Thursday, April 22, 2010
Goodbye Dear Neighbor & Friend
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.