WATER PROJECT CHORCHA
Greetings from Panama,
Season’s are something we have few of in Boquete.Usually it’s either “wet” or “dry” roughly (6) months of each. Between these season’s ,we have a transition period which can vary daily.
Our recent activities are reflective of the season’s. We have finally been able to make our fact-finding trip into the village of Chorcha on the Ngobe comarca.The village is 6 miles into the comarca from the Pan American highway. The road is dirt and rough. Some places on the road require driving through shallow streams. Only 4 wheel vehicles can get into the village. The village of Chorcha came to our attention through the FICADEN Group consisting of Professional Ngabe’s “in the know”. We are grateful to them for sharing their needs in the numerous communities of the Comarca that they represent.It had been a long time before we could scout out the village. Originally, the people from the village asked if we could help them, about a year ago ,with repairing broken water pipes . We were busy drilling the well at San Felix then.They had been without water for a long time, requiring them to walk 1 hour one way to another shallow, hand dug well which dries up in the dry season sometimes. They walk there for drinking water and to get water to bathe. The water is probably contaminated, because there have been reports of family members with diarrhea after visiting the village.
The water source for the pipes is 3-6 hours above the village. We were originally going to explore the area and the damage to the pipes.We were going to ride horseback ,but later the Ngobes said the horses could only travel so far because then the road is too dangerous for the horses. Walking is required the rest of the way to the water source.We were fortunate. Our interpreter Armando’s wife is from the village. Her father had been trying to keep the pipes repaired. They offered to hike the road up to the water source and let us know how much pipe we would need. Armando’s’ wife helped her father and walked the path up and back- a whole day’s job! 3-6 hours walk and then assessing how much pipe was needed.Once we knew that information, Sam also helped them figure out how to build a cement slab for the 650 gal. water tank and we explained about putting bleach in the water( very small amount) to keep the water good to drink. The water supply from the source above the village isn’t the best water either, so hopefully this sanitizing the water will help the people. They were so grateful, they patiently waited for us to get to their village.The village also does not have electricity or latrines. More info to follow with photos at the end of the newsletter
At the end of February, we were able to gather teaching supplies for the after school at Llano Tugri where we also sponsor a children’s feeding program for the after school children. In March, we made our way to the Ngobe capital, high in the mountain,s to place these supplies into the hands of those who were teaching the children. Lowell & Laura Kurtz from Friedens, Pa. who were visiting us for their anniversary, and are longtime friends, accompanied us to the Ngabe Capital at Llano Tugri where we delivered school supplies and saw some familiar faces of children also enrolled in the after school Feeding Program
||Laura & Young Ngabe
||Lowell & Laura & Armando
Some of the FICADEN group,the president(the lady in the white Nagua) in the group photo, and the other teacher in red jacket, brought some visual aids to the teacher(in back row) to help with teaching also. The first photo shows the Ngobe teacher who brought the Ngobe language alphabet for the teacher at Llano Tugri. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with Lowell and Laura.The time passed too quickly with such dear friends!
We also continue with the children’s feeding program at Church of the Adoration in Oma, Susama district of the comarca.
Later on in March we accompanied Pastor Marco Delgado and his wife to a mountain church in El Salto just about ½ hour drive from Boquete. The church that he pastors is – translated into English – “Church Of The Eternal Spirit” Assembly of God. We took numerous Sunday School Supplies there and some knitted caps supplied by Marlowe Assembly of God Church in Falling Waters, WV. Thank you Marlowe! The church is small, no windows, solar energy, and no Sunday School supplies. They were elated for the supplies.Sometimes his wife Arelysda has 70 children in Sunday School! She also is the cook for the noon meal.Pastor Marco’s son’s name is Jesus, he is a sweet child.
|Pastor Marco, Wife & Son
||Children with Knitted Caps
||Repurposed “pallet” Table
Leaving the Panamerican Highway and entering the road to the CHORCHA Community
Now to finish the story of Chorcha! The purpose of this travel in April when we finally were able to get there,was to attend the inauguration, as the Ngobes say, for the water tank and future miles of repaired water pipe. They have two teams ready to start- one for the water tank and the other team to start repairing the broken pipes.The community had prepared a short program and said a prayer and then had Sam give a response from Cleft Of The Rock Ministries. The trip up this road is about a 1 – 1 & ½ hour drive at speeds suitable for comfort in a 4 WD vehicle! We secured a large number of 2” and also ½” PVC pipe; also stone, sand, bags of cement and rebar prior to arriving at the village. The local ferreteria (hardware store) delivered the items after inquiring if the road was fixed yet- common question for the comarca.
