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Panama 2017 - Day 6

Today we headed out for a two hour drive to the Cuna Village.  The Cuna people settled in the village about 13 years ago and is located in a much more remote area than the other villages that we have visited.  There is about 200 of them and the younger adults and children speak Spanish, but they also have their own Cuna language.  They gather water from a nearby river, which can be difficult in the summer months when the water is low.  The children walk about a mile to another village for school.  Many of the women in the village make beautiful jewelry, headbands etc. to sell out by the road, we saw many of them selling in the straw market last year.  They have a very, beautiful, distinct look that is all their own!  Pastor Abel, who pastor's the Nazarene church in the village, is married to the Chief's daughter.  Although Chief David was not there today to greet us today, Pastor Abel, his wife, family, and others were.  It didn't take long for word to spread that we were there and also that it was time for the Church to provide lunch for the children.  Within minutes, 50+ children were ready and waiting to get a hearty meal that The Naz has been providing for them three times every week.  What a blessing to get to see this up close and be involved in handing out the food to each of these precious kids!   This effort, YOUR effort is really making a difference in this community!  This past November, The Naz sent an additional donation to Cuna and it warmed our hearts to hear that Pastor Abel decided to use some of it to provide a Christmas Eve dinner for the entire village!  What a great way to bring the community together and show the love of Christ to each and every one of them, God is using this little church in big ways!
After lunch it was time to connect with these beautiful children through crafts, songs, games and yes, pop rock candy, and MORE candy!  So many moments for each of us that warmed our hearts and no language was needed, just looking into their eyes, a touch, a giggle..... a smile....... I could feel the tears behind my eyes more than once today, it is a mixture of being so blessed to be in this moment with them and yet feeling sad that life is this hard for them.  
We took some time before we left to split into groups and walk through the village to hand out mosquito nets for each family - this also was provided by donations from The Naz.  I can't tell you how many small children I saw today covered in mosquito bites, these nets will be put to good use!
God's word is full of his love for the oppressed and the needy, but today I leave you with words of encouragement for giving to missions.  Never before have I been so proud of our church for really caring and making a difference in Panama than I was today, so this verse is for you.......

"And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday."
                                                                                                                      Isa. 58:10
God bless you...... and the Cuna people,

Linda

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