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Wouannan and the Embera Puru, Part1

mona lisa

“You do not know what will happen tomorrow.  For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.  Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” James 4:14-15

It seems like this has been the passage that God has taught us this week.  We came to Panama with a set schedule.  Well, God pretty much scrapped our plan and gave us a new one.  Our plan would have been like looking at just one piece of the Mona Lisa.  However, His plan showed us a picture on a much larger scale.  It was one that opened the door for a place in the jungle called Gamboa.

Before we left for the jungle we presented the Gospel at Isaac’s our translator’s old school.  There we had a chance to meet and present the Gospel to several college students.  This group included students of all backgrounds and religion.  A young Muslim couple even prayed to receive Jesus in their hearts.

After that, it was off to Gamboa.  We got to the village a little later than planned, but as soon as we got set up; God was sending people to us.  After we got our mosquito nets up, we stood in the middle of the Wouannan village and worshipped.  Maybe five minutes into it a woman approached us, crying, asking us to please pray for her family.  One of her daughters had run away, and she simply didn’t know what else to do.  It didn’t take long for God to show us why He called us to Gamboa.  The people there were ready and anxious to hear what we had to say.  As we went to bed the team learned what it is like to live in another part of the world.  Some of the girls slept on a concrete floor.  The rest slept in a Wounanna hut which stands on stilts.  Then the guys slept on an uneven dirt floor.

We woke up to the beautiful sound of howler monkeys and various types of birds.  Pastor Luciano, who has given most of his life for the sake of the village, gave us a list of things we could do to show Christ love.  Some of us took machetes and cleared out the trails that run between the villages.  Others followed behind and picked up trash on the trails.  Still more stayed and cleaned the villages.  When I say cleaned I mean picked up each individual leaf that had fallen.  I don’t know that I have ever seen manual labor done with so much joy in my life.

The Wouannan people were so gracious and eager to show us their culture.  They showed us three of their tribal dances and explained to us their origins and reasons for doing things.  When the cultural lessons was over it was time to do Jesus Ministry.  We walked a little ways through the jungle to the Embera-Puru village.  On a side note, instead of having one group of people to minister to like we would have in Icandi, God provided two people groups.  We did the first drama for the Embera-Puru people.  God really moved as we began to hear many people repeating us in prayer to receive Christ, but that wasn’t all…more to come tomorrow!