PA10E April 2010 099
I was thinking today about a very special lady that I meet in the mountains of Veraguas in the central part of Panama. Her name is Gabriela and she is so full of life and joy that everyone that is near her quickly become full of laughter. I meet her one day while we were out visiting families in their homes for discipleship, relationship building and evangelism. It was about lunch time and we had been hiking from hut to hut for the past 3 hours when me, my translator, and a local christian came up to this store in the middle of no where. There was a young boy that was running the store but he said his mom was just behind the store at home. We walked around back to talk to her but the only house that I saw was at the bottom of this mountain and I could barely see it through the thickness of the jungle. My translator looked at me with a look like, “seriously are we going to do this?” and I am sure I had the same look on my face. I said you ready let’s do this.

We started down this ridiculously steep mountain thinking the whole way, we still have to come back up this thing today. We get to this house and a lady that looks like she is in her late 30’s is running around washing clothes and cleaning up around the house says come on in and sit down. So we do but she keeps up her sprinting and working like a crazy person all at the same time she is laughing and talking a mile a minute. After being there for only 10 minutes she says she wants us to go back up the mountain to the store to spend some time talking with her. After resting for a few minutes we started back up this mountain. The locals were even sweating and breathing hard so you know that I was about to die.

We make it back and she comes running up after us. She wanted to know all about my family, life back in the US, and why I was here in her village. We talked for about an hour about everything. I found out that she was actually in her 60’s, she has 11 children, she cooks for all of the children in the village at the school, and that she is a big influence in the community. This is the kind of person that can make a huge difference so we were excited to share the good news of Jesus with her and teacher her how to use a bible. Gabriela did not openly received Christ at that moment but she said that she knew that this was truth and that she needed to share this with her family especially her husband.

I believe that Gabriela is going to be a great influencer in her community with the good news. i know that I think about my time with her often and it influences me to have a spirit and attitude of joy. She doesn’t know how much of an impact her time of talking, laughing, and listening was on me and the others there. I pray that I will bless others today with laughter, smiles, time spent listening, and relationship building. Gabriela taught me that relationships are what is important today not how much I can get done.

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