In January 2020 excitement was building for a team of 15 people getting ready for a Global Exchange to Panama scheduled for March of that year. In February 2020 we made a very difficult decision to cancel the trip due to an evolving health crisis which rapidly became a Global pandemic.
Fast forward to January 2023, a brand new team of 15 people started online preparation for a Global Exchange to Panama scheduled for March 2023. Eric Wiens (LeaderImpact City Team Chair for Winnipeg) who was part of that team in 2020, was the only person from the original team who ended up making the trip in 2023. It’s interesting to see how circumstances change for many people over three years and how God works in the hearts of men and women in an appointed time for an appointed purpose.
Eric became our keynote speaker for the 2023 trip and he even brought along two of the younger members of his LeaderImpact Group, joined by a fourth person from Winnipeg who had the miraculous experience of discovering that the dialect she spoke as a child in the Philippines allowed her to communicate effectively in Spanish. In addition, a dynamic group of young entrepreneurs from Toronto rounded out the team. By God’s design, the 2023 team was probably the youngest average age of any Global Exchange team in history. Now it turns out that the local LeaderImpact team in Panama was also a completely different team than what was in place in 2020. As we look back, we can see how some stress and anxiety in the months of preparation for young teams from both Canada and Panama led us to lean even more heavily on God’s provision of strength, learning what it looks like to allow the power of the Holy Spirit to work through us when the task seems insurmountable.
We praise God for many amazing opportunities to share our faith stories over the course of the week resulting in a powerful “Impact” in the lives of both the Canadian team participants and hundreds of men and women in attendance in 24 events with 103 people indicating that they prayed to receive Christ. The new staff of CRU and LeaderImpact in Panama are committed to working towards a level 3 Global Exchange (Transformation) in order to grow their ministry throughout the country of Panama and beyond. Similarly for each of the team members returning to Canada, there is a strong commitment to influencing their peers to help multiply the Global Exchange program around the world.