Panama Observations

Good Day, Greenville Oaks and other interested parties.  Here it is, 9:43 PM on a warm Panamanian night… another inspirational day.  I’d like to tell you what God has shown me in the last few days.

So far, THE most interesting outreach I have seen on this trip…..or at home, for that matter. 

Mark Maxey, a speaker of the Spanish language, and I, a NON- speaker of the Spanish language, were in the market the first full day in Panama – as I looked around in the various shops , Mark was talking to the shop keepers about Guacamole dip - to his amazement, no one had heard of the concoction, even though they had all the ingredients right in front of them…. I’m talking about some MONSTER avocados, fresh onions, et cetera.   I decided to abort my shopping so left Mark - talking to yet another shop keeper. 

The next thing I know Mark had gone to one of the stores, purchased a sturdy pan and knife, the necessary vegetables ,a bag of tortilla chips and demonstrated how to make guacamole dip right  there in the market –for the shop owners and lucky passersby!!  “Guacamole –Man” made an instant connection with the people in this community and with all the shop-keepers in the market-- take a minute and think about the positive impact he made because he had Christ in his heart and an observant eye. Thanks, Mark, for that great example of living for Christ.

Did I tell you we had some of the best   delicious tacos from one of the vendors in the market…the secret was in the sauce, no kidding… but I digress!   The next day Bruce Dingman and I made a connection in the same Market as we attempted to untangle a spool of twine before we painted the handicapped ramps and parking spaces. Picture this… two Gringos wrestling with this tangled spool of twine in front of the Market and the spool was winning.  We had just completed lining off one of the handicap ramps with the aforementioned twine… and we were losing.  One of the older vendors came up to us and without a word, signaled with his hand that he would help.  He had picked up an 8 inch stick, took the end of the string and began twisting it onto the stick.  He was the most patient person I’ve ever seen. Forty five minutes later…as we became the focus of the vendors and passers-by, without a word spoken, the twine was re-rolled onto the new stick.  Bruce took him over to the smoothie stand (they also made the best tacos) and treated him to a smoothie.  We didn’t win any souls but we certainly made some kind of impression on the crowd and made a connection with the patient older man!

One more observation before   I close – I am truly inspired working with the El Valle church as well as those from Greenville Oaks.  Christ is alive in all these lives and it shows in their dedication, energy and enthusiasm.  This trip continues to fill my heart and I feel so blessed to be a part of this mission effort.

P.S.  I have enjoyed every meal all week long – a pretty strong statement for this finicky eater.