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Latin America Resource
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Full Circle Missions
Good Shepherd High School Visits Duima
By Agustin Mejia

Introduction by Rod Boyd

What is "full circle" missions? The missionary goal is always to raise up a national church that is self-governing, self-supporting and self-propagating. The circle is closed when the church becomes a "sending" church as well. The Assemblies of God of Panama are on the brink of truly closing the circle. Panama has few "foreign" missionaries. However, God is calling many to missionary service. For many, "foreign" service begins with cross cultural experience within the country—to the various indigenous Indian tribes.

Last fall, the entire senior class from the El Buen Pastor High School in Panama City, 41 in all, traveled to Duima, a community of Guaymi Indians, located in the Chiriqui Province in northwest Panama. Duima is the site of the soon to open Latin America ChildCare school. The vision for this school began in the hearts of the leaders, teachers and students of our El Buen Pastor schools. It is only natural that they would want to help. Their missions trip was lead by vice-principal Agustin Mejia. What follows is his report on their trip.

The Scriptures teach us that when we have a banquet, we must call the poor who will not be able to repay us. However, we will be blessed and will be repaid in the resurrection of the just (Luke 14:12-14). I believe the school now has a part in this promise, and in God’s love we are beginning to feel blessed.

Full Circle MissionsWe arrived at the Bible school in San Felix at 5 am. After breakfast, we traveled to the Pana-Cobre mine and had to find other transportation because we could not travel further in the bus. We hired three 4-wheel drive vehicles to transport us. We arrived at the feeding station along the dirt road and organized ourselves. We began climbing towards Duima at 11 am. The conditions were harsh, with mud and rain. Soon, the students, especially the young ladies, became tired and felt like they were unable to continue. After prayer we continued up the mountain, taking more frequent rest periods. The final group arrived to Duima at 2:30 pm.

Full Circle MissionsSeveral members of the congregation from the Divine Refuge Assembly of God in David joined us. Aixa Serrano, director of the school in Doleguita is the supervisor for this new  school. The group from the church left after dinner. Later we had a service where the Holy Spirit touched us.

Monday morning we began our work. The conditions were sub-human. There is no drinking water available, electricity or bathrooms. We had to bring our own water and improvise with the rest. We divided the large group into work groups of five each. We had two principle construction projects: dig two latrines—3 feet by 6 feet, 6 feet deep; level the floor of the classroom and pour a concrete floor. Two groups of young ladies took charge of the meals. Two groups worked with distributing the clothing and food brought for the Guaymi. Each night we had services. Many Guaymi came. All were touched by the glory of God.

The weather changed for the worse the second day. Many Guaymi came to the site, without clothing and hungry. The students ministered to their needs. The following day Guaymi leaders from the region came to investigate. We were able to talk with them and explain to them about the coming school. There was also opportunity to share Christ with many Guaymi. Opportunity was given in the services for them to receive the Lord. Many accepted Christ as personal Savior.

Full Circle MissionsDue to the continued rain, we decided to leave in the morning on our last day. Many Guaymi came to say good-bye. The Chief came and thanked the group for their work during the week. As we left, he would not let a single member of the group carry their packs. Instead, the Guaymi carried them for us. After spending a day in David and Volcan, we arrived back to Panama City.

We didn’t accomplish all that we had planned. However, the Lord let us accomplish other things that we hadn’t planned. More than 10 years ago, the El Buen Pastor schools, missionary Alcides Barrera and missionaries Larry and Dorothy Cederblom received the vision to start this school. However, it wasn’t until this year, 1996, that with the help of missionaries Terry Bell, Rod and Sherry Boyd, and a group of volunteers from the United States, we were finally able to begin this project. Now, they have raised the banner of this school.

The students were able to truly touch the Guaymi people, especially the leaders.  The students were touched as they gave. They realized, due to the contrast of the lifestyles of the Guaymi Indians, just how rich they were. Many expressed a desire to return to help these people.