Written by: Jon Gildner

Yesterday was a long day of travel. A long day.  But our team pushed through and we arrived safely in Panama last night.  Following a good night's rest, we made our way to La Chorrera and Iglesia Centro del Nazareno--led by Pastora Candelaria.  As we walked up it became apparent that the church was already in worship.  Music was playing, songs were being sung.  And we joined in.  

I think that's a good description for what we're doing here.  God is already at work in Panama.  We didn't introduce the work of the Holy Spirit in this place; rather, we showed up and gave witness to what God was already doing.  The music was already playing, songs were already being sung.  And we joined in.  I was so grateful for that this morning.  We even talked about this in our devotional around the pool this morning.  We talked about the God who goes before us, who precedes us to every moment.  God calls us forth into his redemptive story.  What a privilege it is to be able to participate in what God is already doing.  

Pastor Tyler preached a wonderful sermon from Jesus's Sermon on the Mount.  He preached about what it looks like to be a part of God's family.  Following the formal service we presented the story of the prodigal son through a puppet show.  Our puppeteers were Debbie King, Michelle Symons, and Addison Gildner. There will be a repeat performance later in the week!  After that we did some crafts with the children.  We were ably led by Michelle, Debbie, Carol Wehrli, Addison, Ashley Symons, and Mike Symons.  Stephen Shubert, our resident Spanish-speaking expert, worked the room and helped us communicate well with our Panamanian brothers and sisters.

After a stop for lunch at a local place called "Subway" we made our way back to the hotel for a restful and playful afternoon. We played some games in the pool.  Pastor Tyler really wants me to share that he won the competition for treading water--for a whopping 15 minutes!  It was kind of impressive, but don't tell him that.   

Off to dinner soon, but check back tomorrow for another update--this one to be written by our youngest team member, Addison (age 9)!

Dios le bendiga!