The Ngobes walk as stated above to obtain water or they get water from streams or gather rain water from roofs and store it in buckets for use as needed. By the way, many, many, thanks to the Crossroads Community Church and the children for giving money for the water project – this is your money at work! The Chorcha Ngobes are very grateful to you. It was a big project.They really needed a good water supply.
|Traveling Down Bumpy Road
||Scenes Along The Way
|Traveling Better Section Of Road
||Community Activity Building
|Meager Living Facilities
|Community Action in “Session”
||Sam…Taking Notes For Community Survey
|Surveying Area Where Pipes Are Located
||Ministry Of Health Building
|Water Tank & Installation Materials
After the inauguration a young Ngabe man (school teacher) asked me through our interpreter if he could address some current needs that the community faces. One of these was the need for (10) latrines in the immediate area. The homes have no latrines only the bushes, in the surrounding areas. They stated that the latrines would be good for about (10-15) years).They know how to construct the latrines, they just need the materials. They can use local bamboo for the buildings around the latrines.The Ngobes also asked us about adult education because most of the adults of the village cannot read or write.They have to “sign” papers with an inked finger/thumbprint The children are getting some education -there are two schools in the village, K-6th grade and 7-9th grades. The schools had a small water tank, but not enough to share with the community people. There are approximately 500 children altogether including babies. Jane sees a delivery of Baby Blessings Quilt Sets in the future. Our wonderful ladies at Birch grove Mennonite Church in Port Allegany supply our warm and lovely quilts for the babies. We were thrilled that the Ngobe adults came to us to ask about some education for themselves. Jane has been checking with a Panamanian friend of ours who is a teacher at MEDUCA inquiring for ideas or a curriculem to use for these dear people who want to learn.Armando( our Ngobe interpreter) is also checking with school officials where he is attending classes towards his Master’s degree.FICADEN is seizing upon the opportunity to obtain materials to help educate the adults. The adults expressed a strong desire for learning and Cleft Of The Rock Ministries has taken these requests into consideration. Keep “tuned-in” on this location of Chorcha for future labors here!
|Primary School Building
||Secondary School Building
During the First week of May we will be helping Pastor Marco again as he accompanies us to David City to take delivery of a 3,500 watt generator for use at the church. In previous years they have made do with a single solar panel to power some “string lamps” and a sound system in a meager dirt floor area for the sanctuary and attached man made classroom and a make-do kitchen area used to prepare rice and beans for a noon meal after church. Presently, Pastor Marco says that they have submitted plans to the Municipality of Boquete for a new church building and these plans take considerable time to make their way through all the governmental departments. We asked who helps him to build the church? He said God will supply.Those plans may take a year or two to be approved and then acted upon.
|Bench Seating On Dirt Floor
||Generator Being Delivered
God Bless all Fellow Laborer’s together in “The Harvest”! We can’t thank all the donors enough who have given unselfishly to this ministry over the years. We just keep discovering more and more needs for the Ngobe. We wanted our ministry to fulfill the real needs of the Ngobe people and not just give out candy and toys. God laid it on my heart (Jane)when we started this ministry six years ago- to find the needs and He would supply the financial. He has certainly been faithful in that promise and it seems we are able to get into the Ngobe interior country/comarca and see the real needs, plus they are now coming to us also with real needs and taking their share of responsibility.Armando told us a few years ago-make sure you make my people responsible.May God continue to bless all the donors for their faithfulness in helping Cleft of the Rock Ministries provide for the needs of the Ngobe-Bugle.
May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done. Ruth 2:12 NLT
Keep us in prayer,
Sam & Jane Ruth
Greetings from Panama!
Cleft of The Rock Ministries is in preparation for events and activities as we are about to enter the dry season here. The weather does dictate to a certain degree what we are able to accomplish. Through the rainy season some roads in the mountain area are impassable due to washouts and mudslides.
During the past few months we have been involved in the activities at the Suzama Community in Oma district of San Felix. This is the area where we had the water well drilled in May, this past spring. We were informed that they wanted us to participate in a dedication of the well, while at the same time the church would be celebrating their 25th Anniversary. Planning for the event required valuable time and resources. We inquired into how many people would be attending and were given a number of 500. The church is located in the mountains and therefore the people would have to get there by walking or riding horses or taking the bus. Either way the effort that these people put forward was quite admirable!
Check out these activities on our FaceBook Page
The planning for this event included contacting Bro. Ricardo George and his wife Elli from Panama City. Ricardo and Ellie are old friends and stayed with us for two days. Ricardo helped to translate for us during Sam’s presentation.Our friends, Keith & Pam Vaness ,were also on hand for this event.They had worked with us to obtain funding for the well. They along with the Georges from Panama City stayed after the dedication of the well to distribute some “goodie bags”. Jane organized the packaging of the bags with the help of Ellie and Pam for the children. Packages of “personal care items” for the youth were coordinated with Pam. All these activities took place in the “Live to Serve” Feeding Shelter; annex of the church, which Cleft of The Rock Ministries supports. This made for a very busy exhausting event packed day and we are grateful for all who helped! Pastor Manuel Andrades and the congregation of the Tabernacle Of Worship in the Suzama Community certainly had a busy schedule also in promoting the event of their 25th Anniversary. He had invited Ngabe pastors of other mountainous areas to participate. One pastor brought some of his church group with him who participated in the song “Because He Lives”. Another Ngabe pastor, the main speaker for the event, conducted an evangelistic message which culminated with many youth going forward to accept Jesus as Lord.
