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Panama 28 Day 2017

The Panama and Peru teams have both landed safely in El Salvador and will soon be on their way to Houston. Thanks for your continued prayers!

–Awe Star Staff

The Panama 28-day team is at the airport and ready to go! We apologize for the lack of updates; we have had limited wifi. Yesterday was spent packing and preparing for the trip home as well as spent shopping in the local Indian market on our final day in-country. We are continually amazed by the love, service and unity of our team. Truly, God has done great things this summer, and we rejoice in Him.

Today, we will travel back through El Salvador on the way to Houston, Texas. From there, we will board a bus for the four-hour drive back to Dallas and a time of debriefing.

Please pray for traveling mercies and divine encounters along the way. We will share more once we return to Dallas!

Your Country Coordinators,

Melanie & Razi

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Buenas Dias part 2! 

This is the update from yesterday (July 9). Oh, the goodness and faithfulness of our God. 

Today we had a delicious breakfast of chicken empanadas and breakfast sandwiches! Then we loaded the bus and drove about 45 minutes away to Mano de Piedras. We attended a Kuna church service and performed the drama for them. They were rejoicing with us that we have opportunities to share this drama with the people of Panama.

We then traveled to another church and performed for them and some people of that community. Some of our students went to invite a men’s soccer team who were waiting on their bus to take them to practice, and they came to watch our drama! The students did the drama with such enthusiasm with a beautiful view of the mountains and this wonderful community in the background. Afterwards, one of our guys got to minister to the soccer players. At first, he was intimidated, but he let God take control and speak through him. And five of the soccer players accepted Christ! The other ministry teams also had many salvations, and there was immense joy all around.

Next, it began to rain heavily, so the team ran inside the church with everyone else. We took that time to eat lunch. We also got to fellowship with the church members as we waited for the rain to pass. We worshiped and prayed with one another, and God was moving, as He spoke to us about how He is not finished working here in Panama.

The team loaded up once again, ready to do more ministry, and headed back to the Kuna church to go with them to do another drama near their church. We had planned to do the drama at a soccer field where there were many men gathered, playing soccer. The pastor’s wife went to ask if we could do the drama there, and they blatantly said no, which meant God had something else in store. After discussion, we felt led to move to a neighborhood to perform the drama. Policemen were there guarding the area. We asked if we could to the drama right there, and they said they were Christians and of course we could! Our God has all authority!

We got off the bus and it began to rain again, so we asked the students to pray that it would stop so that people would be there to watch. We knew God had led us to that spot for a reason. Then as soon as they started praying, the rain decreased, and people came walking down the street again! So we started the drama and adults, children, and even a few dogs came to watch. Many decisions were made, and lives were set free from the darkness that once controlled their lives. 

After this last drama, we headed back to Panama City and went to a place called Cinta Costera, a beautiful area in Panama that the team was able to prayerwalk the day before. There was an evangelism event going on there, with many missionaries and churches gathered to share the gospel. We did not know exactly what we would be walking into, but we knew God wanted us there. We were thinking we would just be doing street evangelism and not the drama. But as we walked up, the people were gathered around a large open space where other people were performing. One of our leaders walked up to a group to talk to them and found out the group spoke English. The guy who was most interested in talking to us was a man named Tim. As our leader spoke with him, we found out that Tim was the coordinator for this entire evangelism event. He asked why we were there but noticed that our leader was wearing a name tag with “Awe Star” on it. He immediately asked about it and said he had just heard Walker Moore speak at a church two weeks ago. He then said they just had a group cancel their performance, so they had an opening in the schedule for that night! This gave our group the opportunity to perform.

Tim went to talk to the other director, Alex. He came back and said that Alex also knew exactly who Awe Star was and wanted us to perform the drama immediately. So the students got their assignments and set up within five minutes! We presented the gospel to over 200 people at this event. Many were encouraged  by the joy our students had and the love they showed to everyone.

