As our Naz family back home was gathering together this Sunday morning, our Mission team came face to face with another church family in the village of Cabuyita that welcomed us in with open arms to worship with them this beautiful day in Panama! The bond we felt was immediate, true and recognizable as the precious bond of Christ. It doesn't take long before we are drawn in by Pastor Ana, her husband Rafael, her children and grand children. All of them are active members of this little church family. Singing, preaching, playing drums, they give all they have to this ministry! Ana shared with me that she is one of 10 children, the first to feel the call of God on her life and through her faith, all of her siblings also have come to know Christ, including two that have since passed away. The legacy that started with her faith has affected generations to come for sure! We were told today that Pastor Ana was the first Nazarene pastor here in Panama 15 years ago. The service was filled with heartfelt worship, testimonies from some of them and some of us, encouraging each other with proclaimed evidence of God's love and power in our lives!
We happened to be there on their communion Sunday. What a privilege to participate with them in this way! Pastor Ana prayed with such passion before we broke bread, that even with the language barrier, it was evident that she was calling out the gospel message to anyone who had not yet accepted Christ. It was beautiful and reminded me of a passage in Isaiah 45:22
"Turn to me and be saved all you ends of the earth. For I am God and there is no other."
The afternoon was spent with the church of Espave'! Seeing not only the work that we had previously been involved in, but also the improvements they have made since we last saw them a year ago was exciting, but the children of Espave' again stole the show! The church was finishing up a week of Vacation Bible School. It was a short visit filled with hugs, smiles, new introductions and those sweet, adorable kids!
I'll leave you with this description of Espave':
They are a patient, kind people. There is no boasting except in the Lord. They are not prideful or rude. There is no evidence of selfishness or anger. There is no one keeping record of wrong. Even the little ones protect the other little ones. They trust completely. They have incredible hope and persevere, even in the midst of poverty.
Love......this is Espave'.
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Posted on Sun, February 5, 2017
by Linda Caswell