Splish-splash

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!!!!!!!!!!!

Bob

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,
Bob

Meet Scotty

I just thought I’ld relay this story to all my blog readers.
Once upon a time, in the twentieth century, there was a little boy named Scotty. He was just your average poor boy growing up in a large family. Life had its ups and downs, as you would expect growing up with little money in a family that, let’s just say, was a bit ‘disfunctional’. As a little boy it was a season to see much alchoholism in his family and in the extended family. This young boy also had seen and heard some things going on in the house that he didn’t tell anyone. There were good times too, just not enough to out-weigh the bad.
Growing up in this needy family, he was used to putting cardboard inside his shoes before he walked to school so the snow would not make his socks wet. I understand he needed to push his socks down into his shoes sometimes so the kids in school would not make fun of him when they saw the holes in his socks. Like most young boys, Scotty liked sports. He didn’t seem to be very good at the sports, but at least he was out of the house and didn’t have to hear the fighting going on. It seems Scotty was tired of being poor. He was tired of not knowing todays mood of his parents. He was tired of helping to raise his siblings while his mother slept off her latest drunken stooper.
One day he decided what he wanted his life to be like and said to himself. “I’m never going to be poor when I grow up”. Then it seems he set out on a plan to see that that wouldn’t happen. As he grew up, this un-guided young boy made many mistakes. He decided he would learn as much as possible in school so he could get a good job, and by now he didn’t only want ‘not’ to be poor; but he wanted to be rich. Maybe he even wanted to be a millionaire! Since he grew up before computers, he needed to go to school to learn even after he graduated.
Life went on good for a while. Starting a family, buying a house, putting a little savings away. No, he didn’t pray that God would help him achieve all he wanted to be. Why? Because Scottys ‘god’ was money. Scotty also had a problem with his priorities. You see, the family was NOT on the list right behind God. From what I understand, it was 1) money, 2) sports, 3) family. As Christians, we can easily recognize that this order spells disaster. And it did.
One day his whole world came tumbling down, and with it, his dreams to be a millionaire. ‘Why is this happening to me?” he cried out! He didn’t drink. He didn’t do drugs. He was never unfaithful. “Why? Why? Why?” If you asked Scotty if he spent quality time with his family, his answer may have been ” I was too busy trying to make enough money to give them a good life”. If you asked him if he showed his faithful wife how much he loved and appreciated her, his answer may have been “She knows all that stuff. And besides, I’m really not the kind of person to talk about that mushy stuff. She knows that”. If you asked him what God thought about him, his answer may have been,” I don’t believe in God! If I can’t see it, feel it or touch it, it doesn’t exist.” You see, poor Scotty didn’t have friends that knew how tell him he was wrong with that thinking.
Anyway, Scotty lost everything. His family, his house, his car, his pride, his will to go on. As the story goes, one day Scotty looked in the mirror and realized he didn’t like the person in the mirror.
The person in the mirror wasn’t a terrible human being, just one that was lost. He was a person that lacked a lot of what he needed to be the person he thought he should be. He probably thought ” Now what? Where do I go from here? I realize that I have no idea on how to live my life.”
Broken, lost, and emotionally ‘spent’, Scotty decided to do what we all need to do….he got on his knees and prayed. Knowing that he didn’t know how to be a good person, he decided to ask the God he didn’t believe in for help. He probably didn’t even realize it at the time, but he fully surrendered his life to the Lord that day.
A funny thing happened that night alongside the murphy bed. The God he didn’t believe in came to his rescue. The God he hadn’t believed in forgave him of his misgivings and welcomed him into his loving arms. No, he didn’t die, if that is what it sounded like. At this time in his life when he had nowhere else to turn, he turned to the place we all need to go to FIRST.. The God of the universe seemed to carry Scotty till he got his bearings again. The God of all creation made His presence known to him in subtle ways at first, then in profound ways.
As the story continues, Scotty recieved a new list of priorities, a new lease on life, and a passion to obey the God that for many years seemed elusive. Yes, like all good stories and fairytales, this story has a happy ending.
Okay, as some may have already surmised, the little boy’s name wasn’t Scotty at all It was Bobby, or as most of you know him, Bobby Mo. Why did I choose Scotty as the name? Because if I would have had a son, I would have named him Scotty.
And why did I write this story/ testimony? Because it is important for all of us to kind of ‘check in with ourselves, and reflect on exactly who we ARE. Notice I didn’t sat “who we WERE”? Our past helps create who we are and we need to be sure we aren’t dwelling on the past. We need to be reading our Bibles, including Proverbs, to see how we should be living our lives. ARE we living it the way God wants us to live it? Are we REALLY putting God at the top of our priority lists? Are we loving our neighbors as ourselves? Are we responding to what God is telling us, or more importantly, are we even listening to what God wants for our lives? Are we wearing out the knees of our jeans or pajamas praying constantly to know Him and His will for us? Are we praying for wisdom and discernment? Are we telling out loved ones that we love them? And the list goes on.
My friends, the more I preach to the groups here in Panama, the more I know I need
to do it.. I know God wants me to be bold in my faith, and He is giving me the courage to spread His word through this gringo with the bad Spanish. I don’t let the occasional bad grammar hold me back. I figure that if they understand 80% of what I am trying to say, that’s a homerun in my book. Sometimes, in my mind, I want to grab people by the shoulders, shake them and yell “LISTEN TO ME! The Bible is real and relevant today! Read it and Heed it! If you feel your live is going in the toilet, if you feel the pressures of being a parent are sending you out of control. STOP>>>DROP<<< and PRAY to the only ONE that can truely help. Thank you Lord for being my ‘go-to’ guy. Thank you Lord for a life worth living. May your kingdom come, may YOUR will be done; on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen ‘

