CHRISTmas in August?

CHRISTmas in the Comarca. I know it is only August, but you couldn’t tell it wasn’t really CHRISTmas if you would have seen the smiling faces of the children that we came in contact with. First, they were amazed by all the people with red hair. A RARE sight in the all black hair mountainside. Second, between the cross necklaces, the soccer balls, frizzbees, balloons, and toys, the kids were elated. Santa came early for them this year. How did this all happen?
First and foremost, God put this trip on the hearts of Mike and Allison Conrey and family, as well as a long time New Lifer, Bev Post. This group had the spirit of giving and had the suitcases of goodies to hand out. Many thanks to Mike, Allison, Emma, Lucy, Reed, Quinn and Bev. These guys really handled the heat, the very bumpy truck rides, the many miles of walking and the strange foods like pros. I’m sure this 9 day trip will stay with them for a long while. There were new sights, new smells, new sounds and many new faces. Trips like this can really be a bonding time for families. Also, for my friends from New Life, it was important to actually see the many projects that New Life has done over the last 6 or 7 years. We have our ‘fingerprints’ in many places.
I love it when a team of ‘missionaries’ comes to visit me so I can share my ‘Panamanian family’ with them. Don’t get the wrong idea, they are not my biological family, only family in my heart….and theirs.
One thing the team heard was all the different names I am called here( all good of course). Such as Bod, Bos, Baba, Sr. Bob, Bobcito, Padre, Nitigon, and Roberto.
We visited Cerro Pierda, Cerro Flores, Quebrado Loro, Hato Chami, Las Lomas, David, and the Lajas Beach. It is rainy season here in Panama, however, the rains did NOT alter our plans at all. Thank you Lord for that.
Then there was ‘Peanut’. I wasn’t sure I would remember Quinns’ name, so I called her Peanut. She is an amazing young girl. When the team was tested the first day here with a one hour hike through the mountains, she didn’t skip a beat. Never complained, and never was at the back of the line. I was impressed. She was such fun the hang out with.
I felt led to treat them to an early morning breakfast and mini church service on the top of a hill in a fantastic location. While talking about our creator, we had a 360 degree view of His creation. And it was beautiful. We sang, we prayed, shared communion, they heard the Gospel and then we ate breakfast. Thank you Lord, for the opportunity to worship you in this way.
The workload is heavy right now, but I’m not complaining. I am looking forward to the next group that is scheduled to come down here in October. That group will be working most of the time on water projects that are waiting to be completed.

Bye for now,
Bobby Mo

Happy Fathers’ Day???

Happy Fathers’ Day! How many times have we heard that this week? For most dads, plenty. I have a burning question about this ‘special day”. Why do we celebrate it? How many men really want to be recognized for just being a ‘father’?  Probably 99% of the men in the world can easily be a ‘father’ in a few minutes time. What is there to celebrate about this simple act of procreation? Not much to brag about , right? So why do we celebrate it?

Being a ‘father’ is easy, being a ‘DAD’ isn’t.” What’s the difference”, you ask? A BIG difference! Anybody can father a child, a real man, a dad, raises his children, loves his children unconditionally, trains his children, and helps the get to know our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. A father makes the child, a dad makes the child into a real man. Now THAT is something to celebrate! Let’s celebrate the DADs of the world. Now don’t get me wrong, many times the father and the dad are one in the same. But, in this ever changing world, sadly this percentage in dwindling.

Wait there is more. The moms of this world are so overburdened with raising the children because men are not being ‘dads’. Ok, Bob, now what are you talking about? Way too many dads have fallen asleep at the wheel of steering their families in the right direction. I know, I was one of them. I failed miserably! “Yeah, Bob, but that is you, I know better”, you say. Really? How much quality time do you spend with your children per day? Five minutes? Ten minutes? I’m talking about quality time, not “hey son, how is your salad?” Think about it. A few years back a survey was done and it was discovered that the average dad spent 5 minutes of quality time, a day,  with his son. I know this doesn’t apply to anyone in my home church (ahem!), but the statistic is incredible! Who is raising your children the other 23 hours and 55 minutes a day? The television? The internet? Social media? Their friends? The school system? Think about it! How can we, as dads, possibly teach our children how we ( God and their parents) want our kids to live, how to treat each other, how to respect women, how to help those in need, etc?  The school teaches mostly academics, the church can teach how to treat others and guide us to salvation. The internet teaches ?????

