GUEST POST from Amanda Corbitt, a 2018 Panama team member

The Executive Pastor of our church recommended Global Passion when I shared the call God placed on my heart to serve on a short-term missions trip with my 12 year old daughter. As he had served on several past mission trips with Global Passion, he felt confident connecting us as this was our first mission trip and we would be traveling solo. The Global Passion team did an amazing job coordinating across all aspects and were very responsive. Their heart for missions reflected in their leadership and inspired us to serve and love at a deeper level.

After reading over the different mission locations, I was moved by the opportunity to serve El Refuge in Panama. Every year, El Refuge hosts Ilumina, a free, two-day, conference that reaches thousands of youth. The mission teams have the opportunity to serve in multiple ways, including Jr. High and High School assemblies, production support, involvement in dramas and prayer teams. My daughter was excited to be able to connect with other youth her age in a different culture. And, coming from Latin heritage, it was a privilege to serve families within my culture.

There are so many stories to share about our time serving in Panama. God moved in so many different ways and through so many different people. There were two moments that affected me, and that I would consider God moments.

At the beginning of the week, the missionaries shared with us the importance of praying for God to show us the “one”. As we were out, we were encouraged to be praying for God to show us that one person that we would talk to and pray over. At two different school assemblies, God showed me a young girl at each assembly to reach out to, talk with, and pray over. Both young girls were so excited that we were out there and both had stories to share. I prayed for them at the school and throughout the week prayed over them. Three days later, at the Ilumina Conference, while I was serving, both of those girls came up to me to hug me, introduce me to their family/ friends, and to let me know they had come to the conference. I was reminded of the importance of being intentional when working in the community, praying for the one, and connecting through relationship. When we do that, we open up opportunities to connect with others and open doors for God to move through that connection.

After each Ilumina session, there is a time of prayer for those youth in attendance. During this time, the teams are asked to go out and pray with the youth. During one of the sessions, I was praying with a young lady who was crying in my arms. While I hugged this little girl, I looked up, and across the room, I saw my own daughter praying for a younger girl. My daughter was crying while she prayed over the younger girl who was also crying. At that moment, I realized how powerful the impact of being on this trip was for me and her. Quite frankly my daughter, nor I, had ever served in that capacity before. I’ll never forget that moment with my daughter. I kind of wonder if that’s how my Father looked at me as I prayed for the little girl also. It was a powerful moment that will be forever impressed on my heart. Since that day, we have started serving in a much deeper and impactful manner in our local community.   Indeed a work only God could do.

The last night of conference preparation, I observed how all the teams were working hard to finalize the last preparations for the conference. While everyone was tired, they were having a good time and focused. This was a group of people working for a cause. It was at that moment, that God impressed this was a mission work that our church team needed to serve and be a part of. It wasn’t too long after that my daughter came up and confirmed that impression. She wanted to come back and serve, but she also wanted to invite others from our youth group.

Our church is committed to launching people in missions. As we were planning for 2019, I suggested a return to Panama and the Pastors confirmed. We also will be sending a team with Global Passion to Alaska.

When you commit to fulfilling the Great Commission that Jesus entrusted to you, you do not know where God will take you. I never imagined that my daughter and I would travel to another country, with a group of people we did not know. What I did know was that the closer I drew in my relationship with Christ, the more apparent it became that serving in missions was not optional. My daughter and I started serving in local missions and outreaches when God placed it in my heart to serve outside of my comfort and convenience. As a result, both our relationships with Christ were deepened and our hearts were opened towards loving and serving Christ by loving and serving others in extraordinary ways.

It was an honor and blessing to serve with Global Passion last summer in Panama.