Well, it has been quite a while since my last post.
Being home is amazing.
I’m going to copy my letter that I’m sending out to those who supported me, for my post today.
Teaching its children, serving its Creator, walking on its roads, and seeing God’s hand within it’s people-this had been my Panamanian life for eighty-six days, the most impacting series of time I had ever experienced. This trip was extremely hard, but outstandingly amazing and has changed my life forever.
I served in the church, Inglesia Biblica Amistad, until its remodeling completion on September 26th. Hours upon hours, dirt upon dust, sweat upon sweat, pushed me to serve God through more physical labor than I’ve ever experienced. Faithfully doing anything asked and striving to do better than expected kept me working diligently as well as being an example for those observing. For my first three weeks, I worked at the church every day alongside the men and gained much experience in the world of construction, using nail guns, building walls, paint-chipping, sealing walls, hanging a ceiling, and much more. Although, I must say, my character got more of a remodel than my muscle. I adopted self-sacrifice, discipline, service, perseverance, patience, and most of all, trusting my Saviour.
After those three weeks, I added working in the school to my schedule. I began assisting second grade alongside Susanna, who became my best friend and sister while down there. I tutored some of the kids and they improved their test scores by thirty percent. After the church completion and the end of September came around, Susanna and I moved to teaching five-year old kindergarten kids. There was already an assistant in there, so I asked the teacher’s director if I could do anything to help out in other areas in the school. This was when I began teaching four-year olds phonics twice a day, which brought me new friends and little loves. For ten days I taught seventh, eighth, and ninth grade literature, grammar, and spelling. Throughout that time I received a different perspective on school, because teaching a class room of thirty is another realm than being taught. I began realizing how millions of eyes watch me every day, who I am an example to.
I had the amazing opportunity to go to Piriati to visit the Embera tribe for three and a half days with Vivian, a woman who stayed at the same house I was in. She knew a little English, but understood more than she talked it. When we left, I had the urge to run back to the house and hide; I did not want to leave behind my English for over three days. My communication would be horrible. A million reasons ran through my mind on why I SHOULD NOT GO, but then a Bible verse I read that morning came to my head: “The Lord is with me, whom shall I fear? What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6). God was with me! I could do this and it would be purely God who would get me through this weekend; it would glorify Him if I just obeyed. So I kept walking. After our four-hour bus ride, we arrived at the road we walked to get to the tribe. Many missionaries had come to this tribe, so they were fluent in Spanish as well as Embera. They sang songs and used Bibles in both languages, which was really neat for me to personally see a tribal language translated. I needed to use Spanish and had not realized how much I knew until I arrived at Piriati. My Spanish was in English sentence structure, but I communicated well enough for them to understand me. Most of my Spanish I learned from observing and reading the dictionary in my spare time. The tribal people were extremely amazed and impressed, but again, it was only by God that I remembered. Going to the tribe was one of my biggest highlights of Panama, because they were an impact on my life and changed my perspective. We have so much stuff. America is spoiled; I am spoiled. These people lived from meal to meal and had very little, but found happiness in Christ.
God opened up my eyes to a new perspective on missions; it does not matter if I cannot speak their language fluently, but instead it matters if my heart is seeking God’s will and I am serving Him with all my strength. God used my quiet acts of daily work to be used for His glory and affect those around me. When I stepped out of my comfort zone and pushed forward as an act of obedience to my Saviour, it shined His light and glorified Him. I had many trials through this experience, but He got me through all of them.
I want to thank you for your support, because you have changed my life as well. I am grateful for the way that you supported me, your obedience and services to God are greatly appreciated and I can never thank you enough. I felt your prayers and can look back and see how they affected my circumstances. God used you to reach those whom I did, because you were with me in Panama through your support. Prayer’s power never ceases to amaze me. I thank you and pray these verses over you.
2 Thessalonians 2:16,17
“May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragment and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”