Raw

Well, it has been quite a tiring last few weeks.  A whirlwind of good and not so good.  But, we know God is at work, we stand on all of the provision, protection and love He has and continues to provide.  Amen!?

Ok, here is a summary of things that are happening here:

It appears God is calling people here!  This is awesome!  Of course you heard The Thompson family is coming.  And, in the works, are potentially three other families, one other couple and a short term team coming in Feb / March.  Please pray for these people and the others we know God is calling but have not contacted us yet.  Pray that satan will not hinder the things God is doing in each of their lives, here or where they are at.

The other thing we have really been praying for is truth.  God needs to give us strong discernment here, that we see past the physical, the emotional and past our own ideas and we see the things that REAL – revealing His Truth.  Some of these things have been hard to see.  Last week I (Bobby) was talking with a Ngobe worker / friend who is related to Tibu.  In case you may not know, Tibu was the “Christian” Ngobe worker that lived here on the property for the last 6 1/2 years.  We asked him to move off of the property and canceled his employment here due to the constant theft of fruit by him and his family in which we had, literally, six conversations with him about.  Ok, back to the story, pray for Tibu, he has quite the drinking problem, beats his wife and there is a very serious allegation we are also seeking truth on.  When I heard about this major problem I was shocked, angry and wanted to head on over to pay him a visit.  The wrath of the Lord is justly unkind to those to claim to be His and abuse others so hideously while doing so.  After hearing this I was amazed at how this is common knowledge among the villages here in which everyone says its very bad, to which I say, why don’t you report it?  Well, um, ah…  I won’t go into all of the details of this frustrating story but the summary of it is, we reported it and now there is an investigation.  PRAY FOR TRUTH TO BE REVEALED!  PRAY FOR REPENTANCE!

Gene, the Ngobe pastor and our very good friend, has been doing a great job and we feel very blessed to have found a real Christian brother here.  Please be in prayer for his wife, she has some health issues, tumors, that she is currently in the hospital for, pray for God’s complete healing!  Also pray for their little family, they have three children.

Simon, our Ngobe neighbor, and his wife Amalia we have also been blessed by.  They both truly love the Lord and work here on the property.  What a blessing it is to talk with them, see and hear what God has done and is doing in their lives.  One thing to also be in prayer about is they may potentially be leaving the area for 5-6 months to join a YWAM DTS specifically for Ngobe.  This could be great for their family, they have such a hunger for God and this could help them in their desire to reach their people here.  But we will really miss them since they are the only believers we know about that live near us.

Juancho is a man who I have been seeing about every week.  He lives in Old Bank Bastimentos which is almost entirely Afro-Caribbean, or around here they say, black.  Jauncho has been helping me to find a new boat, we have been going all over talking with people, looking at boats, motors, etc.  I have spent a lot of time with him and I’m starting to see the life of violence that is normal in Old Bank.  About three weeks ago I went to his house to meet him and noticed stitches all over his forehead where apparently two days earlier as he was playing with his son outside their house a man came out of nowhere and smashed him in the face with a large rock, knocked him to the ground right onto the corner of a concrete step.  When I asked him why he did that he said “he crazy” but now he’s in prison for 4 years, some things happen fast here but the police will usually only act if they think things will escalate.  After the police wouldn’t do anything Juancho went to them and told them he would either chop the man’s arm off or kill him unless they filed charges, so they did and two days later he was off to prison.  Then two weeks after that when I when back to Old Bank I couldn’t find Juancho but I found a couple other guys I knew there, I asked them where Juancho was.  They said he just left because some guy stabbed his nephew in the head with a machete and he took him to the hospital.  I hung out with those guys and Juancho returned in a 1/2 hour or so.  When I asked him about the story he said “dat guy crazy too.”  Lots of drugs, lots of violence, they really need a revival there.  We are still praying for a man of peace there, maybe that man is Juancho?  I asked him if he would help us reach the community for Christ, he said sure.  We’re praying.  Also, please be in prayer for Juancho, due to his fall onto that concrete step he has a major blood clot near his kidney and is in a lot of pain.

