Friday, July 25, 2008

July 22, Rachelle and I have made it home safely...

Dear Friends and Family,

I would like to let everyone know that Rachelle and I have made it home safely and that all is well for us. We are very sad that our time in Panama has ended but in our leaving we feel that the relationships that we build will continue on for a lifetime. From the beginning of our time in Panama to the end I have gotten to see how Dad can turn an impossible situation into a possible one. Dad has blessed me with this trip and I hope that this time in Panama is just the start to what he could use me for and I pray that he would use me in mighty and powerful ways in the future.

Since being back we have had a busy time with moving and getting things set up for us here in Bolivar. It has been a little stressful at times but I know that Dad is with us. Thank you for your yarpers and support during this time.

Dad Bless,

Hey everyone,

The last week in Panama went very well. We were able to take all of our close friends and students out to eat as they have treated us so many times before. It was nice being able to return the favor and have them accept it. I also gave paintings to everyone so they would remember me for years to come.

It was really hard saying goodbye to David and Wendy as we became closer to them than anyone else. In the culture it is not acceptable to say you will miss someone or show emotions at all so I constantly had to remember these things as I said goodbye. I hope I can return in a year or two to see all our friends again but the Father will be the one who ultimately decides when we will return.

On our last day in Panama a few friends came over to "help us pack and clean." In reality we fixed them American style food because they wanted to learn (since they had taught us how to fix Chinese food) and they wanted to see us again before leaving. After dinner we all talked and made different types of origami.

The next morning our m brought us to the airport and we were on our way. We ended up having two flight delays, four gate changes, and an eight hour lay over in Alanta, but we made it safe and sound. It was actually the shortest flight I have taken for a m trip so it was easy traveling for me.

Since being back (we got back very late last Monday night) things have been a little crazy - meeting my family and Brett's family after being away, moving into our new apartment, getting everything set up for the new place, and then graduation this week.

Thank you for all your yarpers throughout our m trip. I have really appreciated them and have seen them answered. I feel like I have a much better idea of what a m faces on a day to day basis with the joys and struggles when starting a new ministry. I have definitely fallen in love with working with internationals and I hope to find a ministry in the Springfield/Bolivar area in which I can take part.

In Him,

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

July 7 It has been a busy few weeks

Dear Friends and Family,

It has been a busy few weeks since getting back. We had a group come in from the US that has been traveling around the world doing m work for the past 9 months. They stayed for about two
weeks and we took them around p walking and doing other things. It was nice because our m's let us have this group by ourselves which meant the m's could do what they needed to do. It felt good to know that we could lead a team on our own with little or no problems. I will say it
was a little weird for them because Rachelle and I are both 22 years old and the youngest person on their m team was 23 and the oldest was about 35 and many of them have had careers already and we are just getting started with our careers but it all worked out.

The week before last we took a group of Chinese students out to the beach house and just had lots and lots of fun. We only had about six people which was wonderful but we where expecting about fifteen people. I felt like it was a fruitful time because out of the six people, three were people we had not met before and it gave us a chance to talk to them. We took the bus out to the beach which takes about an hour and a half then we had about a hour walk out to the house where we staying. This would not have been a problem but we had a whole bunch of food that we were
carrying with us along with our luggage. That Sunday we all went down to the beach and went jet skiing and horse back riding with them. For many of them they had never done either of those things before. It was very exciting for them. That afternoon we had a BBQ which got rained out and we packed up and went home. It was a very short time, but it was nice to have them away from the city because it allow them to relax and build a trust between us and them.

This past week we got done with our Ethnography study which is really exciting because that is the main aper that we hope will help our m with their work in Panama. That is a
real blessing to have off our shoulders and it was nice to read through it and see all the things that we have learned about the Chinese. Please yarp that this paper would be of use to our m's and they would find it helpful and encouraging.

Last night we had a good bye party.
About 20 people came to our apartment to have a BBQ and we had to say good bye to many of the people that we have met. It was a lot of fun
laughing and singing. I played the guitar for everyone and tried to get my student to play but she was too shy. I thanked everyone for their friendships and for making our time here so enjoyable. David our friend shared with everyone a Book story about the prodigal son and he yarped for the food in Cantonese. Everyone seems to be very responsive to David and we are very excited that he has taken on a leadership role.

We have said goodbye to the majority of our people last night but we have
a few others in which we will see one more time to say goodbye. I think this will be extremely difficult for us this week -to say goodbye to
our closest friends David and Wendy. These two have meant so much to us and have really opened many doors for us. Dad has blessed us with
bringing those two into our lives.