Stay with me a bit more. Let’s say your child is caught stealing for example. Or, you find out your son us abusive to women. Or you catch one of your kids surfing  adult sites on the internet. For the most part we, as dads who aren’t engaged with our children have no right to yell at our kids saying ” Who taught you to steal? Or what makes you think it is ok to abuse women? Or, why are you surfing those sites? The real question needs to be ” Why didn’t I teach them different? Why don’t they have the necessary training from ME, to be able to know right from wrong? We need to stop blaming the ‘system’, or the peer pressure, or the internet , or the schools. It’s OUR  responsibility!  It’s time we man-up and realize that being a dad is a serious job, with tons of responsibility. If we are the dads God wants us to be, we can change the world. We can greatly reduce the number of men in jail. It is a fact that about 90% of the men in jail didn’t have a ‘father figure ‘in the home! That fact speaks volumes in showing the responsibility we have as dads!

I realize it is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that ” Oh, I have 18 years to train up my child in the way they should go( from Ephesians). But time has a way of slipping away on us. We need to be the example of how to live a Christ-like life every day. We need to model how to love our neighbors, our wives, our families day in and day out. We CANNOT take this lightly! We cannot use the excuse that we need to work 7 days a week to pay the bills. ” I want my kids to have all the ‘things’ I didn’t have as a child, that’s why I work the extra hours.  Most times this is a ‘cop-out’.  When we dads are old and gray, and our kids are raised, they will NOT come to us thanking us for the I-pad we bought them to keep them occupied. They won’t remember the cool $100.00 pair of sneakers you bought them. They will remember the TIME you spent with them just being silly, or the TIME you went on a hike with them and got lost. They will remember their dad being a dad by reading them bible stories when they were little. TIME>>>TIME! That is what they will remember you by. They will love you because of the TIME you spent one on one with them. Keep in mind the old Beatles song, “Money can’t buy me love”. TIME with our children will be returned many times over in the love we receive from them.

Remember the priority list: God first, wife second, children, then your work. This order will surely bring blessings. Remember that saying “God first” is easy, living God first, is tough. It is the only way to have peace in our lives, the only way to be blessed to be a blessing to others.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life…be a real dad today and always. Read your bibles to see what God says about being a good dad.

Yes, I am very passionate about this topic. I, along with most dads, have failed in being the dad God wants us to be. But, I have great news for you!!!! God is a God of second chances  ( and third, and fourth, etc).  This is super good news for me, as now, by the grace of God ,I have many more opportunities to be a dad by helping raise up the many fatherless children in the Comarca. This is a job that I take seriously. Thank you ,God, for that. Now, you are thinking “Bob, we don’t have a Comarca in our neighborhood”. No, but I’ll bet there are fatherless children only a short distance from where you live.

I’ll calm down and let you all sleep on these words for a while. But hear this, you haven’t heard the last from me on this. I would love to hear your feedback on this.

For the real dads of the world, Happy Dad’s Day. For the fathers that haven’t been good dads, now is the time to make a difference…no excuses, just do it!

Bobby Mo

Back in Panama

No. I have not been in hibernation! Just couldn’t get around to write you folks of the latest happenings here in HOT San Felix, Panama. Primarily due to lack of internet many days a week. And HOT it has been. I am glad I don’t have a thermometer here, or I would let the high numbers get to my head. Let’s just say that it was 98 degrees in the hills of Boquette. Boquette is a town where the weather is comfortable enough that many Gringos move there. If it was 98 there, I’m not even going to guess what it was here in San Felix. When I returned from my one month vacation in the USA, it was almost unbearable. I took 7 showers in 2 days! Even with a fan blowing directly on me, I sweated all night in my bed. It’s better now.

My vacation went well. I started off with a few plane delays to get home. I came home a bit sick, but that cleared up in a few days. That was good because I did the sermon a few days after arriving. It was an illustrated message of the different covenants between God and his people from creation to the cross. also had the opportunity to speak at Emanuel’s Church, and sit in on a meeting to re-connect with Zion Church. I can see good things coming from these 2 churches as well as my home church, New Life.

While home we celebrated the birthdays of my dear sister, Nancy and my old (92 years old) friend George Lilly. My friend, Miriam, had just finished her first year of studies in the USA, and I had the chance to spend 6 days showing her around my area.

Back here in Panama, the work continues here in the mission and in the Comarca. Plenty of projects await me. Blessings abound when you have helpful friends like Carlos and Gabriel helping me on some of the projects. These fine young men are super to work with, and they are tri-lingual!

