August 2015 Update

Hello family and friends,

It’s time for a little update!

We have been in Panama for 8 weeks now and things are going pretty well. We really love it here but we do greatly miss our friends and family at home in Colorado and the USA!

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As a matter of fact last week we packed the boys into the car and made a 40 minute drive to the town of DAVID to go to the only McDonalds around here so that we can just “feel” like we were in the USA for a few minutes. And even though it is a real McDonalds, it isn’t quite the same. Everything is in Spanish, the sandwiches aren’t all the same, but the french fries do taste exactly the same….Ah bliss. Just for a few minutes kids. Close your eyes and enjoy eating at McDonalds!  Why do I say this with a bit of a chuckle? Because I used to abhor going to McDonalds. Now it is the only thing around here that reminds us of home! We’ve eaten twice here in 2 months… and I don’t feel guilty. 🙂

In Boquete, Panama, there are NO chain restaurants! Not one. There are no Subways. There are no KFC’s. There are no McD’s…     so we are eating much better and much healthier all around!  This is a good thing! We can get the chain foods if we want them bad enough, it just takes 40 minutes to get there, so it doesn’t happen very often.

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Despite the culture shock/home sickness, which we were totally expecting, we are continually amazed with what we see here in Panama. Not only is there physical beauty everywhere, there is opportunity for those with vision and business minds. Panama seems to be about 20-30 years behind the USA in business ideas and infrastructure.

For example, they are just coming up with donut shops…. (Think Dunkin Donuts 20 years ago)… Erik and I see opportunities all over the place for businesses that would do well. This is an amazing place for people willing to risk a little and dream big!

Erik and I had an opportunity to get away for an evening with my brother Daniel and another friend who lives in Panama City. He took us to the old historical district where they are refurbishing these 350 year old buildings. We found an amazing little restaurant called Las Clementinas.  This restaurant/building is a part of the original city wall from 350-400 years ago and they have part of that wall in their restaurant. So cool!

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So… My brother got the first hectare of land purchased for a greenhouse! We have to wait 50-60 days for the title to transfer before we can start building. So, we are looking at some other farming opportunities in the meantime including leasing some hectares to grow carrots on without a greenhouse. Yee Haw! We are going to be farmers! 🙂

In the meantime I (Wendy) have been homeschooling the boys which is going fine. We have found a good house church to be a part of that we really like. I am actually leading worship for it as well. We are starting to settle in and trying to find our daily groove.

We got a kitten and have named her Bella. It has been a really good thing for the boys as they adjust to life here. She is such a sweet little girl and she was found starving out in the jungle by a couple at our church. She had had lots of tuna and milk from us and is plumping right up! She is a happy creature who cuddles and purrs a lot. We think she is happy to have a good place to call home.

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My mom (Carrie) was supposed to move out here a few weeks ago. I flew in to get her and right before I got there she developed Vertigo and passed out. She has been in a rehab center ever since trying to recover. She has had good days and then not so good days. If you could say a prayer for her, we’d really like to get her well and here with us in Panama soon!

Well, that is all for now. Please send us an email to connect and let us know what is going on in your life as well! We send our love…

Erik, Wendy and the boys (and Bella)

We made it to Panama!

Hello friends and family,

July 1st we packed up our 10 suitcases, 5 carry on’s and 5 personal items and made our way to the Colorado Springs airport where our “Papa and Mimi” saw us off to Panama!

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We made a connecting flight in Houston and then landed in Panama City where we caught a small commuter flight to David.

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Everything went perfectly as far as lines, customs, baggage searches…. we had no hassles and got through lines in record time. The boys had a good time and enjoyed the trip.

My brother Daniel and his family picked us up at the airport in David and brought us to Boquete where we now live. (That sounds so strange to say!)

 

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The home we are renting for now is so pretty. God worked out a little miraculous situation for us to stay here. The photo above of Josiah with the lush vegetation is our backyard. That is the volcano Baru behind him (non-active). 🙂 Here is a photo of the guys on our back patio. It is truly beautiful here!!

We went to a small house church today that meets in a local family’s home. It was so nice and refreshing and the Spirit of God was moving among the people.

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Here is a photo of my sister-in-law Tracy. We are living next door to them and THAT is such a blessing for this transitional period into a new country! They are helping us with everything!

