The first-ever Merge trip to Panama was the North Park University women’s soccer team, They organized soccer camps for children and played “friendly” matches with professional women’s soccer teams in Panama City.
Many of the NPU students participating were not professed Christ-followers, coming from other religions or no religion at all. Nevertheless the team partnered alongside the “Promise Church” in Tocumen, Panama.
When the girls arrived some were a bit shy at the idea of going to church or hanging out in the youth group. However, all of them stepped out of their comfort zone and attended each event that was planned. As the week went on, we each shared our highs and lows of each day. Would you believe, that most of these girls’ high of the day were the Church services and hanging with the youth group!
Asking the girls what they had learned from the trip, and what they would like to take back with them, many of the girls mentioned the love they felt being surrounded by these believers in Christ. Some wanted to find a youth group or a Church back home that was on fire for Jesus like the Promise Church. Others said they had a restored view of what it looks like to be a Christ-follower.
These girls were hungry for Christ and did not know it! Being able to bring them outside of their busy lives and place them in the middle of passionate people excited for Jesus is just what they needed! Our brother’s and sister’s in Panama were able to break through the barrier and show our girls what God’s love means to them. And it was contagious!