Un Poquito

These past few days have been filled with JM (young adults Bible study) on Saturday night, Church on Sunday morning, the start of Sanna and I swimming laps everyday at Nair’s, and more.

Sunday night after Sanna and I swam laps, and then pulled Nair in while she was still in her clothes, I had the experience of more Argentine food *in a previous post I had eaten Argentine rice and Milanesa* .Nair is from Argentine, originally, and she made us an absolutely, wonderfully, yummy dish that is very similar to Italian food. Dough balls (made from potato mash, flour, and milk) with sour cream and tomato sauce. Had I not been full after my first plate, I could have eaten the entire pan.

Today, I had my first experience at tutoring! Sanna has eight students that need help with their English and she has assigned me to tutor them! It was kind of an ‘out of the blue’ thing today, but I rolled right into it and I was proud of myself. Today I tutored five kids, Michael, David, Erick, Fernando, and Johnny. I had them for about a half an hour (first two kids, then second two, then one) in three sessions. They struggle with the special sounds and the vowels (i.e. PH TH SH CH etc..)
It was pretty funny when I first started telling my beginning two kids what the sounds of the vowels were, I said the Spanish vowel sounds..(slaps forehead) silly me!!! AH EH EE OH OO instead of AH Eh IH Oh UH.
Tomorrow I think I might focus on doing the short and long vowel sounds, but we shall see.

They had a spelling test today, and it’s quite sad sometimes, to see the students work. The eight that I will be tutoring have issues of knowing the sounds of the letters and paying attention to what word Sanna is saying.
A few boys just make up their own words and write them down..it’s hard to see that. Knowing how much easier it will get for them, I hate to see them struggle and be held back because of their lack of individual attention. Hopefully, I will make a difference and by the end of the semester there will be a definite improvement.

I met a girl today who came from Florida to come attend the school, she lives with her grandma and speaks perfect English and does great at translating. At lunch, one of Sanna’s students wanted to know how old I was, but I didn’t know what she was saying, so little miss Florida (I feel so bad, I forgot her name!) intervened and translated. I was impressed.

Sunday morning, in church, I had the opportunity to attempt understanding the message without a translator. I did fairly well, I suppose. With the help of Bible reference I understood, but I can undoubtedly see how it will slow the pace of my walk with God if I purely relied on their church services and Bible studies to learn.

Today, after school, I made the best cookie dough I’ve ever tasted! The cookies were alright, but only half as great as the raw dough. I made about 6 dozen, because two nights ago when I made good ol’ chocolate chip cookies, they were gone so fast Sanna and I only got two.
The ingredients I put in the amazing dough ones:
Chocolate Chips, Chunky Peanut Butter, Oatmeal, Macadamia Nuts, Almonds, and the normal ingredients.

Oh man…the kitchen smelled so amazing, and WHOA did Sanna and I eat dough. She told me she has never liked cookie dough before, until this. She said “Why bake it? Let’s freeze it and turn it into granola bars!” haha, it wasn’t such a bad idea, but the raw eggs wouldn’t turn out so great. Maybe we’ll have to try that sometime.

My parents are coming to Panama on the second of September!!! They are only staying till the sixth, but I’m excited to once again see them. I am really glad that they will be able to see Randy again, and finally meet Donna for the first time (crazy that I met her first!). Explaining Panama is nothing compared to what it’s like here, so it will be nice for them to experience and see for themselves what I’ve been surrounded by.

Tomorrow is another day and Sanna and I have the goal of memorizing Juan tres versiculo dieciséis//John 3:16

SO far I have:
Porque de tal manera amo Dios al mundo.

For God so loved the world

Tomorrow I will get the second part down!

Thursday is our goal.

When I memorize this verse, I will know 6 verses in Spanish (almost 7, but I struggle with one)

HOORAY!

Goodnight for now. Morning comes earlier than I’m used to and bed later than I’d need.

His listening ear

Psalm 5

1 Give ear to my words, O LORD,
consider my sighing.

2 Listen to my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.

3 In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.

How crazy can the difference in my days be?

Yesterday was my worst day here-I think partially because I had enough time to stop and think and process all that had happened.

