Un-intentional Dancing.

Yikes! That was a strong tremor we had today! I had just gotten out of the shower and the floor started moving and my knees and the shower curtain started shaking. It was like I was dancing un-intentionally! In my state of ‘undress’ I couldn’t very well run outside. After about 5 long seconds it subsided. NOT a pleasant feeling. God continues to protect me. I guess he has a big ‘to-do’ list for me yet.
Another mission team came to visit me and serve in the Comarca. Emmanuel’s Lutheran Church sent 6 of their members on a ‘look and see’ trip to see what is going on here, and decide what they can do to help in the future. They represented Jesus and their church wonderfully. They sent a nurse, an auto parts salesman, 2 retired teachers, a photographer, and an interpreter. I was more than glad to share my ‘Panamanian family’ with them. They were accepted with open arms.
Somehow we found time during the 6 day stay to: paint a study room in the Comarca, visit 2 schools and help teach English at both, helped serve lunch to hundreds of students, went to the beach, visited 4 families, shopped, slept in a rustic hotel in Chami, repaired a water problem, fed 3 hungry families, and ate a ton of holhadres. No one got sick or hurt.
One day we were walking to go to eat and came across a man who walked 3 hours to get to the Chami hospital to have his son examined. The boy had severe pain in his eyes. They were very hungry and still had to get back home. We decided to take him with us and feed him. He ate lots of food! Jesus said “Feed my sheep”. they did feed these two sheep and more. But, I guess the biggest impact of the situation came when the man and his son bowed their heads in prayer before we were ready to pray. Cool stuff!
They also visited our local artist and bought 2 items. Seemed normal enough, but no, there was more. This family had not eaten in 2 days, and were awaiting the mom to come home the same day with her paycheck so they could eat. Jesus said “Feed my sheep”. They followed the call and did it again. The kids were extremely happy to find bite-sized Oreos in the bag of goodies they also delivered.
The generous Emmanuel church also sent a nice sum of money with the mission team to help the needy families here. “When you do for the least of these, you do it unto me”, said our risen Lord. They followed this call too, as they were able to help many families with this donation.
One of the important parts of the trip was for them to see the ‘Comida para Todos’ program in action. The first day we went to help with lunch, there was no lunch because of a short school day. The second trip to the school proved more fruitful as we were able to help serve the lunches. The process of feeding the large quantity of kids needs to be changed, and it will, a little at a time. There are still way too many kids that don’t have the chance to eat. AND, there is ample food to feed many more. I recently had a meeting with the person in charge of the lunches and firmly told her what I thought about their system. She is still talking to me. LOL I explained that together ‘WE’ can get things in order, but they were going to have to make some changes in the way they do things.
Now that the Emmanuel’s mission team is safely back in the states, I can concentrate on the work I need to do before I head to the states for vacation on April 15.. I am excited to be able to hear my first Easter services in 3 years, in English. I am also very excited about a few activities that my home church has planned for me. New Life Evangelical Lutheran Church ROCKS!
The title of the sermon I plan on giving is “He is Risen! Now What?” See you in the pews.

Bobby Mo

TENGO HAMBRE!

