Hello, Family! We are so excited to report that our team arrived safely to Dallas tonight. Tomorrow, the team will begin their debriefing process. The team members will be available to be picked up Friday anytime before 10 a.m. Thank you so much for your prayers during this process. We appreciate you all so much!
Dustin and Meagann
Hello, parents and friends! Thank you for all of your prayers throughout this summer and especially for today as it was our last day to minister in Panama. We are so incredibly excited to report the great ways in which God moved today. We continually praise Him for His sovereignty and for your obedience in prayer.
We started off today doing the drama in a school, and as usual were eager to minister and share the gospel with students our age. The Lord works in mysterious ways though doesn’t He? As the students were finishing up ministering, they thought to go and talk to Victor, a man who has been helping us throughout the entire trip with our bus service. The entire summer we had all assumed that he was a Christian due to his servant heart, but as the students began talking to him they quickly learned that he had never surrendered his heart to the Lord and that until this summer he had never quite understood what it truly looked like to live for God. He was inspired by your sons and daughters and slowly but surely was led to the throne of the Father. He came out of the bus with a smile that radiated the love of Christ! He began rejoicing with the rest of the team and is truly a new creature! We have bought him a bible and were all able to sign it and plan to give it to him tomorrow when he takes us to the airport. Praise the Lord for His incredible timing! Who would think that the Lord would use a bunch of young adults from the United States to make an impact in not only Victor’s life but thousands of other Panamanians as well! Our God is oh so mighty to save!
As we wrapped up tonight, we were blessed with a picture of a true servant’s heart. Our Male CC, Dustin Parish, taught on the importance of returning home and continuing the work and growth in which Christ started in us this summer. He then transitioned to John 13 and showed us true humility. He took each person on the team and washed their feet, an image that will not leave the students memory. We were reminded through this, the importance of humbling ourselves and given a picture of true love.
The students are excited to return to the States, but it is a bittersweet feeling to say the least. They have poured their hearts out the entire summer. They have shed tears over the people, sweat in the blazing Panamanian sun, carried sand and stones, dug holes, been drenched in rain numerous times, all for the one who took their crimson stains and washed them white as snow! They will all return eager to share the great things that God has done, truly changed forever.
Please continue to pray for us through our travels and for God to provide more divine encounters. Also pray that the Lord would send people to come in and continue to pour into those who gave their hearts to the Lord this summer. Please pray for all of our translators and for the church that we partner with.
Thank you all again for petitioning on our behalf in prayer and God Bless!
Zach and Karissa.
This morning we had the great opportunity to join La Comunidad, the church we helped paint, for a worship service. We were all very excited because many of our translators attend this church. The excitement and anticipation escalated the longer we waited for our bus to pick us up. However, our patience soon started to fade as the minutes started to pass and no bus arrived. After waiting one hour and realizing church was suppose to start 3o minutes ago, the bus rolled into view. We prepared ourselves to walk quietly into what we thought was going to be an ongoing church service, but to our surprise they had only just begun! What are the odds the same day our bus is late, so is the church service…100%! The team was reminded God’s timing is far greater than ours.
After a wonderful time of worship, teaching, and fellowship, we ate a quick lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and headed to the busy street of Cinco De Mayo to do drama ministry. The team was so full of contagious joy that it quickly drew a crowds that surrounded the drama sites. The ministry teams were able to speak with not only those searching for the gospel, but also those needing encouragement as they live out the gospel.
One woman in particular was in desperate need of encouragement and was quick to share her heart with some of our students. The students asked if there was any way they could pray for her, and as she began to reply, she broke down in tears. She explained the reason she was on Cinco De Mayo that day and not at home, was because of a violent situation between her brother and son at home. The students were able to pray over her and lift her up to our Heavenly Father. We are not sure if the woman was a believer, but either way we are hopeful she will look to Christ in times of difficulty rather than worldly things.
