Reopened Church Hosts Operation Christmas Child Outreach Event

October 28, 2016 • paraguay
morning distribution at Iglesia Bautista Campo Verde in Capiata
Berta Velazquez tells the semi-circle of women and children gathered outside of the newly reopened church building that Jesus loves children and wants them to know Him.

Children and parents in Capiata, Paraguay, hear the hope of the Gospel at a church that recently reopened after being closed 16 years earlier

morning distribution at Iglesia Bautista Campo Verde in Capiata

Pastor Julian Velazquez and his wife, Berta, reopened Iglesia Bautista Campo Verde in Capiata, Paraguay, to be a beacon of hope in the community.

Iglesia Bautista Campo Verde in Capiata, Paraguay, had been closed for 16 years. Earlier this year, Julian and Berta Velazquez decided it was time to have this beacon of hope shine again in their rural area so blighted by alcohol and drug abuse. So, after two months of praying about it, they reopened the one-room cement structure and began going door-to-door in the community, inviting people to church.

It was the children of the families who responded. Every Sunday at 4 p.m., the couple teaches Sunday school to 30 children and four women.

You Can Pack a Shoebox

One of the women had been a member of the church years ago.

“I am very happy the church has reopened because I want to serve God here, to do something for Him because He’s done so much for me,” Juana said.

morning distribution at Iglesia Bautista Campo Verde in Capiata

Ariel (left), 13, regularly brings siblings Arthuro, 11, and Jenny, 9, to church with him. He says that church leaders Julian and Berta Velazquez have taught him the importance of respecting others and loving God.

She raised her five children on her own after her husband died. Now remarried, Juana brings her grandchildren to church.

In June, the church held an Operation Christmas Child outreach event. Julian and Berta told the children to bring a friend who normally doesn’t attend church to hear a Gospel message. There were 60 children at the outreach event, double the number of regular attendees, and about a dozen parents.

“This is a great opportunity to reach kids and, through them, the parents,” Julian said.

Ariel, age 13, was especially happy to see the school supplies—several pens, colored pencils, and notebooks—in his Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift because he didn’t have these things to use in school.

Ariel used to be disobedient to his parents, Berta said. Now, he brings siblings Arthuro, 11, and Jenny, 9, to church with him each week to hear the Gospel.

“Respect, that’s what they have taught me, respect for others and for God,” Ariel said about the Velazquez family.

Julian and Berta hope that seeing the change in Ariel will lead his parents to be drawn to God.

Please pray:

  • For the church’s worship services, which are held on Sundays at 4 p.m. Eastern time.
  • For wisdom and stamina for Julian and Berta Velazquez as they visit homes and navigate the logistics of reopening a church building in their community.
  • That Ariel and his family will be drawn closer to Christ.

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