welcome to my blog! thanks for all your support and i hope through this blog you can experience part of my trip to panama :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Life Back Home

I want to thank everyone who followed my blog while I was in Panama, thank you for all your support! Here is a little update on life now that I am graduated from the DTS program and some photos of the end of my trip.

My last week in Panama was full of many emotions, I was excited to return home but also sad to leave the friends I had spent the last 5 months with. It felt like I was leaving family and my trip home was almost if not more emotional than when I first left Canada. It was tough leaving Canada but I knew I would be returning and I had a plane ticket to prove it but leaving Panama was rough. I don't know if I will ever see the places I saw again, experience the things I had experienced or more importantly see the friends I made there ever again. I was also nervous for my transition and reentry back to Canada, luckily we had classes the last week educating us on what to expect and how to deal with coming home.

My trip home went very smoothly, my flights were on time and I had no motion sickness the whole trip. As I made my way home from Houston to Vancouver the Canucks game played as crazy fans cheered and probably scared some people on the plane. The week I arrived home I was thrown into wedding preparation which kept my mind off things. But the following weeks things started to seem like a dream. All I had experienced in Panama was hard to express to people and although people wanted to know about my trip they would never fully know all that I encountered during those 5 months. But most importantly I know what I learned, and I can recall those experiences that shaped me.

Many people have asked me 'So whats next?' and my response is typically this:
Currently I am looking for a job to start saving for college. In January I will attend Langara College working towards a Bachelors in Visual Arts. After 2 years completed at Langara I will transfer to Simon Fraser University to complete the last 2 years in my degree and then hopefully move onto one year in the Education program. After I complete my teaching degree which will most likely be focused on high school students I will start my teaching career! I am pretty open to wherever God calls me, whether it is here in Canada or across the world. So yes, that is my current plan, but it is not set in stone, I am open to being flexible and I would love to travel more.

speaking at graduation

swimming in boc


hospital visits

ngobe school uniform

Alison's baptism

killing dinner

graduation

picking strawberries
So thank you for keeping up with my adventures, God bless. If you would like to talk more about my experiences i would love to chat over coffee or email! whatever works!

Kayla

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Last of Outreach

Bocas Del Toro
The Islands of Bocas Del Toro were beautiful! Clear water, palm trees & white sand, too bad it rained all week! We ran a few school programs but most of the students canoe to school from other islands so when it rains classes are canceled. We visited houses and noticed slight differences in the Ngobe culture of Bocas. We learned to make coconut bread with Lydia a Ngobe woman (sooo yummy, but lots of work to make over a fire!) We also visited Red Frog beach for our day off and enjoyed a little bit of sunshine and a beautiful beach. One of the days we went around inviting people to watch a movie at the base and we had to paddle up river to a far village. It was hard work and once we got there most of the village was away working in the fields but we met a woman who was making coconut bread in the Mamma Tata church. Mamma Tata is a Ngobe religion which is a mix of Catholicism and Voodoo. That night we showed the movie a few people came and they had lots of questions. One of the men who came asked to be baptized so we baptized him and Alison the next day. We had a great week and got to support the awesome ministry that Kim & Dale (base directors) have already been doing.

After Bocas we made our way to the Costa Rican boarder but on the way we stopped at a pastors house to quickly catch up with the other team. We quickly exchanged stories and hugs and then we were off to Costa Rica. Unfortunately they would not let 2 of our members through so we were stuck in between Panama and Costa Rica not sure about where we were going to spend the next week. Since Alison, Bekah and I had gotten permission into Costa Rica we decided to go get ice cream while the team was deciding what was best. Either we split up or we stay as a team and go somewhere else. So we prayed and everyone felt that we should stay together as a team. Someone got the idea to call Cathy who's house we stayed at in Chiriqui and ask if we could stay another week. She gladly said yes, so we made our way back to the city of David.