Recently I met the coroner in Almirante, Eric, a nice guy who sells boats on the side.  I spent about three hours talking with him about all sorts of things and was again struck with the harsh realities of life here.  His job is in Bocas del Toro, not a huge area, but pretty good sized, about 125,000 people mainly in the cities Changuinola and Almirante but it includes all of the islands, Bocas, Bastimentos, etc.  He said he personally sees at least 15 little babies a month die from malnutrition.  Typically he finds they didn’t have enough food so they feed the babies just coffee.  There is such a need to educate people here on basic health, basic nutrition, growing their own food and of course the most important thing, Christ.  This place is incredible, you can eat a fruit here and throw the seeds on the ground and a week later it sprouts.  There is no excuse for malnutrition here, the resources here are incredible.

Ok, on to lighter matters.  We sold our gringo boat.  Yes, our nice, beautiful, safe gringo boat.  I just could not picture us pulling into some remote village to share Jesus in some obvious display of gringo-ism.  We want to integrate, not separate ourselves from the locals, as much as we can.  We also wanted to extract the money we had tied up in the boat to help finish projects around here and get ready for God’s Army to fill this place.  After selling our boat, we ran into tons of boat problems, the motor blew up on Terry & Liz’s boat, cracked the block, our other backup boat has just been downright dangerous.  We needed a working boat so I bought a 21′ cayuco with a 15hp motor which I have been using over the last week – wow, what a learning curve, but I love it.  As for our backup boat, after getting caught in two storms with it, coming home soaked to the bone (once with the whole family) and dog tired from fighting the boat I vowed to sell it or figure out what’s wrong with it.  With all of my travels meeting local boat people I learned that boat has a double floor that probably has water in it.  Well the next day I took a 4″ hole saw, drilled a hole in the floor and yep, about 1000lbs of rotten wood and water stuck in the floor of the front of the boat.  I went to Old Bank asked around and found a guy named Kicho who came to our place and over the course of a week, cut out the floor, adding floatation bench seats (in case the boat sinks, it won’t, sink), re-fiberglassed everything and painted it all up (and I do mean painted everything).  We took the boat out yesterday for the first time, and wow, it is a totally different boat – praise God!

Over the last week our whole family has been very sick.  For the last month there has been a very horrible virus going around that takes down whole villages and towns, one person gets it and the next day the whole town has it.  The hospitals have been overflowing and people have actually been dying from it.  In fact, Simon & Amalia’s daughter Jennifer spent a week in the hospital with this illness.  This is where we learned much more about the care here in Panama, especially towards the indigenous.  We are going to dedicate a separate blog post to this subject because we feel that God may be calling us to start a clinic here to serve and love people here unlike they ever experience.  We are all on the mend, and praise God the kids are fine, I have never known a virus to move through your whole body, top to your bottom – for sure the worst virus I have ever had but God spared us greatly.  It was not uncommon that people couldn’t get out of bed for 10 days, coughing up blood, throwing up blood, bloody diarrhea, 106 degree fevers, etc.  During my time being sick I wondered what purpose there was is God allowing our family to get this nasty thing.  I do believe God wants us to understand the people He has called us to reach, understand their pain, even just a portion of it.  Our bodies we have given to God, our lives and everything we hold, so fear is something we have, but laying in my bed sick while praying, what fear I would have had to not be in the hands of a loving God.  To not know there is a God.  And this is why we are here, to share the hope we have which is in Christ Jesus.

We are getting very close to reaching our goals on the place here and are looking ahead to what God wants us to do.  We are excited to meet and bring together pastors and believers to worship, pray and learn more about this loving God we serve.  We are hoping to hold our first training in the beginning of 2013.  As I also mentioned, we are feeling drawn to starting a clinic, please be in prayer for us on this, we only want to do what God is calling us to do.  Please also be in prayer for a grand wedding we want to have here, 500 couples, with all of the local pastors, families, etc.  Many are not married and switching wives is as easy as switching cayucos.  But some are committed and want to be married but cannot afford it.  God loves and honors marriage between and man and woman, we want it to be attainable to people here who are committed to each other and to Him.  Pray for us as we strive to make this dream a reality.  We also see the great need to get the Bible into the people’s hands.  Many do not read and many need to hear the Bible in their heart language.  We have ordered four different audio Bibles to test here so we can then know what to order for the people here – the environment is very harsh and we have to find reliable audible Bibles that will last, stay tuned to find out what we find.

