In less than a month, I'm going with these people to Panama.
We are PLANNING to go spend the first week of June in the small village of El Capuri and present a Bible School. (But those of us who have traveled to Panama before know sometimes God changes our plans;)
But this weekend, our team spent 17 hours together planning and preparing.
Here are a few highlights & impressions from our time:
Our team already is working so well together. I saw time after time this weekend our team members caring and helping each other. From sharing money to buy their "supplies" at the Salvation Army Superstore to giving their food away to each other to manhandling me and forcing me to sleep on a cot! The care our team showed each other was incredible.
Our team is already vulnerable with each other. Probably my favorite part of the time was sharing our testimonies with each other Friday night. I was blown away with how open everyone was about their struggles and their hopes. We shared laughter and tears together. We loved each other. It was beautiful to see the younger encourage the...ahem...more mature. And then to watch the elder members so beautifully speak into the youngers' lives. I believe it is so setting the stage for the adventure we will take together in just a few days.
Our team is ready for anything! I purposefully kept the details of the training from the members leading up to this weekend. I also purposefully structured the weekend to take us out of our comfort zone. We had to buy our needed supplies from a thrift store. We stood with cardboard signs in downtown Springfield during ArtWalk. We slept on cots in our makeshift "shelter". And through it all, no one complained. They trusted. They savored. They were joyful and excited. What a testimony to their desire to follow and obey God.
So many times God is calling us to do something. To go somewhere. To leave other things behind. And we are reluctant. Closed. Too busy. It was so refreshing to see this team already moving towards that trusting obedience and the expectation that God is wanting to move in the unknown and unexpected.
Probably the most unexpectedly wonderful thing that happened in our training time was Saturday morning. A little before 6AM, I awoke to hearing someone walking around in the church. After listening for a few moments, I began to realize it wasn't one of our team members. As I pondered what to do, I was suddenly surprised to hear singing.
As I listened, I realized I recognized the tune but couldn't quite make out the words. And then I realized why...because it wasn't in English! See the church (South Fremont FreeWill Baptist Church) that so graciously allowed us to hold our training at their facilities also shares space with a Korean Church.
I kind of knew that, but didn't realize that they held services at 6AM on Saturdays!!
So our team was awakened to the sound of "Lily of the Valley" being sang in Korean. And we all held in wonder the sounds of this beautiful service. You can't plan cultural training like that.
We are excited about what God has in store for us this summer. We ask you to join us in praying for the details of the trip and the lives that God wants to change.
5 hours ago