Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving with the Indians in La Ciudad de Panamá, Panamá

back to Our Walk of Faith

Monday, November 19th

Pap pen pentake! (God bless you!) This week we are having a crash course in Kuna language and culture! I'm soooo excited! I've always said that I wanted to learn another language. I can't wait to see what I'm going to learn!!

We are also going to try to work on e-mail this week, but this is a great time to spend with this family too! We went to buy groceries today to help out this week. We asked Lonnie what he had been longing for from the States so that we could fix it. He said, "Chili and cherry pie." I have a really good recipe for Chili (Thanks to Francis Herndon in Thomasville, GA.), so we got the ingredients for that. I have no idea how to make a cherry pie, so I just got stuff to make other desserts.

Roxany, another of Lonnie and Nana's children, was at home when we got back from the grocery store, and she was so excited about helping me cook!! We made brownies together, and Nana watched. Nana didn't know how to use the oven, so she was interested in learning!

Then Roxany and I worked on some English homework that she had...she's got a 98 in the class! Pretty impressive!

also made a beaded bracelet for Chris too!! I'm amazed at her talent!!

Tuesday, November 20th

Chris and Lonnie spent a lot of time talking today...God was really moving! Lonnie wants to get the whole family together to pray about what God would have them to do! He's ready to take a step of faith! He just needs God's direction as to what that step is! He worked as a translator for 8 years on the islands for teams that came down. He also coordinated all of the logistics for the teams. It was a lot of work, so he gave it up. Yet at the same time, he knows that God has given him 3 languages, so he's not sure what to do.

While Chris and Lonnie were talking, Eliseo and I were working on his blog for La Comarca Kuna Yala. It's all his work, I just showed him how to set up the pages and load pictures. He's really proud of all that his grandparents did, and he wants to be able to share that with others. Check it out if you get a chance...he's tried really hard to have it all in English

We worked on the internet for a bit today. Nana also taught me how to sew for just a short time! I need lots of practice to be as good as Nana!!

Roxany and I cooked together again today (Yoceline always wants to help too!!)...
we made chocolate chip cookies. We also played spoons with Eliseo, Yoceline, and Chris! Tons of fun!!

Wednesday, November 21st

Today we heard the story of how Lonnie and Nana eloped...he stole her away in airplane!! We've been learning bits and pieces of their stories over the course of this week!

We worked on the internet again today...trying to get some communication in before we are off the radar for a couple of weeks or maybe even a month!

Tonight we went to church...we had prayer meeting. We sang a few choruses and poured our hearts out to the Lord in prayer...for the church, the community, and the families of those who were present! After the service, Hna. Amelita invited us to spend the day with her on Friday. That should be exciting! We'll see what happens!

Thursday, November 22nd

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! We love y'all all! We hope you had an awesome day with your families! We missed ours a ton! Praise the Lord for the family of God or we would have been really sad! I fixed Chili for lunch and we all sampled a bit of it!!! Nana and I made toast...they like to eat it, but again she wasn't sure how to use the oven! I was glad I could teach her something...she's amazingly talented, and I've learned a ton from her this week!

Roxany and I made a Hershey's Pie last night that we all enjoyed this afternoon! (Thanks, Mrs. Bonnie in Milton, Florida for the recipe!)

Then I went with Nana and Baudelia to buy more string to make salvation bracelets. When we got back, Chris and I went to work on the internet again!! It's been a blessing to be able to e-mail all week and to make some phone calls on Skype! (Lonnie has a computer with internet at their house, so we've been able to call for $0.02 per minutes verse $0.20 or $0.30. Praise God for provision!! We've enjoyed talking to our parents twice this week!!

We played spoons again last's become a nightly tradition!!

Friday, November 23rd

Today we walked to the bus stop to meet Hna Amelita. She took us to Marañon which is a really poor neighborhood on the other side of the city. She works with Zoraida (another sister) to minister to kids in this neighborhood. We met Zoraida and her kids Martin, Zori, and Chayil. Martin was on his way to school, but the rest of us went to the mall. Hna Ameliat wanted to buy us lunch and show us around.

From there they took us to El Camino, a Christian bookstore. We met the owner, Ricardo, and his daughter. He was interested to hear our testimony, and he shared of the miraculous healing from God that his daughter experienced. He asked if he could pray for us, and we prayed for their ministry at the bookstore! Wow! Praise God for divine appointments! While we were there, we also picked up materials to carry out to La Comarca Kuna Yala. Normally we are walking and can't carry any extra weight, but this time we can't will be by boat, so we have Bible studies to leave with the pastors that they can share with one another. Yea!!! When we dropped Zoraida off at her house, she wanted to give us some Gospels of John...we were shocked to see so many, but we know God has a plan!! We're really excited about what God is going to do out there!

