I was 16 years old when I went on my first missions trip and I’m pretty sure it was the first calling I had from God to be in ministry. I’ll never forget flying with 20 high schoolers to New Mexico to live for a week at a missionary kids campus. Each day we would clean that campus and venture out to the reservations and churches to minister to them through Bible School activities. One evening in particular grabbed my heart as I sat on the front porch of a church with a young Hispanic girl on my lap and we talked and giggled together. Seeing these families living in a place I had only read about and sharing Jesus with them drew me in a way nothing had before in my short life.
In March, I had the amazing opportunity to travel with fellow staff members, Ross Harrison and Bethany Lois, to Panama City, Panama to follow up with missionaries that Hope Church has begun working beside. Matt and Angie Johnson live in Panama City but minister with 5 churches in the rural areas surrounding the city. We at Hope Church have felt God call us to begin partnering with one of those churches called Iglesia Bautista Torre Fuerte in Chica, Panama. Spending Saturday and Sunday up in the mountains of Panama we experienced their culture, saw firsthand the overwhelming poverty and were encouraged by the love of Jesus in their mile wide smiles. What a privilege we have as a church to walk alongside these dear brothers and sisters in Christ to spread the Gospel of Jesus to this mountainous community. One thing I love about God is how He orchestrates my life. All weekend He reminded me of that first trip many years ago. There were so many similarities, even to the point that one little girl in particular grabbed my heart again and reaffirmed that God has purposed me to share Jesus with children. As you begin to hear more about this opportunity that Hope Church is beginning, pray for Iglesia Bautista Torre Fuerte, Pastor Ulysses and Alma, the new believers, and their renewed love for Jesus. But also pray about what God has for you personally. We will be sending mission teams to help with construction, to lead Bible School, to give medical care, to share the Gospel. Keep your mind and spirit open to what He has for you! Maybe He wants you to go to Chica. Maybe He wants you to help prepare a team to go. Maybe He wants to use your financial resources for supplies or to send others. But maybe He wants to affirm in you the purpose He has for you in His body!