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Gloria a Dios!

Salvation has come to Wagandi!  The spiritual warfare in this community is great, but the gospel is being advanced through our team and the church here.

It has been surreal being here in the jungle–sleeping in hammocks, viewing God’s creation and witnessing  new life!

Many kids were saved today in a school called Escuela Quabadra Cali.  The sun beat down on our students, but it didn’t stop them from giving their all.  It’s been amazing to witness students who have shared the gospel for the first time and seen people surrender to Jesus!

Our afternoon consisted of traveling to an Embura community where we swam, performed baptisms and shared the gospel through the drama, “Freedom.”

It was an amazing sight to see one of the students on our team get baptized along with a young man from Wagandi!  To think we got to witness these baptisms in the jungle was quite memorable. 

To close the evening, we joined the church for worship, where three adults from the community surrendered their lives to Christ. Amazing!

Gloria a Dios! This is all we know to say in response to how God is so good! We are thankful and rejoice with our new brothers and sisters to Christ.

This morning, we head back to Panama City where we will continue Jesus ministry.  We will finish our focus on our Man Up/Reign on series today.  Pray for us as we travel.  Pray for the new believers as the church follows up with each person.  Pray for our team to finish strong these last two days before heading home on Saturday!

Mike and Sarah, Country Coordinators

Zach and Mya, Team Directors

Today we went to a local village and were able to do the Awe Star drama and then begin seeing patients in our mobile medical clinic. It was amazing! God’s presence filled the air as we preached the gospel and then began serving villagers needs with exams, eye glasses, medications, injections, labs and prayer. Personal Testimonies were given from the PA system as hundreds waited to be seen. Today we even trained local church members who have a desire to plant a church in this village in basic medical care, so they could join in building a bridge to the gospel with patients as they were seen.

(Slow wifi is making it difficult to post pictures. We will post pictures as soon as we are able 🙂 )

 

We made it to Wagandi in the jungle around three yesterday!

Last night,  as we went to sleep, we heard voices singing worship, crickets chirping, and the sounds of the occasional child peeking through the wooden slats trying to get our students’ attention.

We spent the day traveling, setting up our hammocks, playing with the kids of Wagandi and performing the drama for them.

We had a great evening meal of chicken, corn and mashed potatoes, followed by a teaching from Walker on the significance of the Keeper, the tender of the sheep while David fought Goliath.

We closed out the night with worship in our hammocks, praising God for all He has done. 

What an honor it is to serve Jesus with these students.  It’s been over a week since we started this journey, and it’s incredible to see the spiritual growth that has happened on our team.  Parents, thank you for stepping out in obedience and sending your young adults.

Please keep praying for our team to push back the darkness in these communities in the jungle.  We will serve in two different communities.  Pray that God would continue to show our students their  next step in their walk with Christ.

Your 14-Day Leadership Team,

Mike and Sarah, Country Coordinators

Zach and Mya, Team Directors

 

(We have limited internet access and will post updates as we are able to.)

 

 

 

View All Images from Panama 14 day 2017

“Where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them” (Matt. 18:20).

As we pack up our bus this morning for our trip to the jungle, we are incredibly blessed by the events that took place yesterday.

We started off yesterday morning with a bus ride to the school of San Miguelito where one of the members of Bethel Church is a teacher  and invited us to perform. We had the incredible opportunity to present the drama to three groups of children. Each audience consisted of around 40-50 kids, all intensely watching as the story of Jesus Christ was told before their eyes. Our team was encouraged by the little giggles, gasps and cheers of our first- and second-grade amigos. We had the opportunity to share the gospel even further with the children at the conclusion of the drama by gathering smaller groups around and telling the story more in-depth and in a way young children could understand. The students were thrilled to experience how the gospel can still be communicated without spoken words, but instead with hand signs and pictures. The language barrier was no match for the truth of God! We were able to minister to over 150 children, with close to 75 of them receiving Christ into their lives for the first time.

Pastor Benjamin, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, then accompanied us to our second drama site of the day. We arrived in the midst of a busy outdoor mall, with fruit and vegetable stands lining the streets and people in and out of stores. As we began the drama, our audience of a few turned into an audience of many. This site was a great encouragement to us as our students encountered many Christians who praised us for being willing witnesses to the people of Panama. One group of students had a local fruit vendor pray over them and encouraged them to continue with sharing the gospel around the world.

We finished off the day with worship led by our students and a discussion of love languages. Worshipping together and spending time in fellowship learning more about each other was time well spent as we prepare for our trip to the jungle.