Tengo hambre! For Bill Kelly and the others that don’t know Spanish, it says “I’m hungry”. I don’t hear the words, but I surely can sense what the students of the San Felix school are thinking. The new school year is only 3 weeks old and there are problems. Not with the school, so much, but with the Panamanian government. You see, they government has NOT delivered any food to the schools in Panama this year yet! How horrible is that! Some, possibly many, of these kids come to school hoping to be able to eat their only meal of the day. Many walk or travel hours to even get to the school, only to find out they won’t be eating. I would not be honest if I said there was NO food in the school. The teachers chipped in to buy food for the 30 some students that stay in the school dorms during the week. Praise God for their hearts to do this. You need to remember that the teachers are not exactly overpaid. They did this out of the goodness of their hearts,
This is a country wide crisis. I do not understand why there has been nothing on the news. I do not understand why none of the presidential candidates aren’t jumping all over this as they get ready for elections in 2 months. With all the different protests that go on here, why isn’t this of enough importance to protest for? I just don’t understand!
Thanks be to God for His plan for myself and my church in all this. You see, near the end of last school year, we met with the school to work up an agreement to help feed the high school students. The elementary students all eat, but over 300 secondary students don’t have the opportunity to eat because there isn’t enough food to go around. This is why they use a type of lottery system to feed the children.
Okay, back to the agreement. With this present crisis, we already had some funds available to provide for another 52 meals a day for the students, but we had to ‘re-calculate’. We decided to go with a bit less food to reach as many kids as possible, coupled with the super-generous donations that came in to help us get through the crisis. The school is so very appreciative, as I am of the generosity of my many friends at New Life. Josh Ferris and his planning team have worked many hours trying to put this program together. That is one fine group of God loving people. Muchas gracias a todos. Sorry, Bill, it means thank you everyone….LOL
Instead of the planned 52 meals a day, we can expect thousands of meals to be served this month, thanks to God and the ‘Comida Para Todos’ lunch assistance
program. Thanks to this worthwhile program, we can say we listened to Jesus when he says ‘ feed my sheep’. These little lambs at the San Felix school will be able to go home each day with food in their stomachs.
Questions?? How many students are in the school? Approximately 400 in elementary school and over 800 in the secondary school.
What do they eat as a full meal? Rice, beans, salchicha or spam, salad, sometimes spaghetti, sometimes only crema and a snack.
What does it cost to pay for one childs’ meals for a month? $20.50
Who do I contact to ask more questions or to help? contact the church office at 610-298-2710 and ask about Comida Para Todos; or go to http://www.NLELC.com for details.

On a completely different note. A group from Texas, a part of Youth with a Mission, is here right now and one of their interpreter/guides had a small part in the movie ‘End of the Spear’. He was the indian called Moipa who was killed. Pretty cool. Even cooler is that while making the movie about the 5 missionaries that were killed in Equador, he was not a Christian, but now he is a believer. Praise God for this. He is from the Embera tribe here in Panama.
In closing, please pray for resolution of the food problems in the schools. Please pray for a boatload of patience for me as I try to get the school lunch program fine tuned. I will be back in Pennsylvania before you know it. April 15 to May 8.