What’s New in San Felix?

Hello again my friends and family. Things are still busy here in balmy, San Felix, Panama. Busy from a ministry and project standpoint, not particularly crazy busy here in the mission. I am working on several projects at one time. Some for my church, and some for me. Throw in a few sessions of reading the Bible to to people in the Comarca, and you tend to get busy. Not too busy to keep me from my personal growth through daily Bible readings and prayer.
Two blog posts ago I mentioned that I was going to be showing the movie “Mary Magdelen (the life of Jesus as she saw it). I never know how many to expect, so I bought enough cookies and cool-aid for 200 people. As we set up the equipment in the Chami School to show the movie, not many people were there? Hmmmmmm? No big deal though. I decided to show part of the movie “Courageous” as a teaser for next time. Well, the ‘teaser’ kept being played longer and longer. There still weren’t many people there. Why? We decided to go ahead and hand out the food and drinks, and more people came. Now, we were pretty far into the ‘teaser’ movie, so we took a vote. About 50% wanted to keep the movie going, the other 50% wanted to change it. I played it through and they ended up with a double feature. It worked out great! You see, the Courageous movie focused on being a good dad; and the other movie showed the value Jesus gave to women. And the slow turnout of people? Turns out 250 people eventually showed up. Praise God for this opportunity.
The abandoned baby, Maria Belen, is now in the orphanage in Las Lomas and is well taken care of. I enjoy visiting her every week and a half or two weeks. She is growing nicely and is healthy.
Operation Smile was here recently and I enjoyed showing them around the Comarca. They will be doing operations for cleft lips and pallets, conjoined fingers, and fix severe burns in April of 2015.
This week a gorup of 5 were here teaching health care to nurses and care givers. Two were from Honduras, and the other three from New York. I got to chofer them to Soloy, another village in another section of the Comarca.
Also, recently, I had my yearly beach get-together with 32 of my friends from the Comarca and beyond. Actually 27 were Ngabes, 5 were Kunas. The weather was great and we all had a super time. That is, up until about 2pm when a very windy storm ripped through the beach. I had constructed a temporary ‘changing room’ and the wind utterly destroyed it. Two parents were hanging on to the blue tarp for dear life as someone was still inside the room changing when the wind ripped through. All was ok soon afterwards. Some of those in attendance were never at the beach before, let alone swim in it. Most were introduced to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the first time.
I am working on my October vacation plans, already filling in the dates on the calander.
My dear, 18 year old Ngabe friend, Miriam has gotten all her paperwork in order and is heading to the United States to study! What a super opportunity for her. Very few indigenous girls get the opportunity to travel abroad to go to college. She recieved two scholarships, one from my home church in New Tripoli. Thanks to Sisters in Spirit for this great help.
As always, I want to give thanks to our glorious God for the chance to serve Him here in Panama. This is SO right for me in this season of my life. I will continue to surrender daily to His will for me and seek to do whatever He calls me to do. I also ask for His forgiveness when I fail. Jesus’ life, persecution, crucifiction, and death on the cross make ALL the difference in every believers’ life. Through the ressurection we were all given the chance to be with Jesus forever! All you have to do is ask for forgivness, know in your heart that Jesus is exactly who He said he is, and ask to be in His grand family of believers. Pray for this today! Pray without ceasing, as it says in the Bible. Then enjoy the multitude of blessings that will come your way. And, if you have questions, write me or go and ask your pastor. Get the answers today so you can begin to live the blessed Christian life.

