Southern Wesleyan University Students Experience Missions in Panama
Over Spring Break (March 4 – 10, 2023), I led nine Southern Wesleyan University (SWU) students on a trip to Santa Rita, a small community within the country of Panama. Our primary goal was to build relationships through partnering with the local Wesleyan Church, Fuente de Vida (Fountain of Life).
The students started their time in Panama learning a little of the Kuna people’s (one of seven indigenous groups in Panama) culture, history, tradition and spiritual beliefs. Their learning continued throughout the week, with one highlight being the honor of learning a worship song in Kuna — “Bab- Nuga An Odummoge” (I Just Came to Praise the Lord) — and then singing it during a worship service.
Pastora Berenice, and the leaders of Fuente de Vida desired that the team partner with them to encourage students to return to school. Panamanian schools returned to classes on Monday, March 6. Since school in Panama is not required, oftentimes children will not attend classes for financial reasons. To help encourage the children with the importance of education and of attending classes, a special party was held: “Despedida de Vacaciones” (Goodbye Vacation). To help provide for some of their school needs, each child was given a small gift.
One evening the team was asked to walk to a piece of property. Pastora Berenice shared that the church is praying about purchasing it in hopes to relocate the church from the garage area of a church member’s home. With the idea of Joshua 6:15 in mind, the team, along with the church members, walked and prayed around the property seven times. Together, in 3 different languages, they all prayed in faith for the provision to purchase the property and to construct the future church building. They also prayed for the multiplication of the gospel in Santa Rita and for a transformed community as a result of the faith of this local church.
There are many more stories to be shared; however, what is most important is that the Lord connected the lives of nine SWU students to a small community in Santa Rita, Panama and to the members of Fuente de Vida. Lives, both in Central, South Carolina and in Santa Rita, Panama are forever changed and connected through the unity found in relationship with Jesus.
Please also pray for a group from Parkway Church in Virginia, which Christy led on a trip to Panama following this one with SWU students.