We have been blessed to have a good and longstanding relationship with the Panamanian police stationed here in the jungle. Over the years, they would watch out for us and keep us safe. Several times, if areas were questionable for us to be going into, they would even travel with us.
This bond came when the police commander asked Dennis how to keep his young soldiers from committing suicide. The police are trained in the jungle and then sent to the border of Columbia and Panama, where all the drug farms are. It is so dangerous that many do not make it back alive. Dennis told him the only way to deal with fear is to get them grounded in the word of God, so the commander made it mandatory that the only radio station the police were allowed to listen to was Radio Vida, our station. One year later, he reported all suicides stopped because his soldiers were well grounded in the Word of God. They now financially support the radio station every month. As the years passed, our relationship with the police has grown even stronger. They all look after us as if we were their own parents.
Yesterday, we were coming back from a town about 40 minutes from our house. One of our tires blew out right in front of a hidden police car with a radar gun. Ha! The policeman got out and said, "You’re going to have to move your car Dennis because we're catching people speeding in this area.” They couldn’t catch people speeding, if they were all slowing down for him changing his tire! We drove a short distance to a safe place where a young man came out and said, “Mr. Cook, how can we help you?” Dennis said, “Well I had a tire blow out and need to take it off and put my spare on.” The young man did it for him without charging anything. He said, “Tell your kids I said hi" and mentioned them all by name.
Today, the police came to our house, as they often do, to check on us and talk to Dennis. They had a mud flap that came off our car when the tire blew. They said, “We think this might be yours, so we brought it by.”
We count our blessings every day to have been able to live in this area for so long. We know and are known by nearly everyone here. We all love and take care of each other.