Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Adventures of the First Week

We have been in Panama for a week now, and it has looked a little different than I had expected the first week to look, but it has been good just the same. I was hoping to have a productive week as we settled into Panama, but quickly found out that many things are just more complicated than they are back in the US. So drivers license, bank, and a few other things will have to wait. The school decided that the apartment that we are to be living in was long due an update. That was a real treat for Clare, so we spent Saturday picking out some tile for the floors and bathroom and she is working on picking out paint colors. We have been living next to our "cousins" and the girls have been spoiled by their cousin Ellie. She has been super sweet to the girls playing with them and getting them special treats to play with. I think she is having fun having the little sisters that she never had. We have been able to try some of the local fruit and a Panamanian version of "chicken noodle soup" that was very good. I played basketball for a couple hours with some guys and came back literally ringing wet from the humidity. We have been having afternoon thundershowers almost every afternoon. Clare and I both have been able to read a book in the week since we have been here. I finished "The Shack" and Clare read "The Noticer." We are going to trade so we can discuss the books with each other.

The other day I ventured into the city driving and got good and lost, but I found my way around and eventually made my way to the destination after a phone call. It was actually a lot of fun. I was by myself so I didn't have anyone telling me I was doing something wrong. Driving is very aggressive, and so far it has been kind of fun, but I haven't really been caught in a traffic jam yet. We have already made a trip to the doctor as Ro found herself with a cold type virus that caused her to throw up the other night. Needless to say a very long night. Clare is not enjoying the outside yet as she feels she is being attacked by mosquitoes, since she had 15 bites. I have hardly noticed them. We quickly realized that really not many people speak English at all, and so especially the first day I froze and I couldn't even say "No habla espanol" Right now I am pretty lost if I cant point at something or the conversation requires more than the Panamanian greeting of "Bueno." So I just try to smile a lot so even if I am making mistakes they can get a good laugh out of the silly gringo.

I am very anxious to get going with the school year. Basketball season starts up soon and so that will be taking up a lot of my time as I figure out coaches, players, teams, and schedule. I was able to hear the excitement of the people seeing the new basketball goals that we ordered for the school this summer. Tomorrow the welders are making me some ball racks to store some of the equipment as well as the lines on the asphalt getting a fresh coat. I hope to be able to start recruiting a number of the staff to help with the athletics. I want to meet my students and start establishing relationship with them. It all cant happen soon enough. I believe I am being taught patience, but we are very excited to be here even though right now it doesn't seem any where close to "home."

Colossians 1:13-14
"He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

We are here!

The Richardson Ride is Rolling!
We made it to Panama last night without any major hitches. Nobody and Nothing was searched...all NINE bags, car seats, strollers, various carry-ons including pink backpacks with hearts that Nathan actually wore...he looked mighty handsome!
Thanks to all of you who prayed us there. The kids did awesome and to our knowledge didn't drive anyone around them crazy.
We read in our Jesus Calling book the night before we left that Rest does not actually always mean in the sense of not doing anything or getting to sleep, it can also mean to "put it all" to rest in the Lord's hands, resting in His Presence! We have only been sustained with His kind of rest or we would not have made it this far.
I saw a woman on the plane reading from her Bible last night...that was one trip with Ro to the potty and then two minutes later I was in line again with Essie. I asked what she was reading and she told me that she was reading Isaiah for the second time bc she did not understand it the first time. She was from Haiti and her husband from Panama. They were taking their two boys to visit their grandparents. I so enjoyed getting to stand in line and listen to her share.
It prompted me to open up Isaiah as I am sure I do not understand it either.
Isaiah 26:3,4 "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever; for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength."
My mind has had lots to wander on...many things I have wanted to blog about, but have had little time to share...maybe soon...but I have trusted in my Lord and it is He who has given me peace. He has given me as well as Nathan an unbelievable amount of strength to do what we did not know we had the capacity to do.
Our greatest encouragement we have heard many times, but were reminded listening to a podcast by John Piper in his slow enunciated tone.."This Life is but a breath!" Knowing this we asked ourselves and we ask you, how then will you live?
Love to all of you. We think nothing less that pure gratitude for all those who are sharing in this breath of life!
May the Lord be Glorified!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mover of Men and Mountains

I have been reading this book over the past couple of weeks, as my Dad passed it on to me to read. It is the autobiography of R.G. LeTourneau, who helped developed most of the major earth moving machines in the early to mid 20th Century. He was a businessman, who had God as his partner and would end up tithing 90% of his company's common stock and 90% of his income. There were a couple quips that I wanted to share that really stuck out in my mind, mostly dealing with working.

In a story of him wheelbarrowing sand as a young worker an older man told him,
"Pushin' is a rest from shovelin'. Shovelin' is a rest from pushin'. Then there's the trip back with an empty barrow where you don't do nothin' at all. Kid, you got yourself a job that's just one long rest."

What a great way to look at the tasks ahead of each of us.

He also shared the story of being in debt, due to going into business with a bad partner. He wanted to get out of his present business and get started on his own. When the banker asked, "What security have you got for the balance of your debt?" LeTourneau answered by simply raising his two hands and the banker nodded satisfied.

It would be true character to have a legacy that people trusted you to work hard and take care of your commitments.

On another story he told of a boss's statement after hearing LeTourneau make excuses and blaming other people.
" When things haven't gone as well as they probably should have, and you start to blame circumstances and other people instead of yourself, you are never going to improve. It's when you start to improve these matters yourself that you improve the matters and yourself both."

I pray this is the attitude and spirit that I carry with me in my tasks both at work and home.