Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Farewell Panama

We are wishing you a wonderful Christmas season and pray that Jesus’ joy and life fill your homes and families. These last couple weeks in Panama have been pretty challenging and miraculous at the same time. One of our first nights in Panama we went into the poorest slums area where there are a lot of gangs and is said to be pretty dangerous. We went into one of the buildings at night and began playing with the children and praying for people. A young woman in a wheel chair was brought out of one of the room to ask us for prayer. She had not walked in one year because of Tuberculosis. We prayed for her for a while and then police came and said we had to leave because it was too dangerous for us to stay in that area. After the police had already asked us to leave we felt the urgency to ask this young woman in the wheel chair if she would like to get up and walk. She was afraid at first but finally had the courage to try. We held her hand at first but then she started walking by herself and she continued walking by herself around the room while the family and police all witnessed it. She refused to sit in her wheel chair again and was just silently weeping with thankfulness to God. A couple days later we received a text message from one of the workers from that area saying that this girl is healed and has continued walking since that night. The text also told us that one of the gang members we had prayed for confessed that he was about to do a robbery that night but while being prayed for he saw a vision of his destiny in hell and he repented and gave his life to the Lord.

Our team was also able to minister in the Hospital, leading Church services, upriver by boat to indigenous villages, to all the prison security guards, on radio shows and in the police academy. It was so different for me ministering in the police academy. Not the assembly I am use to speaking to. One hundred and fifty young men, many of them still in full camouflage gear packed onto the bleachers in perfect rows. When I began preaching I realize they were all still standing at attention so I gave them the liberty to sit down. They were tired from their all day training and work but at the same time very respectful and hungry for God. After sharing my testimony and the Gospel I felt to give an invitation for people to come to Jesus and be saved. About one third of the men responded and prayed committing their lives to the Lord. At the end of the service we invited people forward for prayer for healing and many were touched by God and healed of pain in their bodies as well.

Well that is part of the enjoyable part of our Panama journey working with YWAM. The not so enjoyable part was where I spend the majority of the time; trying to ship five vehicles and two tent trailers from the port in Panama into Colombia. It took over five days of running office to office, inspections, waiting in lines, in the police station, the customs office, making more copies and getting more stamps. It was so expensive, way more money than we had but God provided a generous donor at the perfect time to cover the costs. There were so money frustrating details about this process that I could write a book about but I will not get any further into them. That type of administrative detailed process is certainly not where I flourish in ministry.
Yesterday we flew into Cartagena, Colombia and will most likely be here through Christmas before we can head south where there is a lot of ministry planned for the team. We are still waiting for more of our team to come in as it was not possible to get tickets for all twenty-four of us on one plane. Our vehicles are supposed to arrive on Friday sometime. Probably on Monday we will begin our three day drive south through the mountains to Bogota. Please continue praying for us whenever you remember.

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