missions

Panama Medical Mission Day 1

 

Panama (March 13, 2017)

 

What you know:  A group of 18 people took a step of faith and committed to go to Panama on a medical mission trip

What you may not know: There were 4 doctors, 1 nurse, 6 college students, 2 graduate students and 5 others with a variety of skills (I came in second place in the pinewood derby in the 2nd grade.  I might not be able to use those skills this week).

 

What you know: Up until the last minute we were uncertain if all the medicines that that we had purchased (thanks to the generous people of Central) would be allowed into the country.  Friday afternoon at 3:45 (the Department of Health office closed at 4PM) we received approval.

What you may not know:  Not one person was stopped at customs.  Not one bag checked.  (Paper work?  We don't need no stinkin' paperwork).  

 

What you know:  Two teams from Central Church, One team from Brighton, Michigan, and many people from the Espave worked hard to complete a Child Development Center that feeds and educates 100 different children every week.

What you may not know: The dedication Service was a time of great rejoicing!  (I preached from Nehemiah 12 just as Dr. Anthony was preaching from Nehemiah 12 at Central!).

 

Here's the best...

 

What you know:  Last March, our missions team did a one day medical clinic in Samaria, Panama.  While there, a young girl about 8 years old was diagnosed with a major heart ailment.  Left untreated, her life expectancy would have been greatly reduced.  Our docs insisted that she have a follow up with a Panamanian cardiologist.  We hoped (and prayed) that she would.

What you may not know: Today we heard that the little girl did see a cardiologist after we left, had surgery and is doing great!  

 

Last year, one life (at least) was forever changed.  This week, we will be seeing 150 patients a day for four days.  Only God knows the lives that will be impacted forever!  

 

What you know:  It's been a long, great day!

What you may not know:  I've got to get some sleep.  It's going to be a long great day tomorrow in Panama too!

 

Tune in tomorrow for another update from Panama!

 

Pastor Rob

Panama // GO Team 2 // Day 7

Friday we had a moment to see the sights and sounds of Panama City. We traveled to the Panama Canal and were able to see some ships pass through. It is an astounding force of engineering. We enjoyed a delicious lunch on the water and shopped at a local market. 

We were able to stop by Espave Church and see the progress Luis had made during the day (he was no longer at the site but very excited for us to see his work). We arrived to a waiting chorus of kids screaming and jumping up and down with joy. They shouted as we approached the church and community. As Noah got off the bus the kids started yelling his name and all ran towards him as one. It was a sight to see.

We dropped off a few other things to Pastor Chevy, said some more "see you soons," and headed back to our hotel for dinner (where we got to erupt in cheers and high fives with fellow patrons and workers alike during the Argentina v. Columbia Copa America match), packing and preparing for our early morning drive to the airport. We were also able to sponsor some of the children we were with all week through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries. 

What today did do us give time to do is reflect.

Reflect on what this week showed us, how it challenged and stretched us, how it made us stronger and better - how it united us. This week continued to connected two seemingly random world areas.

Flint, Michigan and Panama.

Ten hours of flight time away from one another. 80 hours of driving. 4,198 miles apart. In one of them 75 degrees is considered cold. One area loves hockey - the other has barely heard of it (and lives and breathes soccer).

Yet Flint and Panama's differences are far outweighed by their forming familiarity. Despite the differences, the distance, and  languages barriers these two places are brought together in a new kind of creation.

Somewhere in those 4,198 miles we find where heaven meets earth.

We find love, grace, restoration, and harmony.

And this is just the beginning. 

May we continue to celebrate the work God is doing in our midst. And may we always pursue the completion of that work.

Until Kingdom come.

- Pastor Josh

Panama // GO Team 2 // Day 6

What a day.

I'm honestly not sure where to begin. Thursday was our last work day. Friday we get to do a little sightseeing and then get back early as we have a very early flight Saturday morning.

Our projects for the day were to mix the rest of the concrete, pour that concrete in the foundation trenches and the floor of Pastor Chevy's house, final work on the roof, staining the door to the house, continuing plaster work, playing with the kids, enjoying an Nazarene Compassionate kid program, and other finishing touches around the project sites.

God's presence was very apparent as we worked today. This week continued to just show us more and more of His grace and love through our family in Espave.

Today was harmony.

All throughout the day it was our team from Flint, those from Espave, and others who traveled in from surrounding areas working in complete harmony. There were not multiple teams working on multiple project sites. We were one family working together on building a heavenly kingdom.

All afternoon we could smell our dinner cooking. We were preparing for a community dinner and church service that night.

We took photos of 40 new kids to be sponsored for the CDC and all of the kids wanted photos with us.

That night we had church service in the front yard of Lucy's. We shared testimonies from the week. While it has been apparent all week, it became abundantly clear that God brought together His people, at this time, in this place for His purpose.

And moments like that are just indescribable.

We had a powerful message from Rev. Carlos De La Cruz. We also exchanged some gifts with one another - as well as many hugs and photos.

Then we sat down and shared a meal together. We gathered after a long week to break bread with our family and friends. We sat together laughing, sharing stories, taking more pictures, and reflecting with awe on the week God gave us.

This blog captures just a bit of what this trip is. We look forward to returning and sharing our stories with you!

- Pastor Josh

Panama // GO Team 2 // Day 5

“What started as a list of names…”

That was part of Jen’s prayer tonight that just hasn’t left my mind. I know I have talked a lot about our team and I am by no means trying to brag (or #humblebrag) about the group that we have here. Yet day after day I am overwhelmed by who God brought together for this trip and I no longer feel like the term “team” is large enough.

This collection of people from different cities, different backgrounds, different expectations, and different languages…is a family.

What started as a list of names on a piece of paper, names that didn’t necessarily know one another,  has become a family.

And don’t think I am just talking about those of us from Flint Central. We are a family here with our brothers and sisters in Espave.

We have had so much help on our projects from so many incredible people here in Espave. From construction projects to VBS to sports events to coordinating meals and travel - and all that falls in between. This has been a family effort.

Tonight we talked about how some of the pieces that fell into place for this trip - some at the last minute. And I began to think about how this team came together. It was a moment when you sit back and look in awe. Because while we are getting lots of great work done and forging incredible friendships and bonds it is abundantly clear that God is up to something in our midst

As for our work on Wednesday, we continued to see wonderful progress on every project. Our team did an amazing job of clearing the pathway to Pastor Chevy’s house and laying rock and concrete to create the pathway.

We continued our work in the trenches. We finished our last two trenches and are ready to mix and pour cement in on Thursday.

The roof is officially raised!

The roof is complete on Pastor Chevy’s house. We just have the piece at the peak of the roof and it is done! We can no move our focus inside of the house. Earlier in the week we had to break up the concrete floor in one room because it was cracking. We located the root of the problem…it was the root from a tree. We were able to fix the problem the root was causing and are ready to re-cement that floor as well.

We also had the privilege of being able to go into a local primary school and share the good news of Christ. This is a public school that allowed us to come in, host our VBS program, play games, and pray with the children. It was an incredible opportunity to share the gospel and invite people to their local church community in Espave.

As we were walking out of the school, the principal even asked if she could be in a picture with the last of us walking out. What a testament to how God is working in Panama.

For dinner we took the kids from the Child Development Center to KFC. They had a blast eating with us and playing in the play place. We also delivered our gifts of backpacks with supplies to them. Needless to say there were plenty of hugs and smiles to go around :)

Pray for our family as we move into the last day of work on Thursday. We want to get a lot of work done and also continue to strengthen the family we have all become here. 

- Pastor Josh