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Casa, Sweet Casa

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Your Panama 35 team experienced yet another amazing homemade pizza dinner last night, followed by an even more amazing outdoor worship service. The service included testimonies and expressions of gratitude from several of the church leaders as well as the Awe Star leaders and included Alfa y Omega’s invitation to the team and to Awe Star to return to Chitré and La Arena for more ministry in the future. Pastor Ricardo noted that their church had hosted other mission groups, but these groups always stayed in hotels. Ours was the first to stay in their church, to ride their buses, to walk their streets, and to truly connect with their people. We are so grateful for the way Awe Star has taught us to do missions and for the wonderful, caring church that has hosted us during our time of ministry in Chitré.

Through our ministry on the streets, in parks, in schools, in bus stations, and at the mall, hundreds of people heard the gospel message, and hundreds of those made its truth their own. As our service concluded last night, we looked upward to see the first of several lanterns that church members lit and set free, also in honor of our time together. Just as these small lights penetrated the great darkness over Chitré, please keep praying for those who heard but did not yet respond and for Alfa y Omega, which continues its ministry as light in the midst of darkness.

Despite our late evening filled with goodbyes, we were up early today and did our best to leave the church looking even better and cleaner than it did when we arrived. Our quick breakfast of cereal and milk helped us have more time for important tasks like mopping the sanctuary and cleaning the restrooms. Before long, our bus arrived, and the men of our team helped load our large bags and various trunks on top. A mixture of rest, worship, and conversation made the four-hour ride back to Panama City pass quickly, and before we knew it, we were back at Casa de Blanca, our home away from home here. Our welcomed PB & J lunches made home that much sweeter (and perhaps nuttier, too).

After we unloaded the bus and unpacked our belongings, we settled in for some team time, which has been in short supply during our days in Chitré. One student led in worship followed by a time of honest heart-sharing about our ministry in Chitré and what God has been teaching us on our journey in Panama so far as well as sharing about any questions and concerns we had. We were also blessed by a teaching from our CC Marc on helping people understand the bad news (we are all lost without Christ) before we share the good news (He has provided a way back to God).

The team is now spending time in their MOM and POP groups and taking turns making their halfway-point calls home to their families (if no one in your family heard from your student, please know they will try again soon). Tonight, we will head back to the amazing Albrook Mall and enjoy some of the multiple food options available there before returning to Casa de Blanca and what we anticipate as a good night’s rest. Thanks as always for your prayers. As you rise to worship tomorrow, think of us worshiping with fellow believers in Panama City and know we will send another report soon!

Your CCs,

Marc & Rebecca

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