May 29th the showings of the video of the life of Jesus resume. This is the most important aspects of my mission here. the next showing is in the village of Quebrado Loro( parrot creek). It’s only 1 1/4 hours from my house, but it is a ROUGH 1 1/4 hours. Pray that people would take the step to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

I’ll work harder at keeping you all posted more often in the future.


Hauling 1 of 2 water tanks to Dupi

Hauling 1 of 2 water tanks to Dupi

Many of you ‘oldsters’ may remember this song from the 50’s sung by Bobby Darin. We have all had the opportunity to ‘splish-splash’ in our tubs ( called ‘tinas’ here) or in our showers ( called ‘duchas’ here), as we were taking a bath. This concept is only a dream for many here in the Comarca of Panama. Some have showers. Others have to hike to the nearest stream to collect water in jugs and buckets and haul the water to their house to ‘bathe’. Some just ‘bathe’ in the streams and in water from underground wells. Many times after ‘bathing’ in the stream, they collect more water so they have water for cooking and drinking…..from the same water they were just bathing in. Many, many times they bathe with their clothes on because there in no privacy. I continue to have trouble wrapping my brain around this part of their culture.
I recently had a family that is very dear to my heart lose their one building and their ‘shower’ to the nasty summer winds here. Soon afterwards, I went up and built a temporary shower for them alongside their house. Some concrete blocks for a floor, some posts and blue tarp made for an easily built shower. For most this would be a super permanant shower, but I’ll give them a better one very soon. For them, this is the first time in their lives they can take a shower standing up! AND they can now shower without their clothes on! They are a very happy bunch. The shower wasn’t completed 10 minutes when they started lining up to bathe. Now, where is my rubber duckie? LOL
As I write this months’ blog, my dear friend, Padre Adonai is preparing to leave the mission to work in Panama City as a priest and teacher in the college there. He said after 13 years here, it was time for a change and when the opportunity came up, he accepted it. There will be some changes to adjust to here, but I know enough that my focus is always on what GOD wants for me here in Panama. My mission will always be here in the Comarca. I don’t know how to describe the love I feel here. Recently ( without any prodding or gifts), I had a 15 yr. old sitting on my left, a 13 year old sitting on my right and a 12 yr. old sitting on my lap. And I am hearing “Hug me!” It just melts my heart. When you share the love of Jesus, it just comes back to you many times over. Also, a few more kids are calling me ‘Dad’ lately. The hole in their lives from their biological father leaving, is hard for them; economically and personally. I am okay with this new ‘name’.
We had another 4 day youth retreat and time of evangelizing in the Chami School in the Comarca in January. All went well with the workshops, games, food and , my favorite: going door-to-door( many houses don’t even have doors, oops), sharing the Gospel with the communities. Most people are receptive and the youth do such a great job evangelizing and praying for the families.
Weather-wise, it is the normal, January, HOT and sometimes windy. Not so for the folks in the northeast section of the USA.
My legs continue to do me good as I recently had a few difficult hikes to visit and work in the mountains. It seems to be getting a bit easier, even as I get older. Only one reason for this…. God.
These are just preparing me for the “WALK”. Yes, I decided to do the “Walk” again this year. March 26 I plan to take the 6 hour 45 minute ‘walk’ from Hato Chami in the mountains to San Felix, where I live. Why would I do this , you ask? For Jesus, of course. I will be carrying a 14 foot cross and will be wearing clothing similar to what Jesus wore in his time. Last time I walked on Maundy Thursday, but the church service schedule makes it difficult, so I will do it one week earlier. Relax all you moms and ;worry-worts’, I will have at least 2 assisitants with me at all times, and a boatload of clean water. I just might hang out at the beach the next day to rest my weary legs. Poor me….LOL
Stay with me a bit longer. Just before the CHRISTmas of 2013, I was making a list of things to buy for a few of the people I help out. You may remember the story about the 17 year old boy that I asked” What would you like for CHRISTmas? You can have a clothing item and a ball, or school supplies, etc.” The very first words out of his mouth were ” I want a Bible of my own”. Wow!. And, he got a Bible from me. We have had a few bible discussions in my house and I taught Bible lessons to the families in his community last year. Well, this year I attended his high school graduation and in January he organized and led his first all night vigil. What is an all night vigil in Panama? It is an all night gathering for prayer, singing, preaching, and of course there is some food. I would have loved to go to it, but I had too much already going on that weekend. Over 100 people showed up to sing praises to our Lord! Praise God for this fine young man. He has a bright future ahead.
Blessings of donations continue to come in from my home church, my friends, and another church that I have preached in. God always provides for those that seek to do His will. I don’t always succeed, but I try to seek His will and follow through with it. The World Mission team in my home church, New Life Evangelical Lutheran Church, continues to work to facilitate teams to visit here in Panama. There is a possibility of 3 teams coming this year. I have one word to say for this…YEAH! They can work, they can play, thet can teach, they can ‘look and see’. Just come!. But, I can gaurantee you that the first-timers won’t be the same when they get home.
LATE ENTRY: Just got word that my friend, Jim Eley, has gone on to be with the Lord. Prayers go out to his wife, Tina, and family. Jim and Tina were responsible for getting me here to Panama for my first visit in 2007. I will always remember two notes from Jim. First, and I use this often, ‘it’s not our ability that God wants, it’s our availability”. Second, he always reminded us in the World Missions meetings to ask “What are our motives?” Two good things to remember, Thank you, Jim.

