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