Modern technology meets the marsh...
We spent today serving at the San Jose church here in Panama. If you've kept up with these posts you will remember that to get to this church you have to walk over a suspension bridge (that is a LOT of fun to jump on when the team is crossing it!!!). After the bridge you have to carefully walk on 2"x12" boards over the wet, crab filled marsh and then finally a walk down a narrow sandy path to the church. The ocean is only 100 yards to your left the whole time. It is remote to say the least!
In addition to several work projects on the church (painting the sanctuary and cement work on the exterior) we had the chance to connect with a bunch of kids and their moms. San Jose is one of the approved Child Development Centers through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries. The CDC was open this afternoon and many children were present!. We presented a puppet show and a Bible story on the prodigal son. We played games (Sue Peel has become a parachute game expert this week!) and did a craft where every child left with a new pair of flip flops (we don't want to know the total number of balloons we tied!.
As much fun as all the activities were, what was most special was a photo time with the mothers and kids. We brought with us a remarkable piece of technology - a battery powered, portable photo printer. This is lightyears ahead of the old Polaroid camera days!
Kevin Johnson spent all afternoon taking and printing pictures while the moms decorated picture frames we brought with us. We are constantly bombarded with pictures - our cell phones have cameras and through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter we feel compelled to share pictures of every random thing we eat or store we're at. We've convinced ourselves that everyone wants to see our latest "selfie." The women of San Jose, however, don't live in that world.
When presented with the picture of her family one mother proudly said, "This is the first picture I have had with my children, I will keep it forever." Maybe when she looks at the photo and the picture frame she decorated she will think of that crazy bunch of folks from Flint Central who traveled all the way to her village to play with her kids, work on her church, and spend time with her. And maybe, just maybe, she will remember some of the puppet show and the Bible story about the prodigal son, and our loving heavenly Father. And maybe, just maybe through that picture and frame, she will realize just how much God loves her. This is my hope and prayer.