Thanks to ALL the prayers that have been sent for me, today I talked in Spanish to Henry. We had fun this morning looking up Bible verses and teaching each other words in English and Spanish. Learning more about him helped me learn more Spanish. I felt super accomplished today!
I DID IT! I HAD A CONVERSATION IN SPANISH!

I asked him what his favorite Bible verse was, favorite book of the Bible, when he accepted Christ, and others. It was great! He was so patient and helpful, and when all else failed, I quickly looked up a few words on Google Translate. 😉 haha.

So, as we started our day off with the Holy Bible we suddenly had a closer friendship!

A little while later, when I was working on a specific room, he came up to me and gave me his iPod ear phone to listen to, so I put it in, and it was Hillsong, the song “At the Cross”.

I almost started crying.

It spoke to me, and I just felt God’s presence. I felt His awesome power, and realized His greatness and how He cares for even me; a little child.

Then Henry said, “Sing” (he had heard me sing and play guitar two nights before)
I laughed and shook my head, “I don’t know the words” (I tried to tell him in Spanish)
“Ah..okay” he replied.
So I took his iPod and scrolled down to “Lead me to the Cross”
As it started, I began singing with it.
I felt so much lifting away from me; my heart was lightened with the load I had carried.
Henry started singing a little bit, here and there. It was so awesome.
After that song, we both carried on with our work duties.

A half hour or so later, he came up to me and asked if I knew the song he started singing, I listened for a while, and responded with my voice carrying along with his…but he was singing Spanish, and I English. It was amazing. I love when two languages can be sung together. The song we were singing, was “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus”

My day continued and I felt much better than yesterday.

I have come to realize that music has been a big uplifting help to me.

I also began thinking, how often is it that we are ignorant of when God calls us to do something?
Henry didn’t have to show me those songs or ask me to sing, but he did. And I believe that God used him to help me.
I wouldn’t know how to thank Henry, but I hope to write him a note (just like I did for Landon) the last time I see him, and I will write this one in Spanish.

I believe that I can make it through these next two months now.

If I ever get to that point again, I will turn on my Jesus Music and cry out to Him, for He does hear my cry, He does hear mine and your prayers.

How amazing mi dulce Salvador is!
How silly it is for me to doubt Him, I turned my eyes from Him and sought out my own troubles rather than following His path.

I am getting much closer to Sanna (I accidentally spelled her name wrong before!) and she has shown me that I can be open with her, and that it is okay to come to her when I need it.
The night that Landon left, I, of course, was saddened, because I was closest with him, and he taught me a lot. Surprisingly, Sanna saw right through my hopeful shielded emotions. I had hoped to hide how sad I was that night, and yesterday it just opened up immensely (as seen in my previous post). But, I apparently didn’t hide it well enough, she saw my heart, and that I was incredibly sad when Landon left. I hope she realizes how sad I will be to leave her, too.
I am actually excited to see how close I get with her, and how much I learn about her in these next two months.

God has changed me in one night. And maybe it was because I was so tired and sick. I needed sleep to stabilize me again..and your prayers.

Simple as this: God ROCKS! 😀

Thanks for all the prayers, again! I appreciate them IMMENSELY!

Trialed Service

I am hitting the point in my ministry where I am struggling immensely. It mostly has to do with the language barrier, but partially with the overwhelming amount of change I’m experiencing. I have shed more tears today than any other. I hate crying, but I know it’s good to get your emotions out. My problem is: I just can’t cry in front of people here for some reason, I’m just uncomfortable with it. I don’t mean to make the people here seem like they are rude or other sorts of declining adjectives but it’s just not home. I haven’t learned to be as emotionally open here, yet.

The language barrier I struggle with a lot. I don’t like the fact that I can’t carry on a conversation with somebody in Spanish. I can’t stand the amount of work it takes…I’m tired, sore, bruised, scarred, and emotionally unstable. I drive myself insane at home, enough as it is! Now, here I lay in the hammock, trying to have a relaxing day and get myself put back together.

I have been thinking a lot about ministry here. What am I doing here anyways? Well, today’s post is going to be a lot of me ranting and figuring out my situation, so you’re definitely entering my mind right now.

