More teenagers from indigenous communities are joining the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Paraguay, thanks to the friendship and warmth of the welcome they receive in the Pathfinder clubs of that South American nation.
Guaraní is the language of choice for most people living in rural areas and at least half of the general population. It has been the way for Adventist youth to reach less accessible parts of the country. “[Guaraní] is the official native language of Paraguay,” said Everson de Souza, leader of Pathfinders, Adventurers, and Youth for the Adventist Church in the country. “And there are indigenous communities where they only speak this language. The funny thing is that you can only enter those places if you know the language. Otherwise, the people will reject you.”
In light of this reality, the Pathfinder clubs have shown willingness to help in their community and encourage the practice of Christian values through camps, health fairs, and even marches in the streets in indigenous neighborhoods.
Enlisted by the Government
Seeing this achievement, the Paraguayan government requested the formation of a Pathfinder club in the San Francisco community, a place with many material and spiritual needs.
“This is a neighborhood where only Guaraní is spoken, and there are already people who are learning about Jesus and learning values,” de Souza said.
“When you converse in Guaraní, it is easier to build trust and know their needs to help them,” said Gustavo Jara, associate director of one of the Pathfinder clubs.
The new club has been involved in community service and exhibitions of club activities such as marches and meetings. “San Francisco is just one of the many places where the light of Jesus is arriving in Guaraní. The work of the Pathfinders is not yet finished, and each day they are challenged to speak to everyone that Christ is coming soon,” de Souza said.
According to church leaders, there are 93 Pathfinder clubs with 2,099 members across Paraguay.