On to the pictures:

 

The front deck of the house was so rotten Liz stepped through the deck one day.  Demo and replacement has begun on this deck which is over 20′ up in the air in some points.

 

 

 

 

Little Jennifer before she got sick and had to go to the hospital.  Sweet little girl.

 

We were taking food to Simon and Amalia because Simon was very sick, he could hardly walk, that’s him on the right.

Bella loves Coco and takes her with her to do things.

 

 

The deck with I-beams cleaned and painted after a day of grinding the rust off.

 

 

Converting the patio area into the new dining area, removing the drop ceiling which housed many pests.

 

One night we had another army ant invasion.  The previous three invasions we ran around praying them to get them off of the house, gallons and gallons of spray with the house literally covered in ants, all of the exterior walls heading into the attic.  But this last time honestly, I just didn’t have the energy.  I looked outside, saw them coming, I prayed, felt peace and went inside.  I checked on them as they covered the house and then I noticed something.  All of the crickets, spiders, wasps, scorpions, etc. were running for their lives, these little guys were cleaning house and through this whole four hour process they did not come into the house, just cleaned up all around, even the attic.  This was a scorpion that didn’t have a chance.

 

 

Ethan at night when we say its time to pray.  He runs over to a chair and folds his hands and start to say “hey sooos”  Jesus in Spanish.  Awesome!

 

We received our care package.  Thank you soooo much!  The kids loved it!  Ethan loved his outfit and wouldn’t let us take it off of him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new deck starting to go up.  The wood is Nispero, the densest wood I have ever felt.  A 2×4 is so incredibly heavy and those 2x10s took three guys each to lift up there.

Cutting the bamboo beside the house due to the leaf problems in our water supply.

More ceiling prep in the new dining area.

 

This little guy was in the bamboo as we cut it down.  He’s like a rat / possum cross, but quite handsome really.  I remember him because I think this little guy was in the ceiling of the room I stayed in when I came here on my scouting trip in January.

 

 

 

Obondo is one the of workers here right now.  Nice guy who’s great to talk candidly with.

 

 

 

 

He was teaching the girls paddle tricks.

 

 

 

Out in our new cuyuco, which I love!  Balance is key.

 

 

 

My girl.

The new deck and roof.

 

 

My other cayuco needing some work.

The girls got a rabbit against my better judgement.  One of the locals came to see if we wanted to buy it.  The thing was really skinny and I told the girls its going to die.

But they love it.

Ethan LOVES being outside.

The girls painting their cayuco, lessons coming soon.

 

 

Starfish viewing around the dock.

 

 

Morning devotions.

 

Boat repair.  Juancho is in red, Kicho in green.  And if you notice Terry and I are having to replace the steering box because one the locals sat on the steering wheel and broke it off.

 

Our new cayuco.  How I love pulling up to the local villages in this (while trying not to tip over).

 

This little guy just appeared on the latter.

 

 

 

Learning to boat – the did great!

Many times we will find Bella-dog sleeping like this.  I love it!

Robert (in the middle), came on a scouting trip for his church.  He will be bringing his church here in Feb / March of next year to work with Pedro’s village.  This is going to be great!

 

 

 

One of my sick days, but Ethan really needed to get out of the house and ride the “wee wee” – which is what he calls the Mule because whenever the girls ride in it they constantly say “weeeeee”.  Pretty funny.

 

 

 

Taking Robert back to the public dock to catch a water taxi.

 

Kicho working on the boat.

 

How sweet.  Ellie and Shirlene taking food to Susana and Santiago’s village.  Their daughter died the day before.

 

Well, little suavecito didn’t make it.  Poor Ellie was so sad.

Awe, I hate to see our Ellie so sad.

