Sunday. January 31.
Our final day in Panama was a memorable one. We had an incredible service at the Progreso Church of the Nazarene, which is an amazing, vibrant congregation on the Panama Central district. This church has given birth to several other works in the area, fueled by the passion and vision of the late Edelmira Rodriguez. You can read more about her here. This godly woman wanted the church to be a light and a hope for the surrounding communities, and she poured herself out into the lives of those around her. Even on her deathbed she expressed concern for a number of people who needed care. After serving in this community for several days, it became obvious that her heart and passion had spilled over into everyone who knew her. To follow her is to follow Christ. I pray that the same could be said of us.
All week long we were told about the vision that Edelmira had for the church and community. And it just so happened that I had decided to preach about the vision Jesus had, spelled out in Luke 4. Jesus, the Son of God, would spend his life giving sight to the blind, freedom to the oppressed, and good news to the poor. It was a true blessing for me to preach about this shared vision that was coming to fruition right before our eyes in Panama. Besides the preaching, we were able to experience a wonderful, traditional Panamanian song and dance by members of the church dressed in traditional Panamanian garb. It was truly beautiful. Following the service we were treated to cake and drinks shared amidst many hugs, kisses, and lots of picture taking! God had knit our hearts together over the past days in such a beautiful way that it made it difficult to say goodbye.
After leaving Progreso, we went to a nearby mall and had lunch at the foodcourt, which was exactly what you think of when you think of a foodcourt. Several members of the church joined us for lunch, which was a treat. In the evening we made our way to the old part of Panama City. I took in a break-dancing competition, while others shopped, and some just walked around the city. I will be working on some of my dance moves for the next trip so I can bring home the golden-shoe trophy! We capped off the night with a memorable (i.e. stinky) walk to the fish market, where we had a yummy dinner by the water.