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.