The Weather in Our Neck of the Woods

Monday, April 28, 2008

27 Abril 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Today was a good day, thank you Lord! We had 23 in attendance this morning; 8 children in children’s class, and 15 youth and adults. Ezequias taught about the fruit of the spirit for the second week. I have not been in the class, but Lynn is in there and feels he is doing a good job with teaching.

Yesenia helped with the children’s class again. She is a little unsure of herself, but does a good job when I specify what she should do. Of the 8 children, 7 had their memory verse down. The eighth is only 3 so I cut her a little slack. I was thrilled. Today we talked about Daniel and the Lion’s Den. It was the first time they had heard the story. This was humbling for me. Can you remember when you first heard that story? Not me, I was too young. They were excited and worried, and then happy for Daniel. It was all over their faces. Maybe God knew that I needed to remember why we are here. Not that I have thought of quitting, I have just been discouraged.

We had ‘rib soup’ for lunch with rice. What is up with the rice thing there? Last Fall the price skyrocketed here, jumping almost $4 for 25 pounds. It was a terrible blow for the people here. Rice is their staple, and sometimes the only thing they can afford. There were protests in the City, but it changed nothing. The price here, however has not risen since then. Back to the soup – it is a quite traditional meal here. It has beef ribs, but only a few, ῆame, otoi, yuka (these are root vegetables something like potatoes, but better), pumpkin, onions, peppers, cilantro and garlic. Then of course there is lots of water. If you want to be formal, you take a spoon of rice and dip it into the soup, pull it up and eat it. If you don’t care, you just dump your rice into the soup and chow down. I lean toward the latter. We feel certain that Salinda’s children had not eaten at all today. They each had 3 servings. The youngest girl cried through services, asking her mom for ‘teat’ but Salinda has a baby 3 months old and needs all her milk for him. I spoke with Ezequias this afternoon about their situation. He said that the step-father still has a job, but spends his money on alcohol as soon as he is paid. This is the same family that we gave the beds last year, and the same family whose children generous folks from Riverside are sponsoring so that they may attend school. We are considering how best to help with this situation, as we do not want the husband to decide that we can be responsible so he has an easier time not providing for his family. We will help, but just not sure how yet.

The young folks still hang out here when they can, but because school was postponed for three weeks due to a teacher strike, they are hitting the books hard and heavy and don’t have much free time right now.

We are very busy, and miss the folks at home more than we would like, but God is faithful, and He will see this pass. We look forward to Ben coming down as soon as he finishes up his classes in two weeks. Then before we know it the groups from Riverside will be with us.

Other important news: The cow is bred – we will have a calf in 3 months!!! Fresh milk for us and our neighbors! The dog is being bred. We will have Dalmatian puppies mixed with chocolate Labrador in about 9 weeks!

Ok, maybe not really important to you so far away, but what a gift to share with neighbors (the milk), and what joy puppies always bring.

Until next time, may god bless you richly!

Joy & Lynn

Thursday, April 24, 2008

2008 The Work Begins Anew!

We have been here one full week today. There are so many wonderful friends and family here to visit and get reacquainted with. And some new faces as well. We are grateful to be home, and part of the church here. We miss the rest of the church in Gassville, but feel very loved and needed here.

The church has grown some. We have a new sister in Christ, Marleni. She lives just up the road, is about 35 years old, and participates quite a bit in the class discussion. You can tell by her responses that she is hungry for understanding of God's will. We look forward to getting to know her better. Another new addition - Salinda has a new baby! Yes, that is the Salinda who already has 8 children. This one is a boy, 3 months old. He is gorgeous, and she is quite proud of him. This is the first boy with her husband of 4 years. This is a significant child for their marriage.

There have been some things that we were unaware of happen while we were in the States. We are still still trying to get it all straight in our heads and hearts. We have concerns for our future with Ezequias, and are praying fervently for God's guidance as we put together the pieces from the last 6 months. We beg you for your prayers concerning this. If you would just pray for God's will in our lives, we know He will guide us through this difficult and uncomfortable time.

Of course, all of the girls first question for me was " and Hannah? When is she coming?" I assured them all that she will be here in June. My almost grand-daughter has grown so much! she is now 7 months old, beautiful, and spoiled. We are told that all children should be spoiled until they begin school, then they will begin to change. Not sure if that is best, but they certainly follow that rule! Anna Valery is no exception! I will do my best to follow this rule for her, at least for this 6 month period!

Our washing machine had to be replaced. the motor had been burnt up. We went shopping yesterday and actually went with an automatic - fully automatic. We don't have to change over for the spin, or re-enter the water for rinse. Quite uptown! Many from the group last year will appreciate this. The biggest draw for us was that it is a Frigidaire; a name we know. All the others were either Japanese or Chinese, as was our last one. We will see how it goes. It certainly will be faster!

We also bought our new pickup yesterday. We received word that both of the old cars are being sold on Friday (We go to sign them over on Friday). As is the Nelson custom - we bought high and sold low. Actually we got a pretty good deal on the truck. It is a 2006 Mitsubichi 4 door, 4x4 in very good condition. It's only owner is a veterinarian for a single farm near David. He had the truck maintained at the dealership, so it is really clean running. We paid $14,700. How did we do? The Niva we bought for $1200 and sold for $850. It was a piece of junk, and we are glad to be rid of it at any price. the Nissan headgasket blew just before we headed home. Javier was able to get it going again but said if it happened again the motor would need to be replaced. it did, and he did a patch job again. So, we bought it for $3000 and sold it for $1000. Actually we sold the Nissan to Javier, our brother in Christ, and mechanic. If he can fix it and sell it for more, the church will benefit, as he is one of their best supporters. he supplies the bus, the gas for the bus, as well as his time to get everyone to the building (in David) on Sundays.

