Standing Firm

To put it simply, we have been busy.  We’ve moved in to our new house, moved stuff around, organized and settled in and are now starting the repair, rebuild, redo and finish stage.  We are learning a lot, meeting a lot of people, and being very blessed by the Lord finding favor with men.  Although these last, almost three months, have been very challenging; broken down boat – twice, termites and wasps in the house, chitras, ants, people problems and anything else under the sun.  However, we are blessed, God has protected, provided and cared for us – more than we needed and is carrying us through some difficult times right now.  The transparent truth is some days are hard, some days we question, really God, is this what you want?  But, we have to stand firm in what we know God has said and is saying, He called us here miraculously, He showed us where to stay, He led people to us, He gave us favor in the eyes of man, He has worked through some difficult problems with amazing results through prayer, and He showed us this property to buy.  We are standing firm in the things we know are God.

We are excited about our new place.  We are excited about the ministry that has already begun here right before our eyes.  I have really bonded with my new good friend, Gene, the Ngobe pastor from San Crisobal island.  He has been coming with 6-8 guys each week, staying the the Tree House, and working with me on projects around the property.  We have a list of projects that need to be finished to start hosting trainings, teams, guests and more. It has been great having the guys here, building relationships, displaying the love of Christ and talking about eternal things.  This week Gene and Alex (the guy that Shirlene stitched up) will be staying downstairs in the main house with us, eating our meals together, praying and worshiping together – a true integration of all areas.  Gene and I frequently brainstorm and pray about how God wants us to reach the people here – the challenges are great, but God is greater.  We are working on a couple of ideas that I hope to present here on the blog soon.  Start packing your bags people!  Please keep us in your prayers, we can really use them.  Pray that God reveals His perfect plan to us and those to truly believe in the area and please pray for unity.

Ok, let the photo journal of the last two weeks begin (the photo order is a little messed up – sorry):


A common sight around the house, the girls taking good care of their little brother.

The footing of the new retaining wall for the Tree House.  There was a land slide that took out part of the hill behind the Tree House within 6 inches of the corner post.  We have to build this wall and backfill it to prevent the loss of the structure.  In a week this 40′ long footing was dug and poured in the creek as water ran by.  Every 8′ the guys dug almost 3′ into solid rock, putting steel and concrete as major anchors for our wall.

Ethan saying hi on the other side of the wall.

A common “strike a pose” sequence from Bella when she sees the camera. ;)

The wall with block being laid.  All materials we hand loaded down into the creek in 5 gallon buckets.

Gene (left) and Terry (right) – good, Godly men.

A big bug in Bella’s dog food.  (Yes, Bella the dog, not Bella the girl, we feed her human food… not humans… oh forget it.)  ;)

Two cakes for Terry’s birthday – go Shirlene!

Terry’s birthday breakfast pancake.

I (Bobby) went fishing with Gene, caught some Pargo and some other fish, about 30 fish in all.  Wow, best fish I have ever had.

Terry’s birthday.

Liz (left) and Terry (right).

The digging of the hill in order to make room for the new water tank platform.  Expanding our current storage from 2,400 gallons to 6,000 gallons.  Bring on the people!

Ethan, you gotta love this little boy.

The girls are constantly dressing Ethan in non-manly clothing.  I hope he won’t require counseling.

The kids room.  Ethan playing away.

Tarzan / Ethan.

More digging of the hillside for water tanks.

Corner of the main house.  I have been repairing the shutters to they actually open.

More water platform prep.

Let the cutting of the Balsa trees begin.  Balsa is incredibly light.  We are cutting down the Balsa to make room for fruit trees and to cut down on the leaves and seeds that are being dropped.

Cleaning up the palms and dock.

Bella (the dog) was so scared during a thunderstorm we were having, she crawled up into Liz’s lap shaking.  She’s the perfect lap dog.

Working on shutters 20′ up in the air.

Working on a broken pipe with Tboo.

Ethan loves bananas and plantains.  If we pass by a tree with one, he says “nana” over and over until we feed him one.

Balsa cutting.

Major thunderstorm.  I have never seen rain like this before in my life.  5 seconds outside and all of my clothes we soaked through.  The incredible power of God.

Bella pose time.

The kids love Ethan’s bed.  Which by the way has been awesome for Ethan.  We zip him in when he’s sleeping and don’t worry about bugs getting to him.  We love our Kidco PeaPod.

Ellie is 9 years old!  Can you believe it!?

Gene working on the water tank platform.  Lots of steel and this unusual placement of rocks.  Gene says the platform will be stronger with the rocks like this.  Not sure I understand how, but I don’t see how it could hurt so go for it.

The girls grab the camera all the time and take pictures.  I find all sorts of random pictures.  Here’s one of them.

My sweet Ellie.  She is quite the climber.

Ellie took some underwater pictures while snorkeling.

Large gringo fish.


Ellie’s 9th birthday.

Someone’s happy, which one?

Ellie’s breakfast pancake.


A cool lizard from the bushes outside the back door.

