In March, 16 people from our church took a journey to a country only one of us had been to previously, Panama, to show The JESUS Film and plant churches.
“Based on the Gospel of Luke, the JESUS Film was sponsored and financed by Campus Crusade for Christ. It is the most accurate depiction of the life of Christ ever produced. After five years of painstaking research, JESUS was filmed in 1978 at over 200 locations in the Holy Land.” (JESUS Film Harvest Partners) The classic version of the film has since been digitally remastered and translated into 1,607 languages. The children’s version, which is the one we used on our trip is in 164 languages.
It took almost a year to plan and raise the money for the trip. We raised enough money to pay the $4000 for the JESUS Film equipment (pictured below) and the $2500 to help pay for ministry fees in that area. I’m not positive what all of the money went to, but I would imagine it went to pay for the Panama team’s meals and for most of the transportation costs while in Panama. We also raised enough that each household only needed to pay the cost of one member of their family.
Here are some interesting fact about Panama from https://www.barefootpanama.com/travel-resources/panama-facts-figures/
- The canal generates fully one-third of Panama’s entire economy.
- Panama was the first Latin American country to adopt the U.S. currency as its own. Balboa is what they call their currency, but they use US dollar bills, because they do not print their own and interchange their coins with US coins.
- The population of Panama in 2016 was estimated by the United Nations at 3,990,000, which placed it as number 132 in population among the 233 nations of the world, and the smallest population in Central America.
- The lowest toll paid was $0.36 and was paid by Richard Halliburton who crossed the Canal swimming in 1928.
- Senator John McCain was born in Panama, in the Canal Zone that was, at the time considered U.S. Territory.
- The oldest continually operating railroad is in Panama.
- Panama City is the only capital city that has a rain forest within the city limits.
Besides these fun facts, one other thing about Panama is the influx of many people. A lot of people are moving to Panama for education and work, but a lot are also moving there to escape the crisis in Venezuela. Many young people are being sent to Panama to work and send money to their families in Venezuela.
We excitedly left Phoenix on March 15th to Miami and then on to Panama. When we arrived we were taken to a Panamanian cafeteria style restaurant. Some people enjoyed their meals and others were concerned about what they would have to eat all week, because they did not enjoy theirs.
The next day we went to The Church of the Nazarene District Headquarters and learned dances to the children’s songs that would be led at each of the locations we would be going to, as well as a skit of David and Goliath. We were working the entire weekend with a group called Maxima Mission from the Panama District Church of the Nazarene. This group consisted of young people, high school aged to early 20’s, who love God and give up weekends to share Christ with the people of Panama.
We then drove quite a ways to our first location, La Pita. We were separated into groups with the Maxima Mission Team from Panama of about 6 people in each group. Most teams had at least one person that spoke enough English to help with communication. We went house to house inviting the neighbors to the community park at 5:30 pm for children’s activities, followed by The JESUS Film. At some homes the Evangecube, pictured below, was used to share the story of God and His love for man shown by sending His son to die and be resurrected to make a bridge from us to Him.
At 5:30 we had a large number of children show up and they enjoyed the songs, skit, snacks, and evangelism bracelets that were passed out (made by the members of our church in AZ). We then showed the film. Many accepted Christ at the invitation after the movie. The Maxima Mission Team then collected the names and phone numbers of those that made this decision. Those people are now the core of the new church that was planted!
The next day we went to the other side of Panama City to San Juan and did the same thing. In this area we did much more praying at homes and using the Evangecube. One of the things that our team wants to work on at home is being bolder in our faith and sharing. The Maxima Mission team was so bold and excited to share. It was inspirational to see. We had another great turn out and many accepted Christ. There was even a birthday party across the street and the people at the party sat in the front yard and watched the movie.
On the fourth day we went to the church service. This was a taste of what heaven will be like. We were all praising the same Lord in a different language. Three members of our group gave their testimonies and our Pastor gave the sermon. We were able to witness the love these youth have for God through their worship and prayer.
We were then treated to an authentic Panamanian rice and pork dish and the best potato salad I’ve ever had before heading to the mall to have ice cream.
The next neighborhood we visited that evening was just around the corner from the mall at Altos de Angel. We did not take as much time to use the Evangacubes and prayer, but instead simply invited them to the park for the children’s activities and the movie. We had another group that accepted the Lord and are now the core of that group.
A lot of great memories and friends were made (especially by our youth and the Maxima Mission Team) that will be with us in eternity, plus the people that will now be in heaven because of the sacrifices made by us, by the members of Maxima Mission, and those that helped fund this trip.
Your mission may not be to go to a foreign country on a mission trip.
However, we each have a mission. Jesus commands us to continue His mission. Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21 Part of this mission may be to a foreign country for a week, or as lifelong missionaries, or it may be to your neighbors. Everyone who has been saved has a mission.
Your mission is a great privilege. What a privilege to allow God to work through you to share the best news ever with the people around you! He doesn’t save us and then put us on the bench. He puts us in the game!
We all have a need for significance in our life and your mission has eternal significance. This makes it greater than anything else that can be accomplished in this life. You will have those you lead to Christ with you in eternity, but not the job, money, or processions of this earth.
Your mission also gives your life meaning. Paul made the statement, “My life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus, the work of telling others the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love.” Acts 20:24
Completing your mission will bring glory to God. Jesus brought glory to God. “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” John 17:4 Will we be able to say that at the end of our lives?
If you have never receive Christ as your savior it is very simple and the most important decisions that anyone can make!
A – Admit that you are a sinner in need of salvation. We have all done wrong and gone our own way.
Romans 3:23 (NIV) “For all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
B – Believe Jesus, the Son of God, took all of our sin onto Himself and died on the cross to deliver us from our sin. He is the only way to heaven. We haven’t done anything to deserve this, but God loves us and did it for us.
Romans 6:23 (NIV) “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 5:8 (NIV) “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
C – Confess your sin and your faith to God and your belief with others.
Romans 10:9 (NIV) “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.”
It is really that simple. Then find a church and get plugged-in in order to grow in your faith and knowledge.
- Web. 16 April 2018. <http://www.jfhp.org/node/3>.
Fun Facts About Panama. 2017. Website. April 2018. <https://www.barefootpanama.com/travel-resources/panama-facts-figures/>.