> newsletters e-Mailer for 2/12


Dear Friends,


Depending where you are from, warm Carnavales, or Mardi Gras, or simply “Tuesday” greetings from Panamá!


If you'd like to read past issues, see Newsletters. This monthly e-Mailer includes updates on ministry, family, praise and prayer.


Last issue I opened saying, “Panamá is in the news again” mentioning that former dictator Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega returned here to serve multiple life sentences in prison. He remains under arrest, but has been moved from prison due to a stroke he suffered recently. At the risk of repeating myself to open this issue, Panamá IS in the news again. This time the news affected us a little more directly.


Earlier this month, in the western provinces of Panamá, the Ngäbe-Bugle Indians (formerly called “Guaymí”; also spelled “Ngöbe”) protested the government’s mining and hydroelectric policy. Cerro Colorado is the mountain range just above where the Assemblies of God retreat campground is located. Mining industry experts say it contains an estimated 100 million tons of copper, making it the fifth largest deposit worldwide. The representatives of the indian tribe say that past mining exploitation has caused mudslides and polluted their rivers which have cost lives, reduced fishing, resulted in increased miscarriages, and overall had a negative impact on their way of life. So the protests were intense and, unfortunately, the conflicts turned violent.


The closures at several points along the Interamerican highway effectively cut off all transport of people, produce, goods and fuel. This all happened the very dates that Roy Rhodes and team had planned to be in San Felix and Quebrado Guavo, the very epicenter of the protests. The have ministered for the past ten years at the annual Indigenous Conference. Last year we were able to stay all week and drive back to Panamá City just before the road closures for similar protests. While waiting for an agreement between the government and indians, which would result in opening the highway, we did work projects with fellow missionary Larryon Truman at his shop, preparing trusses for tabernacle-style church construction. Plus we laid a concrete driveway on a dirt hill that is very slippery in rainy season. Thankfully the two parties came to an agreement in time for us to make a quick trip to the interior on Thursday and Friday. That allowed team members to give out candy and toys they had brought for the children, and allowed Pastor Roy to preach the morning devotional service, shown here with interpreter Rev. Rudolfo Kennedy.


The one evening worship service we got to be a part of was lively and joyous. You can see some of the children entering in too. Over 3000 were in attendance. Normally it’s well over 4000. I would assume that the people who live a distance of three to four days walk did not come since the protest was not resolved until midweek of the retreat.


For me back in Panamá City teaching continues to be a part of our missionary work, in a few different areas. For our national children’s workers, training seminars continue every month, plus when we travel interior for KidsQuest crusades. In addition at the Bible Institute (ISBAD) this semester I’m teaching World Religions course with two students Dayra and Carmen. They both have a world Christian’s heart. Another opportunity was with Panalfalit, the Christian literacy organization led by one of our AG lay leader ladies. She asked me to share with their annual convention on the 4-14 Window. We appreciate your prayers for the work that all these dedicated ministers are doing and will do for the cause of Christ in the future.


Last month’s KidsQuest Crusade was in La Laguna de Pocrí, central zone. Pastors Moisés and Gloria Paz were incredibly gracious hosts and hardworking pastors in an area very resistant to the gospel. The composition of our team was a little different. Carolina Canto is in Louisiana on a month-long missions trip with one of Panamá’s pastors who has planted a Spanish-speaking church to reach Latinos in Baton Rouge. Carolina is teaching teachers how to do children’s ministries. We’re proud of her and ask you to join us in praying for her. We welcomed first-timer José Quinzada, husband of Fanny, our long-time games capitan. The kids in this very rural area were especially appreciative and receptive of the gospel message through clowns Ding & Ling and Bengal tigre CJ, even sitting on the floor when chairs ran out. Pastor Moisés said they more than doubled their normal attendance for children’s services. This month we’ll be in between Panamá City and Colón with Pastor Lucia de Cueto in Chilibré.

Each year we send a Thank You letter to our financial supporters. Yours should have arrived recently. If you contributed but did not receive a letter, please let us know to correct any errors. In this year’s letter we expressed our thanks for your support in prayer and finance as if it came from the lips of these precious children that you have partnered with us to reach for Jesus. I’m including the response card here.


Even if you do not currently support us, but would like to schedule a visit for our upcoming itineration ministry beginning July 2012, please contact us (see signature line below). We look forward to seeing you to give a report of what God has been doing here with Panamá’s children and to hear about your ministry, family, and life.


Speaking of family, Chloe continues to be active on campus as an R.A. in Walther first floor North (W1N), but has recently been very busy with her Capstone nursing course which requires her to work a nurse's full time job. She enjoys being assigned to her preceptor and do nursing skills.


Anthony is loving the college life--going to Christian concerts, hanging with friends in the dorms and, oh yeah, studying. He always makes us laugh when we Skype or talk on the phone.


Celina has been busy applying for colleges, and then applying for many different scholarship opportunities. She tutors two students and is studying hard at school. Occasionally her Senior class gets together like they did for Valentine’s Day and had tacos and monster cookies.


Gracie continues to play piano in the youth praise band and to do kids ministry at Panama Int'l church. She loves playing with the little kids and the kids love her back.


Right now Celina is at the stage of deciding which college to attend. One bit of advice I gave to Chloe, Tony and now to her is that it’s more important what kind of a person you become, than what you learn how to do. So which college or university will help you best become what you know God wants you to be, not just do? Then in my daily Bible reading I got excited (and felt a little vindicated) when I read Jesus say:

It's who you are, not what you say and do, that counts.

Your true being brims over into true words and deeds.

(Luke 6:45, The Message)

Then I felt the gentle challenge of the Spirit to me personally as Jesus adds:

These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life,

homeowner improvements to your standard of living.

They are foundation words, words to build a life on.

(Luke 6:47, The Message)

Yours for Them,


Kirk for all