Wednesday, April 23, 2008

March 10, 2008 It has been a good couple weeks...

Hey All,

It has been a good couple weeks for us here. We are starting to work on Saturdays with YWAM to teach ESL classes to some Chinese students. It was originally supposed to be coffee shop kind of event but I guess no one understood that so it is just like a VBS. We have a lot of fun playing with the kids, many of the kids that were at our last kids camp are also at this one only they are traveling about a half an hour to come to it instead of it just being up the street. I was able to share the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den and the Good Samaritan with the more advanced English speaking group. I have found that telling B stories here is one of the most effective ways to tell about our father.

We have started to become an active part of our C in El Dorado this last week. We were invited by a girl to come and watch the local C Volleyball tournament and it made me glad that I was not playing (they where very good). We are starting to make a lot of friends with the Panamanians and they are so very kind to us. I think that I will be playing some basketball with them soon. The pastor of the C said that I was good at playing basketball. I laughed and asked him how he knew because he had never seen me play. I do look forward to it though.

We met this last week with a whole bunch of people from all over the world that work with the Chinese to discuss how we might get some type of work started here in Panama. It was a great learning experience for Rachelle and me. It helps us to understand more about the mind set of the Chinese and what is the best way to reach out to them. We also went out with Francisco to hand out tracts in Hakka and Cantonese of the J film. It was such a blessing for us to see how he works. Francisco is a native Chinese who speaks 4 different languages not including English and he basically is a M director for Panama but he is not acknowledged by the local Chinese C’s that do exist in Panama because he does not have the right schooling. He has an amazing gift of gathering the masses but our problem is he does not know what to do with them when he gets them together.

I got my first hair cut in Panama. Needless to say she took a little bit too much off the top, back, and sides. It was the longest hair cut I had ever gotten. I got the Royal treatment all for 8 dollars. I got the hair cut, my hair washed, and a massage. Apparently the hair wash and the massage all come together. I told Rachelle when I got out of there that I thought I was going to die because the lady was massaging my head and back so hard. But all is ok and my hair will grow back.

Yarping request:
The school that we were supposed to be working with for a couple times a week in the morning might be backing out on us due to some things that happened with the last group that came to the school. Be yarping that the directors might have a change of heart and let us teach in their school.

Be yarping for both ESL things that we are doing on the weekends, that we would start to build a base and an opportunity to go and visit with these kids’ families.

Be yarping that we would be able to develop some friendships with in the Chinese population that we meet with. It is hard for us to build friendships with them when they are doing nothing but working and taking ESL classes with us.

Thank you all for your yarping and support it means so much to us.
Brett Roberts

Dear friends,
Since I last wrote you, we have started to lead an English class for ethnic Chinese students under the age of thirteen. The local YWAM are the ones that came up the this idea and they have asked for our help. The first week when we showed up it seemed like no one had planned any activities so I stepped in and came up with many English activities on the spur of the moment. Later the next week we met with the YWAM leaders and discussed the activities for the next week and planned who would lead each part. Brett and I are responsible for deciding which B story will be taught and we teach the lesson to the older students. For the second time now I have been able to use my artistic ability to draw out the stories we are sharing with students. The pictures are used to help the younger students that don’t know the language very well. Our students are advanced in their knowledge of English but still lack many conversational skills, so we are trying to help them in that aspect of their language. The parents of these students are willing to send students because we have told them we will teach their children good morals, English, Mandarin (taught by a local Chinese minister), and sports.

We are hoping to start a B study with some of our students from Saturday and some of the adults we see on Sunday but we are still yarping about who we should ask and when the best time and place for that would be. Please yarp about the start of a B Study with these people.
A couple weeks ago we were a part of a conference consisting of m’s working with Chinese in China, Canada, Dominican Republic, Taiwan, and Panama. This meeting was held to share successes and failures while working with this ethnic group and to encourage m’s. This had to be done in person because much of the information is not safe to share through electronic sources such as the phone and e-mails. It was wonderful getting to hear the ministries going on with the Chinese all over the world and to hear how others have overcome some of the same obstacles our m’s and we are trying to overcome. During this conference we got the chance to see two of the three Chinatowns located in Panama, the Panama Canal locks, old ruins of the city, and the Chinese Baptist Seminary. It was great finally getting to see some of the well known places in Panama City.

In Him,
Rachelle Roberts

Yarp requests:
That we would be successful in building relationships with the ethnic Chinese through conversations at the mall, the university near our apartment, our English students, and visiting Chinese owned stores.

That we would be good examples of believers to the Chinese as they have had very negative impressions of believers. (Chinese businesses are frequently robbed and have family members killed by local Panamanians who are professing believers or who have a cross on their necklace or tattoo.)

That we would find favor in the eyes of local C Chinese School (only C in name) so that we can begin teaching in their schools in order to build relationships and share J with the student’s families on visitation.

That we would continue to learn and have more opportunities to use Spanish.
P.S. I have attached some photos from our time here. The picture of the dragon was from the Chinese New Year, the group picture is of the group that went with us on a retreat to the beach for the Chinese New Year, the one on the couch is also from the retreat, there is a picture of Brett and our host family's son David standing in front of ancient native writings.