138 Dirksen Drive, DeBary, FL US 32713
Hi! This is Bella Passieu. It was day six today in Panama. We first went to a community center for the kids in the inner-city who are not as privileged as we are. We played all kinds of games with them and just loved on them. Most or all of the kids that go there only have one parent, who is often under the age of 18. It was eye opening to go and see the joy these kids have even though they struggle with things that we couldn’t even imagine. After that, we went to a Christian school for a carnival. Since I am on the dance team, I had the opportunity to perform in front of all of the kids and parents that attended the carnival. It was so much fun to see the kids smile and just have fun while they watched us dance. This was truly an eye-opening day and I had the best time.
-Bella Passieu, junior
Hello outside world, It’s ya boy Eric McCartney. Day six in Panama was a success. First thing we did today was go to downtown Panama City to a small community center. As we all walked into the room the kids all welcomed us with open arms. Within five minutes of being there, a young boy by the name of Carlos had taken a liking to me. He was around my neck almost the whole time except for when we got some agua. We ran around the whole complex at least 20 times in five minutes. It was exhausting but it was so much fun. It was heart-breaking when I had to tell him goodbye. After the community center we went to a Panamanian Christian Academy where we had a carnival for everyone to enjoy. I was one of a select group of three to wear a costume and makeup, run around, dance, and take pictures with all the kids. Today was an amazing day full of making memories which I will never forget.
-Eric McCartney, senior
Hello, my name is Dawson. I am a high school junior and live in the Pittsburgh area. So far, the team of troops is doing great. Operation Bravo Panama 2K18 is in full send and is operating like a well-oiled 03’ Honda civic. The experience is totally surreal, I never pictured myself being out of the country serving everyone but myself and loving it so much. Many stories have been about the day and how great it was on the outside, but I want to go into the depths and descriptions about how much God has impacted us. As a team, we are constantly trying to better ourselves and others. It is so spectacular when we meet up and worship and debrief, but what something that is really amazing is how independent the students are with their faith. Some real-life fellowship takes place in the moments you least expect it, one of which I experienced today. After everything was said and done, the team was heading to dinner. The bus ride was an hour to the roadside restaurant in which we were heading. This trip, although short, was impactful. We talked to amazing people and heard what really makes them unique. Hearing their journey and their destination is so motivational and can really change your perspective. In an anticipated conclusion, I would like to say one last thing to the fortunate reader that has kept their attention throughout my blog post: An internal change is to be expected with your child, He/She has been exposed to a life changing experience and will never be the same.
-Dawson Cross Anderson (11thGrade)
Today was absolutely amazing. First, we went to a center for underprivileged kids. It is amazing to see how kids who have so little give so much love. Some of us were jumping rope; some played on the jungle gym, and some just had the most fun by simply interacting with the kids. On this trip, I think a lot about how my life would be so much different if I was raised in a place like this, how I have so much that they don’t, but I still find times to complain about minor inconveniences. One thing that blew my mind about these kids was the braiding skills of the girls and the soccer skills of the boys. This country loves soccer and you can surely tell that through the kids who play it, even if they don’t have shoes to wear. While at this center, I realized that the only thing these kids want is love. They just want someone to hold them, to pay attention to them, and it was utterly heartbreaking, to see how they were desperate for love and affection. It was very hard to say goodbye to that group of kids; tears were shed by some of us as we walked out.
After we finished at the center, we headed to Panama Christian Academy where we held a fair for the kids. It was outside and extremely hot, but I was super proud of our team for not complaining once, especially for the people who had to dress up and wear makeup (especially the boys who were costume characters). We set up different stations that consisted of games, balloons, face painting, and a photo booth. The thing that makes everything worth it is the smile you see on the kid’s faces, especially when the gospel is being shared with them.
For dinner, we went to a roadside BBQ place where we had meat in a basket. I didn’t have high expectations for it, but it was actually pretty good. It was a ton of fun because the Panamanian music was amazing there, and we all decided to dance together in a conga line!
Hi Mom, Dad, Bobby, and Tyson. Miss yinz.
- Kaitlyn Dittrich, college freshman