I am getting accustomed to being here but this is what runs through my mind each morning as I am woken up at different intervals during the 6 a.m. hour:
- “Neighbor, is it really necessary to SHOUT at the top of your lungs while standing in your front lawn giving directions to the person on the phone with you?” I could have sworn she was in my bedroom at 6:30 this morning.
- “School bus, I am not a mechanic but there might be a problem if you SOUND LIKE A TORNADO while driving past my house.” My window faces the street. Awesome.
- “BIRDS?!? Why are you singing? You have no reason to… oh, the sun is out! Carry on…”
Today is the first day that I have not seen rain! Rainy season here apparently lasts all year with the exception of about two months. Rainy season is their “winter,” although high temps average 88 degrees.
There is no “running to the grocery store” here. Every small task is a huge ordeal for which you must allow a good hour to accomplish. The traffic is horrible. Nothing is done in a speedy (or practical) fashion. Yes, I understand that being an American I naturally have less patience than most but if I enter a grocery store and see that the line to pay is wrapping halfway through the frozen section, I peace out immediately. (I find myself thinking, “this isn’t necessary!” very often here)
One other strange thing that I have noticed… Outdoor “gyms.” Really, it is a park area with a few pieces of gym equipment on the lawn. For some reason, it makes me want to burst into laughter when I pass by in the car and see a woman riding an elliptical on a patch of grass. In Honduras, I have seen this in the median of the road… actual gym pieces aligned across the grassy part of the median. So you can complete your workout in the middle of traffic! ? Hopefully I will get a picture of this soon.
For now, here are a few things I have documented.
We have been doing a lot of planning and vision casting for our project. The Leons are taking on the task of promoting missions and equipping churches to send missionaries to other parts of the world from Latin America, and more locally, Panamá. In English it is called an International Missions Liason Agency. There are great challenges ahead but God knows what He’s doing. Hopefully.
We attended a church here Saturday night and they were having a missions service with an emphasis on the country of India. It really touched my heart. The speaker encouraged me and I kind of felt a fresh call to missions. (Then I had a real desire to watch Slumdog Millionaire again!) 😉
The Lord uses the foolish things to confound the wise. During my time that I am spending with the youngest León son, Elias, I have been reminded what “faith like a child” is like… and also that I never really stopped loving Veggie Tales episodes. My God, those things can school ya whether you’re young or old. I thank God for His little reminders like that. In my devotions I have been going back to Romans to the basics of salvation. I’ve needed a review.
These are some key things I was reminded of:
- “…no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me.” (John 6:44)
- “…everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard…” but oh, that scandalous, amazing grace. (Romans 3:23)
- “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)