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Republic of Panama - June 2010

Our Spanish Evangelist with We Care Ministries, Marco Señoret, took our training and Gospel material with him as he went, venturing with others, to the Republic of Panama last month.  I’m sending you pictures here.  They drove all night to arrive at the station where canoes were tied up, then they traveled ten hours in the Darien Rain Forest up river, passing other Indian villages, to the village of the Embera Tribe near the border with Colombia.

Canoes Going up river

3 canoes headed up river.

River Narrowing

River narrowing, cutting through.

Kim one of the missionaries was telling me that FARKE gorilla soldiers from Colombia run drug operations nearby and a very real danger exists there, they could come into the village anytime and pose a great treat to us.  Only those with special permission from the Panamanian government are allowed there, like scientists, educators and builders; also, among them are Christian teachers. “It’s slow going,” says Marco, “and the further you go, the shallower and narrower the river gets.  Then,” he says, “you have to cut your way through the forest with machetes, and that makes all kinds of insects fall into the canoe and onto you!”  Marco says it’s like going back several hundred years.  The villagers live in houses with palm thatched roofs, all elevated on poles, off the ground primarily because of the wild hogs that intrude the village at night.  The village chef we call him Gorge was telling Marco  “Everyone in the family has someone who has been killed by wild animals,” “Tiger, a Screaming Monkey, a poisonous snake or one of several spiders.”


  Large Beatle


There are about 200 “very hospitable” residents in the village, and “all are baptized believers,” so say those who have gone before.  The reason for this unusual trip for us was several-fold.  Marco went to translate, to help in laying a foundation for these new Christians with more teachings (for they have no full-time preacher), to get our own We Care method-training in to them, meaning our focus on the Gospel, and to help them better to teach others up and down the river the Good News of Jesus.  He went also to open the door there for us to be invited to return.  And that is working!  The village chief has already been in touch with Marco several times since returning home, begging him to come back!  The chief says, “I will bring all the tribes together if you will come!”


“It is a miserable place!” says Marco. “The jungle is so thick, there is no wind not a breath!  The gnats and mosquitoes bite through your clothing, it's relentless!  You can’t spray on enough “Deet” to keep them off you, and you get Deet poisoning.  So, you do your work and let them bite!”  We brought our own water, because if you drink the available water you will become instantly sick this others learned the hard way in previous expeditions, and the food had to be specially selected and cooked! 


Enough said?  I better not get into that, huh?  Ha!

Los Angeles Times
September 21, 2004

Panama's Legendary Darien Jungle

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