Nebraska missionaries John Mark and Cheryl Hansen recently celebrated their daughter Christine’s high school graduation. The family serves in Panama. This fall Christine will enter Liberty University in Virginia and study worship with an overseas emphasis. (Submitted photo)
Praying for missionaries often become routine and even an after thought. However, this e-mail from John Mark Hansen, Nebraska missionary serving in Panama, underscores the need to pray “without ceasing” for missionaries. He tells of an incident that occurred when he and his wife, Cheryl, took a volunteer team out to prayerwalk:
“Did I see what I thought I saw? The first young man came across the street with a menacing expression on his face. He was quickly followed by another guy who, as he got in front of me, pulled a hunting knife out! As fast as they came they were gone and all I was left with of the surge of adrenaline and surreal feeling that God is in control.
“Incense, myrrh, pepper, cinnamon, pots and pans of all sizes, shops for East Indian, Chinese and Western medicine, stacks of used books and magazines, porn theaters and cheap bars, supplies for the occult and statues of strange and foreign gods—all these and other sights and smells, along with the crime, are part of ‘Barrio Chino’—the old Chinatown of Panama City.
“Cheryl and I had a busy week of prayerwalking, touring and evangelistic activities last week with three different group from the States and Latin America. On Monday we finished with the World Race group and worked with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) Guatemala on Wednesday through Friday. We finished with the folks from Troutman Baptist Church on Sunday.
“But back to Friday (June 13): I knew we were in for a rough time of it as we started our afternoon ‘walk’ from the traditional Chinese Arch. As we walked past the popular cantina Zomby (Yes, they do practice Voodoo in the area) on Avenida Eloy Alfaro, out comes the owner of a Chinese convenience store yelling at the top of his lungs and chasing down a deadbeat customer who ‘forgot’ to pay before he left with his groceries.
“We split into two groups to make sure we had enough men in each group to protect the `women folks.’ Just last week four guys were picked up in the area with AK 47s and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Off we went, weaving through the busy alleys and passageways. We were all struck by the physically and spiritual darkness of the area.
“As we were ending the afternoon, God seemed to be adding an explanation point with our knife incident: ‘I am in control. These people need a relationship with Me. I am the answer’.”