By Missionary Sue Givens
How it began? In April of 1999, God spoke to my heart to go to Paraguay. That year I made two trips to assist medical missionary friends, Mark and Johanna Waltz. On my second trip, God confirmed to me that I was to help them with the development of a school. I decided to informally name my mission, The Paraguay Outreach….reaching out to share the gospel throughout Paraguay. When we set up this website, the person helping named it Paraguay schools and said someday, you will be reaching many schools; not just New Horizon. God has opened the door for this ministry with the help of many to reach students, teachers and parents in many schools throughout many parts of Paraguay. To God be the Glory!
Introduction: Collaborating with others.
From the beginning, my mission experience has been one of collaborating with many different groups and people. I became a missionary with Latin America Mission (later to merge with United World Mission). Mark and Johanna were missionaries with The Mission Society; together we worked with the leaders of the Comunidad Evangélica Metodista del Paraguay (the national Methodist church). When the Waltz’s first went to the mission field, they were members of Fairview UMC in Maryville, TN. When they shared about God laying it on their hearts to begin a school, their pastor, Dr. Jerry Russell captured the vision of the school and offered the covering of Samaritan Hands. This was a non-profit organization he had started in 1984 to fund mission projects around the world. Mable Love Brown, a retired welfare department employee, heard about the dream and began assisting us seeking sponsors for the children and construction funds.
Friends, family, brothers and sisters in the Lord from many churches began helping: donating funds, physically helping with the construction of the school, and providing medical and education supplies. As the years passed the collaborative efforts expanded to include churches and sponsors in approximately thirty states; the General Board of Global of Ministries, the Project for the People of Paraguay Foundation and the Association of Christian Schools.
In addition, God directed many wonderful Paraguayan Christians to our door to serve as teachers, assistants, and other support staff. At one time, we had eight persons on staff with seminary degrees teaching in the classroom, in the administrative team and teaching or working in support areas. This provided the students opportunities throughout the entire day to be surrounded by God’s love. For the first five years of the school, we had a number of teens in our church who helped in the school. Through our work/study program with donated funds, we had over twenty teenagers help us with the younger children and we were able to help them complete their high school degrees in other schools. Many are still serving in Christian work including two who became pastors and two missionaries. Also, thanks to the generosity of Dr. Edna Daniels, we were able to help approximately 25 adults. Many completed their college and seminary degrees or received special certifications. We provided daily devotions sharing the Word of God to the staff and then in the classrooms. We focused our teachings on loving one another, trusting the Lord, being obedient to Him and many Biblical principles of leadership. Our goal was to provide our students with qualified staff who loved the Lord and who would guide our students for their future endeavors.
Building and Administration of New Horizon Methodist School 1999-2015
The school has been a large part of my ministry in Paraguay working with the teachers, students and their families. But there were also many other programs to share the gospel. For many years I was actively involved with the church’s children’s, women’s and intercessory prayer programs. Evangelistic programs in local public schools and communities throughout parts of Paraguay; helping with projects for Indigenous groups; assisting churches, hospitals, other schools and other organizations including the Lambaré Department # 5 Fire Department.
In December of 2011, I shared with my educational staff that they would be assuming more responsibility and I named to Academic Directors and a Business Manager. Meanwhile, I focused more on the sponsorship program, completing the multipurpose building, establishing the high school, raising funds for new computers, expanding the library, developing a science laboratory, and various other projects. Also during that time I took a medical leave of almost five months, to help care for my mother. In September of 2014, the Comunidad Evangélica Metodista del Paraguay took over leadership of the school.
New Ministry Direction in 2016
In 2016, I officially left the school. Still as a United World Mission missionary, I am officially now serving with the Paraguayan non-profit foundation, the Project for the People of Paraguay. As part of our agreement, I continue to help Samaritan Hands with their sponsorship program which helps provide financial assistance for students attending New Horizon Methodist School or five other Christian schools throughout the city of Lambaré. I also have to time assisting other ministry projects.
The Project for the People of Paraguay Foundation (PPP)
The Project for the People of Paraguay provides Christian witnessing while assisting with educational, dental, and social services for close to 200 families throughout the greater capital area. Also, we provide limited assistance with housing, medical services, and job training especially for women and we provide assistance to a handful of “grannies” needing extra support. With the help of the PPP staff, we are able to help many families in crisis.
I am continuing to manage the Student sponsorship program to assist students who live in the Lambaré area to receive a quality Christian education. The sponsorship program now serves approximately 450 children and youth who attend six different Christian school throughout Lambaré.
Helping Persons with Special Needs
I have also been assisting individuals with special educational needs and unofficially assisting a non-profit group from California, Miracle 139. The goal is to teach Paraguayan teachers and families that these children are also part of God’s plan and helping teachers include these students within their classroom environments.
Other Open Doors
Also, over the past year, God has opened the door for me to do a two-week mission trip in Chile to assist a young pastor, who was my protégé for years in Paraguay. Also, I went to Samaritan Hands and helped develop a sponsorship program in Zimbabwe for a project where all the participants are impacted by severe poverty and many by AIDS. Currently, via email and Skype, I am consulting with that project and also the President of the National Methodist Church of Nicaragua about developing and funding a Christian school in their country. When time permits I am helping a pastor do mission trips to several remote churches that have no help and am assisting mission teams.
Praise to God!
When God told me to go to Paraguay, I was so afraid of leaving all my family, friends and American comforts to venture into a foreign land especially where I could not even speak the language. But just as God was faithful throughout history to those who trust him like Daniel, Esther, Joseph, David, the disciples, and so many more; He has been faithful to me.
God has given me the opportunity to share His Word throughout Paraguay, the United States and other countries. None of the above would have been possible without God’s constant help and guidance, the prayers of many including my special prayer team from High Mill Church of the Resurrection and the thousands of brothers and sisters who have invested prayers, time and funds in this ministry. To God be the Glory and Praise!
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! Phil. 4:13