The final numbers of people in attendance was somewhere between 200-300! We were asked to speak about the well and the importance of water-especially in a developing third world country. Sam read a few facts about the importance of drinking water and also noted several Bible passages that addressed the subject of water and the life changing events that water played in Biblical times. Following our presentation we had a “Ribbon Cutting” at the Well Site. Many people of the community wanted to be in the photo’s that were being taken.There was also an Official from the Ngabe community,Frederic Giron, who had given us a notorized document with his signature affixed stating that the community would be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the well.
Coming up this January 2018 ,we are planning an exploratory trip into the mountainous area of Soloy. Soloy is also on the Comarca, about an hour drive south east from Boquete. A situation exists where the Ngabe’s in a small community have a real need for good water access. Researching the need indicates that there is a water tank and water line that have been placed into operation in years gone by, but proper maintenance has not been followed. Contaminated water is a choice that many choose to take because of extreme ruggedness of the area and the scarcity of good potable drinking water. Working through FICADEN, we want to do a survey and cost estimates to assist us in a solution so that we can help correct the problem . We need to also make certain that there is accountability for the maintenance and upkeep of the water source once it is repaired. It is a rugged terrain that will require riding horses for approximately 1.5 hours to get to the main water supply.
|Rugged Mountain Area
||(Example) Exposed Broken Pipes
The children’s feeding shelter & education building at Llano Tugri will be located in the northern most point of the highway in the Ngabe Capital and is in the beginning stages of building. The Luis Tugri Feeding Programis currently held in a government building property with outside concrete floor without tables or chairs. No rooms for students, only one very small gov’t room for officials. They also have an afterschool program there.The new Luis Tugri Educational Center will serve the needs of the children in an afterschool program and feeding program within a real building. The Ngabes are interested in education and also retaining their culture.
|Location: Llano Tugri @ Ngabe Capital
||Construction Begins in January
The FICADEN Group of Ngabe Professionals strives to meet the needs of the children by feeding and conducting afterschool Learning Programs while retaining cultural values.The building will facilitate the educational activities of the children. We are grateful to be at their side with this endeavor.We were able to provide the money for them to build the center-helping them to develop the next generation. We want to thank all the generous donors for helping to bring this dream of the Ngobe people to fruition.
They are so excited and thankful that their people are getting help-FICADEN told us it is not the money alone- they are so thankful for our interest and caring for them as a people- even more than the money.
I always remember when we were measuring for the building with the FICADEN group, and one of the members looked at me and said”You won’t forget us?”That touched my heart! How many people have promised to help them and then forgot about them as soon as they were off the mountain.
As we celebrate Christmas and the coming New Year; we say “Thank You” to all who support our ministry in giving and prayers! You are very valuable in God’s sight! Look at what you have done so far! A water well that impacts many Ngobe’s health and way of life and an educational center for the future of the Ngobe children and nation! Two big dreams fulfilled in 2017 for some Ngobes who have prayed and hoped for many years. The President of FICADEN(she is a teacher) has had this dream for her people for 20 years! God came through with the generous people who donate. God Bless you all abundantly and to overflowing for your contributions.
If you are making a year’s end contribution and need a tax receipt, please do so before December 31st.
Christmas Greetings & New Year’s Blessings!
Cleft Of The Rock Ministries
Sam & Jane
We have posted many photo’s in this letter however, the old adage that “A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words” is true! With the rainy season threatening, activities for Cleft Of The Rock Ministries have been many and have occurred rapidly in succession. In May, Jane traveled with Pam VanEss into the mountains to work with the “Finca (Coffee Farm) Ngabe kids- presenting a 2 week teaching program about the “Creation”( which Pam created!) while the parents finished out the Coffee Picking Season. Upon completion of the summer schooling of Casa Esperanza at this finca, led by Armando Dixson , there was a celebration of the learning that had taken place. We were honored to be part of the teaching and learning and assist in the celebration! Armando had requested a need for a soccer ball so the children could have play activities. We were also able to fulfill that need.
Pam Creation Teaching
Ngabe Kids at the Coffee Finca Housing
||Jane serving up some ice cream with “toppings”!