1. Yarp for this upcoming week as we say goodbye to everyone here.
2.Yarp that our impact here would be a lasting one.
3. Yarp for us as we finish up with things here that it would be an easy process.
4. Continue to yarp for our m's as they continue with their work here.

Father Bless,


Dear friends and family,

Since I last wrote you we have taken a few friends to the beach to celebrate someone’s birthday. It was really nice getting to meet some new people and just have a fun time together. Our last day at the beach we all decided to go tubing behind a jet ski because our friends had never tried this before. Of the six of us that ended going half of us fell off. It was very exciting for everyone. I found out from Wendy that all her friends called her to say how badly their body hurt for
the three days following the tubing adventure. Everyone said they would do it again because it was so exciting, they just might need a few days
vacation next time to recover before going back to work.

One of the people we met at the beach was a young Chinese guy who recently became
a believer and is now helping establish a ministry at his ch for young adults. It’s so exciting to hear that other groups are also beginning to reach out to these young people. Another great part of what he shared with us is the ch is allowing this new believer to play a large role in beginning this new ministry, as this is very rare for the traditional ch.

We have continued meeting with Cherry a couple of times a week for private English classes. I think she is doing much better in her studies than she lets on to be. She is quite shy and this makes it more difficult for her. About a week into meeting with her she invited us to have dinner with her at the restaurant she works at. I’m always amazed at how much food the Chinese feel they need to order for only a few people. I think she ordered four or five dishes of food for us and
then told us she wasn’t going to eat because she eats the restaurants food all the time. Another day that we met for class she brought along
origami paper and showed us how to make a crane, a star, and a heart with flowers on it. After this she told us the meaning of these three
objects, who would give them as a gift, and the significance of how many are given. For example, a crane is generally made by a girl and given to a guy. It symbolizes that the girl misses the guy and hopes they will return soon. The more cranes the girl creates the more she misses him. They say that if someone makes one thousand cranes their wish of the person returning will come true. Many couples will exchange origami as gifts as they all are very cheap yet it also has a very
sweet meaning.

Lately I have been a little stressed because a close friend of mine here has expressed her interest in taking a new job at a bar. The catch to this job is that she heard from a friend that if she takes this job the new boss plans on marrying her. Last week she met with the young man but she hasn’t made a decision yet, as she knows this sort of thing needs a lot of consideration. Marrying someone you don’t even know is such a hard concept for me to grasp because our
culture is so different in this way. While my friend’s parents never met each other before their wedding day and now she too is considering something very similar, this is not a very common practice among those we are working with in Panama. Yarp that she will make the correct
decision about her job and marriage which ever path the Father would have her take.

We have begun saying our good-byes to many of the friends we have only seen at big events and have begun giving and receiving going away gifts from our closest friends. Last week was a difficult week for me as the reality of going back to the US has set in. I have made so many friends here, we have begun to really trust one another and now when our relationships finally are strong I have to leave. Many of us have exchanged e-mail addresses but I know that many of them only
speak Spanish and can’t read or write it and for those that speak English it might just be a matter of time before we will stop writing because we live completely different lives. This is something I hope does not happen but I know it is a strong possibility and it is part of the reason I would rather stay here than leave. I know I will never forget the people I met here and I hope they never will forget us either.

In Him,



Please yarp for my friend that is considering a job change and marriage that she will seek Dad
while she makes her decision.

Yarp for David to continue to be interested in being a leader with in his group of friends.

Yarp for our m’s as they try to figure out how to effectively minister to the people that we
have connected them with.

Yarp for us as we continue to say our goodbyes.

Monday, June 23, 2008

June 17 Brett and I just got back from a trip...

Dear Friends and Family,

Brett and I just got back from a trip to the other side of Panama with our Spanish teacher’s family to visit their extended family. It was so nice getting to take a trip to see another part of the country other than Panama City. I learned very quickly on the trip that city life and people are very different from the country life and people. When we arrived to the area where Luzmila’s family lived we had to go down a very long bumpy road made of rocks and dirt. Any person that was out and about when we passed said good day to us and us back to them. This is very different than the city life because in the city in general no one talks to anyone else unless you are buying something. Another difference was how to greet someone when you see them. No matter if you are in the city or the country the same things are always said if you know that person. The only difference is that in the country people also always give a kiss on the cheek (which only happens at church in the city). Also when greeting someone it doesn’t matter if you just saw them at another family members house 10 minutes ago or years ago, you must greet them as if you hadn’t seen them forever. The same goes for good byes; you act as if you will not see them again for a long time even if you will see them later on in the day. I really liked the country life in this aspect because it seemed like a more hospitable and friendly way of life than that in the city.