Please pray for our team’s safety as we travel today from Panama City to Wagandi and as we minister to the Kuna people. (We most likely will not have internet connection there, so we will give you an update on Thursday.)

Your Panama 14-Day Leadership,

Mike and Sarah, Country Coordinators

Zach and Mya, Team Directors

View All Images from Panama 14 day 2017

Yesterday in church, we sang a song that said, “What a friend we have in Jesus.” I believe this was the statement of the day. It’s important to remember that Jesus already knows our needs and will take care of them in his timing.

To start off the day, we had morning worship and heard an amazing teaching from Sarah about putting on our armor of God. Both of these elements were much-needed. They prepared us for our day and prepared us to fight against the darkness and the thoughts Satan puts in our head to tear the team apart. Today we walked with confidence in Christ. Nothing could stop us because we could feel the presence of God all day long.

Our many destinations yesterday started with the “Iglesia Bautista Bethel” (Bethel Baptist Church). We were welcomed the moment we walked through the doors. We had the opportunity to experience sharing time in worship with our brothers and sister in Christ. We tried to sing in Spanish and most likely failed to pronounce anything right, but that didn’t hinder what the Holy Spirit had planned for that service. We sang with hearts open and big smiles on our faces. The students were pumped about performing the drama to this church that had shown us already the love they had for Christ. The faces of the children changed from fear of the dragon to sadness as Jesus was crucified and finally to happiness when they realized the free gift Jesus offers us. Yes, we were performing in front of the church, but we still wanted to share the net (explaining the drama and giving an invitation). As we asked if anyone accepted Christ during the prayer, it was quiet for a moment, and then something great happened. A little hand slowly began to rise. Clapping filled the room as a young boy walked to the front and said he wanted to be saved. Oh, what a friend we have in Jesus! His love and sacrifice doesn’t compare to any other friend we have here on earth.

We loaded the bus, and the pastor of the church took us to another place in the community to do a drama. As it has been raining the past couple of days, the sun had finally decided to come out. The heat was pressing down on us, but our team still managed to have smiles on their faces. By the end of this drama, the team’s excitement to do Jesus ministry doubled. We had around 25 salvations at that site. A group of students walked into the car repair shop and led almost all the workers to Christ. Another group walked to the surrounding homes and led families to Christ. And finally, groups got to hear the encouragement from other people who already believed in God. As Christians, we see that God always seems to put others who have a friend named Jesus in our path to encourage us in our walk of faith.

The next drama was performed at a children’s park. The students went out and invited everyone they could find. As time passed, only about three people had come to watch, but still, the students were eager to perform. This reminds me of a story in the Bible that we all know. Now, before you wonder what this story has to do with the drama, let me explain. In Matthew 14, in the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000, the people were eager to hear what Jesus had to say, but they had a problem: They were hungry. This is when a miracle happened. A boy only had five loaves of bread and two fish, but Jesus did not let this hinder His ministry. Instead, He multiplied all the food because the people were faithful. The drama may have started with only three people watching, but by the end, we had around 30 people. I believe God multiplied our crowd because our team was faithful in staying to perform for the three. What a friend we have in Jesus!

Our final drama was presented in a family -friendly central park right by the ocean. The beautiful pictures were a plus, but all the salvations that came from that site were a bigger plus. As we pulled in for the biggest crowd of the day, all eyes were on us. After the drama ended, it seemed as through we needed more ministry teams to help share the gospel because of the size of the crowd. As each ministry team got to lead families, kids, the snow cone salesman and teenagers to Christ, the joy on all everyone’s faces brightened up the whole park. A lady even said, “I can’t believe you guys traveled this far to share the Word of God with us.” This compliment says a lot. It was a great reminder to this team that what they are doing does not go unnoticed.

Yesterday ended in an hour of true worship. What is better than starting and ending the day in worship, and everything in between, Jesus ministry? Oh, what a friend we have in Jesus! His love is not comparable to anything and His mercy is greater than everything.
Thank you for praying for us. Please pray for our team to grow closer to one another and to Jesus. Today, we will be going to two schools to perform the drama, “Freedom.”  On Tuesday, we head to the jungle, and our students are excited to see what awaits and the divine appointments they will encounter.

Your Panama 14 Day Leadership Team,

Mike and Sarah, Country Coordinators
Zach and Mya, Team Directors

*We have limited internet access and are trying to get new pictures up as soon as possible. To get text updates as to when they are ready or any other news related to the Panama 14-day team, text PAN14 to 84483.

