‘I want to serve my indigenous community in Panama’

Jocabed Solano
Jocabed works with indigenous people in Panama.

Last month on our Langham Live zoom calls, LPUKI supporters were privileged to hear from Jocabed Solano, a member of Langham Preaching in Panama.

Jocabed grew up in the Gunadule (Guna) community in Panama, was born to missionary parents, and came to faith at the age of nine. She became a staff worker for IFES (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students) and knew of Langham through Jorge Atiencia and Igor Améstegui. 

Jorge and Igor are key figures in the Latin American Langham Preaching movement. Jocabed got involved when they wanted to start Preaching Clubs (or escuelitas) in Panama. She is now on the General Committee for Langham Preaching Panama. Jocabed coordinates two escuelitas, one in the city and one with Guna pastors on the islands.

Lone pastors on Panama islands

There are hundreds of islands in Panama, though only around 50 of them are populated. Not all islands have a church, and those that do often have a lone unpaid pastor. Jocabed explained: 

There are hundreds of islands in Panama, though only around 50 of them are populated.

“When the missionaries came to the islands, they started churches and then left them alone. So when we have Langham Preaching meetings, these pastors feel great because it’s not only about studying the bible, it’s about having a community. The Langham meetings are very important for them.” 

Jocabed asked that supporters on the call pray for wisdom as she and others pastor the Gunadule people. They want to contextualise the Bible so that it’s relevant for their realities.  

Jocabed recorded these prayer points at the end of May 2022.

A Langham Scholar too

She also asked that we pray for the Langham Preaching team in Panama, especially for update meetings in July. 

But that’s not the only link Jocabed has with Langham! She also recently begun a PhD as a Langham Scholar. She said: 

“When I’m writing I want to serve my indigenous community. Please pray for wisdom as I research, because it’s for my community.”

Jocabed ended the zoom interview by saying “Baba be bendake”, which means ‘God bless you’ in the Gunadule language.

Jocabed Solano at COP26

Jocabed met Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at COP26 in November last year.

In November last year, Jocabed attended COP26 (the UN Climate Change Conference) in Glasgow, Scotland, on behalf of Tearfund. In a Preaching Postcard ahead of the event, she shared that indigenous peoples are joining scientists and civil society in demanding that nations commit to taking ambitious action. 

“In Romans 8:22, Paul tells us that creation is groaning and travailing and it resonates with my Gunadule people because it is similar to a metaphor we sing: ‘This is how we are united with the earth, as the mother has been united with her baby for nine months through the umbilical cord.’ 

“We groan for the injustices that are experienced in our contexts. We groan until we no longer have breath because of drought, floods and deforestation.

Violated by necropolitics

“We groan for the land that does not produce and the forced displacement of those who have been violated by necropolitics (the use of social and political power to dictate how some people may live and how some must die).

“Paul experienced the realities of economic, cultural, ethnic and religious injustices of the first century. What is his message of hope in the midst of this concert of painful groans? The Spirit of God is working on the restoration of all creation and calls us to participate in this liberation. 

“To live the gospel of Jesus is to recognise our call to relate justly with the rest of creation remembering that it is the Spirit of God who is actively operating in the restoration of all creation.”

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