It is hard to believe that we have been here for 6 months! This time has been a compilation of so many emotions. We are elated that we have received our temporary residency… then on the flip side, we gasp just a bit as we realize that this IS our new home! As we encounter both locals and gringos here in Panama, a very normal question is asked to us, “Where are you from?“ This brings us to a pause….. where are we from?!?
Texas, Louisiana, Panama…. where are we from? Where do we belong? We know that this is a very normal stage of transition, but it is hard (especially for our kiddos). We all want to belong, right? Although I have a Panamanian driver’s license tucked in my wallet (yay!), I can walk my blonde haired, blue-eyed, basic speaking Spanish self down the street and there is no doubt that I do not belong. I chuckle as I write this… it is not rocket science, it is just obvious that I am not “from” here.
And then we talk to our family and friends back in the US. We hear about their lives- lives that mirrored our lives a few years back. But now our lives are quite different, and we are quickly reminded that although our roots are there, we are no longer “from” the States. This is not a bad thing… it is just our reality.
While this transition is hard, we know many have traveled this path before us and are confident that the Lord is using this time to draw us to Him. He is teaching us that we can always- no matter if we are in Panama, the States or Timbuktu- find our identity and belonging in Him. That is a truth we can all cling to! Please join us in praying that the Lord will provide significant relationships for us and the kids here in Panama- our new home.
It was such a blessing to have a team from Wisconsin serve a week with us here in Panama. Much of our time was spent in the Lidice community, where we are looking forward to beginning the Global Fingerprints program. We had the opportunity to play games, teach an English class, and help with some projects at the local church. Along with that, we were able to share the Gospel with over 100 kids right there in the public schools! How incredible is that!
We also visited the Embera village, an indigenous group who lives about 30 minutes up the Chagres River. Our family has now been to the village several times; it is encouraging to see how the Lord is continuing to grow our relationships there. The little ones were happy to see Reeves and it was fun to watch her pour into those around her. We look forward to continuing to grow those relationships and see what the Lord has in store for that village!
Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We are constantly awed by the Lord’s faithfulness and goodness. Here are some ways you can continue to pray:
- HEALTH. We have all (other than iron-gut Matt) been struggling with some stomach issues. We are learning what foods cause problems, when we can/can’t drink the water, etc. Pray that the Lord will strengthen our bellies!
- MINISTRY. Pray for the new relationships that are forming. Pray that we will have the wisdom to know when to step in to help and when to step back and watch. And of course our Spanish- pray that we can communicate with love and effectiveness.
- SUPPORT. We have lost several ministry partners. We were advised that this can happen in support raising. Although we are not completely surprised, it has created a financial burden for us. Please pray that the Lord would raise up others to fill this monthly gap.