View All Images from Panama 14 day 2017

It’s a good morning!  As we sit here eating our Sunday breakfast, we can’t help but reflect on the day before and God’s goodness toward us.  We had an early start to our ministry; we climbed onto the bus, then headed to Colon, a city which is an hour and a half away.  We used our bus time purposefully by seating each young man by one of the young ladies.  Each lady then had the task of discovering the “grunt language” (something he has a special interest in) of the young man sitting next to her. We heard lots of laughter as questions were asked to our men.

 Our bus reached its first destination, a small community named Ibeorgun, where Pastor Morris, who rode the bus with us, ministers.  Our eyes were drawn to the cinder block homes topped with rusty tin roofs.  Each home’s clothesline displayed their colorful garments while through glassless windows, multiple faces with deep brown eyes peered out.  We quickly departed the bus and invited the locals to join us in the open pavilion.  At first, the people were apprehensive, unsure if they should trust their hearts that were telling them to go.  Then it happened.  First three little boys, then a Kuna (one of the people groups in Panama) mom and her two girls, and soon the concrete floor of the pavilion was full of little bodies while the parents sat on the concrete ledge that lined the pavilion.  Our drama was performed and the gospel shared.  What a beautiful sight, as groups of children gathered around our students, eager to hear the good news. Moms and dads also eagerly listened, and several said yes to Jesus!  As we walked the muddy path back to our bus, the families of the community walked alongside us, tugging at our heartstrings even a little more for Inbeorgun.

A short drive away, we made our second stop at Good Samaritan Church, which is led by Pastor Morris.   We shared a meal together of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with those who were waiting for us in the dirt- floored building.  After our lunch, we were invited to present the drama to those who are a part of the church, and then we went out into their community.  The church members walked beside us, then helped us gather their neighbors to watch our performance.   The crowd was filled with men, women, and many children along with two police officers.  After our drama was performed, our students went out to personally invite those in the audience to Jesus.  Many accepted the invitation, including the two police officers!  It was time to leave and again as we walked the puddle-filled gravel road, our new friends walked alongside us, hugging us good-bye, taking our pictures  and making our boarding of the bus bittersweet.

We were able to perform the drama one last time in the downtown area of Colon.  Here we found a large grocery store, and after a bit of convincing, the manager of the store granted us permission to perform the drama in her parking lot.  The audience was not as large, but those who entered and exited the store had seeds planted in their hearts, and we know God will be able to make the seeds grow.

We boarded the bus for the hour and a half drive back to our missionary home.  Hearts were full, our group was knit closer together, and affirmations toward each other began to pour out of our mouths.  

We are so grateful that God has allowed us to have this experience.  Just as Paul says in Philippians 3:10, “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead.”  That desire is happening right now in our lives and the lives of your students!

Your Panama 14-Day Leadership,

 

Mike and Sarah Lehew

Zach Hamilton and Mya Hudgins

View All Images from Panama 28 Day 2017

Buenas Noches!

What a wonderful first day of ministry! The church here in La Arena is so hospitable. They welcomed us with open arms and open hearts. Several of the students got to experience worship in another language for the first time. What a joy it is to worship the Creator in multiple languages! One of our students got to share his testimony with the church. We may be from different countries, but God still changes lives no matter where we are!

This morning, the students awoke to a delicious breakfast of eggs and the traditional La Arena bread. After this, we headed out to begin our ministry here in Chitre. We walked to a local park where we set up our speaker system to play music, and then the students went out to invite. Several cars that were driving by stopped so the people could get out of their cars and watch the drama we were presenting. 

After this ministry site, we headed to a small plaza. Unlike the first drama, this site did not have a lot of people there at all. The students went out and invited locals, but no one was coming. Praise the Lord, God ended up bringing an abundance of people, and we had a crowd gather to watch! After this drama, our students went out into ministry teams and got to share the gospel one-on-one with the people. We are so humbled and blessed by the God we serve. Several people moved from death to life this afternoon, praise God!

The afternoon was more laid-back. The students had some rest time to recuperate from travel and spend more time in the Word. We then broke out into small groups of guys and girls and had discussions on what it is to be men and women of God. The Lord continues to bless our team’s unity, and we are so grateful!

This evening, the church where we are staying is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Several churches from around the area are in attendance. The students will perform a drama for the audience; we are praying that God opens doors for us to take this drama and work with new Panamanian pastors both now and in the future.  

Tomorrow, we will attend worship with the church and then spend the afternoon in ministry. Pray for the students that they will stay healthy, hydrated, and full of joy! We want to lay down our selfishness every day, and we know God has not called us to be comfortable. Pray against the attacks of the enemy and against complaints; may we always rejoice in what God is doing! 

