Panama 2016 year end report

One word that describes 2016 here in Panama is ‘Progress’. We have been blessed in so many ways. Every time I go into a village to share the love of Jesus through movies, the attendance is large. This year we had over 1000 people see and hear the Good News through movies. That, in itself, is good news.

We have 9 Rainwater Recovery systems installed and one waiting to be installed in February. That means more than 10 families do not need to go to the river to bathe and do laundry. 10  families that don’t have to worry about snakebites while bathing and doing laundry.

The ‘Church on the Hill’ is becoming a bit more time consuming as I try to keep up with the rising attendance. This little, upstart church had 6 people attend the first ‘church service’ in August of 2015. And, I am all too excited to announce that 250 people showed up to worship the second Saturday in December!!!! Plus another 140 for CHRISTmas eve. For the year the attendance (per service) has grown 55% since January 2016 and 1,190 have attended during the once-a-month services last year(13 services). December 2016 had a whopping 280% increase over December 2015( with the exact same venues)! The Mother’s Day church celebration for 2016 rose 1,100% (250 vs 28) over the same event last year! For the last half of 2016 we averaged 107  per worship service with 95 being the maximum seating available in the ‘church’. Only God knows what is in store for 2017. Maybe we need to switch to twice a month services to try to spread out the crowds? This may be the only way to continue worshipping in the confines of the dormitory dining area that we use in Chami. Pray with me about this.

Another exciting connection was made to help cataract patients receive FREE cataract surgery next year. With all the eye problems here, this is great news. The program starts Jan. 1, I’ll keep you posted as I get clearer details on how I can help. I will offer pay to transport the patients to the town of David, an hour or so away.

The World Mission team reviewed and approved some needed projects for 2016. I am happy to say that the funds were sent to me and the projects have all been completed. Thank you World Missions for your continued support and encouragement.

I was blessed this year to have Reverend Ann Winters, from Ohio, and Patrick Rowland from Pennsylvania, come to Panama and help with some projects and movies.

I am super excited to see where 2017 takes me and my friends here in Panama AND back at New Life. I will NOT worry about it as God is in charge and HE will provide whatever I need to do HIS will in this mission field.

Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Have a safe and Godly New Year. And, while you are at it, spread the Good News to all who will hear it.

Joyfully Serving Our Risen Lord,

Bobby Mo

p.s. I’ll leave the light on for y’all.

I did it again……….

Jeremiah 29:11-13 New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”.
I did it again! As much as I try to get my thoughts in order, sometimes I revert to my human side and don’t see what God has planned. Sad thing is, I’ll probably have this train of thought again.
Okay, so what am I talking about? August 13 was the date I planned to celebrate the first anniversary for the “Church on the Hill” in Hato Chami. We have had monthly church services there and now we had reason to celebrate. Announcements were in place, the large cakes were purchased, some door prizes were bought and Reverend Ann Winters, from the states, was here to help. I prepared a full service and slide show to cap off the night.
We arrived at about noon and began to set up for the service and the children started coming already (the service wasn’t set to start till 6). So as we set up, the kids sang songs and watched 1 3/4 movies. It began to rain early in the afternoon and it continued to rain incredibly hard all afternoon. Lightning and thunder caused the children to cover their ears. Then the electric went off! Thus, the 3/4 movie. You need to know that when the electric goes off in the Comarca, it doesn’t come back on for a long while. Now my hope for a big celebration was dwindling. I remember talking to a student in the dorms saying ” so much for a good celebration tonight. Nobody will come out in this terrible rain! What am I going to do with the cakes? I bought enough for over 100 people. Do I celebrate next month?
I hooked up the generator and went through the motions to go on with the service with the 30 or 40 people that came early. Two girls came soaking wet, so I gave them a blanket to take the chill off. The only light was the projector light on the screen. Soon after we started, the surge suppressor power strip burned up. I did NOT have a spare! What now? God provided one person in the congregation to send someone to his house to get another one. He saved the day.
We got re-started and the people kept coming in , in spite of the rains and the lack of electricity. And we sang, prayed, and shared the Word of the Lord. They continued to come! By the time the service and festivities were done, over 110 people were sent by our incredible God to share in the nights service. I later heard from one man that came to the service, but the church was so full he couldn’t get in. He stayed for bit, in the rain, but ended up leaving early.

It was a very difficult night and amazing at the same time; but it also was yet another situation where I left God out of the picture when I was bumming before the service. I believe that God sent all those people because there was something said that night that God wanted them to hear. It was also a reminder that , against all odds, God will prove that he can do anything at any time. All we need to do is be faithful and watch Him work.
At the end of the night, I shook my head in amazement at what had transpired. I remember when the service started, I said ” I had big plans for the anniversary celebration that didn’t include all this rain, but God knows what He is doing”. And, sure enough He does.
God knows best. I need to trust His plans will always play themselves out if we are faithful. My prayer for all of you is that you seek His face, seek His will and watch His grand design come together…in spite of all the obstacles. Amen.