My reasons for coming down here were purely because God told me to go and for the experience of missions. I was unsure of what it would be like and what I would be doing. I was hoping that language wouldn’t be a hard wall and that I could talk to people about my Saviour, but no. It has been extremely hard to talk to anybody who isn’t from the states. I have learned some verses in Spanish that I can tell people, to present the Salvation message, but I haven’t learned enough yet.

Just because my Spanish is terrible doesn’t mean that I can’t be a missionary for Christ, though. Even without those verses I would still be doing God’s work. Service is my main mission here, whether it be in the school or the church. I have worked extremely hard to help them out. My mission is by actions.

Actions speak louder than words.

If I work hard and diligently with an open and willing heart then no matter the reaction of people, I have followed God’s call. I just have to tell myself that over and over.

No matter the cost, I will follow You.

God is testing my trust-like usual. And this time, I’m not gonna get to the bottom of the ocean before I choose His way.

After a nice conversation with my cousin, he made me realize that it doesn’t completely matter what the people think, it’s what you do for God. He just told me to show God through my actions and motivated me by his prayers.

I need prayer a lot, especially in this time. I want to stay focused on God and not stray off the path. I am striving for God’s direction and His peace; knowing that everything is for Him and it’s okay to mess up my Spanish.

In my times of trial I want to find joy, like James told me to do.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

Keeping focused on Christ has become really hard here.

I need all your prayers.

It’s kind of crazy how I can feel your prayers. If prayer wasn’t in this missions trip, it would ultimately be a disaster. Thank you for all the prayers you have showered me with, I hope for more of those motivating days.

Surfing 1.2

Yesterday I went surfing for the second time with Landon, Jordan, Michelle, and Sana. We all woke up within the hours of 2a.m. and 3a.m. so we could leave early enough to have ALL day to surf, because it was a five and half hour drive.
First stop: Rio Mar (where I surfed the first time-last week)
It was purely a stop to see the ocean crashing it’s waves upon the black sand,  under the blanket of stars. There were so many stars that I hadn’t seen before; dotting the sky with their miraculous impression.  The sound of the ocean is one of my favorites, for sure.
Second stop: the shores of Hotel El Sitio.
This place had waves ranging from beginner to pro; 4 foot to 30 foot. There was such diversity that it called in all sorts of surfers, including one whom we met at Rio Mar last week.
We headed down the beach to the smaller; beginner waves. A palm tree acted as our shelter from the sun and a shaded spot for our cooler; which held peanut butter & jelly pancake sandwiches for lunch.

After applying sunscreen (spf 70–I thought I might turn albino, but later found out that Panama just burns me harshly no matter the sunscreen application) we all headed out to the ocean to catch some waves. I began and caught the first great wave! There is something about the rush of all the power under you that just motivates you to keep surfing more.

I'm the farthest left, with the blue surfboard

Me, just about to get up to ride the wave!

I tried my best to get up each time, but of course, because I’m a beginner, I fell off many times. In the middle of the day, I got to the point where so much salt was burning my eyes that I couldn’t see, especially with the waves still crashing on me.

I had points where I went wave jumping with Michelle and Sana, while the guys surfed the bigger waves.

There came some points where I was able to be alone on the sandy shore, under the palm tree, listening to the roars of the ocean. It was calming yet invigorating to listen to the shake of palm trees, crash of waves, and call of geckos.  I was able to have some God-Sarah time, where I just sat and thanked God for the experience. I had gone through so much change recently, so I finally realized, while basking in God’s greatness, that He is in control and I am here for His purposes and I need to just take His instruction and stop worrying and start trusting. There’s that word again-TRUST. I struggle so much with God on that subject. I can so easily trust people and yet my  Creator and perfect Lord has a roller-coaster…I’m SO ridiculous sometimes.

The adventures kept going as I became Landon’s photographer with the waterproof camera. I captured his moments and enjoyed the time to swim in the ocean. At one point, I was able to be even MORE in awe of Christ and enjoy this day even MORE, because it began to pour. OH! the rush of the salty, warm, waves mixed with the dripping of cold, fresh, rain. It was fantastic!

I hope to never forget that day. I can say I am a surfer. I am horrible, but I have stood up and rode a wave until I felt like jumping off. I surfed atop the roaring beast and felt it’s power propelling me.

