Farallon, Panama 2012

Wow! Who knew this trip could be such an enriching experience for our little group of 8? Not only have we had the opportunity to get to know the people of Farallon, we've also had the privilege to get to know one another on a deeper level. It has been a great growth process for everyone involved. From chickens roaming the community, cold showers, and daily swims in the ocean, Farallon is unlike anything we've ever experienced before. Day by day, we've begun to appreciate our lives in America more and more. Many of the families here have tiny homes without running water or bathrooms. Food is not as readily available in Farallon as it is in the states. The kids don't even have toys or balls. They come by the Upton's home to ask to borrow a soccer ball for a few hours when they want to play. All of this while there are beautiful resorts less than a mile down the beach.

Despite their struggles, these kids are simply amazing. They have such joy and are a blast to be around. We were in awe the first time they sang with us at VBS, as they literally began to sing at the top of their lungs. The people of Farallon have been such a blessing to be around. We've had the opportunity to get to know Dionisia, Raphael, Josephina, and their family, who live in the middle of the community. They are one of the few proclaimed Christians in the village. Last night, Dionisia stopped by to sing with us. To say the least, it was a very powerful moment for all of us as we sang her favorite Spanish hymns and shared a few of our favorites. She is the epitome of living by faith in a fallen world. There have been so many lessons I've learned thus far, the greatest being the need for love. Although these children and their families have many physical and material needs, their greatest need is to be loved. In America, many of our needs become emotional because we are so materially blessed. However, when we get down to it, aren't we are all just in search of love and acceptance?