Joyfully Serving Him,
Bob

Light–ning is stri–king again and again and again…….

This WAS a kitchen.

This WAS a kitchen.

Those words sung by Lou Christy in the 60’s rang out in a powerful way this past week in a small village named Cerro Pierda (Rock hill), here in the Chiriqui Province of Panama. While watching a thunderstorm lighting up the sky on the distant mountains, we are in awe of its power. We count the seconds from the flash to the thunder boom to guess how far away the bolt hit. As the time gets shorter, and the flashes are near, we tend to get a bit more concerned. “Time to head inside!” Well, inside here in the rainforest of Panama, means to get yourself under the cover of a corregated metal roof.
That brings me to this particular story. The storm was drawing nearer as this mother, daughter, and granddaughter were in the metal-roofed kitchen hut, cooking, when tragedy struck in the form of a lightning bolt. The powerful lightning bolt hit a tree about 20 feet away. The bolt ripped the bark off the side of the tree, also leaving the tree split open( see pics). Then it traveled the 20 feet to the posts that were holding up the metal roof, and continued up the posts and just demolished the kitchen……and killed the mother of 4, and her daughter. The granddaughter was burned very badly but survived the lightning, only to die the next day, probably from the burns. The rest of the family were in the house, 15 feet away or so. Thankfully they were unhurt. What a horribly painful sight it must have been to come out their door only to find 3 family members struck by the lightning! I can’t even imagine how I’ld respond. If fact, I can’t even begin to think about the scenario, it would tear me up.
It was on the national news two times this week. Once when the initial incident occurred, then again the next day when the 8 year old granddaughter died. I just happened to be in from of the TV when it came on. I also recieved a note from a Ngabe friend that he had an urgent issue to talk to me about. He had known this family and worked with them when he was growing up, and wanted to ask me to visit them and take some food for them. There was NO question in my mind, I NEEDED to go to comfort them, to give them some food, and pray for them. We went the next morning.
After a 20 minute bus ride, a one hour ride in a four wheel drive truck, and an hour walk in the woods, we arrived at the scene of the tragedy. There was quiet. There was a sense of loss in the air. There was the sight of the demolished kitchen hut. And there was an uncle standing nearby to greet us. His face seemed to show the pain he had in his heart. He was nice enough to show us around. He led us to the open-air ‘church’ where the funeral service for the 8 yr. old was going to take place. Almost immediately, the father, Gregorio, slowly came up to us to greet us. You could hear in his breathing that he was probably asthmatic, too. He was worn down from all the loss in his family. We talked a bit, then one of his surviving daughters (mother of the girl to be buried that day), came to us weeping. She was carrying her remaining daughter (who was much too heavy for her to be carrying). Mom’s can be super women at times.
We gathered together and I prayed for the survivors of the family. Dad and daughter wept. I had a leak or two myself. It was a very moving moment for me, and them. I explained how I had heard of the accident and that our mutual friend was our guide to find their home. I guess I need to explain who ‘we’ were. I was with my dear friends Carlos( engineer-to-be), his brother Gabriel, and Egber, the friend of the family and former English student of mine. He is now teaching English to 1st and 2nd graders in the Comarca.