Landon, Jordan, and I decided to trek across the horribly rocky part of the ocean to an extremely deciduous island. There were gigantic waves on the east side, smashing against rocks, creating a melody of its own.

The only picture I was able to get of the creatures invading the island is blurry, but here it is:

These colorful crabs roamed the deep brown dirt and bright green foliage.
We climbed up the island to see the view of the unending ocean, it was quite the trek, but I felt accomplished. My feet got horribly bruised and scraped, but now they match my legs.

After we got back from the island we met the girls (who had been at the surf shack for hours, chillin’) at the car and Michelle, Landon, and I ate at the restaurant. I had Yucca Fritas (yucca root fries) and Patacones (plantains fried) they were both SO yummy! We watched the surfers hang out on the beach and the waves get larger and larger as they began hitting up to 25 feet. A group began playing their acoustic guitars (I saw the prettiest one ever, it had a sunset on the front and the ocean scene on the back) along with a bongo and a harmonica. It was an unforgettable experience.

The almost 24 hour day was one of the best days of my life-the continuous adventures, accomplishments, and laughter filled the day and kept it immensely enjoyable.


Staccato Updates

Me & Willy

After Young Adults Bible Study

Micahas, Raphael, & Jesus

It’s been so busy here, I just can’t believe how time has flown. In two days I will have been in Panama for two weeks-wow. In two days I will also go surfing again! WHOOT! I will get better at it, I hope!

The first picture is of me and Willy; he is a fun guy who plays guitar at worship every morning at the school and for different events throughout the week. One of those events is the Saturday night young adults Bible study. It was SUPER fun to be able to get together and learn more about those who are (somewhat) closer to my age.  Last Saturday night was the first time I had picked up a guitar in weeks! It felt SO good to play again. Everybody down here has nylon guitars-no steel! (or at least I haven’t seen one) It’s crazy! Sana, Nair, and I are in the process of writing a song, it’s a bilingual trio. So if one of us is missing..it’s just not right.

Since I’ve been here I’ve already eaten out a handful of times for the experience of eating the cuisine here, I have gone to a movie, and shopped. There is still some familiarity here! Shopping was great fun, because EVERYTHING is SO much cheaper here, than in the states. I bought a zip up sweatshirt for four dollars!

I went to the school this past Monday for the first time, and I am already in love with the children in Susanna’s class! There are three boys that I particularly feel protective and much love towards-it’s amazing what emotions God created in us to project and feel.

This is Nair (Nigh-Ear) and Susanna (AKA Sah-nah [Sana]), these two girls have become my closest girl friends down here. Sana is from Minnesota!

Nair is from Argentina originally, but she is now a teacher at the school. She teaches K5.

They are such fun wonderful women to be around. I am extremely thankful to know them both. 🙂

Nair is very good at speaking English too!

I have been so drained this past week. My mind and body are just being used to the max and I haven’t gotten enough sleep. Today I came back from the church early so that my body rest. I might end up going to bed soon and getting 12 hours of sleep..but somehow I highly doubt that will happen.

I am astounded by people who can go on missions trips for only a week. It’s already been two weeks for me and it’s gone by in a snap! I’m glad that I’ll be here for three months, it will teach me a lot and see if my heart is truly in love with international missions.

My sunburn has gone down to a much needed tan. My face peeled though..lame.

Jordan got the worst of it though; his arms, back, and face are just peeling like CRAZY!!!

I have a new friend named Henry, he’s a pastor’s son from two hours away who is staying with us to help with the church. He speaks enough English so we can communicate and he is extremely nice. We are teaching each other our natural languages constantly! I am getting a little better at pronouncing and speaking Spanish. My lips just have to re-adjust themselves to fit the language.

I made breakfast for supper two nights ago-with Sana and Landon. We made pancakes, scrambled eggs, gravy, hash browns, sausage, and bacon. We still have left overs too! I plan on making a dessert from the left over pancakes; maybe a layered ice cream, pancake, something-or-other. haha!

