> newsletters e-Mailer for 12/06


Dear Friends,


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


First off let me wish you a Very Merry Christmas season. It really is a favorite time of the year for us. Our good friend and mechanic, Mr. Watson, is from the Province of Bocas del Toro. He shared with me some of the Christmas traditions from his part of Panama. They do a house-to-house Christmas parade/dinner. In a somewhat pre-arranged order a group of family and friends visit between 15 to 20 houses. At each home they talk and eat whatever specialty that family has prepared. Leaving a house, that family group joins the parade. So the last house better have a *lot* of food!


It's also a time for "peace on earth," as Mr. Watson shared happened between him and Miss Mildred, an old family friend. She had accused him of stealing from her six years ago, which of course he didn't do. During those six years, he never spoke to her or went to her house. At the Christmas visit he waited outside while the rest went inside. After much prodding and urging, he finally went inside and Miss Mildred said she was sorry, and they hugged and became friends again.


For the recipe of the traditional Panamanian Christmas drink Saril, we invite you to see our Christmas newsletter, the Get to Know Panamá section. That's if you didn't already receive the print newsletter, which should have arrived by now. Please let us know if you'd like to receive one and haven't yet.


Thanks for praying for these past events:


* Children's Ministries Leaders Seminar where Yvonne and I presented a short program of children's Christmas music. The people loved it, and really got into the choreography motions to teach the kids.


* KidsQuest Crusade in Cañazas, a small community deep in the interior of the Isthmus of Panamá. The coordinator was Marisol, who you have seen before, though we'll forgive you if you don't remember, when we introduced the Santiago Children's Ministries committee in the May 2005 newsletter. In addition to heading up that committee, she is now also serving as the pastor of a new church plant in Cañazas.


Thanks to her great promotion for this one day crusade, we played to a packed-to-overflowing house! Kids were covering every inch of the available floor space, plus leaning in at the windows and doors.


* The Missionary retreat during Thanksgiving week went very well. Along with our colleagues Boyds and Bells the Panamá missionaries were in charge of coordination, which went smoothly. The teaching and worship were great, but it's the fellowship with other missionaries and missionary kids that we appreciate most at this biannual retreat. Our three youth age kids we hardly saw since they were at their own services and activities all day long. It was difficult for them to say their goodbyes on Friday night.


* Christmas KidsQuest Crusade Saturday in the Orlando Wynter gym.


You know, it's funny. We went to all the trouble of using an indoor venue this year, since we got drenched last year in the soccer field. It didn't rain at all.


When we arrived early to set up, the caretaker warned us that directly above the stage is where the rain leaks in and it also has cancer-causing insulation that falls continually. All that would have been nice to know *before* we rented the gym. Needless to say, we made changes so that all the children and our team would be safe and still be able to see well.


The best present of all for Christmas is Jesus! I know you knew that, and now so do over 350 kids from San Miguelito who were there. As an additional Christmas present for them, we handed out The Adventures of Jesus, a paraphrase of the NT in text and color comic format. It was great to see them with huge smiles on their faces after receiving the Gospel and their gift.


* Our Rep. Edilma de Villarreal and team subbed for us and ministered with about 25 PKs and PGKs (pastor's kids and grandkids) at their retreat. It fell on the same date as the Christmas Crusade. A first-ever event took place there: the marriage of two of our Panamanian AG pastor's children. It impacted our Superintendent, Lowell David, so much that he couldn't continue with the service for a moment, being all choked up with emotion.


We appreciate your prayers for these upcoming events:


* Annual Session ministry with children of our ministers 7-10 January.


* KidsQuest Crusade Antón 26-28 January in the Central Zone of Panamá.


All four of our kids are participating in the Christmas Cantata. They've been practicing the songs and dance steps for weeks now. The youth are even going to have partners. They are all very excited.


For Chloe cayuco paddling has started up again, earlier than last year. There are two new members. They get to use "Seaweed," the same cayuco as last year. She is so excited! They're preparing for the first race of the season in January, shown here with a loaner boat while Seaweed was getting a tune-up.


All the kids practice a time of daily devotions. Anthony was given a youth devotional book called Connect2God and he has really enjoyed using it during his devotions. So much so that he is now working through it for the second time.


Celina is getting to use her sewing talents by making, with a friend, 60 scarves for the Christmas Cantata. I told her I was proud of her for putting her spiritual gift of service into action. She replied, "When I like to do it, it's not work." That's the best part of using your spiritual gifts, isn't it?

It was to my great father's delight to be able to baptize Gracie at the missionary retreat. She understands that it symbolizes what Jesus did to save her and forgive her sins--died as a sacrifice for our sins and rose again to give us new life.


It has worked out that each of our kids has attended the MFCA retreat when they were eight years old and were baptized at that time. And they have continued in their spiritual growth especially at focused times like this past retreat.


Hopefully our reaction this Christmastime will mirror what the shepherds did, after hearing the angel choir give our Savior's birth announcement:

They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger.

Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child.

Luke 2:16-17, The Message


At the risk of sounding corny, I want you to know that for Thanksgiving, after my God and my family, I gave thanks for faithful financial and prayer partners like you who stand with us in reaching children and training leaders here in Panama.


Our prayer is for multiplied blessings on your life, family, church and ministry this Holiday season!


Yours for Them,


Kirk for all