From Canada to Panama
on a yamaha with a banana
That's right, I said Panama!
Since I did TREK in Thailand in 2004-2005, I had planned to return there long term. As Sarah and I have journeyed toward long term missions, this plan has solidified in our minds over the last years. And as we have thought and prayed about Thailand, visited and even led a short term team there, Thailand has grown in our hearts. So when we finally signed up to be trained and sent out this year, we really had our hearts set on Thailand.
So when the lead team said that there was an open door for us to Thailand, we were thrilled. But then they added that there was also an opportunity in Panama that they wanted us to consider. Sarah's thoughts were "Well, we'll pray about that for a few days, and then just say Thailand. I'm sure that's where God is calling us!" I also have to say that early on, I really didn't think we were going to end up in Panama.
But then the Lord began to speak in several ways. One way, of course, was Sarah's past, her involvement in Peru and her love for Latin American culture. Panama began calling to Sarah's heart. Probably the biggest way that God spoke was through our community. From different quarters of our life, people began to say that as they prayed or thought about our decision, Panama seemed like the right door for us to enter. God spoke in other ways as well, and while a disembodied hand writing on the wall was not one of those ways, we feel confident saying that this is where he is leading us.
The funny part is, I'm thrilled. On the morning we were going to announce this at Cariboo Bethel, our home church, I was talking to an old friend who asked how our decision making was progressing. I told him that we were going to announce our decision that morning. He said, "Ok, well just tell me this: did you get the desire of your heart?" Immediately I responded "Yes!" But then I realized that he had understood that to mean we were going to Thailand. Whoops!
But what this conversation made me realize was that our assignment in Panama really is the desire of my heart. The ministry we are being invited into is relational discipleship teaching. We're not being asked to start and lead a bunch of ministries, but to serve national leaders--so that the Body of Christ in Panama is multiplying disciples long after we are gone. Most of all, this is what I believe the Lord has called me to. It is my great desire to go and serve the church of God in Panama.
Watch this video about some of our new teammates in Panama
Merry Christmas, dear friends!
Tony, Sarah, Violet and Rosie