Short Stories – Two Translators In Panama


Short Story Excerpt –
Two Translators In Panama

My wife Charlene I had been invited to the hometown of our Panamanian translator, Betty Moody. We had first met Betty when we had hired a translator through the magazine Latin American Mission. Our group that would be traveling to Costa Rica was looking for Christian translators. The year leading up to our meeting in Costa Rica, Betty had been busy going door-to-door to raise money for her personal transportation from Panama. Once in Costa Rica, we would reimburse her for the travel expenses.

The problem for Betty was it would take $50.00 to go by water taxi leaving her village, then catch a bus to Panama City, Panama, then she would have to catch another bus to Costa Rica. This was a total of 16 travel hours. Believing by faith that she would be standing on a street corner and that a missionary from America would pick her up on a certain day at a certain time. I learned so much about faith watching God’s children trust that He is watching after them.

We quickly became a team as Betty worked so well with my wife teaching during the day and then with me when I would preach at night. For the next four to five years, we would travel Latin America preaching, teaching and training the churches in evangelism. Betty had seen firsthand the results of our ministry and she believed we could benefit her small jungle village in Panama.

We decided to go to Almaranta, Panama, with the idea of training some of the local churches in her area and then moving deeper into the jungle, reaching many who had never heard about Jesus. In some of these villages the only language they spoke would be the native tongue or the indigenous language. On this trip we were to work with the Guami’s, who only spoke the dialect of Nobe Bugali. It is a very Navajo-sounding language and a hard language to learn. I asked Betty if the church I will be working with would be able to provide translators for me so when I spoke in English, they could translate to Spanish and then we would need another translator to go from Spanish to the dialect of Nobe Bugali.

I was in close contact with Betty via phone. She was working in another city on a serious legal matter concerning her mother’s farm which would tie her down for a couple of days. On the second day, I was to travel with some pastors to an area called Rio Weste, the West River. I waited for two hours; they did not show, and I was really discouraged. I threw up a dart prayer to God, knowing that He had not brought me all the way there to do His work and then have me sit all day long in an outdoor café. I stood up and told Charlene that I was either walking into the jungle by myself with no translators or else I was going back to Panama City where I had other connections. I put Charlene in a taxi and I sent her back to the hotel and I made this declaration to God. “So, God, if I walk out of this café and you have me turn right, I’m going to the jungle by myself. If I walk out of this café and turn left, I’ll know I’m not supposed to go into the jungle by myself.”

As I walked out of the café I knew I was to turn left. I was heading away from my assignment and feeling very defeated. Outside the café I took two steps and encountered a young man wearing a baseball cap and under my breath I said in English, “Do you like that team?” (of whose cap he had on). To my surprise he answered back in English. We then started a simple conversation. He asked what I was doing in Panama. I told him I was there to tell people about Jesus. Then I asked him a few questions, like, ‘Do you know that God loves you personally?” Then I said, ” If you died today and you stood before God, do you know why He should let you into heaven”?

After some more discussion, I ask him if he had ever asked Jesus to come and live in his heart and if he would like to open the door of his heart and have me help him pray the prayer inviting Jesus to be his Lord and his Savior. His name was José and when we finished praying the prayer, he raised his head and said, “I am not my doing anything this week. May I be your translator? and you do not have to pay me anything”.

Hallelujah!!… but wait a minute; God just answered half a prayer. I still need another translator for the indigenous people. We literally took five steps and saw a young man leaning the side of a building. His name was Delano, I asked him the same questions I had asked José. José then translated Delano’s into Spanish. I also asked him if he would he like to open the door of his heart to receive Jesus as a sin payment for all of his known and unknown sins and be his Lord and his Savior.

When he finished praying, he raised his head and said, ” I am not doing anything this week. May I go with you and you don’t have to pay me anything. And by the way, I also speak the indigenous language also of the Guami’s, Nobe Buglia”

Can we say ‘Thank you Jesus.” God wants to answer all of our prayers. But sometimes He wants us to get quiet and listen to our next life direction. I am so grateful I turned left that day so that we went to Rio Weste. I had so many exciting experiences from that campaign. Again, thank you Jesus.

Excerpts from ‘Apprehended by the Holy Ghost’

Please click the links below to read short stories from Gary Vanover’s book.

Short Story –
Santos, Simone and Rocky
Short Story –
Oreo Cookies
Short Story –
Two Translators in Panama
Short Story –
Romans Road
Short Story –
Michael in Peru – A Divine Appointment
Short Story –
My Commitment As A Christian

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