Peace, love and full stomaches to all,
Bobby Mo

1096 Days

It’s 3:30 AM and I can’t sleep. I have these thoughts running through my head and I needed to get up and write them down. It’s not the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
My friends and family are in the very frigid, snowy, and icy Northeast of the United States. I tried sending them packages of warm air, but customs wouldn’t let them through. LOL Meanwhile I am ‘suffering’ here in the heat and beautiful blue skies. SO, since I cannot send warm air, I decided to send them some heartwarming moments from my first 3 years here in Panama. These are some of the heart melting highlights of these first few years. I hope you enjoy them and you, too, will feel warm and fuzzy inside. Seriously, some of these were really heart changing moments as well.
Feb. 9th, 2011 I set out on, what has become, a very interesting missionary journey. I hasn’t all been smooth. It hasn’t always been what I expected. But, it ALL has been directed by our awsome God. God has showed me better how to love my neighbors. God has repeatedly reminded me NOT to judge others. God has taken my head knowledge of His provisions and grace and moved it to my heart. We all read and are taught that God will provide. I am here to tell you this is absolutely true! I have experienced His provisions and grace over and over again over the last 3 years.
Enough about me. Now to the special moments. I must warn you, though, reading some of these may cause your eyes to leak.
It melts my heart when a little boy, walking towards me in the Comarca, asks me for a dime ( I don’t make it a habit to give out money) and all I had in my pocket was seven cents. His reply to me was ” God bless you”!
Or how about the time an 11 year old girl on the bus leans over and gives me a kiss on the cheek just because I took the time to make her feel special.
When an unexpected donation comes in, I am ALWAYS grateful and always appreciative. This melts my heart.
It melts your heart when a, somewhat backward, little boy shows up as MY teacher. He was watching me work on a project in the Comarca and began to gently and politely ask me for gifts. First he asked for a balloon. Now, I usually have balloons with me, but not this day. Ten minutes later he asked me for a ball. I reminded him of my first answer that I came to work and didn’t bring any gifts. He seemed to accept that. Later he asked me for a toy truck. My ‘human’ frustration was building. I repeated my previous answer. Finally, he asked me for a dolly. Frustrated and real curious, I blurted back “What does a little boy want with a dolly?’ With that he proceded to quietly tell me ” It is for my little sister.” WOW! Even though he wasn’t going to be able to get a gift for himself, he was still thinking about ‘others’. I felt so bad for beginning to judge him. Thank you God for the little lessons in life that bring me closer to you. Needless to say, when I got back to San Felix I bought everything he had asked for.
God continues to work on me through heart melting moments like this little story. I was on my way back to Chami to spend the night there and ran into 3 small kids. One had a broken sandal, which I couldn’t fix. We talked for a few minutes, no gifts, no money given out. As one of them walked away she turned back to me and melted my heart with these words.” God Bless you!” All I did was take the time to talk to them. How many times is this all we need to do…..MANY!
I feel so loved and accepted when on my way to visit families and the kids come running up the road or across the yard and jump into my outstretched arms for a giant hug. Some New Lifers can vouch for this, as they have seen it happen.
Are you warming up yet?
I makes me especially thankful when a young man calls me long distance and, with a very excited voice, says ” Bob! What you told me about God was true! It’s just like you told me! I gave my life to the Lord and wonderful things are happening!” This is not word for word, but you get the idea. Again, it is NOT about me!!! It is about following what God wants us to do in our respective lives. I am only sharing this ‘God moment’ with you all.
Here is a good one. How about the time Pastor Scott and I were working in the school in Chami and we started singing “How Great Thou Art”. We sang for a while and when we stopped, the song continued….in Spanish….by a couple of teenagers that were sitting there making bracelets. I melted to a puddle. AND… a while later I went over to talk to these teens and the boy says ” Isn’t it wonderful that we can sit here and talk about Jesus.” It just reinforces the fact that God speaks to us in ways and in places and with unsuspecting people. I was so overwhelmed by the experience I could hardly pull myself together to work. Again, so thankfull for the experience.
One day I was sitting on a concrete walkway in a school and a 4 year old girl, that I had never seen before, crawled up in my lap and became my ‘grandchild’
immediately. The grandpop switch worked real fast that day.
God’s word melted my heart about 6 months ago while watching the movie “Courageous”. If you were in a cave and haven’t seen it, it is about being a better dad. It is about dads stepping up to the the leaders of the household. This is something I failed at miserably!. I got myself into a ‘pity party’ mode asking myself “Why didn’t I know this stuff when my children were young? Where was this movie when I so desperately needed it? I don’t think the ‘party’ was going on a full minute when I hear this voice, plain as day. “Bob, what about all those kids in the Comarca? You still have time to be a good father figure to them!” God provides for ALL our needs, ALL the time, WHEN He thinks we are ready. The clarity of His voice was, well, I don’t know how to describe it. Again, very thankful. Again my heart melted because I felt loved by our Lord.
I’m almost finished. But I saved the best for last. In reality, this occured about a year before I became a full time missionary. Some New Lifers and I were walking up the mountain in the Comarca and a little boy was walking toward us. We did not know him. After he passed I stopped him and gave him some school.
supplies. That boy looked up at me with a look that I will NEVER forget. A look that said ” What did I do to deserve this?” A look of almost disbelief that this had just happened. And all I could think of was verse 40, in the book of Mathew, in chapter 25 where it says “When you do to the least of these, you are doing it to me.” Life changing. Faith building. I said that God speaks to us in various ways. I am here to tell you this is TRUE. I am experiencing it firsthand. NOT, because I am anybody special, but because when I surrendered my life to God, it made me available to hear and see his majesty in action. I can’t wait for what is to come!
Moments like these change lives. Moments like these melt hardened hearts. This stuff springboards you through the tougher times. Moments like these really happen! This is not a fairytale. This is real life stuff. ” Again, read the Bible, Mathew 7:7 where it says ” Knock and the door shall be opened, seek and you shall find……” I want everyone to ‘re-calculate’ and get in line with Gods’ will for your lives. Knock..he realy does open doors, seek His will for your life NOW, ask and it shall be given unto you. I don’t you all to miss a moment of seeing, hearing and feeling God in action. I remember an old , probably Pennsylvania Dutch, saying that goes like this..” We get too soon old and too late smart”. Isn’t that the truth. At least the ‘too soon old’ part.
Go with God! Remember that ‘go’ is a verb, and means action. It does not usually mean ‘wait till you have time’. Make a positive difference in someone’s life TODAY!
One last ‘moment’ to share with you. Recently I recieved a card from an old, wise man that had a handwritten note inside that said ” If I was young, I would be you.” Most times we don’t even know whose lives we are touching.

