Wednesday, March 30, 2005

How is your Spiritual Life going On?

Long long time ago, when I was 14 years old I remember I had a really weird and deep conversation, considering my age, with a person that I had a crush on. And I consider it strange, because I called her by phone just to say hello and to know how was everything going on with her, and it wasnt to long since we started talking when she asked me the following question: "so, how is your spiritual life going on" She definetely caught me off guard with that, I never saw that one coming. Did I have a honest answer for that?, was my spiritual life going on well?, did I ever considered that fact? Right after that, she began sharing with me about her daily walking with God and how He was doing great things through her. I just couldnt take the first question out of my mind. I had to be honest, my relationship with God, was not the best at that point of my life and it just ashamed me to accept that fact. Ever since then, that simple question, heard more than 10 years ago, still I can hear and won´t leave me alone. And everytime I am not in the best terms with my Lord, that question would hunt me until I realize that I have to repent and hold myself to the source of life. You can lie to your pastor, to your family, to your friends, to the entire world, but you can not lie and hide it from God. For He knows the intentions of our hearts. We better come to Him and stop struggling and we will find peace of mind and the joy of salvation.

Trap for Sparrows

There was a small girl who truly seemed to believe in the power of pray. Their parents were often surprised of the vigor with which she prayed and her unshakeable confidence in God who had listened to her prayers and not only that, but was in the process of answer them on the way she wished.
One day, her older brother built a small trap to hunt sparrows and that seemed to the small girl repugnant. She felt pain for the birds that could get hurt and hunt and she got angry with her brother because of what he was doing.
When he refused to respond to her discussions and requests, she informed him and her entire family "I am going to pray for this". Three nights later, her face was radiating while she prayed during her devotional time, expressing with absolute faith her security in which the traps were not going to work, and that no bird would get hurt. After finishing her prayer, her mother asked to her: "Daughter, how can you be so sure about this?" The small one smiled and said: "Because I went out three days ago and broke the trap myself"

Although it would be little wise to take all things in our hands, it will always be wise by beginning to put all our matters in the absolutely able hands of God.

Pray as if everything depended on God and works as if everything depended on you.

James 2:26 says: faith without works is dead.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

98% Score

We scored a 98%. Everyone is now happy, all stress gone, and they'll finally get some weeks of peace before starting all again. I feel totally drained, exhausted, I think I left in the camp all of myself.

USPH on Board

Puff....finally after almost five moths of being waiting U.S. Public Health, they showed up. Like usual, everyboday gets nervous, and everyone runs from one corner to another making sure everything is properly placed and cleaned, everyone panicking and shouting and yelling and last second arrangements. I really thought they would not come today, as it is a holiday. But they once again surprised me. On jan. 01, 2004 on my first contract everyone suspected that they wouldnt come and I was the only one who believed they would come, they didnt. So this time I thought, ok, holiday, no way, they aren't showing up today. They did. We are still waiting to know the score. We have to score above 86 to pass. I think I will have a peaceful last week before ending up this contract and heading back to normal life.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Same day, one Year Ago

Same day one year ago, I would have spent a week over my friend's place in Piqua, Ohio. And I totally forgot about the fact that it was during a week like this one, a year ago, that I visited him upthere. It hit my mind, when I saw all these easter eggs around carried by childrens, when I got my memory refreshed. It was a wonderful week spent with Travis and his family. I loved it. For sure is going to be one of thoses memories that hopefully are gonna last longer in my head. Travis I met thanks to my lil sister, about 2 or 3 years ago. He came to Panama on a mission trip with a bunch of kids and he met my sister because of her position as an interpreter for them. So, they kept in touch by emails and messenger and next year he came back to Panama again, and it was during that time that I met him. My sister told me about him and we happened to be together on the same mission trip to Piriati. I got to know him better during those days we spent away from civilization, we got to talk about our dreams, and about what God had done in our lives, and we connected in a way that would draw us really close. I remember that he had to fly back home earlier than planned because of a family situation and we said good-bye on the hotel. That scene is still fresh. We were two boys who learned to love each other in a david-jonathan way. So ever since then we have grown closer even though we are distant. So last year by this time, I managed to go to his place in Ohio, in it was such a thrill. I also got to see and talk to his youth pastor who also I happend to meet at a time, and it couldn't be better. It is sad that I don't have to many pictures of that week as I would've liked, but the few ones I have, brings smiles and happiness to my life when I see Travis, Carol and James. I hope someday soon we get to see each other and share more of our lives.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

