Thursday, April 13, 2006

Long and Tedious Flight

Uh....finally, I am at my hotel room in L.A. After the whole day flying and waiting at the airports. I am happy I made it good and I am ready for a good sleep session for tomorrow I start paying condemn, lol. I am off for now.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What a Hectic Last Day at Panama

So I woke up early in the morning, say around 9:00 am and I was up for the day. There was plenty to do and to think. First thing I decided to do was to develope couple of photographs I made of my friends and give them away as gifts to my friend Zuleyka, Liri and Sandra. I thought it would make a great gift. Since I am not to much of a gift buyer or shopping lover I think that was an easy and effective gift. Anyway, right after that I went to "El Hogar Bolivar" (nursing home) to visit Aquilino. He is good, strong and relatively healthy. I was very happy to see him, but at the same time, sad to know it´s gonna be months before I see him again. We chatted a little bit about God and the decision he needs to make to receive eternal life and we talked also a little bit about my last trip to San Blas. Now that I think about it, I shared with him every single trip I made to the countryside during my vacations. When I went to Pedasi, before I departed I told him about it and when I came back he asked me about the trip and about places he had seen years ago when he visited Pedasi. When I went to Chiriqui, before I departed I did tell him also about it and the same story after I came back. I was like, uhh, how were things and the weather and everything, since that´s the place he grew up. And when I went to San Blas, same story. I am very glad I had plenty of chance this time to share with him and I know that made the difference in his life during this period. He was sad when I told him I was leaving the following day and that made me even sadder to see his expression. I asked him if it was ok for me to hug him and so I did. He is taller than me but that didn´t prevent him from holding on to me tight. He even offered to give me 5 bucks and I was like, nah, you don´t need to do that, even though I know that was the only way he knew to compensate in a way my visits to him and the time I shared with him. We said good bye and I truly am looking forward to see him alive and healthy next time I come down to Panama. I thank God for blessing me through this relationship with Aquilino while I know I´ve been of blessing to him. I wish everyone could adopt at least one elder from any of the nursing homes or sick people from any of the hospitals or inmates from the jails. That would make the whole difference in their lives. So right after I departed from the nursing home I was heading to my house for I wanted to make some phone calls and take a nap when Ana Cristina rang me up asking if I was forgetting something. I checked my watch and I alsmot had a heart attack. It was 12:30 pm and I was supposed to be at her place at 12:00 for lunch. She cooked lunch for us and I totally forgot about it. It slipped out of my mind completely. I could almost see her expression on her face of "as-soon-as-I-see-you-I-will-kick-you" So I sped to her house and we had lunch and chatted. That was my second lunch of the hour. I was looking pretty much like a ballon. So we talked about life and the future and some common friends and finally I was time for me to go somewhere else. So we said good-bye and I left. Later on I went for mom and took her from her work to our home and then I went to say good bye to some other friends. So I´d been pretty much running from up and down from one side to another the whole day, buying last minute things and calling people to say good bye. Finally I got to go home for an hour or so where I took a short nap and then woke up to go to church with my parents. It was then, and only then, in a hidden corner of my humble home when I sort of broke down. I had been sad the whole day, honestly I didn´t want to go, AGAIN, but while I was waiting for my parents to get ready for church, in that corner I start giving way to my thoughts and the events of the day and the inminence of the next day and I couldn´t hold the tears of sadness any longer. Silently they ran down my cheeks and I couldn´t help it. That was it, and I didn´t want to pass that over my parents, so I pulled myself together and we headed to church. It was such a wonderful time there. The words from Pastor CedeƱo where those words I was needing for that hour and began to pray and God started to do something in me. Now I feel better, I even got a home made cake from Amarelis I got when I went after church to say bye, and it is exquisite. So that was my day and I am just 6 hours away from taking off from Panama for the next 8-10 months.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Time is Over

