Well,our time in Bocas del Toro is coming to a close. It’s been three amazing weeks of literally living in an island paradise. We said good bye to our amazing San Jose contacts, Rasta and Elsi after they took us through the sketchy Panamanian border. (That meant walking with all our heavy backpacks and crossing a very rickety bridge with holes in it over a river. I’m not still scarred by it, what are you talking about?) So we said goodbye and hopped in a taxi and sped (literally, we drove so fast. I think most of us were scared for our lives) to the boat dock where we would catch our first boat to the main island Colon, where the town Bocas del Toro is settled. When the taxi pulled up, we were instantly mobbed by eager Panamanian men who would do anything for a tip. Which that meant grabbing our backpacks and throwing them into the boat. We had no idea how to react. They were going so fast that we didn’t even realize that Trevor’s guitar hadn’t made it into the boat. We jumped into the boat and again, sped (I think driving abnormally fast is a thing here in Panama) to Isla Colon. The way there was absolutely amazing. I was floored by the beauty of the water and the hundred of mangroves throughout. We saw so many birds and wildlife, it was so cool. When we got to the first island, we switched to a different boat and were then left to find the YWAM ships in the dark! It was a scary trip, I’ll admit. But we made it and were welcomed to the YWAM OutPost Panama base. We got our bags out and proceeded to make the trek up the many, many stairs to the house. We made it up, hot, out of breath, and relieved. Already there, team Kona and a couple of mission builders from Germany were laughing and welcoming us. Along with the base leaders, Michael and Sonja! We received yummy pineapple cocktails and sat down and took it all in. We knew that this was gonna be a good three weeks. This time at Bocas has really been a blessing to this team. It was a real time of refreshment and refilling in the Lord. We got to have a lot of team times and quiet times. We’ve found that God is very clear out here. Many of us have been wrestling with questions about our future and what it’s going to look like. But so many times, God would stop us in our tracks and would just tell us to trust Him. One of the verses that came up in quiet times and team times was Jeremiah 29:11- “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not for evil. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” That verse resonated with many of us. Trust that the Lord has it all planned out for us. We don’t need to focus on what we’re doing when we get home. We need to focus on what we’re doing now. And more importantly, what God is doing in our lives right now. So that was a big revelation. At least for me and a few others. Besides being hit with these amazing revelations by God, we have also been doing ministry in the local tribes here. These tribes have a habit of not liking missionaries because of some bad history with some a while back. So Sonja and Michael’s mission here is to rebuild that trust between missionaries and the local people. So, we went multiple times to the villages and we played with the kids and did crafts with them. They always started out pretty timid but by the end they were running around and going crazy like normal kids. Along with going to the tribes, we also went to the main island to do ministry in Bocas del Toro. The first time we went was very discouraging. No one really felt up to praying or talking to people. That town was pretty heavy spiritually. But the next time we went, Ruth had a great idea to put on the spiritual armor of God and that helped immensely. We all set out with happy hearts and God on our side! We also got to go to a church one Sunday. It was on the mainland so we had to take an hour long boat ride (which was absolutely gorgeous) and then a bus ride to the church where the Kona team performed a skit and we sang a song and Andrew shared his testimony! Ruth also translated the whole sermon. We were so proud of her.
This time has been filled with beautiful times with God and with our team. We really have bonded. We never stop learning new things about each other and the Lord. We’ve also been spending time with the amazing people here. Card games, Pirates of the Caribbean (because we’re on the Caribbean duh), and doing ministry together. New friendships are so fun!
These last three weeks have been so wonderful and I can speak for everyone, we had a blast. Now it’s time to move on to our next location! First we will be headed to a tribe on the mainland where we will be staying for a week doing ministry like playing with the kids and doing bible studies and such. It’ll definitely be a stretch for us. But it’ll be great! Then we make our way to the Chiriqui base and we end our outreach there! We will have limited wifi so I will post when we get to Panama City for debrief.
If you couldn’t tell from this post, we had so much fun here at Bocas and we are so sad to be leaving this place and these people. Thank you to Michael and Sonja Geitz for letting us stay with you and thank you to the Kona team for being such fun friends!
Saying good bye to Rasta!
Boat rides everyday!!
Free day at Red Frog beach
Celebrating Australia Day with our super legit team!