When the enemy gets upset about christian effectivenes

It´s been almost two months since I started to attend the christian meetings onboard. It has been a great source of blessings for my life. I have to admit that when I first came almost 10 months ago, I was in the fire of the Spirit, and my spiritual life was in a constant movement forward, but after the months were passing and problems started to pop up I found myself sort of alone in this spiritual war and suddenly I started to feel that I was being swallowed up and I started to give in to satan lies. There was a time when I no longer could feel Him around/and in me, and I got depressed, sad and angry. It is funny, cuz when you loose the perspective of the cross for whatever reason, your focus change and you no longer understand what is really going on. We tend to forget or ignore the spiritual reality that we can not see but is sure real, and we start to fall and fall and fall and wonder what´s going on, why we cannot live in victory. And then this christian meetings appears out of the blue in my life (God provides us always what we really need) I started to attend and almost instantly, right away, I began to win almost all of my battles agains satan, the world and my flesh. That is exactly why we are told in the Bible to get toguether with brothers and sisters in Christ to help each other and support each other in our prayers and conversations. There are to many people out there who think that they dont need to go to a church, because they read the Bible and they pray in their homes right before falling asleep, but that is a lie of satan. We were designed to interact ones with others, we are not meant to live alone by ourselves without noone who shares with us and viceversa. When we decide not to be accountable to others in Christ we become an easy stationary target for the missiles of the enemy to make us stumble and eventually fall down. Jesus Christ himself surrounded of the twelves, to teach them and share with them. When we are alone, must of the time we are not effective outgoing christian, we don´t represent any kind of threaten to him, but when we all toguether in Christ stand firm and live by faith the darkness kingdom start to shake down. And to prove that, yesterday we were witnesses of satan unhappiness toward us. We meet on one of the officers mess and we have been there for the last month and half, and we keep the door open and we sing songs with a guitar and cymbals and we make noise and people would peer in to see whats going on. We as christians and light of this world and salt of the world we decided to meet in a place where we could be heard and seen, so people could join us and learn of Jesus Christ salvation. We could´ve easily decided to meet in other non-public places where we could have some privacy, but that is hiding the chandelier under a basket. So people know that we are there. People talk and now almost everyone knows about us. They have a chance to understand and learn about Jesus, and satan is furious about that. So yesterday one officer came up and yelled at us, he was angry about the hours and the noise. He could´ve called security and we could´ve been kicked out of there, and to be honest I got scared of that, of creating a drama, a problem. But then after thinking and thinking about that, God revealed to me that should we be kicked out and persecuted and pointed out as crazy for His sake, we must still stand firm in our faith and be effective in our ministries. ("whoever wants to save his life shall lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake, shall find it" Jesus´words) So we prayed right there to cast away the devil and decided to keep on having our meetings there. We are missionaries and we are spreading His gospel, we are not doing nothing wrong, but Satan will try to make us think that, and will try to tear us down. By the way, also the officer mess cleaner interrupted us so many times, because he wanted to clean that place. The devil thinks he is gonna scare us and frighten us, but in Christ we are the winners.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

