Sunday, November 29, 2009

Best Laid Plans

Well, the last month here in Panama, has been a trying one for my job as Athletic Director. It had a few bright spots, but also had its trials. I will try to share both and see if you can tell what are the high and the lows.

We wrapped up our basketball season with 2 4th place teams and 1 3rd place team. On the final game of the Sub 18 boys game, we hired a Diablo Rojo to transport fans to the game. (Red Devil for those of you who do not speak Spanish. It is a scary school bus converted to a taxi.) The bus showed up an hour late leaving us about 15 minutes before the game was to start, and then proceeded to head to the wrong school, but we got there 5 minutes after the start. We ended up with about 150 fans to cheer us on! It was awesome to have full stands cheering our guys on against the #1 team in our league. Unfortunately the scoreboard was not working at the school so most of our fans were clueless on the score! After the game we headed to load the buses only to have a torrential downpour that caused us to wait 40 minutes before there was a break to load up the kids, but we returned tot he school with everyone we were supposed to, only 15 minutes late. None of this is A typical to Panama.

After that last basketball game, we moved into Volleyball season. I was fortunate to have 4 experienced volleyball coaches able to work with our kids. We had the boys and girls practice together with a total of about 23 kids come out. It was great to see a number of kids that normally did not do sports or any activity come out and give it a try and really have fun with it. (I am sure that the boys and girls practicing together didn't hurt anything!) We had to cram the season in as we were set to have the tournament after only three weeks of practice with one week of Panamanian Independence days. The week of the tournament, I was informed that there would not be a tournament, because there wasn't enough participation from the other schools. We scrambled together two teams from two different churches and a staff team, and played a number of games. The kids had a lot of fun and got to show off what they had learned. It was supposed to go to 5:00 and most everyone stayed and played past 6:00. It was such a good turnout for kids of all ages that we are going to try to have volleyball games at school one Friday a month for anyone to stay after and play, both students and faculty.

The next weekend we were set to have a Track and Field Meet for ages 3rd grade through 12th. We worked hard to recruit kids (especially the older ones) to participate to fill out our roster. We did races during PE and had showed them the long jump and shot put. We had one practice rained out. I was all set for our one and final practice by myself (the other coach went home sick) with mostly elementary and middle school kids when I got a call. It was to inform me that the track meet was cancelled two days before the track meet. It had been double booked with a Special Olympics event. Basically, when our league scheduled the track meet no one checked the calendar to make sure nothing was already on that date. A fine example of organization in Panama. So I had to break it to the kids that there was no meet and then have a practice for an event that wasn't going to happen. It was interesting. We did some races for about an hour and then the kids played soccer until the parents came. It did allow me to have some time just hanging out and talking with some high schoolers which is so valuable.

Upcoming we are starting a CCA Fitness Club this next week. I hope it is the beginning of something new at CCA as we are inviting all 8th graders and up and staff. Besides the fitness and conditioning, I hope it brings camaraderie between students and faculty. I think it can be a huge boost for the athletics.

Pray for me to have wisdom on what programs to work on and pursue without over committing the few resources I have or stretch the kids too far. Also pray, that as recruitment for next year's staff starts that more teachers with an interest in doing activities with students after school come to CCA. I am thankful that God has his plans and I can leave my burden with him. Thank you for your prayers, I cannot share enough what a blessing it is knowing people are out there praying specifically for us.

"For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building."
- 1 Corinthians 3:9

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Some of us carry our lack of peace like a badge. I know I am guilty of that, "We had THREE children in less than THREE years!"

Some us may cringe at the thought of being alone with only ourselves. Some

of us never let on to a soul that we have no peace in our lives, our homes, our jobs, our hearts, the very pit of our souls.

I am that person who cannot wait in line without speaking something to the person in front of me, or that person who wants to comment on every facebook status. I want to be involved in everything; one because it looks like it would be awesome to be a part of it or two because I think I could make it better. I cannot even enjoy little moments of peace bc I am thinking of all the things I could do if I JUST HAD MORE!! (but that is a whole different subject...called contentment!)

Many of you ask how my Spanish is coming. It is coming well. I am learning, I am feeling confident to speak and sometimes to understand and reply. BUT I will tell you that I have found such a peace in my everyday from not knowing spanish and from being in a foreign country.

Track with me.

-no TV (other than movie watching)

-no txting

-only intentional phone conversations (no minutes to use up)

-radio is only in Spanish

-most songs on radio are in Spanish, some in English...same ones over and over from the 90s

-restaurant, grocery, mall, any other public place all conversations are in a different language.

-no mail with sale fliers

-no target

-billboards are in Spanish

-bumper stickers and every commercial truck signs...all in Spanish

I am alone with my own thoughts. There are few outside sources pumping thoughts into my mind, very few and it is sooo peaceful.

I began asking the Lord, I will be on full overload when I am in an English speaking place, what will I do then? Is this the only way to find peace, to take away all these distractions? I didn't even know I was this distracted, not to even mention the daily tasks of mothering and wifery!

I still have plenty that could keep me from a state of peace and I am learning that I can only find peace in Christ Jesus. Even when I do have "time allotted" to me of peace sometimes it is not peaceful, bc it is my heart that is not at peace.

I may have peace in the midst of my chaos, While I am even cooking dinner in a kitchen that is well over 80 degrees and having little people at my feet begging.

We all have broken hearts and blasted lives to some degree or another BUT Jesus say - "in Me, peace!"

In Christ we have peace in our disturbance giving us tranquility; peace in the commotion giving us quiet; peace in our restraints giving us freedom; peace in our insecurities giving us security; peace in disorder giving us order; peace in being off key giving us harmony; peace in discord and disagreements giving us concord and agreement; peace in chaos giving us silence; peace in the storms giving us calm.

In Christ we find Peace! I will not let my flesh rob me of the inner peace that I have found in Christ's forgiveness - my heart's assurance. When I am at peace with my Savior I am at peace with myself.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee." Isaiah 26:3

I am finding peace in the everlasting Love of my Father. I am praying for all of you to know the same peace that I am finding.