One of the days while we were visiting Luzmila’s family we visited all the families homes. I thought this was a little strange because we had already met everyone at Luzmila’s parents home but they all wanted us to go to their houses as well. Most of the family lived in the same neighborhood so it was very easy to go from one house to the other. At each house they would show us around their house inside and out, give us fresh juice to drink and sit down with us and have a conversation. In one of the homes lived a family of four, mother, father, eight year old son, and a two year old girl. The son had heard the night before that we would be spending the night with one of the other family members and he told Luzmila that we could come spend the night in his room because he had bunk beds. We ended up staying with someone else but the next day when we visited his home he brought out a children’s book that had vocabulary lists in English and Spanish. Come to find out he had studied the night before so that we could talk to us some when we came back. I was so touched by him that I cry just thinking about how kind he was to us even though we were strangers.

Homes in the more rural areas are more basic in design and decoration. Owners build on to their homes, install running water and bathrooms as they have the extra money available. Every house had a yard where they had avocado, orange, lime, mango, and many other fruit trees. They also had chickens, pigs, dogs, and cats. One of the most amazing things I saw while in this part of Panama was a special kind of fence. When people make a fence they cut a piece of tree or a good size limb and stick it in the ground to make a fence and attach barbed wire to it. After a while the limb begins to grow and becomes a whole tree, thus making the fence a large row of trees. Our language teacher ended up wanting starts of many different places from her family and all she had to do was break off a stem. She told me that it was this way for all the flowers and plants in Panama. Just put it in water for a few days and then plant it. I just found this amazing since it’s not this way where I come from.

One of the days we were in Chiriqui they took us out to where they have a sugarcane field and where they make sugarcane cakes. They make the sugar about once a week and since they knew we were coming, they waited to do the process when we were there. It was a really great experience - getting to watch and help as the sugarcane went through the press. Then they let us taste the juice it produced with a little lemon added to our cup. Next, the juice was placed in a large metal vat that was on top of a home made outside oven. After the juice was cooked for about an hour and it had become thick like honey they poured a little into an old gourd and told us to let it cool before we dipped our fingers into it to taste it. I think that was my favorite way to eat the sugarcane. After that, the sugarcane cooked for one or two more hours until it boiled and changed from a black color to clear yellow to mustard yellow. When it finally changed to mustard yellow the men took the metal container of sugarcane off the oven and let it cool a little. From there they poured the sugar cane into molds and let it cool, and while the men were doing this the children scraped the metal container to get the sticking sugarcane and eat it. After the molds were ready we all helped to take them out and place them in plastic bags to be sold at local mini supers. While we were doing the entire process there were hundreds if not thousands of bees all around trying to gather all the sweet food. Some of the bees got into the final product but one of the family members assured me that bees are not unclean like flies and cockroaches because bees only eat from sugar and flowers. I was thinking, "Well I still sure hope I don’t end up with the sugarcane with bees in it."

Also at the sugarcane place we helped peel coconuts which took me about an hour just for my first one. They didn’t let Brett and me use a machete or allow us to use anything else to break down the outside to help because they wanted us to have a "cultural experience". After the first one they let us use things to help with the process but it was still very long and hard. We ended up using the coconut meat for a candy mixed with the sugar when it was in a honey type stage and then boiled and placed in molds. I don’t know if I will ever get to see this process again but it was definitely one that I will remember for the rest of my life.

When we went to leave Chiriqui the family asked if we would come back and visit them sometime in the future and told us that we would never lack a place to stay in Panama. Elva the sister that we stayed with the longest while we were there wanted to give us a gift for coming to visit and she ended up giving us a painting. She has been taking classes here and there over the years learning how to paint. She gave us a painting of Panama La Viega which are the ruins of the first city of Panama. It was her very first painting in the first painting class she had taken. Even though it was her first, you would never know it by looking at it because it is so beautiful. This gift meant so much to us because it was made and given to us by someone we know and that means so much more than anything we could buy at a souvenir shop.

In Him,

Dear Friends and Family,

It has been a really good last few weeks. Rachelle and I have taken on another student for English that is a friend of our friend David. Her name is Cherry which is of course her Spanish/English name and it is after the word cherish. She is a very nice 19 year old girl. Like
many of the Chinese students, she has not graduated from high school and has come to
Panama to work and find a rich husband. Since coming here we have dealt with so many young
people who are fleeing from something in their lives back in China. Each one has a different story which is usually sad and is hard for them to tell us because it is such a shameful thing. It is these things that have brought us so close to these young people and it is truly a blessing getting to
work with them every single day.