A Mission Trip to Remember

The other day it came to my memory this interesting experience I had about two or three years ago in a mission trip inside the heart of one of the most inexplorable and inaccesible parts of the geography of my country, Panama. We were a small group of maybe 28 youngster, most of them from all around US and some few of us panamenians who served as missionaries and interpreters as well. The trip itself to that part of Panama which I will refer as "the jungle" was not really really long but getting there is not easy and confortable. We took a bus, which got us to a small village and from there we had to take this small, unsecure and very old boats powered by a rudimentary motor. It was packed with at least 15 of us each plus some of our baggages. We would travel this huge river upstream which I consider was half mile wide in its widest section, surrounded by unexplored huge and ancient trees full of wild life. After something more than an hour we would reach this small island inhabited by natives, most of them who never saw a modern city, and who still don´t know spanish which is our official language. They would greet us and show happy for our visit. We spent there a week or two, I can not remember, but we worked there hard, helping the villagers in their daily tasks, we washed their clothes, we cooked, we hunt their food and we shared with them the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, many of them accepted and changed for good their lives. Moreover, our lives changed forever, those of us, american and panamenians who went there learned a whole lot deal of things that you can only possible learn when you serve as a missionary in far places from home. But all these things came to my mind and there was this particular situation we went through that taught me how wonderful, merciful is our God. So one day we decided to pay a visit to another island to the north that hadn´t been visited ever by one of our christian mission groups. We were really hoping for that there were no problem at all with them accepting us, so like at 5 in the afternoon, we took the old-creepy boats upstream to the north and after some time we got there. As we set foot on land, I sensed the atmosphere really heavy with demonic influence. People there were more of unfriendly than you would expect. So we unpacked all our equipment, we had a movie projector to present the movie "Jesus" and the leader and myself went to talk to the chief of the village to see if we could get permission to present the movie. As we were walking past the trees-made houses it caught my attention that most of them had a bunch of old and creepy toys and dolls hanging from the doors most of them without heads. Finally we got to the talk to the chief of the village and he just denied us to present the movie and to talk anything to the villagers. He kind of showed himself angry at our unusual presence. So we were all disappointed and we headed back to the boats. Now that I think again about that, it brings to my mind two things, the first, that they were under heavy satanic influence which blinded them to anything that had to do with Christ and his sacrifice. They needed a lot of prayers to destroy Satan bondage over their life. And second it reminds me about Jesus words toward his disciples when he told them, when you go to a town or a city and they recieve you, you preach to them and share the gospel and bless them, but when you come to a city where they wont allow you, take out the dust of your shoes in a symbolism of their ingratitud. So we set sail back to our home island but, it was getting dark and darker and in a matter of minutes we were under a thick blanket of darkness, we got scared all at once, our old-fashioned, creepy boats had no any kind of road ilumination and we were sailing in that river full of tree trunks protruding from the surface of the river (because many many years ago were we were sailing at was part of the jungle, it was land and was flooded intentionally to help the panama canal get fresh water, a permanent source of water) So during the day the boat driver could avoid hitting one of those massive trunks but during the night he only depended on his memory of the road. But in this particular occasion he wasnt alone, he was carrying a lot of kids from a foreign nation and a tragedy here would be catastrophic, and to top it off, it began to pour down, something you can expect in a jungle. But we start praying to our God for protection and then the fear was all gone, we were still concerned about our situation, but we were trusting our God. My friend selegna, yahel and myself started a game right there in the middle of the darkness in the huge river, we were simulating a talk tv show and we were singing and joking around, but this particular song I have no idea who brought in, caused a lot of laugh. There is this song in spanish that talks about how we should be sumerged in the river of the Holy Spirit, and whoever brought this song at this point of our situation did it with the sole purpose of making us laugh out loud and make us forget for a second our fears. It worked, so finally we made it to our island after avoiding miraculously hitting any of those trunks. I remember that at one moment we were feets to hit one of them and just then all was suddenly illuminated with a thunder light and the boat driver could avoid hitting one. God saved us and protected us and so He will do until our last day of life.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


I think I've been too long onboard this ship. I've got already 9 months and I think the saddest part of it is not to see people leaving for vacation but watching them come back again. Lol, they come from vacation all happy and full of energy and when they see me, they get surprised, they would say "oh, you still here"? And I'd say, yes, yes I am still here. But I'll be done very soon. Three more weeks and I'll be out of here. It's not that I hate here, but I miss home. Today I got almost the whole day off, so I decided to go out on a walk to the beach. It was a gorgeous day outside here, having in consideration that we are in winter in this part of the world. But it was all the way sunny and a lot of fresh breeze blowing around. I did walk some on the beach and then stopped for a rest. I decided to take a city tour on one of those touristic sides-open buses, but it never came back again, so I am quite disappointed. I am kind of getting to see some new places before my time is over. At this point in my life, if there are three things that I long really bad, are growing my spiritual life, get to see my family, friends and capture some good images with my camera.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Finding Freedom through Forgiveness