As we waited for the funeral service to begin, we were introduced to a few pastors, brothers and various family members. Again, in the crowd, there were many with eyesight problems. I got the chance to hold a one month old baby for about an hour. She slept the whole time. While holding the baby a man that seemed to be in his 50’s was sitting on a bench across from us crying almost out of control. He was staring at the coffin and weeping. This went on for a long while and none of his family or the pastors went to console him. “What’s up with that” I thought. I was still enjoying the caring of the baby. I figured I can get this man some help. A pastor was standing near me and I said to him “You are a pastor, aren’t you?’. He nodded yes. The I tried to nudge him by saying ” That man needs you right now”. He nodded in agreement, BUT he didn’t respond! Enter a God moment. In my feeble mind, for a nano second, I was thinking “I’m busy holding this baby, someone needs to help that poor man”. That’s when I heard God speak ‘ Bob, don’t use the baby as an excuse, go to the man yourself!’ So I slowly obeyed, handing the baby back to its mother and sitting down next to the grieving man. I talked to him, prayed to him, rubbed his shoulders, and kept encouraging him till he calmed down about 15 minutes later. He never looked up to see who was consoling him, but that isn’t important. God wanted ME to handle this, not the others….I think.
The surviving father then asked me to pray with and for another man who has had headaches. So I put my hand on his shoulder, prayed, and also gave him some Tylenol.
There was singing, clapping of hands, three different pastors spoke, then we had a processional to the grave site 10 minutes away. More bible verses by 2 different pastors, then the most powerful words of all came from the mother of the 8 yr. old that was about to be placed in the ground. As she began to talk, she had people 360 degrees around her, her face began to almost glow in the bright sunshine. This lady was a model of faith. She lives ‘God first’. As she talked, it looked like she was talking to me when she said to all, “Please don’t cry for me, I know the body is going into the ground but her soul is going to be with Jesus”. And she said it with such joy in her voice! How Powerful! How can I put into words the way I felt at that moment? Her face absolutely glowed as she smiled. How can she do that? Because she LIVES her faith, and her hope is in Jesus. What a role model she was, and is. I actually went up to her when leaving and said to her, “I don’t know you very well, but I am proud of you. You are a bright light shining in the darkness.”. She thanked me and gave me a hug.
As we walked away that Saturday, I couldn’t help but feel blessed to have the opportunity to meet and help these fine people. In all that sadness was a great feeling of hope. A feeling that life will go on, though a bit different.
And the man that was weeping almost uncontrollably? Well, I heard later he was the father of the 8 yr. old that was killed. Why didn’t anyone help him? He was separated from his wife( the woman full of faith), and possibly there was animosity among the family members because he wanted custody of the little girl. Now neither would have that chance. I’ll stop with that, because I don’t want to be judging people.
One custom of the Ngabe Indians is, when a tragedy like this occurs, they move to another house for 3 years till the memories are easier to handle. Gregorio has about 1/3 of the materials to build another house 5 minutes away from his current house. He asked me if I could help him buy the remaining 2/3 of the materials. Many times I need to take time to think and pray about it. This time it was a no-brainer. One way or another I wanted to help this grieving family. I said yes and that I would return in a week to work out a plan to get the corregated sheet metal and nails there. When I got home I sent out an email to a few people, and now it is in God’s hands to provide people the opportunity to put their faith in action and respond. I have NO doubts on this issue. After telling the local hardware store owner the story, he agreed to discount the materials to $360.00, plus I need to pay for delivery to a place near the build site. Phillipians 4:13 says ” I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me”. I teach this in the San Felix school and I believe it.
Looking back, I learned more things about the Ngabe-Bugle people and their culture. I was reminded that God is everywhere, even here deep in the woods. I learned something about myself..I need to be prepared for ANYTHING, ALL THE TIME! I am pretty much there, God just showed me a few weaknesses the I will address.
I can’t really say I am sorry this blog is a little long, it is also a lot real.There isn’t too much I can leave out and still give you a good picture of my experience. Thanks be to our Glorious God! Amen.

Come and See,
Bobby Mo