This past weekend we went to the other side of the country to the city of David which is right next to the Costa Rica boarder. We went with our language teacher to visit her family. While we were there we went to a black sand beach which was really pretty and out in the ocean there were many small islands that were bright green. It was a very pretty place. That night we saw
her family which consisted of about 25 people. That night her father brought out his accordion and played it for us and we tried to dance. Actually it was more jumping and swinging around, not really dancing. It gave everyone a good laugh.

The next day we went to see some of the family members make sugar cakes out of sugarcane. They had a press hitched to a horse and the horse would walk around and the men would feed the cane into the press and all the juice would be squeezed out of the cane. Then they would put the cane juice into a tub that set over fire. It took about 2 or 3 hours to cook and when it began to boil it became thick.

While the cane was boiling they handed us some coconuts. Filipe and I had a contest to see who could shuck their coconut the fastest. Filipe finished in about 30 minutes and I finished about an hour after him. When we finished peeling the coconuts they where cut open and scraped out to make candy. The candy was made from boiled sugarcane juice and coconut which is also boiled and put into a mold. When the cane juice became think like molasses it was poured into little cakes and set to dry, then taken and put into bags for selling in local stores. This was a once in a life time experience for me and I will never forget it.

The time we could spend with Luzmila and her family was a priceless time and I only wish I could go back again to visit them in the future. They welcomed us with a true joy and gave us the best that they had. This is a memory I will have for a life time.

Please be yarping as we are starting to come down to the end of our time here in Panama and start to work on our papers for school and things for when we get back. A lot of things need to be done in a short amount of time and it can be a little stressful. Yarp that the friendships that we have made will be lasting ones and be carried on even when we get back to the states. Thank you for all of your yarpers and for thinking about us.
Many Blessings,

Monday, June 16, 2008

June 2, 2008 I have had a very eventful week...

Dear Friends and Family,

David (right)

I have had a very eventful week here in Panama. Last weekend we had 15 people over to our cozy little apartment for dinner. They where teaching Rachelle how to cook Chinese food and boy did they cook. It was really nice to have people come over and be in our apartment for a little while. I feel that we are starting to build friendships with these people and that’s extremely encouraging. We hope to be able to take these same people back out to the beach whenever we find time to do it.

At the party I noticed that one of the young ladies seemed interested in the guitar and so I took the bus across a bridge that divides North and South America and went to her family’s business and said that I would teach her guitar lessons. For those of you who have not been around me I only know a little bit of guitar and have had only two lessons with my guitar teacher here in Panama, but what little I have is still enough to teach people. Friday I went with Rachelle to meet with the young lady and gave the lesson. It went really well. While I was giving the lesson a person we know stopped by and talked to Rachelle for over two hours in Spanish, so Rachelle had a chance to get to know her more. Please be in yarper about these lessons as I am trying to learn how to teach her an instrument I barely know.

We have a team that we are starting to take p walking for the next few days while our M’s our taking their daughter out to the beach. They are from all over the United States and have been traveling since August and have been to 9 countries throughout the world. Please be in yarper for all of us as we travel around Panama City.

Our language teacher has asked us to go with her to visit her family in Chiriqui which is about 8 hours away from the city. We will be taking a weekend to go with her family around the 14th of this month. We are very excited about this opportunity because we have not gotten to see much of the country and we are excited to meet our language teacher’s family. She is truly a wonderful women and I praise Dad that she has been in our lives while we have been here in Panama. Pray for this trip that all would work out well.

Thank you for your yarpers and thinking about us,

Hey everyone,

It seems as though Wendy (my main esl student) and I are really hitting it off. I've been meeting with her now two times a week and last Sunday we had a party at our apartment. Ken and Susan did most of the cooking and Wendy and I just helped out the best we could. We ended up having 15 people at the dinner. We went shopping with those that helped cook and that was a really great experience because we went to a few neat Chinese shops that I had never been to before. The cost of the entire meal was at most $40. That was so surprising to me because food for us has been really expensive here. I think the main difference is that we shopped at Chinese markets instead of regular grocery stores. The Chinese fix small dishes but try to fix as many dishes as there are people, but we ended up making 6 dishes, appetizer, and rice and we still had left overs. Brett and I are really starting to like a lot more of the Chinese food. I think we might try shopping in the Chinese market a little more than we have been so that I can practice making some the dishes my students taught me.

Susan and Wendy making tofu and fish balls

So far I have made 5 paintings and given Cici all of them. I’ve been copying a simplified Chinese Book for each of the stories I have painted. This seems to be more productive than using Spanish. I wish I could paint faster than I have but I had a bit of an artist block for a while so that slowed me down. I was really nervous about giving the first lesson to Cici and her boss because I usually teach the advanced classes and I knew my new students were beginners. I just had my first English class with them last night and it went well. Actually I ended up teaching them for a little over an hour and then they left saying they were too tired and had learned too much. Then a few minutes later we had a knock on our door and it was Cici and her best friend. They wanted to learn more, so it was just the boss that was tired. I ended up teaching them the words for things in the house, numbers, the alphabet, and used a worksheet of pictures and simple words. They seemed to enjoy their time more than many of our students we had in a large class so I am very happy. I think the new students' favorite part of the lesson was at the end when Brett played them a song on the guitar and sang for them.

