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Hola from Panama again!

panama

After a wonderful time of worship on Wednesday, we all woke up with refreshed hearts and minds! The Lord provided a Christian school for our first drama site of the day. Being greeted with many little “holas” overwhelmed the team with joy. Schools are always very moving, but this time we knew we were celebrating Christ with many of the students and teachers! This was exactly what the team needed to start off the day.

At our second school of the day we had the opportunity to share the gospel with children ranging from elementary age to junior high. Many of the older students understood the good news we were bringing and accepted Christ! Our prayer for them is that they will trust the decision they made and encourage one another in their new life. The administration was very happy to have our team visit on Thursday because they were ending their “English Week” with an English-speaking competition and invited us to watch. It was a lot of fun joining in the competition!

After lunch Julio, our bus driver, introduced us to his pastor, Isabella. She took us to her community to perform two dramas at apartment buildings. Isabella’s church does a lot for this community. They go around picking up the children and bring them back to the church for a meal and Sunday school classes. They have so many children that they have to do many different groups! We also got to go pray for Isabella and her church in her church building. She was so thankful for the Lord bringing us together and was very encouraged by us helping her in her community!

Thursday night we spent time enjoying our last teaching from Philip before he left on Friday morning. It was hard saying goodbye because he was an amazing leader for our team, but we are excited for Walker to join us!

Friday was a day spent on Cinco De Mayo! We are only a short 5- minute walk, so we spent the entire day performing the drama on the busy street. As it does most afternoons here in Panama, the rain began to fall and the people scattered inside. However, we quickly remembered that our disappointments are God’s divine appointments! As we took cover in the entryway of an abandoned building, 7 men who appeared to have gang tattoos took shelter with us. One of our team members, Sterling, felt led to start giving his testimony to the men. That is when the Lord put it on our hearts to do the drama for them. The team prayed for the rain to continue through the whole drama so the men would still need shelter, and the Lord definitely answered! Several of the men understood and wanted to accept Christ…Praise God! The Lord worked in a mighty way today, and we are so thankful to be part of it!

Thank you for all of your prayer support! We will be doing our last day of city ministry tomorrow, and then we will be heading to the village of Gamboa.

Please pray for:

-Continued good health

-Team unity

-Many more divine encounters

-The people who accepted Christ today

-Safe Travel to Gamboa

-And that God receive ALL the Glory!

To God alone be the glory,

Meagann Earnhardt

Country Coordinator

Sometimes God moves externally.  Still other times he moves internally.  Today our team got a taste of both.  When we set out to do Jesus Ministry this morning we thought we would be doing the drama four times at one school.  The principal had set aside about 45 minutes for each group of two classes to see the drama at a time.  However, God wanted some other people to see the drama.  After we performed the first two dramas, the principal said that he liked what we were doing so much, and loved the kids’ reactions so much he wanted more of the kids to see the drama.  Our team was visibly exhausted after the fourth time, but God tells us that His power works best in our weakness.  That was certainly the case today, as the strength, courage, and boldness of a pride of lions burst through our team.  The fifth drama was easily the best of the day.  The result of our team being willing witnesses was many salvations.  God placed before us students of all backgrounds.  There were some students who were Jewish and many who were Catholic, and still others had no sense of any religion or belonging.  Each small group ministered to about ten students at a time, and countless times all ten of those students accepted Christ and surrendered their lives to Him.  Anyone reading at home who has been to Panama before knows that no one ever wants to leave the schools, and that was absolutely the case today.  Parents, friends, and family after today (yes this early!!) I can guarantee that these students will not come home the same.  Part of their heart has been, and will always be left behind in Panama!

At Awe Star, we believe that the only thing better than God moving externally is when God moves internally.  This afternoon we got to go see a woman who is very important to us, Nivia.  Nivia has been our cook in Panama for five years.  Anyone who has ever met Nivia has met one of the strongest and sweetest women in the world.  She drops everything she is doing to come cook for students who follow God’s call to Panama.  She has made countless journeys to Icandi, Calabaso, Tabardi, and many other places in the jungle and mountains.  Unfortunately Nivia suffered a stroke only days before our first team arrived.  She is back in her house and on the way to recovery, but her right arm and leg are still paralyzed.  One thing Nivia loves is worship through song.  Today she reminded us that even though she doesn’t speak English, she still feels God moving through her the same way we do when we worship.  Nivia has always given all of herself to the One who gave everything for her.  She sat today with her strong hand raised high, pouring her heart out to God as tears ran down her cheeks, my cheeks, and the cheeks of many of our students.  We ended our time with Nivia by praying over her.  We believe, and Nivia believes, that the power of prayer is far stronger than any earthly measure.  God has all authority over all situations.  He is able!  Not only that, but we know He is with us, and He is for us.  We ask that you would please join us in praying for Nivia.  Regardless of what transpires, I can say with certainty that Nivia will give all glory to God in sickness or health.  I wish you all could have the chance to meet her, but you should know that she is praying for you, and appreciates all the prayers for her.  As Nivia always says “Gloria a Dios!!”

Chad, Daniel, Charlotte, and Walker

“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