Saturday, November 24th

This morning after breakfast, one of Nana's friends (Arnulfia) came over. She made a beaded bracelet for Chris and for me with our names on them!! She started sharing her testimony with us. Then she told us that Ledisi and Line who were with her had never made a decision for Jesus. Chris and I thought about the bracelets. I went to get them and walked them through the plan of salvation. They both prayed to accept Jesus! Lonnie went back over it with them in Kuna to make sure that they understood everything! Praise God! Please pray for God to send people to disciple these girls! They are going to church tomorrow with Arnulfia!!! When we asked the girls if they had a Bible, they told us that they didn't. How perfect is God's timing?! We had all those Gospels of John!!! So we gave each of them one and talked a little more before they had to go home!! What an awesome God we serve!!!

A majority of the family was here after lunch, so we talked about God's plan for their lives, shared together from God's Word, thanked them for their hospitality, and prayed together!!!

We've had such an awesome time with this family! We spent more time with them this afternoon, and then we worked a little on the internet. Tomorrow morning, we'll be heading out bright and early for La Comarca Kuna Yala! We're excited to see what God has in store! We don't believe that we'll be able to have any contact via phone, e-mail, or blog until we reach Colombia. Please pray for our safety and for us to be obedient to the things God reveals to us during this next leg of our journey!! We love y'all a ton! God bless you and keep you! Keep offering yourselves daily as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to the Lord--this is your spiritual act of worship!

a) Chris and Lonnie...Chris is sporting his new hat...Nana did all of the work around the band! b) b) an close-up of the bracelet's Nana made us!!

a) Nana hard at work sewing a Mola b) Her Mola for Mother's Day (Dec 8th in Panamá)

a) one of Nana's molas up close b) RE getting a little practice with Baby Chayil

This week's flower!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

God will make a way where there is no way...Walking on Water!!!

back to Our Walk of Faith

Monday, November 12th

This morning we went to pray for Don Cesar and Doña Isolina...we arrived just in time because they just getting into their car to run an errand. Then we visited the feeding was nice to see, but no doors opened to help serve there.

Today we worked on e-mail for a bit today...still working to respond to everyone.

We also met Mari, another friend of Aurora. She shared her testimony of God's healing on her body. She had a heart attack shortly after the birth of her youngest daughter. At the time they weren't aware of it, but it caused a lot of fatigue for Mari. Eventually she got to the point that she couldn't work anymore. She had to stay in bed in an air-conditioned room to even be able to breath. After visiting 6 cardiologists who all told her the same grim news, she didn't know what else to do. They only gave her a short time to live...her only option was a heart transplant, but that would cost $50,000 that she didn't have. A few weeks later, she ran into her cousin who trained to be a doctor at the same hospital in Houston, TX that she was investigating for the heart transplant. He took her case to Argentina, and they worked out a solution--8 hours of open heart surgery to perform a bypass and put in a pace maker. The priest came and prayed over her just before she went to the hospital for the surgery...she felt the presence of the Holy Spirit comforting her and her family. After 4 hours, she woke up feeling intense pain, but they couldn't give her anything for it. She had a choice--bear the pain or be in bed with oxygen the rest of her life. At 6:30 pm she passed out from the pain (the same time her mother and several others were praying for her). When she woke again at 9:30, she saw the doctor giving the thumbs up to her husband who was waiting outside. It's been a year and a half, and she has been able to resume life as normal...with one exception...she's serving the Lord with all she has now! She said, "Before I said I was it's for real."

After Mari left, we went over to visit with Rony and Erick again. I'm telling you...the presence of God is so strong with him!! He wanted us to talk to one of his friends (Rodney) who lives in another town who is confined to a wheelchair as well. He doesn't have use of his arms or his legs. When Rodney was little, he went to the US for 7 months and had quite a few operations at the Shriner's hospital in Louisiana. He learned to speak English while he was there. So any opportunity that he gets to practice his English, he is overjoyed! We had a good conversation with him, and we hope to stay in touch.

A good day overall...I also wrote down several of Aurora's recipes!! We are going to do a few more things tomorrow, so we aren't walking yet...

