Panama was incredible! We started the trip on June 14 in Garden Valley, TX where my team trained for 3 days before we left for Panama on the 17, which was a Thursday. We had some more training and preparation in Panama City until Saturday. On Saturday we loaded boats and left for our island location. My team, named the Ambassadors, went to an island called Soledad Mandinga. On Soledad Mandinga there was no church, but we were welcomed nonetheless. Everyday we spent many hours in fellowship with the Kuna people of the island, taught English, led VBS, and helped in the huts. During this week I saw many children as well as some adults accept the Lord. I saw a 16-year-old mute boy named Rueben say “Baba,” the Kuna word for “God” for the first time. I heard stories of a young girl being healed of a flesh disease. God did great miracles.
I was sick for three days in the island. I would be fine during the day, but up all night throwing up. It hindered me some, only in that I was tired during the day. But my experience was not hindered in the slightest. In fact, it may have been enhanced. God was able to use this experience to teach me how to remain happy even in the storm. God is always good. Always. That I learned through my illness.
On Saturday we left back for Panama City. We had a relax day, during which I got sick again- this time with a fever. But after a five hour nap, the fever went away. Praise God! The following day, Monday, was a free day. We got to go into Panama City for shopping. I bought souvenirs for friends and family; and I was even able to eat some pizza, a very nice change from lentils and rice.
Tuesday was departure day for the Darien Jungle. We left on a bus to place where we could load boats to our jungle location- Maje Cordillera. In Maje, I was able to bond with a wonderful family and grew very close to them. Our activities were very similar in the jungle as in the island. But the atmosphere was different. Huts were far more spread out and there was less of a sense of community unity.
It rained, or poured rather, everyday in the jungle. I loved it!!! But it made for a lot of mud. Our feet were constantly muddy and wet. My feet are still recovering.
We saw a deaf man hear! It was incredible. Man, God is so good.
On our last day we had a fiesta where we killed a pig and fed it to most of the community. It was awesome to see everyone come together. We left the next day after being there a week for Panama City. We had one more free day to a place called Gatun, a water way near the Panama Canal where we were able to swim (in Crocodile water,) kayak to a beautiful waterfall, and eat delicious food!!
We left for home on July 8. The last full day was spent debriefing back in Garden Valley. On the 10 I left to go back to Denver.
It was the trip of a lifetime. I met so many amazing people who I will never forget and plan to remain in contact with. I saw God perform miracles I never thought I would. And I grew in ways I can’t imagine.
Whoo. God is awesome!!! Praise Him.