2015 Another Year to Serve God.

It’s a new year. It’s filled with new opportunities to be the Christians that God designed us to be. It will be filled with new opportunities to tell those we love, how much they mean to us. This is NOT something we can keep to ourselves, we need to share our thoughts and love with our family and friends. I’m not talking about just ‘lip service’, be serious about this. There are no guarantees that tomorrow will ever come. Say it now, before it’s too late.
The new year also brings us a new season here in Panama. Hot, dry, and sometimes very windy. That means, sunblock, plenty of water, and add another big rock or two to the roof so it doesn’t blow off. Really! The wind has already destroyed a few homes and ripped the roof of many others. It’ just part of the territory here in the Comarca.
We are very blessed here in the San Felix mission, as groups from different areas come here to use the mission as their base for the few days or weeks they stay here. A recent group had young people from India, Africa, the USA, Romania, and other places I can’t remember. They were doing research and personal projects in connection with the Smithsonian Institute. They actually arrived the day of our yearly dance party here in the mission. They enjoyed dancing the night away, among those of the 500 people that came. Personally, I was soaking wet from all the dancing.
The new year includes projects such as building more rainwater recovery systems, teaching more people how to earn a little money in the Comarca to help pay for their own medical needs and food; showing the movie of the life of Jesus to different communities; distributing more Bibles, teaching more English; delivering baby piggies to families in pairs so they can raise them, breed them, and sell off the newer piggies for income; distributing more wheel chairs as needed; building a new shower for one family; finishing an electrical project in the dorms in Chami, and more. Yes, all this costs money, but when God wants me to do it, He’ll provide me with the funds. God NEVER fails to have someone step up to help fund the work here in Panama.
Before I close this blog, I want to remind all of my readers to: (1) take the time to listen to what God is telling you, (2) Trust that God knows what’s best for you. Trust that His plans for you are much better than any plans you can come up with, (3) And act on the message from God. Don’t procrastinate, do it NOW. Whatever it is, do it now. You will be so blessed for responding.
And just in case you forgot, JESUS LOVES YOU!
And….there is a new ice cream store in town!!!!!!!!!!!


