The post below was written by our team member Jessica Case:
I still can't believe I am here in Panama! When I think about what led me to this place in my life, I feel overwhelmed by how detailed and intricate God's plan for me is. Today we ventured out into the village of Chepo after buying groceries for all of the families who live there. Each day of this mission trip has been so unique, and today was no exception. We didn't come in on a boat like we did at the past two villages, but we were still welcomed by sweet and smiling faces.
The men and women on our team split up to accomplish different "mini-missions" in Chepo. The men did a demolition of an old hut for a woman who had a better home built by previous missionaries. Removing this old hut got rid of an unsafe structure and made room for her to use that land for something else. The women of our team stayed to do Bible study and sing with the ladies of the village and their children.
Marianella and David, the missionaries who have been hosting us, have been coming to this village for the past few years. A couple of ladies gave their testimonies during Bible study, and one talked about how she was saved when Marianella shared the gospel with her a couple of years ago. I thought it was really beautiful to hear what an impact missionaries can have on the people they talk to. As short term missionaries, we won't always get to see the impact we have, but it was very encouraging to see how God had used Marianella as a light in this village.
We sang songs with the kids about Jesus, and a couple of the songs were in English. I will admit that one of the hardest things I have faced on this mission trip is the language barrier. But hearing those sweet voices singing and being able to completely understand them was so precious. My heart felt so happy! I have found that the kids in Panama don't really care if you can't speak Spanish, because they speak the language of love. Love is the universal language! Our team got back together and spent the rest of our afternoon passing out food, devotionals, Bibles, coloring, painting, making beaded necklaces, and having a water balloon fight with the kids! It was such a fun day filled with lots of laughter and joy!
God has been showing me over the course of this mission trip just how big He really is. He is not just a Good Father to me and the people I surround myself with, but He is also a Good Father to people all over this world. His love reaches out to all people, and this week has been a chance for me to expand the people I'm reaching my love out to. I feel so honored to be God's hands and feet here in Panama and for getting to share the love of God with these kind people. I cannot believe that our trip will be coming to an end soon, but I can't wait to see what God has in store for our last day of mission work!