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.
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!
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’ve made it through 3 long, hot days of meetings in the city with the Wounaan and collaborating organizations. It was encouraging to witness the support and solidarity of these groups: Rainforest Foundation, Native Future, University of Georgia, myself representing MB Mission, and the church, but I won’t miss the heat and confinement of the city. I came home today hoping for a relaxing evening except for packing to leave tomorrow morning for the Membrillo river to visit 2 communities, but my neighbor showed up with his hand half disected from a chainsaw, so I’m at the health center now. Hopefully we’ll get home at a decent hour. Please pray for guidance and fruit for trip tomorrow as well as patience as I wait for Colleen and Kalea to join me in August.
“Watch! I’m about to carry out something new!” “I provide water in the desert and streams in the wilderness to give drink to my people, my chosen ones.” Isaiah 43
The church camp in Yaviza has come alive. God is transforming not only people, but this place as well. And the current team from Canada has jumped in wholeheartedly, planting trees, teaching children in Club La Cima, shoveling muck, and getting us one step closer to having water 24/7! Carry on Grovians!
Two nights ago, we had a program for church. Not a lot of people, but amongst the few and faithful was, of course, Egidio Puchicama, laughing heartily at our puppet show. Afterwards we bid each other goodnight “nan mash oju” “see you tomorrow”. Egidio co-founded this community, Platanares, and was it’s chief for many years. I didn’t make the connection until tonight that I used to stay with the family of one of his 11 children while in Peace Corps. His character shines in his children that I know. So what do Egidio, a group of Canadians on a short-term mission trip, a Wounaan scholar/Bible translator, the national chief, and I have in common tonight ? We’re all in front of a huge gathering of Wounaan. We are singing to the guitar in a mix of languages and harmonies as Egidio lies in his wooden box surrounded by flowers. In an hour or so the morning light will break, and the younger men will dig Egidio’s grave. He will be carried across the river to his final resting place, the recently established cemetery, a forested hill that holds chief Alquilo who was murdered in 2012, and a child who lived just 2 days. Then we’ll get on a boat and head home. Sometimes we question the practicality of short-term missions. Perhaps rightfully so. Nonetheless, it has been heavy yet affirming to see how God has used a few young people from far away to accompany and comfort a grieving community. Thanks for your prayers for our team.