Peace Out Panama
I left O.M.A.H.A.
3 days ago and, unless the Lord brings something about, I have no immediate plans to return before April of 2011.
Today, September 3, I left Panama. After nearly three months, I was finding my way around this city. I knew how to take the bus into town, which places to buy my necessities, how much a taxi should cost, and which coffee shops had w.h.i.p.p.e.d. c.r.e.a.m. for my Americano. Faces became familiar and friendships formed with locals. For a brief moment I was making Panama my home.
While not the typical “outreach” experience, God was still very evident in my everyday life. Like Phillip’s journey to Samaria, this was anything but a direct route and amazing outcomes came from my team following God’s leading – no matter how off beat it may have been at the time.
We've had a whirlwind of opportunities and experiences while living in this country including…
- speaking in churches,
- living in a tribal village,
- baking cookies and praying for prostitutes,
- being lost in the city,
- passing out water bottles with verses in the rain,
- preaching the Gospel to a hospital waiting room full of people,
- teaching four classes of sixth graders about Jesus,
- learning to love and live in community,
- painting on a city wall,
- launching the Voice for the Voiceless prayer booklet in Spanish,
- praying with indigenous Panamanians,
- living in La Jungla Hostel,
- photographing a wedding,
- working/playing with kids at a community center.
I’ve had the privilege of meeting and conversing with many memorable people including…
- Maria (owner of a cute shop in the old city) – I spent a few days listening to Maria share her life story and praying with her. Maria’s story is one of trials and brokenness, but there is still beauty and the hand of God, in her life, that is very evident.
- Efe (waiter at the Canadian Café) –Long ago, Efe loved Jesus but somewhere along the way he decided he loved living for himself more. “Maybe tomorrow I will decide to follow Jesus again,” he told me during our conversation. He knows the truth; he just needs revelation (Side note: This little café has the best tomato soup I’ve ever tasted.)
- Five random people (listening to my testimony at the Canadian Café) –Each said my story touched them.
- Jonathan (10 or 11 year old at the community center who loved taking photos with me) – Through a translator I told him about Jonathan of the Bible and how God wants to be his friend no matter if his life is good or bad.
- Julia (from the Ngobe village) – She invited me into her home and fed me and while we could not understand each other, we used the language of love and laughter to communicate.
- The next generation (in churches) – I had many opportunities to pray with and challenge many young people to be radical for Jesus and to be LOVE to those on the streets of their city.
- Alesandra (My 4-year-old Panamanian princess) – I met her at a church service and through a translator we talked about what Alesandra loved to do in her young life. I told her to forever love Jesus with all her heart. She told me, “OK!”
- Barbara (My neighbor and friend) – Barbara opened her home up to my friend, Tina, and me. We talked about life, Jesus and her baby Jack.
Our group prayed with and for numerous prostitutes at a clinic. Many asked God for hope and freedom from prostitution. The ache heard in their voices and read in their written prayers was overwhelming at times. One woman wrote: “Lord Jesus, I thank you for always putting me in the path of people that tell me Your word. Please forgive me for my sins and for the sins of my family and everyone that I love. Amen.” – Please pray for this women and the countless others caught in prostitution. Ask God to make His love real to their hearts and situations as well as freedom from prostitution. Pray for new job opportunities to come about.
I am about to enter in to a new phase of this journey and I’m so excited about what the Lord has next. I believe the Lord is planning out seasons for these next two years of my life. Always to mature me, and make me more like Him - the continual process called life. To teach me how to serve and lead in greater ways. To prepare me... The time frame for these seasons or months of my life may not make sense to me... Some seasons will be shorter, some will be longer, but each will have purpose. In the end, the Lord will reveal new things about Himself, as well as manifest the fruits of the Spirit through me in new ways... Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control (Galatians 5).
He’s already begun to give me a glimpse of what He’s doing in me:
Chapter 1: DTS (the last six months) has been a lesson on self-control.
This has been a challenging experience, but it’s in this challenge, this struggle that the Lord reveals the “ugly” in our hearts as well as bring His beauty and love to situations and people. He’s drawing me closer to Him and in doing so, drawing others to His love.
Please continue to stand with me as He molds me into the woman he created me to be. Also,
- that He would continue to give me grace to live in community.
- For relationships to deepen.
- For doors to open.
- For lives to be changed and a revolution back to the heart of God come wherever I step.
- For my photography skills to improve and for the Lord to use my talents and skills to bring glory to Him, revelation to the church and hope to the hopeless.
- Finally, for protection as I travel… for health and for J.O.Y.
1. My car, bed and video camera sold.
2. The Lord provided my computer!!!!!!!!!!!! God is so good and knows our needs. It is a real relief.
I am still looking for ongoing monthly support. While my car sale covers much of the next three months I am still in need of monthly support. Would you please consider supporting me financially? I have set up an account with The Storehouse in Omaha, Nebraska that is fully tax-deductible. At the moment this is the simplest and most reliable way to walk with me financially on ANY level. Checks can be written to: The Storehouse and in the memo line write: Lindsay Carstensen. Send money to PO Box 540782, Omaha, NE 68154-0782.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He cause His face to shine upon you. May you reflect the love and peace of God as you live out your life and draw closer to His heart. May you know without a doubt that your prayers can in fact move mountains and impact lives all across the world.
For loving me.
Praying with and for me.
Believing in me.
Laughing with me.
Showing God’s love to the world with me.
I am forever grateful. You are loved, by me and the King of the universe. Enjoy life. Love. Laugh. Live.
p.s. I'm headed to Cape Town, South Africa where I will spend the next three months working with A Voice For The Voiceless (www.avoiceforthevoiceless.co.
More to come in the future.