So I had two big cultural experiences within the past two weeks. A nearby church had donated us their bus in order for us to take a field trip with the public school in our community Catrigandí. This is the school where I have been volunteering my time teaching English. We decided to go to the zoo which is on the other side of the city from where we live. About a 3 hour trip. The kids, teachers, and parents were very excited. In total there were about 50 that went on the trip.
We never could gather everyone for a photo as everyone was so excited to get moving!
Highlight of the trip: Seeing a school bus full of children look out the windows in amazement at the airplanes as we neared the airport outside of Panama City. I had forgotten that living out in the countryside where we are there is only an occasional helicopter. I was thankful to be part of this experience, knowing, that for some of these children, they have never traveled so far in their own country.
Trying to catch a peek at the airplane.
All in all, it was a successful trip even with occasional chaos of kids running ahead of the group! Happy kids!
Two days later, there was a graduation ceremony for the sixth graders, as December is the end of the Panamanian school year. For some of the uprising seventh graders, they have a choice between two schools to finish out the rest of their schooling through Highschool depending on their house location. For some, like my neighbor Elena, they are contemplating moving closer to the road for the convenience of Carlos having an easier time traveling to school. Otherwise, if they stay, Carlos will have to walk a 35 minute walk out as early as 5 or 6 in the morning just to wait and catch a bus to school. We will greatly miss our dear friends if they move! Please pray for their family as the discern this next big step!
Elena and Carlos
Highlight of graduation: Getting to witness my neighbor and friend Elena see her son Carlos graduate. Some adults in the area have not had the privilege of completing a primary school education. What a proud moment to witness the seven graduates of our small rural community!
(Alena is the mother of Luris, one of Kalea´s mejor amigas!)
Kalea and Luris experiencing the zoo together.
How the time has gotten away from us! We have been keeping busy between working away at our house and leaving to go to a missionary conference on the other side of the city with MB Mission. We have enjoyed the time in sharing with other missionaries from other parts of Latin America. It was a time of sharing, listening, laughing, crying and feeling refreshed with our friends…some new, and some old!
Some of the Wounaan Church Leaders participated in our final ceremony with MB Mission during the Latin American Conference.
Getting to know some missionaries serving in Mexico and Peru. Lovely Women!
Feeling refreshed with the words….” But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction. He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.” Job 36:15-16
I suffered with anxiety and depression for almost a year in regards to my health. At times I felt defeated. These words were a reminder and a truth that I needed to hear in order to have closure and to speak against the wicked lies that I was consumed with in regards to my health. How great and freeing is it to be under the promises of God. Praise God for all of the healing he has done!
I now have that invitation to a spacious place and really feel that He has put a table with much abundance in front of me. I thank God for His blessings and pray the same for you that you would be encouraged to think about the great food he has put before you. For me the food is all of the great opportunities He has put before me. Not to be overwhelmed, but to try and focus on what God is calling me to.
Please pray for our team members Einer and Girlesa Zuluaga. Einer is scheduled to have surgery in December and are currently in Colombia.
If you happened to be in the Darién jungle a few days ago, and you happened to be on the Tuqueza River, you may have seen a group of indigenous gathered around concrete-skirted hole a little ways from the river bank. Well… if you happened to stop and go up to see what was going on, you may have peered into the hole and seen two white legs protuding from the murky water far below, awkwardly yet perhaps intentionally. Don´t be alarmed. This is the new standard procedure for installing a 4ft. tall pump in a 3ft diameter well sleeve when you realize after traveling very far that said pump must be installed horizontally because of a number of variables which you realize are beyond your control. The procedure involves inverted, underwater excavations somewhat akin to catfish grappling. Perhaps this sounds like an undesireable job, but the water is refreshingly cool, and when you are submerged in it, the dreaded morongoi bug cannot get you. When you are not in the water, you must be covered from head to toe during the wet months in the tropical heat when the bloodsuckers thrive… a less desireable job (Colleen and Kalea stayed home for this one). Praise God!!! We put the pieces from a history of failed projects together and began pumping water for the community. I will return next week for a follow-up visit and some training for community technicians. Be well and enjoy your water.
Howdy from immigration!
We’re trying to get our visa. Please pray that it goes well. We are grateful that Kalea makes herself at home with other kids in unlikely places.
Things are moving fast here at the end of the road, Yaviza. New partners and renewed vision has breathed life into this church-owned property, and it feels somewhat like being part of a winning sports team marching towards the championship. One of the big “games” that we are determined to win is the aforementioned radio station to be operated here on-site by the Emberá and Wounaan. The initial study has been conducted by Avant ministries and the light is green, the equipment has been donated and awaits us in Canada, groups have committed to helping with the construction of the necessary infrastructure to house the equipment and people operating the station, we’ve even been given the verbal go-ahead from the director of Panama’s equivalent to the Federal Communications Commission and promised the license. The only remaining step is to comply with the requirement to conduct a formal technical study by a Panamanian engineer and complete the relevant documentation. While this task normally costs upwards of $5,000 plus legal fees, a compassionate professional has offered to do the job for $2,000, the remaining legal paperwork costing about $1,000. So… Without further adieu… We are asking if you might be called to financially support in part or full this last, big step towards accomplishing the long-standing goal of operating a radio station by and for the people in the rural communities surrounding Yaviza. Are you called to be part of this? We invite you to pray about it. Donations can be made directly to the project through Mb Mission here: Yaviza Camp Please be sure to let us know so it can be earmarked for the radio.