Everything that happened tonight was because of God’s timing. Every person we talked to, every site where we performed, God had ordained beforehand and went before us. The team was very encouraged by today’s ministry because they saw what it truly meant to step back and let God use us in spite of our weaknesses. 

Today, the team is going to Mañanitas. We will be ministering in several soccer fields and for many people. We expect God to move. Pray for focus for our team! Our time left in ministry here in Panama is short, but God is not limited. God has all authority, and we can’t wait to see what He does. 

Your Country Coordinators, 

 

Melanie and Razi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Buenas Dias! This is the update for July 8. The Lord has done so much in just the past few days; we felt like one update could not merely contain it all. 

 Saturday was such a good day for our team, and so many great things happened! After our team time last night of spending an extended amount of time with the Lord, they came to breakfast ready for battle, wearing the armor of God. Before our day started with the team, we as leadership felt that the students who had stepped up into the T.D. role yesterday did such a good job that we should let them again.

We started our morning out in a rush because we were presented with new opportunities to do several dramas before lunch that we were not aware of the night before! Praise the Lord! When the students were ready to go, we walked and took the Metro to Iglesia La Biblia de la Comunidad and performed the drama for the American English Overseas Center. Here, we got to interact with students learning English, which formed bonds between many of our students and the students for whom we performed.

Thankfully, our speaker system was working at the time, and our team was feeling strong. Through that, many divine appointments happened and souls were won for and by Christ! After the English students went back to their classes, we did a small teaching together about our quiet time. Because of our rushed morning, our T.D.s  felt some more time in the Word was needed, so we all did the quiet time for the day again together and then had each the assigned ministry teams talk about it and pray together.

The Scripture for the day was 1 Peter 4:1-10, about how to use your spiritual gift. This went perfectly along with what the students needed for the unity of the team to continue to be strong. The devotion spoke specifically about how “Our spiritual progress hinges on our willingness to work together.” God’s timing is so good, even in the little things involving what our team needs to hear from His Word and when!

After this time studying God’s Word as a group, the leadership felt that the students still needed a boost of encouragement. so we treated them to Subway. After a tasty lunch, it was time to travel to our next ministry site to perform our next drama. After walking for a while and riding the Metro (subway) for several stops, we finally made it to our site. Our wonderful translators were so kind to our students and drove the speaker system and assignments to this site so they didn’t have to carry them on the Metro. The Metro was packed because it was Saturday, and many of the students were excited to experience this part of Panamanian culture.

This next site was also an American English Overseas Center. When setting up the speaker system, we realized that, just like yesterday, it once again was not going to work without being plugged into an outlet. Though it was frustrating, the students were confident we were in the right place at the right time because the enemy was trying to stop us. Thankfully, there was an outlet right next to where we had set up the speaker up, and we did not even have to move the speaker an inch. The students who watched our students do the drama were so responsive, and the performance even brought one girl to tears. One of our students engaged with her after the drama and helped guide her seeking soul into a relationship with the Lord. It was so amazing to see how excited all our students were about this! Several other relationships with the Lord were started during this time, and we are so proud of the way our students fought the enemy and stepped out of their comfort zones.

After the American English Overseas Center students left, a translator and a leader took the speaker to try and get the battery replaced so we could continue with our scheduled dramas for the day. Unfortunately yet fortunately, God again had other plans, and in our waiting for the speaker, we traveled on to our next site. This site was very touristy, a part of Panama our students had passed but not experienced. This was also the first time for one of our students to be so close to an ocean. To see the awe in him and how he saw God’s glory in the vast sea were amazing. Because our speaker was still not functioning, we then walked on to another spot in the same area and waited to meet with a church. But God had other plans, and the church people didn’t show up. This was taken as a perfect opportunity to manage our time and head back to the White House for some much needed team time, talking about the events we had experienced that day and letting the students share their God-stories with each other and affirm each other as well.