Following up on our April activities we are very happy to report that the drilling for the well at the Suzanna District in Oma @ San Felix was a “great success”! The challenges to get this project to its completion were many! Getting the drilling company to commit to a date, having an attorney draw up a contract, also proper interpretation and wording of the contract which finally fell into place and the drilling started. Prayers were being answered; the church community was praying for over a year not just for any water, but for good water. This was also verified with a very favorable Laboratory written/typed report of the water from the well.
|Preliminary meeting regarding drilling the well
||Road way leading up to the drilling site and the church
In May just a week before the rainy season began in earnest- manual labor began for us. Sam organized a day with the pastor and some men from the community to help set up for the area at the well so that pipe could be put down and a pump installed. This took place with our friend Craig Hebert from Louisiana helping in setting up the necessary equipment and shelter so that we could keep working even as rains began to threaten our efforts!
|Well Drilling at the Site
||Threatening Skies as the Rainy Season approaches
|Installing the Suction Pipe through the well casing
||Pipe joints of 10’with fitted ends glued into place
|Constructing a “lean-to” enabling us to continue
||Our “make shift lean-to” in place ….in case of rain
We poured the cement the day upon arriving at the site as we had pre-formed the structure to retain the cement. The people from the church community were so helpful in having the stones and materials there ready for us to get into place before pouring the cement pad. The next day we set the pump into place and prayed a prayer of “blessing” upon the well! It was only a matter of a day after the hand pump was set that we found out that the church had a generator that could handle the electrical requirements of a submersible pump; so we talked with the engineer of the drilling company and decided to go with a submersible pump of 220 volts. Upon the return to install piping to the storage tank we were surprised when a 4 WD pick-up truck came to the site and said there were sent by the electric company to survey and see about our needs for electric. What we hadn’t known was that in the Indigenous Comarca (Reservation) is; that if you can show the need for electric, the government will make an effort to accommodate that need. In this case there is electricity about only ¼ mile away……we were elated! Presently we are waiting to see when that may take place.
|A prayer of Blessing for the water with Hand Pump installed
||Installing the Submersible Pump
|Installing Electrical Controls
|The sight of plentiful water !
||A “Thankful people” from the church
|People who made it “Happen”!
||Our car loaded with PVC pipe for the Water Tank
We have a minimum of about a week of work to clean up and do some work at the Feeding shelter area so that the children and the community can enjoy the health benefits of clean water. The water is ready to drink right out of the well! We also purchased a 500-gallon storage tank with filtration and put it in place and installed a 1 & ¼” PVC line to the tank.
|A water line of about 250’ laid out to the Water Tank
||500 gallon Water Storage Tank
On November12th the Ngobe church will be celebrating their 25th Anniversary and a Public Dedication of the well at the same time. They provided a time slot in their Agenda for Cleft of The Rock Ministries to make a short presentation (they asked us!) and they have also invited local officials to be present. We feel quite honored to be part of their community there on the Comarca, even though we are about a (2) hour drive away! They normally have about 300 Ngobes attend these fiesta’s.
Other upcoming projects include a repair to a water distribution line in Soloy, (also on the Comarca ,but in a different location)where there has been a break in the lines and perhaps the need to replace a storage tank there. The area is quite remote and the best way to access it is by walking or getting a horse and ride back about 1/2 hours away from the main road. This project is coming up soon so we will be needing funding for this. Estimations would be about $600.00-1,000.00.
There are more needs at Llano Tugri (Ngabe Capital) where we were instrumental in providing materials for a continuing after school learning center this past January. While there, the elders of the community took us to a parcel of land that one of the families had donated for the afterschool program housing unit to be built.
||FICADEN “leaders” at the anticipated building site
Presently they must meet in a government building and it is difficult to coordinate the activities. There are no chairs or tables to work on-the children sit on the floor. This presents the opportunity for us to help put a building in place to serve the needs at that location. The amazing thing is that since they are so community oriented they all give of their labor for free; however, the overseer of the project gets paid. We cannot pay the person overseeing the project and its incumbent upon them to pay the person for the job to be completed in a safe and timely manner.
Size of building is roughly 25’x30’. We had an estimate of roughly $ 3,300.00 for the cement, blocks, cement floor and roof support system and the metal roofing. It will require about another $2,500 to complete it, that being cement blocks for the walls, a couple of windows and a secure door. We feel certain that there is also an ongoing need for more teaching materials; the cost for those would be about $200.00. Later on, they will need tables and chairs.
The (2) Feeding programs at Llano Tugri and San Felix are ongoing as the children continue to have basic nutritional needs met. There are many more needs; like basic health, dental and hygiene. If you or a mission minded group would like to make a trip down to do some finishing touches around the Feeding Shelter and Church, we would accommodate and make it a rewarding experience! God Bless you for your past support – we were in awe for donations for the water well. God provided all of it! We do need your financial and prayer support to continue this work!
