We hope that you are finding peace, love, and joy this holiday season! We left Panama feeling greatly encouraged by some dear brothers and sisters from Arnold Community Church to spend Christmas here in South Carolina.
We have been cherishing time here with family and we feel joyful as we have witnessed Joshua getting to meet aunts, uncles, great-aunts and great-uncles, cousins, and our beloved “Gran,” Joshua´s great grandmother. What bliss to see Joshua content in her lap as she held him and he smiled up at her!
As we get ready for the New Year we would like to reflect back on some highlights and ask that you pray with us!
We had a successful school year with Kalea´s homeschooling! She graduated Kindergarten and will begin first grade in March (She is on the Panamanian school schedule). She now is counting past 100, and seems to really enjoy math. She began reading independently! Pray with us that this next year would be filled with fun in learning! …for myself (Colleen) as a primary teacher, to be overflowing with patience!
Opportunities and the accompanying workload continue to grow in the water and sanitation ministry… along with surprises. Our team felt like failures after one recent visit where there seemed to be limited participation from the community, and we didn´t accomplish what we´d hoped to finish. Later, we learned that there was very serious division in the community, even within families, and that the water project was the only common ground that kept people talking and somewhat unified. What was a failure from our human perspective was (and is, since we haven´t finished) functioning to bring about forgiveness and reconciliation. There are more Wounaan partners becoming involved and a sort of awakening in the communities as stories of hope and success are shared from village to village. The funding for this ministry began as an “urgent relief project” and concludes in May, so we invite you to pray with us about if and how to continue the momentum that has grown around this ministry.
The ground has already been prepared for a new house that will be built in Yaviza on the church property in order for us to be closer to many of the river communities that are easily accessed from this location, in addition to being able to live in community with our teammates, the Zuluaga´s. This also means being available to serve in the children´s club, with which Kalea will have the opportunity to participate. Pray with us for peace in transition, patience and trusting that the timing in this house build will be perfectly arranged according to Gods will.
MINA (Missions in North America)
We will be discerning dates with the lead team at MB Mission to determine when we will be taking our 4 month journey for “Missions in North America”, which will occur this 2016! This is taken every three years by full time missionaries. This time will be spent visiting ministry partners as well as the MB headquarters in Canada. Pray with us that we would find peace in all that is prepared for us. Peace in traveling away from our home and those we cherish in Panama for this extended time.
Praying that you and your family have a Christ filled New Year!