Tomorrow will be our final free day before we spend our last day of schedueld drama ministry in Panama City on Tuesday. Please pray for divine encounters tomorrow, even though we will not be performing the drama. We cannot believe our time is almost up here in Panama, but we are very excited to come home and share about all the great things that God has done.
Dustin and Meagann
The Lord moved in mighty ways yesterday! We began our day in a police academy in Panama City. The academy is an old United States Air Force base that has been converted over the years. Our translators were very excited that we were working with the academy because it would be the future of the police force in Panama. They began to explain that the current police force is very corrupt, and they hoped that the work we would be doing would not only affect lost souls but also the city as a whole. We walked into the room, and there were several men and women dressed in white and blue shirts sitting quietly waiting for us to begin. Though they may have been quiet in the beginning, after the drama we began to see how anxious they were for us to speak with them. We were so excited to see a huge group of the academy members give themselves to Christ.
Once we were finished we began to head to the neighborhood where our bus driver’s church is located. We were so excited to be able to work here because he has been such a servant to us this whole trip. Like many of the neighborhoods we go to, this area was extremely stricken by poverty, so there were many hurting souls present. The Lord continued to move in big ways and we saw several souls given to the Lord. At one location, there were several male soccer players who accepted salvation, and the students were so excited about their new brothers and sisters in Christ.
After we finished our day of ministry, the bus driver’s church fed us a great meal of chicken and rice! We were stuffed and the ride home was full of joy. Our team showed such great unity today and we know that it was only possible with the Lord. Unity has continued to grow in this team, and they have truly learned what it means to love each other. By loving one another the world has seen the Lord’s light through them. We are so very proud of them for their success in this area of our ministry.
We are so very excited for the work that God is going to do today. We appreciate your comments and prayers so much, and we hope that you continue to lift us up to the throne as much as possible. Our time here in Panama continues to dwindle, so we are working harder every day to tell His story as much as we can. Thank you so much for your support!
Dustin and Meagann
Hello, we hope that you enjoyed your 4th of July in the United States. We spent the holiday painting the church that we are partnered with, La Comunidad. After we spent the entire day painting the church, they blessed us with a gift of pizza. Then, we began our talent show for the night and had a human firework show to celebrate. Its quite different celebrating the independence of the United States in a different country.
Today, we started back on drama ministry in an area of Panama that is extremely stricken by poverty. We were blessed to do five different dramas in this neighborhood, and we had so many people surrender their lives to the Lord. It was so amazing, and the great thing is we were able to reach many more people than the ones we saw today.
While we were performing the drama on a soccer field, a man came up and then began to video us with a huge camera! After it was over he came over to our leaders and stated that he was working for a local Panamanian news station, and they wanted to do a piece about us for the news that night. They asked to interview one of our leaders, and he began to share the gospel on the news channel. Our God just continues to provide us new avenues to share His light to the lost world.
We ask that you continue to pray that God would use us to further His kingdom and let us see a closer glimpse of Him every day. Thank you so much for your prayers and comments. We need them to to help encourage us and help us finish this trip.
Dustin and Meagann
Greetings faithful prayer warriors! We are excited to share with you all some of the divine encounters the Lord allowed us to have today as we ministered in Panama City. Our day was full of drama ministry along the streets of Cinco De Mayo, where we saw many come to know the Lord.
Very early in the day we encountered a very interesting man named Francisco. Francisco was a very enthusiastic man and made many loud remarks throughout the drama. Some began talking to him afterward and learned that his wife had passed away a few years ago and that he had no one. He expressed great sadness and loneliness. Francisco began to explain that this was the reason that he walked the streets of Panama. He was desiring so much to find some kind of camaraderie. He didn’t care who it was; he simply wanted someone to talk to.
