Friday, July 2, 2010

Panama Bethel Branch - Part 1

24 June 2010 - 26 June 2010

The Taxi Ride

The Panama Branch arranged for a Brother who is a Taxi driver to pick us up at the Hotel and take us to the Branch. As we were checking out he came up to us and introduced himself, in Spanish. He didn't speak English and of course as you know we don't speak Spanish. But it was still wonderful to meet one of our brothers and we really started to relax. That was until he pulled up his taxi. It was one of the smallest 4 door cars I had ever seen. Only one of our 5 suit cases fit into the trunk, 2 of the bags had to sit in the passenger front seat, and 2 bags had to sit in the back seat between Michelle and I.  I didn't realize until half way to the Branch that the bags in the front were preventing him from shifting into 5th gear, I just felt horrible that he had to deal with that the entire 45 minute drive.

Arrive at the Branch

Driving through Panama City (everyone just calls it Panama) you really see the contrast between the people who have and those that don't. At one point we saw a gated community with a really tall wall around it and just on the other side of the wall was basically a shanty town. But the Branch was like entering another world. Everything was so clean and well maintained it was just breath taking.

We arrived around 1:00 pm after lunch at the branch was over. We had not eaten since 9:30 pm the night before, just before our last flight. The receptionist was getting things ready for us, our room arrangements and tour. When she found out we hadn't had lunch yet, she contacted the kitchen so they could get us something to eat even though lunch was already over. It was a wonderful meal. After that she had a brother take us over to the house we would be staying in. During our entire time at the branch she was very helpful with everything we needed or had questions about.

While we were waiting to take our tour we took a couple of photos of ourselves standing next to some of the reproductions of the original paintings used in the publications.

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