In God we trust, for our financial needs for the Ngobe’s. Their health needs are being met with the well -we found out the pastor was very grateful for the water because he (they) had been drinking dirty water! No wonder they were praying so fervently for good water!
God Bless all who donated for the well. It is a much appreciated answer to prayer for the Ngobes in that area. Water supply and good water is hard to come by.
In Christ’s love for all,
Samuel & Jane Ruth
Geetings Friends both Far & Near!
After the festivities and celebrations through the month of January here in Panama ,we have found ourselves very busy with activities since it also marks the beginning of the rainy season. It is at this time here in the upper portion of the province where we live, that projects take on expediency- before the rains come in late April or early June. On February 1st , we traveled to see building activity for a Panamanian church in Gualaca District about one hour away. One of our contributors gave the church substantial money to build it. They held church every weekend for l4 years in the small shack in front of the large building being constructed now. This is really a blessing for them- but the pastor said “Yes, but I want my people to have the Spirit of God, not just a building-that is more important..” COTRM also gave them Sunday School supplies in December-they had none.
We were able to partner with the Panamanian Ebenezer Church in Volcan who has a sister Ngabe Ebenezer church in Chame;- about an hour drive following the road out of San Felix. The event was an annual evangelistic crusade and celebration before the start of school. COTRM was able to help them with donating 15 bags of basic groceries for 15 families and 50 small bags of goodies for the children with an apple, juice, and a cookie.
Cleft Of The Rock ministries conducted a (2) day Bible School for the children at Llano Tugri; the Ngabe Nation Capital. LLano Tugri is north of San Felix about a good hour & 30 minutes drive. If you were a bird you could get to the Caribbean in about 10 miles. The drive to Llano Tugri is majestic as you travel the mountains with steep drops off the side of the road. Most areas of the drive to not have the provisions of "guard rails" – full attention must be given as you engage all the twists and turns! And steep hills!
The Bible School was a huge first for us in that area. Our efforts were rewarded through a young man by the name of Amelkin. Jane & I are personally sponsoring him at Oteima University in David City here in Chiriqui Province. He is studying English to become an English Professor one day! Amelkin was really the exact person needed for the job as he interpreted for us. The real surprise was that north of the village community area of Chame – the language is largely Gyuami by the older population. We had prepared a lot of material with Spanish translation. Fortunately, Amelkin was raised in a Gyuami language speaking family. He has mastered Spanish and now is deeply engaged in studying and learning English. He really saved the day for us, as another friend of our ministry, Arrmando, also a Ngabe, could not go at the last minute. Amelkin is proud of himself ”I know three languages now!” We also had two teenage Ngabe girls helping us, one only spoke Spanish, and the other one just a little English. They were great with the children! We really enjoyed being with them all.
The theme was: Let the Little Children Come to me. ( Mark 10;13-16) and also John 3:16 to show how much Jesus loves all; whether big or small. The memory verse was Mark 10:14_ "Let the little children come to me". The children really enjoyed the activity time and were amazingly good with manually cutting and pasting their papers with hearts drawn on them allowing them to color and print their names on them. It cemented in their minds God's great love for us. All this without tables or chairs! We arrived at the government building where they have the after school program after overcoming many obstacles-we had to improvise at the last minute! We were ready to start , but there weren’t many children and we had sent out fliers announcing it- the Ngabes already there, and Amelkin said “ We wait- they will come” We waited, and waited- finally we said we have to start with the children that are here. They finally started to arrive- straggling in- and we ended up with 62 the first day! They have to walk to VBS-a mile or so.
Following that activity, we had a large plastic bowl set on the ground outside with "paper" fish placed in there with large metal paper clips attached to their mouth. A small emergency fishing rod was equipped with a powerful magnet attached to attract the fish with the metal paper clips. As each child fished and brought up a fish; Amelkin read the Bible Saying that was printed on the fish and each child received a small plastic bag with a small reward and snack inside.
We had (62) children on day one and (46) 9-12 y/o on day two. Mothers and some dads were there and observed as the children participated. There were 128 all together. We are contemplating an adult class for next year. We traveled back & forth to Llano Tugri both days and lodged each evening at the Jesuit Mission, (Fundacion Nuestra Senora Del Camino) in San Felix. We really were blessed by their hospitality: bed, showers and meals each day.
The ending of VBS presented an opportunity for COTRM to present a gift to the mothers with children 15 months of age and less through COTRM’s Baby Blessings program. The packages included a baby quilt (made by our Ladies Sewing Circle at Birch Grove Mennonite church in Penna.),small stuffed toy, a large tube of hand lotion for the “Mamas”, and a Gospel Tract for the women in Spanish “You are Special”. We were blessed to be able to put (12) of these packages into the hands of very appreciative mothers.
