Today was our first work day in Playa Chiquita. Just in case you did not follow last years blog, here is a little history about this community. The people of Playa Chiquita once lived in a nearby dump. About 15 years ago, with some help, they started to migrate up on the hill nearby which is now Playa Chiquita. They make their living by returning to the dump to find things to sell and also in the fishing industry. When visiting with the people of the village, they tell many stories of their lives then and now. The day was filled with lots of cement work, along with plastering the outside of the church and prep work for the upcoming days. Although the sun was especially hot today, the team worked hard and accomplished a lot! Pastor Mila was on the scene along with some others from Progresso, which is another Nazarene church in the area. I say, "on the scene" because when Pastor Mila is around, you can't help but follow her and be in her presence. She is the Compassion Child Director for Panama, children are her passion and it shows! They LOVE her and come alive when she leads them in song, story or prayer. She and the others assisted us with our first day of vacation Bible school today and it was a fun afternoon filled with song and story in both English and Spanish and a fun craft time that brought us face to face with amazing children of all ages.
God is doing great things in this little village and preparing them for much more. We have heard that there are plans to clean up the dump and build hotels in that area. There is also some other larger homes being built close by. Playa Chiquita has moved from the dump to the top of the hill and is becoming, as scripture says, "a city on a hill that cannot be hidden." As they continue to build, expand and develop their ministry in this village, their light will shine brighter for everyone around them to see. Our love and support from The Naz to Playa Chiquita is an important part of their journey.
I will leave you with Carlos (the man in the picture). We encountered Carlos along the dusty road as we went for a walk today. He was headed to find some lunch and as we passed by, his look alone told us a story and we couldn't help but stop and hear what he had to say. He spoke very little English and enjoyed throwing it in occasionally to impress us! Although he lives in the village, he has yet to step foot in the church. He has had disappointment in his previous experiences with "church" years ago. Pray for Carlos this week. We will be looking for him as we wander through Playa Chiquita in the coming days. Maybe his curiosity will get the best of him and we will see that face come through the doors of the church this week while we are there. But.....even if we don't, a seed was planted in Carlos today and his story is not over.....in fact, maybe the best is yet to come?
"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
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Posted on Mon, February 6, 2017
by Linda Caswell