What happens when we choose not to obey one of God's commanments? In Mathew 5:44 Jesus Christ says "Love your enemies, bless those who damn you, do good to those who hates you and pray for those who hurt you" In my particular case, I had been living wrongly (in sin) for the last four weeks. As I posted before, I got this new roommate about a month ago, and I didn't like him since the very first minute he walked in with his stuffs. I didn't like the way he looked, I didn't like the fact that he was a cook (sous chef), I didn't like the fact that he comes from this particular country, mainly because my lack of understanding and knowledge of his culture, and then as I found out troughtout the weeks, he annoyed me with the way he behaved, like making noise when entering in the cabin while I was sleeping, making phone calls at 1:00 in the morning speaking out loud, the fact that he doesnt take shower frequently and since he works in the kitchen, and never cleaning the cabin but making it dirty. All this things are valids reasons to get upset at someone, but there I got lost, because instead of trying to talk to him and find a way out, I just kept that to myself and began to grow angrier and angrier giving satan a foothold in my life. I reached a point where I wouldn't even talk to him anymore, and I was being deceived by the enemy, who knows that if he can makes us believe something or blind us from seeing the truth, he gains control over that particular area in our life. God made us free when he got victorious over the death, he wants us to take that freedom and live it. The enemy knows he cannot touch our soul, we are now property of Jesus Christ, but as long as he can keep us from believing that truth he can control us and make our lives miserable. Although I had been working hard in my relationship with God, there was still something that was blocking the way. When we give satan a foothold in our lives, we start to face defeats in our daily battles, we found ourselves in bondage to sin, and then satan second most powerful weapon comes into action. He accuses us saying "what kind of christian you say you are", "maybe God doesnt love you the same way he used to" and all these are lies, God will never stop loving us, however we are responsible to choose to grab the freedom we have inherited in Him, and grow in Him and then we will experiment victory over our lives. In this case, God helped me to understand this before it got worse and couple of days ago I talked to him, and I apologized for my non-christian behaviour toward him and I made it up to him. When we choose not to obey what God ask us, we loose our freedom to satan and he gains control over us and can make us if we dont realize soon, draw us away from his prescence. Right there, I felt like something changed instantanously, like something was broken, and I know, that it was the bondage that the enemy had over me in that particular case. Now I can even breath something different in my cabin. I thanks to Jesus Christ the bondage breaker.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Are we being easily decevied by satan?

We have a small library inside the internet cafe onboard, it is basically supported by whoever brings in books and donate it for others to read. So you can find a great deal of different stuffs in different languages, magazines, novels (mostly), and some other stuff. Couple of months ago I picked one book that caught my attention because of the title of it (Wondeful and powerful Magesty of our God). I thought, hum, at last a christian book, but it wasnt until last week that I decided to give it a look. I started reading and there was something weird, though the writer told a lot of true things and ways to behave and believe in Jesus, there was something wrong in there, until I found that he was quoting from books I never read or heard from the Bible before. It was amazing how I almost was deceived by the devil by that book. I mean, if you come to think about it, the book was full of God's truths but mixed with non-biblical material and human teachings. That's why the apostol Paul asks God to help us see when we are being deceived. It is so easy, and I almost fell for it. That brings to my mind, a friend of mine from the childhood. We were both in a christian elementary school. Her parents were into it also, not really deep, but at least they were open to it and attended for several years a christian church. After many many years, I never heard of her and her parents and one good day, I ran into them on a bus, we started talking about our lives and how we have grown up and things had changed, and then her mom told me that they were attending this church which is really a sect but they call themselves a church, and there are healing miracles and stuffs that seems like Christ-centered but if you go to their doctrines and believes you find that they are really into something else that is not Christ completely. They dont believe in the Holy Spirity and dont believe in the Trinity among other things. So she was talking to me about how she felt wonderful in that church, and how my friend felt like "at home" She related to me that no-one judged them there, and the "sermons" were always good, she was even excited to be on the choir. I was paralized to hear that, I was like "what the heck" I came to understand later that when we are not well rooted in Christ, when we dont have a knowledge of the only authoritative living Word of God, we are vulnerable to Satan's attacks to fall for this deception. The Bible is full of warnings about this very thing. "at the end of the times, a lot of people will fall from their faith because of satan's deception and phalse profets" (paraphrasing). I can only think about that whole lot of people who are being dragged away from Jesus Christ salvation and forgiveness. I can only think about my friend from my childhood, who somehow allowed satan to deceive her, I can only think about, how I am not doing so much about it, I can only think about how much God gave giving his only Son to save us and give us eternal life.