Earlier this month, 9 of our precious teenage Missionary Kids from the Mesoamerica & South America Regions met in Panama for a week of exploring their identity. They were led by 7 of our leaders through the Rendezvous A program. Rendezvous is a global initiative of the Church of the Nazarene aimed at helping prepare our Missionary kids to transition from culture to culture, and navigate ‘re-entry’ when they leave their parents’ home to transition to their passport culture for College or to work. In the 5 day Rendezvous event, MKs are invited to participate in a variety of initiatives, challenges, games, group discussions, small groups times, and times of worship; all aimed at helping them discover that despite the shifting cultures around them (Eph 4:14-16), their identity and personality is found in Jesus Christ; when they move location, their identity will stay the same.
Rendezvous Panama 2016 took place at a beautiful ranch on the Caribbean Coast of Panama. The group sessions were held in an open-air roofed “Bohio” where the gentle ocean breezes were accompanied by the movement of the Spirit of God; challenging, loving, and calling our MKs to take hold of their own faith. The MKs led worship each night and taught each other songs from their own cultures on the field (Caribbean, Spanish & English). Highlights of the week also included a long hike through the Panamanian Jungle to a river where they spent an afternoon, playing, swimming, and jumping out of a tree into the water; a warm but rainy afternoon at the beach where they were surprised by a cluster of baby tarantulas in the middle of their worship gathering; cooking ‘smores and ‘bamalates’ (banana, marshmallow & chocolate) round a campfire on top of a hill under a sky full of stars; and a day of tourist activities in Panama City including a visit to the Panama Canal.
Despite all the fun, our MKs and Leaders were able to share their stories; explore their identity and values; talk deeply about the moral choices that our MKs will face in their upcoming transitions; discuss the advantages of being transcultural; healthy ways to handle money; the realities of culture shock and how to overcome it with a positive attitude and lots of grace; and each participant was given a personalized coaching session in which they explored their Strengths (StrengthsFinder).
Throughout the week it was evident that there were many who were praying all over the world in real-time, and many who had been praying in the days leading up to RPa16. God did some real work in the lives of these 9 MKs, and we trust and pray that through the ministry of Rendezvous He will continue to do wonderful things in the lives of all our Missionary families in the days ahead! The Global Mission Department, the Mesoamerica & South America Regions, and the Rendezvous Leadership Team would like to thank you all for your prayers, and support for this and future Rendezvous events on each of our Regions! God really does answer prayer! Hallelujah!
Mark Tarrant: Rendezvous 2016 Coordinator