We are cleaning and repairing the house. Dany is a great help. She continues to work for us part time. She is paid $5 per day, and usually works 5 hours a day. We are blessed to have her help, and to be able to help her. This keeps her family fed. Two of her children are in our Beka program.

Though we have encountered problems, we are ever grateful to God for bringing us here, and for allowing us to help these people know and understand God's love and plan for them. We are very blessed.

May God bless you richly,
Joy & Lynn

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Our second year in Panama begins!

We are on our way back to our home in Volcan, Panama. It seems like years ago that we left, yet seems like we just got back to our home here in Yellville. With the exception of our vacation, we have not posted any news since we returned to the States. That is not to say that nothing has happened in our ministry in that time, just that we have been living and not writing about it.

We will begin with the work in Volcan. Ezequias has been hard at work with continued Bible studies, regular weekly meetings and lots of youth activities. Especially throughout the school vacation – December through March – when he took the youth group to summer camp in Herrera. Nine of our youth went on the trip and all said it was a life-changing experience.

There are between 20 and 25 members attending weekly meetings at the house. There are also anywhere from 50 to 75 kids spending Sunday afternoons playing futball at the house. Ezequias is coordinating that program.

Ez’s mom came to visit him last fall and again in March. His nephew came and spent a week with him in March as well. He spent December and January quite ill, and lame. He contracted a fungus from an open blister on his foot that spread and caused a great deal of pain, as well as expense. He literally could not walk for several weeks. One of our young members, Jairo (12years old) came and stayed with him, preparing meals, cleaning and nursing him back to health. Jairo is an exceptional young man.

About two weeks after he finished his last injection for the foot fungus he was out playing futball with the kids and twisted his other foot badly and was back on crutches again for a few weeks. At this moment, thank God, he is up and healthy.

In March, as the students prepared to go back to school, we were able to help 8 of them who might not have been able to, purchase uniforms and materials so that they could attend classes. Ezequias helped with the shopping as well. In addition, he helped 2 other young men financially – one so that he could go to a local private school, where he could learn a trade along with his regular schoolwork, and the other so that he might better prepare for University. He did this with the meager funds that we provide him for living expenses. Both young men are faithful members of the church at El Valle, and are in High school. The 8 students we are assisting are in both high school and elementary. Generous individuals from local stateside congregations sponsor them each independently. Thanks!

One further note from the El Valle front; our Dalmatian, Saly, had three pups last December. Ez took one, named him King, and now he rules the house! He is adorable! Saly has been staying with friends, and will come home when we get home.

Stateside news:

We returned home last October to find my dad in poor health. Not sure what exactly started it all, but it looks as though he had a stomach virus that weakened him so that he became seriously ill. He has emphysema, so any small sickness can become life-threatening. We spent several weeks helping him out as he slowly recovered, and are very grateful to God for allowing us to be here at that time. I am always amazed how God always has a plan- a good plan that works, and am always thrilled when I figure that out before I start questioning Him too deeply. The obvious question is why I don’t just remember it from the last time His plan was better than mine. I am foolish. That’s the only answer.

In November we had the opportunity to go with several members of the church to Tulsa, Oklahoma and help out Contact Church. This is the wonderful inner-city ministry that Todd Box works with. We were all blessed far beyond the little bit of work that we were able to do for them. The work there is producing opportunities for spiritual growth and offering second and third chances to lost souls seeking a Savior. What a wonderful ministry, and we commend Todd and the others working there. God bless you all!

We hurried through the Holidays. Ben struggled with classes the whole semester and with life in general. He is at times overcome with depression, and, as with Lynn, it rules over every aspect of life. The Fall semester was ruled by depression for Ben. He did …very poorly. This semester, however, he is doing better. He smiles, and thus so do we. We are very grateful to God for His faithfulness. I am reminded of His promise in 1 Corinthians; He is faithful and will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear, but will provide a way of escape for us. He has proven himself too many times in my life for me to doubt. My prayer is that Ben, and others who struggle with similar problems will grow to depend on this promise as well.

Just as I began to wonder why God was keeping us in Arkansas so long, tragedy struck our church community. A tornado came through on February 5th and destroyed the small town of Gassville. Over 130 homes were damaged or destroyed. Riverside began to feed those displaced, without electricity or heat. We delivered meals to homes and shells of homes as they tried to find the pieces of their lives among the rubble. We handed out checks to any who needed money, and removed debris as the community began to dig out. This work kept Lynn and I busy for over a month. We were very grateful that we had the time and abilities to serve. The devastation is still quite obvious, but people are getting back to a more normal existence, or maybe they have just adapted.

Lynn and I were able to work for the 5 weeks full time, and then we headed off for our first vacation in 18 years. As a retirement gift for Lynn, and an anniversary gift for us both we spent 2 weeks in Europe traveling by train through 14 countries. It was wonderful. The trip was not a relaxing one, with several connections to be made daily, but it was refreshing and absolutely beautiful. We enjoyed the whole trip immensely, and are grateful that we were able to do it once in our lifetime.

We are anxious to return home and see everyone there. It seems far more difficult for me to leave this time. I think my Dad’s illness, and seeing Lynn’s mom grow a bit older have made me consider that we will not always have them to come home to, and that is not easy. I know that we are doing what God has planned for us. He blesses us daily, to be sure. I know that both God and Lynn and Joy want these wonderful people to know God’s love, and His Son. I know that the work, though difficult, is doing good for the people here, and I know that I love them dearly as well. So, we return to many we love praying that those we leave behind understand God’s call for us, and know we love them as well.

Enough for now. We are headed back to the work! Please pray for God to be glorified through us.

All because of Jesus,
Lynn & Joy