Till We Meet Again,
Bobby Mo, Bob, Mr. Bob, Bod, Bots, Bof, Bot, Bos, Boxxi, Senor Bob, Gringo,
Baba, Nitigon, Padre and more.

Dial-up verses DSL

Those of you that have a few years under your belt will remember when internet first came out and we used a ‘dial-up’ connection. It was noisy and very slow. Now, with modern technology, we have DSL and fiber optic internet connections. Why do I bring this up? Let me explain.
Fifteen years ago when I was relatively new in my faith journey, I felt God was very slow in communicating with me. Like a ‘dial-up’ connection, it seemed slow and not very clear to me what He wanted. Now, as I journey on in my faith, surrendering daily, the speed of His communication to me is sometimes unnerving. Sometimes it is to the point that seconds after I make a decision, I hear God correcting me or reminding me of His faithfulness. I have had a few instances recently that God has reminded me that he is God (and knows all), and I am not! Fortunately I am wise enough to willfully respond immediately to His direction. What a joy to actually know and feel that He has my back. We all read that He does. We all have heard of examples where he has done this for someone else, but…..when it happens to us personally…WOW! I will repeat myself over and over again saying the New Testament is alive and relavant in todays’ world. All we have to do is be obedient. All we have to do is read our Bibles and pray for the wisdom that will guide us through our daily lives.

I am in the plane on my way back to Panama as I write, reflecting on my month long vacation in the states with my friends and family. It was a month of overeating. The scale doesn’t lie…15 pounds in one month. Somehow it doesn’t feel very good knowing about the place I am going. A place where kids only eat in the school if they win the daily food lottery and recieve a ticket to eat. A place where many families only eat one meal per day. This being said, I am VERY thankful for the many conversations that went on during the eat-fest. I really enjoy telling everyone about how God has been working in my life in Panama. When I get the chance to preach, I do so from the heart. I am very passionate at times with the subject of my sermons. Sometimes I don’t know how to vocalize what I am experiencing. The words don’t appear to do the topic justice. I feel so blessed to be able to share my experiences and God sightings. God is so present at times. I love to remind the congregations that the Bible is alive and well TODAY! We need to read and heed it.

I am extra excited that one of the other churches (Emmanual’s Luthern Church) that I had the opportunity to preach at, has two mission teams coming to Panama in 2014. This is fantastic! Just another example of how the World Mission effort has grown in the last 3 years. Some other friends also told me that they have a warehouse of donations that I can choose from to take to Panama, just need to find a way to get them there. God is sure up to something bigger that I ever dreamed of. I feel like a little kid on CHRISTmas eve that cannot wait to see what he will get on CHRISTmas day. Only, for me, it is the excited anticipation of what God will have me do next. Bring it on! I’m ready. AND, if I am not ready, I know God will prepare me for what lies ahead. Recently heard someone say that ” God doesn’t always call the equipped, He equips the called.” Knowing and believing that statement will bring you peace.
Be sure to check out my latest vacation and after pictures.

What lies ahead on my to-do list? Well, redesign a roof and add a rainwater collection system on it; build a cinder block structure to hold a 660 gallon water tank, show some movies in the Comarca, and treat some families to a few CHRISTmas gifts. Ho Ho Ho!