Tuesday, November 13th

Today we worked on the internet a little more today, but Tuesdays are the days that Aurora is by herself cooking for the restaurant. So we told her that we wanted to help. I especially wanted to learn how to make Hojaldras and Torrejas de Maiz Nuevo. Aurora patiently walked me through each step. I also got to make Sao (the pig's feet). She showed me how to stretch the dough and to fry it correctly. Then it was time for my first customers! It was tons of fun!! We told Rony yesterday that I would be helping today, so he asked us to bring him an Hojaldra over when we had a free moment!! It was a great day! We know it's time to leave tomorrow, but as always, we are a little sad to move on!

Wednesday, November 14th

Aurora fixed breakfast for us this morning. As we were finishing up, she started talked about her son, Pancho. He had come home for a few minutes last night...he basically started yelling at her the moment he walked in the door. We felt really bad for her! She asked us to pray about the situation because she wasn't sure what to do...he's 27 years old. In the process of explaining the situation to us, she started crying. Then she began sharing more from her life...really hard stuff that people shouldn't have to experience ever!! We knew there was no other answer but Jesus. As we shared with her from the Bible, we knew that she wanted to make a decision to ask Jesus into her life to guide her and to carry her burdens. Chris lead her in a prayer of repentance, and then I prayed for her to have wisdom in the situation with her son.

We couldn't believe we look back it's pretty crazy how we ended up in Dolega...and then to stay 7 days...why in the world would we do that? Well, God revealed it today!!! We were so excited!!

After we packed up and Aurora got ready, she took us into David on the bus with her. (She has to go every day to buy supplies for the restuarant.)

We said, "Goodbye" to Aurora and started walking towards Panama City. The sign going out of David read 444 kilometers...about 278 miles...22 days. Chris and I prayed and worked on Romans 12 for several hours.

We were coming into Corrigemiento de Chiriquí at about 3 pm, and we were pretty hungry. We talked back and forth a little bit about where we needed to go, but all of a sudden we heard a woman call out to us in English. We looked over to the parking lot of the gas station, and we saw Rossana and Lissara waving from their truck. We walked over to see what they wanted. They were just curious about us because they had seen us walking a couple of hours earlier. We talked to them for a few minutes, and we learned that they are Christians!! We shared a little testimony with them, and then asked where we could find a restaurant to get something to eat. After trying to think of a place in town (they couldn't come up with anything), Rossana said, "We'll just go over to my mom's house. She's a Christian too, and she will love to talk to you!"

So we went over to José and Ida's house, and we swapped God stories! It was awesome. One that especially made me smile was Ida's testimony of being healed from migraines. One afternoon she had such immense pain she didn't know what to do anymore. She said that she laid her hands on herself, and began to pray. I really liked this part...she said, "I can't stand this pain, but I will not accept it! In Jesus' name, I pray for Your healing touch on my body." Then she went to sleep. When she woke up in the middle of the night, she didn't have any pain. She got up, went to the bathroom, and shook her head. Still no pain! To this day she's not had another migraine!! Praise God!

Oh, I forgot to tell you...José and Ida own a trucking company. They have about 14-16 rigs that travel all over Central America. One was leaving tonight for Panama City. When José got home, we prayed together as a family. We were getting ready to leave, and Rossana and Lissara were getting ready to go home, but for some reason, Ida said, "You know, I think y'all should stay the night here. I'll put you on the bus to Panama City tomorrow." We agreed to go with whatever the Lord was putting on her heart!

Since we were staying, José wanted to show us the trucks...the cabs all have verses painted on them. It's pretty funny because some of the drivers aren't Christians, so they told us that they heard about them covering up the verses with newspapers when they got into a town. They wanted to do things that they didn't think God would approve of...we smiled. God's Word is extremely powerful!!

José and Ida's son, Marcel lives beside the family business, so we went to visit him and his family (Jenny, Dilian, and Delany)! They were really sweet, and we were able to share testimony with them. We also prayed for the business and for their family while we were there. From there, we went back to José and Ida's house to call it a night.

Thursday, November 15th

This morning for breakfast, Ida fixed tortillas...pretty different from what we call tortillas, huh? The food continues to change, but these kind of tortillas are really good too!!

Rossana took us to the bus station after breakfast...pretty funny...this is the same bus station that we wandered around at more than a week ago when we came into Panamá. She got our tickets and waited for us to get on the bus and then headed out. We've now traveled the road from David to Corrigimiento de Chiriquí 4 times...too funny! That's way we always say that the road we've been on has been anything but straight...we have at least learned by now that God's timing is perfect, and we don't ever want to move ahead of Him!!

