Jackie's Journey: Jungle Monkeys and Tiaras

Princesses Christina and Kim visiting our Kuna neighbors

Princesses Christina and Kim visiting our Kuna neighbors

Village life was becoming normal on our Kuna outpost.  In the early morning, before daybreak and breakfast, the girls would run to the front door to trade packets of oil and sugar for fresh eggs. Ralph would pick up the Bible and begin reading to the girls until it was time for breakfast or the house filled up with people.  These excited little princesses would anticipate the daily trip to the river to swim and help me wash clothes. Moving toward the river we would wave to the small monkeys perched on the bikes on our porch and call out to the parrots shrieking from the mango tree above our heads. Carrying the wash back up the 12’ bank, my two little monkeys would help me hang the clothes on a line that extended from our outhouse to the tin roofline of our home. Later in the morning, Ralph, with all of us in tow, would haul 5-gallon drums of water from the river above the village to drink, wash dishes and brush our teeth.

If there was time before lunch, the girls and I would grab a princess storybook and we would enjoy a few moments of inactivity in the hammock strung across the middle of our living room. 

Dr. Ray Nadeau, visiting from Southern California, enjoying our “story-time” hammock!

Dr. Ray Nadeau, visiting from Southern California, enjoying our “story-time” hammock!

Beth Moore, in Living Beyond Yourself, shared “Every little girl has something in them that wants someone to say ‘You are Special!’  It is in me to believe, ‘I am supposed to be special’…could that be eternity set in the hearts of men?  A piece of eternity…something set in the hearts of little ones that says, ‘I am destined for royalty’…A real live King.  A real live Kingdom is coming.  Somehow a little child has that in them to know…little knights and little princesses—for the kingdom belongs to such as these…and children believe in Kingdoms.”  

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”.  Ephesians 2:10

Even in the remotest of jungles my little girls knew they were special, with or without a tiara.  God had made them that way.  As Christian parents, we want to encourage the belief that God created our little ones unique with destiny because He has given them the innate belief that they are one of a kind.  This opens the door to present the provision made for each of them to understand their need and become a child of God for eternity.  We encouraged this belief, knowing our girls were created to do God’s will and to find His purpose for their lives. 

As time goes on, little princesses search for other princesses in their world.  Soon they are introduced to the six plus princesses of Disney (that’s the book we had!).  They are swept into a world of romance, fantasy, and magic with the all to predictable evil and scary villain.  Most of us search for an alternative to give our daughters…I did!  I longed for a series of books that introduced my girls to bible-based, character-emphasized princesses that they could aspire to become. It was important that the books spoke to them in terms that they could understand and that targeted eternal values.  So I began to super-impose these principles into every book I picked up!

Christina was three when we arrived in Panama and learned Spanish quickly in the few months we lived in Chepo, a Spanish-speaking community near the New Tribes Mission School about a 40-minute drive outside Panama City.  We had the privilege of living in Chepo while her Daddy made trips into the jungle to prepare our house for us.  We were, also, waiting for Princess Kimberly to be born and had many opportunities to become friends with the Spanish-speaking Panamanians; mostly, thanks to our blond, long-haired princess, Christina, who has never met a stranger!  Our nearest neighbors, Carlon and Angela, adopted us.  I learned to cook rice from Angela, and Carlon became Ralph’s most loyal friend.  Both came to know Christ in our brief time there.   

Shortly after Kim was born we moved into our Kuna village on the river Pucuro.  Christina learned Kuna faster than all of us because the children came daily to play with her toys on the front porch and they chattered like “Loritos”(little birds), continually.  As young as she was, she carried a burden for the hearts of her playmates and often engaged in conversations involving the reason why we had come and the need for knowing the true God.  

Our screened-in front porch…the girls’ playroom!

Our screened-in front porch…the girls’ playroom!

While living interior, we home-schooled daily and both girls were reading at four and able to do their required school work, days and weeks ahead of schedule.  It is amazing what can be accomplished when there is no electricity, T.V., cell phones, computers, iPads, instagram, pinterest, etc.  Eventually, the Panamanian government sent a teacher to our village and a small school was built.  Christina could not wait to go with her friends and to be taught in Spanish.  She attended every morning!

Home-schooling a delightful and diligent student

Home-schooling a delightful and diligent student

For us, jungle living had become home.  We had won the hearts of the majority of the Kuna community and had established a rhythm with them, their way of life and our family paradigm.  We had been blessed beyond measure…

Two little princesses with Tinker, our puppy, taking our daily river trek!

Two little princesses with Tinker, our puppy, taking our daily river trek!

Are you at peace knowing you are where God has called you to be, doing what He has purposed for your life?

What about your children? 

Have you considered asking God for His divine direction in the life of each of your princes and princesses?

 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”.

Ephesians 2:10