Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Our first holiday in Panama

Thanksgiving week was difficult. We were still recovering from illness and I was packed full of emotion. As thankful as I am for the internet, sometimes seeing what everyone else is doing back in the USA is extremely difficult. Several times I considered jumping on a plane and heading back home. I saw post after post on Facebook about people spending time with family, shopping with friends, and enjoying some of my favorite foods and deserts. Things I loved, things I enjoyed, things I always took for granted, and now---things I miss.

I wanted to make a few dishes the boys like to try and have some familiarity, but nothing seemed to be working in my favor. The store didn't have the ingredients I needed, our internet was still not hooked up so I could not even search for recipes, and then I discovered our stove was not working anyway. We went to center city to try and get some plastic chairs since we still were sitting on the floor, and I felt completely overwhelmed and frustrated with people shouting at me in a language I didn't understand. I felt out of touch with everyone Feeling unable to relate with anyone back "home", and struggling to understand people here, I just felt completely overwhelmed. To top it off, we got a message on thanksgiving from our closest friends saying Shawna was in labor and heading to the hospital. I was ecstatic for them, but heartbroken to be so far. I shed a lot of tears that week.

God knows what He is doing though, and after getting on antibiotics and seeing some improvement, we accepted an invitation from the Pastor to get together for thanksgiving with several other missionary families. It was exactly what I needed. Being able to speak to others people in English was a blessing in itself, but the fellowship was so nice to have. It was a wonderful time getting to know a little about these families and enjoy their company. That weekend we got both internet and furniture, and Nathan got the ants pretty much under control. At last our house finally started feeling more like home. Our health has steadily been returning and we are back in the swing of things... just a few more details to iron out. Sometimes the trials truly are needed to make you more appreciative of what you have and to keep you reliant on God. Our week ended with a wonderful message on Sunday that was exactly what I needed to hear---

Psalm 62:6-8

My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


There are so many little details still to figure out. Before we left we sold most of our belongings aside from summer clothing, photos, and some essentials we knew we would still need here. Those items are being shipped in a container that should arrive near the end of December. Until those items arrive, we are trying to find some creative ways to make do. Our washer and dryer, kitchen table, pots and pans, dishes, silverware, and towels are among those items. It’s been slightly challenging to figure out daily living without those things. We also are shipping our dressers so we are trying to keep everything in our suitcases meanwhile.

We have been keeping very busy the past few days cleaning and trying to get some of the items we absolutely need. Hopefully today we are able to get a couch and some chairs as we have been sitting on the (ant-infested) floor to eat. Curtains are also a must, as we don’t want to be the exhibitionists in the neighborhood, plus the sun really beats through the windows in 90 degree weather. Hopefully curtains will help keep some heat out. The living room has one whole wall of windows so that room is extremely hot. Also on our list today is cell phones and possibly to try and set up internet although we are still waiting on our lease for that.

So far we are enjoying the adjustment. We are living in a nice neighborhood here in Panama. We have more than most of the people here, yet in comparison to the USA it seems so simple. What we so often took for granted is a luxury here. Our home is very basic by “American” standards. Probably around 1,100 sq. ft. and 3 bedroom. There is no hot water, no air,  and no dryer hookup. The stove is very small (one rack) and there are no kitchen cabinets or drawers. We doubt we will have many people begging to come visit, but we really love it (although we admittedly miss hot water). It’s perfect for us, and we feel incredibly blessed to be able to be here. When I feel frustrated over the bugs or the heat, I try desperately to remind myself that we are in the minority here in Panama. Many don’t have indoor showers or toilets, many don’t have concrete yet alone tile floors. Many don’t have stoves, and very few sleep on a bed with the breeze of a fan at night. We may have cracks or holes in the walls that let bugs in, but we are so lucky to have walls. We have spent only a few days without furniture, not our whole lives. Yes, we are beyond blessed!

Please continue to pray for our health. I am still fighting Pneumonia, and Kellan has been sick with an awful virus now for over a week. He had a fever for 5 days, has randomly been vomiting, his one ear is still bothering him, and he has been fighting a cough and mucous as well. He is absolutely miserable and we would love to see him back to normal soon.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Our New Home

Friday we drove to David thinking we were meeting with the Realtor to get the keys, the electric switched to our name, and the lease as previously discussed. We were supposed to meet at the house at 1:30 so we arrived right around then. Around 2:30 Nathan tried to call the realtor to see what was happening but considering she speaks Spanish and he speaks English, they didn’t get far. Thankfully we have some very helpful friends and when I called Cesia, she immediately called the Realtor and called me back. The realtor told her that she wasn’t coming but that the owner was meeting us with the keys. She showed up around 3pm and we were so incredibly thankful to see that without asking, she had decided to put bars on all the windows so we would feel safe. The house was pretty nasty and still had trash and such laying around so the landlord gave us the front door key, and said she was going to have someone clean the house and meet us back at 6pm for the 2 back door keys that she had just had changed. The new plan was to meet with the realtor for our copy of the lease on Monday.

It was Tyler’s birthday so we took him to the toy store to pick out a gift (he chose a lego set) and to eat. We drove back to the house at 6pm and again, nobody showed up. We waited an hour, and decided we needed to head home. Since we at least had the front door key, we figured we would still move in the next day.