The students began to share the gospel with him, and Francisco was quick to recognize it. He began exclaiming that he had heard of Jesus from his wife. The man began to break down and admit that there was an emptiness within him, an emptiness that he had tried to fill with many things, one in particular being alcohol. The students had the privilege of leading this man to the throne and to an eternal relationship with the King of Kings. Afterwards the man expressed true joy and seemed to almost be a new man, one might say a new creation! Don’t we serve a mighty God?! We were able to get his information so that a local church here could contact him and help him with support. He was ecstatic to know someone cared about him and loved him. This man’s life has been forever changed.
At our fourth site, the team was growing weary as the sun had been relentless throughout the day. So we first began with worshiping through song and prayer. The Lord is ever faithful and provided strength as we worshiped and prepared to share the gospel with the crowd. One of our ministry teams was able to talk with a man named Carlos. Carlos was from Nicaragua, and had heard about Jesus time and time again growing up but fully surrender His heart to the Lord in 2011. He is now seeking to become a full-time missionary wherever the Lord may call him. The students who talked to him, and then our whole team, were also able to pray over him and lift his ministry up to our Heavenly Father. Meeting with Carlos was such an encouragement to our whole team, please keep Him in your prayers as He continues to serve our God here in Panama.
We finished off the day learning about different types of prayer in the Bible. We looked through Exodus, where God parted the Red Sea for Moses and the Israelites. Also in Mark, where Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane “Not my will, but thine”. We learned that sometimes God answers prayers by changing the external (Red Sea), and sometimes rather than changing the external He changes us (Gethsemane). We have seen God answer both types of prayers this summer, and we are so thankful to have brothers and sisters in Christ who consistently pray for us.
Please pray for:
Francisco as he begins to give his life over to God.
Carlos and his calling into the ministry.
Strength for the team to finish strong and to keep their eyes on the race.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” -Galatians 6:9
Your TDs (Team Directors),
Zach and Karissa
We are so excited to share the ways that God moved in our team today. We spent the beginning of our day enjoying a beautiful five-mile hike to the top of a mountain near the house we stay. The mountain overlooks the majority of Panama City, and you can see God’s beautiful creation for miles. At the top of the mountain, we focused on the text of Luke 19 in the Bible. In this passage, Jesus overlooks Jerusalem and weeps over the city before the famous triumphal entry. The students then prayed over the city and the rest of the work that needed to be done while we spend our last week here. After this, we headed to the mission field.
Our first two sites were spent in a poverty stricken neighborhood, and the Lord moved in mighty ways among the people there. We saw several large groups of people become new brothers and sisters in Christ at those areas. Directly across the street, was a drug rehabilitation center, and we were invited to perform the drama there. As we entered, we noticed a lot of angry, hurt souls staring at us. We set up the drama to a silent and awkward crowd and began to share the greatest story ever told. After the drama was over, the crowd erupted with applause and cheers, and one of our students shared his own testimony of how drugs and alcohol once ruled his life. He said that God had brought him there for the specific purpose of telling them that there was a way to break out of the bondage they had been living in, and he presented him with the single character of Jesus Christ.
Once the drama was over, the number of response cards gathered of new believers was massive. The crowd was greatly moved by the student’s story, and many of them had been in and out of the center multiple times in their lives. We were so blessed to see so much fruit today! We serve such a mighty God, and He is so amazing to use our team to glorify Him. We read every single comment that is posted to the team, and they are so thankful for your loving thoughts and prayers. Our team hopes that you will continue to lift them up to the Father as we are continuing to do His will. Specific prayers for focus and energy would be greatly appreciated during this last week of ministry.
Dustin and Meagann
Long time no see, readers! We made it back from the jungles of Gamboa safely today, and we enjoyed some time of rest exploring the beauty of Panama City. The last three days of our trip have been spent in the village of San Antonio with the people of the Wounaan and Embera tribes, and they were so hospitable toward us! We lodged in huts made of wood with straw roofs in the Wounaan village, but we were so happy not to have to sleep in tents or worry about being wet from the Panama rain! We spent the majority of the trip strengthening relationships between the people, and this allowed us got to know them very well. The children there were so joyful and hysterically funny. We thoroughly enjoyed every second we were able to spend with them.