At the dinner the other night Brett found out one of our students is interested in learning how to play the guitar so he went to Arraijan to give her a guitar lesson at her parents' business. We ended up going into the back of the store to teach and it was a crazy mess back there. I’ve always felt that it’s always expected to keep things clean and if I didn’t I would be judged poorly by others. I felt different about being in their store. They eat, do homework, work, visit friends, and take a nap there. They made me feel very welcome, as my friends and students here always do. I ended up talking to one of their friends who stopped by on her day off for 2 ½ hours in Spanish. I had met Apple before but not really talked to her much. I was so excited that my Spanish was good enough to carry on a conversation that long and at a good pace too. I think it always helps when talking to someone else who is not using their 1st language either because they are more understanding. I had really wished my language teacher had been there to hear the conversation; I think she would have been very proud of me. Brett and I will go to Arraijan every Tuesday and Thursday now to give Anna lessons.

There is another young man David, a believer, that we have gotten to know more through going out to eat with him on Sundays. Brett is planning on meeting with him on a regular basis in the morning. This Friday we will be going with him to eat a traditional Chinese breakfast. This is something I have wanted to do but it is better if a friend helps us order because everything is in Cantonese or Mandarin.

It feels like our work is just now starting to move but I know it is so close to an end. I’ve gotten to the point now where I am having very meaningful conversations with my friends here and we have moved beyond the teacher student role so we genuinely enjoy spending time together. I began sharing with Wendy and asked her about her relationship with the Father. It was our m’s understanding and mine as well that she had become a believer at Easter. After going through some material yesterday that pointedly asked her questions about a testimony, reading the Book, yarper, and her desire for a relationship with JC she said she is just interested in the faith and Book. She expressed she wants to know more and wants to learn how to Yarp but she wants to wait until she knows/ understands more. She asked a lot of really good questions yesterday and I feel it went well. Next week I am going to share with her what the Book says about yarper and examples of yarpers in the Book. Wendy comes from a background of yarping to ancestors to help her succeed in all areas of life as well as worshipping Buddha which may not really be the Buddha as we think of as the god of Buddhism, because she calls all god statues Buddha even if they are not the true Buddha. Please yarp that the things I share with Wendy will open her eyes and touch her heart.

In Him,

Friday, May 23, 2008

May 21, Things have been going very well...

The pictures are: The first watercolor I painted for CiCi (this is a painting of the creation story), a picture of me and the students I helped teach for a week and a half at a local international school, and a picture of me and Theresa (YWAM Norway) in Santa Clara

Dear friends and family,
Things have been going very well for me lately. One of the girls that I had a great conversation with at the Chinese New Year retreat has moved back into the area and started taking English classes with Brett and me. I have also started to meet with her on my own for more English conversation. This week I will start doing some discipleship with her during that time. Please yarp that she will have a desire to learn more about faith in the Father. She has become a believer since we have been here but she does not attend a ch. My yarper is that my time spent with her would lead her into a deeper walk with Dad. She has shared with me a lot about the Chinese wedding practices; it differs greatly from the traditional wedding in the United States. A few of the things I found most interesting about the wedding ceremony is that the bride will end up wearing three different dresses -each a different color red, pink, and white. Also part of the ceremony is the groom must pay the bridesmaids before they will let him marry the bride, after that point the couple goes to the groom’s home to yarp to their deceased ancestors. I come from a culture where yarping to ancestors never enters my mind, because of this, I think this is a very intriguing practice, but I understand that these people live in constant fear of their ancestors so they do many things to try to appease the spirits. I hope to talk to the girl I have been meeting

with more about yarping to ancestors and about how in JC we no longer have to fear such things. I know for her it is not so simple but yarp that the Fatherwill give me the words to share, sensitivity to hear, and openness on her end.

Last week we spent a couple of days in Santa Clara with a team with Youth with a Mission from Norway and Estonia. It was great getting to be around them once again and getting to say a final farewell before they left for home. They were a group of youth who went on many different yarper walks with us in the city yarping over the Chinese.

