Normally, I research everything to death. Need to know every detail of every thing. When, where, what time, what's it like, what's the food situation, etc. If there was a detail to be known, I had to know it. Not this time. This time, I put it all in God's hands. I went with the flow, which was REALLY HARD!. The one thing I did insist on doing, well two, was keep a journal and photograph everything. After going over 34 pages of notes and 1600+ photographs after an 8 day and 7 night trip, I'm ready to share.
I won't go day by day, I'll save that for something a little longer, like a novel, however, day one started with the song, "Panama" in my head. If you know anything about 1980's music, you'll get it. Only one word over and over and over again, "Panama". I knew it was going to be a great week. Travel was a breeze. No security problems, no motion sickness, no food (allergen) issues, no luggage issues.
I started taking pictures in the van on the way from the airport to El Valle.
We took a pit stop before turning onto the mountain road where I snapped a photo of this man.
|At the "cheese place".|
|Hard at work at Iglesia de Cristo.|
We got right to work as soon as we arrived sorting clothes, painting, hauling stone, laying culverts, visiting the people in their homes.
|Cary 'working' hard|
|La India Dormida|
|Lisa and I piled river rock into the truck.|
|Varied nationalities during worship service.|
|David and Cary led 5 nights of praise and worship|
Five nights of worship in English, Spanish, and Kuna with people from Panama- including the Kuna and Embara people, Spain, US, and Mexico. I've never felt so close to God as when I listened to the singing and heard the people speak in their language praises to OUR God.
|Exploring the mountain|
|God's beauty from above.|
|On top of the world, looking at El Valle.|
|A home in the mountain, kitchen.|
|Front door to a home.|
|Cooking area, with tamale in the pot. It was delicious.|
|Embera tribe, Reubin and his family. His son, Robin, was baptized.|
It was very difficult to leave this beautiful place, these beautiful people who worship God with all of their heart and return to the land of plenty, luxury, abundance. There are poor everywhere. I've seen the poor and homeless in my association with Matthew's Hope. These people are happy. They work hard. They walk and ride their bikes everywhere they go - rain or shine. They walked to church in a downpour to find the church flooded, grabbed a bucket and a mop, cleaned for over an hour (side by side with the gringos), then pulled out the chairs to worship for two hours.
Luke wrote in Luke 6:20, in speaking of Jesus: Looking at his disciples, he said: