Beryl Baker

October 2021

Come, ye thankful people come, raise the song of harvest home.

All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin …

Dear Friend,

Autumn is here again in all its beauty, reminding us, with the harvesting of crops, fruit and seeds, of God’s Providence in His wonderful creation.

Sadly, we are unable to hold a Harvest Festival again this year and are again launching an appeal in aid of Beryl and her work in the Chaco region of Paraguay. Your response to last year’s Appeal was marvellous with CHF 2671 and we hope you will once again show solidarity to Beryl who is really dependent on our gifts so that her clinic will survive. It has been a sad and difficult year for her as you can read in the excepts from her letters which we have enclosed. For once she has made allusions to her own health problems as well as those of her patients.

Since Clive Atkinson left Vevey in the spring, there is no official chaplain to Neuchâtel Church, but we are fortunate to have the chaplain from Berne coming monthly on a Wednesday at 6 pm for a Communion service in the chapel at Poudrières 21. We are also starting monthly Bible studies with Alexandre Paris on Tuesdays from 2-4 pm. If you would like to be kept informed of either of these activities, please contact Pat Smith or send an email.

With thanks and every good wish,

Pat Smith, Treasurer and Rosemarie Zimmermann, member

 HOW YOU CAN DONATE    On-line:    IBAN: CH86 0029 0290 IN 10 023 00  Please indicate ʺ Beryl Baker Appeal ʺ 

« The Gospel is all about spreading God’s love, in the name of Jesus, to all creatures great and small, human or unhuman.  Glory be to God.»

Such is the statement of faith of Beryl Baker, this little woman with a huge heart.

An English-trained nurse, Beryl has spent nearly 40 years as the only hope for medical treatment for around 18000 indigenous people of the Chaco region of Paraguay.

The scrubland Chaco covers over half the total area of Paraguay and its semi-arid climate varies from severe droughts to even more severe floods, cold winters and torrid summers. This area lacks all basic infrastructure and modern amenities, and is bisected by the Trans-Chaco highway. Beryl has to travel 300 kilometres down this pot-holed road to reach Asunción, the capital, for supplies of medication or if she needs to take patients to hospital.

In Asunción she visited the Anglican Cathedral and it was there that she met George Caspescha, a former member of Neuchâtel Church, who encouraged us to support Beryl’s work. Since then we have been glad to be able to help with the provision of medication, operations and car repairs. Further strenghtening Beryl’s connection with Neuchâtel, Beryl attended Sunday school many years ago with our friend and late pastor Rev. Roy Farrar.

Based on a ranch, over the years Beryl has been able to build a brick dispensary, receiving patients who have walked from miles around, as well as visiting all the outlying regions herself, spreading the good news of the Gospel to all she meets.

As well as actively supporting the health of the vast community through clinics, Beryl also invests her time in training local health promoters who work with her in clinic and outlying areas. Training and education is a vital part of Beryl’s work to care for not only acute health needs but also to improve the general health of the population. Sourcing basic medication and supplies such as antibiotics and analgesics is problematic due to geography and poor national infrastructure. Other challenges include climate and maintaining essential resources such as vehicles.

Beryl is active in supporting the local Church at Rio Verde and leading services there.  Her caring also extends to the vast amount of animals who surround her hut and share her life.

If you would like to donate to support the work of Beryl Baker in Paraquay, please contact us. Alternatively you can deposit directly into the Neuchatel English Church bank account and email us with instructions:

UBS, Place Pury, Neuchâtel.

  • Account number: F28003141
  • Sort Code: 0290
  • IBAN: CH25 0029 0290 F28003141

News from our friend Beryl in Paraguay

You will find the latest news from Beryl below. Older updates are archived and linked below.

Here are some excerpts from recent letters of Beryl

4 March 2022

Dear Julie,

Have just read your email about Covid amongst the indigenous communities in the Chaco. I don’t know how many cases have been confirmed, as people with flu-like symptoms are told they have Covid but no test to prove it and most recover with paracetamol. I was going to write to you today or try to phone you as my circumstances have changed somewhat. My old back injury has now become a present painful reality resulting in a trip with Tito driving his car to the Loma Plata hospital where an X-ray revealed a twisted spine and the crushed basle bones fused together. Treatment – no driving, lifting, pain killers and rest . I can walk without pain short distances and see patients sitting down . No news again due to the lack of signals for the telephone and internet. Now I’m in town coming with the lorry that brings the ranch workers provisions. Left at 4pm, arrived at 10 pm due to a tremendous thunder storm and torrential rain for most of the journey.The temperature dropped dramatically and water splashed up into the lorry soaking my rucksack and case. My underwear in the rucksack was  soaked but my clothes inside the case were ok. As soon as the telephone is completely re charged I will try and phone, signal permitting, as even here in town the signal comes and goes. Will send this before it disappears. Love and prayers,

Paraguay: COVID-19 infections

CMS has received reports of high numbers of COVID-19 infections among the indigenous communities in the Paraguayan Chaco alongside a reluctance amongst these communities to receive vaccinations due to suspicions of government health programmes, and the need to travel large distances to receive the vaccine. Please pray for good health for all in these communities and particularly for the leaders as they guide their communities at this time.