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We found an awesome coffee shop in downtown Boquete. A Frape Sin Cafe Hazelnut is my new favorite thing… seriously better than anything I’ve tasted at Starbucks. SCORE.

I have figured out that I’m going to have to learn Spanish very fast so that I know HOW to order my coffee! LOL.

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The boys have taken the move in stride. They seem very happy and excited for our new adventure. It still feels like we are on vacation however and when school starts our new reality will probably kick in a little harder. They miss their cousins terribly and their good friends. We miss our church and our friends and family as well. This move wasn’t done lightly or on a whim. We have felt led to come here and we feel there is purpose in the direction we have come. We are excited to see it unravel as we walk it out now.

More to come later! Thanks for your interest in our lives!

June Panama Selvig Update

Well… this move has been really hard. This is harder than we ever imagined… and by harder I mean physically hard, as well as emotionally hard. Monday was “the day” we were originally trying to be out of Colorado.

Five weeks we have been trying to complete this move.This has got to be a record slow move.  We watched Monday come and go and laughed a little (and some of us cried a little)… Erik has broken his toe. I came down with a respiratory illness that has left me with no energy. We are moving in what feels like molasses. We found out our beloved Lucy of 18 years (our cat) has a failing liver and will have to be put down next week. (The kids don’t know yet so don’t say anything please.) Oh yeah, and we are moving.  But enough of the sob story….(and thank you for listening… lol)

We think (fingers crossed) we will be mostly out by this weekend. We think (fingers crossed again) that we might buy our plane tickets Monday. We hope (fingers crossed) to be on a plane by the following Friday.  But no promises. 🙂 Will send an update when we are much closer and know more. Love to you all! Wendy and the Selvig gang

May 2015 Update

May 2015 Update

Hello family and friends,

Thanks for your interest in our move to Panama. I’ve promised to try to keep you updated and struggle to find the time right now. This small post will have to do. 🙂

It’s the end of May and so many things are winding down in our lives as I am sure things are winding down for many of you. Our boys have finished school. Our Chinese boys have finished and are off to China for the Summer. We have started the packing and sorting and “getting rid of everything” process and it is a little exhausting, I won’t lie. Ok, it is completely exhausting. But that is to be expected, so we are trying to pack up, clean up, paint up, landscape, detail cars, sell a car, get our house rented, post everything on Craigslist, get a storage unit, and also enjoy people and have fun along the way.

Moving is stressful as we all know. Moving to another country takes that stress to a whole new level. But we will get through it. We plan to leave sometime the week of June 15th if we can get it all done in time.

When we get there we will stay in Panama City a few days to get the immigration paperwork finished. Thank God for Marriott Rewards. I have 5 free days I need to use up and there is a Marriott across the street from our lawyer’s office.

During this week in Panama City we will buy a car and get our drivers’ licenses. Then we will head to Boquete, a 7 hour drive to our new home.

Thank you for your concern, interest and prayers. I’ll try to keep you up on the progress as we get closer to going!

Wendy (& Erik)

April 2015 Panama Update

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Panama City, from our hotel room.

Hello friends! Erik and I just got back from an exploratory trip to Panama. To move our immigration process forward, we made a short trip to get our bank account set up and our corporation filed. We are officially doing business in Panama! The next step is when we move in June. We will fly into Panama City for several days to do immigration paperwork. Then it will be finalized and we will be permanent residents of Panama! (It’s still kinda surreal to us!)

For me, besides doing paperwork, I needed to see first hand where we were going to be moving to. I’d be lying if I didn’t just flat out tell you that the landscape is paradise. There is natural beauty everywhere you look. It’s absolutely dreamy in some places.

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I even found that you can get about 90% of everything you would ever want or need or could get in the USA. They even have a COSTCO in David, which is about 20-25 minutes away from where we will be living. All of the big grocery stores and convenience things (even a Panamanian version of a Target) are in the city of David.

The things I’ve been told and found out that they didn’t have was: Young Living products (boo!), sheets with higher thread counts, Velveeta and Rotel, specific brands of cosmetics, etc. (I’m sure there is more.) These things you just order from the States and have sent to yourself or you pack your suitcase full each time you visit. Here’s a few shots of the nicest grocery store in David. This is where all the gringos do their shopping apparently.

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Boquete is the town we will be living in and it is a much smaller town with a teeny tiny grocery store. But it also has more local outdoor markets where I’m told you can get pineapples for $1.

