We were in Panama City, an unexpected stop on our return trip from Honduras. Our mission complete, we had a few moments to process all of the events of the previous days. Looking out our hotel window I could see sky scrapers, the Pacific Ocean, and tons of boats, which I assumed were waiting to cross the Panama Canal. The cold air conditioning and the overcast skies were a friendly relief to the bright sun and humid heat of San Juan.
Compliments of the airline, we sat in a 5 star hotel. It was so odd to experience such poverty and riches in the same day.
Due to unexpected events, our return trip to Guadalajara would take a total of 3 days instead of one. (And after two days of travel and fourteen hours of sitting on a bus & plane, we were relieved to have arrived after our connection had departed.)
As a missionary I am amazed and a bit awe struck by the life we live. In the past week we had been on two boats, a hand full of busses, airplanes and countless taxis. We had walked the plush carpet of a 5-star hotel, the cement streets of a common town, the mud roads of a village and the sandy shores of the peninsula where a handful of christians live in palm huts and meet in a wooden church built by the community. We had slept in a tiny casita with a view of the Caribbean, visited all the surrounding Garifuna villages except the one accessible only by boat and seen both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in the same day. We had sat under a hut by the sea and sang worship songs in English, Spanish and Garifuna. Enjoyed coconut water fresh from the tree & opened with a machete. Met pastors and church leaders and discussed how we can help spread the gospel and help meet the physical needs of their people. Hugged and prayed with many local children. And after the sun went down I learned how to make pulali (pu-la-lee) a traditional Garifuna drink and baleadas (bal-lee-a-duhs) a traditional Honduran dish, while Rodney sat under a tree with the men sharing stories and many laughs.
As I write I can’t help but realize that my heart is full as I remember these events and think toward the future. Somehow God led us there and ordained us to help make a difference in the lives of the children and the community of such precious people. A people who possess few of the finer material things life has to offer, but are quick with a smile and enjoying sharing a hardy laugh. I am so humbled and glad to have met them. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.