Friends of Terry and Liz celebrating Ellie’s birthday.

Hmmm, more dressing of Ethan by the girls.

Showing off their new tops from family back home.

Tboo teaching how to husk a coconut.


Ellie’s birthday coconut.

Getting the coconut water out.

Another George Bush look?

Another random picture from the kids.

Another kid shot – their bedroom.

 Red Frog beach with the kids for Ellie’s birthday.  Ellie has become a great swimmer, snorkeler, and body boarder.

Ethan is a wild man.  Running, jumping, dunking under water and making sand angels any chance he gets.

 After Red Frog we walked back to the marina to find our boat missing.  Off in the distance I spotted it, actually quite a distance away.  I jumped in and started swimming to the boat.

About the time I reached the boat a water taxi spotted me and towed the boat back to the dock.

 Actually not sure what to say about this one.  Why would someone untie our boat.  Hmmm, there’s more to this story, we’ll have to find out.

 Well, thanks for checking out our update… gotta run.



  1. Teresa & Johann
    Jun 18, 2012

    Awesome post! It goes unsaid, but we Love the pictures and the chance to better understand the MANY projects you guys are taking on. Really impressive to see the retaining wall & expanded water tank platform (did you really dig into that hill?). We love and miss you bobby; Hope you had a wonderful Father’s day. You’re a very, very good man and miss seeing you all. Love, Yodi & Teresa

  2. Marty
    Jun 18, 2012

    Bobby & Shirlene,
    You may only know in Heaven the ways God is using you and your story to bless others. Andilee shared your info card with me at work. I have been following your amazing blog and praying for you. Tonight, once again, you have brought joy, amazement, inspiration, laughter, strength, awe, and courage into the night watches when darkness crowds and discouragement threatens. Thank you.

    • Alice Mathis
      Jun 18, 2012

      Love your pictures, Ethan is looking more like Shirlene. Love and prayers, Alice

  3. Jennifer
    Jun 19, 2012

    Love the update! Bags are being packed soon :).
    Love you Guys!

  4. Matt
    Jun 19, 2012

    Keep sending lots of Pics. They were great! Bobby, How tall did you have to make the retaining wall for the Tree House?
    The kiddos look great and seem to be adjusting well according to all the smiling faces in the pictures. You two look busy and happy… let me change that to joyful. Keep sending pictures of yourselves as it helps to keep me feeling connected when your so far away.
    Love you guys,

  5. Angie & Erik Boehm
    Jun 20, 2012

    Wow! You guys look like you have been busy! We are praying for God to give you the energy you need and that he will continue to encourage and guide you. Shirlene: I asked the doctor I work with regarding stitches and he said “Nylon for skin, silk for mouth” and he usually used 3-0 Nylon for most basic injuries and also 4-0 Nylon sometimes. He said the smaller number the thicker the thread. I think you did a great job! How is his hand healing? Oh, and I love all of your guys pictures. It makes me feel like I am there.

    • Shirlene
      Jun 22, 2012

      Awesome, thanks for the info Angie. Alex’s hand looks really good. Thankfully there was no infection, the sutures our out and it looks like it healed up quite nicely. Thanks so much for the encouragement and the prayers, we covet both! :)

  6. Mom - Nancy Wood
    Jun 22, 2012

    Love all the photos, but makes me want to reach through and hug each of you. Miss you all so much. Praying often for each of you.
    Love and hugs!

  7. Mom - Nancy Wood
    Jun 22, 2012

    One more thing… I love Ellie’s new haircut. It looks adorable on her. =)

  8. Chris Bolt
    Jul 1, 2012

    Reading this, I’m overwhelmed by the evidence of God’s favor flooding your life in Bocas. I love you guys, and am praying for continued blessing and direction for you. Take care of my folks! Hopefully we can see you soon.

  9. Mom - Nancy Wood
    Jul 21, 2012

    Time for another update…. missing them and all the pics. Love and miss you guys terribly!
    Mom – Grandma xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  10. Selim
    Jul 22, 2012

    I swear if I login to this site one more day and not see something other than “Standing Firm”
    First, I’m going to yell like a banshee.
    Then I’m going to growl like an abused leopard.
    After that I’m going to break my laptop over my knee, throw it to the ground and start hammer fisting it like an MMA fighter.
    Lastly, I’m going to break into tears and start a hunger strike or set myself on fire.

    • Bobby
      Jul 22, 2012

      Hold the fire and pass the fries. Per your request we have added a blog post. ;)

  11. Andrew Burnett
    Aug 10, 2012

    God bless the Wood family. The project you are undertaking is a big one, but not impossible. Between 2007 and 2001 I took small groups to work with the Kapsars (the previous owners of the house you are living in.) There are so many opportunities to minister in the area, but the task of taking care of a “modern” home in the jungles of Panama is daunting. I will be watching for more posts on your blog and will be praying for you too.


  1. Water, water everywhere « bolts2panama - [...] You might want to also check out Bobby and Shirlene’s website as they are younger and much more tech …

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