Chiriqui
When we arrived in Chiriqui it felt like home to a lot of us. We were all excited to continue our hospital ministry. When we finally arrived at the hospital for visiting hours my group (Lucas, David and I) made our way to the 4th floor. Jessica had twisted her ankle in Bocas so she stayed home with Kristina and the kids. When we got to the 4th floor and went into the room we had visited many times before it was different. All the kids had left, God had healed them all! Even the kids that had been abandoned, family members had come and picked them up! All our prayers had been answered, it was amazing. God had brought us back to Chiriqui for a reason, to see the work he was doing. Alison, Bekah, Gerardo & John were visiting the 3rd floor and praying for babies and when they got there they only recognized one father with his child and he said "Well everyone else has been healed and left, so I guess I'm next!" It was awesome, we talked to the nurses and they told us all the kids we had been praying for were signed out of the hospital for getting better and that they appreciated what we were doing. Some of those babies & kids had been there for more than 6 months without any progress. God completely exceeded my expectations with the abandoned kids. There had been 5 abandoned kids who the hospital had been taking care of and by the end of our week in Chiriqui all had been taken home by family members. God blessed us a lot that week, and showed us why he wanted us in Chiriqui.


After Chiriqui our leaders surprised us with a 2 night stay in some hostels off the Las Lajas beach! It was beautiful and we were all super excited. Unfortunately David ended up leaving, we were all pretty upset so we had a team meeting. We prayed and felt that it was his choice, and he has to learn consequences of things he does. The Sunday we were leaving for chiriqui John got a phone call from David saying he wanted to come back. So as we made our way to Tugri we met up with David, and openly welcomed him back. Also Kristina, Jessica and the kids returned to Panama City for the last week of outreach.

Tugri
We all knew the last week in Tugri would be hard. It rained all the time, and is in the middle of no  where on a mountain. Our plan was to take an out trip to a town 4 hours away hiking but we ended up going to a different town 3 hours away. The previous time we had met a peace core worker (Khris) who lived there so we decided to visit him. After a long hike, which we were all out of shape for we arrived in Salitre. We stayed in a small church and invited people to our service that night. We found Khris' house and invited him also. That night we shared stories, sung, talked and drank coffee. We told Khris about our plans to do a teaching on health and staying healthy. He was excited and asked if he could join in. So the next morning we left with Khris back to Tugri. When we finally arrived we taught on the importance of washing your hands and latrines. Khris ended up staying the  night and we enjoyed spending time talking over great food and coffee. The next day we planned on making the top of the latrine, we had ordered concrete and pipes to make the latrine and have running water. Unfortunately it was raining so we didn't end up making it. Khris took John aside and sincerely thanked him for the time we spent with him. He said he was having a hard week and was feeling down and the fact that we invited him to eat and stay with us was a blessing. We had lots of great memories in Tugri and God used us to work in the lives of Khris and others.

Outreach was an amazing experience and I learned A LOT.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

outreach update

childrens games
traditonal ngobe dress
So we are almost half way through outreach, 3 weeks completed and 4 more to go! Last week we spent at the Ngobe reservation (Tugri). It was beautiful and mountainous. We had no electricity, slept under a wooden house with a tin roof and cooked over a fire. They are trying to start an indiginous YWAM base there so we helped them prepare for teams by clearing out land and digging a latrine. We visited a lot of houses and invited them to our kids programs and services. All the women have handmade traditional dresses called naguas and then men have handmade purses called ch├ícaras. Its interesting to think of beauty in different cultures, to the Ngobe people naguas are a beautiful part of their culture but to us they just look like bright, colourful, formless dresses. I think they appreciated that we wore them though because it is a sign that we respect their culture. Each of us got Ngobe names also, mine is Maligi (it probably isn´t spelt like that in Ngobe). We enjoyed visiting houses and getting to know the people even though to get to someones house you have to hike 5-10 minutes. At one particular house we were offered Chicha a traditional fermented corn drink and out of respect you must drink the whole cup! It was hard but we all did it, at the bottom of the cup there was a nice surprise of corn soot. Unfortunately a couple of the girls ended up getting parasites from it :( We also found out that a few of us got lice, possibly from the kids. Other than that Tugri was a great cross-cultural experience and we can´t wait to reaffirm the relationships we made there for our last week of outreach.


childrens program
After Tugri we made our way to the province of Chiriqui where the new YWAM base is being started. We are staying at Kathy´s house and we have warm showers! :) So far our ministry has mostly been in the hospital, we have been visiting the children there and praying for them. Its so sad to see that there are quite a few children that have been abandoned at the hospital, so they have been living there for years. We have also been visiting the land inbetween the childrens hospital and the regular hospital where many indiginous people live because their family members are in the hospital or they don´t have money to return home. We have been sharing stories with them, bringing them food and praying for them and their families. We have also been working with a few schools in the cities near by, running childrens programs which consist of games and stories. Yesterday we helped clean up the site for the new base and heard about Rich & Debby´s 10 year plan which consits of training schools where indigineous people can learn trades like constrution and farming and also includes an orphanage. Please continue to pray for all the ministry ahead of our team, we will be leaving for Bocas del Torra wednesday morning.