Well, well well...I can´t complain about my time in my home country this year. I had a wonderful time, I spent marvelous moments with my family and my closest friends, I visited places I had never visited before and made some new friends. Unlike other years, this time I feel like I don´t really want to go back and leave all this behind for the next 8 to 10 months. Memories with my adopted friend Aquilino, my new friends from the small village in Chiriqui (Vista Linda), Berna and Playon Chico, Sandra and the trip to Pedasi, the old-style kind of long and productive conversations and arguments with Howard, the movies with Ariel and his friends, the lunchs and dinners with my brother in On-the-Run, the long sleeping sessions and the time with my family, it is all about to end for a long period of time. I tend to get sad of course for it is normal and get myself into thinking about until when it´s gonna be like this. However this upcoming period of time away from my country, family and friends I wills still count with them and their support in prayers as usual plus God´s help of course. Memories are always an excellent way to cheer me up, it´s always had, specially during tough times that are plenty. I will miss so many thing, so many things. It is always hard to depart, doesn´t matter from where. Either departing from there or departing from here, it is always a painful period that longs sometime and hurts and it´s not nice. Anyway, I am leaving Panama again this coming thursday 13 of april a day before dad´s b-day and will fly to miami and then to final destination long beach, california where I will catch my ship and start again. I am already shifting my vacation brain mode to slave, I mean, working brain mode. Lol. Let´s see what God has for me and for others through me in this new period of time, this new chapter that is about to unfold.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Visiting the Kuna Ayalas in San Blas

So my church (casa de oracion cristiana) sent a missionary, to the lands of the natives of Kuna Ayala, who happens to be from that same land. His name is Bernabe and he was sent by our church as a missionary to his own land, the land that saw him when he was born, the land that saw him grow his first few years before coming along his family to the big city in Panama. So my friend Howard who is one of the coordinators of the missions ministry in my church thought it would be good to invite me over to visiting Berna. Our ride was a 40 min. travel from Panama city in this small old-creepy plane. We were seated right behind the pilot and the co-pilot just like we seat behind the driver of a bus. We saw everything and while it was interesting to see them doing what they love to do, it was frightening. The weather was bad within the period we spent there. It was raining and raining and it wouldn´t stop raining. There was a moment when we were flying over some hills with the sea on one side when suddenly we entered into a super heavy stormy section and we changed in matter of seconds from day-time light to complete night-like darkness and then after some time we got out of that storm and finally landed into Playon Chico. I think I was very thankful to God for we made it safe and sound in one piece having into consideration that many of those small planes have crashed before. Howard and I were happy to see Berna and we exchanged greetings and we started our wonderful week overthere. Basically our mission was to supervise how things were developing among the church members, inspect the area and see what needs there were and how to improve many things in order to be more effective. There is plenty to be done, lot of discepleship meetings and leadership training needs to be done in the near now and lots of praying for freedom from Satan´s grip as well, but I believe Berna is taking the necessary steps with the guidance and support of our church to do some great and interesting stuffs there. In the time being we ministered the youth group which consisted of a few young ladies and a few young guys. We held praise and worship meetings and though we wanted to do some training with them somehow God directed Howard to do different things with them. There is still lots to do and to learn for them and I guess that´s gonna happen sometime soon but what we tried to do was to share, to transmit into their hearts some real passion for God´s things into their lives. And we talked to them, we prayed with and for them and I left Playon Chico with a strong conviction that some of those young people were transformed forever and are committed to serve in God´s work. During those days we barely saw the sun or the moon shining for it was non-stop raining and storming but the last day before we departed it cleared out a little bit and we were able to do some tourism here and there. We took this small kayak and paddled around the island to some other small private islands. Howard finished up his previously unfinished body tanning and even captured and kept a starfish agains my will. Berna showed to us his small personal island where he plan to do some fishing business to support missions and they even got some seafood they would prepare later on that day. We paddled back to the main island and we survived the trip without sinking the kayak. The previous day we decided to hike up one of the hills to pray on the higuest point of it to clear the airs and rebuke satan and so while it was raining cats and dogs Berna and I still made it to the top of the hill and we had a wonderful time praying and worshipping God. There was an amazing view from up there and it was a little bit cold. The hiking wasn´t easy either, it was muddy and slippery but it was a great group thing to make the three of us. The shower time and toilet time was a thing to never forget ever cuz it was unusual and weird but at the end of the day it was all part of the mission trip. I praise God for once again he allowed me to be part of this and because on the process I was able to streghten ties of frienship with Berna and Howard. It´s always good to have good christian friends on whom to count and be accountable. We finally left the island, say good-bye to the friendly kuna-ayalas and Berna and we took our small-old-creepy small plane back to airport in Panama city where my brother was supposed to pick us up but was rather sleeping in his confortable bed. Pray for the missions everywhere in the world. They need our support in prayers and financially. Remember, it is in your hands to do in obedience according to the Bible things that affect positively the perfect work of God.