Fatherlessness

One thing that has raised it’s ugly head here in Panama is the incredible amount of children without a dad in the house. This really bothers me. For some kids it is the fact that dad left to live with another woman, or two, or three…..
For others, the only connection between dad and the children is that he was ‘present’ at inception. Many children have told me they didn’t have a dad, or never met their dad. What a shame! Dads are so important to the family structure. Dads are so important for the future of their sons. Dads need to model the type of man they want their daughters to marry. In way too many cases, the children do not have that model to guide them. I understand that this is an issue in many parts of the world, I can only speak of my experiences here in the Chiriqui region of Panama. No don’t get me wrong, I am not here to judge. You see, I am one of the dads who failed to be the ideal model for their children. I failed, too. That is why I am extra sensitive to this matter. Thanks to our amazing God, I have another chance to be a dad, or a grandfather to some of the kids here. This is a ‘task’ I take seriously.
Recently I went to visit a large family (9 children in the house). I do not know all the specifics but there is a set of twins there that I enjoy playing with. I chatting with their mom, I found out that the twins, almost 6 years old, were abandoned by their dad when they were born. Sad. I am especially fond of them, and asked one of them if I could be their daddy. She looked at her mom and answered “no”. I then asked if I could be her grandfather, to which she replies ,”yes”. WIN! Then I found out the twins would turn 6 years old on August 12. Looks like I have an opportunity to be a good grandfather by buying them something for their birthdays. They don’t have much in the way of clothing, so, maybe new dresses for each will make them happy. Usually, when I visit them, one is in her underwear, the other in an oversize, ratty dress. A few weeks ago I dropped off a new soccer ball for the older boys. They were as happy as a pig in doo-doo. I actually commented to one boy that this was probably the best gift he could receive, and he replied, YES!
I am friends with many fatherless children, so I have my work cut out for me to be the good example for them. It seems that the girls are more apt to say they don’t have a mom or dad. The boys are more reserved in giving out this info. The most impressive thing with the fatherlessness is, the kids usually don’t ask for a thing. All they want is my time. And as we all know…love is spelled..t-i-m-e. I can afford this.
May the God of all things created, grant me the wisdom and compassion to make good on this do-over in life that is available to me.

Joyfully Serving Him,
Grandfather Bob

Turn up the heat!!!!!!!

As I make my rounds here in the USA,  I realize that I am not in Panama anymore. It is downright cool, wet and gloomy here! I am so used to the heat of San Felix, Panama. I guess I am spoiled.

It may have been a whirlwind 3 state/5 church tour this time, but all went well. I even got a few naps in. And, naps are good when you are my age. I just love sharing the stories of my missionary journey with any who want to hear it. True, a few may be taken aback by my “Apostle Paul boldness”, but I refuse to be ashamed of the Gospel.

One of the most pleasant things I enjoy is to hear church services in English. Once in a while my brain needs a break from the translating of the fast paced Spanish services. That, and the fact that some of the English praise songs really speak to me. Even though I am a full time missionary in a Spanish speaking country, I still listen to American praise music.

Recently I made my 3rd annual 20+ mile hike through the rugged mountains in the Comarca carrying a 12′ cross. This year was the best so far, as 11 people   walked the entire distance. In fact, 2 teenage girls also walked the following week in a hike through the dirt trails in another part of the Comarca. 18 people in all walked in this “Hike for Christ” at least part of the way.

Also, recently, We built 2 more rainwater recovery systems to help families have water at their homes, rather than go to the local streams and rivers where the snakes sometimes bite them. The rainwater is then made drinkable by pouring it through a ceramic filter bucket system I install.

I’ll do my best to get more pictures posted on this blog. I have already lost 5 years of pics somehow. My fault, I’m sure.

Until next time. Keep up the faith. Lean on the hope we have in Jesus.

Bobby Mo

 