Love & miss you all!


Kayla
beautiful garden in boquette

Monday, April 18, 2011

Outreach update

So we have officially completed one week of outreach, six more to go! This first week we worked with the Chinese community in Panama. We ate lots of Chinese food, talked to lots of Chinese people and had a great time. My favorite was leading a few of the church youth groups, we really connected with the kids and were sad to say goodbye :( Its so encouraging to see the Chinese churches of Panama working together and being unified. They have some great plans for the Chinese church in Panama. Here are some pictures from this week:

chinese park

lots of chinese food!

chinese youth group
 Tomorrow we leave for an 8 hour bus ride half way across the country. Our schedule has been modified a bit, instead of going to Tugri Ngobe Comarka for 2 weeks at the end of our trip it will be split into two parts. So tomorrow we will arrive there and stay for 5 days and then we will return again for the last week of our outreach. We will be visiting people and possibly working with the school there so please pray for our ministry and the language barriers! I'm super excited, hopefully I will post again possibly half way through outreach.

love & miss you all
Kayla

Saturday, April 2, 2011

week 11

Sorry I haven't been updating much but right now we are fairly busy preparing for outreach! Next week is the last week of classes and Thursday-Saturday we will be going to Tulio's village on the northern side of Panama. Then Monday is officially our first day of outreach and although my team will be staying on base the first week while we minister in Panama City the other teams are leaving. :( Tomorrow is a busy day as our teams will be splitting up to go to 3 different churches and raise funds for outreach which is still not paid for.

Last week Chris and Vanessa Collins who are staff here taught about "Making Plans and Setting Goals." It was a great to just focus on what our goals are for outreach and for life! We talked about values and principles and made a personal mission statement and then we made a group mission statement. Our groups is:

Reality (sharing the reality of Jesus Christ)
Relationships (building relationships with others and God)
Release (releasing people from religious bondage)

So that's our outreach group's mission statement for the 7 weeks and were all pretty excited to see what God has in store for us!

love & miss you all,
Kayla

Friday, March 25, 2011

2 weeks till outreach!

I cannot believe that I am leaving for outreach in 2 weeks! I am half way done the school which means only 10 weeks left in Panama! This week we were challenged a lot by our teacher Christian who spoke about conflict resolution. I have learned a lot, and hopefully I can successfully put it into practice. I learned that conflicts are part of life, and unavoidable. They need to be dealt with to move on and build stronger relationships with the people around you. I also learned that when confronting conflicts everything has to be out of love and sincerity. Conflicts are an opportunity to glorify God. I've been challenged this week to confront some of the conflicts in my life, big or small because holding on to that unforgiveness only creates bitterness towards the person and the situation. *note: this is a work in progress*

This week we have also started preparing for outreach, going over some of the things we will be doing and researching about the people groups. We are expected to know common phrases in 4 languages: Spanish, Bribri, Ngobe and Cantonese! Here is our letter to let you know what we will be doing:



love & miss you all
Kayla

Monday, March 14, 2011

Outreach

I am super excited to finally announce our plans for outreach! The group I am in consists of Alison, Jessica & Lucas, David, Gerardo and I. It will be led by John & Kristina Henry with their kids Natalie and Asher. Here is an outline of where we will be working and what our focuses in those areas will be:

Our focus is West Panama & Ngobe Reservation

-1 week in Panama City Chinatown:
building relationships, storytelling, teaching english & spanish, visiting families and bible studies

-2 weeks at the new YWAM Panama base in Chiriqui:

construction, orphanage visiting and building relationships

-1 week at the Costa Rica YWAM base
supporting the people there and working with the surrounding Bribri tribes

-1 week at the  Bocas del Torro:
 refreshing the current missionaries, storytelling and community development

-2 weeks on the Ngobe reservation:
storytelling, supporting the local missionaries, supporting the local church & working at the school.



Please pray for our group and the work we will be doing :) if you have a question i'll try my best to answer!

love & miss you all
Kayla