The 26th of this month, Jordan is getting a new puppy-a basset hound. She is SO adorable from the pictures he showed me. He is unsure of what he will name her, but I have a feeling that after he meets here (which is as I’m typing this) he’ll come up with one.

I am very thankful to all you reading this and who are praying for me and who sent me here. Remember that you are a part of my mission because of your gifts. I wouldn’t be here without your obedience to our Lord.

~With much Panamanian love~

Diversity

Wow, so much has happened since my last post, I don’t think I’ll be able to go into lots of detail on everything because you’ll be reading for five hours.

I went from construction to tailor on Wednesday.

Landon and I made clown pants tall enough for him to wear and stand on stilts. It was a circus theme for the kids and so we dressed up and decorated a bit. We made the pants from scratch, using the piano cover and an old sewing machine. ((latest post proves even more–thanks mom, for teaching me how to sew–it was INSANELY helpful))


Landon and Jordan were GREAT with the kids, along with a woman named Michelle, who helped me paint faces.

I still can’t believe that Landon and I ACTUALLY made pants from scratch….it’s just so crazy!

From tailor to filthy wall builder

blue chalk lines for the guide to our wall


the wall is UP!


Insulation next

COMPLETE!

putting up the insulation and sheet rock totally got me super dirty-but the pictures don’t do justice.

Me and Jordan

my arms were a totally different color, the camera just seemed to erase most of it

Sorry about how crazy all the pictures are placed!

From filthy wall builder to surfer

I’m sorry there’s no pictures of us actually surfing, my camera isn’t waterproof.

It was a BLAST, I can now officially check off ‘learn to surf’ off of my Bucket list!! WHOOT! Yesterday was soooo fun. Even just listening to the giant waves crash and roll in and collide with the river. (oh yeah, I can check off ‘go cliff diving’ off my Bucket list too) The river that flowed into the ocean was so much colder, we went there after our first surfing lesson (by Landon) and I jumped off a cliff into the waters below for the first time. WHAT A RUSH!! I LOVED IT!

I have experienced so many ‘firsts’ here, it’s crazy! First time swimming in the ocean, surfing, cliff diving, seeing a pelican, eating certain Chinese food, going out of the country, flying by myself, etc… the list goes on and on.

The ocean was sooo amazing, the saltiness just washed me clean. I enjoyed just diving under the waves as the white wash rumbled in front of me. My eyes burned from the salt, but it was worth it…WELL WORTH IT. I got a crazy burn (even though I put on sunscreen-I’m even more of a gringo now) on my face and I will stand out even MORE…hooray :/

I have come to think that all these changes and differences are the best thing for me right now, cause I want adventure, and if things were the same here as they are back in the states, then what would be the difference between here and back home? There HAS to be culture change//living change//reason to adapt, for this to be an adventure!
~~~

Relient K-Give
Yeah I’ll give give give (until there’s nothing else)
Give my all (until it all runs out)
Give give (and I’ll have no regrets)
I’ll give until there’s nothing left
I’ll give

~~~
I think that this chorus has been the song that has gone through my mind the most, while I’ve been here. Everybody here just GIVES so much of themselves. Landon, Jordan, Jonathan, Randy, Donna, Bob, Juan Carlos, Augustine, Paco, Susanna, and the list goes on and on! People here are life givers, they use the abilities and passions and love that God gave them, to give back to Him. It keeps me keeping on. I just have to match their ability-it’s the competitive athlete in me.
The people from the church are extremely nice too; I’ll pass somebody while I’m working and they’ll say with a smile, “hola Sarah” and I return the expression and “hola” but feel horrible for not remembering their name.  But they don’t mind. They just love to welcome people.
Donna and Randy have given so much of themselves to those around them; they are constantly having people stay in their home and supplying the needs of them.
God has given me so many examples and great role models here, at home, and everywhere I go. They all help me strive to become a better person.

Having my heart open to whatever gets tossed at me next and keeping focused on Christ-that’s the secret to enjoying life no matter what.

Christ is always the key.

Results of little things.

One of the nights, Randy said to a few of us; something like this, “One of the things that is lacking with your generation is hard work. If my generation can teach yours anything, it’s that. Hard work will teach you a lot of life lessons and get you far, especially when it’s for God’s Kingdom.”
Man has he taught me well.
My parents back home too.

