Hosanna Christian Academy Grade School Retreat ~ October 1997 #1

PanamŠ Province, PANAMA
Santa Clara Baptist Campground

I was invited to speak at the Retreat for the grade school from Comunidad Misionera Hosanna church (our largest AG church).

I left a little after I called and found out that the bus was about to leave. Being in Latin America you never really depend on the time of a schedule until youíre sure itís going to happen, especially if thereís traveling involved. And the camp in Santa Clara is about two hours drive from Panamá City.

I arrived at the camp I had been at before with the Castle of the King team for a retreat. The bus wasnít there yet, so after I asked the camp staff if the Hosanna group had arrived, I went back to the car to wait. I got to listen to Rush Limbaugh on Armed Forces Radio, in the air conditioning!

After about an hour and a half, I spoke with the staff again and asked if there had been a phone call or anything. The man asked me if they were coming to the Episcopal camp. I said "No, the Baptist." He said, "Well, then you want the next camp down the road." I felt so stupid as I sheepishly drove the 100 yards to the correct camp.

The director was so gracious about my mistake, and arriving about two hours late now. It made me appreciate the positive side of the laid-back attitude toward time. The relationship with the person is much more important the time an event begins or ends. Since I had another commitment back in Panamá that evening, they let me go ahead and do the teaching on the Holy Spirit.

The poor little kids were tired from their trip in, waiting (and worshipping) for the past hour plus, and we were all hungry for lunch. But they stuck with me pretty good.

The following day I returned--right time, right place. I felt more at ease with the 30 or so kids there. So we could relax more in the teaching and we had time.

As part of the lesson, I had brought a small gift, wrapped up very pretty (thanks to Yvonne). It represented the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which is a gift from God to whoever asks for it. You donít have to earn it. You canít buy it. You could never deserve it. So I just mentioned very casually that this gift is like that, for whoever would ask for it.

Since I know Panamanian kids a little, I intentionally had brought the tempo down and had us in a quiet and calm atmosphere. Normally merely showing a gift would cause a stampede of kids trying to take it out of my hands. Thatís the reality among kids, especially in the marginalized areas. Very few gifts are received. The attitude is if I can get to it first, more power to me.

But today, only one boy, Jose-Miguel, a 5th or 6th grader, quietly asked, "Can I have it?" So I invited him up front. I gave him the gift, which was Yvonneís cassette. The Academy is bilingual, so an English Christian music cassette is something that they would enjoy, and contrigutes to learning English. Jose-Miguel said thanks and sat down.

Jumping now to the altar call, Jose-Miguel received a special touch from the Lord. He was slain in the Spirit and lay for a long time speaking in tongues with tears rolling down his cheeks. Before leaving the chapel for lunch, he testified that he had seen a great big white throne with God sitting on it, but he only saw from the legs and feet on down. In addition he saw the 24 elders from Revelation. Lastly he said he saw a lake of fire.

It was beautiful to see God fulfilling in our day one of the verses that we had just studied in the lesson on the Holy Spirit:

(Acts 2:17) "'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.

Kirk Antonio Jones
11 October 1997