The team started the day with a little bit of sight seeing around Panama before we headed out to the Cuna Village. There are no plans for hard work, just a little VBS for the kids and visiting with the people and learning more about their village and their needs. The village sets on an Indian reservation that they settled on about 12 years ago and it is more remote than where we have previously been this week, it was time to break out the mosquito spray! Although they have water from a nearby river, during the summer months the water is sparse as the levels are low. There is no school in the village so the approximately 80 children walk a little over a mile to attend one in another village. The drive took about 2 hours but we had some friends from the Progresso Church join us so the ride was lively and full of laughter and singing! The Cuna Village is approximately 200 people in total and their Chief, David was there today and came out to meet us and show us their new congress building. His daughter is married to Pastor Abel and even though his own daughter does not know if he is a Christian man or not, he is open to the church being there and allowed us to have a prayer for him within his congress building. The Nazarene church claimed an abandoned building on the reservation about a year ago and is now using that for services and outreach to the village. God’s presence is surrounding him and his village through the efforts of the Nazarene Church there and I look forward to hearing about his confession of faith in the future!
When we first arrived, we headed out in groups to invite all the children of the village to our VBS. They are a beautiful people and proud of their heritage and culture. The women wore vibrant colors and most of them sell jewelry, belts, headbands and more to earn an income. The church was providing a meal every Sunday for the children and thanks to the money that we have sent them they will now start feeding them 5-7 days a week. Sending them funds to help feed the children is the first financial gift from the outside that this young church family has received. Just having us there with them was a new experience and we could tell they were unsure just how to respond to us; however, their needs are apparent and they were so grateful for all we had to offer them.
This tribe has their own language and for the first time this week, we had to translate from English, to Spanish, to Cuna! Although this made communicating more difficult, I couldn’t help but feel the presence of God when Pastor Abel prayed during our service for the children, it is a “hermosa” language! (Don’t let that fool you; my Spanish is a source of amusement for everyone here!)
Our visit was not long enough, I wished we ‘d had a few days to visit and get to know them better. There is something so incredibly special about communicating without words with people that speak a different language but are knit tightly together with you by the love of Christ. We left them with flip-flops, dolls made from our knitting group and dresses and more. I’ve found that cars, glow in the dark bracelets and pop rock candy is a big hit with the children of Panama and this time was no different, except they almost suffocated me when they figured out what was in the backpack! Right in the middle of it all, a young girl named Deisy reached in and tied a beautiful bracelet on my wrist. Again, so giving in the midst of such great poverty. Every time, it is hard to wrap my mind around such selflessness.
The Cuna Village Nazarene Church has now experienced missionaries for the first time through our team from the Naz! This is not the end, but just the beginning, there is so much more that we can do for and with them.
“For He will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight”
P.s. Remember the bus driver Alvaro? I caught him jumping rope and playing with the kids today……… I thought to myself, “How can he resist the love with no limits?” Alvaro is hearing a call from deep within his soul……I am confident he will give testimony to it one day……..keep lifting a prayer!
(A pic of him jumping rope is in today’s pictures)
Pictures are posted on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/linda.caswell.39
Posted on Fri, February 19, 2016
by Linda Caswell