There lived a poor woman with her young daughter and handicapped son in a makeshift shack in the yard of her adult, delinquent son. One day, the son ordered her to leave. Carrying what wood she could, the woman set out to try and find a dry place to spend the night with her children. She went to the church where, despite her financial poverty, she had been devoting 3 days per week to cook for the abandoned children of the community. At the same time, a member of the community learned of her situation and felt moved to give her a plot of land on which to live. At the church lived a family that had left everything to care for and teach the same abandoned children. They also had compassion on the woman and decided to build her a minimal structure to withstand the tropical rains on her little square of land. The same community member was moved by the efforts of the family to help the woman and decided to give them, also, land on which to build a home. Unfortunately, when the first rains of the year saturated the land, the area they were given flooded, and they realized that they could never build there. The poor woman, in turned moved by the plight of this family that had sacrificed so much to help her decided, “Listen… If you don’t mind being my neighbor, we will divide my land, and you can build your house here.” The next time they were gathered together at the church the pastor asked, “Woman, why are you so happy today?” To which she responded, “Because now I have good neighbors.” Sorry I don’t have a picture of Robinson with Maura, that many of you have met here in Yaviza.
It is unquestionable that United States and other wealthy nations have shown tremendous generosity through giving used and new clothing, amongst other things, to less developed nations. We can, however, question our discernment about which T-shirt would be most appropriate to give.
Kevin thrilled to swing on the new playground
I was greeted by many smiling faces as I returned to my English class last week. Prayers have been answered as the parents of the school have worked hard to remove all of the bats and clean and paint. Thanks to their hard work, our school is now cleaner and safer!
Some students create a historic building in Panama using beans.
Please pray that God would help us discern as we get ready to plan our months ahead visiting communities
It was a challenging but rewarding visit to two communities on the Membrillo River in the Emberá-Wounaan comarca, Sinaí and Mach Pöbor. After rebuilding the pump, installing the new controller, and waiting for the sun to shine (on the solar panels) we were able to pump water. Yeah! This is a big first step in getting the system operational. Unfortunately, the well design that worked so good in Villa Caleta will not likely work here because of the geology. So we’ll be back to the design table to see how to deal with this powerful river.
Mach Pöbor has become quite the community in its two short years of existence. Having relocated to higher ground following the flood of 2010, they have received few of the promises from the government, and have built a tremendous amount of infrastructure with their own sweat and resources. But they still lack a water system, so we’ve taken the first steps in designing a system. Fortunately, they have a nearby stream, so we won’t have to battle with the main river there.
Colleen and Kalea arrive in 2 hours, and I will make a big stride against the nemesis of loneliness after a long month of working without them.
Blessings and Health,
I continue to laugh as I praise God when I think back on the past and where He has taken me…How can I have so much love for a country and its people when I once despised even hearing the name of the place? I am filled with joy when I think how God can use even me….He challenges me, He pushes me, He is always there…
A buddy Rhys Martell challenged me to think about my ideas and beliefs about Jesus and God in a sermon (https://soundcloud.com/accsermons/2014-07-06-rhys-martell ) “…You need some evidence in order to build faith and strengthen it, the only way to get evidence that is really going to mean anything to you is by doing what He asks you to do, and then seeing if He shows up. …If He shows up, Game Changer!”
I honestly don´t remember expecting God to show up in Panamá. I was controlled by money, and thought once we ran out of money we would have to leave and pack our bags (More or less because that´s what I wanted). Guess what? We did run out of money, but He did show up! Game Changer! It was the best thing that could have ever happened to our family…He showed up with food, and later on a job that provided income for our family, and later on training and eventually becoming official missionaries with MB Mission…It built up my confidence, my faith….He does want me here! And now, every day, when I think about all of the beautiful people that pray for us continually and provide financially it is a reminder of this, and to me, a miracle. Now as I said, I love the country and I love the people…at times I feel life is simpler there, and at other times harder…but it all feels right, and at the end of the day, easy or not, I can praise Jesus for His works. I challenge you to reflect on where and what God is calling you to. Invite God to lead you in your life. Will you follow?
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. -John 14:21
Please pray for a new direction I feel God is calling me to that involves youth and music…I won´t say any more than that at this point…but I feel like God has poured fuel into my body and I am excited to trust Him and see where it leads!