Sunday morning we gathered on Oscar and Karen’s porch before 9 a.m. for prayer meeting. Church services in Paraguay generally start earlier than in North America in order to avoid the heat of the day. At 9 a.m. services begin with a call to worship and singing. Oscar has the sermon from Ephesians 2. He talks about how today we are here to dedicate ground to the start of a new church building, but that there is a more important church building that we need to be concerned with. Our personal spiritual temple/church building is what needs to receive our primary attention. Many people are reluctant to go to a physical church building for services, but if our personal spiritual church building is founded on Christ, others will want to come and spend time with us seeking help for their spiritual needs. He has seen many beautiful church buildings in his travels, but a beautiful building means nothing if the people within have left their personal temples fall into spiritual disrepair. For a church to grow it must be filled with members who are actively working on their personal spiritual growth and on growing spiritually together. This is what makes a church building beautiful and what makes people want to come to the physical church building. This is what will make the Las Garzas church beautiful and bring praise and honor to God.
After Oscar finished preaching, there were special musical numbers and testimonies. Then we reassembled next door to the new church property. Oscar asked that anyone participating in the ground breaking should realize this means more than just digging a shovelful of dirt. If means that you are going to be personally dedicated to supporting the Las Garzas church and its congregation. He asked Alex from our workteam if he would be willing to dig the first shovelful. Alex was glad to do so.
Tranquilino, one of the local members who had given his testimony earlier, also came forward to dig a shovelful of dirt and Karen read a passage from Ezra’s dedication of temple in Jerusalem. Then Tranquilino took a large rock and placed it in the ground signifying the laying of the cornerstone from the scripture reading in Oscar’s sermon this morning (Eph 2:20). Tranquilio was the first convert in the Las Garzas outreach.
Finally, all the children gathered around the cornerstone to have their pictures taken.
Sunday afternoon, we ate lunch at the Quinta. In the late afternoon, the boys participated in the weekly soccer game at the field behind Pastor Pedro’s home. For Dinner, we were invited to Pastor Dario’s house. Before dinner we sat in the front yard in a circle talking and drinking tereré.
When it was time for dinner, we all crammed into Pastor Dario’s dining room for another evening of good food and good fellowship.