God is so good, and the unity on this team just shows how the body of Christ truly is one body when students from all over the United States can come together, not knowing each other beforehand, yet becoming so important to each other far before our time in Panama is over.
Your Country Coordinators, 

Razi & Melanie

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Good Morning!

We are excited to share the great things God is doing in Panama. After our afternoon and the movement of God we witnessed on Thursday, we went to bed expectant for God to move but also knowing the enemy would attack. We had an early morning the next day, so the students awoke earlier than usual for breakfast and headed out to ministry. At Awe Star, one of the tools we like to use is training students for future leadership roles. Yesterday we brought two of our students up to be the role of the Team Directors (TDs) for the day. They got to experience a little bit of what it looked like to have more authority and make decisions. They did an excellent job, and we are so proud of them!

The team headed out from our home here at Casa Blanca bright and early and back to a local church we visited last week. We performed the drama for a group of kindergartners and first-graders before heading out on the bus to our next site. The next site was a school, where we performed three dramas for three different huge groups of students! Our team normally averages about three to four dramas a day, and they were now at four dramas before 11!

But the enemy was already beginning to work in attacking our team. Exhaustion and struggles we hadn’t faced yet on this trip were starting to come out. Students were feeling attacked physically, emotionally and spiritually. But the gospel was proclaimed! The apostle Paul said that he would put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ, and that is how our students handled ministry. Several of our students got to preach the full gospel and give invitations to students and we saw many young students surrender their lives to follow Jesus. It was such an encouraging time to see the faithfulness of God.

The students rode the bus back to Casa Blanca for lunch, and immediately, we sensed the weight of spiritual warfare. It felt like the enemy was attacking us any way he could. We prayed and worshipped, trying to give the team rest and get their minds focused on God. After this, we headed out to Cinco de Mayo. Our students were prepared to do the drama but the Lord had other plans. The enemy started to attack our speaker system to prevent us from doing more drama ministry. But we know God has all authority and that our disappointment is Gods divine appointment. The drama is a tool we use to share the gospel, but it is not paramount. Our students were sent out in their ministry teams to speak one-on-one and do street evangelism. At first we saw a lot of difficulty, as soon as they would pray and head out it seemed like all the people would disappear. But God began to work, and we saw salvation after salvation!

One of our students in particular was having a difficult time feeling confident in her ability to share. She was assigned the role of the ministry team leader but didn’t feel adequate. However, the Bible says that if we lack confidence in sharing, we can pray and ask the Lord to give us the strength and confidence. So we told her we knew God wanted her to share the gospel. The first woman she spoke to ended up being a believer who prayed with her and “felt the Holy Spirit move.” After this conversation and feeling more encouraged, this girl and her ministry team went and began sharing with a couple. After an incredible conversation, both the girl and guy ended up surrendering their lives to Christ. It was so good to see the joy on the students’ faces, knowing that if we ask God, He will graciously give in abundance and help us in our weakness.

After finishing street ministry, the students were brought back for a great dinner of arroz con pollo. As leadership, we still felt the presence of the enemy’s attacks, so both Razi and Melanie spoke on spiritual warfare. Razi spoke on the importance of putting on the armor of God, how we need every aspect of armor to be ready to stand firm against the attacks of the enemy. Melanie spoke on the importance of getting in the Word and how, if the enemy can take the Word away from us, he takes away our weapon. We then asked the students to spend time in repentance and confession of sin, praying and seeking the Lord. The Holy Spirit moved and brought a spirit of truth to our students. They were in tears and on their knees, crying and asking God to come in and be made much of in their lives! They then began to walk around the compound where we were staying, and they prayed to cast out the attacks of the enemy. It was a sweet time, and we feel as though we are stronger and more ready for what God has for us today and our last few days of ministry.

This morning, we are headed to an English school where we will perform the drama for several groups of students. This afternoon, we will work with a local church and go to Casco Antiguo to perform the drama. Casco is a very touristy area and sees hundreds of people from all over the world walk through its streets every day. We believe the enemy has been attacking us so strongly because God has something huge in store for us, so we are walking with expectation and faith in what God has.