I have cleaned and organized a few rooms (which Donna told me she was very thankful and amazed to see how well I did, “and you weren’t even in there long!”) built walls, learned some techniques of construction, learned how to use this super spiffy kind of nail gun (I forgot it’s real name) and so much more.

My parents have placed me in certain situations that have helped warm me up to this (unintentionally). I have cleaned and helped build our church, back home. Sometimes my OCD has helped here too; organizing those rooms and sweeping up the new sanctuary floor. Just simple life lessons that I never realized would help me in the long run, really did.

Cooking and washing dishes are helpful here (which I have not had a turn at yet).

Not that I can spell it, but I worked at memorizing and understanding John 14:6 yesterday!! 🙂 I think I’ve got it down, now I just have to say it like an auctioneer. hahaha! They speak so fast here, that’s why I find it hard to understand. I suppose that’s why I know the phrase “Habla mas despacio, por favor, no entiendo” (please speak more slowly, I don’t understand)

Yesterday I had to BUY work clothes (because I’m a goof nugget and didn’t bring tennis shoes or grubby clothes-but I didn’t think I would be working at the church)
Shopping was quite the experience, Donna let me try to communicate with some of the helpers and sometime intervened. I get so frustrated with myself when I’m shopping for me even back home…and let alone in a Spanish-speaking country–gah! Yesterday my blood pressure was sky-high.

I even got into an “argument” with a security guard yesterday.
So, there are windows that are in the middle of the sanctuary creating a square-ish and on the other side  it’s open for one other story down. The parking lot is on that bottom level. There was a car parked below where I was working.
Landon told me to use the super spiffy powerful nail gun and put up tracking by myself while he helped Jordan bring in more sheet rock. SO me, being me, I took the challenge and tried. Well, this nail gun is SO powerful that it sometimes breaks the cement and chips it off, making it fly everywhere. (glad I had some gun lessons back home-that helped me out with safety)
After putting up three tracking pieces, I had one last one to go, to complete the ceiling part. I shot the first nail in and it broke the cement, I loaded it again and shot it in with great strength. WHOOT! ONE DOWN, only one more nail to go. As I failed my first attempt again and blew the cement, the security guard started shouting to me in rapid Spanish (and it’s already rapid enough when it’s casual) “No entiendo” (I don’t understand) I replied. He paused, then continued in slightly slower Spanish. Then I understood with his hand motions that I was spraying the car below me with cement and it might chip it. I was determined to finish the job Landon assigned me; I had started something-I HAD to finish it.  SO, I argued, “Un mas” (one more). The security guard gave me a look and said sternly, “UN MAS??” as if testing to see if I was lying. I replied, “Un mas,” and with hand motions continued, “DONE” with a horizontal chop of my hands.
He stood there with his hands on his hips staring at me.
So, I continued with loading the gun and prayed with all my might, “GOD LET THIS ONE GO IN WONDERFULLY, PLEASE DON’T LET THE CEMENT FLY!! HELP ME!!!!”

FFFWHAP!!!!

I opened my eyes and looked up at the nail that shot perfectly into the tracking. My shoulders relaxed in relief. “Thank You, God”
I looked down at the security guard and shouted down with a thumbs up, “DONE!” and set the gun down as he walked away.

Ah man, yesterday was a real test at my communications. It’s funny, because the times where I was alone (whether in the store with Donna on the other end of it or Landon and Jordan out of eye sight) I always had some Panamanian rapidly communicating to me in Spanish. God is helping me learn better, I suppose.

All these are results of the little things that I learned back home, from the “un poquito Espanol” that my mom had taught me very young, to the gun shooting with my cousins at my grandparents farm. SO much I can look back on and think “God had this already worked out, didn’t He?” but then that gets into theological discussion, hahaha.

Thanks so much, mamá y papá, for teaching me so much that has truly shined down here. I may never be able to show or tell you fully how much I truly am thankful for you.

I love you all and appreciate you keeping up with me and praying for me. I’ve already seen God working in my life; the humidity hasn’t hit me as hard as I thought it would-I believe that God is putting it on me gradually; just one of those little things I am thankful for.

the view from the family room