September Missions Update
I'm pleased to write to you after one month of living in Panama! Cultural adjustment has been an adventure, and I'm certainly learning a lot. In my missions studies, I learned the concept of "just different." When adapting to a new culture, the missionary will find a lot of things that don't quite make sense. It's important to remember, however, that the majority of these things are not right nor wrong, "just different." Here is a short list of some things I've found in Panama that are "just different!"
- At the grocery store, it is important to bring your own bags. It is also customary to tip the grocery sacker.
- Cutting people off in traffic is normal and expected.
- Line jumping is not considered rude.
- If you invite someone to your home on Tuesday morning, they may not show up until Tuesday afternoon.
- If someone wants to eat chicken, it is normal to buy a live chicken, kill, de-feather, and prepare it in your own home. (Not everyone does this, but those who live in my apartment complex do!)
There is so much that is different, but I love it here! Despite the knowledge gaps I have, there is something that has encouraged me. The Holy Spirit has the power to extend beyond my personality, my language and culture gaps. If the Holy Spirit cultivates within us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, I must remember that those qualities can extend beyond an awkward interaction at the grocery store, or a blank stare I give the waiter when he asks me a question I didn't quite catch! God does the work. He uses us and has good things for us to do (Eph. 2:10), but his mission won't be stopped by human weakness! Thank you for praying for me as we take part in God's mission in the country of Panama.
Iglesia Bautista de Costa Verde has begun to meet in a local movie theater. It has been exciting to see the church plant growing as people join the church and adults and children are baptized. We got to see two baptisms and four individuals join the church over the last couple weeks!Praise God for those who joined the church and for those who were baptized this past month! Please pray that IBCV would continue to grow and that people would be truly discipled.
On September 11th, we went to visit a remote tribe called the Wounaan. This tribe has 51 people and one church. The church in this village is hungry for community and we are excited about the partnership that could develop. Please pray that the Wounaan would continue to grow in their faith. Pray for the receptiveness of the surrounding villages to their outreach.
The picture to the left was taken on the first morning at a nearby Starbucks. I'm thankful for some familiar things! Panama also has Domino's Pizza, Krispy Kreme, Taco Bell, Planet Fitness and more. Although there are several similarities between here and the states, here is my opinion on some US businesses and their Panama equivalents.
- CVS is called Arrocha
- Costco is called PriceSmart
- HomeDepot is called Do It Center
- Best Buy is called PanaFoto
- Chick-Fil-A is called Pio Pio
Every Monday through Friday I spend the first half of the day in language school. There are two other individuals in my language class - the small class size has been super helpful. It has been fun getting to know the other two in my class as well. One is actually a missionary who, like me, just moved to Panama to be a part of a church plant! It's been encouraging to learn of the work God is doing across Panama. Please pray for my language learning, that I might learn quickly and remain strongly dedicated to the process.
This picture of Panama City I took from the Cinta Costera. The Cinta Costera, which is Spanish for "Coastal Beltway," includes this bridge that extends over the Pacific Ocean. It is a great place to walk, jog, bike, or roller blade. People enjoy it because it offers an incredible view of the city! Personally, I love walking here in the evenings.