A note from LCMS Missionaries James and Christel
When we’re thirsty Walking here in Panama one gets very hot very quickly. You sweat through your shirt, you sweat against your bag and you get very thirsty! Christel and I love to stop by a little bodega (store) to pick up a bottle of Gatorade to quench our thirst. Jesus describes Himself to the Samaritan woman as “Living Water” and I think now I understand better how important his metaphor was. Until you understand thirst its hard to get the concept of having it quenched, you forget what it is really like to be hungry when you aren’t and thirsty when you’ve had something to drink. Seeing people who are constantly thirsty for Love and for a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives understand what Jesus means when he says he will give them Living Water. People hungry for his Word truly know what it is to be satisfied by that precious spiritual food. The next step of course to being given that water and that bread of eternal life is that you can share it. When you were once thirsty and you see someone else with a parched throat, how can you withhold water if you have it to give? How could we possibly not share our faith, this Living Water that we’ve been given with those who are thirsty? The very nature of the Gospel compels us to share it with others, not only because we are commanded to (Matthew 28) but because we know how sweet and satisfying the Living Water is! We have now been on the mission field for an entire year, and it has been an incredible blessing to be a part of sharing that Living Water with the people of Latin America, thank you so much for all your prayers and support that made all of this possible! We hope to see many of you soon!
“I will give you
Prayer Requests: For our trip to the United States this month on furlough. For Christel’s students as they take a break during her absence. For James as he prepares to go to Peru with Anthony. For the new puppy that we intend to buy when we return!
Update from James I thought I would take advantage of the perspective gained from a year of service here in Latin America to explain a little bit more about what I do on a day to day basis as the Communications Specialist for Latin America. I have been working lately on writing project reports and new project proposals for each of World Mission’s projects throughout Latin America, there are 51 different projects spread across the continent, so writing both a report and proposal for each has been a monumental task! I’ve also been at work making a “catalog” of sorts of projects for the Principal Gift Officers (Donation experts) to use when presenting projects to potential donors. This helps us get the funds we need where we need them and helps to support lots of work being done by our sister churches in Latin America as well. Sometimes we don’t have enough information to write a good report and so I need to talk to people in countries like Brazil or Venezuela for more information, there is SO much exciting work around the world it has been a huge privalage to help write about it! The other big part of the job lately has been getting news from the different fields for reporting on our regional newsletter and blog (Puertas and Puertas Online) and for sending to St. Louis for certain big projects. A story I wrote on the Deaconess retreat in Argentina went through all sorts of outlets, such as the Reporter Online and the Harvest News! I’ve been making trips internationally to gather useful photos and video for our communication about various countries, especially where we have a lot of needs for support and want to get the word out about the exciting work happening in a place! I’m headed to Peru and Jamaica (but not the beach sadly) really soon so I am very excited about the great opportunities for photography and story gathering that I will encounter in those countries. I also have a trip coming up to Honduras to help cover the exciting story of the beginning of missionary work in that country, LCMS World Mission is beginning important conversations with partner churches in starting a mission plant in that country! That’s just a little bit of what I’ve been up to lately in Panama, I’m looking forward to this time we have at home in the U.S. for our furlough and can’t wait to see many of you in person! James
News from Christel
English classes have some to a “descansa” (a break) as James and I are heading home for a bit. The picture to your left is one of my students after receiving a certificate for finishing level one of English in Los Andes. Even though the classes are taking a break, the church is providing activities every other Tuesday (Tuesday is when my Los Andes class is) in order to keep the group meeting and providing a time for fellowship and relationship building with the people of the church (riding bikes pictured). When I say it’s been a blessing to work alongside the church here, I really mean work alongside. I’m not the one with the ideas or the one responsible for all of this, the church is. They are the ones who open the doors, build relationships with the students and share their faith. I simply serve our Lord and Savior through the means the church sees necessary. It’s been truly a joy to see the leadership grow and the hearts of those who truly want to serve God and the church strengthen.