March 10, 2023

South American Division Staff Embark On Mission Journey

More than 60 volunteers served in a renovation project at a school in Paraguay.

Irene Strong, South American Division Adventist Volunteer Service, and Adventist Review
Volunteer group of South American Division office staff pose for a photo before leaving for Paraguay in February. [Photo: Renso Lupaca]

Seventh-day Adventist secretaries, programmers, pastors, treasurers, accountants, administrators, translators, nurses, and other professionals recently left their regular work activities in the South American Division (SAD) headquarters to travel to Paraguay.

Their goal? To serve as volunteers during the second half of February 2023 in a renovation project at East Paraguay Adventist Academy (CADEP) in Yguazu, Alto Parana.

On February 16, excited volunteers arrived at 6:00 a.m. outside the church regional offices to board a bus, ready for the 22-hour journey to the Adventist campus in Paraguay. “Entire families, young and old, waited to board the bus that would take them to their destination,” organizers said.

CADEP is part of the Paraguayan Union of Churches, the Adventist Church administration in that country. Thanks to pastor, missionary, and educator Yuji Eida, church leaders purchased a plot in 1983 that eventually became the CADEP campus. The school officially opened as a boarding school in 1992. Currently, 140 students are enrolled, and the facilities are also used by the Paraguayan Union for ministerial councils and church members’ training events, leaders reported.

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The school has become known for getting students, faculty, and staff involved in outreach initiatives, such as regular visits to a nearby indigenous community called Remanso Toro. There, the CADEP community carries out social initiatives and organizes spiritual development activities for all ages.

“Over time, CADEP’s physical plant has deteriorated significantly,” Micaela Paredes, who teaches English and manages community outreach at the school, said. “The buildings have been progressively decaying, and it has proven difficult to keep facilities in an optimal state.”

Paredes highlighted the importance of supporting physical plant improvement and restoration. “We believe CADEP has the potential to become a breeding ground for leaders for the Adventist Church in Paraguay and beyond. Our goal is to improve the services offered, focusing on how to reach excellence,” she said.

The SAD office personnel mission trip was developed and coordinated by the regional office of Adventist Volunteer Service. On the CADEP campus, the volunteers painted and worked indoors and outdoors on cleaning and minor repairs. The SAD group included volunteers from seven countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela. “All were united, feeling that they were working for God,” organizers said.

According to SAD Adventist Volunteer Service director Dieter Bruns, the Paraguay 2023 mission trip had three main goals. “First, we look for a better integration of our team, now serving in a setting that is completely different from what they regularly do,” he explained. “Second, to improve the campus of this Adventist school. And finally, to share Jesus with those who live in the area,” he explained.

Organizers were happy to report that the goals of the initiative were successfully accomplished.

The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division Portuguese-language news site.