Joyfully Serving Him,
Bobby Mo

Buenas Tardes Mis Amigos

God is Good logo
Life is rolling along down here where it is moderately hot and very rainy. I had the chance to visit a family in Cerro Miel recently. For those ‘Spanish challenged, Cerro Miel = Honey Hill. I went to visit this poor family in the Comarca where the father only has 1 leg. Seems he received a nasty snake bite 22 years ago and lost his leg over the infection. Now for those that have been to the Comarca, you already know it is sometimes a challenge walking around with two good legs, let alone one leg and a pair of crutches. I must say though, he has adapted very well to going up and down the rough terrain. The house was well built, by Comarca standards. He and his wife and 5 kids work the modest hillside fields to raise crops, including coffee to feed the family. They have no plumbing or bathroom on their property, but are not complaining. The oldest son, who I am helping get through school, asked for a bible, and he will receive one. The little girls’ requests were modest, they wanted material so mom can make them new clothing.
All in all it was a nice visit and I got to see a new community. I will say this, the road to get there was horrible, but the young driver of the truck did a super job of getting us there slowly and safely.
I’ve been working on the water system here a bit more, setting it up to be better equipped to handle the 3 month dry spell they call ‘summer’. I have to admit, at first the heights were intimidating, but I got used to it. There should be a picture in the photo gallery soon to show you what I mean.
I had a small birthday party for another little friend in the Comarca. Lilibeth turned 12 years old. The New Life Young Adult Mission team had the opportunity to meet and play with this cool young girl.
Coming up is another movie night in the Comarca at the Chami School the last week in November. I’m looking forward to this. No Jesus film this time, a Christmas related film.
Coming up, also, is my fall vacation in the states. It will be nice to sit down and talk to my New Life family and my biological family again. The vacation will include 2 trips to the Rainbow Dinner Theater, the MAMA Project banquet, and hopefully lots of homecooked meals. The highlight will be my visit to see my new grandson in Virginia. There I will also celebrate Halloween with my granddaughter. I am so blessed!
By ther way, the book of Provers is calling your name. Open your bible and read these ‘in your face’ instructions on how to live life. Let me know it it talks to you too.

Joyfully Serving Him
Bobby Mo

How far is it?

DSCN1469

” Esta ‘cercita’ ” is the answer I often get when I ask how far away something is. I have learned that ‘cercita’ is a very vague term for ‘not far’. Sometimes cercita is still an hours’ walk away! For the Ngabes here, walking is a way of life. They walk everywhere, rain or shine, near or far; with or without a large sack of supplies on their backs. I would love to hang a pedometer on one of them to see how many miles they walk in a lifetime. And for those of you that only walk around your town or neighborhood, I’m not talking about casual walks. I’m talking off-road, up and down the sides of the mountains. Walking in paths eroded by rain. Walking through streams up to your knees. And these are the ‘normal paths’!  And they do it without complaining. This overweight, 62 year old body can still do it, but, in the southern drawl of a famous country comedian ‘I’ll tell you what….” You, or at least I, am SPENT after on of these hikes! You are 100% consumed in sweat, your legs are crying, and you go through liters of water, AND I don’t complain. Why? Because I am trying to do what Jesus wants me to do. Help those that have trouble helping themselves. Taking food to the hungry. Delivering wheelchairs to the disabled. Dropping off school supplies to those with no money. Doing it with joy in my heart because it is the right thing to do. Yes, it is done in response to God’s love for me. It is done in response to daily surrendering to HIS will. If this very hard work wasn’t in the will of God, I think I would not be able to do it, at least not with the joy in my heart. I think my heart would explode if I thought I could do this without His blessing.

Recently, a fine group of young adults from my home church , New Life Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Pennsylvania, came here to Panama to help me share the love of Jesus with as many as possible. This able-bodied group was led by Sister Jessica MaCullum from New Life. We did a few repairs around the mission here, purchased items and put together a pile of bags to be given to the pregnant women here in the hospital. We went to the Comarca and had a great time with the people there, playing, laughing, singing, eating, and generally just loving each other the way Jesus would. We did the ‘chicken dance’ and the ‘hokey pokey’  too. Lets just say they laughed with us, or at us a lot! The young adults were extremely blessed with a fundraiser they did in the states and used that blessing to bless many people here. We visited an orphanage in Las Lomas and spent hours with the orphans there. We did take some supplies for them, but the biggest impact was delivering a new washing machine for them to use. You see, there are 38 children there and the clothing was being washed by hand because the washing machine was not working. The time washing clothes by hand takes time away from caring for the young children. even the teenage girls were thanking us.

GLOBO? The word of the week. In English it means ‘balloon?’  You can pass a lot of time, laugh a lot and create many smiles with just a few balloons. It is a big deal for the kids!

During this fantastic week we also taught some English in the San Felix and Calabazal schools; were judges and ‘pronunciators’ for an English contest; delivered a few supplies to a hospital in Chami; played volleyball and soccer with a local youth group; went to the beach for a few hours; and shared in daily devotions and prayer.

