Boyd Panorama
White20x10px  Skip Navigation Links : MAPS Teams : Tenn Pathfinders Build Church on Nargana

Skip Navigation Links

Sponsor a child!


Latin America Resource
and Training Center

Tenn Pathfinders Build Church on Nargana
By Rod Boyd

TN Pathfinders on Nargana

TN Pathfinders on NarganaWhat a difference two weeks can make! When the Pathfinders arrived to Nargana in early January, 14 columns, 7 beams, 40% of the second story floor and a pile of 3,000 blocks (each one hand made!) were there waiting for them. Missionary Associate Larry Beckham and a dedicated crew of Kuna men from the church on Nargana had worked hard preparing for the arrival of the Pathfinder team. The team came in two waves. Fourteen arrived for the first week. Nine members left after the first week. Six men arrived for the second week, including a doctor and dentist.

TN Pathfinders on NarganaDoctor James Johnson was able to attend to 280 patients during the second week. He worked long hours each day. I remember him mentioning to me about not wanting to “see another worm” as we were eating lunch together one day. The dentist, Dr. Donald Hooie, was able to attend to about 80 patients during his visit. He traveled to the island of Rio Tigre, where the team built last year.  A few members of the building team were able to return to Rio Tigre on the last day. They were encouraged by the progress of the building and the work there.

TN Pathfinders on NarganaThe team poured 60% of the second story floor, blocked the walls, built trusses and laid the roofing sheets. They also laid about two-thirds of the block for the first story and built a stairwell. They also installed the electrical system, including 10 lights for the upstairs sanctuary.

TN Pathfinders on NarganaThe team worked hard to complete the construction. One of the men commented, “I’ve worked harder here than I did in boot camp!” I was especially impressed with how the team “connected” with the Kuna people this trip, especially the children. The men set up their tents right next to the church. Their presence day and night provided ongoing “entertainment” for the community. There were some wonderful friendships developed in a short period of time.

TN Pathfinders on NarganaThe church has been opposed by the local Sahila (ruling council), almost from the very beginning. The “church” (building) was closed for more than a year after an “idol burning” incident (see When Church Collides With Culture). God blessed the congregation during this time. But the church building (hut) could not be repaired. It was torn down in the end. But all was according to God’s great plan for the church on Nargana.

TN Pathfinders on NarganaPastor Benigno and I had to meet with the Sahila immediately after arriving on the island. We listened to several complaints and concerns during this hour meeting. We were told we must “respect the traditions” of the Kuna. This is the dynamic tension that exists between the church and world. The church must be “in” the world, but not “of” the world.

TN Pathfinders on NarganaMore than 100 gathered for the farewell service the last night. Children, youth and adults from the church ministered to the group in special music. Worship was lively. Larry shared the Word, reminding the congregation and community that the church’s primary responsibility is to spread the Gospel. Pastor Benigno presented each member of the team with a “mola” piece and prayed for the group. In addition, a representative of the Sahila presented the doctor and dentist each with a vest adorned with molas, sharing their gratefulness for their healthcare ministry to the community.

TN Pathfinders on NarganaThank you, Tennessee Pathfinders, for your investment in the church at Nargana. You have touched a whole village with the gospel. Your lives and your actions spoke clearly of God’s love for Panama’s Kuna Indians.  There is quite a bit of work that remains. In addition to the additional block work, the ground-story floor must be poured, electrical system finished, benches and doors built, and the stucco and paint inside and out. But the church is encouraged to move ahead.

TN Pathfinders on NarganaThe Tennessee Pathfinders are talking about returning to Panama next year. They will likely return to Duima, the Guaymi village located in the mountains of northwest Panama. The school has grown and with it the need for additional classrooms and staff housing. But we don’t want to forget the ongoing need of the Kuna work in San Blas. The Tennessee Pathfinders have now built two churches. A sanctuary is desperately needed on the island of Playon Chico. But it can’t wait until next year! We desperately need $5,000 to build this sanctuary in the month of May. Can you help? Please send your offering for Playon Chico to:

Assemblies of God World Missions
Playon Chico Church (Project 7567)
1445 Boonville Ave.
Springfield, MO 65802 

We’d appreciate hearing from you. Write us at Most of all continue to pray for the Kuna work in Panama.