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“We must work!”

divine appointments

“We must work!” This is the theme of Awe Star this summer. Here in Panama we have learned through experience that God has authority over all things. So as we work our plans change. Each time a plan changes we get to experience His divine appointments. Today we got to experience this. Our team got to do the drama in and around a school in the roughest area of Panama. We got to share Christ and His love to many children and adults who were very responsive to the Gospel.  Many of these children don’t experience the love of a family at home, so when we got to the schools the kids were simply amazed that we would travel so far to tell them the ultimate story of love.  Who would have imagined that in an area that is home to the most notorious gang in all of Central America, the biggest danger we would face was being mauled by children who desperately wanted the little ministry tracts we hand out.  After we finally dragged our team away from the school we took to the streets.  We found a nice little area in the Racatacas (slums) to set up for the next drama.  As soon as we started playing a little music people came from near and far to see what the ruckus was about.  Before we knew it we were surrounded with an audience of gang members, prostitutes, and normal people just passing by.  Still others watched from their balcony, and many were calling out to as many people as they could to help the audience grow.  After the drama God moved in an amazing way.  We ministered to people who knew Jesus and even more who did not.  Many of the believers left wanting to do more for their community.

Then the rain came.  At first we thought we were going to continue doing ministry in the Racatacas.  However, God had other plans for us.  We loaded up and took off for a mall that has never allowed us to perform the drama.  Surely this would be the time God would open the doors to a busy mall to do Jesus Ministry.  Yet, He saw things playing out a little differently.  At this point we knew God had something huge in store for us!  Let me just say that huge is an understatement.  The team hopped on the bus, and we left to go to a refuge camp.  The Panamanian government is building a tourist area right next to the Racatacas.  For safety reasons, the government is tearing down the Racatacas and relocating them.  It took about ten minutes at the police station to obtain the proper protection forces for the area we entered.  In my wildest dreams, I would have never guessed that the police force would be needed to keep the kids out of the bus rather than an actual danger.  That’s exactly what happened.  About fifty kids aging from about two years old to ten years old chased our bus a quarter of a mile down the street after we were done.  But before all of that, some of our students got a chance to talk to the police chief on site.  He informed us that they try to do much more than just serve and protect.  They do everything they can to give the people a sense of value and worth.  He explained that they always give the people two choices; the easy way and the hard way.  However, he meant so much more than just prison and violence.  He said he uses his position as a means to communicate that we all have a decision to make that affects our souls for eternity.  At the end of the day, he gave us his number and said he wants us to come back soon, but this time it would be a huge event.  He wants to bring his most troubled youth and criminals for them to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Praise God for a simple rainstorm that opened up a relationship with the police department, and many opportunities in one of the darkest areas in Central America.

Unfortunately, Icandi, the Kuna village we were going to visit tomorrow has been shut down by the elders so we are switching to Gamboa, a small island where the Embera live. We will be working with three small villages over the next few days. We will arrive back into Panama City Friday afternoon. While we are in the village there will be no updates until Friday. Please continue to pray for us as God is using the team mightily.

Chad, Daniel, Charlotte, Walker