We arrived in Chepo on January 2 and spent 2 weeks ministering to the congregation of Shaddai Church. The pastor has asked us to teach on marriage when we return, as the culture does not have a good foundation for Christian marriage.
We moved to Boquete on Jan 17 to begin language tutoring. We receive 2 hours a day, 4 days a week. Then we work on homework for an hour or two each day. We also walk to town, and do shopping and other errands. It gives us a good opportunity to use a little of the language, although grocery stores are fairly easy to navigate. We are trying to meet people and have simple conversations. Our missionary friends here have been very helpful in getting us past some tough spots.
Right now our focus is simply on learning the language, although our times with the aforementioned couple, John and Kristina Henry, have been quite fruitful for them, too, as they needed someone with Steve's biblical knowledge to discuss some things with. We are attending some different churches with them and making some connections with other pastors and missionaries. We have also gotten our house in Chepo rented, so we are ready to return there the first week of April to begin teaching and preaching with the Wounaan people. The Mennonite Brethren Church there has opened the doors for Steve to teach in all of their congregations throughout the Wounaan culture. Also, Jen and Alex Cabezon, our YWAM friends who have invited us here, are working with us to create a curriculum to teach Wounaan teenagers about dating, relationships and marriage, so that we can begin to change the culture. This may take a couple of generations, but is so necessary as they do not at this time regard marriage as permanent or sacred.
One of the breakthroughs recently was having the pastor in Chepo request the marriage teaching. This is so close to our heart. A personal breakthrough was Steve having a small conversation in Spanish with a neighbor.
Our 3 top prayer requests: Language studies, we have completed 4 of the 9 weeks. Wisdom concerning what the scope of our ministry here should be, and that we don't grow weary during this time when we don't feel very useful.