I always like when teams come here to help. Let me tell you…it is NOT a vacation. They come to work, not be tourists. They come to serve….not to be served. And they do it well! It is more work for me, but I love it when I have a chance to share my ‘extended family’ with them.

Now they are all back at home safe and sound. All that’s left is the follow-up paperwork on my end. And some rest.

The next trip is for me to go to the states for a visit in November…BEFORE the cold weather and snow come…I hope! See some of you soon. Keep on serving our Lord in all you do. The blessings will come in ways you never imagined.                                                                     I am so ‘at home’ here in Panama that I can’t even imagine leaving here for good. These people are like family. My heart is very much with these fine people and my 1000′s of ‘grandchildren’. Praise be to God for these blessings.

Joyfully Serving Him,

Bobby Mo

Rainy days and Mondays…….

Hanging out with Sr. Amado's family.

Hanging out with Sr. Amado’s family.

RAINY days here , at least for me, are different here than in the

United States. In the states, I remember feeling restricted

because we usually stayed indoors. I knew we needed rain

for the crops, but that also meant the grass would grow like

crazy along with the weeds; which meant more work to do.

Here we just accept the rain as necessary and pretty much

go about our normal business. Walking in the rain is a non

issue here. The kids always walk in the rain, always without

a raincoat. You see people walking alont the main highway

and getting blasted by the rainwater coming off the

passing cars and trucks without flinching.

DAYS like this just cause you to adjust your already laid back

schedule a bit more. It definitely is a reprieve from the

sometimes oppressive heat. Rainor shine you still have to

kill and prepare a chicken for the next meal. With the large

families, there is always washing the clothing by hand.

Really, this is a never ending job, because when it rains,

the clothes get extra dirty.

AND  you also have, in many cases, the placing of pots under the

drips from the rusted through ceiling. You just pray that one

of those drips is not over your mattress. When it is windy

and rainy, the bamboo walled huts don’t give much protect-

ion to what is near it. Lots of stuff gets wet. It is easy for us

gringos to just say ‘ show them how to build walls with  wood

or concrete block’. Easy to say, hard to do when they have

NO money to buy any building materials! They use what they

can find laying around.

MONDAYS are the same here as in the states. Time for the people

with jobs to earn the money, little as it may be, to feed the

family. For some it is a time of sobering up after a weekend

of imbibing. One of the biggest difference in Mondays is that

there is no Monday Night Football to watch.  My nephew,

Kris, would have a problem with this.

In my last blog post I told you about the three ‘people projects’ I have  the opportunity to work on. I am blessed and pleased to say that your response to the deeds was fantastic. Some of my readers could really relate to the issues I am trying to help with. Carlos and Ovidio are taken care of for a long time. I still do need help with the roof and rainwater collection system for Amado. I have NO worries about this though.   God will find a way to get the funds to me to accomplish that. That brings up a point to note here. Of all the things I have learned hear and about my faith in general is, when I feel moved to do something that I feel God is the author of, I just pray, be patient, and He provides. Sometimes the provisions come from the most unlikely places. What a joy to have a God that cares so much about us. John 3:16 tells it all.

In two weeks I’ll be sixty-two years old.  Man, those numbers are difficult to say. Thankfully, though, rarely do I feel that old.  I will

officially be an old geezer, with a little kid trapped inside. I still love getting down on the ground and playing with any one of my 1000 grandchildren here.

Recently I went to Las Tablas with Padre Adonai, Padre Julian, 2 nuns and the choir to see the Santa Liberada festival and sing at a church in the town Adonai grew up in. We had a good time checking out the area and hearing about its culture and Padres’ family. The tv reporter said over 100,000 people were in town for the festival and masses. The procession after the mass one night seemed like it would never end. Fireworks lit up the sky at around midnight and then we went to our guest house to sleep. Well, again, sleep was

a relative term. four and a half hours is not enough for me, but I survived.

Busy time coming up as the New Life mission team will be here soon. We have lots on the agenda to do. It will be exciting for me to share my Comarca family with them. I am curious too, to see who’s heart will be changed, who’s spiritual journey will get a boost, who’s outlook on poverty will be changed forever. Thanks be to God, in advance, for what He is about to do.

Joyfully Serving Him,

Bobby Mo