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Panama 2016 - Day 6

Today we arrived at Playa Chiquita Village. More about them is in the day 2 of the blog. It is a smaller village than Espave, and more impoverished. The needs are great here but the people are strong in their faith and resemble Espave because they are simply vessels of God’s love. There were workers presently working on a water line that will soon provide running water to the village. “Our plans” were to make salvation bracelets with the children while some of the team joined in with others to lay the foundation for Lucia’s new home. The women of the village had us make them a bracelet too so that they could use them to share the gospel in the village.  
I say “our plans” because we are open to the leading of God’s hand and have found that He has divine encounters planned for us beyond what we could imagine.
This day was more relaxed, we learned more about the people that live here and the plans for the church. There is still so much work to be done finishing the church and the children’s center. Most of the walls are up, but not all, and as soon as the money is raised they will start working on finishing the projects that have been started.
There is a school in the village where the children can attend until 9th grade. At that time, they would have to leave the village and find their education elsewhere if they wish to finish high school.
The children! Sigh….. When traveling here, I imagined that it would be hard to leave these children behind, but honestly, I just want to stay in their world. The hot sun beating down, nothing around to distract, their laughter ringing out, catching their beautiful eyes, which always breaks into a smile. And the best moments are when they climb right up on your lap just to give you a little bit of heaven. My heart is full and I can see that the team is feeling the same way.
Today we met a beautiful little girl named Monserrat who turns 5 tomorrow. She told us that she wanted to be a singer and a ballerina. I sang to her in hopes that she would sing for me. At first she was shy, but after a walk, we finally convinced her and she sang softly, sweet and pure, “open the eyes of my heart Lord……..” Just what my soul needed. Beautiful, sweet girl!
The divine encounter today that is on all of our minds is about our bus driver Alvaro. He has been faithfully picking us up and taking us to and from our locations. His driving is entertaining to say the least! We have laughed often in the seats behind him as he drives that big machine like a natural born Nascar driver! We are suspicious that he may know a little more English than he is making us believe! Today was different.
Usually Alvaro stays with the bus and waits for us to return, but for some reason, he felt compelled to join us in the church during our lunch break. “Felt compelled”……I am sure God has arranged this day just for him. He simply asked about a water bottle and from there, the conversation turn quickly to life and the things of God. I will tell you that God has shown himself in many ways to Alvaro and yet he admits that he has not yet made the decision to accept Christ as Lord and Savior. We prayed, we cried, we felt God’s presence fall on that moment with Alvaro. Whether we will witness the salvation of Alvaro or we are another seed to be planted in his life, this is a moment we will remember always.

As we were having a time of worship and prayer with the people of Playa Chiquita before we left them, we noticed that someone had quietly slipped around the corner to join us. Yes, it was Alvaro. (There is a picture of him standing behind Jim Burgess, clapping). Pray WITH us that God will move in a mighty way and bring Alvaro into the kingdom while we are still here to witness it!

Maybe, just maybe Alvaro will drink from more than just an ordinary water bottle…………

“Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life!”  John 4:23



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