Thursday, April 29, 2010
Rain, Rain and more Rain! Well, we wondered when the rainy season would get here, and we are wondering no more. The road is a river again!
We made the trek to Caña Blanca this morning. It was wonderful to see the children, and the friends we have made over the past few years. Thanks to ‘First Day’ we are arranging for a 1 day medical clinic for this very poor, very far from medical help, community. First Day will be here in June to bring music, food and medicines to the families who choose, or are bound to live in this off the beaten path paradise. It takes us an hour to get there over very rough roads, but the people and the peace we find there are worth the trip.
These people have been forgotten by the world in so many ways, but we had some good news today! The school has been reopened and has 7 students as of today. There are a few more who will transfer back at the semester break (they are walking all the way to El Valle every day right now – imagine that walk in this rain!) They cannot move until they receive their grades for this semester. Actually it is a quarter, not a semester. At any rate, the school has children laughing and learning, and that is a very good thing for the entire community.
We have been bringing in English lessons for the past two years to the children, first at the school, then at the Catholic church where a wonderful Christian lady teaches kindergarten and pre-kinder to all comers. We are excited to begin again next week with 10 students (hers and the school children).
We also took fertilizer out to some friends who have moved to the neighborhood – talk about living in the quiet of nature! They are miles from anything, with no electricity, no cars, nothing to intrude on God’s natural beauty. A simple life, but a hard one. I envy them, and worry about them.
On the way back we learned a very valuable lesson. I have been doing so well with my diabetes that I left the house without any type of sugar. I am not sure what I did to expend the carbs I ate this morning, but I did – expend them – almost every one of them. I became quite lethargic, could not think, could not sit up, and was very afraid that I would go into a coma before we could reach home. We only passed one house once I got bad, and no-one was home. Fortunately Lynn was very resourceful – he first stopped at a lemon tree, climbed up and pulled, then peeled one for me. We were both in doubt as to the sugar content, so a little further along he found a guava tree and stopped again and fed me part of a fruit. It was infested with worms, but we tried to remove them as we could, and I only ate a part of it, but it was enough to get me home. Once home I downed some sugar, and promptly slept. Within a couple of hours I was exhausted, but back to normal, sugar-wise. (I am never quite normal, as most of you know) It was quite a scare for both of us, and a lesson well-learned. I am confident we will not be away from the house without some kind of sugar available again.
Just another day in the life…thought we would share.
God is good, so good!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
One of the very first adults to welcome us to Volcan died today. He was the very best of neighbors, gentle, hardworking, generous and always looking to help out in any way possible. In his early seventies, I have never known anyone close to his age that worked like he did. He has land rented all over Chiriquí that he plants and maintains with yuca, corn, beans, pineapple, and every other type of edible vegetation. He rides the bus to and from daily caring for each parcel. Or rather he did. Today, on his way to a 5 acre plot of beans, as he sat on the bus resting before he arrived, he suffered a sudden, fatal heart attack. He went home. I know of no better man to be entering the Kingdom than him, and no better way for him to take his journey than in route to yet another day of hard work. He will be sorely missed here, but I am shouting hallelujah for him.
In our first year here Don Antonio came and invited us to go with him to his 10 acre plot of pineapple down the mountain in the bottom land. We learned so much about the land, the culture, the people, and what true kindness looked like. We stopped at, at least 6 houses to visit, each one giving us avocados, bananas, papaya, and other fruits, though clearly none of these families had much of their own. Each family greeted Don Antonio as if he were their grandfather or brother, though none were kin to him by blood. In turn they greeted us, as his friend, in the same way. It was obvious that he was generous and kind with all he met. Certainly he always was with us.
That trip signaled the beginning of many others, every one of which we thoroughly enjoyed and were blessed by; always meeting new friends, and learning more about what a good Panamanian looks like. We have treasured our time with Don Antonio, and will deeply miss his visits and friendship.
Please pray for his family, especially his youngest son, Carlos, who has worshipped with us for the past two years, and was baptized just a short year ago. He is 18, and was very close to his father. Don Antonio has 7 children, I believe, but only Carlos left in the house.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Well, as times change here, and we try to meet the changes and challenges of ministry here in Volcan, we find ourselves saying goodbye to a great worker for the Lord.
Hermel signed on with us last Fall for a 6 month stint, and that stint has come to an end. The small congregation here will now be meeting weekly with Volcan church of Christ, a couple of miles from our home, and Hermel’s services as preacher and teacher will no longer be needed. Furthermore he has another small congregation waiting for his help.
He has been good for the church, uniting us, feeding the flock spiritually, and being a wonderful brother to me, as well as the whole membership. He has also been a steady companion of Magdiel’s, mentoring and teaching him in everyday circumstances. He will be missed.
The new congregation is much closer to the home of his aging parents, as he will be working with his brother (by blood) to grow a young congregation in the town of Rio Grande in Cocle. Please join us in prayers for his health, his strength, and God’s blessings on his work as he seeks to follow His will.
Queremos mucho Hermano!
We love you, Brother!