During the time we spent in the jungle, we were able to perform the drama in three different villages. Also, we were able to meet the chief who had authority over the entire area. Ironically, he had been introduced to the gospel the year before by a previous Awe Star team, and since that time he had given his life to Christ. It brings us great joy to learn that the seeds planted during Awe Star trips continue to grow long after that time. As a new follower in Christ, the chief welcomed us into his village and allowed us to perform the drama in front of many of the members there. It was great for us to see that a village was building a new community center out of wood and straw that would be used for church services on Sundays.
One of the greatest experiences of our time in the jungle was to see how the people worshipped. They praised the Lord every night with any type of instrument they could find, and the songs lifted to heaven were completely original. Even long after we went to bed we could hear members from other villages continuing to shout to our Lord. A picture of how we will praise the King at all times in heaven was being painted in our heads.
The focus of this mission trip has been love, and that is exactly what we were able to enjoy in Gamboa. We loved the people, and the people loved us! It was so wonderful to be able to enjoy God’s people and creations all in one place. We have come back to Panama City excited to continue to do Jesus ministry in the form of the drama. We know that God is going to continue to move in amazing ways in the hearts of the people here in Panama and continue to let us catch more glimpses of Him every day. As we enter into our last week of ministry, please pray for the people that we will come into contact with during our ministry and that relationships will continue to grow deeper between team members as we finish out our time here in Panama. We are very encouraged by your prayers and comments, and we hope you will continue to lift this team up to the Father’s throne!
Dustin and Meagann
Hello, Readers! Today, we planned to start off our ministry at a school. However, once we arrived at the school, we were informed that we weren’t scheduled to perform the drama for another hour. You know what they say around here! We are not flexible; we are fluid. We began to search for a location to perform a different drama while we had extra time. Our leadership team decided not to waste any amount of time that could be used to further the kingdom, so we began to look for a location that would allow our students to quickly minister. We found a small spot right outside of a restaurant with only a couple people there to watch, but the Father placed us there for a specific reason.
After the drama, some of our students went into a small restaurant and began to minister to a woman who was watching the drama from inside. First, a female student began to speak to the woman, and the students noticed that God was moving in her heart as they spoke about the story of our risen King. As the girl continued to pour into the woman, she became very emotional from hearing what Jesus did for her. The girl began to tell the lady how Satan tempts us with drugs and alcohol. The woman then told the students about how she was addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Then,one of our male students, with a past life that related very closely to the woman, began to explain how Jesus had carried him through his sins. Once she heard this, she began to look at the student with tears in her eyes and said that she didn’t think she would be able to overcome her addictions. The student then explained that he too had troubles with dealing with his past, but he was able to look to the cross and focus on Christ for help and she could too. The students were fortunate to be used by the creator of the universe and pray with the woman to receive Christ as her Savior.
Unfortunately, we had to move on to our next scheduled drama site, so the students had to leave the woman behind. Thankfully, one of our translators stayed behind to give more information to the woman and learn her story. She said that she had began to use drugs because her husband had cheated on her, but because she accepted Christ she told him that she was going to try very hard to fix her marriage and forgive him for what he had done. We serve a mighty God who continues to fix the broken. This is a story of redemption that is echoed throughout all of history.
During the day we continued to do dramas at schools and parks. We have been so blessed to add great numbers to the kingdom every day that we have done ministry, and we continue to rejoice as the angels would. We will not be able to update for the next 2 days because we will be traveling back to the jungle in a region called Gamboa to love on the people there. We hope that the Lord will continue to use us in mighty ways to show His glory. Prayers for safe travel and strength will be very important for the next few days. We appreciate all of you who have lifted us up to the throne. Your prayers are working!
Dustin and Meagann