Greetings from Panama! GO (global outreach) TEAM #3 arrived late Saturday and jumped in head first today!
From the moment we woke, we sensed God's presence and blessing. We had the privilege of participating in a combined worship service with the two churches we will be working alongside of this week. It was a beautiful thing to watch two congregations join together. After a great time of worship (led by adults and kids) a sermon (that I shared reminding the pastors and congregations of the promise that Jesus would build His church and nothing would defeat it!) our team switched gears and facilitated Vacation Bible School.
VBS was awesome. Though, we're not exactly sure how many children participated - every time we rotated activities we said, "where did those kids come from?" - they seemed to be multiplying before our very eyes!!!
The team did a great job presenting a puppet show (you haven't lived until you've seen Dennis Coselmon using a puppet in 100+ degree weather!), leading in Bible memory relay games, and a special craft. All the activities related to the story of the Prodigal Son. What a blessing to share with the children about our gracious, loving, forgiving, and welcoming Heavenly Father!
This afternoon we visited the largest craft show in Panama. It is only held once a year and just happened to be this weekend at the national convention center (maybe instead of visiting Shipshewana, Doc Anthony could bring the Senior Adults to the Panama Bazar!). After we picked up some gifts, we headed to the Fish Market for dinner at the waterfront in downtown Panama. Seated along the coast, in the shadows of enormous skyscrapers, we were all struck with the "two countries" that we had experienced today. Panama City, full of commerce, international bank institutions, and wealth; and little Puerto Caimito, where two Nazarene churches find themselves, on the outskirts, with little resource, serving children in need. While we enjoyed our fresh fish dinners in the fancy downtown, our experiences with the kids and families were truly life giving. We look forward to doing life on the margins this week - and we are expectant, believing God has great things to do in us and through us.