Pray for our team! Continue to pray against the enemy. He must not gain a foothold because we will not lose! We already have the victory! Pray our students are driven to the Word and to prayer. Pray for boldness in sharing the gospel.

“Pray for me also, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given to me so that I will boldly make known the mystery of the gospel”  (Eph. 6:19).

God is working!

Your Country Coordinators,
Melanie & Razi

Good Morning! 

Yesterday started with a delicious breakfast, and one of our students got to share what God was doing in his life. After lunch, we went to Cinco De Mayo and had three dramas planned. But God had different plans. The team was so encouraged by the success of the first three that they just had to do another.

At the first site, we had many people surrounding our students, striving to hear every word. One student even ran into a family we had previously ministered to in Kuna Nega, and they got to fellowship once again. Many decisions were made, and those souls were set free of the darkness that had controlled them before.

The second site brought many shop owners and seeking souls to our team. One group got to minister to a Kuna husband and wife. Our translator began speaking to them in Kuna, and that got their attention, but we know it was God starting to open their eyes, and they accepted Christ!

Next, the team was going strong, and there were swarms of people everywhere. We started the introduction to the drama, and a store directly behind us was blaring music. So the students began praying that God would turn it off and the people would not be distracted from the gospel. One of our leaders headed over to talk to the man, and he immediately turned off the music as the drama started. We can see that God’s hands are all over our ministry, even in the little things.

The students did the drama with great enthusiasm and joy as the people watched in awe. The Net (gospel presentation) was barely over and the students were running to the people. The people were very receptive and were rejoicing that our students had come to share with them. Many salvations happened as chains were being broken and lives were being changed for eternity.

As we packed up our stuff, the students were begging to continue ministry, so we found another site where we could perform. God was already drawing people there as we walked up. As the drama started, people crowded all around the team. Again, the students ran out to the people right after the Net. One group saw 11 people come to know Christ. Another group got to speak with a man, but they were nervous to approach him at first because they did not get a translator. God already had it taken care of, though, because the man knew English! He ended up accepting Christ as well, which showed us how even when we don’t think we are equipped, God has perfect timing. The third ministry team talked two couples who all accepted Christ!

So today was an incredible day because even though we had plans for ministry, God led us to what He wanted. We saw God work through our tiredness and weakness. We are excited to do more ministry in the city tomorrow. Pray for continued health, enthusiasm and unity. Thank you for your constant prayers, love and support.

Your Panama Leadership, 

Razi, Melanie, Casey & Eduardo

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We are back from Las Culebras! Our time there was short but sweet. The team came back with joyous stories of the faithfulness and provision of God!

On Monday morning, we awoke early to a delicious breakfast before heading on a bus ride to Chepo, the port to get to Las Culebras. We enjoyed an exciting boat ride before arriving at Las Culebras. We climbed up the mud path to get to our temporary home for the next few days. The pastor of the church there graciously opened both the doors of his home and of the church. Our students got to set up the hammocks we would be sleeping in over the next few days, all part of an exciting jungle experience.

The village of Las Culebras is very small, but we invited the entire village to come to the church to watch the drama. Although we had some technical difficulties, the students were excited to share “Freedom” with the people of the church. After we performed the drama, we had the opportunity to fellowship and build relationships with the people. Several of our students got to pray over and with them.

The next morning, we awoke with the sun amidst the sounds of the chickens and other animals in the village. We ate a delicious meal cooked by our awesome chefs and then got some time to journal and pray before heading out in ministry. Because Las Culebras is such a small village, a lot of the ministry happens after boat rides. We took a 45-minute boat ride to a school called Trapachito. When we arrived, we had a long walk before arriving at the school. When we got there, we discovered there were less than 20 school children there, and only four teachers. But we know that God cares for even one, so our ministry was worth the long boat ride and mile long walk. The students performed the drama and then were able to share one-on-one with the students and teachers. What a joy it was to see many come to saving faith in Christ Jesus!

