Local teens making missionary trip to Panama
In June, three Craig teenagers will fly to Panama to spread their faith.
Ashley Haynes, 14, Abby Haynes, 13, and Nancy Gutierrez, 13, will make the trip to the equator with 800 other teenagers. It’s a trip they are excited and nervous about.
It will be the first time on a plane for Ashley and Abby. Although Nancy has been outside the United States before, she’s nervous about speaking in front of big groups of people. The three friends could also be separated into different groups once they reach the foreign country.
But they are preparing themselves to meet each of these challenges.
“You need to be spiritually prepared and have your heart ready,” Abby said. “You need to be sure you have the right attitude going into it and you have a missions heart.”
“We’re getting a lot of encouragement, too, and that really helps,” Nancy said.
The teens found out about the trip through the Christian teen girl’s magazine, “Brio.” Deciding they wanted to go, they mounted a fundraising effort to collect the approximately $2,500 the trip will cost. They needed to pay the program fee, buy plane tickets, and get vaccinations among other expenses.
They raised the money by selling Christmas wreaths and writing letters to their friends and family members requesting financial assistance, just as full-time missionaries do. They are also holding a penny drive at their Awana youth group. Whoever receives the most pennies gets hit in the face with a pie.
They’ll travel first to Miami, where for five days they’ll rehearse the dramas they will perform in Panama City.
During scheduled performances in schools and orphanages and spontaneous performances on the street, the groups will mime a story of Christ titled, “Spellbound Toymaker and Son.”
After the performances the groups will travel in Panama City, asking people through a translator what they thought of the performance and explaining how to accept Christ into their lives. They’ll also have time to sightsee and will spend the night in a tribal village.
“I think that the cool part about it is seeing the world is bigger than Craig, Colorado, or even just the United States,” Abby and Ashley’s father, Pastor Bryan Haynes of First Baptist Church, said.
The girls hope the trip helps them grow more in Christ and makes them bold about sharing their faith.
The trip could have special significance for Abby, who wants to be a missionary when she grows up. In Awana, she learned that missionaries need to feel called, receive training, have support from the church and have a place to serve if they are to be successful.
Her church is already giving her support, and she hopes the trip helps her learn some Spanish.
The teens are still raising money for the venture.
Anyone who has questions or is interested in contributing to the mission trip should call the First Baptist Church at 824-5926.
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