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Panama 2016 - Day 5

Today was our last day with the people of Espave. The day was filled with the usual work, laughter, children and the very present love of Christ. It just shines through these people in a way that I have never seen. There is nothing that hinders them or distracts them; their lives are ablaze with the spirit that resides in them with such clarity. They are a peaceful people and do you know what scripture says about people like that? They are raising a harvest of righteousness and we have been swimming in it every day! Living in the U.S. we hear that we should seek the kingdom of God first, well, we are seeing, touching and working along side a people that know and understand this treasure.    
We learned more about this village and how it came about. In Panama, they claim land just by refusing to leave. Eventually the government gives up trying to make them leave and hands it over to them. The village of Espave primarily earns a living by developing coal and selling it. It’s quite an operation near the back of the village that involves a lot of hard work. Any of the residents can work there when they need income, however; there is no management or time clock, just teamwork and a willingness to help each other.
After lunch we joined the church for a “food drop” for the most needy in the community. The Naz mission team previously sent the church money to purchase food from a food bank, the money provided 50 bags of food and we split up in teams and walked around the village delivering the food with the church family, even the children came. Our team sang songs together and prayed with the families in both English and Spanish. There is something so beautiful about a song in two languages, lifted simultaneously with one spirit…….. “Open the eyes of our hearts Lord, we want to see you…”
The day ended with a lot of laughter, frisbee, fun and jump rope with the children. I about had a heart attack keeping up with them but you can’t resist when they ask you to join in. The chairs were put away in the church and it turned into a playground! When I say “sweetest children ever”, I feel like that is not sufficient, I have no words to describe their joy, its so pure.
After some playtime, they re-set the chairs to send us off with a celebration service! Both our team and their church leaders gave testimonies about our time together. This was our last day in Espave and I already I miss them.
As we headed home, we left with a passenger who needed a lift. Jairo is the man that I mentioned previously that Joe refers to as a machine! He works like none other and those who were privileged to work along side him enjoyed his company and spirit as well. He is from another church and was hired to come help us. On our bus ride, he wanted to share a verse with us. I looked up the verse that he told Luz he wanted us to hear, it was 2 Chronicles 15:7 “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”
That he would choose a verse that of course, he is living out, as encouragement to all of us was so touching. With that, the bus door opened, he strapped on his backpack and walked away, but not out of our memories. We will remember Jairo, because he is our brother now and forever.

 "But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.  My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure.  I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone."  Psa. 71:14-16

 Dearest Espave,  
I will remember you in my prayers.  I will keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, will give all you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I will also pray that the eyes of your hearts may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe!  
Eph. 1:17-19

Until then Espave!

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