Thursday, October 18, 2012

"The Comarca"

Thursday is "Comarca Day"...I had been looking forward to it but Kellan woke up with a tummy bug so him and Nathan had to stay home. I was bummed Nathan couldn't join us, but we packed up and headed to the mountains anyway. The trip is over an hour and the roads are not the best. Some are not paved and in rainy season the dirt and rocks can be very bumpy to drive on. I have always gotten carsick and was feeling a little under the weather anyway so as we headed up I was feeling pretty sick. Frustrated with how I was feeling I started wishing I had sat out today and stayed home with Kellan. But then, we pulled into "The Comarca"...

The rain was pouring, huge orange dirt puddles were everywhere, and yet despite the rain and just a small tin roof covering the church (with no walls), there sat pew after pew of soaking wet people. More people yet were still arriving, many of whom I know walked for over an hour to get there. Drenched and shivering they made their way up the steep hill to find a seat. A little girl with no shoes, but a huge smile and an umbrella ran up my car door and grabbed my hand. Hand in hand we made the slippery walk up the hill to the church. She kept looking up at me and smiling the whole way. I took a seat next to her and looked down at her incredibly muddy feet and legs. She kept smiling. Some other little children rushed up to me with a spanish hymn book and several squished in next to me in the pew, while others just watched from a distance and stared. I looked around and took in the whole scene. Children shivering from the cold, mothers trying to warm their babies the best they could. The music started and I sang along. The service began and ended and the food was ready to be served. I watched every child eagerly receive their plate of food. I heard no complaints. Nobody asked for something else, nobody sulked, they all just ate. Every last bite. I watched my sweet little boys hand out little candies to the kids after dinner and I felt overwhelmed with joy. I knew that we were right where we were supposed to be.

We drove home, had our own dinner and washed up for bed. I lay in my own comfortable bed thankful to be warm and dry. I look outside and watch the lighting and the rain falling down. Suddenly, my mind is swirling back to the site at the Comarca and I no longer feel content in bed. I feel guilty. I think of all the people that I just saw and I picture their homes. I know they are still cold. They are still wet. I listen as the rain pours down and my eyes begin to tear up. Most of their floors are dirt, their walls and roofs are poorly constructed and I am sure many have water drizzling in their homes. As I am laying here in my cozy bed knowing my children are all safe and warm, I just cry. I know full well I can not change life for all these people. I know that many will die of starvation or disease. I know that while I have been writing this, people all over the world have died from starvation or preventable disease. Millions more are suffering. 

I'm thankful that I have been given the opportunity to perhaps make the difference in one persons life. I tell myself again and again that I can not become frustrated or overwhelmed by what I can not do, I simply must do what I can. My heart breaks for these people and I lay here feeling so small. But as small as I am, My God is BIG. I know this first hand. I have seen many great things He has done in my life and the life of other's. I will focus on how great He is. I will believe that His people will step up and heed His call. I will rest tonight knowing that God is greater than any struggle I will come across or any heartache I will feel. God has created these people and He will not leave them. 

1 Samuel 2:8 “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; He seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.”

Goodnight friends!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Home at last!

The past few days have been incredibly crazy. For weeks we have been packing and trying our hardest to get everything squared away to leave. So much goes into an international move, especially when you have things at several different houses while your packing. We had boxes and MORE boxes. Trash, yardsale, donate in USA, bring to Panama to donate, pack in container, pack in suitcases, store at sister's, store at in laws, carry on, etcetera. Aside from the tedious packing, we had important doctor appointments and visits with friends and family we had to fit in.

The night before leaving, my parents house (where we were staying) had an incident with the fireplace that left ash all over the house and the house smelling horribly of smoke. I knew the boys couldn't stay the night there so we packed them up and brought them to spend the night at my sisters. Nathan and I still had some last minute packing to do so we headed back to brave the smoke and get everything together. Our AMAZING friends Matthew and Shawna came over to help (as they did many days leading up to our departure). We did not finish until 4:30am and as exhausted as we were, it was such a blessing to have that time to spend with them. Once we said our tear filled goodbyes, we headed back to my sister's house to get some rest.

The next day was a whirlwind. I know at some point I had to do one of the hardest things I have ever done and say goodbye to my sister and her family. By this point I had said my share of goodbyes, but they never got easier. Through misty eyes, we waved our final goodbyes and drove off for the airport.
I could barely keep my eyes open on the way and before I knew it we were pulling into the terminal at Newark. My father in law and brother in law helped us wheel our huge load of luggage into the airport. We checked in and through more tears we once again said goodbye to more family and headed through security.

Our flight went smooth and after about 6 hours of flying we landed in Panama City. We were greeted by my mom and Pastor Edwin who loaded us up and we headed to the hotel for some much needed rest. It was around midnight when we were settled in for the night so we quickly accepted any sleep we could get before the sun rose. Our plan was to get on the road by 10am so we had a relaxing morning and grabbed breakfast before heading out. The drive from Panama City to Boca Chica where we were staying is about 6hrs. We made a few stops for potty breaks and food and arrived around 8pm.

It has been an exhausting couple of weeks and we are excited to be here safely and to have the opportunity to take a few days to rest up. Thank you so much for all of your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes along the way. We truly appreciate everyone who has taken the time to write us a quick note or say some prayers for our travels.