Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tugri, Panama Missions Trip

If you like to see beautiful mountains and tons of extremely happy children (although they have NOTHING), then this is the post for you! 

In January my husband, Matt and I went on a missions trip up into the mountains of Panama to a very small village called Tugri. This has been an ongoing mission to the Ngobe Indian tribe there that has been happening since 2006 with a team from First Free Church out of Onalaska, WI.

The full story of Tugri and how missionaries were brought up there is a very long one, but I can assure you, it is a complete God story. Even while we were there, so many things happened that just proved how clear it is that God wants His people working up in Tugri with the Ngobe.

The children were very comfortable around us, and the adults are warming up to us now. Several adults and children came to Christ while we were there, which was such a blessing to see and be apart of. Our work there consisted mainly of putting a concrete floor in the ministry building that was built on the last couple trips. This building, aside from the school, is the only thing in Tugri other than small homes. It will be used for DTS (discipleship training school) classes, church, and whatever else the community needs. The people that travel hours and hours on foot through the mountains to attend the DTS will also be able to stay there over night during future DTS sessions.

Aside from pouring the concrete floor and the DTS that was happening, we had a Children's ministry program during the day and also showed Christian movies every night using a bed sheet and a generator.

There is so much more I could say about this amazing trip, the culture of the Ngobe, and the need for Christ in Tugri, but I will let the pictures do the talking... 

The school in Tugri where we stayed. Classes go up to 6th grade.

Being one of three married couples on the trip we got our own room! It was a back room where the teachers stay for the week when school is in session. 

There are lots of hungry, wild puppies everywhere. These mountains were the view out of our room (which is in the building at the right of this picture). 

The school's garden. All the fences are made like this.

Lots of smiling faces at the children's ministry!

Don't eat that!!

Precious feeties

I loved his little mow-hawk! It stood straight up with his hair's natural grease...

There's no question these two are siblings!

Another hungry puppy in the school yard.

Silly little Ruth... One of Pastor Raphael's many children.

The walk from the school to the job site. 
One day I turned to the right and realized I was literally standing right under a rainbow.

My hard working husband at the job site. He is closest to the camera. I helped at the job site too some days... I was a rock shoveling girl! 

Walk back from the ministry building.

A Ngobe home with a nice yard.

Matt with just one of our many buddies. The little boys really loved him! The kids don't get affection from either of their parent's in this culture, so it was so nice to give them all the love they were clearly craving. Note: another style of Ngobe homes in the background.

I loved him!

The kitchen at the school!
 Yep, this is where the ladies cooked (over a fire) for us! Some very yummy meals too.

Mi Amigo

Say Cheese!!

There we are! With the side of the kitchen in the background and the garden to the left.

During a fun activity of picking up trash. Very serious girls and silly little boys. 

Missionary kid photo bomb! ;)

He had a bit of an accident during one of our activities. His sister stuck him behind a tree to finish up and he was just fine after that! :)

The Oh-so-charming Santiago. 

He had little sparkly eyes and always a HUGE smile for you!

Left our mark on the new floor.

Matt finishing up the very last section of the floor! Yippee! 

A little dirty.

This is Pastor Raphael's home. It is up on the hill behind the school. He is standing in the porch area along with his son, little Raphael. :)

And this would be the view from his house!

Here is the inside of the home. Keep in mind, this is an incredibly nice Ngobe home. The mission team built it for him and his family a few years back. He even just got electricity! One of the only homes up there with it. He will charge missionary's electronics for .25/hour. :)

This is the "Serpent". Tail on the right, face on the left... ?? Somehow. 

Coming down off the mountains we stopped at the ocean, and my was it beautiful!!

The was a field across from the YWAM base with some pretty cute cows.

For one day we visited the Embera tribe. They are only hours away from the Ngobe, but they are much more vibrant people. They are very crafty and creative and always working to better themselves.

The little Embera boys thought it was great to hang off of Matt and be lifted in the air!
Matt got an arm workout!

Mr. Chocolate. :)

Hope you enjoyed this little piece of Panama - we sure did, and we plan to go back to Tugri and do more work in the future. 

Blessings to you and yours,


  1. Wow. What an adventure for both of you, and joyful little children. They do need a lot of help, even some doctors. You should share this at Stephanie's Enchanting Rose.

  2. What beautiful kids and an amazing adventure for you and the hubs. Impressed!