Friday, July 4, 2014

A Long Over Due Post

The street grid is engraved in my mind, the voices that echo daily as walk down the sidewalk, and knowing the exact minute when the metro is coming; all of it part of the new normal I have created over the past 10 months in Panama. I will say it again, “SORRY!!!” for not updating on a regular base, but there are many stories to tell since my last update.

First, I had the pleasure to go to El Salvador for the synod, which is an assembly of the clergy, of IARCA — or Iglesia Anglicana de la region Central de America. If you have no clue on the structure of the Episcopal Church, here is a glimpse. There are five countries that make up IARCA: Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Panamá. Each country has a convention, and pass resolutions that are then sent to the synod where they vote on for the whole IARCA. The convention is also where the clergy elect a new Primate Bishop. Below are some of the amazing things that happened through out the week.

Elizabeth (my boss), Rachel and Hannah

All the Bishops from IARCA

Panama Delegation 

Despite living in the Valley almost all my life, I don’t know how I will be able to transition back to the life I left behind in the United States. What if I can’t live in the U.S. anymore? Some days, I don’t want to have to work, or even look for a new job. I’ve been in this crazy, loud, foreign city for months — and sometimes I feel as if I’ve forgotten to really see this city. As the sun sets every night, so many skyscrapers surround me. They light up the sky, dazzle you into believing there are no problems. When I first got here, I was in awe. At first glance, I believed Panama City was more developed that the Rio Grande Valley. Ten months later, I now know the real truth. The skyscrapers that once dazzled me, no longer do so. I can see past the façade. The reality is, I’ve seen how the city works, and I’ve met the people who will make this an All-Star city.

In May, Panama had a day dedicated to the black community, and many activities happen. One activity that happened was a party at my boss’s house. Here are some pictures that awesome day.

Two great friends and fellow teachers Duyna Moran (History and Civics teacher) and Itzel Rodriguez (English Teacher)

My time is rapidly coming to an end in Panama, but I promise that I will have one last update before I return home.

I promise that I will have one last update before I return home.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

After going to Machuca, I had the privilege to accompany my 7th graders to La Chorrera where Convivencia took place. Previously, in one of my blog post I mentioned what Convivencia was. Here is a little reminder: it is a day activity where one grade level learns values and team work. It was nice to do some team building because it reminded me of Good Sam. Below are some pictures of what happened that day.

Team Building

I facilitated this team building

Teachers can have fun.

Generally I love selfies

During Semana Santa, two awesome friends and  from my program came down from Honduras and spent a little time with Rachel and I.

We also had the opportunity to have a Maundy Thursday service together and have the bishop wash our feet.

I want to finish my blog about how wonderful the Easter Service was. We are blessed, and ended with shouting HE IS RISEN, HE IS RISEN.

Bishop giving a beautiful sermon.

Rachel and I with Carlos Austin (a seminarian that is studying in Cuba)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Machuca and Then Some

As Cuaresma — or lent — is coming to an end, we wait with anticipation for the rising of our Savior. I’ve spent over nine months in Panama, and through the time here, I’ve had many moments to declare my faith. Every chance I get to mention how it’s grown, gotten stronger, I do as well. April has been a long month, with it being so long, I will cut this blog into two.

First I would like to say wherever you go, many people have the same desire to spread the gospel. The first week of April, I was pleased to say there was a mission group one of my friends brought by the school. It was nice to see the students interact with the mission group. Although the group was not Episcopalian, both the students and the organization learned they are not so different from each other. Below are some pictures that capture how happy the students were to just talk to the mission group.

Here are some of the 10th graders I use to teach.

The whole group  
Selfies are a new thing coming into 2014.

On the first weekend of April, I was also asked if I wanted to join the PTY Episcopal Youth Group to deliver clothing to a community in Machuca. Machuca is near  Penonomé, Panamá. The Diocese of Panama has a presence there from there development program called PROMESA. In 1989, the Episcopal Church of Panama established a program for social and ministry education. PROMESA was officially created in August 1989 through the development office of the Diocese of Panama . During the first years, it focused all its efforts in the areas of advocacy, community organization, community health, education and promotion of human rights and emergency assistance. Below are some pictures of what happened that weekend.

Bags filled with woman clothing.

Harvesting yuca for the first time.

Learning how to plant yuca.

Although individuals see Panama as a rising country, one main thing I took away from helping out was many tend to forget there are real needs in the rural parts of the country. The main problem they have, is there is no official clinic for the ministry of health to help individuals, and there is no running water. Having running water is a big problem there. It opened my eyes so much to appreciate what I have in life.  However, they still stayed optimistic. One thing they said was God gives them a place to sleep and know that their children have an education and what more can you ask for. God is simply amazing when it comes to showing that everyone can be happy in the eyes of the lord.
Happy for finishing.

Understanding the rules for this game.

Always having fun.

The whole group.

Learning how to make sombreros.

Team building 

I have to at least win once. 


Donating woman's clothes. 

The whole group.

We also worked with the children in the community, which was nice because they had something to do other than to work. If you want to learn more about PROMESA please click the link below. I believe this is an example of what can help rural communities all over the world.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

YASC Lenten Reflections

Wow two post in one day!!! I am writing to let you know that our YASC group decided to write our own Lenten reflections. It already has a post of pictures of Ash Wednesday from around the globe and also has a post from Heidi Galagan (in Tanzania).

Here is the link:

Received my ashes at St. Luke's Cathedral in Panama City, Panama 

94th Convention

I'm sure I sound like a broken record, but I am sorry for not having a post every month. I am not the type person who can capture everything in words, but I try my best. Febuary 20th - 23rd marked the 94th convention for the Iglesia Episcopal de Panamá. The theme was "Dios de Vida enséñame tu palabra y afirma mis pasos" or "God of life, teach me your word and affirm my steps." This theme was taken from psalm 119:133, which has a special meaning to me. From the start of this mission, I really felt that I was on a spiritual journey that was going to find a better path, a new path, of knowing where I was going. It has been at least 6 months and I am still where God is teaching me his words and affirming my steps. I feel the more that I am in Panama, the louder of a calling I hear from God. The fact that my faith has grown these past six months is remarkable. I can't imagine what my next calling from God is, and I can't wait to find out. Here are some pictures of the 94th convention.
The Bishop giving his message.

Most of the group.

Holy Eucharist in the church San Antonio in Cañafistulo

Being presented at the ECW meeting

A big shout out to a friend, Victor. He is the one who provided all the photos and is the Communication Director for the Episcopal Church of Panamá.