I can’t believe how fast the time is flying here in Panama. I apologize for waiting a month to give you guys an update. I’ve been busy here but in a very good productive way. I was also sick the last week and a half but I am feeling much better as of yesterday. When I do have free time I try to use it for my own personal spiritual growth as well as opportunity to go to coffee shops, the libraries, and universities to try to meet more people and share the gospel and I even try to go out to play basketball/soccer with the people that I’ve met and meet more people there. I usually have my Spanish classes in the mornings so afterwards I like to go out and meet people and do things. I find myself trying to fill my schedule up with as much as possible because I love keeping busy, meeting people, and share with them my story and the gospel.
I have loved being able to meet people and get to know them through board games or sports. It’s been fun helping some of the people here with their English and it’s always a good opportunity to share Jesus with them. I’ve been using a lot of my Spanish and practicing every single day. I know that I can be hard on myself, but everyone here tells me that my Spanish is very good and I speak more and more every single week that I am here. My only issue is trying to gain confidence in my Spanish, but I’ve been going out almost daily to meet people and invest in them which has been a very great way to force myself to use my Spanish and learn more. With all the ministries going on, I’ve really been able to grow in my Spanish and grow closer to the people here.
I use to have some health problems with my back and a various other things before my trip, but being here I’ve been able to get back into jogging, walking, basketball, soccer, and other physical activities and it’s been a huge blessing! I thank everyone that’s prayed specifically for my health as I’ve had to deal with some issues before my trip and didn’t know how it was going to effect me here. In Bonaire I spent a lot of time walking and was able to jog a few times and play Ultimate frisbee and even played basketball once. Being here, I’ve been able to go jogging 4-5 times a week and play basketball 3-5 times a week as well. I’ve been blessed to be able to be active and feel young again. I’ve been able to meet a lot of different people by simply playing sports with them and talking to them about the purpose of life and helping them with wherever they are at in their life and journey.
The missionaries here are very faithful with their ministries and it’s been awesome to watch the church grow in the time that I’ve been here. I’ve been able to help out with the kids ministry on Saturdays, young adult’s evenings on Friday’s, Wednesday evening Bible study, Taekwondo ministry on Tuesday/Thursday evenings, Sunday Church, and various others. This is only some of the ministries that are being done here and the list does not do justice to how much the missionaries are doing here and how much they are actually involved in. I’ve learned a lot just from being here watching the missionaries and seeing how they do life, ministry, love the people, and find ways to continue to push others along spiritually. I’ve been blessed being here with such and awesome team. I can’t believe that I only have one month left here in Panama and then I will off to Costa Rica until September 30th! Time is flying. Every day feels like it’s only 12 hours long. I wake up and eat/make coffee, have Spanish classes, go out into the city during the day to meet people/evangelize and then do other ministries in the evenings. Before I know it, it’s already bedtime. I’m just constantly trying to make the most of every single day. This last month I’ve been able to talk to some of you from back at home and it’s been a huge encouragement just to see your faces and talk to you and see what’s going on in your lives. I would love to talk to more of you so if you have time, please send me a message and lets chat!
The last month the Executive Director of the mission agency was able to come here and meet with the team and talk about the ministries and future of everything happening here. I was able to sit and talk with him as well and get an idea of my future which I’ve shared with some of you. Many of you know that I am not yet an official missionary but this trip is part of helping prepare me for becoming a missionary. As of right now, I have applied to be a missionary with the organization GMI (Grace Ministries International). I return to the United States September 30th and they will have their board meeting to go over my application and interview me mid October. I will know then what my future will be. Since I will be done with my trip by then, they will be able to talk to the missionaries that I’ve been working with and know how I fit in with the organization and what they are doing. This trip has been very good and I’ve loved every second of it even though some points it’s been challenging, but it has only grown my passion and desire for missions.
I honestly can’t thank you all enough for all of your prayers, love, and support in my life. I’ve grow so much in my relationship with God during this trip. I’m thankful for the work the Holy Spirit is doing in my life. It does get hard at times and spiritually I can feel a little drained when I forget to focus on my own spiritual walk and spend intentional time with the Lord without distraction. I thank you for your prayers in this area of my life as well as each other area. I can sometimes feel discouraged or disconnected when trying to communicate because my Spanish still has a long way to go. It’s hard to feel like I’m actually connecting with some people at times but I’m thankful for the friends that I’ve met here that speak English and help me with my Spanish as well as do some translating for me when needed. I ask that you all continue to pray for me to manage my time well this last month that I am here and to focus on the areas that I can make a real lasting impact as well as to bring the gospel into the things that I am already doing.
I thank you all for reading these updates and seeing what God is doing in my life and here in Panama. I’m excited for this last month and I just pray I can finish the month here strong and then start strong when I arrive to Costa Rica. Thank you for being the best family and friends that I could ever ask for. No matter how I feel, I am always encouraged and I thank God to know that I have such awesome and wonderful people back at home thinking of me and praying for me. I could not do anything that I am doing here without you all! I love you all! Enjoy all the photos of all of the ministries and activities that we’ve been doing!