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Latin America Resource
and Training Center

Counting Our Blessings
By Rod and Sherry Boyd

We are old enough to remember singing the song Count Your Blessings from the hymnal…

Count your blessings, name them one by one
Count your blessings, see what God has done
Count your blessings, name them one by one
Count your many blessings, see what God has done!

It’s Thanksgiving week, a time when we count our blessings. It doesn’t look like we’re going to be enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving meal this year. Sometimes as missionaries we don’t always have that option. But we still get to count our blessings!

There is nothing more important than knowing Christ. He has blessed us in so many ways. We enjoy good health that allows us to fulfill a busy ministry schedule. We live under God’s faithful provision and we don't take this for granted. Our kids love and serve God and have given us three beautiful grandchildren. We just received word that our youngest daughter Jennifer and her husband Geoff will be giving us a fourth!

After knowing Christ, there is no greater privilege than making Him known! We see the 16 years of pastoral ministry and now 20 years of missionary service as both an incredible journey and an amazing adventure! What some may consider a sacrifice, we see as an honor. God has given us the dream job of raising up Christian leaders in Panama and throughout Spanish-speaking Latin America.

Ministerial Training. We conducted another PROCEPA teacher training seminar in Managua, Nicaragua a couple of weeks ago. The PROCEPA program offers practical workshops for the 5,000 professors teaching in 1,000 Bibles schools and training centers throughout Latin America. To date we have 2,400 teachers enrolled in the training program. Of the 118 that attended the seminar in Managua, 21 completed their basic level certification that consists of taking 10 two-hour workshops. We now have nearly 200 that have completed the basic level and will continue on in the 2013-2014 update cycle, required to maintain their certification.

PROCEPA training is given at national seminars and at the International Educators Summits. Attendance at the 2012 Summits – Costa Rica in April and Peru in September – increased from 633 in 2010 to 909 this year. By request of the national church in Mexico, we’ve added a third International Educators Summit, scheduled for Aug. 26-29, 2013 in Mexico. We are expecting 400 to attend. Planning is underway for this Summit and the two 2014 Summits that are scheduled for El Salvador in March and Uruguay in September.

Latin America ChildCare and schools. We spoke with a pastor last week about his desire to open a school in the town of Pacora, located about 20 miles outside of Panama City. The school needs just a little help to get started. We’re so happy that Latin America ChildCare can help with sponsorships! And that’s where so many of you come into the picture. You have faithfully sponsored these kids, giving so many a chance for a bright future that they may not have had otherwise. Thank you!

There are two or three other schools that will be opening their doors in 2013. When we arrived to Panama there were six schools with about 1,250 students attending. With the new schools opening next year, there will be close to 40 Good Shepherd Schools in Panama with well over 8,000 children and youth attending!

A couple of days ago we had a Christmas party for the sponsored kids at the Las Mananitas Good Shepherd School. We’ll share a separate story about how special and meaningful these Christmas celebrations are for the kids. I was impressed once again by the quality of education that is offered at our schools. We always ask the 12th grade graduates what their plans are for the next year. Every single one of these students will be going on to university studies. You are making a difference! We heard the other day that one of our high school graduates had recently earned first place graduating from the School of Medicine at the University of Panama.

Steve and Marcy Hong (Sherry’s sister and husband) visited us here in Panama about three weeks ago. They sponsor several children and provide special help for the Duima and Soloy schools located in the Guaymi Indian region in northwest Panama. They brought gifts for the graduates they sponsor and for all of the children at the Duima and Soloy schools. Even the Panamanians consider these two remote schools as missionary projects! It's not easy getting to them. We had to walk a bit to get to the Duima school... and forgot the umbrellas in the car! 

We so admire the work of Walkiria who directs the Soloy school and oversees the director of the Duima school. The vast majority of the children come from families in extreme poverty. The breakfast and lunch that the kids receive at the schools may be the only meals they have. These kids receive the gospel and a quality Christian education. Please join us in praying for a special need at the Soloy. The school needs to purchase a piece of property adjacent to the school to continue classroom construction.

The Tennessee Pathfinders have almost single-handedly built the school. They have also raised funds for the purchase of property that is owned by an organization. Most of the board is willing to sell but it needs to be unanimous. Please pray that God will speak to each member of that board so that the purchase can be finalized. The Pathfinders are scheduled to return in January to build another classroom on the new property!

Thank you! Dozens of churches and families have blessed us with faithful prayer and financial support. You are helping us live our dream. We pray God’s blessings for you! We hope you’ll join us count our blessings!

Counting our blessings
Counting our blessings
Counting our blessings
Educator Summits
Counting our blessings
Christian school growth in Panama
Counting our blessings
Counting our blessings
Counting our blessings
Counting our blessings
Counting our blessings