Has it really only been 4 days? Feels like a lifetime since we left the comforts of home, and yet, I am not ready to leave. It truly is an experience of a lifetime and I feel so blessed and privileged to meet these people and be a part of their community for this short time.
So much to tell you – we continued the work from yesterday in Espave, we have a lot to do in the short time we are here! The government of Panama was so impressed by the work that this little church is doing in the community, they are providing computers for the children to learn on. Part of the building that we are painting and adding tile and electricity to will be used for this purpose. The adjoining room is for the women to provide free meals to the children and is big enough to be a multi-purpose area; it has a large counter space and new plumbing, electricity and a sink. Just outside and attached to the building are new bathrooms!
We are making good progress, as you will see in the pictures from today. As the painting is getting accomplished it is looking more and more like we will get it done.
Pastor Mila and her crew of volunteers from Progresso Church arrived for a community outreach day. Milo is also the Nazarene Compassion Ministry director for the entire country! She was vibrant and full of life, her hugs so tight you can barely breathe and although I do not understand the language, she prays with the same intensity and I loved her from the second she said “hola”.
This event was big! Everything from a bounce house, face painting to a piñata and “small group” time for the adults, it was a party all afternoon!
Although this is from my perspective, I will tell you that the whole team shares much of my feelings and experiences with me, we are being changed internally by little moments all day long,
Jim and Aaron playing ball with the kids, Tracy showing pictures to the children from her phone, Hannah and Karla painting nails….. a bee incident that involved tangling in Tracy and Hannah’s hair and gasoline and fire (not on their hair, of course)…..ummm yes, God spared me that one, He knew it would be Christmas before I would get those out of my hair! The stories are endless and we all feel amazingly blessed beyond words.
I will end with my own favorite moment right at the beginning of the day. Karla, Luz and myself took a walk through the community so that Luz could capture for you the community as a whole through the lens of her camera (by the way, is she not the most talented photographer?). As we were walking, we came upon a little girl sitting on a stump, eating a mango while her father was cutting wood nearby. I went over and slipped a bracelet on her very tiny wrist. She was shy but gave us a smile. When we were returning a short while later, she was standing on the side of the road waiting for us with two mango’s, one for Karla and one for me. It was the sweetest moment of my day. That beautiful little child holding out that mango melted my heart. Sigh………and that mango? Well, let me just say, I could not get it in my mouth fast enough!
Luke 18:16 But Jesus called the children unto him and said, “ let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
“Soften my heart Lord and make it like new…….like that of a child, tender and true”.
Speaking of children, I will be posting pictures of 25 children from Espave that are not yet sponsored by the Nazarene Compassionate Child effort. You will have to hurry if you want to claim them, we are claiming a few ourselves! As soon as we can get the information on these children to you, we hope that you will prayerfully consider sponsoring one of them too!
More pictures from day 4 are posted on my Facebook page:
Posted on Tue, February 16, 2016
by Linda Caswell