We found this awesome little bakery and coffee shop called the Sugar & Spice Cafe. I had an awesome salad that rivaled any Panera Bread salad. We  ended up in a conversation with some strangers for 10-15 minutes who were also having lunch there. We noticed how the pace of life seems much slower here and everyone seems friendly, which is probably because of the large community of retired folks who live here.

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Here’s a few shots of some of the local establishments…  a fresh produce market and a barbershop where you can get a professional cut and shave for $5. Most locals don’t have cars and walk or ride bikes into town. There are also little taxi stops every where and you can get a taxi from my brother’s house (outside of town) to the store in town for under $1.

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So while we were there, my brother Daniel and Erik started talking about plans for the greenhouses and the pastoral training center where we will train pastors how to run greenhouses. We looked at some land that we are pursuing. The first being a piece that would have hectare greenhouse and since it is right on a busy highway, we could put up a store of sorts to sell the produce. People in this area have to drive 20-30 minutes to the nearest store, so this would be an awesome place for them to stop to pick up a few things. Here is Dan and Erik checking it out and getting a soil sample…

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The second piece of land we are considering (seriously) is a fantastic piece of land that would have room for greenhouses (to make it profitable) as well as the training center for the pastors. It is about 6 acres and is a little piece of paradise. None of this is in stone, I’m just sharing what I can publicly as we walk through this process. Here are some photos of this GORGEOUS piece of property…It’s the last week of dry season so pretty brown for Panama. Everything will start to green up over the next few weeks too.

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So on this land we would have greenhouses (making income) and then housing for teams that want to come in. We’d also probably have a special ‘training’ greenhouse that will be for teaching the pastors how to build, run and maintain a greenhouse.

It’s all in developmental stage right now but for us visionary types, we already see the people coming. As a matter of fact the church planting global initiative company that we are working with is wanting to send us thousands of pastors to be trained over the next year or two. We just need to get it up and running!!!

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Thank you for having an interest in our lives and letting us share what we are doing. We hope that many of you will want to come visit or take part in the vision somehow in the future in some way or another! The more helpers we have, the more that can be done! Our doors are open for our family and friends, always.

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The (not so) Game of Life…… A Reason for Going to Panama.

IMG_0268 Tonight my boys and I played The Game of Life around the kitchen table. It’s snowing outside in Colorado, the second snow storm in a week. Their dad (Erik) is at an Air-force basketball game with their grandpa (his dad). I just got a text that says everyone has a two hour delay tomorrow for school. We are settled in and battling out who will get to retirement first with the most money in our little board game. The boys are having a lot of fun, living in the moment… and I on the other hand, am having a moment. I’m trying to take it all in and not forget. Why? Because life is about to change in a very big way for every one of us and I want to remember this feeling. This happiness. This contentedness. This cozy, snowed in feeling in Colorado.IMG_0265 So not to get all serious on you or anything, but to explain this really big change in our lives I must digress for just a moment. Please bear with me as the deep thinker rises up within me. This “game” of life we are living is obviously not really a game because we only get to live it once.  What we risk and what we hold on to can have huge implications down the road. Which reminds me of another game we like to play called RISK. Risking comes easy for some people and not so easy for others. I have to admit, we don’t mind a calculated gamble. We like adventure. We enjoy the challenges of something a little risky if the reward is worthwhile. We try not to take stupid risks but we don’t mind calculated risks, and we enjoy the journey in anticipation of the reward.

Erik and I (and our boys) are very content living in Colorado. We actually love this state and we love Colorado Springs. Most of our family lives here. Many of our friends live here. We have never felt more loved or a part of a church than we do at our church, St. James. We have no reason to feel ill at ease with our lives. We have great jobs. We have a great house. The list goes on and on. We are supremely happy here… but there is a little story from our past that has resurfaced.

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Eighteen years ago before I married my love, we sat out on a blanket on a grassy field and talked in the hot Tulsa sun about the future. I asked him what he would do if money were no option and there were no limitations. He said, “I’d be a pastor to missionaries. I don’t want to preach, but I’d support them, help them learn how to create finances for themselves, provide a retreat center of some sort… I’d fly in to rescue them on the field if they needed it. I’d bring supplies and keep them equipped.”

