|Greetings Loyal Readers and Support Partners!
These past few months continue to present us with continued activities and opportunities for further outreach. Our organization is growing with more needs than ever! When Cleft Of The Rock Ministries was first started God said identify the need and I will supply the means. We are taking Him at His Word!
During the month of May we welcomed James and Anita Stoltzfus , Sam’s cousin and husband from Georgia. We made a trip to the Mount of Olives Missionary Church in Volcan, 1hr, from Boquete.
We bought paint supplies and were able to put a base coat of paint on the newly built classroom, social hall, and part of the kitchen. We worked along side Lillian & Alexis Zapota, a dedicated couple who faithfully serve in numerous capacities there.
Following this outreach, James, Anita, Jane and Sam made a trip to San Felix about two hours east of Boquete, where we explored the opportunity of helping a young Ngobe man obtain further education. He expressed a desire to become an English Teacher. He had completed almost one year of school earlier in his life at a government university while living with his brother, but due to finances could not continue. He still had the desire for education 10 years later! Dreams still happen!
Jane surveyed the need for blankets for babies while Anita engaged the children in several games as they were waiting to be fed at the feeding shelter. James and Sam did some measurements to estimate materials that would be needed in the area designated to serve as a food pantry .The food could be stored at the new room for use in the feeding program instead of at the Pastor’s home about a 20 min walk from the church.
Jane and I travelled to Caisan in June, about an hour and a half west of Boquete to the Faithful Servant Mission .We assisted with food distribution of staples to local Ngobe families. While accompanying James & Kaye Rush from Costa Rico, we were blessed to be able to supply baby blankets from Birch Grove sewing circle to the babies. We were able to also supply 3 mattresses to a hard working Ngobe family. The mother and girls slept in one room on 2 mattresses while the husband and boys slept on the floor in the other room- creature comforts do matter! A young mother had cement supplies stolen from her and we were able to aid her in starting over to make a cement pad in front of her small home in hopes of building a new room in the future. This is people’s donations at work! Small things mean a lot.
We also were blessed to give some sweatshirts and sweaters to the pre-school Ngobe children at Cannes Verde near Boquete who need these to soften the cold effects of wind and rain that many endure. It sometimes takes an hour for them to walk one way to school in the higher mountains. Sam watched a little 4 yr.old boy who came to pre-school, don his backpack after lunch with Ana, the pastor’s wife who also teaches, and trod off up the mountain to home! We also were able to give backpacks for them.
On our next adventure, Ritchie returned with us to San Felix and translated as Sam gave a short Sermonette to the congregation per Pastor Emanual’s request. Jane also was able to give baby quilt blankets and soft, handmade toys to mother’s with babies; the mothers were also given hand lotion. As we were leaving, one Ngobe grandmother came running out of the church and asked for baby blankets for her 2 daughters at home with 2 newborn babies-how’s that for Grandma watching out for her own! Then the Pastor was in pursuit and said we had missed some Mom’s! They love the blankets- a huge shout-out to Birch Grove Mennonite Church Sewing Circle!
Ngobe Grandma Indicating the need for more Baby Blankets¦..glad we could!
Meet Amelkin who is one of the men at the San Felix church and Pastor Manuel’s right hand man. He leads the youth group and the group’s band and teaches Bible, etc. to the children after school. We are personally sponsoring him to return to Universidad ( but not through Cleft of the Rock Ministries)-to become an English teacher. We would not be able to give tax exempt status for donations, so we are sponsoring him ourselves due to some restrictions through our Articles of Incorporation. People can apparently donate, but there would be no tax exemption. We want him to go to school so we personally will help him.
Another gentleman we have recently met is Armando Dixon. He was adopted when young, a Ngobe, and went back to live with his people for awhile. He is currently Director of Casa Esperanza in Boquete, an organization that helps Ngobes-they feed 202 children daily during the week and have after school activities. He is a Christian also. We were fascinated with his life story and of attending college- he wants to get his Masters in English. He is quite an example for the Ngobe. He wanted to accompany us to San Felix when we took food up for the children’s feeding shelter. We were so pleased-he interpreted for us, and was able to speak at church to the Ngobe congregation. They have many children and young people attending church there, also young parents. We want him to meet Amalkin some day to encourage him and be a mentor.
Armando, Pastor Manuel & Jane @ Outside Kitchen
Sam gave a short sermonette from II Kings 4 regarding useful Vessels and then prayed a prayer Blessing of the Buckets for the families to store water in-especially when the dry season comes. Sam modified the buckets with spigots! There were two large outside tanks with rainwater from the roof stored in them when we were there today Sept.6th. Sam also brought another large water storage tank for them to put in the outside kitchen in which water can be stored for the large kettles that they cook rice and beans in. We want to give another shout out to the children of Crossroads Community Church of Johnstown, Penna. for their donation towards water projects. God bless these little givers abundantly!
BUCKETS OF BLESSING
One concern we are praying about is we discovered that the San Felix Feeding Shelter for the children had not had food for the children for over 2 months. Apparently, the organization that was helping them can not do so at this time due to lack of funds. We feel God wants us to step in and help if we can. We will help for a year, and then maybe the other group will be able to pick up again. We will reassess then. To some people this may be the only meal of the day. Rice and beans (arroz & frijoles) does not sound great, but to the Ngobe children, it is life. We were able today, Sept. 6th, to deliver food at the same time we delivered the buckets and tank. We felt relieved that the children would be getting meals again. Some of the young boys/teenagers-and women!came down to the main road to carry the food up to the church-1/8th of a mile uphill. One boy carried 50 lbs of rice and 40 lbs of beans on top of that! A woman heaved 50 lbs of rice on her shoulders and I am saying, No!No! They laughed at me-this is common for them. One of the boys then did take it and she carried something else less heavy.
We want to also say thanks to Birch Grove Mennonite church-we use their very much appreciated donations toward the children’s feeding program. God Bless You all for your giving!
We covet your prayers and we ask God’s wisdom as we fulfill needs around us. May we always have our hearts and eyes open to God’s Will and Spirit, and the opportunities He presents to us for the people of Panama,
Your servants in Panama,
Sam & Jane Ruth