Your Country Coordinators, 

Razi & Melanie

View All Images from Panama 14 day 2017

We sit here in the cafeteria and sounds of laughter fill the room.  It testifies to the power of unity.  It testifies of a greater cause.  It testifies to having a single focus: Jesus.

God is soooo good.

Our team woke up yesterday and spent time in the Word, with Joshua 24:14-15 being our focus, encouraging the students with the reality that serving Jesus is not an impossible task but a delight.  God sustains us so that we might serve Him faithfully and store up for ourselves treasures in heaven.

In our large group, the students learned how to effectively share the gospel and how to engage with the people of Panama.  Afterwards, each of our students took a spiritual gifts test and shared their gift.  The gifts that God has gifted our students with are mercy, faith, exhortation, teaching, discernment, administration, and service.  Our goal is to give students an opportunity to exercise their gifts during the course of the trip and our desire is that they would go home and utilize these gifts to build up the body of Christ.

One of the highlights of our day was an incredible time of fellowship and worship.  One of the principles taught at Awe Star is “Worship makes us stronger.” Worship has the ability to take the weary and restore our spirits.  This really helped continue to build unity with our team as we had the opportunity to pray over one another.

God continues to build confidence through the training of the Freedom drama.  It has been awesome to see the drama pull students out of their shell and grow in confidence.  The team is becoming more like family with every passing moment. 

It’s awesome to watch all the teams come together as one each evening to worship.  There’s nothing like the glorious sound of students worshiping Jesus!  David Guion has helped in a tremendous way preparing our hearts for Panama.  Walker spoke from 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Our students are bombarded daily by the enemy who wants to steal, kill and destroy them.  The enemy wants to steal our fruit and destroy our testimony, which is why we must take every thought captive.

To close out our evening, our Team Directors (TDs) shared about logistics with our ministry teams and had an opportunity to continue to bond as a team.  

Continue to pray that God would give strength and energy as they complete drama training today and for us to continue to love and serve one another.  As the days pass and get longer, we as a team will need prayer from our loved ones.  Satan will try to distract us from our goal, but we know that Christ has a great plan for us as a team. 

Your Panama 14-Day Leadership,

Mike and Sarah, Country Coordinators

Zach and Mya, Team Directors

View All Images from Peru 2017

This morning began our second day of drama training, and the entire team came to breakfast excited and ready to take on the day. Following breakfast, Walker explained the art of engaging people and sharing the gospel with the people we will be encountering in the weeks ahead. It is encouraging to see each of the students taking notes in their journals as they listen to Walker’s teachings and their intentional attitude for what is to come this summer. Already we have seen them step up as young women and men in serving one another. Seeing their servant hearts is special and encouraging for what God has planned for each of the students this summer in Peru. 

Even as the students work hard in learning the drama, they still maintain a cheerful countenance as they have fun together as a team. Tomorrow will be our final day of drama training before heading off to Peru, and with each passing moment, the excitement builds in each of us. 

We ask to please continue in praying for each of us as we continue to train and grow together in unity as a team. More pictures will be uploaded later today.

Your Country Coordinators,

Steen & Rebecca 

 

View All Images from Mexico Spring Break 2017

Our hearts are so full after a wonderful day of ministry here in Nuevo Laredo! The students had a wonderful nights rest and woke to fresh tortillas, eggs, and potatoes. They are loving eating the authentic Mexican food daily.

We spent the morning at Pulga Solidaridad. Once we arrived the students broke out into their ministry teams and began to invite the crowd to come watch the drama. The students performed the drama at this first Pulga to a large crowd, and many were saved. It was exciting to see several students who had never shared the gospel before getting the opportunity to lead someone to Christ.

After heading back to our church for lunch, we had some free time before we were scheduled to go out and perform the next drama. We believe that worship makes us stronger and we felt as though the team needed some time spent in worship. What we originally intended to be just two songs ended up being almost two hours of our students being on their faces, pouring their hearts out to God. Many students wept, overcome with the grace of God in their lives.

Feeling recharged and reenergized, we headed out to go to our next drama. First we performed at a local park and then we went to an orphanage. Our students got to spend several hours playing with children and loving on kids who don’t usually feel so loved. Our hearts were broken as we had to say goodbye to them.

Tonight we sat under the teaching of Walker as he taught on what it means to be an adult in your speech, conduct, faithfulness and purity. Tomorrow morning we will go to a maximum security prison, so it is of the utmost importance that our students are acting mature and responsible. Please keep us in your prayers. We are expecting God to do great things and know that he is all-powerful.

Your Country Coordinators,
Walker & Melanie