Our family has a really big announcement! After 7 wonderful years with a great mission organization, (ReachGlobal – the official mission agency of the EFCA Denomination) we believe the Lord is giving us a new assignment. We won’t be changing countries or even changing houses but we are changing to a different mission agency! As of the end of this coming June, we will be officially serving with Word of Life in Panama!
Why the change?
Well we are not leaving ReachGlobal because we had a bad experience. In fact, it was quite the opposite. We had a great experience. We have learned a ton over the years from their leadership and training and we have made many wonderful relationships. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone as a great mission organization.
We are leaving because we have a peace that God has released us from our work. We believe that God called us for a time to launch and lead the ReachGlobal team and now he is calling us onward to lead a new team. Those that know us, also know that the Word of Life team in Panama has been a part of our journey as well. In fact, we have actually known many of the Word of Life missionaries longer than the ReachGlobal team that we pioneered. This is because my first time to Panama was in 2006, I (Jon) had come with a youth group of 43 people at the invitation of Mirko Delibasich, the founder and former director or Word of Life in Panama. My friendship with Mirko and his wife Traci, continued to grow over time and eventually Mirko was the one that God used to invite Bianca and I both to pray about serving the churches in Panama back in 2011.
It was through Mirko, that we believe God called our family to serve here in the first place and the plan was always to serve in a strategic, complimentary way to their ministry. Word of Life would evangelize and ReachGlobal would work to start or strengthen churches to disciple all the new Christians. That plan was dramatically impacted when Mirko suddenly passed away from a heart attack in June 2017. Consequently, the Word of Life ministry in Panama has expereinced a lot of challenges and changes since then. Now, because of our history, context and relationships we believe that God has uniquely positioned us to lead the Word of Life team in Panama in this next chapter of ministry and we couldn’t be more excited about it!
What will happen to the ReachGlobal team?
We are grateful to the Lord for the fact that we believe we are leaving the ReachGlobal team in a really good place. The team is healthy and strong and everyone is serving in their respective areas. Mike and Peggy are developing Latino Missionaries to serve around the world. Frank and Silvia have built a Pastors Network in Panama that has become a critical tool for training and encouragement of church pastors and their wives. Matt and Angie have done an extraordinary job of leading Global Fingerprints in Panama which is a child sponsorship program designed to help churches minister to the most vulnerable children in their communities. Sarah K. is now working diligently in language learning school in order to begin her ministry around Panama in 2020. We are extremely proud of all of our teammates in ReachGlobal and we are still here for them when they need us.
As for leadership, there is a short-term and long-term plan. The Long-term plan is to pray for the Lord to provide the right person to lead the next chapter of ministry for that team but the short-term plan is that the ReachGlobal Area Director will lead and care for the Panama team with the help of Mike and Peggy Lowe on the ground here in Panama. Mike and Peggy have a lot of life and ministry experience and we are confident that they will do a great job in the meantime.
What does the new ministry look like for the Fowler’s?
This new ministry will be an exciting challenge for us that we are eager to begin though we will need to depend on the Lord completely to achieve. Our new team consists of 17 other adult missionaries (besides Bianca and myself) and not counting all the kids. The majority of those missionaries are latino, which means that our meetings and conversations will all be in Spanish. In addition, we will be in charge of ministry properties. One is a campground in Chame, Panama which is the site of our youth camps every January and February and a host of other events throughout the year. There is also an office space in Panama City that is used for meetings and conferences and launching baby churches. The year is generally built around Youth Bible Clubs that happen around Panama in various churches and these culminate at camp season every January and February. The rest of the time, we will be focused on the faithful proclamation of the Gospel all over Panama.
How can you help?
Well I am so glad you asked!!! There are always ways to help but the two most obvious are prayer and financial support. If you want to pray for us, we invite you to send us your email and we will add you to our Newsletter that we send out every 2-3 months. You can also contact us whenever you want just to chat and we can give you the latest prayer requests. Occasionally we will use Facebook to update people as well. The second way to help us is with financial support.
I know there is no shortage of people or groups asking for money these days but I want to challenge you to remember that all of your money is already the Lords’ money and so is mine! Everything we have already belongs to the Lord and He wants us to be involved in missions because He wants the world to know who He is! This means we must go and proclaim Him among the nations until He returns! This means that some people will be going and they will stand on the support of those that are sending. That’s where many of you come in! We need people to support us, in order to be sent. Without the generosity of the people that God uses every day around the world so many ministries would not exist. If you are willing, we would welcome your help financially. This new ministry is bigger than anything we have ever attempted and the financial burden is heavy. You will be able to give and help our support, help the support of the national missionaries and help with multiple projects happening around the camp. When camp season rolls around we will also need scholarships for kids to attend the greatest week of their young lives. There are so many ways your giving can make a difference that it is amazing. We hope that you will stay connected to us to see all that happens and maybe even some of you will actually, physically come and visit in person to encourage us and the work!
If you feel the Lord nudging you to help financially, you can just click here and take the next step. If you have any questions, we welcome the conversation, just reach out to us and let’s see how we can connect. In the end we pray that the Lord is using you too right where you are to introduce others to Jesus Christ or show them how they can grow even closer to Him than ever before.