Greetings from Nicaragua and the Parajon family:
The end of this year is approaching very rapidly and we have been thinking about all of you and wanted to bring you up-to-date on our family and our activities.Gustavo and I are enjoying having so many of our family members here in Nicaragua with us.As we grow older we realize what a blessing it is to see them nearly every day.We all live within 4 minutes of each other.
Gustavo continues as Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Managua, working closely with Pastor Guadalupe Gomez.He also teaches an Adult Sunday school class. He has resigned from Provadenic, effective January 31st, 2003. The plan is that David and Laura will become Co-Directors of Provadenic.Gustavo manages to keep as busy as ever and continues as Honorary Board chairman of CEPAD.In May he was invited by BIM, ABCUSA to be part of a team to travel to Chile to do some consulting with the Chilean Baptist Convention there. In November, the Pueblo Presbytery, that has a partnership with CEPAD, invited CEPAD's President, Rev. José Alguera, Evenor Jerez, Associate Director and Gustavo to travel in Colorado. Also it was very special for our church to be the host for the BWA Congress for church leaders and pastors from Sept. 3-6.Participants came from all of Central America, South America and the U.S.Joel Sierra came from Mexico to be the song leader and give a major paper, which was wonderful.
I am still directing various choirs.Our Adult choir at church has 62 members including Gustavo, Denis and Marta. We have a new Youth choir...ages 11 through 21.This resulted when the 14 members of the youth choir, ages 11-15, were not singing well so I invited the young people from our Adult choir..ages 16-21 to help me with the younger ones in a new choir.They all responded and now there are 34 in the choir including new youths from outside the church.It is very exciting to see how this choir has "taken off" and they are doing great together (and sing in 4 parts) for which I give thanks to the Lord.Our granddaughter Debbi and her friends participate in this choir. The men's prison choir is doing well and we have 35 members in it at this time as we prepare for the big Christmas concert with our church choirs in the National Theater.They gave their Mother's Day concert in our church and also came out in September to sing with us in the National Theater in the 1st Choir Festival that the Theater has organized.In June our choir celebrated its 80th anniversary with a lovely concert in our church.I also continue to work with the Catholic choir from Niquinohomo twice a month, which I enjoy very much.There are no signs of slowing down yet!!!
Marta, Denis, Debbi 13, Raquel 6 and Annie 5 are a busy family. Cynthia, 18 is in London, England this semester as part of a study abroad program of Eckerd College where she is a sophomore.She LOVES London.We are grateful for the fact that we have many dear friends in London who have taken her under their wing to assure that she has a good time as well as feeling part of a family.Marta teaches English as a 2nd Language and translates.Denis works in Orthopedics in the Baptist Hospital and supervising building projects at church as well as working with the young people at church as a Sunday school teacher.
David, Laura, Tini 6, Scotty 4 and Davey 2 have adjusted very well to Nicaragua and the children and Laura all speak Spanish well now.Their children and Marta's are inseparable...especially Raquel and Tini, who are best friends and are in the same room at the Nicaragua Christian Academy.David and Laura are doing wonderful things for Provadenic, the primary health care program. Laura is a gifted teacher for the health promoters and David is working in the administration. They both work with infants in our Sunday School.
Rebecca is living and working in Virginia Beach, VA.She is still working for Towers Perrin where she provides Human Resource services for clients and is very interested in the arts and working in her home and garden.She will graduate from massage therapy school in November.
We have entered into a sister church relationship with the First Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas.We are looking forward to getting to know each other better and sharing many things.Gustavo made a trip up there in February and now we have an 18-year-old exchange student from our choir, Norma Garcia, who is spending the year with them.She is sponsored by the Rotary Club and the First Baptist of Topeka.
Our First Baptist Church of Cleveland helps us in many ways and is still very involved in Provadenic and sent another great team down at the end of June.Gustavo made a visit there to the church in August and was also able to say good-bye to Cynthia before her trip to England.She had worked there for the summer in the day care center at church and enjoyed living with the Wheatons.
I enjoyed my annual trip in July to North Carolina to see my brother and his wife, to visit Rebecca, and then to the great Baptist Music Conference in Green Lake, Wisconsin.Afterwards Debbi, who participated in the Youth Choir for the first time, and I drove to Minnesota and back through Wisconsin and Illinois for a few days, visiting friends before returning home to Managua.
George and Janyce Pixley retired in October and now live in California.They were an integral part of our lives here working in the music ministry and the church.We have had to reorganize. I now have to play the piano every Sunday for the services. We miss them!We will be happy to have our pianist, Carlos Roberto Matinez and his wife, Sharla, back to play for our Christmas concerts.What a relief!!Marta and Sarah Lundblad, who sing in our choir, have taken over Janyce's children's choir (ages 6-10) at church, which is a challenge!Raquel and Tini, our 6-year-old granddaughters are now singing in the choir too.Music brings so much joy into our lives and others.The message of the Gospel is preached in so many different places through the music.
We are grateful to the Lord for all the opportunities for service that He has given us and for good health to carry them out, in the company of our family. The events in the world that happen each day make us grateful for life and life in abundance. We pray for the Lord's presence in the lives of the millions who are suffering today and every day because of poverty, injustice, terrorism, natural disasters and war.Only the Lord can bring us out of the situation in which the world finds itself.
We are looking forward to hearing from you soon and we will be thinking of you in this Christmas season and the New Year.
God bless you.
With love from the Parajon and Cuellar families
E-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org