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PRAY: The Panama Papers, #4 (Casca Viejo)

Posted by on September 17, 2011 in Awe Star Ministries, Panama, Pray | 0 comments

French Embassy, Panama City, Panama

Am I really in Panama? As I followed the line of students down the sidewalk beside the narrow brick street, this question kept returning to my mind.

We’d spent the morning in ministry at two different schools. Now, in the early afternoon, our bus delivered us to a new and (for us) unexplored area of the city. I gazed upward at columns and arches. I peered through wrought-iron gates into tiny courtyard gardens. Charleston? Perhaps. New Orleans? Maybe. Panama City, Panama? Surely not.

I learned we had entered the area of Panama City commonly known as the French Quarter. In truth, it is Casca Viejo (“old part”), a section rebuilt in the 17th century after pirates destroyed the city. It boasts a curious blend of French colonial and Spanish architecture that made me feel as though we’d traveled through time.

We moved to a small plaza overlooking the ocean, flanked by more beautiful colonial buildings that included the French Embassy. Our now-familiar routine allowed for a sooth setup. Students, not Awe Star Ministries staff, introduced the drama and shared their testimonies. And once again, I stepped back from the presentation to pray.

A guard on the embassy steps caught my eye and heart. He couldn’t hear the drama from where he stood, but I could tell he was watching. “Move him closer,” I prayed.

My gaze traveled to other onlookers, but when it returned to him only seconds later, his spot at the embassy doors was vacant. He had already come closer—and kept doing so throughout the next few minutes.

At one point, a man in a business suit appeared at the embassy door, and the guard hurried back to his post. After a brief conversation, the other man moved to the parking lot, then turned to walk away. Our guard stepped back to a spot where he could see and hear the drama once again..

Next, two more men in uniform (complete with berets) appeared. Soldiers? Policemen? I wasn’t sure. I added them to my prayers as the eighteen-minute drama unfolded.

After the presentation, I saw one ministry team move straight toward the security guard, a second to the two other men in uniform. My prayers intensified. As the teams came back together a short time later, they brought joyful news that all three—along with several other onlookers—had prayed to receive Christ.

I thought back to the Bible stories of guards and soldiers who encountered Jesus. Today, God had moved these protective servants to the right place at exactly the right time. Familiar with authority, they now served a new one. And His kingdom endures forever.

As we climbed back into the bus to end our brief time in Casca Viejo, I thanked God for new places, new experiences, and (most of all) new life.

Have you traveled? Have you visited an area similar to Casca Viejo? Or have you watched God move someone to the right place at the right time? I’d love to hear your stories.

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