Juan from next door loves to use his machete and hit his foot in the process.

 

 

Shirlene was all geared up to stitch him up but he just couldn’t do it, so just butterflies and prayers.

The deck coming along.

And the boat, almost done.

Well, this has been a long post and as you can see there is one thing we need a lot of – prayer.  Please keep us in your prayers.

9 Comments

  1. Mom - Nancy Wood
    Sep 8, 2012

    Always glad to see a new blog and photos. So sad to see Ellie so sad though =(. She loves animals.
    So scary all that you guys are surrounded by. LOTS of prayers from me always! My heart is over there with each of you. Miss and worry about you guys. Glad God is keeping you safe. Love kisses hugs and more! Mom, Grandma

    • Jennifer
      Sep 8, 2012

      WOW!!! You weren’t kidding when you said it had been a tough couple weeks! Praying for you and the dear people God is putting in front of you. Peace and comfort. Wholeness and health. Wisdom and clear direction. Much love to you!

  2. Sarah
    Sep 8, 2012

    You have our prayers! And our hearts. We have spent many hours on that beautiful island of yours. We were the first team to stay at the house and we even prayed to see if God was leading us to move to the island. The people in the village nearby are beyond precious and the children simply are beyond words. Some of our fondest memories of the mission field center around your island. We will lift up your family as you continue to share God’s love in a tangible way with the Ngobe. (especially since we know the ins and outs of missions in Panama with little ones – we left for the mission field with a 6 week old and a 2 year old).

    Be blessed,
    Sarah Bedenkop

    PS for the chitras, we took sublingual vitamin b-6 & b-12. In all of our village travels (all over the world) we hardly ever were bit by anything, including malaria mosquitoes! When our team was in Panama (and we were there numerous times) they were eaten up, but we weren’t. Needless to say, we started sharing the b-6.

  3. matt.w@usdigital.com
    Sep 8, 2012

    Wow that blog read was a roller coaster ride. The picture with Ellie was so sad. Hope she’s OK now. We love to see the pictures of the two of you. We miss you a lot!
    Thanks for all you do for our Father. You left us with many things to pray about.
    Love you guys,

    Matt

  4. Judy Bovard
    Sep 10, 2012

    Hola my favorite friends! I love your website and love seeing the kiddos. What are their clothing sizes? I will be in Colorado for 3 weeks and you know how I love to shop !!!!!! Let me know.
    Alex and Judy

  5. Alice Mathis
    Sep 10, 2012

    Wow! I will be praying specifically for the people you mentioned. Don’t get discouraged, you guys are being used by God mightily. Take care .love you guys.

  6. Kate Y.
    Sep 13, 2012

    I am behind on your blog posts and only had time to read the most recent one right now, but I can’t believe all the things that you guys are dealing with. I will be more diligent about praying for you guys. It sounds like God is using you and preparing to use your family in mighty ways. Thank you for you being a true example of Christ’s hands and feet. I loved all the pictures, although the one of Ellie holding the dead bunny was heartbreaking. :( The pictures of Bella with her pet parrot and the pretty tropical background were adorable. You’re kids are so precious and beautiful. Love you guys!

  7. Andrew Burnett
    Sep 22, 2012

    Hey Wood Famiy,

    It is great to see how God is using your family for His kingdom there in Panama. I’m not sure if you know all the history of the house you are living in. Our team visited there several times over the years from 2008 – 2010 when it was a YWAM Outreach. Here’s a link to one of the videos from one of our trips – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIAeAqVRs1k
    I was happy to read that you will soon be joined by others. Just the mantainence of that facility is a full time job and there are so many opportunities to minister to the Ngobe in the surrounding area. Blessings!

    Andrew Burnett
    Mission Trek

  8. Paula
    Sep 26, 2012

    I can’t believe I’m just getting to read this now :) It’s been a rough couple of months for me to say the least, hopefully I will be able to stay in better touch as I prayerfully start to feel better! We love and miss you all. Thanks for the updates. Looks like life has been very busy for you. We are praying for you as you seek God’s continued direction. Hugs to you everyone. xoxox

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