I then asked him a second question. “Where would you do that? What country would you like to live in most?” He answered with “Somewhere in Central or South America where it is nice and hot!” I think I answered with a “yuck,” thinking about mosquitoes and jungles and vines and no running water…  We prayed together and asked God that if He could find a way to make that happen, we were willing to go. I haven’t thought much about that conversation in probably 15 or so years as LIFE sort of just happened and kids and jobs and things that require every bit of our energy overshadowed that past dream.

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Panama Jungle.

So my brother (Daniel) moved to Central America several years ago looking for business opportunities and found out some awesome things about Panama. Panama is trying to get into the world market of food export. They have opened up their borders to people from a list of 20+ countries in what is called the Friendly Nation’s Visa. If you will come and start an agricultural business, you can not only apply for the Friendly Nation’s Visa (permanent residency), the country’s government will reimburse certain start up expenses you have in getting an agricultural business (a farm or greenhouse) up and running. (Calculated Risk). Daniel is an adviser to a group of pastors who are trying to build a lot of churches around the world in the next five years. One of the needs they have is a way to teach these pastors how to become self sufficient as well as to offer something physical to their communities.

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Erik and Daniel in Panama, November 2014.

Daniel is getting some land and is heading a project in Panama to build up green houses and chicken farms. The idea is to teach these new pastors how to run a chicken farm and a green house providing eggs, chickens and vegetables to their community. These are both things that are self-perpetuating. Once the initial investment is established, the chickens continually create more eggs and more chickens and the greenhouses produce food that sells and creates income to plant more vegetables. SELF SUSTAINING is the key word here. He’s already been setting up chicken farms in local communities, now there will be a place to train others in how to do this.

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This is starting to sound a little bit like our dream on the grass in Tulsa 18 years ago. It’s not the whole package, but we can see that it’s similar in purpose and it has sparked something within us.

A dream forgotten reignited.

A seed that could grow into the dream we started with years ago. We are headed over to Panama to help establish this project… and help grow the vision. To possibly expand it to some things too wonderful to even mention in this early stage. Yes, there is risk involved. And we are trying to tread carefully so that if it doesn’t work out like we had hoped, we can come right back to life in Colorado. We are trying to make the risk as minimal as possible, but we understand that we are risking.

We ask you to pray for us as we tread through unknown waters and uncharted territories. We need wisdom and grace as life is about to get messy.  And, we need our friends to want to stay in our lives. We are not abandoning family or friends. We hope our physical presence isn’t required to maintain relationships. We will be online, available by Skype and phone and Facebook Messenger. It’s funny, but apparently that is the best way to get ahold of someone these days in Panama. Facebook messenger works really well.

So the next few months are going to be nuts trying to finish up school, rent out our house (hey, if you know anyone who needs 5 bedrooms and 2 offices, let us know), trying not to lose it as we tell so many people “goodbye for now,” etc… We covet your prayers and look forward to the story this blog will tell over the next year.  Thank you for being a part of it! If you want to get updates, please click on the blue bar in the far right corner at the top of this page that lets you follow this blog. Thanks!

An Announcement of Epic Proportions

To our friends and family…  We have an announcement that many of you know about already. We are moving to Panama come May/June time-frame.  This little blog is a place to keep you updated on the move, and my desperate attempt not to lose touch with those we love. 🙂

We have had several friends now ask us to either write a blog or a newsletter or something to keep everyone up on this big change in our lives. We are excited for the adventure but there is a part of us that is devastated with the whole leaving of family and friends. We don’t want anyone to feel like we are abandoning them or our relationships with them. Our hearts and doors are always open and though we physically will be in Panama, a part of our hearts will always be back home. We do plan to come back to Colorado/USA 1-3 times a year. We are also hoping everyone will keep us in their lives as well. Panama has internet and phones so please keep in touch with us through email, phone calls and Facebook, and by all means, come visit. It’s about $500-$600 for a round trip ticket. 🙂

So, I decided to start this blog to post updates on this big move and adventure. If you’d like to get these updates, please sign up (use the “follow this blog” widget at the top of the page) to get the email updates so that when I post, you’ll get an email version. I promise not to overdo it and spam you…  On my public blog (Snatchproof.org) I struggle to get a post or two a month, so don’t expect too much from this one. We love our friends and family so much and hope you will gain insight from these updates as to why we are doing what we are doing. We hope you will be happy for us and even want to join us if the risk brings a reward. (See the next post.)