March-ing on……

March is here, and so are the nasty winds in the mountains. We get some wind here in the San Felix area, but it gets crazy in the mountains. A man I know lost part of his roof and had his greenhouse completely destroyed. For the Ngabes, this is no big deal, it is just a part of life where they live.
For me, I’ve been very busy with helping kids get set up for school. I also have 5 college and high school students that I help, financially, for them to continue their education. When I can see someone that wants to better themselves through higher education, I try to help. I am kind of maxed out on the number of kids I can help right now, but if God wants me to help more, he will provide the resources. Please write me if you want more info on these opportunities to help. Some really want to rise up from the extreme poverty that is widespread here.
Recently we were able to help another blind man have a little easier life. We installed a sink and the associated plumbing so he would have water at his house for the first time. Now he can bathe and do his wash as needed without asking for help to bring water to his house.
I’m gearing up for 2 ‘Hikes for Christ’ this year. One is 8 hours through the mountains, the other only 1 1/2 hours. Seems like I am going to have lot of people walking with me, and helping to carry the cross. We’ll have to wait and see.
The “Church on the Hill” continues to go well. I really enjoy giving the message of the Good News and of all the wonderful things Jesus did for us. Now, if I can only get them to arrive on time! Haha! For this culture, it won’t happen. The kids come very early and the adults come late. The last church service proved very interesting and in the end I felt very blessed. You see, at the same time as the service that I lead, there was a large all night vigil going on 20 minutes away(walking, of course). The vigil had a dynamic pastor from Boquette and a band from Nicaragua. here we are, at the start of the service with very few people. There were as many as 500 people there! I was dissapointed. My mind was racing. There was some second guessing going on in my head. I should have remembered that God says not to worry, he has my back. Sure enough 1/2 hour later we had 55 people there to hear about the miracles of Jesus. I need to tell you that my demeanor went form ‘poor me’ to being on fire. They had an extended version sermon that night. I cannot describe the joy I felt. I cannot describe how thankful I was, and am, to Him who knows all and provides all. I am so thankful to God who continues to use me in ways I never could have dreamed of. Thank you Lord for trusting me with the hearts of those that come to listen to me. Continue to give me the words to say to make a difference in their lives.
I have two people coming down to visit and work with me this summer. The son of a friend from church will be here on spring break. The other is a Reverend from a church in Ohio, who will come in August for a two week stay. I always enjoy showing newbees around and filling them in on what is happening here.
It’s been extremely hot for a long time now. Lots of green turned to brown. Rivers are drying up. Tanker trucks delivering water to the areas most affected. The rainy season is still a month away. Thank God, we are in good shape here in the mission with water.
Soon it will be time to head north to the states for my spring vacation. Look for me April 15 to May 17. I love the spring season in the Northeast. It won’t be a very restful vacation as I may end up talking in 5 different churches, in two different states. It will be so good to get back home again to see my family and friends.

Bobby Mo

New Beginnings.

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Preaching about moms.

It’s a new day. It’s a new year. It’s another opportunity to do the right thing. What is the ‘right thing’? The right thing is the thing that God wants you to do in your life. God can use you right where you are at in your journey of faith. Just surrender your will to Him. His will will bring you an abundance of peace and opportunities to help those in need. Trust in Him with all your being. You can not lose! As the Bible says, “If God is for you, who can be against you?” Once you surrender and trust God, AND see and feel the results, you’ll say to yourself ” Now why didn’t i do that earlier in my life!”

The new year brings me more opportunities to serve our risen Lord. More chances to feel that peace that surpasses all understanding. Another year to help those that have problems helping themselves. Bring it on, 2016! I’m  ready!

Along with the normal CHRISTmas and New Years’ Day celebrations; here in Panama they celebrate Mothers’ Day in December and  Independence day in November. Here in the mission we just had a huge fund raiser dance for the Catholic church. Around 500 people came to eat and dance the night away to live music.

The worship services that I have been blessed to lead are going well. The last few messages included: Moms of the Bible, being the Dad that God wants you to be, the Nativity story, and Who is Jesus? The last service I was astounded that 80 people came from as far as an hour (walking) away to hear the Good News. Thanks be to God for this blessing.

Speaking of celebrations, Feb. 11 I will be celebrating my 5th anniversary here in San Felix, Panama. 5 very good years, I must say. Possibly I’ll be taking a few days off to visit Bocas Del Toro.

What are your expectations for the year 2016? Are they something that God might bless? Read your Bibles, pray, and listen during your quiet time for that still small voice calling YOU to do the next right thing. Trust and obey….you can not lose!

Happy 2016 everyone and let the blessings begin!

Bobby Mo

Blessed To Be A Blessing

‘Blessed to be a blessing’ is a phrase the folks from my church use frequently. When we are blessed, we need to be a blessing to others. We take this phrase seriously. We love to have the opportunity to take the blessings we have, and give them away to the ‘least of these’.
This was the case in October as a mission team of 7 people came to Panama to be this blessing to others. And, bless they did. When the week was done, 4 families had rainwater collection systems installed on their homes. These 4 systems will probably benefit over 40 persons. Some ceramic filter bucket systems were also installed to assure clean, potable water for them. None of this would have been possible without the blessing from Emmanuals’ Church in the way of full funding for the projects. The ceramic filters were paid for by youth in my home church in New Tripoli. We were blessed with these funds so we could be a blessing to the needy here. All good stuff. Funding the projects was only a part of the work. We needed to carry many of the tools and materials through the rugged mountains to the sites I chose. We carried the things in a heavy rain without a peep of complaining. We handed out over 500 balloons all throughout the week.
When they weren’t trudging through the mountains, they were sanding and painting metal railings in the mission. No matter what I asked them to do, they did without a complaint. Well done good and faithful servants.
A blessing for me was to have them visit me in Panama when I had a church service scheduled. The bi-lingual service was moved indoors because of some rain, but went well. The next church service won’t happen till I get back from my vacation in the USA.
Coming to the states in October is nice for me because I can see the colors of the turning foliage. I can deal with the ‘colder than Panama’ weather, it’s a nice change from the heat and humidity. At my daughters’ house we will celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving and CHRISTmas all in the same day. I enjoy spending time with my grandchildren.
There is so much more I could say, but most of you will hear the same stuff during one of the church services that I will speak at.
Remember that we are ALL created to serve in one way or another. And, in the book of James, we read that” Now that you know what you must do, it is a sin not to do so.”
Till we meet again.

Bob Moyer