Turkey Day Tidbits

Thanksgiving is officially celebrated one day per year in the United States. The Thursday that we celebrate it, is filled with mountains on food and football all day on the TV. It’s a time for family gatherings. It’s a time for overeating. And there is usually a little napping going on once we settle in to watch the games. But are we thankful? After all, isn’t that the reason for the holiday? More often than not, we are superficially thankful for the family gathering and special meal. We may share a few words of gratefulness during the pre-meal grace. But, is that all there is? I think not.
In spite of all the twisted news reports on the TV and in the newspapers, we still live in a country where we can worship whoever we want. If we are crazy enough, we could even worship a rock star….no, wait, some people already are. We still live in a country that is still the ‘land of opportunity’. Maybe we, as Americans can’t see this anymore, but the rest of the world sees it. We still live in the most powerful country in the world, but we’d rather not have to prove it to anyone.
Please don’t write me with your take on how you think the government should be run. This isn’t the blog for that. We still live in a country where Satan has a strong footing because Christians remain on the sidelines and do nothing. We live in a country with four beautiful seasons. The colors and the smells of the flowers make it a super place to live. Personally, I can do without the snow and the frigid cold, but all that just rounds out the 4 seasons.
Sure there are problems, but in the big picture, we have lots to be thankful for. We should be thankful for the best doctors in the world, thankful for all the nurses that have the thankless job of tending to the patients. We need to be thankful for the wide variety of food available to us. Some countries work with much less variety.
We need to be thankful that our God sent his only Son to be crucified and die on the cross for US. Even though we don’t deserve it, He died for us. And, because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can be thankful for the forgiveness of our sins that were a result of the work on the cross. We need to be thankful, not only in November, but every second of every day of our lives. God made it possible for all to enter Heaven, we just need to repent from our sinful ways and follow Jesus’ lead on how to live our lives. It’s not easy, but we can be thankful that even when we fall, again and again, we can still be forgiven. We need to be hugely thankful for that!
There are at least 138 Bible verses pertaining to thanks and thankfulness. As you read your bibles daily, you should look for them. Two that come to mind are:
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and THANKFUL” Colossians 4:2.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God” Philippians 4:6.
What are your favorite verses on this topic?
I have come to thank God many times a day for the little things as well as the big things. I own practically nothing and I’m thankful for that. That’s much less to maintain, insure, store, and worry about.
I am very thankful for my health. Sure, I am ‘pleasantly plump’ to say the least, but God isn’t done with me yet. I am thankful that God has more work for me to do, because THAT is my main desire as I wind down into old age. I am very thankful for all the love and support I receive here and in the USA. It can be a bit overwhelming at times, but know that I voice my thankfulness often over this. Life is too good to be bogged down in negative thinking. It is each and every one of our choices to rid our lives of sinful behavior, negative thinking and criticism, and live with an attitude of gratitude EVERY day. Even on the tough days, look for something in your day to be thankful for. Really, you always can find something.
I am thankful for this 4 year old laptop that I am writing this blog post on. I am thankful I have the use of my hands to do so, and the list goes on and on. And I choose to be thankful every day for the rest of my life.
Enjoy your turkey and gravy. Enjoy the cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes. Enjoy the football game. But, don’t let it end there. Tell someone you are thankful for them. Tell God you are thankful for another day to serve Him. Don’t keep it to yourself. You may be surprised who is thankful for you, too.
The choice is yours. Gobble-gobble!

Joyfully AND thankfully Serving Him,
Bobby Mo

Vacation Over Already!

So. my vacation is over and now it is back to work. Everything went very well during my month long stay in Pennsylvania. I got to spend a little extra time with my daughter and her family. I did celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving and CHRISTmas all in a 4 day span. Needless to say, I am blessed to have had the chance to visit them. A chance that wouldn’t have been possible without some fine folks from the church loaning me their cars. Also, I had my share of Reeses Peanut Butter cups.
My time at home included a trip to Rainbow Dinner Theater with my friend George Lilly, giving the message(sermon) three times at church, visited someone in the hospital, had a family get-together, collected donations, ate too much, went on a disaster relief trip to the Jersey shore, gave my testimony at Flint Hill Farms, had many meals with friends and family, visited my Panamanian friend, Miriam, and brought her to New Life for my presentation, I enjoyed looking at the colorful fall foilage, attended several Bible Studies, and ???????
Again, I am blessed to be able to do all these things, as well as I am blessed to be able to serve as a missionary in Panama. It’s hard to put into words how excited I get when I can see and feel God working in my life and the lives of those around me.
2015 will be a very interesting year, as I have plans for many project as I turn on the wick on my ministry here in Panama. Keep you eye out for info on many more showings of the “Jesus” film, more drama style bible lessons, more rainwater recovery systems, a new project of installing ‘bottle lights’, more help for the disabled, and hopefully a few opportunities to help families get set up in income producing activities. Some of the projects will be work for the two teams I expect to visit me next year. I am really looking forward to that. All these things take resources and I am confident God will raise up the folks to help do all this.
I am really excited to get back to Panama and visit my close friends and their families. Coming up soon is another showing of a movie in Hato Chami before the kids end their school year. This event is always a blast. CHRISTmas is right around the corner and I plan on having a live Nativity scene in Chami, too. This could prove interesting as I will be telling the greatest story ever told about the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to all that will be there.
Another item on my agenda is to purchase and deliver corregated metal roofing to a blind man near Alto Cabellero. I saw a photo of his very humble, wet ‘home’. We will be giving him a dry place to live, with shelter from the rain. You see, he only has 2 walls now, and a holy roof. we are supplying the materials, and the neighbors are doing the labor.
My first weekend back here in Panama was special. When I went up to the mountains to say ‘hola’ to my favorite families, you could feel the love in the air. There were many hugs, handshakes, and snuggling up next to this ‘fluffy’ gringo on the benches. The smiles from them just melted my heart.
Well, it’s back to ‘work’ now. Lots to do, lots of places to go and I have 4 birthday parties in 2 weeks!

Joyfully Serving Him,