Carmen and Rafael are from El Salvador. They have been married for 15 years, and have lived in various places outside of El Salvador for a good part of that time. By trade Rafael is a painter, and thus they have traveled around Central and South America, & Europe as Rafael struggled to sell his paintings. Recently, they were living back near their families in El Salvador. They had come to know the Lord and were fellowshiping and serving in a Calvary Chapel.
Last October, they decided to come to Panama in hopes that people here had the means to buy Rafael's paintings. The Pastor of their church in El Salvador contacted Pastor Bertin, and put the two in touch. When Pastor Ray, Pastor Bertin, Eric and I came to Panama in November we met Rafael and Carmen for breakfast and everything just fell into place.
Rafael has been our contact here in Panama during the past few months as we all prepared to move. He has been invaluable to us thusfar, and we know that the Lord will continue to use his strengths and gifts to help build the ministry here.
When Pastor Bertin, Veronica and Eric arrived in January, Rafael and Carmen met them at the airport. At that time, they lived in a small apartment in Panama City. That week, the Lord placed it on Pastor Bert's heart to offer them a place to stay in La Chorrera, and the opportunity to serve in a brand new work. They were both thrilled.
This past Wednesday, Carmen and Rafael moved into the pink house, just one door down from Eric and me! For now, the house will also be used as the church and church offices. Monday - Friday, 8 am - 5 pm, Eric, Bert, and Rafael will work and Carmen will answer phones and perform various secretarial duties.
It has been a great blessing these past few days to have Rafael and Carmen as neighbors. I am so thankful to the Lord for providing fellowship and friendship for us all. I feel much more at ease having someone living in the pink house, since Pastor Bertin and Veronica ended up renting a house in an adjacent neighborhood.
And, in addition to that, Carmen and Rafael absolutely adore Anna. For reasons they do not know or understand, God has not given them children, despite a strong desire to be parents. So Carmen just loves Anna and Anna is very attached to Carmen. It is so sweet watching them play together, as I know they are going to have a very special bond!
Please keep these two special people in your prayers!