Saturday morning at 7am a man met us with a big box truck to pick up our beds and suitcases and drive them to our new home in David. The house looked a bit better than the previous day, but it was still pretty dirty. Nathan mopped and steamed and cleaned each room but it was no small feat. The walls were filthy, and each room needed to be bleached and detailed. Unfortunately, move in came on a week I had been hit with a bad case of Pneumonia. Nathan insisted I rest while he cleaned (I am one lucky lady). It’s incredibly frustrating to feel so useless when you really need to get things accomplished.

We still have much to accomplish and we discovered a few small details that we need to figure out. The back door doesn’t have glass or a screen covering the window section of the door, so we need to figure out a way to keep the critters out. Also, it appears there is a serious sugar ant problem (at least that is what we were told they are). There are some holes in the kitchen and around the sink and the little ants are just pouring out of them. They are also coming from some other places we have yet to figure out. Sugar ants (or whatever they may be) are VERY tiny and are pretty hard to see. Some of them are almost like a clear color. Until we get this taken care of, I can’t have ANY open packages in the kitchen, which has already proven a little challenging.

We are so very excited to be in our new home in David, and can’t wait to see what God has in store for us next. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

This little piggy went to the Hospital...

...and by this little piggy, I mean Kellan, although I went as well. 

After 4 days of a fever, cough, and nasty runny nose, we decided it was time to take Kellan to the hospital in David. Monday morning he woke up vomiting and also had diarrhea and he felt warm. It seemed his vomiting was from choking on his mucous, so I wasn't exactly sure what was going on. Here we are, 3 days later and his fever is not breaking and his cough is only getting worse. This morning he also gagged on his mucous again and threw up so we decided to head to the hospital.

The two older boys also have coughs and congestion but no fevers and I have also been struggling with a sore throat, ear ache, congestion, cough and fever this week which has made us some pitiful campers over here in Panama. Let's hope daddy stays healthy.

I was starting to worry Kellan may be getting pneumonia, so instead of searching to find a doctor, we went straight to the Emergency Room. I struggled to explain in a mix of english and spanish what was wrong to the woman at the front desk. She seemed slightly confused but I think she figured me out eventually.

The wait was pretty short, and they took him back for weight and temp. I didn't catch either but I am certain he had a fever. We saw a doctor who was very friendly and did speak English alright. I liked him, but I left a bit confused with what was going on. He said his lungs sounded a little junky, but not like Pneumonia, and his one ear was red. He let me look in his ears to show me the difference and said it wasn't a full blown infection yet. He sent him to the lab for blood work and several of his levels were off indicating he has a viral infection. He gave him some anti-virals, we waited on my IV to finish and we headed out.

His total emergency room bill was $10.36 and his lab bill was $5. Grand Total of $15.36. 

We also got 6 prescriptions (Most were for me) and the prescription total was $35 and some change. 

Tomorrow is supposed to be moving day. We are going to go out to the house and switch electric and gas into our name and get our lease but we most likely won't be moving in until Sunday or Monday. We have to see when we can get the beds sent over so we have somewhere to sleep. We are also going to most likely have to do some cleaning and get a few items we will need until our container arrives from the USA. We are praying next week we are once again healthy and ready to serve again in the orphanage and community. Nathan and the older boys have had to leave me and Kellan home this week, and it's been such a bummer to miss out. We would love your continued prayers for our health. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Just some ramblings...

  • Move to Panama
  • Find a house
  • Get a vehicle
We are slowly moving along on our little checklist! We have been in Panama for just over a month now and we are very excited to be moving this friday into a rental home. It is in a little Panamanian neighborhood just outside the city of David. There is no air (eeks!) except one of the smaller bedrooms does have an air conditioner in it. I forgot to ask about hot water (it isn't common here), but it really would not have made a difference anyway. It should be fun and quite an adventure to really live amongst the people. I hope one of the neighbors can teach me an efficient way to hand wash our clothes, lol. We are currently staying about 1 hour and 30 minutes from David which has been quite a hike, so we are very excited to get closer to the city, the stores, PEOPLE, and most importantly, the orphanage.

The boys have been battling a bit of sickness now for about a week (coughs and congestion) and this morning Kellan woke up with a low-grade fever and vomiting. I am praying it quickly passes so we are able to go to the Comarca tomorrow. We had to skip out on the orphanage today which always is a disappointment, so prayerfully no one else gets it and we are able to resume our normal daily routines.

We would really appreciate prayers that an affordable vehicle turns up soon for us. I am pretty certain Nathan is going to have to make the 6 hr. bus trip to Panama City to find something for us since David just doesn't seem to have much to offer as far as vehicles go, and we have heard that you can find much better deals in Panama City. Prayers for our health would also be wonderful. We have all had to adjust a little to the food and have been dealing with upset stomachs for a few weeks. Hopefully it won't be an issue for long.

We are missing our friends and family, but we are enjoying this beautiful opportunity to follow where we believe God wants us for this season. Thank you to those who are continuing to follow us on this journey. Have a blessed day.