March 2017 The Water Well Project is waiting for some final touches of the Contract and we hope to sign it at the Well Drilling Company April 10th! We were anticipating being able to drill near the end of March but have to wait our turn as the drilling company has a list to follow. There will no doubt be some miscellaneous expenses at the Service Point once finished. So we may need some extra funding for it.
IMMEDIATE URGENT NEED
WOULD YOU LIKE TO MAKE A NGABE CHILD’S DAY?
We have two feeding programs for the Ngabe children. One is in Llano Tugri- way up in the mountains near San Felix- (actually 1.5 hours from San Felix) which we started in December, 2016. It is an afterschool program also for the children to aid in helping them with their education. The children only go to school for half a day and this program reinforces their learning. Being so far up in the mountains, there is not as much help for the Ngobes in that area of the comarca as more accessible areas.
The other program is in the San Felix, Oma area. -The Tabernacle of Adoration church’s children’s feeding program. We took over the San Felix children’s feeding program last year due to the previous sponsor not being able to provide for them temporarily, after years of feeding them. We have discovered that the previous group is unable to resume the feeding program at all. We would like to continue it for the children. They also have an afterschool program to help the children in the community. Oma is one of the poorest areas on the Comarca according to a Ngobe friend of ours. For some of the children, it was their only good meal of the day.
We have a need for ongoing monthly donors who could help finance these programs. Five (5) individuals or groups that would be able to donate $ 50.00 each month to the two Children’s Feeding Programs that are part of our Ministry. The money that is donated to this cause will be placed in Restricted Funds used specifically for these two programs. If you or your group would be able to support Cleft of The Rock Ministries in these two Feeding Programs- we would be so appreciative and blessed to continue the programs.
Contact us if you decide to help these children; visit our Web Site: www.cleftoftherockministries.com
and donate via Pay Pal or send your contribution to:
Cleft Of the Rock Ministries
35 Galilee Street Falling Waters, WV 25419.
The contribution will be deposited to our Cleft Of The Rock Ministries account. You can also pick the phone and dial 304-551-8930 and reach us with your decision in Panama or the USA.
Another need that we have is for a group of about (4) persons to add a “wind break” to a side of the Feeding Shelter and also refinish (steel wool and varnish) Eight Picnic Tables at the Feeding Shelter. If this is a mission type trip your group would like to undertake; we can work out details!
We have had a rather long read here but we hope that it will give you an idea of the
Extent of our Ministry Outreach in which we find ourselves involved!
Your Financial and Prayer support are greatly appreciated!
May you be blessed as you enter into the season called “Spring” with evidence of new life spouting up all around. Rejoicing too in a Risen Lord & Saviour.
Your Servants in Panama,
Samuel & Jane Ruth
Greetings Family & Friends,
The last newsletter that we wrote in April we presented the vision of drilling a Water Well on the Comarca (reservation). We are happy to report that during our time in the States we generated interest in this project along with our friends Pamela & Keith VanEss , who were in Wisconsin doing the same. We raised almost $12k toward this project. We set this aside in our book keeping as ‘Restricted Funds” to use as intended. We returned and hit the deck “a-running”! We have many projects ahead of us and we have been back only a month!
We are now waiting for dry weather to pursue this project. Hurricane “Otto” extended our rainy season especially through November. Sources here locally say that we had 20 + Inches. The folks say that they haven’t seen a “wet” November like this for many years!
We are looking at different approaches to the well since the terrain is rocky and it is up in the mountains. We are checking with several well drillers for prices and difficulty in drilling. One difficulty is the depth of the well-one of the drillers gave us a couple scenarios of how to get water to the Ngobes from what has happened with others up there. They can also hand dig a well about 15-30 feet deep like the old wells plus running an underground water line from one of the existing cisterns 1/2 -3/4th mile away thereby supplying the children’s feeding shelter with 2 sources of water. Not having electricity available would require an old- fashioned hand pump.
Presently we are gearing up for further “Outreach” that is beneficial to the Ngabe Nation (Indian Tribe whom we serve) . Last January we were honored to attend the Inauguration of FICADEN; a legal entity of the Ngabe Nation at their Capital at llano Tugri. The location is far North of San Felix (1&1/2) hour drive) close to the Caribbean. The drive is very scenic and at the same time twisty and mountainous. A good road, but no guard rails! There is not much opportunity there for the Ngabe to carve out a living, so it is basically, survival from one day to the next!
FICADEN stands for:
FOUNDATION FOR RESEARCH, TRAINING, AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE GNÖBE BUGLE REGION
FICADEN serves as an umbrella organization in directing outside groups with resources so that the Ngabe’s receive help where there is the greatest need.
