Written by: Jon Gildner

Day 4

Unscripted moments.  In the two trips I have led to Panama, my favorite moments are the ones that just happened.  No one planned them. They weren't on our itinerary.  It was as if in the middle of the routine, the kingdom of God broke in.  You can't plan for that.  It's just a gift.  It's pure grace.  It's God showing up in the middle of common, everyday, human interactions.  These moments are so beautiful.

Some of these unscripted moments happened yesterday.  During the workday at La Chorrera, some of us were inside the church and some outside, doing various tasks.  That's when I saw God show up.  On the front stoop of the church Ashley Symons was playing with some of the kiddos from the church. They wanted her to take selfies with them and they were having a ball doing this.  I looked out of the church and saw them smiling and laughing and I remarked to Tyler, "I love when these moments happen."  Ashley told us on the bus-ride home last evening that that was her favorite part of her day.

At the completion of our work day, our group was resting until it was time to go.  We were sitting around in the church and someone suggested we play a game together that we learned the prior evening.  Stephen Shubert taught us a game called "Casa."  It's difficult to describe, but perhaps one way to describe it is like Uno, but without the cards.  The penalty for messing up your turn is that you have to divulge something about yourself that the group doesn't know.  We won't be coming back to the states with dirt on everyone, because what happens in "Casa" stays in "Casa."  During our game, some of our Panamanian friends were watching and we invited them to join in.  It was so fun to watch them pick it up and have fun with us.  New friends.  Partners in ministry. Fellow sojourners.  The kingdom of God broke in during a silly game of Casa.

Our day finished in San Francisco.  This is a community not too far from La Chorrera. The church is trying to reach at-risk kids at this preaching point.  We did a puppet show, sang some songs, did some crafts, and made new friends.  All this was planned. What wasn't planned was the prayer time to end our time there.  A lady who was an important part of the church was not doing well and her daughter had requested prayer for her.  We entered her home and crammed our way into the back room where she was lying.  This woman, this 102-year-old woman, was suffering from two broken hips.  So we prayed for her.  It was a tender moment.  I told the group on our bus-ride home that this was my favorite moment of the day.  These are my favorite moments of ministry, when I get to kneel beside someone, look them in the eye, touch them, and ask God for his mercy and grace.  For me, it was a holy moment.  God sanctified that space for that moment in time.  And we were thankful for God's faithfulness.

What about you, dear reader?  Have you seen the kingdom of God break out in unscripted moments in your day?  Is there enough "space" in your day for God to show up?  

The grace of God is active all around us, do you have eyes to see it?