Greetings from Panama!
I arrived with God’s grace 30 Days ago. My trip began with a little hiccup. Apparently you can’t fly into Panama as a non-resident without a return flight. This I was informed of as I tried to check-in. They would not allow me to check-in without a return date, so I pulled a date out of thin air, bought a return ticket and was promptly on my way to the departure gate.
The peace of the Lord was upon me as I began the journey. I truly felt relaxed and encouraged as I boarded the plane to begin this new life led by the Lord. My flights were remarkably uneventful! My luggage even made a timely arrival (always a bonus!). I spent the night in Panama City and made my way the following day to Allbrook Airport for the last leg to the Island called Isla Colon or Bocas Town as the locals call it.
After unpacking in my new home (didn’t take long as I only came with two bags), I sat on the balcony in the only chair and gave thanks and Praise to my Heavenly Father. I began to pray about the work God has brought me here to do and began to feel the enormity of it. In that moment, a warmth spread through me and even though there was only one chair, I was reminded by Joshua 1:4-6 that I was not alone!
Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. – Joshua 1:4-6
Months before I left for Panama to work with the Gnobe people on the Island of Bastimentos (a 15 min boat ride from Isla Colon), I became aware of a missionary family that lives on that very Island. I e-mailed them and we began to develop a relationship. We scheduled a meeting to finally meet in person after my arrival.
The Tuesday after I arrived in Panama, I finally met Bobby and Shirlene Woods. We began to share what God was doing in each of our lives to quickly discover that God had placed the same mission on our lives in the same place!!! Not only have they been led to help the Gnobe but Bobby is, as I am, CHE (Community Health Evangelism) trained! Upon learning all of this, I was covered in goosebumps with eyes filled with tears of Joy! Only God could bring this all together! Praise His Holy Name!
The following week, Bobby and Shirlene graciously hosted me in their guest house where they have hosted various mission teams in the past. After much anticipation, I finally had eyes on a Gnobe tribe!
Shortly after I met Simone. He is a native Gnobe and works for Bobby and Shirlene. Simone has given his life to Christ and no longer has multiple wives (a common practice within the Gnobe people). He is now truly married to one woman named Amalia and they have a family. We all sat at a table and broke bread together as God intended and through interpretation by Shirlene, I began to share what and how God brought us all together and to explain the CHE Model to Simone and Amalia. After much discussion, they both believed and agreed that this was from God and wanted to act as representatives (Champions as we call them in CHE) to begin efforts to share this with the neighboring Gnobe Village.
The following week I learned the Gnobe Chief wanted me to come back to the village to talk directly with him (through interpretation) to further explain the CHE model. I returned to their Island and made my way down to the village to find not only the Chief but a great deal of the community gathering! As God would have it, we held a community awareness seminar right then and there! In God’s timing, we will also be bringing in a training team from Global CHE Enterprises Nicaragua (area Coordinator Roger Pavon).
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens – Ecclesiastes 3:1
As most of you know and also for those who don’t, this is my “maiden voyage” in long term missions for the Lord. It is also my first time to partner with Global CHE Enterprises and attempt to initiate CHE in a community. It is with great humility and even greater reverence that I express to you that God, and ONLY God could be responsible for the pace and events that have transpired here in Panama the last 30 days.
Please continue to Pray for this community and the Wood Family! God has answered so very many prayers from me on both a ministry and personal level it frequently brings me to tears. I ask also that you please pray for continued growth in my language skills (as I’m attending intensive Spanish school), financial support and my own personal relationship with Jesus!
Thank you for your love, prayers and continued financial support to the Panama Project!