Bar Exam

I’ll be HOME later today! I started this post about the Carlton Short-term Team while living the airport lounge high life in Lima and am posting from jetBlue’s “Fly-fi” somewhere over southern FL.

As has become my custom, I welcomed Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Wichita Falls, TX, with their church logo on the chalkboard wall at our hostel. 

I loved their practice of beginning and ending most days in the Word together. 

The national church's #1 priority was prepping & painting the ironwork grills covering the 1st floor windows...and lots of other places you don't notice until your job is to prep & paint it all, like the stair rail.

It's more fun with friends! I knew both of these ladies from previous teams. 

We had dinner at a restaurant inside Albrook Mall one night, then walked around a bit. These were clearly a temporary installation in honor of February's annual Carnaval celebration. 

The dinosaur, on the other hand, is there all the time. Yes, it makes rumbly digesting noises during the ride up.

While not part of my original plan for our culture day, I'd been wanting to scale Cerro Ancón, so I was glad the team suggested it. Up we go...

I promise there's a sloth up there: my life is complete. We saw a toucan, too, but I've seen those before. 

THIS was my plan for culture day. I can guarantee you the Panama Canal hadn't changed much since I'd last been there...Friday with the regional team :)

Love, love, love me some of Rev. Raphael Voigt's Wednesday night Bible study on Revelation. He's almost through writing the Spanish version; I'm on the edge of my seat for the English translation. 

The street-facing facade and stair rail are looking spiffy!

Thursday through Saturday nights, we enjoyed Deac. Griselda's yummy cooking...without having to go anywhere but downstairs to the hostel's outdoor kitchen. 

Friday morning, Rev. Arthur Rickman, with his family in tow, led an opening devotion. 

Who knew you had to paint metal rafters with vinegar first so the paint sticks? Me, because no fewer than three people told me as much as I did a walkthrough of our task list and built my initial hardware store shopping list. 

The bitter end of the ironwork. 

Lest you wonder where all the photos of me with a paintbrush in my hands are, let me set the record straight: I've settled comfortably into my role as photographer, gofer, water police, caterer, and more on the past few LAC work teams. I came dressed in work clothes every day but spent more time scrolling than scraping. My home service presentation was nearly done by the end of the week. 

Our original Saturday morning plans got thrown out of whack (#Carnaval), so we explored the Causeway. 

You can easily kill at least an hour in the BioMuseo's gardens and atrium without buying a ticket. The rubber fig tree (pictured) survives only thanks to the singular species of miniscule wasp that can pollinate it. 

My surprise lunch pick, Cafe Coca Cola, is fast become a Panama team staple. 

Now back to work! 

The team literally poured their heart and soul...and occasionally some Qwikcrete...into every task. 

On my sixth trip to Panama, I finally worshipped at Misión Los Andes for the first time!

Then, Superbowl Sunday or not, this crew had a job to finish. 

Putting the finishing touches on TWO doors lasted until after sunset...and kickoff.

I tossed out the idea of going to TGI Friday's for an authentic American football watch party, but either no one truly cared about the game or they all explicitly trusted my dinner pick, a local brewhouse sans TVs. 

Though less than ideal, I left for Peru several hours before the team left for the US. With no further parsonage remodel teams on the docket, it'll be exciting to watch what local professionals - and local church members - are able to do in the coming months. And as the remodel winds down, I'm eager to begin pondering where else - and how else - volunteers can impact LCMS church planting efforts in the Crossroads of the World. 

Until next time, blessings in Christ!