As 2018 ended we:
Spent Thanksgiving with our families in Wheaton and then in Colorado. It was great to be there with all the family without the hecticness of the Christmas season. We took some nice hikes, spent time the grandkid’s schools and sporting events, hunted for mice at one kid’s house, had a great Thanksgiving meal together and even saw some early Christmas decorations.
Then we were back to work in Panama for the rest of the year. The end of November brought the conclusion of the second trimester of Conexion Training (ESL & SLA) for Peggy and we said good bye to several of our students who are heading to serve in Afghanistan, Korea, Egypt and Kenya.
English classes continued for the rest of the students throughout December and we had many fun moments making gingerbread houses, singing Christmas carols and learning the Christmas story in English. It was the first time any of them had ever made a gingerbread house and while they didn’t turn out amazing, we had a lot of fun making them together.
Mike continued his construction work at Casa PAAM and Juntos Podemos. His one daily helper left for the States so he works most days by himself at Casa PAAM with occasional help from our teammate Matt and his son Ian and Peggy’s student Fernando, but it is amazing the work that they get done. *faces blurred intentionally
Early December we welcomed a new teammate, 26 yr. old Sarah K, from Pittsburgh. Her first days were spent apartment and car shopping and she found a lovely furnished apartment right down the street from us and a great used car. She is transitioning well to Panama and will begin language school next week.
It was a tropical Christmas season for us here in Panama, a little weird but not bad. We took a day trip to an island with our teammates, went to a local cantada (singing program) and celebrated Christmas Eve dinner together as a team. Mike and I spent a quiet Christmas; taking a bike ride, talking to family back home and opening a jar of blessings that we had written down that we had received throughout the year. It was a special time remembering God’s goodness to us in 2018.
2019 is off to a good start…
We are both back at work, teaching and carpentering (a new word, thanks Jer).
We had our annual Reach Global Panama team retreat where we reflected on the year past, set goals for the future and enjoyed each other’s company. Our team now has 5 units; 15 people in all including children but not pets! We are excited and encouraged to see where God will lead this relatively new team that was just established in 2014. For now, we are doing church planting/revitalizing, child sponsorship program, pastor’s network and training programs, mobilizing Latino missionaries and construction help through the outreaches of the local church. God is at work and it’s our privilege to be part of it all.