraguay. Our school library has over 5,000 books and resources, was open to and frequently used by the community.
  • In cooperation with the local church, we provided many other activities such as Bible studies, marriage enrichment programs, sewing classes, prayer groups, and recreational activities. The school also shared its facilities with the church.

Curriculum

We began the students in the younger grades using the Spanish version of the Abeka Book curriculum (used by home schooling families in the US). This program, Libros Aguila, was well organized, provided in-depth advanced teachings at each grade level and shared God's words and commands in most lessons. As the students progressed we began using many other resources including the required curriculum of the Ministerial of Education.   The Ministerial certified all of our teachers and all the classroom teachers are Paraguayans or Latinos now living in Paraguay.

Our students studied English, music, computer skills and Christian education in addition to a typical academic curriculum which included their two native languages of Spanish and Guarani. Christian counselling and social work services were also available to the children and their families.

                              "Ask and it will be given...." Matthew 7:7

Samaritan Hands began and continues to function on faith that God will touch the heart of others to make our vision a reality; providing Christian education to students who need financial assistance.

How Can You Help Samaritan Hand’s Students?

There are many ways!

  1. Pray for this ministry

Pray that God will direct and guide this ministry and that individuals touched will be make a decision to follow Jesus and help spread the gospel to others.

  1. Become a sponsor to help an individual student

Samaritan Hands began providing educational services in Paraguay and continues to function on faith that God will touch the hearts of others to make our vision a reality.  Each family pays a portion of their child's education.

We seek scholarships through sponsors (referred to as "Sponsorships") to supplement the cost.  A sponsorship is $480 per year per child or $40 a month.  Depending on the Christian school and grade level of the student, these fees can help pay a portion of the students’ tuition fees.  This, we also use general scholarship donations to help families that need more assistance. A few sponsors also donate extra to students with more fees.

Sponsorships run from January through December which coincides with the Paraguayan academic year (February through November).  We offer scholarship on faith that God will provide sponsors for the students each year.  In December, we will be completing our seventeenth year of sponsoring students.  We also will celebrating our fifth high school graduating class and 152 alumni.

Sponsorship requests may be sent to Sue Givens in Paraguay via email: Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo. or to the Samaritan Hands office to Kerry Russell: Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo.

  1. During the Covid-19 crisis, many families need extra assistance to pay their portion of their students’ tuition. Many of the families have been unemployed and lack funds.  Funds can be sent to Samaritan Hands and earmarked for:

Assistance with Extra Student Assistance

  1. Provide funds to provide scholarship funds

We accept donations of any amount that goes into our general scholarship fund. These funds are used for families with extra financial needs for a variety of reasons: illnesses or death of a family member, multiple students needing support, or low income or loss of income or for families that need extra help to pay their portion of the fees.

Donations for sponsorships or general scholarships are to be sent only to the US office:

Samaritan Hands/Paraguay Schools

Box 6016

Maryville, TN. 37802

Thank you so much for your prayers and support.

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

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A Few Testimonies of God’s Grace and Mercy

We believe God hears our prayers when we pray in faith and according to His will.   We have seen over and over again, “Nothing is impossible or too difficult for God!”

Overcoming Shyness

One little girl was very shy and lacked self-confidence.  She barely passed her work in the second grade.  When she entered third grade, the teacher talked to her and her peers and developed a plan and they prayed for their classmate every day.   Since she was afraid to ask questions or respond in front of the class, another little girl volunteered to be her voice.   She would talk to her, and then her friend would repeat the question or answer to the teacher.  Each time she was verbal through her “friend,” the teacher and her classmates reinforced for her communication attempts.   Eventually she began asking the questions or responding directly in a whisper.   By the end of the year, she was able to independently give a complete book report in front of her classmates.  Her peers gave her a standing ovation.  She then asked the teacher if she could dance for a school program.   She danced a beautiful Paraguayan dance in front of over three hundred students.   We have seen her blossom as she trusts in the Lord to give her the courage to overcome her shyness.   She graduated and is now in her second year of studying to be a teacher.  Praise God!

Brave like David

One of our students was brave like David in the Bible.  She is a native Indian and her family lives in a small wooden house.   In her first two years in the school, her father was very abusive to the entire family.  He would often get drunk and on several occasions stood outside the school swearing at the school staff because he did not want his daughter in “that #%& Christian School.”   We prayed regularly for the family.   The little girl, only about half the size of her peers, also prayed for her family. 

A judge ruled that the father was not to have any contact with the family, but he continued to harass them.   When her father was drinking and abusing her mother or her brothers, the girl would tug on her father’s arm and tell him how much Jesus loved him.  When her father calmed down, she would share with him about Jesus.  She was like Little David going against Goliath.   And with the help and the protection of the Lord, she was victorious.  Since then, the father has been reunited with the family and he occasionally attends church with them.  Her family has since moved to another country, but some of her relatives keep us updated.

A Road to Damascus Experience

Many of our children pray for their families to know the Lord.  One adolescent student’s father had attended church for the past three years, but he was quiet and no one knew he was filled with un-forgiveness, hatred and a desire for revenge.  Unbeknown to anyone, he had a gun, transportation and a plan of action to kill the man who murdered his father.   Through the prayers of his daughter and her mother for their family, God intervened with a “Road to Damascus” experience for her father, filling him with Holy Spirit´s grace, peace, and love.

The Faith of a Child

When a little preschool student was sick with a sore throat and fever, he insisted on going to school, saying his classmates would pray for him and God would heal him.   Within an hour of being in school, he was fine.

Girl prays for Alcoholic Father

One little four year old began in the school after being registered by her mother and grandmother. Her father was opposed to her being in New Horizon School.   Her dad had a drinking problem and often was not at home.   During her first year in the school, Dad lost his job.  The little girl would often ask her dad to school events, but he never came.  Finally before one evening program, she asked her Dad again.  As usual, he said he would come.  This time, she said, “will you promise me, because you always say you will come but you never do.”   He promised, and that night he was touched by the Holy Spirit and shortly thereafter dedicated his life to God.   He began seeking the Lord about work, and after about a year, he was hired at the school for two weeks to help with inputting financial data in the computer.  He has since been hired full time to work in the Administrative financial office, and he has graduated with a business degree.

As for the girl’s mother, she began helping in our school as a cook.   She was so impacted by our staff training in the areas of the Bible, leadership and so forth that she totally committed her life to Christ.  She has since graduated from the Methodist Bible Institute, finished her last six years of school for her high school degree and completed a two- year study in the Mennonite Bible Seminary.  She is now serving as a Methodist pastor and heads evangelistic teams to other areas.