By the time the students were finished ministering at the school and had made it back to base, it was already late in the afternoon, which prevented us from doing more dramas. One of our students shared what God had been teaching him from the book of Ecclesiastes. We love that our team is so eager to share what God is doing in their lives!

Wednesday morning, we packed up and headed out from Las Culebras, After our boat ride we headed out for a fun time at a local village. This village of the Embera people is called Ipati. The team got to spend some time playing in the river, engaging, and getting the local (temporary) tribal tattoos. The students were so excited to experience Panamanian culture!

Today we are spending the day on Cinco de Mayo. We are excited to minister with people from all over the world as hundreds of people walk this street daily. We believe God has big things for us! Pray for our team. Pray for us to see a revival in Panama. Pray for students to see story after story of people moving from death to life. Pray that we would walk in power and expectation. God is sovereign over all!

Your Country Coordinators,

Melanie & Razi

Hello everyone! The Panama 28-Day team is currently doing ministry in Las Culebras; they will be able to post an update by tomorrow.

-Awe Star Ministries

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Buenas Tardes!

God has done so much in and through our team in the past few days! Due to wifi complications, it has been difficult to post updates, but we are hoping it will be better from here on out.

On Friday, the team started out the morning by heading out to the city of Felipillo. Felipillo is about an hour and a half away from Panama City, so we got to spend time in worship and prayer on the way. As we started out the day, we noticed that the enemy was already at work. Our students were feeling the presence of discouragement and darkness, but we know that we are here to push back the darkness with the light of Jesus. Despite the opposition, our students were able to perform two dramas. The enemy quickly began to work and discourage our team, bringing about a spirit of exhaustion. Even though our students had just finished a rest day, they felt very tired and defeated. However, we know that worship makes us stronger. We headed back to Panama City and sang worship songs, praying for one another before we ate lunch and prepared to go back out into ministry.

After this hour or so of rest during lunchtime, the students headed out to Cinco de Mayo, which is one of the busiest streets in Panama City. Thousands of Panamanians walk this street every day to buy and sell merchandise. Although our students were tired, they had surrendered this time to the Lord. They prayed for one another and performed a drama for a large crowd. While the students were performing the drama, a man came and began speaking with one of our leaders. We found out that this man was a Christian who worked in the local community. He was so encouraged by our students coming to share the gospel here and loved seeing the drama. Once our students were brought in, this man asked to pray over our team and the work we are doing. We love it when the Lord uses believers to encourage and strengthen our faith. After this encouraging time with the local believer, the students asked us to do one more drama. Even though they had been exhausted earlier that day, they were strengthened by their time with the pastor and had hearts to do ministry.

That evening, we did a teaching on the call to be uncomfortable for Jesus. We spoke on how God had brought us to Panama for such a time as this and how we must run to Jesus and not away from Him. The students were encouraged by the idea that God has a plan for them here in Panama and is going to use them as He desires.

On Saturday, our students got to stay in Panama City to work with a local church several of our translators attend. The students got to visit with some local believers before performing a drama. Our audience was a soccer team of young, underprivileged girls. These girls are very poor and are rarely seen as special or loved, so it was a blessing for our students to have time to speak with them and pour into them. These girls got to hear the gospel, many of them surrendering their lives to following Jesus. The rest of the day, due to weather conditions, we were prevented from doing more drama ministry. Our students did get to spend time walking house-to-house and building relationships with local Panamanians.

On Sunday, our team got to experience church with some Kuna people (one of the indigenous people groups in Panama) at Kuna Nega. They got to perform the drama in this tribal language and then spent time ministering to Kuna people in the area. Throughout the day, they got to perform several dramas, which was encouraging to our students’ hearts.

