138 Dirksen Drive, DeBary, FL US 32713
Today we went to a school to perform and share the gospel. Afterwards, I was talking to the students—or at least trying to—and they kept asking for a picture with me. Honestly, there are probably about 80 different pictures of me with random Panamanian kids, yet I couldn’t figure out why they wanted my picture. It wasn’t until an English-speaking girl started talking to me about my blond hair and blue eyes that I realized they were obsessed with my hair and eyes. So after a while, it was time to go, so I said my goodbyes. As I was walking away, I turned around and a little girl said to me “Goodbye Ross Lynch!” Wow… so the entire time that I was signing autographs and talking pictures with people, they thought I was Ross Lynch.
It’s amazing to see such a cultural difference in which people were amazed to see blond hair. I felt very special indeed, despite my false identity. It is my hope that all the kids that heard the gospel were touched in some way and maybe even brought to Christ. It is also my hope that they wait until after I leave Panama to read my signature.
Every day since we arrived in Panamá, God has put words on my heart, whether they are a Bible verse or song lyrics or something someone said. It started with Hebrews 2:3, and I used it to set my focus for the trip. Day two was the last half of John 13:1, which says “He loved them to the very end.” After a full day of rehearsal and being sweatier than I have ever been in my entire life, it was reassuring to know that even in all my mess, Jesus is there and he still loves me. Yesterday in the jail and at the orphanage, it was the bridge to the song “I’m Going Free (Jailbreak),” which says, “I am free, free indeed.” That felt especially fitting. How lovely it is to rejoice in the Lord and the freedom that he brings to people, even those in physical chains. How beautiful it was to see every single person in the gym at the school today stand up and give their hearts and lives to Christ. Last week in college ministry, Nate Edwards said something that continues to resonate with me. He said that salvation is a supernatural work that God does in our lives to bring us from dark into light. Watching all of these people take the step from dark to light has been so wonderful, and to know I had even a small part in that is even more fantastic. This week, pray for the kids and adults who have received Christ through Palabra de Vida. Pray that they find peace and that they continue to grow in their new relationships with Christ. Pray for the students and leaders from the Bible Chapel, that we would find clarity in our moments of doubt, and that we would never let the love of Jesus stop pouring from our mouths and our hearts. Today, God gave me words that have been echoing in my soul since Easter. It’s from Matthew 12, and it rings truer every day that I spend in Panamá. “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight […] In his name the nations will put their hope.”
Hello, my brothers and sisters!! How are you? It’s Hannahlee!! I will try to keep this short because, if you don’t already know, I am a HUGE talker. I am part of the puppets ministry here at Palabra De Vida, and I absolutely love it! God has definitely opened my eyes and heart on this trip. Today we went to a school and performed the gospel through puppets, dance, and testimonies! Even though the children cannot see us and we only use our hands, we get to sing and dance all for God. Although the stand fell due to the strong breeze, we still managed to work as a team to share God’s message. Hearing how excited the kids were to see the puppets, lifted my heart to the sky. These kids barely have half the amount of stuff than we do, yet they are WAY happier than us. How amazing is that? God is so wonderful. Seeing all these kids ages 7 to 12 so joyous to learn what God has in store for their lives is so beautiful. Throughout middle and high school, I studied Spanish, so I was one of few that was able to communicate with the kids. Having the chance to tell these children that God always loves them and praying with them was truly inspiring. It is my hope that I planted seeds today in their hearts, so one day they will know God just like I do. In the orphanages I had the opportunity to share my testimony. It was an emotional roller coaster, but I was able to impact almost half of the girls there, as they went through similar hardships. Knowing that God’s plan for me was able to bring others to him was totally the highlight of my year.
Hola amigos, this is Maria. So today was day five in Panama and this trip has been nothing but beauty. It’s so amazing to see little kids accepting Jesus. I don’t think I have seen anyone more excited than the little children when the puppets come out; the smiles on their faces make it all worth it. It is so awesome to see almost a whole crowd of 600 kids accepting Christ, and that’s just in one assembly of many. I am completely awful at speaking Spanish with the four words that I know (literally I have gotten laughed at multiple times). A little boy that was around 6 came up to me and wanted me to read the little booklet we gave to him, so I did. With what started with one little boy sitting on my lap became a whole crowd of around 15 kids listening to me attempt to read them the book, it was so bad, but it felt so good. God can do amazing and beautiful things and I love being able to experience it. I love being able to share the love the Lord has for all of them by doing something so simple like moving my hand in a puppet. I feel so blessed to have been given this opportunity to share the gospel with the Panamanians because honestly, it is one of the most precious moments of my life. I do miss being home but sharing Jesus with these kids and getting attacked with hugs is definitely so much better.