Our Latin America prayer series concludes this week with a message from Dr. Martín Hartwig Eitzen in Paraguay.
Along with neighboring Bolivia, Paraguay is one of only two landlocked countries in South America. According to 2018 data, 96% of Paraguay’s 7.4 million people are Christians (88% Catholic) and 3% practice no religion. In the seventeenth century, during Spanish colonization, many native Guaraní people converted to Christianity and sought protection in Jesuit settlements from enslavement. Today, around 95% of Paraguayans are Mestizos (descended from both European and Indigenous ancestors), and over 90% speak a Guaraní dialect in addition to Spanish.
Martín teaches missiology and intercultural studies at Universidad Evangélica del Paraguay (UEP) in Asunción, the country’s capital and largest city. Previously, he led Instituto Bíblico Asunción, a Mennonite Brethren seminary that merged with UEP in 1994. Currently, Martín also serves as the founding Director of Instituto Aquila y Priscila (IAP). In partnership with UEP, IAP trains pastors and lay leaders for Christian ministry and service in Paraguay, Colombia, and Mexico.
ScholarLeaders sponsored Martín for his PhD at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Illinois, USA), where he was one of the missiologist Paul Hiebert’s last doctoral students. Martín’s 2019 book Dependent, Independent, Interdependent? analyzes how Western missions have impacted South American churches and considers how believers from different contexts can work together with cultural humility. Learn more about Martín’s fascinating background through this 2009 profile from Christian Leader. Martín and his wife Betty have three sons.
Martín shares the following message:
I want to ask the ScholarLeaders community to pray for these requests:
When we founded the Instituto Aquila y Priscila almost ten years ago, we didn’t know where God would lead us with this project.
Today, this institute, which serves pastors and lay leaders in their own churches, has established 44 training centers in Paraguay and is present in Colombia and Mexico as well. Over 1,600 church leaders have received training through this initiative.
We pray for the more than 50 instructors, for their frequent travels to the inland, for protection and strength.
We also pray for more willing and trained instructors, since many more lay church workers are awaiting to be trained in their service to the Lord.
Martín Hartwig Eitzen