Well we’ve been here 1 month today. Great! …only 5 more to go before the cycle of “culture shock” gets to the worst part. Right now is supposed to be the “honey moon phase”, though I gotta tell you, if this was my real honey moon, I would have concerns about the marriage. Sure we have enjoyed parts of finally being here in Panama, but we have already had moments where my wife and I have both thought, “Oh no. What have we done!” Prior to this year we had spent a year in Costa Rica to learn Spanish and if you know us, your probably already knew that. That year was vital to our survival here in Panama, because even though we speak on the level of a 1st grader right now, it puts us leaps and bounds ahead with
people around here and of course it affords us more independence as we do life and ministry.
This year will surely be a year of growth, investigation and strategizing. A time for prayer, and listening both to God and to people. We have to perfect the art of question asking as we lay the track for our team coming behind us. We know that we have come to build up the church here in Panama. We know that we want to see the multiplication of healthy, biblical churches that transform people in Panama, one life, one family and one community at a time into who Christ wants them to be. However before we can really succeed we must find out what the people here are thinking, feeling and believing. This is where we get to wear our anthropologist hats and yet assess through the lense of scripture. A great example of what I am
talking about is Paul in Athens. (See Acts 17:16-34). A key verse to note is Acts 7:23, “For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.” This is the careful assessment that I am referring to. I heard a wise man say once that missionaries and pastors must always be students of the “Text” and the “Context”. He was referring to the Bible and those we mean to share its’ truth with and though the balance is hard one to maintain; it is critical to strive for continually. He likened it to a bridge that had to be firmly anchored on both sides to serve its purpose well.
On the home front, we are stressed. I’d like to sound “victorious” but i’m just keeping it real. Please keep us in prayer. I don’t mean to sound alarming or even as if I am complaining. We knew this was part of the process going in, though it doesn’t make navigating the challenges that much easier. We keep wanting stability for our family and yet life only assures us of more change. Please pray for Ethan, Ezra and Eli as they will be starting school this Monday. It is an international school but it is Spanish speaking. This seems like a great school but this will be an adjustment for them from their school in Costa Rica. Please keep them in Prayer for their learning and friendships to go well.
Bianca is amazing. I am undeserving of this women. And no, I am not being humble. Those of you who know us can attest. Over and over again she has displayed a remarkable resolve that quite frankly has me in awe much of the time. Not many women could do what she does and make it all look so easy. She does it and adds even her touch of style and grace to make it complete. We have moved more times than I can count. In fact now we have a 3 year Christmas tradition going of moving to new countries. (I’m eager to break that tradition!) I think we have lived in every kind of house except maybe a teepee or a yurt and yet she finds a way to make anything feel like home. The girl who could win beauty pageants can also
crush cockroaches with her flip flop and thinks geckos inside her house are “cute”. What a women! I thank Jesus for her. If you could solicit prayer for her, I think she would also ask for a feeling of peace from the Lord for a place to stay for a while. However that is accomplished. We don’t want to leave the area of Panama that we are in and change the school the boys are going to attend this year but the house we are in is also for sale and therefore we can’t get too comfortable. Pray for us to find a place to stay for at least a few years, if the Lord would permit it.
For me, I am thinking about lots of stuff. The Lord, life, family, ministry, my team, tools and finances. We miss our family, friends and partners in the U.S. and think of them often. The holidays have made that feeling even more acute for me. If you would pray for me, please pray about my heart being nearer to Christ than ever before. Pray for me to hear his voice as clearly as crystal as we take our first steps here in Panama. We need wisdom with commitments and partnerships. We need His provision for the 2nd van. We are hoping for a 15 Passenger – Toyota Hiace which used would be about $23,000 and at present, we still need at least $13,500 to buy it. This tool would certainly allow us to be able to do more but we are dependent on the Lord’s timing for all these things and everything else. Most of all, I think I need patience, trust and not to fear. I don’t know what will happen in the future and everyday I think about that. Though the possibility of all that could
happen for the glory of God keeps me moving forward. I think often of the phrase “perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf” from the mouth of Jonathan in 1 Sam. 14:6. Its that possibility that I hope in. God is so good and we walk forward into unknown future by remembering what He has made known to us of himself in the past.
Well hopefully this has been a helpful update for all of those “Following the Fowler’s”! I can tell you with confidence that we are so thankful for each person standing beside us. There is a feeling like I cannot explain when you are far from home in a foreign country and often alone, yet sure that people are remembering your family before the Lord and interceding for you routinely. We are part of you and part of your churches and we know it and feel it. We love you and praise the Lord for you and hope to connect with as many of you as possible in the days ahead since we are now finally here in Panama.
If you desire to connect with us our new information is below:
(724) 466-0682 (Free for USA Callers)
(507) 345-3527 (House Phone-Panama)
(507) 6578-6736 (Jon’s Cell – Panama)
(507) 6578-7788 Bianca’s Cell – Panama)
USA Mailing Address: Attn. Jon Fowler, 1239 Rolling Meadow Rd., Pittsburgh, PA 15241
PANAMA Mailing Address: Not Coming Soon. Best way to mail is bring it in person or pass it to someone coming.
email@example.com (Family Email)
Facebook: Look for followingthefowlers or Jon and Bianca each have a page.
Skype: Jon.fowler2 is the best to use.
Bendiciones in Cristo,