The other day I received a call from one of my students, she told me she had been fired from her job and wanted to meet with me. I felt very honored that she felt comfortable calling me to talk about her job situation. She ended up asking me about things she might need to do to get a good job and keep one for a long period of time as this has been a struggle for her recently. I tried to encourage her the best I could but I have confidence she will be successful in finding another job because her knack for learning languages is so good. Many of the businesses in Panama desire their employees to speak many languages especially in the Free Zone in Colon where many of the large companies are headquartered.

This past weekend I asked one of my students if she would be willing to teach me how to cook some Chinese dishes so that I would know how to cook for my family and friends when I return to the United States. She wasn’t very confident in her cooking ability but she said if some of the other students came to help that would be great. So all in all I think we are going to have 12-15 people in our little apartment this Sunday cooking up a storm. I always enjoy the get-to-gethers with the students because they talk a lot more and there is always lots of food and games. Please yarp that everyone finds our place safely as none of them have been there before.
Lastly please continue to yarp for the paintings that I have been doing as I have been a little discouraged with them this past week because of the complexity of some of the stories. I really feel that the young lady I am sharing these with has an open heart, so continue to yarp that she will have patience with me as I try to communicate with her.

In Him,
Rachelle Roberts

Hey Everyone, This past weekend we had a blessing happen to us one of our friends was baptised in ch. His family lives in China so he lives here on his own and spends his little bit of free time studying Spanish and English. He has been going back and forth about whether he wants to make the commitment to follow our father and the past week he said that this is what he wanted. This is an amazing thing because many times it can take up to thirteen years to see a person come to know the father. Please be in yarper for him as he has made this commitment in his life. Yarp that money would not be his priority in life but that he would desire things of the Father.

Last week we spent a few days at the beach house with YWAM students from Norway and Estonia. It was really nice to leave the big city and to just have a little bit of fun at the beach. Last night we handed out a JC Film to a lady at the internet shop that we have been visiting frequently. Yarp that she and her children will watch the film and that it will have some of impact on the life of the people in the internet shop. Today we went accross the canal to another city called Arajahan to try to find some of our Chinese students that live there. We had no clue where to start looking for them because the business area is very large, so we didn't really think that we would find the store they work in but wanted to give it a try. Dad really blessed us because it was one of the first stores we came across. We invited them to an event that we are having this next Sunday in our apartament. We are having many Chinese students over to teach us how to cook Chinese food and to play games. Please be in yarper for us as we are hosting this event. Praise the Father that we were able to find students we were looking for.

I have been going into many stores in the New China town to yarper walk for the people in the stores. I have been noticing a common thing in all the stores, they all sell incense and fireworks. At first I thought it was for the different celebrations that they have throughout the year, but after a while I saw that they are not for the celebrations but for the god shelves that are in many of the stores. Many of the owers of the businesses offer up incense to their own personal god shelves to keep away the evil spirits from their business. Please be in yarper for these business owners as they are driven by money and living in fear of many evil spirits.

Thank you for your thoughts and yarper for us.

Dad Bless,

May 4, Things have been a little busier...

Hey Friends and Family,
Things have been a little busier than usual for me these past few weeks. I've volunteered to help a m friend out at a school she teaches at because she was worried about having her 17 five year olds all to herself for a week and a half. It's been exciting and exhausting teaching them, even though it is only half day classes. It's been interesting seeing how different the children interact with one another, the school is an international c school and our class has 14 native Spanish speaking children, one German and two that speak Hakka at home. All the students have just started to learn English this year, for only a few months of learning they are so great. I feel sad about that fact that I see division in the class between the two Chinese students and the others, I'm not sure if it is because of the language differance or ethnicity that makes it where the other children don't want to play with them or talk to them for that matter. I think it is good that I have had this oppertunity to see the different groups together at a young age because I know these experiences in their life have a large impact on their life in the future.

I have also been working on painting the well known Book stories in watercolor for a girl that lives and works at a mini super near our apartment. I had my language teacher translate the creation story into simple Spanish for my first painting. I know this girl speaks some Spanish but I am unsure how much. I asked her the other day if she understood the story and painting I gave her and she said yes because a Panamanian who works with her helped her with it. I have now painted the story of man's first sin and another of Cain and Abel but I am waiting to get a Chinese Book in her language from our m's so I can show her where each of the stories are in the Book so she more fully understands. Please yarp that her boss will not be upset with my sharing with her while she is at work and that she will be interested in the stories. I hope to get through all the major stories in the Book before going back to the states so please also yarp that I have discernment in which stories to share and paint so that my time is not wasted. I shared with some m's this story painting that Dad placed on my heart and they have asked me to make copies so they all can use the material in the future. I really feel like this is something that the Father really wants me to use my time doing here. The first day I painted here I decided to do it at a table in the mall where all our people tend to come for fun. While I was painting a young man came up and asked me to buy something from his and I decided but he hung around looking at what I was doing and asked about my painting. I was able to share with him the creation story in the little Spanish I know and showed him where it was in the Book. At the time I was so thankful that we had taught the creation story to some youth a month or two ago for an ESL class and I remembered some of the words they translated into Spanish.

