God’s love demonstrated in Chitre, Panama
by Daisy Darnell –
Cadets and friends pose for a group picture at a Salvation Army facility in Chitre, Panama.
Planning, programming and preparation only partially prepared us for the campaign at Chitre, Panama. Never having been to Panama, we were excited and anticipating what God had planned for us.
We arrived at a small building with one room that had a small dividing wall inside to separate the main room from the children’s eating area. At first glance, we knew we were in the right place. We were there and ready to help. But what God had in store still was not fully revealed.
Large opportunities of ministry started with the women’s jail. With a total of 12 inmates, 10 attended the time of worship and sharing the Word of God. We also visited the men’s jail. The inmates sang and shared with one another as the cadets joined in and were blessed to share the good news.
As children returned from school in the early afternoon, on Tuesday and Thursday they came to the corps and were provided with lunch, a meal that they may not have received for that day. Following lunch was a devotional and time of singing. We were also privileged to take part in Home League, open air meetings and cell groups.
Beyond these many programs, we painted, cleaned, installed, scraped, and worshiped. The blessings given to us by the Lord came through the people in Chitre. Their hearts were so open and they accepted us as we were. Only a few of us could speak Spanish as fluently as the corps members did, but the language of love flowed out of every part of the body of Christ. Looking into their eyes, we could see their hearts and the love that was within them. There was no “language barrier” because God was there and his language of love broke down all man-made barriers.
Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” is the first commandment. The second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31).
God loves each of us, and we loved all whom we met in Panama; they too loved us. Much was learned, much was gained, and God was there with blessings in abundance.
Mission team leaders were Lt. Colonel Alicia Burger and Major Sheila Bradley.