The ride was pretty uneventful. There were pretty landscapes along the way. We passed by Pocrí, so I guess we won't get to see Estela again on this trip. We rode over the Panama Canal. There are actually two bridges over the Canal for those of you that we met along the way who were wondering. We arrived in Balboa...a city that is right next to La Ciudad de Panamá.

We've been in touch with Lonnie who lives about 10-12 miles from the bus station. He and his wife, Rosana are expecting us tonight. We are praying that this was the right decision. There have been very few times that we've stayed with someone who was a contact from someone else.

We had plenty of time while we were walking to pray for God's will to be done...I was actually a little frustrated with Chris that we didn't just pay the 35 cents to ride the bus to Lonnie's house. But as always, when I am seeking God, He began to speak to my heart. I realized that it was possible that we weren't supposed to be at Lonnie's house tonight. If we decided okay, I think we should take a bus, then why not take a bus another day when I'm tired and hungry on another day. I needed to focus on the Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to guide me...not do what I thought made sense or what others might think made sense. He called us to walk unless He provided transportation. I'm okay with that! His plan is the absolute best!!

We walked for about 2 hours before we found out why we were walking. A group of high school students were walking home from school, and they greeted us...practicing the little bit of English they've learned. We started talking to them about what we were doing, and we ended up walking together for at least 30 minutes! They brought up topics like purity and whether it was worth living for Jesus or not. We just answered their questions and shared with them about the adventure God had waiting for them and the importance of saving themselves for's God's plan. We also talked to them about God's restoration power if they have already made bad choices! Praise God for this open door!!!! (I would have missed it if Chris had listened to me and not to the Lord! Praise God for a husband who seeks God's face and is obedient...for a husband who leads our family in God's way!!)

When we got within 20 minutes of Lonnie's house, his son, Eliseo, was waiting for us to guide us the rest of the way home! He volunteered on the Logos ship when it was docked in Panamá which is how he met Ismael (the Guatemalan missionary in Costa Rica that we stayed with). Through Eliseo, Ismael met Lonnie and which allowed Ismael to work on the San Blas Islands (known by the Kuna people who live on the islands as La Comarca Kuna Yala). Eliseo has also taken various missions trips through OM. He really wants to be a missionary!! We're praying for him!!

Rosana (better known as Nana) had a delicious meal prepared for us when we got to the house!! Then we talked with Lonnie and learned a little more about his connection to La Comarca Kuna Yala. This might blow your mind...God is huge!!

In the 1932 a missionary couple arrived in La Comarca Kuna Yala to begin sharing Jesus with the Kuna Indians. This missionary couple adopted 3 children and Lonnie was one of them. You can read more about their story on Eliseo's blog about La Comarca Kuna Yala. When Lonnie turned 12, his parents sent him to study at Bob Jones boarding school, and he eventually studied 2 years at Bob Jones University. When he came back to Panamá, he worked as a civilian for the US Army for 30 years. (Remember the US had control of the Panama Canal until 2000.) He married Nana in 1977. God's plan is pretty amazing...Since Nana is Kuna as well, Lonnie continued using his native language even though he's living on the mainland. He also didn't loose any of his English since he worked for the US Army. And living in Panamá, he learned to speak Spanish as well!! So he's tri-lingual...he can read, write, and speak 3 languages fluently! Pretty amazing if you ask me! We are excited to learn more about his testimony tomorrow!

Tonight as we were getting ready for bed, Nana came in to our room. She had a "mola" in her hands, and she gave it to me! I couldn't believe it! It's a hand-made top and a colorful skirt! I was shocked at her kindness because it's a ton of work to sew by hand especially with such detail! I put the top on and she tied the skirt for me...I was fit me perfectly! Wow!!

Friday, November 16th

Well, Chris woke up today vomiting. Apparently the place we stopped for lunch had some food that was no good. So I talked quite a bit with Lonnie between checking on Chris. I learned more about their family...I also met several more of their kids...Lolly dropped by for a bit. She has a cat that just had kittens. The cat got in trouble with the neighbors, so she took it to her house, and left the kittens at Lonnie and Nana's house. The kittens were crying so much without their mom, so Lolly came by to bring back the mama cat.

We also met Rose Angy. She comes on the weekends to stay with Lonnie and Nana. She loves the kittens, so anytime we saw her she was playing wiith them. During the week, she stays with Roxana--Lonnie and Nana's oldest daughter.