Trip to School
We had planned to travel there on November 20th but with the rains that “Otto” dropped on us- we decided wisely, not to make that trip because of mudslides and other dangerous probabilities. Our mission was to deliver teaching supplies to a young 21 year old lady who is trying to give the (25) children there (ages 4-12) an education. It is an extremely difficult situation because she is not certified by the government, she is volunteering and does not get paid. Never- the- less learning goes on because of the dedication of this young Ngabe lady!
We really were looking forward to this trip and along with the school supplies were taking some bottled water and cases of apples (apples are a very special treat) for the children trying to instill into them the value of good health. Other supplies included small personal mini-sized toys for the children as we approach the Christmas Season. We may be making this trip on December 18th providing we can obtain the services of a driver with a van. Armando said there were 150 children waiting for us and we had to cancel because of the roads! We were so disappointed- and they were too! We were also taking 4 members of FICADEN with us for the trip. There are possibilities of initiating a building there also for a school etc.- starting small, maybe a roof and frame and cement floor, and then adding sides on later. School is held in a small office! Crowded with 25 children! Another financial need for Llano Tugri. The young lady would also like to get a teaching certificate. It would take her 5 years to complete- she is 21 and in her last year at school. Armando said they start to school very late up there, can’t always start when 5 years old. How privileged we are and blessed to have normal school years and not have to worry about being educated or not! Jane has completed a nutritional needs assessment of the children of llano Tugri , with Armando Dixon, local Ngabe with direct connections via FICADEN to the Ngabe Nation in Llano Tugri. As of December 1st we will begin a basic Feeding Program at that location. All the logistics and accountability of this undertaking are being carefully addressed. The feeding will be for (25) children, one meal per day Monday-Friday.
Tabernacle of Adoration Maintenance Work
Other needs that need addressed in the coming dry season are for some follow-up in “OMA” district where maintenance work needs to be completed at the Tabernacle of Adoration under Pastor Manuel’s leadership. There is a Feeding Program there where we placed picnic tables back in 2014. Under a large roofed area, there is a side of the building that needs to have a wind screen or other possible weather restricting measures put in place to keep the picnic tables from suffering the elements. This same location is where we are planning to drill the Water Well.
The “open area” of the roofed addition needs a “wind/rain breaker.”
The challenge: If you have a team of 4-5 craftsman skilled persons to install the materials and refinish the picnic tables, we could plan for a 3-4 day project and complete this. We will need to have input ASAP in to arrange lodging & meals for the team.
Ongoing Building of a Church
There is another work in progress which is the on-going building of a church in the Gualaca area of Chiriqui Province. There was a substantial amount of money given toward this project by a Family Foundation inspired to see this completed. It is their project actually, but we are interested in seeing it manifest for them. The first phase of this project is moving forward with the second phase soon to follow. We don’t have a picture of this now, but with dry season coming we want to get pictures next time. The name of the church is Emanuel Minesterio Del Espirito. Please remember them in your prayers as they have waited a long time to build their church. The community in Gualaca is largely Panamanians. Presently they have only a lean-to type area to hold services. We (COTRM) will be obtaining some Sunday School supplies for them-they have 18 children ranging from 4 years -12 years old with very limited resources to teach.
Reflections and Thanks
As we reflect upon the Blessings of this past year we continue to give thanks as we enter the final month of December with the Advent of Christmas.
Thank you for your prayers and continued financial support! We are ever so grateful for the monthly donors, yearly donors, and special children donors! Many thanks to the other gracious people who have given so generously to help with obtaining a water supply for the Ngobes.
Should you desire to make a year-end contribution, you may do so by making your contribution to: Cleft Of The Rock Ministries, 35 Galilee Street, Falling Waters, WV.25419. or Pay Pal.
Continue to pray for good water for them. We would not be able to help any of these people without your financial help and prayers. They are so thankful for you all.
God Bless you!
Samuel & Jane Ruth
The dry season in Chiriqui Province, Panama is just about past and the “rainy” season is almost upon us! It is quite refreshing to see the grass on the hillsides and mountains turn green again as trees and flowering plants all begin to thrive!
The seasons allow our ministry to shift gears and focus on future projects. We want to bring you up to date on the Ministry Outreaches while making use of the dry weather.
January was a busy planning month for the outreach at Pastor Manuel’s church at San Felix. Numerous years ago Villa Bethel, a church in the Boquete community, began a ministry for feeding the children there, and as noted previously Cleft Of The Rock Ministries has taken on the responsibility for them temporarily, for the Children’s Feeding Shelter. Previously the food staples were taken to the pastor’s home about a half mile up the remote road and then transported down to the Feeding Shelter at the church. This had become quite a chore! for the Ngobe church people who were doing the cooking for the children.