30 March 2021

Beryl was at the clinic in Rio Verde where there was poor WiFi link.

Mari had been to the Ranch with Rhett’s ashes and Beryl and Patricio oa man who is training for the ministry took the funeral service The workers from the ranch and neighbours from the adjoining ranches attended and spoke at the funeral in Rhett’s  memory.

Mari had returned to Asuncion very sad and very tired as she is recovering from Covid herself. 

Asuncion is in complete lock down but Beryl will stay in the Chaco where she is safe and there is a low rate of infection. The line was very poor and Beryl hopes to write soon when she is able to send an email. I was able to wish Beryl a Happy Easter and she was able to tell me that she will be able to keep in touch with Mari by phone. Eileen x

11 March 2021

Dear Praying partners,

Beryl managed to contact me on a very poor WhatsApp line;  

Beryl is in the Chaco and relatively safe but Rhett Butler is in hospital with Covid though his wife can visit because she has COVID too.Allison Hawksbee was going to be discharged today but her oxygen levels were too low. There is unrest in Asuncion due to the shortage of medicines. Prayer is needed for the country and for Beryl as she continues to work in the Chaco but she is obviously concerned about her friends in Asuncion. I know Beryl is relieved when she can make contact with us. Please pray for her, Eileen

January 2021

Dear Julie (Beryl’s contact in the UK, who forwards her letters to us)

Happy New Year and I hope you had a very blessed and peaceful celebration of Jesus’ birth. Again communication in the Chaco has been next to nothing so I sure have to make up for lost time now I am in town. The long awaited big rain has come, filling all the drinking places and the cisterns are overflowing.Praise to the Lord. On the downside thousands of mosquitoes have been making their presence felt along with the ants, termites and plagues of black beetles of all shapes and sizes.The new entrance to the ranch is quite tricky as the sharp incline with a 3-4 foot drop each side makes driving in and out quite precarious, so much so that I asked Tito to drive the Toyota out as the mud was so slippery. Tito,s wife Nancy and his 16 year old daughter Damaris have both tested positive for Covid 19. They live in Villa Hayes, the first town after crossing the bridge from Asuncion. Tito had also received news that Mari, Rhett’s wife was in a hospital in Asuncion.This morning I spoke to Mariela who said Mari was in the Baptist Hospital and Rhett was with her. I went to visit but after much searching was told that she had been discharged yesterday. I left a voice mail message and low and behold Mari phoned me . She has minute kidney stones but is now out of pain. I spoke to Rhett , received another new telephone number with the hope it will work and will have lunch with them on Monday DV. An urgent prayer request is for health promoter Cirilo’s daughter-in-law. She came last Wednesday, looks very pregnant but she’s not. Her abdomen is so distended that her lungs are compromised and she needs urgent attention. Her husband had a car and they said they would go to a hospital immediately but instead they returned to Estribo. It rained 300ml there but after praying they managed to get out. A miracle. A very muddy Cirilo has just phoned me from Cerritos where they will spend the night and tomorrow continue to Asuncion. The patient’s name is Rosalva.Thanks for all the positive news about protecting the environment.

I spoke to my sister-in-law this afternoon who said it was 2C. My great-nephew’s wife Kellie has tested positive for Covid. She and David are doctors in Scotland and have two small children but they are not that sick. I’m banned from attending the chapel services because I’m too old. Chris Hawkesbee is in the same boat and goes to a non-Anglican church along with Alison and another Chapel member Angela. I may go there too but it’s the other side of town. The Pentecostal church is closer. I’ll take cotton wool for my ears for the music sessions!! Here a stormy sticky afternoon so it’d be good to stay in. I’ll write again soon.

January 2021

Dear Julie,

Before I return to the Chaco today I have to sadly report tht Rosalva died. She obviouly had something very malignant. No autopsy was done and it was a battle to get her body back to Estribo but by God’s grace all the obstacles were removed and Cirilo travelled in the ambulance with her body. I had a lovely time with Rhett and Mari and do ask for ongoing prayer for them both. Mari’s small kidney stones are being expelled and that is very very painful. Rhett is doing much better providing he keeps to his diet. Hopefully communication will now improve as again they have changed their telephone number in haste. Love and prayers. Today’s Bible reading is from Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 and for lack of time just one verse 28: The Lord is king and he rules the nations



Previous updates

Beryl update: Oct – Dec 2020

Beryl update: Aug – Oct 2020

Beryl update 29/08/2020

Beryl update: 13/07/2020

Beryl update: 29/06/2020

Beryl update: 06/06/2020

Beryl update: 18/05/2020

Beryl update: 14/05/2020

Beryl update: 06/05/2020

Beryl update: 19/03/2020

Beryl update: approx 01/2020

Further updates and information can be found in our church magazines here