These past couple of weeks were exciting ...
These past couple of weeks were exciting as we were here for a rather large protest that lasted about two weeks. It closed down schools for a few days, all building projects stopped, buses stopped running their routes for a few days and students and other protesters hurled rocks at police. In response the police were out in massive numbers with extra gear on and they were shooting tear gas into the crowds and fire trucks sprayed people with water. We were very safe during this time just by not traveling in the city for a few days and then just avoiding those areas later. It was an eye opening experience for Brett and me as we have never seen something like this before. It seems like everything is back to normal again.
In much brighter news, we just got done with an English Book camp for kids this past week. We had between 13-16 kids this week ranging in age from 4-12. We translated the material in a few languages for our Book lesson and then acted it out with the kids. We taught kids numbers, colors, greetings, vocabulary from our stories, songs, games, and crafts. This was a great opportunity for us as we had the chance to use a lot of our Spanish we have learned so far. Most of the Chinese children here learn Spanish at school.
There is a very popular Chinese private school here that teaches their students three languages all throughout their schooling. Although this school was created to be a Believer school, it has lost its focus and is not reaching out to the families that have never heard about our father. There are about 200 different families associated with the school that do not believe. The local Chinese church leaders are not ministering to these families or others that are outside their small body of believers. We are glad that starting in March we will be going into this particular school teaching English to 20-200 students while they are arriving to school. We already have made some friends that go to this school because they attended the VBS we just taught. It’s always great to have friends in a new place.
In this culture, education is the top priority for families. To give you an example of how much they value education, I will share with you something my friend Wendy told me. When Chinese women get married they no longer buy clothes because they must save all the money they can so that they can provide schooling for their future children. To provide for the woman’s clothing needs she will fix up her old clothing and her relatives will send their old clothing to the young lady to fix up to wear while she is raising her child and until the child is out of school. Parents in this people group also show their love to their child by paying attention to their school work and helping them study. In contrast to the average American child, the Chinese child loves paperwork and homework. They study everything you give them and will know it by heart the next day. I was shocked to see our students take all ten or more worksheets we had printed for them to choose from. Each day of our VBS we had to find more worksheets for them to do.
Yarp that the Father will use us in a culturally relevant way to minister along side a leader in the Chr. Panamanian Chinese community. This man specifically told our m’s that he greatly enjoyed working with the two of us and desires us to work with him on a regular basis in the future.
Yarp that we will continue to learn more Spanish rather than forget it as we no longer have daily language study.
Yarp that the Father would show us a new ministry that we can to do further the work with the Chinese here in Panama.