Just to give you a brief background, I’d like to explain how God is already working in our future by going back into our past, 8 years ago. In 2006 we surrendered our lives to full time service as missionaries. Just a few short weeks later our pastor asked us to take a missionary family to lunch after the Sunday morning service. It was the Corbello family, and at that time they were raising there support to get to the field of Panama.
Fast forward to 2010, and God is putting the final piece of the puzzle in place for us. We are visiting with another missionary family preparing for Spain. In our conversation about the work we will be involved with, they mention the Corbello family. Not only mention them, but know them as some of their best friends. God placed them in our lives even before Panama was in our heads. I flew down to spend a couple weeks with them. They had begun a work 2 years prior in an area of the country far from other missionaries that they knew. They struggled with that at times, and had to work through some very difficult situations on their own. At that time they asked me if I would consider coming back with our family to work for a short time with them as we prepare to begin a new work.
We had always known that a major key for a missionary should be to learn from others that have already been working on the mission field. Reading about many past missionaries and their works I saw many of the struggles they had in the beginning (language, witnessing, starting a church, etc) were all the same issues that I would be facing. Why should I go through the exact same struggles taking the same amount of time before I was being effective in the ministry. The best solution (as we see biblically in the life of Paul and his missionary journeys) is to have a team.
Thomas and Elvira Corbello have struggled with the language. They’ve dealt with the difficulties of securing visas. Learned about purchasing land, buildings, and vehicles for the church. They understand a great deal about the culture and differences in the indigenous populations. They know the best places to purchase ministry items (Bible, tables, chairs, etc). Even the challenges of turning their first work over to a national pastor! All this to say they have a wealth of knowledge that we want to tap into. What better way to begin a ministry quicker by not reinventing the wheel. We will be support for them, and they will be support for us as we ministry together to spread the Gospel to the people of Panama. Lord willing we will be able to raise up godly young men that we can train and prepare for the ministry. Using them as interns in each others ministry while training them to take over the others work. Only God has all the future plans but I love to dream about the possibilities!
Your servant in Christ,