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Tennessee Pathfinders Double Duima School
By Rod and Sherry Boyd

View the Duima: I Will Go video

Tennessee Pathfinders at Duima -

My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them. –Ezekiel 34:6

28 TENNESSEE PATHFINDERS traveled to the community of Duima in the mountains of Northwest Panama to help the local church and El Buen Pastor (Good Shepherd) Christian School search for God’s lost sheep and continue construction on the facilities. Pathfinders are Royal Ranger leaders who go to remote places for missions construction. This was their fifth trip to Panama. Their first was in 1996 when they constructed the first building (see the March 1996 article The Guaymi Project: Update). They returned the following year to build two additional classrooms.

Tennessee Pathfinders at DuimaAfter building two churches in the San Blas Islands the last two years, the large group of twenty-seven men and one woman returned to build two additional classrooms, build a four-bedroom staff house and convert first building from metal siding to block—a requirement of the Ministry of Education in Panama. Two doctors joined the team to hold a community clinic for the week. Fifteen churches were represented by the team lead by Mike King. We’re grateful to Pastor Andrew Wharton and his congregation from Life Assembly of God in Mount Juliet, TN who provided the majority of the construction funds.

Tennessee Pathfinders at DuimaIn addition, a missions team from Centro Familiar Buen Pastor (Good Shepherd Family Center), a Panamanian Assembly of God church in Panama City came to help. Pastor Julio Jaramillo and several members of his congregation assisted with construction, evangelism, medical, cooking and laundry. Pastor Julio serves as Rod’s construction foreman for all construction projects in Panama.

Guaymi babyDUIMA is the name of the sparsely-populated community of 500 Guaymi Indians. They live on small homesteads—up to a dozen huts for extended families of 10 or 20 people. Pastor Cesar and his wife Ana came to Duima in 1997 as Panamanian to pastor the Assemblies of God church and oversee the new school. They now have two children. The school has grown slowly from 28 children the first year to 88 in 2002, crowded into five small classrooms. Our attendance goal for 2003 is 120 children. School begins the middle of March.  The new facilities will give the school a capacity of about 175.  The church has also grown to an average attendance of more than 100—mostly children as the Guaymi have large families.

Tennessee Pathfinders at DuimaCONSTRUCTION. When the group built the first buildings in 1996 and 1997 there was no road to the community. Now, with patience, courage, and the permission of the nearby homestead, you can reach the church and school in a 4-wheel drive vehicle during the dry season. But when the rains start the dirt road becomes impassable.

Our goal was to have all foundation work finished by the time the group arrived. But getting materials to the construction site was difficult and we were only able to finish about half the foundation work. The new buildings are located on sloping terrain that requires different floor and roof levels. The team pitched their tents and camped for seven nights. Rod coordinated construction with the team construction leader Danny Rogers. Sherry cooked meals with team cook Royce Gray and worked with the medical team.

Tennessee Pathfinders at DuimaIn six days, working each day from dawn into the night, the Pathfinders just about finished the impossible. They completed the block walls in the original building. And they blocked and roofed two new large classrooms. The greatest challenge was the 4-bedroom house. They had to lay most of the foundation for the three levels of floor. They completed the outside wall block and the two main interior walls that will support the roof.

Tennessee Pathfinders at DuimaThe MEDICAL CLINIC was led by Dr. Robert Mayfield and Panamanian medical student Francisco Chavez. Linda Ralphs, the only lady Pathfinder, served as nurse for the doctors. The team brought thousands of dollars worth of medicine. They were able to minister to 748 men, women and children during the six days. The most common treatments were for parasites and malnutrition. The Guaymi Indians live in extreme poverty and underdevelopment. Their water system is undependable and contaminated. The medical team had to attend to severe cases as well including a house call to a woman diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

Tennessee Pathfinders at DuimaThe medical team ministered to the soul as well as the body. We were all impressed with the zeal of Dilcia, one of the lady’s from Centro Familiar. Dilcia is a Kuna Indian and stands about 4’ 8”. Touched by God, this little evangelist stood tall to preach the gospel to the Guaymi as they waited to see the doctor, prayed with every patient and took evangelism tracks to the hundreds of huts spread through the community of Duima. Dozens were saved. Linda shared that during one afternoon alone there was a person getting saved every 10 minutes! Francisco said that about 40% of the children accepted the Lord.

Tennessee Pathfinders at DuimaSERVICES. The team broke away from their work for services three different nights. They brought projection equipment and showed videos of the first and second trip to Duima and the Jesus film in their own Guaymi language. The closing service was beautiful. About 200-300 hundred gathered in the courtyard area. It was difficult to count because it was so dark and because the Guaymi are very shy. They prefer staying back in the shadows. We all laid hands on the new buildings and dedicated them to the service of the Lord. The church and school presented each team member with a small gift.

Tennessee Pathfinders at DuimaPARTNERSHIP. The team showed a slide show that last night—a series of photos of people. The team and the Guaymi were touched as they saw themselves on the big screen. They also showed a moving video of last year’s trip to the island of Nargana. We couldn’t help but think of Dilcia, the Kuna lady, as we watched the video. She is from the island of Corazon de Jesus, connected by the 200-foot bridge to Nargana. Here she was—a Kuna Indian in Duima, in the middle of Guaymi country. What an encounter! Believers from 15 Tennessee churches and a Panama City church that included a Kuna India from the opposite side of Panama, partnering together to bring God’s lost sheep back home.

Tennessee Pathfinders at DuimaEach morning we shared devotions together as dawn broke. The last day several expressed disappointment that they weren’t able to finish putting the roof on the house. All of the materials are there. They just ran out of time. The Lord spoke to us at that moment. We told them that the Lord didn’t want them to finish. This time, it’s important that the Panamanians finish the job. God is burdening Panamanians with the missionary task. And they are responding! The staff house will be finished, not by the Tennessee Pathfinders, but by Panamanians that care about these lost sheep in the mountains of Northwest Panama.

DUIMA IS CHANGING. Mike King has seen the change. He said that the first year that he was at Duima the people wouldn’t come around. This time they joined in. Pastor Cesar said, “Five years ago when I came here the only singing you heard was from the birds. Today, you don’t just hear the birds sing anymore, now you can hear people singing songs of praise to God.” Thank you, Tennessee Pathfinders, for looking for God’s lost sheep at Duima.

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
–Isaiah 55:12

Tennessee Pathfinders at DuimaPRAY FOR DUIMA. Pray for Pastor Cesar, for the church, school and the teaching staff. Pray that God would use the church and school to continue to change the community. Pray that God would give us grace with the Ministry of Education. Pray that God would open doors to allow us to open a 7th grade class in 2004. Currently, hundreds of Guaymi youth do not have that option because no school provides secondary education. Pray for these children God dearly loves. Pray that additional funds will be given for doors, electrical work, water system improvements, electrical work and new student desks and chalkboards.

If you'd like to help, please send your offerings to:

Assemblies of God World Missions
Project 7513
1445 Boonville Ave.
Springfield, MO 65802