At the third drama of the day, one of our students began speaking with a little girl who was watching the drama. It turned out that this young girl was on the soccer team the students had performed the drama for the day before! This little girl had received salvation and had immediately gone home to share the gospel with her family. The very next day, the Lord reunited the groups so that this little girl’s family could hear the gospel as well. Glory to God!

Today the team is heading to Las Culebras, where we will be staying for three days. This will be a time where we will be able to do house-to-house ministry, perform a drama for the school in the jungle and spend time encouraging the believers in this part of Panama. Please pray for the team as we go. Pray that we will be able to stay strong and have joy no matter what circumstances we are in. Pray against the attacks of the enemy, that he will not have any foothold. Pray that we are able to push back the darkness and walk in power because of Jesus. Pray that the students will rely on the strength of Jesus and not on their own strength (2 Cor. 12:9). Finally, pray for the Lord to work miracles and bring many to saving faith in Christ. We are excited for and expectant of all that God is going to do!

Your Country Coordinators,

Razi & Melanie

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Good Evening!

It has been a whirlwind of a past few days! Tuesday afternoon was spent in sweet fellowship with one another and with people of the church. Our MOMs and POPs led our students in breakouts on our ReignOn and ManUp teaching. We are proud of the way each of our students is stepping up and seeking hard after Jesus to learn how to become the men and women of God that he has called us to be.

That evening, the church in Chitre held a prayer service. We joined them on our knees, praying for the town of Chitre and asking God to move and speak revival into the city. It was humbling to watch the church members and pastor weep over the people of their town and over the goodness of God. After a lively time of worship, they prayed over our team, asking God to continue to bless our ministry here in Panama. They gave each of us a memento of our time: the flag for the area of Chitre. They also celebrated us with cake! We were so blessed by our time in Chitre.

The next morning was very bittersweet as we prepared to leave this wonderful church. Our students asked to gather in prayer over the pastor and his family, which was such a blessing. We stood in prayer and asked God to continue to work as we left, to continue to change lives, and to grow all the new believers and seeds that were planted.

After this, we left to head back to Panama City. First, however, we got the opportunity to stop in the city of Aguadulce. We ate our traditional lunch of peanut butter and jelly and then had the opportunity to go to a high school. This was our first school of our time here in Panama, so the students were excited because most of them are the same age as these students. We performed three dramas for different groups of students. Although our students were tired, they diligently performed the ministry that God has called them to. We loved the joy they had in sharing the gospel with these high school students, many of whom we saw surrender their lives to follow Jesus! Gracias Jesus!

Once finished with ministry at this school, we left for Panama City. Traveling can tire students, but we are grateful to have a team of students who love one another like a family and can still serve one another even when they’re tired. Praise the Lord, we were given a day today just to rest and recuperate. We gave them extra time to sleep in and spend time in the Word this morning before we headed out to Albrook Mall for some delicious lunch. We also took the students to go watch Cars 3! However, it was in Spanish and had no English subtitles. So most of our students did not know what was going on but still stayed to experience a movie in another language.

Tonight the students are sharing stories with one another of what God is doing in their lives. It is so encouraging to sit and listen to them speak on the things God has already done in their lives over the past week here in Panama. Several of them shared stories of the Lord convicting them of sin in their lives or things they needed to lay down to fully follow Christ. We are grateful for a God who chooses us in spite of our imperfections.

Tomorrow the team heads to Felipillo for a day of ministry! We are excited to work with Pastor Paz in the morning and hopefully do some ministry here in Panama City in the afternoon. Please pray for the students. We don’t want the enemy to get in with discouragement or homesickness or anything so please pray against that. Pray for our students to share the gospel with full confidence in Christ and not in themselves. Pray for strength, hydration and focus! Pray for the students’ personal relationships with Christ, that they might have a stronger desire for the Word, prayer and worship. Pray that they grow in the knowledge of our Savior so that they can pour out this knowledge with the Panamanians. God is doing great things in Panama!

Your Country Coordinators,

Melanie & Razi