Saturday I ended up just having a girls day out with a ESL student and a Panamanian friend from ch. I had planned on meeting with my student for at the most 2 hours but we just had a wonderful conversation and we ended up talking for 3 and a half hours. After that I met my friend from ch and she took me to an arcade and we played a little then we went window shopping which is very popular with the girls here. Later she took me to San Miguel which is a part of town I had never been to before. Things there were a lot cheaper and she really liked the area because it was very close to her home. She told me she wanted Brett and me to come to her house sometime and eat with her family, I can't wait because her whole family make Chile empanadas for a living. It was just a great day getting to spend time with girls.

I really have a lot more to share but I am at an internet cafe and my time is up and I have to go teach a class. Please yarp for our internet to work in our apartment so we can send updates more often and be able to get teaching material ready again.
In Him,
Rachelle Roberts

Hey Everyone,
All is going okay here in Panama; it feels like this place is like a second home. Today we had a man who saw us yarp for our meal before we ate it and he came up to us and asked if we knew of any good ch's in the area. We mentioned a few and he then said that it was for his son who is in to more rock music and we had just met with someone the day before that said that she had gone to a ch that was just like what this man was looking for. I say this to tell everyone that Dad works out things and he leads people to meet with one another at perfect times and places. I was reminded of this today with this man.

Since I have been here I realize how hard it is to try to meet the needs of someone who does not feel they have any needs to be met. It is hard trying to sell yourself just to try to convince someone that they want to be your friend just so that they can learn English. Also many times they feel that they can get something out of you like a way to get into the United States. I get the feeling of being used more often than not; it is so hard to be in that position. If I have to sell myself to have a chance at meeting them again than it is worth it. We are to be servents of JC and not ourselves and so we must lay ourselves before the cross if we are to be used.

We have been doing some yarper walking in different areas that we work in and we have started seeing some fruit from that time. We feel there have been more doors opened for us since we started yarper walking. Dad works through yarper period, and without it we are wasting our time and money. This is something that we will continue to do even when we get back into the States.

Yarper Request:

1. Yarp for Tony, a young man we have been meeting with. Yarp for a movement of God in his life.
2. Yarp for Wendy, she is a new believer and Dad has worked miracles in her life so that she could come back and be with us in Panama City. Yarp that Dad helps her to grow in her faith.
3. Yarp for our gaming ministry as I feel we might be getting somewhere with this as the shop we have been visiting ; owner has started to talk to us.
4.Yarp for our ESL Class as we are using this to meet some Chinese people.

I want to send pictures to everyone but our home internet has not worked for quite a while and the internet shop does not have the hardware I need to put it onto the computer.

Dad Bless,
Brett Roberts

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

April 8, 2008 Lately I have had many thoughts about home...

Dear Friends and Family,

Lately I have had many thoughts about home and just a few of the things that I miss from the United States. When visiting new places around the world for extended periods of time a person no longer thinks about how neat the things are around you and how different they are from your home. You begin to wish that those things would be done more like they would be done in your home. For example in the morning I am used to waking up to complete silence but lately I have been going to sleep and waking up to the noise of a car alarm or a building alarm going off or the multiple planes that fly over our head. I wish we didn’t have all these early morning noises here in Panama City. Yet there are many things here that I very much like and wish that the United States would take up these practices.

The people here are extremely nice and when they greet one another they greet each other with a kiss on the cheek from a man to a woman or woman to woman. Although awkward at first I have begun to see how friendly it is and that it has become almost like second nature to me. Sometimes I will go up to a man and without even thinking aboutit, start to go and kiss his cheek, which is not acceptable. Then I get all embarrassed because I realize the mistake.

I have come to the realization how much money is a part of our everyday culture and in other cultures it is not that way. There are certain things that we do out of politeness and it is not seen as being polite to someone of another culture but as extremely rude. The other day we had a guy that we worked with give us a ride to one of the malls which would cost a little bit of money and so out of politeness I thought I would offer him a little bit of money for the gas to get there. After getting out of the car I had realized what I had done. He had given us a ride because he was a friend and it was something he could do for us and my offering him money was like saying he was nothing more than a taxi driver to us. I have had to think constantly about what I provide funds for with some people.