Upon surveying skill sets of some men and ladies from the Christian Community of Boquete and Volcan, we were able to get a team together and build a Food Pantry under the church annex. With the use of an interpreter, we were able to order materials and have them delivered to the job site. A trailer, kindly loaned to us by our neighbor “Bubba”, was packed with necessary equipment; cement mixer, generator and numerous power and hand tools. Our team traveled to San Felix which was about a two hour drive south east of Boquete on February 22nd to begin our building project. Not only did we build the Food Pantry, but two of our ladies conducted a (2) day mini Bible School while the guys were busy with the project. We were able to eliminate daily travel by lodging at the Fundacion Nuestra Senora Del Camino in San Felix. February 25th we traveled back to Boquete.
The first week of April our friend Matthew Carbone and a group of his friends from Volcan returned to the site at the Food Pantry at San Felix to plaster the outside of the Food Pantry…shout out to you guys – a big Thank you!! It really means a lot to our ministry to have other “Mission Minded” individuals and groups join in, with the purpose of meeting the needs of people where they are; whether physical, material or spiritual.
Jane Ruth and Pam VanEss planned the mini-Bible School and managed to conduct the Bible School in the church building. They also provided “crafts” for the Ngabe children in the Annex where the Food Pantry project was on going -without incident! The theme of the Bible School was “Fishers Of Men.” Our total attendance was approximately 60-70 children-two days with different age groups each day. Of course, some Mom’s and babies came also! Amelkin Silas Giron, the young man that Jane & I are sponsoring to attend a private university, Opteima, in the city of David, served as on the site interpreter. His studies in English were definitely a big plus! Thank you, Amelkin! Amelkin is a Ngabe fron the San Felix church.
All of the activities at San Felix were a great eye opener that presented more needs! The building project magnified and brought us to focus on the need for water. Before embarking on the building project we sent (2) 50 gallon drums in advance in which to store water. The problem is that in the dry season, water is not readily available and we noted a man, one of Pastor Manuel’s congregants, carrying a “nap sack” with a plastic 5 gallon can in it. He had filled it with water and placed the water into the (2) drums – he walked from a distance of about 1 mile we think. He made a return trip several times! Also, children would carry water in gallon jugs to place into the storage drum. It was quite a challenge to be able to get water for use for the building project needs, not to mention that they do this as part of their every day living activities. Then there is the river which is several miles away and this presents the problem of polluted water manifesting with much sickness and health issues. In assessing this need, we were able to talk with Matthew Carbone regarding the drilling of a well. He recently took several guys to San Felix with him to complete the outside wall plastering. The terrain is rough as you can imagine, however, Matthew assures us he can get into the area close to the Feeding Shelter and drill a water well! We know that this will change the community as there will be access to sufficient water.
Our challenge to you our friends – to drill a water well there and compliment the Feeding Shelter and the Community. Water has to be carried for the ladies to be able to cook the rice and beans for the Children’s Shelter. They feed the children 5 days a week. They collect and use rain water sometimes to cook. It is known that when wells are drilled and put into operation, a transformation takes place within the community as one of the basics of life is met.
Presently we are actively trying to raise funds for this need! Several friends have made contributions toward this project already and we thank them so much. Now we present this challenge to you! We are projecting the costs to be about $ 8500.00. We would appreciate any donations towards this project – God bless you in advance for your help financially.
We have more people on board with COTRM! Keith & Pam Van Ess, and Matthew Carbone and group, have voiced joining with our effort for ministering with the Ngabe and Panamanian people. We welcome such talented, servant minded people. Pam is a teacher and has worked with the mission up the road from us – as a dental assistant – she & Keith are multi-talented.
Matthew is going to drill the well for us – and it looks like they have many talents also! We are so blessed – this aspect of COTRM – we didn’t think about, but are so pleased God sent us more hands to do His work! He must have lots more for us to do and is getting us ready in advance! Isn’t it marvelous how God works!!! We had 11 people on our mission trip to San Felix for the food Pantry project. Matthew may have more people interested in mission trips in the future. We welcome them.
Ordinary people living and working with the Ngabe’s / Panamanians of Chiriqui Province, Panama. God Bless! We are definitely growing!
A local Christian doctor had requested if someone could help sponsor and buy some school supplies for a 10 year old child in David. His father had had surgery and had an amputation-his Mom was out of work.
He would not be able to attend school if he did not have uniforms etc. We were so happy to help them. They lived in a one room area with tarps for a door. They were Panamanian. They were so thankful! The little boy had a sign for us when we got to the store to meet them. “God Bless You” was the sign, and he profusely said over and over – thank you, thank you, thank you! And he tried to speak English! We had a lot of fun with both of our limited English and Spanish languages, but the needs are common and known by us all and go beyond language difficulties- there is a oneness in the human spirit.
We take so much for granted! An education is not a given in some poor countries.
REMEMBER TO DONATE FOR THE WELL AT SAN FELIX!
God Bless everyone,
Sam & Jane Ruth – COTRM