Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Ends, 2012 Begins

Today is the last day of 2011. What a great year of ministry we have had here in Panama. We have trained 60+ church planters, 15 new groups have been started, mission teams from the U.S. have come and worked with us, and lives have been changed for eternity as people have come to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

On a personal note, this has also been a good year. Just this week on the 28th, Cavin and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. We have now officially started on the next 20 years! Our children are growing and changing right before our eyes. John Robert is in his second year of college at Florida State University - Panama campus; Christian is an 8th grader at Crossroads Christian Academy; and Preston is a 4th grader at Crossroads.

We know that 2012 will bring lots of changes for our family. John Robert will be leaving in early May following the completion of this upcoming semester. We pray that we have prepared him for the future and that he will make wise choices and allow Jesus to lead him through every decision. Christian and Preston will also face changes as we leave Panama and they go to a different school next year. We pray that that all of us are able to allow Jesus to help us through the changes that lie ahead.

Even though we will be leaving Panama in July, there is still a lot of work to do here in Panama before that time. Two new church planting classes will be started in January.  We pray that new churches will be started as church planters are trained.  We have a lot of mission teams already scheduled to come to Panama to work with the UP Team and church planters.

It is our deepest prayer that people will come to know Christ this year in Panama. We have several people we are working with on a one-to-one basis as we witness to them and share with them the truth of the gospel. Please pray for God to work in hearts and lives of people that He longs to have a relationship with here in Panama.

Family Day #5

We finally got to do our Family Day #5 yesterday (Friday).  Christian was in charge of planning the details for this day.  We went to a restaurant we had heard about but had never been.  It's called "Fire and Ice."  It's a restaurant where you pick out your raw meat, then you pick out a seasoning and then they cook it right before your eyes.  It was a lot of fun, and we enjoyed sharing this new experience together.  Later that day we went home and rented a movie and watched it together at home.  All in all, a good day!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Family Day 3 & 4

Yesterday we resumed our family days with Preston taking charge of Day 3.  He planned that we go to his favorite restaurant here in Panama - Wing Zone - to of course, eat hot wings.  After that he wanted to go bowling.  We were able to go to Wing Zone and had a great time, but when we arrived at the bowling place, we found that it was closed, so we went home and played a very competitive game of Uno with Cavin coming out on top.

Today we went to the beach with fellow UP Team members Derek and Audrey.  This was what Cavin wanted to do on his day.  We had a good time of fun in the sun at Isla Grande which is about 2 hours from the city.

See below for some of the photos of the last two days.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Today is Christmas Eve.  We are excited to focus on Jesus - the reason for the season!  We are thankful for the Greatest Gift ever given.  He is the reason we live; He is the reason our family is here in Panama; He is the reason we have hope in this world; He is the reason we have assurance of eternal life!  Praise Him, Praise Him!

Whatever you are doing today, whoever you are spending this day with, and whereever you may be, I pray that you are reflecting on Jesus in your life and thanking Him!

Have a Merry Christmas - from Cavin, Charlotte, John Robert, Christian and Preston

Family Fun Day #3 - postponed due to sickness

Well, during our Family Fun Day #2 Christian began to feel sick and woke up the next day with a fever and chills.  I took her to the doctor and got medicine for her, but we had to postpone Preston's day until after Christmas.  Stay tuned to see what he has planned for his day!  Also, pray that Christian will feel better and be able to fully enjoy Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Family Fun Day #2 (Charlotte's Day)

Today we ate lunch at KFC and then took the kids to do their Christmas shopping at one of our favorite stores - Discovery Center.  It was a nice day for them to think of their siblings and parents and not only themselves.  It will be interesting to see the gifts they came up with!  See pictures below.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Family Christmas

The kids are now all out of school and with Christmas just a few days away everything is a little bit slower for all of us, so we started today by allowing each family member to choose one day to plan a family outing.  We wanted to think of a way to make this Christmas special and memorable for our family.  2012 will be bringing lots of changes to our family as John Robert will be going away to college.  We know that it may not be as easy to have all of our family together to just have fun.  Cavin and I talked about what we could do and we decided that we would allow each family member to plan a day to do something together as a family (within reason, of course). Each of the kids threw out a lot of ideas and some we couldn't possibly do.  Each idea had to be approved by us to be able to do it.  Today was John Robert's Day.  He chose to go to lunch at Benihana (a Japanese restaurant where they cook the food in front of you) and then to see the movie Mission Impossible 4.  We had a good time spending time together as a family.  You can see pictures below.  Tomorrow is my day (Charlotte's).  Read tomorrow to see what family fun I plan for my day!

Dia de Juan Roberto (John Robert's Day)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cawthon News

Reed, Jenni, and Jessi left on Thursday.  We were sad to see them go, but thankful to have had time to spend together and make memories.  We are now eagerly awaiting the arrival of my parents - Bob and June Martin - in a little less than 4 weeks!

Monday night we will be hosting a Christmas party for our Selah group at our home.  We are praying this will be a time of fun and fellowship and also that we will have guests who may want to be a part of this group.  Continue to pray for this group.  We are planning some big things for 2012!  Stay tuned!

During the past couple of weeks some things have occurred that will change our stateside plans a little.  Originally, we thought we would be here in Panama until December 2012.  However, through praying, reflecting on what God is doing here and talking with supervisors, it has been determined that July 2012 is going to be the time for us to leave Panama.

Several factors have gone into making this decision.  For one thing, our teammates Derek and Audrey Tucker will be ending their time of service here at that time.   The other couple on our team - Tim and Tina Louderback - will be changing their focus somewhat in January (2012) and they will work more with joining US teams with churches in Panama.  They will continue to work with the UP Team until July when the UP Team disbands.  We have seen God work mightily here in Panama through the Church Planting Institute and we are excited about the work our Panamanian brothers and sisters are doing.   Kenny and Cheryl Morris (fellow IMB missionaries here in Panama) will continue to work with the church planters after we leave.  Their focus is on mobilization of Panamanians throughout Panama.

Our plan for stateside is to live in a mission house on the campus of First Baptist Church of Eagles's Landing in Stockbridge, GA (Atlanta Metro).  This is one of our U.S. partner churches.  It is truly a blessing to be able to use their "Oasis House" during our stateside.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Week in Review

This week was a good week.  Plans are being put into place to teach another church planting course.  This one will be for the Kuna people.  The Kuna are one of the seven indigenous groups here in Panama.  God is truly doing a work among the Kuna people and they are on fire for the Lord and want to reach their people for Him.  This group will be starting after the first of the year and we are expecting it to be our largest class thus far.  Please start praying now for this class and that God will speak to those who He wants in this class.

Tomorrow afternoon, we will be heading out to Santa Fe to assist in some follow up with some of our church planters.  They will be visiting several homes where the people have made a decision for Christ or expressed interest in Bible study or the new church in that community.

We are also excited to have Reed, Jenni and Jessi here in Panama.  We've had fun showing them this beautiful country and just catching up with them.  This is the most time we've gotten to spend with Jessi since she was born.  She was born while we were living in Costa Rica so it's been fun getting to know her.  She will be 2 next month.  She is truly a sweet little girl and has made us laugh a lot!