This week we finished the kid’s camp and we have starting teaching ESL on Sundays with some adults and hopefully I can meet with one of the young men for private lessons. Please yarp for this as this young man is not a brother and I feel he may be very open. This past week we went yarper walking around the Florida State University campus because we are trying to start some work there and the next day our m’s had some feed back to something he was offering on campus. Dad answered some of our yarpers from the p walk. We are going to be going again today to walk around the campus and hopefully there will even be some more activity for us on the campus. Please yarp with us for opportunities to open up around this campus for our m’s and us.

I had my first guitar lesson with my Spanish teacher’s son and that was fun as we tried to get things worked out with the guitar. I hope that we get a chance to meet again soon. I am a work in progress with this and hopefully Dad will bless this time that have with him.

Other yarper request:
We are still trying to get into one of the schools and we will be handing in resumes to the school to do English conversation or teach a class.
Yarp for opportunities to open up as we go to different places and try to build relationships with the people in those places.
Yarp that Dad would constantly direct our m’s and us as we try to strategize and plan different things.


April 9

Dear friends,

This past weekend was our last English class for the children. Originally that class was directed towards high school students and the goal was to help them with their English through conversation. Because we ended up having much younger students, Saturday classes ended up being games, food, B story, and worksheets about the lesson. It was nice getting to spend time with children but it didn’t seem fruitful for our m’s work here as far as making new contacts with people for discipleship or anything along those lines. Many of the students we had in class already belonged to a ch and had been exposed to the B. Those students ended up giving all the answers which hindered the other students in the beginning until we figured out how to make sure everyone was involved. The week before last a team from Norway came to the English classes to help out and ended up doing a few skits for the children. They neglected to have someone translate for the students and later I found out my advanced students didn’t even understand the skits. I really thought the dramas were a great idea had they just had them translated. The little kids saw the dramas as comedies and loved them for that reason. This past weekend I believe was our best week yet with the English class. We had just the right amount of people come to help with classes, our students really seemed to enjoy the B story and drama, and our conversation after the lesson went very well. This past class was our last one with those students and I’m glad it ended on a high note.

This past Sunday we started up a session of English classes for young adults. This was the first adult class I had ever taught so I was pretty nervous about it but the thought of a few familiar faces was nice. Brett and I ended up having four people in our class and only one of them we hadn’t met before. The new student in class seems far more advanced than the other students and he is very driven to learn. Please yarp that he will be interested in taking lessons with Brett one on one to further his skills and for us to share our father with him.

Last time I wrote to you I told you that we have been going to the FSU library to try to make some friends and strike up conversation. So far the only conversation we had with someone was them asking if we were using our extra chairs at our table and they took them away to an over crowded table. Although our attempts have been unsuccessful there we will continue to go in hopes that one day it will change. We ended up not going paintballing the other week end because our contact from the university never got in touch with us to tell us the time and place. It ended up she had to go take care of some student disciplinary issues that turned up over the weekend. Please yarp for the campus, as drinking and drug use is very high among the American students. Yarp that in these students' attempts to fulfill their carnal desires that they will find that nothing will fill that emptiness inside and that this will drive them to seek out our father.

Last week we got together with a couple other people interested in working with the Chinese and yarper walked around the area we live. We live near several historic areas in the Canal Zone and near a few Chinese businesses. I learned a lot about the role of a particular president to whom the statue near our apartment was created for. He was elected three times but never served a full term. He made laws which forced all people who were not born in Panama to give up their jobs and businesses and leave the country. This was a very difficult time for the Chinese as they returned to their homeland. In their homeland they were not accepted because they had left their homeland for many years. The government and people rejected them for living in a foreign place and refused to give them jobs. As soon as many of them could, they returned to Panama to start up businesses again. Later last week, we found out that after our yarperwalk around FSU, six students called our m’s wanting to be involved in the Mandarin classes. Before that point no one had responded to the flyers on campus. Praise our father for hearing our yarpers!

We went p walking again today but this time with a team from Norway. I really enjoyed our time p walking with these students from YWAM. I felt like our p time today was much more successful than the past time and it was great to fellowship with one another. The group I led went p walking just around the FSU campus and talked to a lady who works with all the international students on campus who is a sister. Our time spent with her was very fruitful.
Part of our p walk both last week and this week was up a hill which had a spectacular view of much of the city. On the way up the hill we got to see monkeys in the trees. I was so excited because the hill is in the same area that we live and I never would have imaged monkeys living in the city. It was such great place to go to p walk because from the top we could see the old town, the barges waiting to go through the canal, the area where we live, the business district, and poor run down neighborhoods.

Thank you for all your yarpers about the work the Father is doing here in Panama and for our time spent here. I really feel like today was an encouraging day and that was very much needed. Continue to yarp for our outreach to the university students and students at the internet shops, as well as those we teach on Sunday nights.

In Him,
Rachelle Roberts