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God, the Craftsman

As they work on the wood we witness that their minds are more at rest, their spirits more at peace and their eyes shine as this creative outlet brings a kind of therapy to their suffering.

Here is a story shared by Einer of how he has seen the Holy Spirit at work while visiting Indigenous communities in Colombia with two Wounaan leaders from Panama. Continue to pray for this team and this community.

Wounaan community in the Choco, Colombia.

We see a lot of pain and sadness in the communities here in the Choco where spiritual and material poverty is great. There are armed conflicts over land and drug trafficking. Alcoholism is a problem for many. There is suspicion of religious groups, as harm has been done in the past and confusion sown from those who have come in the name of “christianity” in the past. But in the midst of everything God has opened the doors for us to enter as friends and build relationship in new ways with Indigenous followers of Jesus leading the way.

Jacobo and Ricardo are leaders in the Wounaan church in Panama. They are passionate men of faith and master artists who love their people; they have personally experienced the hope and newness of life that comes through the truth of the Gospel. In our first days together with the Colombian Wounaan these men have shared how art can help bring healing in our lives and how working on a piece of raw wood, seeing it slowly transformed into something new is similar to how transformation with God can take place in our lives. As Jacobo and Ricardo share this truth they also demonstrate how to carve wood and give each person gathered an opportunity to work with the tools and create something new out of a block of raw wood. The transformations are beautiful as the Wounaan work on the wood, and deeper trust and relationships are also being formed.

Pastor Ricardo sharing with Colombian Wounaan using his art

As the days continue we spend hours in conversation and listening to the stories of the men and women in this community. We eat together, we drink coffee and share our lives. As the men work on the wood we witness that their minds are more at rest, their spirits more at peace and their eyes shine as this creative outlet brings a kind of therapy to their suffering. They were amazed when they saw that they could shape a piece of wood, with their hands, their eyes, their feet and all their thoughts focused on carving figures and that they had that natural ability that God had given them.
While here we are also reminded of the reality of the darkness and the fears that are in this community as we hear of a 70 year old man who has just taken his life. Pray for hope to penetrate the darkness and for lives to be spared. We are invited to return or send back another Wounaan who can stay longer with the community in the coming months. Pray for the leader who we will send to visit them again.

Transformation and beauty that comes with time

We are encouraged to continue serving in this community as we see the sadness, but also the desire the Indigenous have for hope and healing. They have many questions about God and desire to learn through relationship. We are imperfect, but God uses imperfect vessels to bring his healing and hope to those who are seeking.

Thank you for joining us in prayer for these special people who have been created in the image of our beautiful Creator God, the Craftsman of our lives. Your prayers and support make this ministry trip possible and because of that you are here with us too in the Choco!
– from Einer Zuluaga, global worker in Panama

Jacobo- Wounaan leader from Panama sharing his craft and his life