Friday, June 27, 2008

Saying Goodbye

Last night was our last party. There was a homecoming party that prevented several readers from coming, but the turnout was more than I had anticipated, twenty-two.

We played a few fun games together. The fish game was a hit. When you hear "fish" in the story you lift up your right finger while trying to catch with your left hand the finger of the person next to you. (I cheated a little bit because I knew the story, so I got pretty far. I just let others catch my finger at the end...wink...wink.)

Then we had a few snacks along with coke floats. It was interesting to watch the faces of the readers as we explained what a coke float was. They'd never heard of such a thing, but they tried it and liked it.

One of my readers surprised us with a piñata. Kayla went first, then Courtney, Emily, Tanya, and finally I went. It was so demolished at the end that they pulled it up to the top and it broke. Imagine that. I didn't even have to hit it! I just thought about hitting it and it broke!! Yes...I'm that strong.

Anyway, at the end we gave our readers their certificates, took some pictures, talked a little more, and then said goodbye. I can't believe we are finished with the work of our project already!! We have a ton of emails, many pictures, a few gifts, many memories, and confidence that God worked through it all for His glory.

Now we trust that his work is not finished here. God was working before we came and will continue after we leave. We praise him for this opportunity and ask him to spread the fragrance of Christ wherever we go.

Enjoy the pictures below.

The first worked on a word find with many of the words from our Luke workbook they'd been working on.
Tyler's just chillin' with his balloon thinking about something!!

Courtney and Kayla are having fun as we wait for the readers to show up. She couldn't wait to eat ice cream a little later on!

The human first human knot went well. In the end there were two circles they couldn't get untangled.

Our little human knot ended the same way, but it took us a very long time to realize it.

The "fish" game. No one really listened to the story. They were just listening for some form of the word fish before trying to not let their finger get caught by the person next to them. I almost won both times!!

These were three of my four readers. From left to right: Briceida, Ruth, and Tania.

We enjoyed snacks afterwards. Someone brought some "arroz con leche." It was very good!

Emily is trying to give the piñata her best hit. She missed several times. I didn't even swing!

Tania and Tanya. ¡Qué bonita mi amor es!

This is the other preacher, Elio, who works with Raul and Betty at the church. He teaches the Bible class on Sunday mornings.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Our Daily Schedule

The routine continues.

We get up early (it starts getting light about 5:30 or so), get started with breakfast, feed Kayla and Tyler, get them dressed, pack a lunch for Kayla, and get bags ready for the day. Tanya leaves to walk to the school to read about 7:30am (its about a 15 minute walk) and the rest of our family starts walking about 8:00am until a taxi comes by to take us to the Christian school here in Panama.

Betty Alvarado helps run the Christian bilingual school at the Church of Christ. She offered that Kayla go to this school while she was here...and it didn't cost us anything! What a blessing this has been to us and our daughter! She is working on her Spanish all the time. It is kind of funny to listen to. It kind of sounds like Spanish, but it really isn't any language at all (at least to us). She has so many friends now in Panama. Her teachers love her (and her red hair).

Tyler and I hang out for a little while, he takes a nap, I get a few things done for our project, and then we make our way to the cafeteria about 11:15am where we will meet the rest of the team for lunch. After lunch Tanya and Tyler go back to the house while I go to read for the afternoon. Depending on our plans for dinner we meet each other, cook dinner, have our team devotional and depart to our respective houses.

For our family, this begins our nightly routine of baths; after a long day of high humidity and a little rain (yes it rains every day only with a couple of exceptions since we've been here), this is much needed. After baths we get ready for bed and get to sleep. This early time to bed (sometime around 9pm) makes getting up so early the next morning easier! Then we get to do it all over again.

I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into our daily schedule while here in Panama.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Reading Away

Emily arrived safely last night and I just talked to Spencer who is waiting for his flight at the airport. Please pray that this transition goes smoothly.

Our reading continues today. We are completely full. There are no more spots available for reading unless a reader can't come to any of their reading times. This is great news! This is also the time when our relationships with our readers starts to get a little more serious. We need continual prayers for these deepening relationships. Ask that God give us wisdom to know what questions are necessary to bring our readers closer to Him. I wait to see what he does this week through our service.

Below are a few pictures to give you a glimpse into our work. Most of our time is spent reading the Bible with the students at the University, so it would be misleading to not include these pictures. Please pray for these 8-hour days of reading.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Texas Party

Last night was our first party. It was a Texas party. Betty and Raul (the preacher here) told us that this was the most readers that have ever been to a party since they started about 5 years ago. There were 34 total, including us. We played Texas People Bingo and Texas Pictionary. We explained Texas slang, but I think that was difficult to understand in Spanish. Oh yeah...we also brought Texas dirt for everyone to eat (see the picture below) along with my grandmother's special Texas sweet tea.

With all the people there we were able to sign up more readers. Now our schedule is completely full!! Praise the Lord!! Enjoy the pictures from the party.

This is our dirt. Really it was a pudding recipe with Oreo cookies on top.

Our team.

Spencer and Raul explain how to play Texas Bingo.

We rush around trying to find people who fit certain criteria on our Texas Bingo sheet.

More Texas Bingo.

Our Texas Pictionary was a hit with our very own Vanna White. Kayla loved erasing what was drawn after each contestant came to draw their masterpiece. One time, she accidently erased the score!! Everyone at the party rightly thought that it was so cute.

Kayla still being cute.

Tyler hit this ball all over the place. He will definitely be a baller!!
Until next time. Peace.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Panama Pictures

Here are a couple of pictures of our family. I thought I would share them today. We are near the Bridge of the Americas at the end (or beginning) of the Panama Canal. There were several big cargo ships leaving the canal and cranking up their engines. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Worship in Panama

Worship in another country has always been a blessing! This morning proved to be the case once again. It was refreshing to hear the sermon translated into English, but it was also good to hear Spanish songs of adoration to our Lord. The people were so warm and friendly this morning. They enjoyed seeing Kayla and Tyler too. Our children are such easy conversation starters.

Our reading starts again tomorrow morning. Pray that God continues to give us strength to offer his grace in our conversations. Also pray that our party on Thursday is a success. Thanks for your continued support.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Update from Panama

We have arrived!! Hitting the ground running we have been reading one-on-one with readers every day since we arrived. One of Courtney's readers showed up for Wednesday night service with her mother and child. What a cool thing after only inviting them that morning.

Kayla and Tyler are adjusting well. Just this morning Kayla was singing, "Arriba, up; abajo, down." She also like to say outside the window "Hola. Buenos dias" to the people next door.

It is fun to see EVERYONE (no exception) watch Kayla with her beautiful red hair. Wherever we go people talk about what a beautiful doll she is.

With eyes on us constantly, please pray that we bring glory to our God and take advantage of that witness. The people in Panama are so nice. They are eager to improve their English and make a good American friend. We are grateful that we have this opportunity.