Finally today, I met
Yoceline, the youngest member of the family. She's 7 years old and absolutely precious. She's a ball of energy and lots of fun to play with. Baudelia, her aunt, comes over to help her every day with her homework. Lonnie and Nana are almost 65, so they needed a little help with Yoceline when she started droppping behind on her grades. They took Yoceline in when she was 1 1/2 years old, but they thought she was only a few months old. She was tiny, her stomach was filled with worms, and she couldn't even stand up. Her parents and siblings all died from some disease...Yoceline is the only one who survived. After a bit of time, they got her cleaned up and nurished. They said that one day, she stood up and started running, and they were shocked! She hasn't quit moving since them! She's so's been a joy to be around her.

Saturday, November 17th

Praise God!! Chris woke up today and felt nearly 100%!! Thank you for all of your prayers!! Today we met more of the family...Roxana's son, Roby, and her stepdaughter, Joan. We also found out that we would be teaching Sunday school tomorrow!! We are so excited! We talked with Lonnie a lot today. We've also been answering e-mails and working on the blog little by little as well.

This afternoon, Roxana made a beaded bracelet for me! It took an hour or so to make!! Then Baudelia came over again...she made a patch to put on my jeans that says "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." Psalm 23:1. She also sewed several of her creations on Chris's jeans!! They are so beautiful!

Tonight we listened to a really good message about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We were all encouraged to know that God was speaking to us! It pumped us up for church and to seek God more!

Sunday, November 18th

We went to church this morning at the Iglesia Bautista de las Acacias. I worked with the children, and Chris gave testimony to the teens! We were so happy to be teaching in God's Word to the kids and the teenagers!

The church doesn't have a pastor right now, so pray for them! We shared a short testimony, and a supply preacher brought the message.

After the service, we went back to Lonnie and Nana's house for lunch. (Here's some of the crew as we were walking back from church.) Pastor Rafael and his wife, Yomaida, and their friend, Rosa, were in town for a pastor's conference that ended on Friday. They are from one of the islands of the Comarca Kuna Yala called Carti Mulatupo. Since they are good friends with Lonnie, they came over for lunch as well. We had the opportunity to share our testimony with them. I shared in Spanish and Lonnie explained it to them in Kuna. All of a sudden, the light came on! Pastor Rafael understood what we were doing. He told Lonnie that he wanted to have this blessing in his home, so he would come back to get us in one week to take us to his island. From there they will help us find a boat to take us to another island. We'll island hop until we make it to Colombia! There are 350-360 islands, but only 50 of them are inhabited! We're going to get to work with the Kuna Indians!!!!

Now I need to explain to you how significant this is...we've been praying about our crossing into Colombia for several months now. The road completely runs out in a completely untouched jungle in an area called Darien. From the point the road runs out to the border of Colombia and on to the next road, it's at least 200 miles. (16 days minimum for us walking) In this jungle, there are obviously tons wild animals...a great many of them are poisonous. In addition to the animals, this is the path that the drug trafficers use to bring drugs out of Colombia. And this area is where the revolutionaries live, and they kill or take hostages just because. Knowing all of this, we were still willing to walk through there, but we were praying for a clear sign for the Lord. We aren't stupid or be outside of God's perfect plan in an area like that is asking to die! Well, God sent us a clear sign...we are going via the Comarca Kuna Yala! Our walk of faith will be over the water for a period of time!! ;-) We are so excited for clarity in the decision we needed to make! There are risks this way too...bats, rabies, unpurified water, etc. The difference...we know that we are in God's will going this way, so we aren't worried about a thing!! God is going before us! Praise God!! Praise God!! Praise God!! We know that there will be an awesome story with the Kuna Indians!!

Tonight we went back to the Baptist church, but this time it was for the service in Kuna! I got to wear my new mola!! We met Eladio and Argelis who pastor this church. They both have reallly sweet spirits!! Nana and some of her friends sang a special to praise God! We were able to share our testimony...a first for us--Chris spoke in English, I translated to Spanish, and Lonnie translated to Kuna. That way everyone who was present could understand!! Eladio's message went right along with our testimony! Isn't God amazing?!

It looks like we will be holding here in La Ciudad de Panamá this week. We'll be in touch soon! God bless you and keep you!! We love you! Keep walking for Jesus!!

a) Nana made Chris a headband too! b) Roxany came in for the picture with the kids I taught during Sunday school.

a) Lonnie sat down with us to explain who and what we would encounter in La Comarca Kuna Yala. b) This is the door of Marcel's's from the vision that Ezekiel had.

a) Chris helping squeeze the lemon juice to marinate the pig's feet at Auroras