Matthew & Ednay Abel
Matthew and Ednay Abel have been serving as AFLC missionaries since 2015. Also known as Mafú, Matthew grew up as a missionary kid in Brazil and was inspired to go into ministry for most of his life. After finishing his education, Mafú made his way back to South America and soon married Ednay. They have three children: Zoey, Ian and Boaz.
At first, their ministry centered around youth camps in Brazil, but eventually Mafú transferred into interim pastoral work. Recently, they have taken the call for a new endeavor to plant churches in Paraguay. Beginning in 2019, their move to Paraguay included language training, connecting with the established church there, and finding a location for a new church. This time of preparation was so crucial for the Abels to adapt to their new country. The language of Paraguay is Spanish, but there is also Guarani, “the people’s heart language” as Ednay said. She and Mafú have spent many hours investing in learning this vital part of Paraguayan culture.
Now, they are located in Villarrica, which previously had no evangelical influences, to plant an AFLC church. Mafú described their ministry “To preach Jesus Christ, that people might come from darkness to light—from death to life. And as people come to faith, they need to be discipled…Evangelism and discipleship, this happens when people are gathered together around God’s Word.” On this foundation, the Abels are excited to witness how the Lord will connect the community through the Gospel.
Paraguayans are hospitable and have a befriending custom of sharing Terere tea. Mafú expressed this is one of his favorite parts of the culture because it is a tradition all about conversation – time spent with one another. Building community and conversation also comes through home Bible studies, meals, weekly church services, and camps, all of which Mafú and Ednay are eager to establish in their new community.
The Abels are excited to be settled and start growing relationships with those around them. They have a church property purchased and looking forward to seeing the church grow as people come to know Jesus Christ. Ednay loves having people into their home, sharing their family life together with others. Once the little ones are more grown, she also hopes to assist others through her vocation as a physical therapist. Mafú is passionate about starting camps and a soccer school to invest in sports ministry. With this venture into a new country, the Abel family is looking forward to establishing Christ-centered churches in Paraguay, partnering with the church in Brazil, and growing a strong community of believers in South America.